Weekend Musings – Lean Startup Machine LA Is In Full Swing!

It’s official, Lean Startup Machine Los Angeles is in full swing after a very successful opening night. For those who don’t know about Lean Startup Machine, this is one of the coolest events on the planet where entrepreneurs get to learn and practice Lean Startup Principles for an entire weekend. It is fast-paced, intense, and honestly, what most companies do in a month, you do in a weekend.

I participated in Lean Startup Machine New York in July of last year and this time around I am serving as a mentor. Friday night is all about getting to understand the basics of Lean and then pitching ideas and forming teams. Before the teams got started Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits, authors of one of the hottest new books about Lean Startup gave a great talk to the group to get everyone pumped up and thinking lean.

For those who don’t know much about lean, it’s important to understand that first and foremost Lean is not Bootstrapping. You can have a major multi-million dollar company that runs lean, so don’t let the lean part confuse you. The Lean Startup Methodology is all about customer development, making assumption and either validating or invalidating them with your target customer. The idea is simple, too many companies spend an incredible amount of time building something they “think” people will like, only to find out that nobody wants to use it. Lean is all about validating your market “before” you go through the trouble of creating an entire product.

Next the teams go to it and started working together on their Validated Learning Canvas. This is a process where teams come-up with their customer hypothesis, problem hypothesis and solution hypothesis. They then go through all their assumptions and determine which is their riskiest assumption, this is the first assumption they need to test with real customers, and today the goal is to “Get Out Of the Building” and talk to real customers. Some teams might find that the idea that thought was so great, wasn’t quite as great as they thought, others will find their idea really solves a real problem, the point is, you don’t know until you talk to real customers.

As a mentor I am working with all the teams to help them with every step of the process and inspire entrepreneurs to really think lean. It’s going to be an action-packed day and with that, it’s time to head to Santa Monica, Lean Startup Machine LA Day Two is about to begin!

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