Lean & Agile: What Publishing Can Learn From Startups


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This presentation was given by at the Edinburgh Publishing Conference held June 12, 2013 at the Edinburgh Business School in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference examined the innovation, disruption and new business models that are helping to shape the future of publishing. In this presentation, Rachel Willmer, the founder of Luzme (a worldwide ebook search site) discussed how Lean & Agile practices learned from decades of software startups can be applied to building a successful business in the new disrupted future of publishing.

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  • 50 years of new development. Original methods don’t work; better ways of removing risk from the plan. Cheaper. More fun. Happier customers, happier staff.
  • First and last contact with customer at requirements stage. No further contact until beta test and then release.Mistakes made won’t be found until late. Expensive.
  • In a sprint, you can’t fail. Everything has to be right.
  • YouTube stats: 3.4 billion views per month, 250 million subscribers
  • Bring out the similarities between this and Agile
  • Mark Suster is an entrepreneur turned VC.
  • Describe howOreilly ER worksDescribe Lean Pube've now crossed over $500,000 USD in sales and over $450,000 in royalties paid to authors.  Interestingly, over $100,000 USD in sales has come from bundles that have been created by our authors.  We've had tens of thousands of paid purchases and tens of thousands of free purchases, and over a thousand of both free and paid purchases in the last week.  The core of Leanpub is still non-fiction books, especially computer programming books, but we are seeing increased growth in fiction and in other categories.  Also, our Leanpub for Publishers program is accelerating in the number of signups, and our Leanpub for Causes program is beginning to get some traction, both in adding new causes and in adding books which support them.
  • Explain Luzme. Author services.
  • Lean & Agile: What Publishing Can Learn From Startups

    1. 1. Lean & Agile:What Publishing can Learnfrom StartupsRachelWillmerrachel@luzme.com
    2. 2. Why Learn From Us?© http://www.flickr.com/photos/scriptingnews/
    3. 3. TheWaterfall Model© Paulsmith99 at en.wikipedia
    4. 4. Why Doesn’tWaterfallWork?• Requires perfect knowledge at every stage• Assumes perfect consistency• Works for Engineering projects• Inefficient model for Software projects• Mistakes are expensive
    5. 5. The Agile Manifesto, 2001• http://agilemanifesto.org/• KEY POINTS:– Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early andcontinuous delivery of valuable software– Welcome changing requirements, even late in development...– Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to acouple of months ...– Simplicity, the art of maximizing the amount of work not done, isessential– And others….
    6. 6. WhatThis Means in Practice• Have a long-term Big Idea• Plan only short-term work plans, a “sprint”• Continuously engage with customers• Be very willing to change everything as you learn• Change != Failure• Change at an early stage = cheap
    7. 7. It’s a marathon, not a sprint© http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/4782201357
    8. 8. DisruptiveTechnologies• *Significantly* lower prices• Lower Margins• Less Functionality/Performance• “Innovator’s Dilemma” - Clayton M. Christensen
    9. 9. Less Functionality?!?“Competing against Non-Consumption”http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2011/12/22/the-amazing-power-of-deflationary-economics-for-startups/
    10. 10. Examples• TV&Hollywood --YouTube• Daily Newspapers –Twitter, Feedly, Zite• Photos&Film - iPhone
    11. 11. The Lean Startup, 2011• Term coined by Eric Ries, based on earlier work done by SteveBlank• KEY POINTS:– Product/Market Fit– Minimum viable product– Continuous deployment– Split testing– Actionable metrics– Pivot
    12. 12. Lean Links• http://theleanstartup.com/• http://runninglean.co/• http://leananalyticsbook.com/
    13. 13. Fail Early, Fail Often, (Fail Cheap)• “Fail” = “Try,Learn,Change” not “Failure”• Mark Suster’s motto:– “Good judgement comes from experience,– But experience comes from bad judgement”http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/
    14. 14. How to Fail Early• Don’tWait until it’s ready until you talk to your customers• Customer Discovery interviews• MinimumViable Products• Verifiable Hypotheses• Landing Pages• Ask for money early!
    15. 15. Example 1:Tech Publishing• O’Reilly Early Release– http://oreilly.com• Lean Pub– http://leanpub.com
    16. 16. “Lean Publishing” the book• https://leanpub.com/lean• Coupon code: “EDINBURGH”
    17. 17. Example 2• LuzmeTranslation service for writers• Idea originated at CrimeFest a fortnight ago• Determined initial business model idea• Landing pages will go live next week• Then customer discovery
    18. 18. SUMMARY• Fail early, fail often, fail cheap…• Succeed sooner• Have more fun!• QUESTIONS?