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The Lean Startup


Low Burn by Design not Crisis




     Steve Blank and Eric Ries
The Economy

Before
• Cash was readily available
• Follow on financing was readily available


After
• Debt markets are tight
• IPO & M&A window closed
• VC!s deep pessimism


Venture fund returns have been on decline for a decade
                   - no end in sight
State of Startups


• High burn rate
• Swing for the fences
• Full management teams
• Assume customer is known
• Assume features are known
• Assumes growth is by execution




   Traditional startups are fighting yesterday’s war
Top Gun dogfight scene
Warfare Changes Forever
Boyd: Winning is about Agility



                 The OODA Loop

                 • Observe

                 • Orient

                 • Decide

                 • Act
Boyd Redefines the Rules to Win



               • Agility requires a continuous
                 cycle of interactions with the
                 environment
               • But you can’t do it from a desk
Winners are Those Who Can Move
 Faster Than Their Competitors


              • Winning requires constant
                assessment of change and
                ways to mitigate risk

              • Iterating faster than
                competitors yields
                substantial advantage
Facing Reality at Today’s Startup
        There is no 2nd Place


               • Uncertain environment
               • Rapid, unanticipated changes
                 that lead to disorientation
               • Constant threats to any initiative
               • Burn rate (time, fuel, bullets,
                 dollars) limits window of
                 opportunity
Using OODA to Create “Lean Startups”
     And Changing the Startup Rules


                            Customer
                           Development




                              Agile
                             Product
                           Development
Lean Startups
Building a New Wave of Companies in Silicon Valley


                          • Continuous customer
         Customer
        Development         interaction
                          • Revenue goals from day one
                          • No scaling until revenue
                          • Assumes customer and
                            features are unknowns
           Agile
          Product         • Low Burn by Design - Not
        Development         Crisis
IMVU
Founding IMVU

• History:
 - Company founded in April 2004
 - Founders audit Steve Blank's B-school class Fall of 2004
• Tactics:
 - Shipped in 6 months
 - Charged from Day 1
 - No press releases
 - Ship 20 times a day
• Results:
 - Continuous iteration with customers
 - 2007 revenues of $10MM


 • Here's what it looked like to their first venture investors
IMVU: Q4 2004

• Product                                  9,000                                                                                             $8,000
 -   3D Instant Messenger (IM) add-on
     hanging out online with friends       8,000                                                                                             $7,000

 -   Piggy-back on existing buddy lists    7,000
                                                                                                                                             $6,000
     and IM programs
                                           6,000
• Customer reaction                                                                                                                          $5,000

 -   Avatar customization is key appeal    5,000
                                                                                                                                             $4,000
 -   “Add-on” concept is confusing. They   4,000
     actually want a separate buddy list                                                                                                     $3,000
                                           3,000
• So we...                                                                                                                                   $2,000
 -   Ditched the IM add-on idea            2,000

                                           1,000                                                                                             $1,000


                                              0                                                                                              $0
                                                                              Feb-05
                                                            Dec-04




                                                                                       Mar-05
                                                                     Jan-05
                                                   Nov-04




                                                                                                         May-05




                                                                                                                                    Aug-05
                                                                                                Apr-05




                                                                                                                           Jul-05
                                                                                                                  Jun-05
IMVU: Q1 and Q2 2005

• Product
 -   3D IM service for hanging out with
                                                9,000                                                                                             $8,000

     friends and meeting people                 8,000                                                                                             $7,000
 -   Introduced Chat Now feature (instant
                                                7,000
     matching)                                                                                                                                    $6,000

• Customer reaction                             6,000
                                                                                                                                                  $5,000
 -   Meeting new friends is as important        5,000
     as talking with existing friends (50/50)                                                                                                     $4,000

 -   Not enough people on IMVU
                                                4,000
                                                                                                                                                  $3,000
 -   Retention is a problem                     3,000

• So we...                                      2,000
                                                                                                                                                  $2,000

 -   Scaled up advertising budget (to
                                                1,000                                                                                             $1,000
     $40/day)
 -   Learned about retention from market           0                                                                                              $0
     leaders (Cyworld, Myspace)
                                                                                   Feb-05
                                                                 Dec-04




                                                                                            Mar-05
                                                                          Jan-05
                                                        Nov-04




                                                                                                              May-05




                                                                                                                                         Aug-05
                                                                                                     Apr-05




                                                                                                                                Jul-05
                                                                                                                       Jun-05
IMVU: Q3 2005

• Product                             9,000                                                                                             $8,000

 - 3D IM service plus avatar home     8,000                                                                                             $7,000
   pages
 - Also introduced messages, gifts,   7,000
                                                                                                                                        $6,000
   picture galleries and blogs
                                      6,000
• Customer reaction                                                                                                                     $5,000

 - Avatar home pages are highly       5,000
                                                                                                                                        $4,000
   addictive                          4,000
 - 2D and 3D complement one           3,000
                                                                                                                                        $3,000
   another
 - Messages in home pages and real    2,000
                                                                                                                                        $2,000

   time interaction complement one
   another                            1,000                                                                                             $1,000


                                         0                                                                                              $0
                                                                         Feb-05
                                                       Dec-04




                                                                                  Mar-05
                                                                Jan-05
                                              Nov-04




                                                                                                    May-05




                                                                                                                               Aug-05
                                                                                           Apr-05




                                                                                                                      Jul-05
                                                                                                             Jun-05
Lean Startup Principles
Extraordinary Value at Low cost in Little Time


                        • Leverages:
     Customer            - Technology commoditization
    Development          - Agile management practices
                         - Customer Development
                        • Designed to test hypothesis
                          and answer the unknowns

        Agile
       Product
     Development
The Lean Startup
   Agile Product Development



                  • Continuous cycle of
                    Product Development
                   - Product release cycle in
                     hours not years
                   - Tightly coupled with customer
                     development
                   - Minimum feature sets,
   Agile             maximum customer coverage
  Product
Development
What has changed? Technology
Lean Startups Leverage Commoditized Technology


  Licensed Software/              Open Source/
 Proprietary Hardware          Commodity Technology
Product Development a la Microsoft
          Unit of progress: Advance to Next Stage

                        Waterfall




Problem: known                            Solution: known
Product Development at Typical Venture Startup
    Assumes Customers and Markets are Understood


                        Agile (XP)!

   “Product Owner” or
   in-house customer




    Problem: known                Solution: unknown
Product Development at Lean Startup
             Assumes Customers and Markets are Unknown


                       Customer Development Engineering

Customer        Customer     Customer      Scale
Discovery       Validation   Creation    Company

                                                   Data, feedback, insights


                  Problem: unknown                 Solution: unknown


            Hypotheses, experiments, insights
The Lean Startup
     Customer Development

                • Continuous cycle of
                  customer interaction
 Customer
Development      - Rapid hypothesis testing about
                   market, pricing, customers, …
                 - Extreme low cost, low burn,
                   tight focus
                 - Measurable gates for investors
The Lean Startup
Customer Development Parallels Agile Development

                           Agile Development


       Concept /          Agile      Continuous     Continuous
      Business Plan    Development     Test            Ship




                       Customer Development

      Customer          Customer         Customer         Company
      Discovery         Validation       Creation         Building
Customer Development
  Turns Market Risk/Product Fit Hypothesis into Facts


        Customer    Customer        Customer   Company
        Discovery   Validation      Creation   Building




• Discovery
 - Test hypotheses I.e. problem and product concept
• Validation
 - Build a repeatable and scalable sales process
• Creation
 - Create end-user demand and fill the sales pipeline
• Building
 - Scale via relentless execution
Lean Startup Advantages
                                          Customer
                                         Development


• Builds low-burn companies by design
 - Low cost market risk testing
                                            Agile
• Organized around learning and            Product
                                         Development
  discovery
• Right model for current conditions



  The next wave of capital efficient startups

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Lean Startup presentation for Maples Investments by Steve Blank and Eric Ries

  • 1. The Lean Startup Low Burn by Design not Crisis Steve Blank and Eric Ries
  • 2. The Economy Before • Cash was readily available • Follow on financing was readily available After • Debt markets are tight • IPO & M&A window closed • VC!s deep pessimism Venture fund returns have been on decline for a decade - no end in sight
  • 3. State of Startups • High burn rate • Swing for the fences • Full management teams • Assume customer is known • Assume features are known • Assumes growth is by execution Traditional startups are fighting yesterday’s war
  • 6. Boyd: Winning is about Agility The OODA Loop • Observe • Orient • Decide • Act
  • 7. Boyd Redefines the Rules to Win • Agility requires a continuous cycle of interactions with the environment • But you can’t do it from a desk
  • 8. Winners are Those Who Can Move Faster Than Their Competitors • Winning requires constant assessment of change and ways to mitigate risk • Iterating faster than competitors yields substantial advantage
  • 9. Facing Reality at Today’s Startup There is no 2nd Place • Uncertain environment • Rapid, unanticipated changes that lead to disorientation • Constant threats to any initiative • Burn rate (time, fuel, bullets, dollars) limits window of opportunity
  • 10. Using OODA to Create “Lean Startups” And Changing the Startup Rules Customer Development Agile Product Development
  • 11. Lean Startups Building a New Wave of Companies in Silicon Valley • Continuous customer Customer Development interaction • Revenue goals from day one • No scaling until revenue • Assumes customer and features are unknowns Agile Product • Low Burn by Design - Not Development Crisis
  • 12. IMVU
  • 13. Founding IMVU • History: - Company founded in April 2004 - Founders audit Steve Blank's B-school class Fall of 2004 • Tactics: - Shipped in 6 months - Charged from Day 1 - No press releases - Ship 20 times a day • Results: - Continuous iteration with customers - 2007 revenues of $10MM • Here's what it looked like to their first venture investors
  • 14. IMVU: Q4 2004 • Product 9,000 $8,000 - 3D Instant Messenger (IM) add-on hanging out online with friends 8,000 $7,000 - Piggy-back on existing buddy lists 7,000 $6,000 and IM programs 6,000 • Customer reaction $5,000 - Avatar customization is key appeal 5,000 $4,000 - “Add-on” concept is confusing. They 4,000 actually want a separate buddy list $3,000 3,000 • So we... $2,000 - Ditched the IM add-on idea 2,000 1,000 $1,000 0 $0 Feb-05 Dec-04 Mar-05 Jan-05 Nov-04 May-05 Aug-05 Apr-05 Jul-05 Jun-05
  • 15. IMVU: Q1 and Q2 2005 • Product - 3D IM service for hanging out with 9,000 $8,000 friends and meeting people 8,000 $7,000 - Introduced Chat Now feature (instant 7,000 matching) $6,000 • Customer reaction 6,000 $5,000 - Meeting new friends is as important 5,000 as talking with existing friends (50/50) $4,000 - Not enough people on IMVU 4,000 $3,000 - Retention is a problem 3,000 • So we... 2,000 $2,000 - Scaled up advertising budget (to 1,000 $1,000 $40/day) - Learned about retention from market 0 $0 leaders (Cyworld, Myspace) Feb-05 Dec-04 Mar-05 Jan-05 Nov-04 May-05 Aug-05 Apr-05 Jul-05 Jun-05
  • 16. IMVU: Q3 2005 • Product 9,000 $8,000 - 3D IM service plus avatar home 8,000 $7,000 pages - Also introduced messages, gifts, 7,000 $6,000 picture galleries and blogs 6,000 • Customer reaction $5,000 - Avatar home pages are highly 5,000 $4,000 addictive 4,000 - 2D and 3D complement one 3,000 $3,000 another - Messages in home pages and real 2,000 $2,000 time interaction complement one another 1,000 $1,000 0 $0 Feb-05 Dec-04 Mar-05 Jan-05 Nov-04 May-05 Aug-05 Apr-05 Jul-05 Jun-05
  • 17. Lean Startup Principles Extraordinary Value at Low cost in Little Time • Leverages: Customer - Technology commoditization Development - Agile management practices - Customer Development • Designed to test hypothesis and answer the unknowns Agile Product Development
  • 18. The Lean Startup Agile Product Development • Continuous cycle of Product Development - Product release cycle in hours not years - Tightly coupled with customer development - Minimum feature sets, Agile maximum customer coverage Product Development
  • 19. What has changed? Technology Lean Startups Leverage Commoditized Technology Licensed Software/ Open Source/ Proprietary Hardware Commodity Technology
  • 20. Product Development a la Microsoft Unit of progress: Advance to Next Stage Waterfall Problem: known Solution: known
  • 21. Product Development at Typical Venture Startup Assumes Customers and Markets are Understood Agile (XP)! “Product Owner” or in-house customer Problem: known Solution: unknown
  • 22. Product Development at Lean Startup Assumes Customers and Markets are Unknown Customer Development Engineering Customer Customer Customer Scale Discovery Validation Creation Company Data, feedback, insights Problem: unknown Solution: unknown Hypotheses, experiments, insights
  • 23. The Lean Startup Customer Development • Continuous cycle of customer interaction Customer Development - Rapid hypothesis testing about market, pricing, customers, … - Extreme low cost, low burn, tight focus - Measurable gates for investors
  • 24. The Lean Startup Customer Development Parallels Agile Development Agile Development Concept / Agile Continuous Continuous Business Plan Development Test Ship Customer Development Customer Customer Customer Company Discovery Validation Creation Building
  • 25. Customer Development Turns Market Risk/Product Fit Hypothesis into Facts Customer Customer Customer Company Discovery Validation Creation Building • Discovery - Test hypotheses I.e. problem and product concept • Validation - Build a repeatable and scalable sales process • Creation - Create end-user demand and fill the sales pipeline • Building - Scale via relentless execution
  • 26. Lean Startup Advantages Customer Development • Builds low-burn companies by design - Low cost market risk testing Agile • Organized around learning and Product Development discovery • Right model for current conditions The next wave of capital efficient startups