The Lean Startup – Eric Ries

Eric's story

At the time Eric Ries was part of a startup which was a software that links in game 3D models avatars with instant messaging, these were the big things at the time. They integrated all of the popular instant messaging app but there was no downloads; then they later found out that people did not want to use integrated apps as they were the usual; they much preferred a completely brand new instant messenger. They could have saved months in time by only integrating one instant messenger as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to see if that's what customers wanted.

Why are MVP's so important?

Without an MVP we only assume what the customer wants and during that process we endeavour spending a lot of unnecessary features without even knowing if they would want to use it at all.

A good example of approach

A shoe company thought it would be a good idea to start selling shoes online. For the MVP to test the waters of this industry the company made the website without all the inventory. For the website the owner when to the shoe shop and took pictures of the shoes for product images, when a customer bought a product from the site the owner would go shop to purchase and send it to the customer. Once the traction started to rise to the point where it would get difficult that's when the company would stock on inventory to make it easier to handle.

Steps for a successful startup

1. User experience vision
How do you imagine the product to work? This would be the description and the brief.

2. Identify critical assumptions
Ask for peoples opinions on if you assume correctly, don't whole heatedly trust as not everyone will be truthful; even people close to you as they would not want to harm you with feedback.

3. Make a beta or teaser to validate critical assumptions
There are two types of MVP Concierge and Smoke Screen. Concierge is a manual method which is used to act like an automated method i.e. like the shoe shop. Smoke Screen is marketing without the finished product i.e. making a trailer for a game before it is fully finished, this would usually have a tracked pre-order link or a mailing list to possibly give updates.

4. Release and measure
Target a small audience to see what they think of the product and their behaviour towards it. This is also when the analytics would be collected to judge results.

5. Pivot and persevere
If there are many clicks on the teaser or product but not many purchases then perhaps the product needs to be improved. and after the improvement if there are not many purchases then the idea may not be the best to proceed.


Use an MVP approach and gradually add onto the product using a strategy if traction rises.

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