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Top 10 Takeaways from Lean Startup Conference 2016

Lean Startup Company helps entrepreneurs and innovators build better products through the Lean Startup methodology and modern management techniques.

Lean Startup Week is a seven-day immersion into Lean Startup methodology led by star practitioners in big companies and hot startups from around the world.

On Oct. 31st, Hemant Elhence, CEO, Synerzip, attended the Lean Startup Conference with  thousands of thought leaders and avid community members. It was a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, industry dinners, bootcamps, and startup tours at the scenic edge of San Francisco. The conference is unique in that it unites entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs from government agencies, international corporations, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.

Hemant shares his top 10 take-aways from this year’s conference.

1. The Lean Startup framework is a management framework (Operating System), not just for building products. It is the most efficient operating system for achieving Product X Market fit. Customer = Ultimate Truth.

2. Every large company wants “Startup DNA” inside them. Increasing trend of company-wide adoption of Lean Startup by large companies, e.g. GE, Intuit, IBM, etc.

  • Apply Lean Startup to those parts of business, which are riskier and disruptive, for rest of the core business, continue to follow traditional methods.
  • Create an “internal VC” mechanism to fund larger number of small bets, and follow-up Lean Startup approach to iterate.

3. “The Lean Startup Way” is the mindset – the way people think and the way they act. It is not about the tools and the processes, but about people and culture. “You can’t fake culture, and sure as hell you can’t buy it.” For an organization, folklore & stories are much more effective way to articulate their culture than words and phrases.

4. Key differences in Lean Startup mindset (= Responsive) organizations vs. old school (= Industrial) organizations. They value,

  • Learning (in Responsive orgs) over Efficiency (in Industrial orgs)
  • Network over Control
  • Principles over Process & Structure
  • Iteration over Stability
  • Harness Tension over Minimize Tension
  • Leaders as Model over Leaders as Guides

5. Four principles for scaling Lean Startup in the organization.

  • Customer Value = Business Value
  • Value learning over delivering
  • Radical transparency (i.e. access to real customer) in all things
  • Humility (i.e. continuous learning) in all things

6. Diversity and distributed teams are the norm.

  • Great talent is distributed worldwide, but opportunities are not. Hire the best people, anywhere in the world.
  • Embrace broad range of diversity – skills, gender, race, etc.

7. While mission and social impact orientation is popular among millennial entrepreneurs, they should not confuse their objective to build profitable business.

  • Successful entrepreneurs first made billions (for themselves and their investors) and then gave it away to philanthropic missions, e.g. Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, etc.
  • Learning to make money is itself an important build-measure-learn loop that entrepreneurs need to practice and get good at it. Avoid or postpone external capital infusion as much as you can.
  • For a business, profit = air, water, food. Profit allows a business to survive.
  • Seek VC capital, only if you venture can increase 10x in value in 7 years.

8. To encourage and facilitate innovation at grassroots level in a company, need following five conditions:

  • Leadership support
  • Freedom
  • Allowed free time (in regular work week)
  • Open collaboration (across organizational boundaries)
  • Experimentation culture

9. According to Steve Case (his recent book The Third Wave) we’re at the dawn of the next technological revolution unlike anything we’ve seen before—the Third Wave of the internet— that will transform the economy and the way we live our lives. First wave of internet was in mid 90s, with internet adoption, second was in 2000s with proliferation of apps (App Economy), and now we are at the dawn of 3rd wave – a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. The 3rd wave is more global (first two were more US/Silicon Valley centric).

10. Stay tuned to hear more on Eric Ries’ Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) idea in the works. LTSE promises to address the problems with short-term thinking that has been driven by capital markets, including Wall Street and others.

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About the Writer

  • Hemant Elhence
    Founder and CEO, Synerzip

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