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ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Building a Lean, Scalable Startup Fall 2011 – Fall 2012 Emre Oto Follow on

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Presentation on theme: "ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Building a Lean, Scalable Startup Fall 2011 – Fall 2012 Emre Oto Follow on"— Presentation transcript:

1 ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Building a Lean, Scalable Startup Fall 2011 – Fall 2012 Emre Oto www.eng491bu.org Follow on Twitter: @eng491

2 Week 12 Executive Summary of ENG491  Technology entrepreneurship is a hard, human science that follows the scientific method  Today’s class: Final words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

3 Idea #1 Planning is guessing  Refer to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, etc.  Plans let the past drive the future  They inhibit our ability to improvise  You have the most information when you are doing something  Make decisions not far in advance but right before you do something ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

4 Idea #2 Growing vs Expanding  Premature scaling is the primary cause of death for startups  All companies have a “right size”  Grow slow and see what feels right  Small does not have to be a stepping stone, it can be a destination itself ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

5 Idea #3 Start making something  Stop contemplating, build a Minimum Viable Product, and start testing  Build something that “makes a dent in the universe”, and something that you would need yourself  Ideas are cheap and plentiful, what counts is how you execute == Validated Learning  No time is no excuse, manage your time, start now ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

6 Idea #4 Outside money is Plan Z  You need upfront investment only if you are building a factory or a restaurant  Today’s businesses are mostly IT based service economy  You may need less than you think  Get to basics, start building the MVP, and iterate  Take on as little outside cash as possible ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

7 Idea #4 Outside money is Plan Z  Risks of taking outside cash:  You give up control  Cashing out begins to trump building a quality business  Spending other people’s money is addictive  It’s usually a bad deal  You may become investor centric instead of customer centric  Raising money is distracting == Spend time building the product instead ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

8 Idea #5 Less is a good thing  Embrace your constraints  Constraints kindle creativity and innovation  Limited resources force you to make the most of what you have got  You never have enough time/money/people/experience  Throw less at a problem ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

9 Idea #6 The 80/20 Principle (Pareto Principle)  Build a kick-ass half rather than a half-assed whole  Start chopping, you cannot be building 10 things at the same time  Focus on the “epicenter”  If I took this away, would what I am selling today still exist?  Make the best out of the epicenter  Ignore the details early on ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

10 Idea #7 Do not delay decisions  Decide based on validated learning and pivot  Not deciding is not an option  Make calls early and often to reduce batch size  = Move with small decisions vs big decisions  = Big decisions are harder to make  Fail early, fail often, fail fast  Long projects kill morale  Make the call, make progress, get the product out the door while you still have the motivation and momentum ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

11 Idea #8 Launch Now  In the Lean Startup, the product is the experiment  You cannot learn from the customer unless they experience the product  Build for the few, and not for the man  Save bells and whistles for later  Stop imagining what is going to work. Find out for real ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

12 Idea #8 Good enough is fine  Find the solution that delivers maximum efficiency with minimum amount of effort  Solve problems with simple, mundane solutions, it’s fine if it gets the job done  You don’t always need to demonstrate glamorous skills in each solution  Don’t waste your resources  You are a resource too: Beware from sheer effort overload ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

13 Idea #9 Do not copy ideas  Copying skips understanding how you grow  You have to understand why something works  If you copy you lose all the substance and understanding to base future decisions on  If someone else has already done the bulk of the work you are copying ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

14 Idea #9 Do not copy ideas  Copying skips understanding how you grow  You have to understand why something works  If you copy you lose all the substance and understanding to base future decisions on  If someone else has already done the bulk of the work you are copying  Two things protect you from copycats:  Validated learning  Pouring yourself into the product: Make yourself a part of it ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

15 Idea #10 Underdoing your competition  New market disruption targets nonconsumers  In new markets/resegmented markets, you can’t compete by oneupping the competition  Solve simple problems in a simple way  “Out of clutter, find simplicity” (Albert Einstein) ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

16 Idea #10 Underdoing your competition  New market disruption targets nonconsumers  In new markets/resegmented markets, you can’t compete by oneupping the competition  Solve simple problems in a simple way  “Out of clutter, find simplicity” (Albert Einstein) ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

17 Idea #11 Focus on yourself  Do not obsess about competition or potential competition  Focus on your own learning and discovery  Focusing on the competition makes you reactive (rather than visionary)  Obsessing about competition may dilute your own vision ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

18 Idea #12 Say no to customers  Don’t add bananas to your lasagna because a few customers wanted so  Follow the masses  Feel free to say no to customers ..but provide a solid justification why the answer is no  You can’t be everything to everyone  Remember early adopters vs mainstream  Keep solid positions in negotiations of all sorts  otherwise customers will think you are playing with them ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

19 Idea #13 Laying low for a while is good  Being obscure is a great initial position to be in  Be happy you are in the shadows  Start small  Use your time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about them  You don’t want everyone to watch you starting your business  Use this early period to take risks and learn ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

20 Idea #14 Opinion Leadership  Companies building new markets or niche markets enjoy one advantage: Opinion Leadership 1. Build an audience  Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos 2. Outteach (You can seldom/never out market, but you can always outteach)  Earn loyalty by teaching, this is beyond marketing ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

21 Idea #15 Everything you do is marketing  Perception is reality  Marketing is not a department, everything you do is marketing  Marketing is not a set of individual events, it is everything you do  So be careful ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

22 Idea #16 Success does not happen overnight  You will not be a big hit right away, you will not get rich quick  “Sustained growth” takes time  Start building your audience, start getting people interested in what you have to say, you will build a sustained Share of Voice ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

23 Idea #17 Human resource is everything  Never delegate a task before you have performed it yourself or have strong expertise on how it must be done  Hire slow, and hire when only absolutely necessary  Capabilities are more important than resumés or GPAs  Pass on great people if necessary ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»

24 Idea #18 Be honest to customers  Own your bad news and own it sincerely  Honestly be concerned about the fate of your customers  Expectation management is incredibly important: State, in very clear terms, what you will deliver and when ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week #12 «Key Lessons Top 18»


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