Learning from Lean: All You Need to Know about Eric Ries

As Eric Ries prepares to fly into London, we ask why he's worth following - and how can you learn from him

Here are just three things you need to know about Eric Ries: 

1. Product Market Fit

His 2011 book The Lean Startup defined the way that startups can move fast to establish whether there is a fit between the product you imagine and the untapped market. The build/ measure/ learn loop is at the heart of that.

You should have a “value hypothesis” that your product meets a need.  Then build something that will test that - a product, a marketing funnel or a prototype. Measure how people react using objective metrics, and learn from that. With today’s tools, it’s the kind of test that can be run - quite literally - overnight. If your value hypothesis was wrong, change what you’re doing. If it’s right, double down on it.

Build measure learn loop for Upstart Breakthrough Strategy

2. Validated Learning

The job of a startup isn’t to turn a profit (not at first anyway). It’s to get validated learning as soon as possible. Validated learning comes from finding out what meets agreed, objective metrics which indicate that the market is there (not vanity metrics which boost egos or inflate a valuation). More on this soon.

3. It’s About More Than Product

Eric sees no reason why you can’t use this to create and develop strategies. Back in 2016 we asked him if it could be applied to strategy creation. He told us:

“Strategy is one of the most nebulous concepts in business and therefore very amenable to build-measure-learn type of experimentation.”

So that’s what we’re doing at Upstart - using Lean Startup principles and creating a collaborative, continuous approach to business strategy.

Eric Ries explains via Skype why Strategy is amenable to lean methodologies at Lean Startup London 2016

Eric Ries explains via Skype why Strategy is amenable to lean methodologies at Lean Startup London 2016


4. (I know we said three...)  You Can Hear Eric Speak.

Eric is in London 15-17 November speaking at The Business of Software and promoting his new book The Startup Way. We recommend you go and hear him.

Dominic Pride