We all hear that we should make “data-driven” decisions in deciding what to test and how to measure results. But few of us have much experience actually doing that. With real and accessible examples, Dan McKinley walks us through the process–and the simple math–he developed to test, or scrap, new ideas at Etsy.
Brand-new startups begin with almost zero customer data–a risky position from which to build a new product. But when you have very little money, how can you acquire critical information quickly? Anita Newton advisor, investor, and marketer at Mighty Handle, reveals how her bootstrapped, non-technical startup did clever customer development online, and rapidly tested its way into the customer insights it needed to sell its consumer packaged goods to the largest retailer in the world.
When you’re building a new product, your own domain expertise can–surprisingly–prevent you from recognizing your potential customers’ needs. Margo Wright, founder of Yenko, shares the customer-development approach she’s used to overcome the blinders of her expertise.
What’s the biggest challenge in getting a team of people to adopt Lean Startup methods? Dan Milstein, founder at Hut 8 Labs, suggests a somewhat surprising answer: it’s the tendency of leaders to fall prey to the deep, built-in human propensity for self-deception. We’re wired to lie to ourselves in certain situations–and, in startups, those situations crop up all the time. Tying together psychology research and his own (painful) experiences on both sides of the leader/team member divide, Dan looks at the dangers of self-deception and what you can do to overcome it.
Every business leader knows that, in theory, good ideas can–and should–come from anywhere in your organization. But in reality, the voices of introverts and people far-removed from decision makers often go unheard. Hugh Molotsi, Vice President of the Intuit Labs Incubator and self-proclaimed introvert, talks about how Lean Startup methods at Intuit have helped surface game-changing ideas from quiet employees, front-line staff and unexpected corners of the organization.
As a well-known startup veteran, investor and author, Ben Horowitz brings unusually deep insight to the hard questions that entrepreneurs face. Eric Ries interviews him and gives you a chance to ask questions, too.
When you run a startup, it’s easy to assume that your small team necessarily works cross-functionally, because you all talk pretty often. But when you’re trying to move quickly, and lots of projects are run by just one person, you can inadvertently skip important collaboration across roles. Cheryl Contee, CEO at Fission Strategy and co-founder of Attentive.ly, talks about how her startups bake in cross-functional collaboration from the beginning, both to improve their products and to lay the groundwork for holistic product development as they grow.
It’s one thing to decide that you’ll rigorously test product ideas, and it’s entirely another matter to actually kill something that isn’t clearly a dud. AppFolio faced this dilemma when deciding whether to launch a new product last year. Product Manager Ursula Shekefundeh takes us through the surprising–and hard–decisions her team made at the persevere/pivot/kill crossroads.
When you’re tackling a hard problem, the solution rarely comes from what you do initially. Rather, it emerges from what you do continuously–provided you set up systems to learn as you go. Max Ventilla, founder at AltSchool, explains how his organization is staying very close to its customers as its key mechanism for scaling up a large network of independent schools.
When you’re moving fast to build and grow a new company or project, you’re bound to make mistakes as well as unexpected discoveries. Mikkel Svane, CEO & founder of Zendesk and author of Startupland, shares real stories from the front lines of starting Zendesk that explore how you stay in touch with the human side of customers and your business as you scale.