Tag Archive: lean startup


3 ways marketing can speed up software development

Guest post by Arin

You’re a little bit nervous.  You’re spending all this time putting together a great marketing campaign, but since you’re a startup, your product is not completely finished or optimized yet.

Let me share 3 tips for using marketing to drive interactions with your development team:

1) Set priorities and communicate very clearly

I know you’ve got a lot of ideas – that’s what you get paid the big bucks for.  But when talking with your team, you need to be very clear about what is important to you right now.  And, be clear about which specific parts of a feature are most important in the first version, and which parts can wait until later.… Read the rest


Should I run ads for my startup? (pre product/market fit)

Time is Money

Image credit: Nina Matthews Photography

By Elizabeth

I often get questions from other startups about whether they should be running ads and if so, why and when.  Startups largely fall into 2 categories: pre-product/market fit and growth stage.  The purposes for running ads at these two stages are very different.  This post focuses just on pre product/market fit, and next week, I’ll talk about the latter.

Pre product/market fit: 

If your company is pre-product/market fit, your goal is to find a product or service that meets a need, that your customers love, and that you can scale.  Startups often fail, because they try to scale before they find product/market fit.… Read the rest


5 Articles on Rapid Prototyping you Should Have Read

by: Ian M


Photo Credit: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Take that elaborate business plan and throw it out the window. Creating a quick prototype and bringing it straight to the market is the best route for success in 2012. Rapid prototyping lets you get immediate information about what people really want, without wasting time planning and designing the product. If you haven’t a clue about creating prototypes or are already on the path, here’s the articles you should have read. Everything from the tools you will need, the process, the problems and a dose of inspiration. Get ready to fail better.… Read the rest


Why pivot after making $10,000 our first month?

By Elizabeth



Multi-startup holiday dinner in the Bay Area, Dec 2011.  (Photo credit: Samantha Quist, Check out her startup, TaskHatch.)

Happy New Year!  2011 was quite a ride for us at LaunchBit.  Jennifer and I are so thankful to everyone who’s helped us.

We started LaunchBit in Jan 2011 as a way to help entrepreneurs start and grow their internet businesses.  This is a problem I’ve become really passionate about, as I’ve mentioned here.  But, we didn’t know exactly how to tackle this problem, because we didn’t know *what*, in particular, entrepreneurs were struggling with.  So, we decided to hold a class on customer development and we built a customer development workflow-tool to learn what our customers were struggling with most.… Read the rest


Pivot, Jump, or Shoot?


By Elizabeth

“Pivot” is probably the most overused word in the startup community.  Everyone is pivoting his/her company from this to that.  So how do you know when you should pivot your company slightly, jump to a completely new business idea altogether, or just shoot for the moon with what you have?

My friend Rishi recently wrote a post about how he thinks many entrepreneurs pivot too early — they don’t give their businesses enough time to prove or disprove its hypotheses.  I think he writes a very fair post — it does take some time to validate assumptions.  But, I think there’s another big reason to jump or pivot that is often overlooked: passion.… Read the rest


Boston is an up-and-coming startup scene

By Elizabeth Yin

Lean Startup Challenge

These past few days, I’ve been back in Boston, where there are a number of exciting entrepreneurship programs happening right now. Last Friday, I gave a talk on customer development at the kickoff session for the first ever Lean Startup Challenge. This Challenge is a revolutionary idea to me. It’s a six week entrepreneurship competition that is based on learning/iteration/progress in building a company. Unlike traditional business plan competitions, which are all about research, projections, and writing, the Lean Startup Challenge is about doing and learning. Because it’s a six week duration, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some momentum of real businesses coming out of the competition.… Read the rest


Build, market, measure in parallel

By Elizabeth


Photo Credit: LabelMeHappy

First-time web entrepreneurs often tell me “Oh we’re moving really quickly…we’re launching in just 6 months.”  And, then these terrible flashbacks go past my eyes.  A couple years ago, I remember saying the exact same thing to myself.  Just 6 months.  The trouble is that product traction isn’t just about getting a product out the door.

Your biggest competitor isn’t any company or individual.  It’s time — the duration you have before you run out of money, morale, and the enthusiasm your significant other/family has for your endeavors.  The trouble with my last company was that our experience in software development came from large companies, where your job is just to ship code.

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Launch a Startup for the Price of an iPad

By Elizabeth


Flickr Photo credit: Paulo Ordoveza

Lots of people ask us how expensive it is to launch a web business idea.  That’s obviously an impossible question to answer.  But, getting your first customers to get some validation for your business idea — now, that’s not as far off as you may think.  Getting there would probably cost you less than an iPad.  So, skip the frenzied line at the Apple Store and buy yourself a web business instead.

This is how I would invest my saved $499 in a web business idea:

Talking with potential customers in-person/via Skype or phone

  • FREE: Recruit potential interviewees using Craigslist, Google/Yahoo Groups, Ning, Meetup.com, vertical-specific forums, alumni lists, malls/cafes where applicable
  • FREE: Decide on 3-5 different personas to interview and find and filter those people using Google Forms
  • ~$120: Pay interviewees $10-$20 for each completed interview (15-30 min per interview)
  • FREE: Use Google Docs to type notes and analyze each interview to find patterns

Finding first customers through a landing page:


How to find and interview potential customers

By Elizabeth

Last night, I gave a talk at the monthly Lean Startup Circle meetup in Boston.  I’d been getting so many questions from people about their difficulties in finding potential customers to interview.  So, I decided to do a really deep dive on how you can tactically find and interview potential customers.  Slides posted here:

I fielded questions throughout my presentation, but I also learned some new tips along the way.  One participant offered a tip on finding contact information: look for press releases from a particular company.… Read the rest


The Lean Startup — a Review of Eric Ries’ New Book


By Elizabeth

I’ve read a lot of business books over the years — for school, for *fun*, for work.  Most of them are just ok — largely intuitive and too high level to be useful.  I wouldn’t recommend most books I’ve read to anyone.  But, I just finished reading a draft of Eric Ries’ new book, The Lean Startup.  This is a must read for all internet entrepreneurs and a compelling read for anyone who’s ever wanted to cut waste out of new projects…including stuffing envelopes!


For those not familiar with Ries’ work, this book is focused on reducing “business waste,” the time, money, and resources that companies spend building things people don’t want.

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