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Eric Ries: How “TheLean Startup” has changed since 2011 and what to do in 2019

EricRies is not only the author of New York bestseller ‘The Lean Startup” but alsoCEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange and founder of multiple startups. What’smore, he has acted as a personal advisor to countless successful businesses andhis methodology is practiced by many top companies around the world.

Buthow has this book and these methods aged since 2011?

Inthis article, we take a look at some of the founding principles in the LeanStartup and how they might have changed in the seven years since the book wasreleased:

Eric Ries: How “The Lean Startup” has changed since 2011

1. Minimum Viable Product: Research Before Creating an MVP

Creating a minimum viable product is still important. This refers to the simplest form of a product that you can still consider a finished concept. It’s true, many startups in particular get caught up in the process of perfecting ideas without actually testing their product.

However, at a time when so many brands or products are in competitions against each other, just as many entrepreneurs seem to get caught up in in the wrong race. Creating a minimum viable product is not just about hope or throwing caution to the wind. Adequate market research is always necessary before producing even the simplest of products or service.

What to Do Before Creating a Minimum Viable Product in 2019:

2. Taking Charge is Not Always the Right Decision

Inthe Lean Startup, Eric Ries points out that nobody is in charge, when everyoneis in charge. While the author is also quick to say that ‘stepping on toes’should not need to happen, it’s clear that the general advice is to be the bossand make sure that everyone knows that you are the boss.

Onthe other hand, it should go without saying that the founder of a startup isthe boss. More specifically, good employees will simply not go against thewishes of this leader and if they do, they are likely a bad fit for a companyin the first place.

Anyway,the point is, ruling with an iron fist is rarely a good idea and this iscertainly true in modern day business. People appreciate freedom more than everand this sense of autonomy is also a good thing in terms of getting the bestperformance out of everyone involved.

What to do About Leadership and Decisions in 2019:

Everybusiness adopts a different style of leadership but taking charge is onlyappreciated when others struggle for direction. With this in mind, it’s notsuch a bad thing to spread power throughout the organization and allow thisauthority to work in favor of the business. In fact, many of the mostsuccessful businesses in recent times have taken this approach and benefited fromit in the process.

3. Solving Problems by Building Upon Existing Concepts

Formany readers, another takeaway from the Lean Startup is to focus on solvingspecific problems. In other words, Ries urges startups to identify what troublesthe customer and creating something to address this problem. It makes a lot ofsense, and even today this point is entirely valid.

Atthe same time, this can also detract from the fact that existing products orconcepts are successful for a reason. That is to say, sometimes building uponan existing idea is a much better option than creating an entirely new conceptto address whatever the problem at hand might be.

What to Do About Solving Problems in 2019:

Improvingan existing concept is not a bad idea and re-inventing the wheel is a pointlesstask. What’s more, taking this approach requires less time and less guessworkin terms of the target market.

4. Taking Small Steps to Build Big Products

EricRies likes to emphasize the importance of taking small steps and this iscertainly still valid for new businesses. However, this can also bemisconstrued as meaning that big ideas or grand concepts should be avoided. Onthe contrary, Ries simply means that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and the smallsteps cannot be ignored at the expense of the bigger picture.

Forthis reason, it’s important for readers to not come away from the Lean Startupthinking that they need to downsize their project. Instead, the business willbe better served by planning for the long term but then focusing on the shortterm.

What to Do About Planning in 2019:

Itshould really go without saying but startups should not be afraid to deployambition. Further, new business that have a long term goal in mind are muchbetter positioned to plan on a micro level.

5. Analytics and Customer Feedback

Riestalks about the importance of data a lot in the book and why collecting thisinformation should be an ongoing effort. For the most part, it’s easier toimprove or identify problems within a business when you measure results. Also,this data is crucial when it comes to identifying trends or opportunities.

Now,that’s not to say that talking with these customers is any less important.After all, this kind of feedback is often more telling than any amount ofanalytics. For example, how do customer feel about your product? It’s difficultto decipher an emotional sense of connection through analytics alone.

What to Do About Analytics and Feedback in 2019:

Asyou should know, Google Analytics is one of many tools that can be used tocollect this data and this process is essential for growth and feedback. What’smore, artificial intelligence is on the rise and the chat bot industry isbooming. While these bots are fantastic for automating things like customerservice, they are equally good in terms of gathering important information. Forthis reason, AI and chat bots in particular can be used to collect data andassess how the customer really feels about what you do.


Overall,the Lean Startup is just as powerful as ever and unlikely to lose muchrelevance in the coming decades. On the other hand, trends are certain toevolve during this time and taking a flexible approach to the book is much morelikely to help those you use this methodology.