There are an ever-increasing number of books about the lean startup process. You might call it a movement started by Steve Blank and Eric Ries and now being latched onto as the latest consulting gimmick by various business gurus. So why write another book?
We had some very good reasons. First, unlike a lot of those gurus we had recently completed our first 4 month HTRLaunchPad program and the things we’d learned from working with 12 startups were front of mind. Not just the successes (they’re raised over 3/4s of a million in investment capital) but also the things we could do better (Customer Discovery for one!). And things we did in our program that differed from the Blank methodology we started with. The group dynamics and community-building aspects were particularly powerful.
The texts we used included Blank and Dorf’s The Startup Owner’s Manual and Business Model Generation by Osterwalder and Pigneur. Between the two of them they cover over 800 pages of material. And, to be honest, I don’t believe many of our 36 founders actually read the books. As a writer, it bothered me that these fairly simple concepts required 800 pages of reading. We wanted to see if we could do a really concise (under 50 pages) guide without leaving out critical stuff. We also wanted to include a better way to find customers to talk to and ways to quantify the value of those conversations.
Finally we had an epiphany regarding the whole starting things process. Customer Discovery can be applied to any kind of new initiative: Business, community, product development, entering new markets and more. So we wanted to show how you could equally apply the process to starting a local store or organizing a neighborhood.
We’re happy with the results and we are about to launch the next class of the HTRLaunchPad for 2014.