For this month’s post, I analyzed the top resources recommended by Netcito entrepreneurs. We’ve got a ton of hugely valuable recommendations, but I can’t start sharing them without addressing Lean Startup. The Lean Startup framework is an essential lingua franca for entrepreneurs. It’s virtually impossible to participate in a Netcito meeting without understanding its principles.
There’s near-unanimous consent that “The Lean Startup” is the bible of entrepreneurship. If you haven’t already read it, stop reading this article now and order the book. It’s a very readable collection of stories and best practices for how to build a company and innovate. Come back once you’ve ordered it from Amazon. If you prefer the Cliff Notes, check out this 40-minute talk by Eric Ries that covers the basics.
What some people don’t realize is that the author of Lean Startup, Eric Ries, was a student of Steve Blank. If Eric wrote the bible, Steve wrote the textbook. His book, “The Startup Owner’s Manual”, is an essential how-to guide for any entrepreneur. It provides detailed, step-by-step guidance on virtually everything an entrepreneur needs to know about building a startup: choosing a market opportunity, customer development and discovery, selling, and pretty much everything else you need to know. WARNING: Don’t try to read this one from cover to cover. You need it on your bookshelf, and you can refer to it in small bites as you run into the challenges of building your business.
Interested in becoming an expert on Lean Startup without the pain of reading an encyclopedia? Check out Steve Blank’s FREE course, “How to Build a Startup” on Udacity. It covers all the basics of Lean Startup and is exceptionally well-produced. It is comprised of highly watchable, high quality videos and interactive exercises.
If you prefer learning in a live environment, check out Startup Weekend. In a single weekend, you can learn the principles of Lean Startup and put them into practice. Georgetown University will be hosting an event in Washington DC, November 4-6.
You can’t do Lean Startup without understanding the Business Model Canvas. The original book on this topic is a classic, “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers” by Alexander Osterwalder. Lately, I’m hearing our members talk about a new book as the definitive text: “Running Lean: How to Iterate from Plan A to a Plan that Works” by Ash Maurya. Ash has a fantastic web site, leanstack.com, that is probably the single best collection of free tools for building a business model canvas.
Lean Startup may be fading as a hot topic, but it’s still foundational learning for any entrepreneur. Despite my ambitious title, I’m sure that I’m missing some key resources, so please post your favorites in the comments.