Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything by Steve Blank

TL;DR - The lean startup principles serve as a guide for founders to increase the efficiency of their business decisions.

Helpfulness - 5

Tags - lean startup, customer development, hypotheses, agile development,

Questions answered:

  • What are the lean startup principles?
  • Why was the lean startup methodology developed?


  • Research by HBS shows that 75% of startups fail.
  • The methodology known as “lean startup” allegedly makes the process of starting a company less risky.
  • Lean startup favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development.
  • Its principles include failing fast and continually learning.
  • Business plans and forecasts require a lot of assumptions that don’t hold up upon contact with customers.
  • Startups that succeed fail quickly and often, and adapt.
  • Lean definition of a start-up: a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
  • Three principles:
    • Before committing to months of research/planning, founders compile their hypothesis in a business model canvas.
    • Customer development: rapidly develop MVPs and quickly get customer feedback; repeat process with new data.
    • Agile development: develop product iteratively and incrementally to prevent wasted time.
  • Methodology values customer feedback over secrecy.
  • Open source software (GitHub) and cloud technology (AWS) have dramatically reduced software development costs.
  • Widespread adoption of lean startup principles could have a notable effect on overall efficiency, and impact GDP and employment.

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