Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Reflections on a movement | Eric Ries (creator of the Lean Startup methodology)
Reflections on a movement | Eric Ries (creator of the Lean Startup methodology)

Brought to you by Sanity—The most customizable content layer to power your growth engine | Jira Product Discovery—Atlassian’s new prioritization and roadmapping tool built for product teams | LinkedIn Ads—Reach professionals and drive results for your business

Eric Ries is the creator of the Lean Startup methodology, author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup, and founder of the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE). He’s also a multi-time founder and currently advises startups, VC firms, and larger companies on business and product strategy. In today’s episode, we discuss:
• The current state of the Lean Startup methodology
• Common misconceptions about the Lean Startup methodology
• Understanding how to actually think about MVPs (minimum viable products)
• When to pivot and when to stay the course
• Thoughts on AI and how to deal with uncertainty
• How to structure your company around core values and create products that benefit humanity
• The philosophy behind Eric’s current big idea: the Long-Term Stock Exchange
• Much more

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/reflections-on-a-movement-eric-ries-creator-of-the-lean-startup-methodology/#transcript

Where to find Eric Ries:

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eries/

• X: https://twitter.com/ericries

• Website: https://theleanstartup.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Eric’s background

(04:46) Eric’s recent activities and projects

(06:23) Eric’s start in advising and first-principles thinking

(10:56) Lessons from designing the Lean Startup process

(14:04) The current state of lean startup methodology

(22:33) Common misconceptions about the methodology

(24:28) Changes Eric would make in an updated version of Lean Startup

(27:52) An explanation of minimum viable product (MVP) and why Eric still stands by the process

(37:36) An example of “Less is more”

(41:24) More on MVPs and the importance of testing your hypotheses 

(41:24) How LTSE had to pivot after a partnership fell apart

(48:37) Eric’s take on the concept of craft

(53:36) Why getting fired for standing by your conviction can be a career accelerator

(55:17) Tech’s mental health crisis

(56:28) Advice for founders stuck in a “zombie company”

(1:00:16) How continuous pivots shape a company’s vision, with a real-life story

(1:08:20) Challenges in assessing companies from an external perspective

(1:13:17) Practical advice for businesses considering a pivot

(1:18:42) The impact of artificial intelligence

(1:26:59) The current capabilities of ChatGPT and its potential use as an equalizer in the marketplace

(1:31:26) Eric’s current work with founders on human flourishing

(1:42:40) Advice for founders who want to build ethical companies 

(1:49:37) Examples of first-principles thinking

(1:53:42) Why shareholder primacy theory is wrong

(1:55:19) The “spiritual holding company” 

(1:58:12) Lightning round


• The Long-Term Stock Exchange: https://ltse.com/

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses: https://www.amazon.com/Lean-Startup-Entrepreneurs-Continuous-Innovation/dp/0307887898

• Lean manufacturing: https://www.techtarget.com/searcherp/definition/lean-production

• Six Sigma: https://www.6sigma.us/six-sigma.php

• Clay Christensen: https://claytonchristensen.com/

• Eric Ries on 4 Common Misconceptions About Lean Startup: https://www.entrepreneur.com/starting-a-business/eric-ries-on-4-common-misconceptions-about-lean-startup/286701

• Anakin Skywalker meme: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/for-the-better-right

• Linear: Building with taste, craft, and focus | Karri Saarinen (co-founder, designer, CEO): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/inside-linear-building-with-taste-craft-and-focus-karri-saarinen-co-founder-designer-ceo/

Snow Crash: https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Crash-Neal-Stephenson/dp/0553380958

• IMVU: https://about.imvu.com/

• Ben Silbermann on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silbermann/

Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valley: amazon.com/Wonder-Boy-Zappos-Happiness-Silicon/dp/1250829097

• Understanding Steve Jobs’s Reality Distortion Field: https://www.emexmag.com/understanding-steve-jobs-reality-distortion-field

• Paul Graham’s website:http://www.paulgraham.com/raham

• Segment: https://segment.com/

• Loom: https://www.loom.com/

• The Slack story: https://www.paperflite.com/blogs/slack-story

The Social Network on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/70132721

• Thomas Kuhn: Paradigm Shift: https://www.simplypsychology.org/kuhn-paradigm.html

• Conway’s Law: the little-known principle that influences your work more than you think: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/teamwork/what-is-conways-law-acmi

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Guards Scene on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVWH01E2weA

• Toyota Production System: https://global.toyota/en/company/vision-and-philosophy/production-system/

• Warren Buffett’s Forbes bio: https://www.forbes.com/profile/warren-buffett

The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good: amazon.com/Enlightened-Capitalists-Cautionary-Business-Pioneers/dp/0062880241

The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty): https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Kings-Dandelion-Dynasty/dp/148142428

All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries: https://www.amazon.com/All-Systems-Red-Murderbot-Diaries/dp/0765397536

Star Wars: Andor on Disney+: https://www.disneyplus.com/series/star-wars-andor/3xsQKWG00GL5

• Tesla Powerwall: https://www.tesla.com/powerwall

• Levoit Classic 300S ultrasonic smart humidifier: https://www.amazon.com/LEVOIT-Humidifiers-Ultrasonic-Essential-Customized/dp/B09C24TYGQ

• The Law of Sustainable Growth: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20121015181612-2157554-the-law-of-sustainable-growth/

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

1 Comment
Lenny's Newsletter

Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career

Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.