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Reflections on a movement | Eric Ries (creator of the Lean Startup methodology)

Reflections on a movement | Eric Ries (creator of the Lean Startup methodology)


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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.

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