Q: What aspect of lean startup methods most inspires you?
Lean Startup methods recognize that new markets in particular require a scientific approach that relies on thoughtful experimentation and iteration–what we used to call “trial and error”–to determine what will work and what won’t. It takes an engineering approach to defining the “known unknowns” about your customer, your product, and your business model but still respects the value of entrepreneurial vision and insight in crafting new hypotheses. It reminds every entrepreneur that they need to get out their Bat Cave and go and see the ground truth of their customer’s needs and market expectations.
Q: What makes it hard for companies to implement this process?
It requires opinions that are held strongly enough to act on but lightly enough that you are willing to revise them in the face of new facts and new learning. This is a hard balance for individuals to manage much less managers and executives who are expected to have the right answers. It can be very empowering for a manager or a leader to mark off the limits of what they know and ask the team for help in learning more. This behavior can violate expectations of employees, investors, and peers for the amount of self-confidence and passion that entrepreneurs and executives should exhibit.
Q: What will people take away from your “Engineering Your Sales Process” workshop?
The “Engineering Your Sales Process” workshop will teach them how to diagnose and handle common B2B sales problems. Attendees will leave with a scientific approach to understanding their customers’ needs and their buying process so that they can scale their business with a repeatable sales process. Attendees will take part in written and interactive exercises that will complement the lecture portions of the workshop and allow them to focus on sales situations that they are facing their own startups.
You can register for the Dec 3 2012 conference at http://leanstartupconf2012.eventbrite.com/, the workshop is one of several offered on Dec-4-2012 at the Intercontinental. To participate in the workshops, you will need to buy a Gold or Platinum Pass.
The Lean Startup Conference is the re-tooled and expanded version of the Startup Lessons Learned Conference, see these blog posts for roundups from 2010 and 2011