We had another round of inspiring guests at out Amsterdam office in the first week of May. Kees van Nuenen and Hannah Vera van Drunen from Lean Start Up Machine gave a session about the “lean startup” which is both a term, as well as a process which involves rapid, iterative prototyping to test assumptions and to develop a product that customers actually want. Lean Startup Machine is an intensive educational workshop where entrepreneurs and innovators learn Lean Startup methodologies.
Kees and Hannah explained that while 9 out of 10 startups fail, in reality it is 9 out of 10 products that fail. The most common reasons for failure are lack of customers, too much focus on the product, or too much focus of the original business plan. Kees and Hannah strongly stressed that in the startup context plans usually fail. Sticking to a planning document works only for known future: along the way, 66% of startups drastically change their original plan in order to stay in the game. In fact, thinking that one can accurately predict the future is a common startup misbelief, along with thinking that one knows what the customers want and that advancing the plan indicates success. Instead, Kees and Hannah argued that focus should be on “learning as fast as possible, before you run out of resources”. This was nicely summed up with a quote by the US president Dwight D. Eisenhower: “plans are worthless but planning is everything”.
Tanausú Cerdeña from Feudalsquare says about the session:
Lean Startup Machine is a very good idea on how to help enterpreneurs to put into practice the Lean Startup methodologies. We are already being lean in our company, but it was great how Kees van Nuenen went through the main concepts in his presentation in such a visual way and showed how he applied them to build his own startup. You never learn enough about Lean Startup.