"lean startup" entries

Avoid disruption through exploration

Support experimentation and continuously evaluate to stay ahead.

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Businesses have always come and gone, but these days it seems that companies can fall from market dominance to bankruptcy in the blink of an eye. Kodak, Blockbuster and HMV are just a few recent victims of the rapid market disruption that defines the current era.

Where did these once iconic companies go wrong? To my mind, they forgot to keep challenging their assumptions about what business they were actually in.

Businesses have two options when they plan for the road ahead: they can put all their eggs into one basket, and risk losing everything if that basket has a hole in the bottom, or they can make a number of small bets, accepting that some will fail while others succeed.

Taking the latter approach, and making many small bets on innovation, transforms the boardroom into a roulette table. Unlike a punter in a casino, however, businesses cannot afford to stop making bets.

Business models are transient and prone to disruption by changes in markets and the external competitive environment, advances in design and technology, and wider social and economic change. Organizations that misjudge their purpose, or cannot sense and then adapt to these changes, will perish.

The sad truth is that too many established organizations focus most of their time and resources on executing and optimizing their existing business models in order to maximize profits. They forget to experiment and explore new ideas for customer needs of tomorrow.

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Top Stories: March 26-30, 2012

Designing data products, five tough health care lessons, lean startup for publishers.

This week on O'Reilly: We looked at a four-step approach for designing great data products, Andy Oram shared the lessons he's learned about health care, and we learned about a competitive advantage that publishers aren't seizing.

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A huge competitive advantage awaits bold publishers

Eric Ries on how lean startup methods apply to publishing.

In this video interview, "The Lean Startup" author Eric Ries talks about his experiences working with traditional publishing structures and how publishers can benefit from lean startup principles.

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Top stories: February 13-17, 2012

A brief history of O'Reilly books, how to think about and create visualizations, the fundamentals of publishing.

This week on O'Reilly: Tim O'Reilly looked back on important titles from O'Reilly's history, Pete Warden explained the thoughts and actions behind his latest visualization, and LeVar Burton reminded the TOC 2012 audience why storytelling matters.

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There's Plan A, and then there's the plan that will become your business

"Running Lean" author Ash Maurya on startup adaptation and the gift of obscurity.

Drawing from the Lean Startup and other methods, "Running Lean" helps entrepreneurs transform flawed Plan A ideas into viable companies. "Running Lean" author Ash Maurya explains the basics in this interview.

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The Meat to Math ratio

The ability to augment people (meat) with data and processes (math) is a key to success.

Successful companies find ways to augment their employees, allowing them to operate at scale with customers. Big data, machine learning, and an iterative, experimental mindset are essential — and increasingly, company valuations are tied to the efficiency with which firms put information to work.

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Four short links: 23 February 2010

Four short links: 23 February 2010

Disaster SMS, Open Source Win, Confidence, Pirate Experience

  1. SMS in Disaster Response — Haitians SMS urgent needs to 4636, where they’re translated through crowdsourcing and acted on. All based on the Uhsahidi SMS engine.
  2. Inside Open Source’s Historic Victory — open source developer wins against someone who took his work, added it to an open patent application, and then sued the open source developer for violating his patent.
  3. What’s Wrong with Confidence (Pete Warden) — the lean startup approach and the scientific method. Good read, with two magnificent quotes: “Strong opinions, weakly held, and Confidence is vital for getting things done, but it has to be a spur to test your theories, not a lazy substitute for gathering evidence.
  4. If You’re a Pirate — the user experience of legitimate DVDs is shite. That’s not the only reason that people pirate, but it sure ain’t helping.
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