Lean Startup (Tue Sep 5, lecture 2)

Homework due for today

Legend: : Participation | : Early | : PDF | : Portfolio | : Zipped

  1. Study “The Lean Startup”, Chapters 1, 2 and 3. As you read please think about the following warmup questions:
    • Ries has a particular definition of a startup. What conditions must be true for him to consider a project within an established company to be a “startup”?
    • What kinds of uncertainty and risk does a startup encounter?
    • What 1 or 2 important things from the reading did you not understand? And if you understood it all, then what 1 or 2 important things were most insightful/useful/valuable to you. Please make sure I can tell which is which!

    • Deliverable: Submit your answers to these warmup questions in Latte, as a pdf . Warmup questions are always graded as “participation only” (), are due by 8am of the day of class () in the form of a pdf, with your name and homework number in the header ()
  2. Read: Inventor who gave his idea away and Students Inventing Programs to Streamline Their Colleges. Deliverable: Write a brief reflection, responding to one of these two articles – thoughts, disagreements, reflections

Interesting (but optional) reading


  • Review homework and discuss the reading
  • Key points of Lean Startup from the initial chapters
  • Discussion of the pilot project process


  • Everyone has a million ideas
    • Few know how to turn the idea into a successful product or service
    • Discussion: What is your definition of ‘successful?’
  • So: Don’t be so secretive!
    • You (almost) always gain more from sharing your idea and getting feedback
    • Keeping it secret usually only provides an imaginary competitive advantage
  • Good article: Inventor who gave his idea away
NB If your idea is so simple that a 10 minute description is enough to allow someone else to beat you.... then your idea wasn't really worth that much anyway!

Pilot Project

  • The Pilot Project
  • Teams are determined. 5 students per. Term project will re-shuffle. Please sit together!
  • Be ambitious (but not unrealistic). Consider a “match making” service or a “marketplace”. Consider interesting/unique UI ideas. Consider a message-stream.
  • You may play with and or extend the idea. Pivots from basic vision are perfectly fine!
  • Discussion: Let’s practice. Some hypotheses for Student Buying Club?
  • Samples: Types of hypotheses

Next Class