What Lean Is and Is Not Plus Some Advice for Start-ups

Bubble Grubble screen grab

Lean ain’t penny pinching nor will it suck the soul from your organization. It is absolutely essential and should be practiced in all start-ups, according to Paul Daniel.

A native of South Africa, Daniel (@paulrdaniel) was speaking at the March Entrepreneurs Anonymous meet up in Dublin, Ireland.

He first studied Lean in depth studying for his MBA at DIT. “I tasted some of the Kool Aid, as they say.” He now plans to run some workshops on the topic later this year.

Daniel, said the core behind Lean is understanding what the customer wants. And one of their key requirements is value. A start-up needs to figure out quickly what this value is before it runs out of resources, he said.

He was also quick to dispel some myths about Lean:

  • It is cheap and penny pinching. It’s not, Daniel said. “It’s about being efficient with time and resources.”
  • It’s about bootstrapping: Lean started in large corporations and continues to be practiced there, Daniel said. Only recently has it been applied to start-ups.
  • It is only for tech companies. It started with car manufacturing in Japan, Daniel said, and has been applied to many different industries.
  • It will remove the soul from a start-up. It is absolutely essential, he said.

He also wanted to scutch the idea of a start-up as a mini version of a big company. Instead, “it’s an organization searching for a business model.”

Start-ups should understand their three levels of approach, Daniel said.

The Vision: This should not change. “THis will keep you going on those cold, dark nights,” Daniel said.

The Strategy: Based on the vision, this can be changed to adapt to circumstances. In the jargon, this change is called a pivot. Figuring out when to do this is an art, but Daniel warned against pivoting too soon. “Don’t be shy to feel the pain,” he said.

The Product: This sits on top and to start working on it first is a mistake, Daniel said. It should be based on a sound strategy.

Game Help Required

Also at the meeting was a man looking for ideas on how to commercialize a game (screen shot above) he developed for Apple’s App Store. Called Bubble Grubble, the first five levels of the game are free but the rest are paid. Sales have been slow and the designer is looking for a new business model.

I don’t want to give his name out, so contact me through the About page if you would like to hear more.

2 thoughts on “What Lean Is and Is Not Plus Some Advice for Start-ups

  1. Pingback: John P. Muldoon » The Existential Entrepreneur: I Am Therefore I Pivot

  2. Pingback: Do I Need a Business Plan & 4 Other Questions | John P. Muldoon

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