I’m attending Lean Startup Machine this weekend. Participants were selected via application. At the event we’ll pitch ideas and form small teams of people with business, tech and design skills. (Hooray for cross-functional and collaborative teams!) We’ll learn Lean Startup methods by doing customer discovery and making things together. The program runs Friday night through Sunday eve and there are prizes at the end for the best projects.
I want to get the most out of the experience so I am preparing for it. One aspect is establishing what I personally want to get out of the event. Here’s my objective.
I’m agnostic about the platform and idea I work on this weekend. What matters to me is:
- The team has a good mix of skills
- The team plays well together
- The idea we’re working with is relevant to people who are easily accessable this weekend
LSM participants have many different skill sets and personal objectives. I can’t assume they know me, or anything about what I do. Because of my own objectives, It matters to me that I attract compatible working partners. I created this brief bio and shared it with the group list before the event. It was hard to write because a) in this context, I’m a learner not an expert and b) I do have something to offer and don’t want to under-sell myself. This is what I shared with the group.
Here’s why you would be interested in working with me:
- I am a UXer with big experience and a small ego
- I am great at finding people to talk to and listening to them
- I make quick, lightweight concept sketches (pen/paper)
- I help teams quickly generate ideas and decide on a course of action
My other form of prep is research. I’m reading books and blogs and watching videos. I am trying to figure out “what is lean startup?” “how does it work? “who are the thought leaders?” “where are the examples of people’s experiences with it?”
- The Lean Startup movement is young, decentralized and experiential/evolving.
- Eric Ries identifies it as a movement, not a method or process, and acknowledges participation from prior art and other contributors. (Kent Beck/XP/agile, Steve Blank/Customer Development)
- It draws on a large existing body of information that requires the learner to know “prior art” or be able to dig back to understand it (e.g. some knowledge of agile terms and practices is assumed).
- There’s a LOT of amazing great stuff out there if you can find it.
- As a person newly interested in the movement, I’ve needed to figure out who are the people who are relevant, then do a lot of research into their blogs/videos (and a little into tech press) to figure out what matters.
- A lot of the conversation is happening on lists, and at conference proceedings (which aren’t always very well documented)
- There’s a lot of cross-checking involved (e.g. watching a video, the speaker will reference something I need to go follow up)
- I find Eric Ries’ “talking head” videos about “what is Lean Startup” “What is a MVP” etc, very helpful. Some of them are informal, some of them are a little more produced, but they’re great for linking/sending to people to say “see, this is what I mean…”
- I’ve found SocratED helpful, because it pulls together some of these distributed resources in a curated way.
- I’m finding delicious somewhat helpful, mostly to track my own progress, but somewhat to find other links tagged “lsm” and “lean startup.”
- Quora hasn’t been very helpful to me yet. Still trying to figure out how to use it effectively.
I’ll post some more impressions after the event, watch this space!