I recently had the pleasure of presenting twice with the leaders of the lean startup movement Steve Blank and Eric Ries. They’ve started a startup movement I’m a very big fan of. If you aren’t familiar with their work, I’d recommend reading their blogs. To concisely describe this movement we’re calling “lean startup” I’d liken it to a method of company building we’ve subscribed to at Xobni for a long time and that has only recently had a name. A Lean Startup is a startup with quickly iterating cycles of customer development and product development. Lean Startups stress product market fit before scaling and are characterized by a metrics driven culture and low cost experiments. I love this stuff. I can’t imagine building a company another way.
Today I spoke about Xobni’s lean startup tactics as part of the O’Reilly’s web 2.0 expo. The slides are below.
Want to build the next big personal productivity application, communication platform or X? Follow those that have the most to gain from it.
With any new technology, the users on the forward edge of a trend are the people who stand to benefit most.
Follow the sales guys
Those that benefit most from improvements in personal productivity are sales people. Sales jobs have the clearest correlation between personal output and compensation among any role inside a company. This direct correlation leads to millions of sales people across the web searching for any edge they can find to increase their sales (and therefore their compensation). Make twice as many calls in one day – make twice as many sales.
Jawbone, Blackberry, Xobni, Virgin America’s WiFi enabled flights – all of these products helped sales people be more productive.
I like building stuff for sales people because of how clear their incentives are. To understand a man, understand his incentives.
Follow the marketers
The people that benefit most from improvements in communication technology are marketers. In no other role is success more closely tied to getting your message heard by more people. Get your message heard by twice as many people – drive twice as many visitors to your product/website/store.
Twitter, email, Facebook – whether it be marketing a product or marketing themselves, the people that have the most to gain from new communication technologies are marketers.
Want to build a new startup in the personal productivity space? Listen to the sales guys. Want to build the next big communication platform? Get to know some marketers.
I guess this is all just a corollary of knowing your customer. But I thought it was important to break it down just the same.
What do you want build? Who are you following?