Lean Startup Machine, (LSM) a startup weekend concentrating on lean startup methodologies, is coming to the United Kingdom, with weekends scheduled for Edinburgh and London and Berlin over the coming month.
Kelley Boyd, one of the Machine’s advisors and mentors is heading up the european events, and describes LSM as similar in design to the traditional startup weekend layout, but differs greatly in its emphasis from other events.
“These teams want to say, “OK, here’s what I’m going to build. I need to design a logo, I need to set up a website”.”
Kelley explains that according to lean startup methodologies, there are many more important questions to be considered than websites and logos, and if these concerns are not addressed, the startup is, “hosed”.
“At LSM we really do focus on, “What is the problem that you’re solving? What is your solution hypothesis? What does the market look like?”
“A really important part of figuring out what your solutions should look like is, “What have people already done? If they are successful, how do you differentiate yourself? And if they fail, why did they fail, and why are you different?””
The process of taking an idea, deconstructing it, analysing it for flaws, and then having to face the prospect that it may need alteration or may not be workable at all, is not one that entrepreneurs warm to, but this is one of the core methodologies of the lean startup.
“They [entrepreneurs] don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to look at their baby and think that maybe their baby is a little bit ugly.
“An LSM weekend is an exercise that really opens your eyes. You can bring an new idea, or you can pitch your existing startup, particularly if you are struggling to get from the early adopter to early market phase and want to really focus on applying the techniques and methodologies in a very concentrated way. Teams are amazed at what they learn!”
“Sometimes the very first thing they [entrepreneurs] want to do is design a logo. Seriously, sketch something out and put it on your forehead because it doesn’t matter, a logo doesn’t matter. What does matter is who is your customer and what is the problem that you are solving for them.”
Kelley describes her role as mentor as, “The grown up that asks the tough questions that need to be asked of entrepreneurs at the startup stage, “You need somebody else’s brain on it, and you really need someone who’s not drinking your Kool-Aid, that’s going to be objective, that’s going to hold you accountable”.
“This is a boot camp for knowing how to recognise the places you can tighten up the business, ways that you can either tighten up the technology, tighten up the marketing or tighten up the customer segment.
“There are lots of different things you can do to tweak and tweak and tweak before finally you’ve got smooth sailing to get your target market to move from, “Hey that’s a good idea”, to “Wait, we have customers”, to, “Wait, we’re making money”. It’s a process.”
Lean Startup Machine’s visit to Edinburgh later this month is coinciding with Edinburgh’s Turing International Technology Festival, and anyone wishing to travel to the Edinburgh event can avail of accommodation through an, “adopt a hacker” scheme organised by Gordon Guthrie.