Lean Startups and Custdev

I had the interesting experience this weekend to attend the “Lean Startup Machine” weekend at the Microsoft NERD. It was kind of a hackathon for Lean Startups, which are startups that practice something refererred to as Customer Development, or CustDev. If you’ve not heard about it, here’s a 40 minute lecture about CustDev by one of the top gurus, Eric Ries. Another reference would be essentially the founding document:, “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”?

The high level story is this: we have well defined and articulated methodologies for managing the creation of software: Agile, Extreme Programming, etc. But on the other hand, there are no equivalent ‘scientific’ methodologies for defining products and understanding market.

Another pithy statement: Startups fail, not because they fail to create the product that they envisioned, but, because customers don’t want the product that got built.

The methodology has it’s rabid fans. However you feel about it, you owe it to yourself to learn more about it.

As I digest what I learned, I will be posting more, as well as links to a bunch of interesting tools we learned about.

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