Customers Interviews not only tell you what to build, they save you big $$$ for usually $0. But they are also your first Marketing campaign. Interviews are actually a great way to spread the word about your product/service, but only if you can make the right approach. It's selling without selling.
In Ed Catmull's new book, Creativity Inc., he outlines the process he and his team developed at Pixar, unarguably one of the top movie makers in the world, and brought to Disney.
Disney Animation, which almost got shut down after a decade of embarrassing box-office failures, used the Pixar process (without any of Pixar's staff!) to turn itself around and produce "Frozen", the highest-grossing animated series of all time.
The lessons learned go far beyond movie-making, though, and are an instruction manual on how to manage any development process.
A comparison of the major Site Builders used by startups and small businesses to quickly create a Web presence. This is the summary of the problems and successes encountered during the creation of the MillionMunkeys website. The experiment took about 12 hours, across three of these platforms (Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix), and compared against a recent WordPress project spanning several months.
Flikshop on the surface is like Twitter or Facebook, where you can use your phone to send pictures and short messages. The difference is that these get turned into postcards and sent to inmates! Marcus Bullock has developed a wonderful way to keep family and friends in touch with people in prison, and at the same time is helping reduce recidivism rates (i.e. the likelihood that inmates will return to prison after they get out).
MillionMunkeys was recently contracted to help with the redesign and updating of a WordPress site for Urbanful.org. Urbanful is using Lean Startup to test engagement of urban audiences on what news and products are most-useful to the life of an urban professional. They offer stories about the urban lifestyle, and reviews of products designed specifically for urbanites.
How do you build your business, making the most-efficient use of your time and resources, especially when you don't have any? One of the core symptoms we see over and over again is building too much, choosing to build more than you need, developers building more-complex things than you need, and using the wrong software or technology stack. The keys to solving these are Iterative Development and the Prototype.
In the 1970s several researchers looked into how different technology companies went from "unheard-of" to mainstream. What they discovered still holds true today, and is codified in Geoffrey A. Moore's book "Crossing the Chasm". Every product category follows this basic pattern of adoption, and you must learn to understand and master the 5 very-different types of customers to stay relevant in your market.
We apply Lean Startup performance evaluations to business outcomes. We evaluate our employees on their performance within the company. Can these two things be merged? Should they be? Employee success, quality of work, quality of life, and maybe even happiness can be measured, and correlated to overall company health, success, and happiness.
Software design is akin to the chef building a great recipe, not the cook following the recipe. Many of us are so used to cooking from recipes, that sometimes we forget what goes into creating the recipe in the first place.
In software design, we are creating the recipe, not cooking from it. We prepare different combinations of ingredients (prototypes) and call friends (testers) over to try them and give their opinions. When we're done, what we've produced is the Recipe (Requirements Document). Then it's the users that cook from the recipe. What chefs don't do is write down the first ingredients they plan to use and then put those ingredients into their cookbook without any taste tests, so why do we?