The Lean Startup (by Eric Ries) — Bullet Summary

Ivan Landabaso
3 min readSep 26, 2019


Hello! I’m @Ivan Landabaso, Partner at JME Ventures. Welcome to Startup Riders, where we share emerging tech waves you should surf. Get these stories in your inbox for free — 👉 SUBSCRIBE HERE

Please Note: This bullet-point summary is part of a startup & product book series, take a look at the full list here.

The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else — Eric Ries

  • Main take-away: the faster you learn, the faster you succeed. The only way to learn fast is to get your product in front of real paying customers.
  • 1-Sentence-Summary: “The lean startup” is a methodology for product builders to learn what customers really want quickly (instead of investing lots of resources building something based on untested assumptions), adapting your product iteratively and fast based on experimentation results.
  • Part 1 — Vision: This chapter is a bit fluffy, it covers mainly how entrepreneurs need to set a vision, how they can operate everywhere (not just in startups), how entrepreneurship is management & the importance of fast, iterative experimentation & learning for achieving success.
  • Part 2 — SteerThe Build-Measure-Learn model is the foundation for your startup’s validated learning process. The goal is to go through each of these loops as fast as possible to avoid wasting time & money. Hypothesis Testing— Select a hypothesis, build an MVP, run an experiment, learn, double-down or pivot. There are 2 categories of hypothesis to test: 1. Value Hypothesis (is this product valuable) and 2. Growth Hypothesis (are people willing to pay for it). Build and MVP: he chapter outlines a set of MVP that you could use: Video, Concierge MVP (cater to one customer), Wizard of Oz (user think its tech but there’s actually a human behind it), Landing Page and Crowdfunding. Measure: Make sure what you measure to Steer is: 1. Actionable (clear cause and effect) 2. Accessible (easy to understand) 3. Auditable (you can dig through it). Validate or Pivot: although your vision should remain the same (long-term), you may use your validated or refuted hypotheses to pivot / not pivot on your strategy.
  • Part 3 — Accelerate: To build a sustainable business, you need old customers to refer new customers. There are 3 “engines” that will help you achieve this: 1. Sticky (focused on churn) 2. Viral (focused on virality, referrals) 3. Growth (focused on CAC & LTV). How to avoid growth pains—the book offers 2 main approaches: 1. Use small batches (avoid huge updates, try small batches first) 2. The 5 Why’s for proportional investment (for root-cause analysis).

Is this book worth your time?

Yes — this book is required reading for anyone looking to dip their toe into the world of startups. Some sections can be skimmed over (it can get repetitive at times) but overall, it is a fast read with a solid / proven methodology.

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Ivan Landabaso

I love Startups, Investing, Surfing & Combat Sports.