When I first started blogging in August of 2008, I had no idea what to expect. Startup blogging was hardly “cool” back then. Plenty of venture capitalists advised me against it.
My personal background was as an engineer and my companies had been web-based startups, so that is what I wrote about. Struggling to explain the successes and failures of those companies, I discussed principles like continuous deployment, customer development, and a hyper-accelerated form of agile. When I delved into lean manufacturing, I discovered the concepts and terminology dovetailed. The result: a new idea I called The Lean Startup.
I started with some basic theory: that a startup is an institution designed to thrive in the soil of extreme uncertainty; that traditional management techniques rooted in forecasting and planning would not work well in the face of that uncertainty. Therefore, we needed a new management toolkit designed explicitly for iteration, scientific learning, and rapid experimentation.
At the time, I viewed it as incidental that the theory might be tied to a particular industry, such as high-tech startups or web-based environments. Lean, after all, emerged from Toyota, a huge automobile manufacturing company. I simply stated my belief that Lean Startup principles would work in other types of startups and in other areas of business where uncertainty reigned.
Boy, was I unprepared for what happened next. I was hopeful that we would change the way startups are built—but I didn’t ...