Last week I attended Eric Ries’ (@ericries) lean startup event, Startup Lessons Learned. Steve Blank (@sgblank) described the event as the “Woodstock for entrepreneurs“. To stay true to theme I thought I should follow up and share some “lessons learned”.


The pivot

If I was to focus on only one lesson learned from the event, it would be the pivot. Eric Ries describes the pivot as “the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned”.
Steve Blank provided frank insights into the world of startups, illuminating the reality that startups typically have no idea as to what their successful, sustainable and scalable business model will be. It is therefore the startup’s mission to rapidly and continually iterate their product, business & target markets until they can identify it. Thus startups need to continuously pivot.
It was interesting to hear companies like DropBox, PBworks, Flowtown and Aardvark reveal how they had pivoted by continually testing new hypotheses until they found their groove. Hiten Shah (@hnshah) of KissMetrics shared a particularly interesting screenshot of YouTube pre-final-pivot, revealing how YouTube once hypothesised that the best customer segment for online video would belong to the online dating segment.

Atlassian had its own pivot very early on. Atlassian started out by initially offering professional support services for the Java Application Server Orion to customers around the world. It wasn’t long before Mike & Scott discovered being on call encroached on drinking social activities and regular sleep patterns. Atlassian soon pivoted towards developing products, in this case bug tracking software, and the rest was history.

It’s hard to pick the standout presentations from the day considering the quality of speakers, but I’ll take a stab by recommending these:

The New York Times complemented the event with a summation of the lean startup space and videos and presentations from the event are now available online.
Interested in more startup lessons? We’re putting together our very own startup event, Starter Day, this June 6th in downtown San Francisco with speakers from Pandora, Boxee, Aardvark, Redfin, ScoutLabs, HubSpot and more. Atlassian loves supporting the startup community, so if you’re seeking support for your startup event, please let me know (ben at atlassian dot com). For those lucky enough to be in a startup or thinking of starting one, check out our software for startups – $10 for 10-users, forever.

Looking for inspiration? Hear from 6 killer startups at Starter Day
June 6 in San Francisco.Tickets just $50

Startup Lessons Learned – What I Learned