Talk:Lean startup

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Proposed deletion as a Neologism[edit]

I'm not sure about the protocol here. Lean Startup is written about in Harvard Business Review [1][2] and O'Reilly Radar [3]. I assume these qualify as a verifiable, secondary sources, therefore not subject to deletion as a neologism? --SaintSal (talk) 11:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Author refers to self--Harvard Business Review BLOG entry by a guest is not the same as being written in HBR. Huge difference. The 5 points listed in the O'Reilly Radar that became the foundation of the Ries book are great management tools for companies working with code, based on existing principals of lean manufacturing--nothing less, nothing more. mbss 20:05, 24 October 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Msspaeth (talkcontribs)


In Ries 2010 Web2.0 talk he NEVER once mentions Open Source Software and his ENTIRE talk on startups... He starts out about STARTUPS FAILING and the premise of the LEAN STARTUP IS they should NOT... This is "conveniently" ignored... why? The simple fact is The lean startup is a gimmic to sell a book and their is absolutely NO evidence that it works. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:56, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Marketing Speak[edit]

Lean Startup leverages the latest technology to create product prototypes in weeks sounds a bit like marketing speak, and I wouldn't say that using the latest technology isn't of primary importance to Lean Startup. Rather, I think the emphasis should be on rapid prototyping and Minimum Viable Product. --SaintSal (talk) 11:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

This article smells like buzzword all over it. I learned very little from it and the definition seems fuzzy and manufactured by a bunch of tech bloggers all quoting each other. This should be deleted. (talk) 07:44, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Change 'Continuous Integration' to 'Continuous Deployment'[edit]

I propose to change 'Continuous Integration' to 'Continuous Deployment', many companies do Continuous Integration, but what separates Lean Startups is that they release product to production lot more frequently ( sometimes tens of times a day ) - which is Continuous Deployment.

Leanguy (talk) 19:52, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Interesting that the names, like "leanguy" appear in connection to Lean Startups and IMVU on other sites across the web and that the references above are again pointing to Ries' self-placed material. C'mon already! You guys are obviously too smart too bother with such tasteless guerilla marketing. mbss 20:13, 24 October 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Msspaeth (talkcontribs)

Remove 'can benefit any industry'[edit]

This statement is not true - "For example the idea of failing often and learning quickly can benefit anyone in any industry." - you do not want to fail often in a biotech industry or where the cost of failure is quite high. I propose we remove it.

Leanguy (talk) 00:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Recent conference and subsequent coverage[edit]

The first conference on this, the Startup Lessons Learned Conference was last week, and the New York Times covered the Lean Startup this weekend. An active community member is maintaining a conference coverage roundup. And since the NYT now has covered it, I imagine that there will be a bunch of coverage in other sources over the next few weeks. I don't have time to work on our article (and given that I'm a practitioner, perhaps have a COI), but I thought a section to collect useful links would be handy for whomever will work on this. William Pietri (talk) 16:30, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Coverage of the Lean Startup movement[edit]

Because I have a clear conflict of interest (and the subject of some of this discussion), I thought I would add these comments to the talk page. I hope this is the correct process. I think the article would be greatly enhanced by referencing the global movement that is working with these ideas. To that end, I am adding a few references here of possible reliable sources that could be useful.

Wall Street Journal coverage: "Dozens of Silicon Valley start-ups are applying his ideas, while entrepreneur groups world-wide are holding regular meetings to discuss the methodologies. "

Medill Reports - Chicago, Northwestern University, about the movement's impact in Chicago:

On the impact of Lean Startup ideas in big companies, see:

and at Intuit in particular:

And my own efforts to dispel some common misconceptions about the Lean Startup, which might themselves be worth considering as part of the article, from Reuters:

I hope that's helpful. --Ericries (talk) 01:16, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Eric. That's definitely helpful. Please keep posting useful sources as you come across them. William Pietri (talk) 04:33, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Orphan status[edit]

In the interest of addressing Orphan status, I wanted to propose some other articles that are relevant. For each, I'll suggest a supporting source:

Companies that have used Lean Startup techniques (and talked about it publicly):







Lean Startup techniques: A/B_testing, Pivot, Lean, Continuous Deployment, Customer Advisory Board, Net Promoter Score in addition to the existing techniques which are already linked.

--Ericries (talk) 16:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, Eric. That's great. I've added bits to IMVU and Dropbox. That takes us up to 6 inbound links, well over the orphan threshold of 3. I'll try to get to some of the others, but if somebody else beats me to 'em, that'd be great. William Pietri (talk) 05:02, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Additional Content[edit]

Hi All,

I think there's a lot of material that's been published recently on lean startups. Eric Ries' book on lean startups is published and will be widely available.

Perhaps this warrants additional content. This is a significant movement within the technology community. What do others think?

Rbakal (talk) 16:54, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

The comment above from Rbakal sounds a bit like further promotion of the book/concept, not a discussion about the appropriateness of the entry in Wikipedia. As someone working in technology entrepreneurship, the "movement" is not yet and will not necessarily be "significant". But this is for the wider public to decide over time--not I and certainly not Ries.

I am disappointed when I see Wikipedia used so blantantly as a pre-book-release promotion engine. As a professor of business and of entrepreneurship, I spend enough time already trying to remain as objective as possible about the usefulness of these subjects in academia (sometimes feeling that I should indeed put myself out of work), but I strive to incorporate enough history, philosophy, ethics, and strategy into my courses that students learn to draw from their disciplines (mostly engineering) and use plenty of good common sense combined with lessons of the past and present (case studies sometimes) in order to prepare for innovation management which may include entrepreneurial endeavours. I often enjoy inviting people like Eric Ries to my courses--live or via the Internet to chat (free of course)and to tell their stories (if the story-tellers are good speakers and demonstrate a good business ethic), but I am up to the ears in books on entrepreneurship and start-ups that as I am sure Eric knows, will not likely help students along their way nor provide much more information about the world of start-ups than many of us who teach it (or who have start-ups) know.

On the other hand, Ries' book (which should have nothing to do with this Wikipedia page really), is more comprehensive than many entrepreneurship texts in that it covers off most of the cases, jargon, and concepts--that have become the common language shared among individuals who learn or teach the subject. From that perspective it is a useful text. But this Wikipedia page isn't supposed to be for book reviews either. We should wait a bit for peer review.

When Guy Kawasaki drives home the notion that one should get product out the door, we get it. It is often important to remember this. Of course not all companies are IT-based, nor can they do the equivalent of "getting code out the door" on a daily basis. It wouldn't make sense. "lean start-up" is a bit like "global start-up" or "born global". They reflect self evident concepts whose purpose I am sad to say without meaning to be rude, are derived to promote individuals, businesses, or universities (or all of the above)and I fear that the practice is going too far.

Bottom line---what is Wikipedia and how should it be used? I suspect that the term "lean start-up" will see some use. Some users will really like the notion too--partly however because they enjoy being joiners and citing the latest and greatest. So, excuse my cynicism, but I believe that when Ries and/or his colleagues made the entry in Wikipedia over a year ago, it was for reasons that are not approved by Wikipedia.mbss 19:53, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

-I agree that the term Lean Startup is identified with Eric Ries's book, and there is a danger of this article being promotional. I don't think Eric is intentionally using Wikipedia for that purpose, and greatly respect his knowledge and influence on business entrepreneurship. I think it merits a mention in the main article on Lean Manufacturing. In a couple of years, it will probably belong to the lexicon and have more sources and scholarship on the subject than it does now. Wilhkar (talk) 18:07, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

New coverage[edit]

I don't have time to do anything with this article now, but there's a new NYT article on the topic: William Pietri (talk) 05:28, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


From User_talk:Ronz#Lean_Startup_Article:

I'm not sure what images, if any, belong in such an article per WP:IRELEV. The article isn't about the book, nor the events, nor the company, nor the person. We don't simply add images for color. --Ronz (talk) 19:35, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

How do the images help with the article in any way?

I've gone ahead and removed the images once again, since there's been no response here. --Ronz (talk) 19:07, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Poor sources and highly promotional[edit]

From User_talk:Ronz#Lean_Startup_Article:

Any material about events, training, etc. should be considered for removal per WP:NOT, especially WP:NOTADVERTISING.
The article needs a thorough going over. I'll not have time to do so for some weeks, so didn't add multiple tags. I'll start by reviewing all the references, checking if they are reliable, independent (not always necessary, but the majority should be independent), and actually verify the information.
I'll try to get others to join in the efforts to clean up the article. --Ronz (talk) 19:35, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid the mashable video reference needs to go. It's nothing but an interview. --Ronz (talk) 19:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Please leave the tag until someone has time to actually address the many problems in the article.

As an example, the first sentence needs a rewrite. "...that aims to change the way..." This is a goal or the approach rather than a neutral description. Sound like it's taken directly from an advertising piece... Such problems occur throughout the article.

I combed through the article, checked some of the sources, and looked at the language. I'm not convinced. From the "Advertisement" page, it looks like the page must fit at least some of this criteria to be considered an advertisement: "All information about companies and products are written in an objective and unbiased style. All article topics must be verifiable with independent, third-party sources, so articles about very small "garage" or local companies are typically unacceptable. External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they identify major organizations which are the topic of the article. See also Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies) for guidelines on corporate notability. Those promoting causes or events, or issuing public service announcements, even if noncommercial, should use a forum other than Wikipedia to do so."
There are plenty of independent, third-party reliable sources, from practically every major news publication like from The New York Times (3 different articles), Fast Company, Wired, Business Insider, and Forbes, so it doesn't meet the criteria of an advertisement through that. This is definitely not a "garage" or local company, so that criterion is invalid. No external links to commercial organizations, so that's OK. No promoting causes/events or PSA's, so that's OK too. So that's already 4 out of 5 different criteria that this article does not meet for an advertisement. Which leaves NPOV.
From the WP:NPOV page
-Avoid stating opinions as facts.
-Avoid stating seriously contested assertions as facts.
-Avoid presenting uncontested assertions as mere opinion.
-Prefer nonjudgmental language.
-Indicate the relative prominence of opposing views.
I checked through the article and had trouble finding anything that met this. Can you go through and provide a few examples of sentences that violate this? I noticed maybe 1 or 2 examples, but to flag a whole page - that has over 50 sources - with an "advertisement" tag is overkill. We can fix those sentences on here and then incorporate them in the article. Silentriver1019 (talk) 01:21, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
"There are plenty of independent, third-party reliable sources" How many examples do I need to provide to make it clear that this is simply not the case? How about we look at the first half-dozen sources as a start:
  • Ries, Eric (2011). The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Crown Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-307-88791-7.
    Not independent. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Roush, Wade. Eric Ries, the Face of the Lean Startup Movement, on How a Once-Insane Idea Went Mainstream. Xconomy. July 6, 2011.
    Some is independent. The lengthy quotes of Ries are not. In-world perspective. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • The Lean Startup TESS Search. United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 6, 2011.
    Not independent. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Penenberg, Adam. Eric Ries Is A Lean Startup Machine. Fast Company. September 8, 2011.
    Another mixed bag, like the Xconomy article, but more grandiose. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Adler, Carlye. Ideas Are Overrated: Startup Guru Eric Ries' Radical New Theory. Wired. August 30, 2011.
    Not independent - just a short interview. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Bury, Erin. How Eric Ries Changed the Framework for Startup Success. Sprouter. December 7, 2011.
    Probably not even a reliable source. --Ronz (talk) 19:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Given that these six sources are all that are used to verify the lede, it should be rewritten from better sources and follow WP:LEDE. --Ronz (talk) 14:52, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Please add Authors definition of 'Startup' to the article[edit]

In Eric's book he specifically provides his definition of a Startup. Please include this definition in the article (don't have the book on me right now).

-- (talk) 10:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Ok I've found it: "A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty." (my kindle doesn't show the page number, just shows as 8% in)

-- (talk) 05:48, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

That definition calls for some context defining "under conditions of extreme uncertainty."
How would you propose the definition be added? --Ronz (talk) 16:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Lean StartupLean startup – The term, "lean startup", is a common noun phrase that describes a type of business. It should not be capitalized on Wikipedia even if the sources do so. Jojalozzo 14:43, 2 November 2012 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Sorry, oppose, at least as article stands - lede seems supported by e.g. Brant Cooper, Patrick Vlaskovits The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development 2010 Page 41 "A concept coined (and trademarked) by Eric Ries, a Lean Startup is one that combines fast-release, iterative development methodologies (e.g., Agile) with Steve Blank's “Customer Development” concepts. Eric writes that lean startups are born.." it looks as though the article is about the trademarked Lean Startup rather than a generic. What other terms are synonymous but not trademarked? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:18, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
    Thanks for figuring this out. My mistake. Request withdrawn. Jojalozzo 22:12, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
    Do you think we should be capitalizing it everywhere (there are a number of places in the article where it's lower case)? Jojalozzo 22:18, 3 November 2012 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

Major problems with this "Lean Startup" article[edit]

There are so many WP-NOT problems with this article that I almost don't know where to begin. Let's start with the first paragraph as it stands today (21 May 2013):-

"Lean Startup" is an approach for launching businesses and products, that relies on validated learning, scientific experimentation, and iterative product releases to shorten product development cycles, measure progress, and gain valuable customer feedback. In this way, companies, especially startups, can design their products or services to meet the demands of their customer base without requiring large amounts of initial funding or expensive product launches.

Even though this sums up what Eric Ries would like people to think that "Lean Startup" is all about it, in reality this paragraph is simply terrible - not only is it self-promotional (let's not forget he has a best-selling book built on the back of this kind of uncritical and largely self-penned commentary), it also aggressively blurs the distinctions between facts, observations, claims and opinions.

In general, the numerous claims in this paragraph have not been validated by widespread experience: moreover, the numerous claims in this paragraph are not even labeled as claims.

Point by point, I'd say that:-

  • the "Lean Startup" approach is more for (iteratively) developing businesses and products rather than "launching" them.
  • "validated learning" is Riesian jargon and needs flagging as such (and defining elsewhere) WP-NOTJARGON
  • Ries' "scientific experimentation" is no such thing - it's "hypothesis-driven" at best (and even that's a stretch).
  • "iterative product releases" is ill-defined.
  • "shorten product development cycles" is a claim, not a fact or a proof.
  • "measure progress" is ill-defined ('progress' in what sense?)
  • "valuable customer feedback" is warm-sounding jargonese (as if existing companies don't rely on customer feedback).
  • "In this way ... customer base" is also warm-sounding jargonese.
  • "without requiring large amounts of initial funding or expensive product launches" is a claim not yet backed up by real data.

I think Wikipedia deserves better. As a temporary Band-Aid, I propose fixing up the first paragraph at the very least (since that's about as far as most casual web-surfers get into any Wikipedia article) before we move on to fixing up the rest. A better draft might look rather more like:-

"Lean Startup" is a largely theoretical methodology for developing businesses and products first proposed in 2011 by Eric Ries. Based on his previous experience working in a few US startups, Ries claims that startups can shorten their product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and what he calls "validated learning". Though still largely unsubstantiated, Ries' overall claim is that if companies, especially startups, invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, they can sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches.

Comments? Is it really the case that no Wikipedia editor has looked at this page with any kind of critical eye? Nickpelling (talk) 21:28, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I've replaced the opening paragraph with Nickpelling's suggested text. However, large parts of the body of the article can be improved significantly by replacing the promotional tone with a more neutral point of view, removing jargon etc. Ijon Tichy x2 (talk) 22:19, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Major problems with latest editing of this article[edit]

There are so many issues with the latest text changed in this article. Sure, we need to follow the guidelines and avoid mixing claims with facts etc. . But we can't avoid applying deep domain knowledge here.

Let's review the latest changes:

  • "Lean Startup is a largely theoretical methodology for developing businesses and products first proposed in 2011 by Eric Ries"

--> Lean Startup is not a thoeretical methodology. It's a practical concept, methodology and a collection of practical tools (like A/B testing, 5 whys etc.). It's based on practitioners' experience - created by practitioners for practitioners. Far from being mainly in the theory world. In fact, one of the most notable slogans of the Lean Startup is "Practice triumph theory" (quoting Ash Maurya, which is the author of one of the most popular books in this domain - "Running Lean"). The Lean Startup is for cutting the theory short, getting out of the building for practical contact with customers and others.

--> The Lean Startup was not first proposed in 2011. Eric Ries published the Lean Startup principles (using this name) long time before, using his blog "startup lessons learned". The fact that the Wikipedia article on this term existed before 2011 support my claim as well.

--> "for developing businesses and products" - too general. There are so many concepts that can match this definition. Why not include a more specific attribute of the Lean Startup, like "helping startups and enterprises facing major uncertainties reduce risks". Ok, you can add "claim" before, no problem (I don't see why, as you try to explain the goal of of the methodology, and the goal was defined by the methodology creator).

  • "Based on his previous experience working in a few US startups"

--> As of now, the Lean Startup claims are not based only on Eric Ries experience, with all due respect. It's a big an exploding veteran successful entrepreneurs' community that is backing this up with all the relevant experience they gained. Starting with Steve Blank, Ash Maurya, Dave McClure, Dropbox guys and I can provide endless other examples. In enterprise domain, we have GE, Intuit, Cisco and others to support the claims.

  • "Ries claims that startups can shorten their product development cycles"

--> The goal is not to shorten product development cycles, but to avoid coslty failures and to get faster to "product-market fit".

  • "Though still largely unsubstantiated"

--> This sentence is in significant dispute. I'm not sure this is legitimate for the opening paragraph. Lean Startup has become closer to a "standard" state in today's entrepreneurship space, clearly in the Internet space. This seal of respect is based on Harvard Business Review May 2013, for example, and on adoption of this methodology in numerous academic institutions (like Stanford, Berkley, Colombia, and many more across the globe).

Ramigazit1 (talk) 11:28, 9 July 2013 (UTC) Ramigazit1 (talk) 11:35, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Proposed or Popularised?[edit]

If Ries "first proposed this in 2011", how is that I can remember hearing about many of these ideas in the 1990s, and actually being involved in using them in business projects at that time?

First 'popularised' this in 2011 might work much better? Redwaterjug (talk) 16:34, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

@Redwaterjug: You remember having heard about these ideas in the 1990s because, as the article states, the lean startup methodology borrows many ideas—as well as the word "lean" in its name—from lean manufacturing. I remember reading one blog post on "double-loop learning and the lean startup" that concluded: "It's great to see these powerful concepts influencing a new generation of organizations. Looks like we've come full circle." And while you probably had a business model in the 1990s if you were in business, you were not using the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Canvas as a tool for rapidly testing business models; that's a new development. Biogeographist (talk) 19:56, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Rename to "The Lean Startup" (Ries's trademark) or else generalize the article[edit]

Should the article be about startups that are lean? Or about Ries's methodology? If the latter, then the title should be changed to "The Lean Startup."

The article currently treats "lean startup" as synonymous with the ideas in Ries's book. But his ideas go beyond the simple concept of a "lean startup" to include continuous deployment, etc. And his trademarked term for this is "The Lean Startup."

There seeems to be some dancing around the term "lean startup" as if Ries owned the term because of a trademark. As a descriptive term, of course, "lean startup" can't be trademarked. If you do a trademark search via you'll see that the trademark is for the phrase "The Lean Startup" and applies only to consulting and educational/training services under that name.

So should the article be about startups that are lean? Or about Ries's methodology? As it stands, it is about his methodology and should be renamed to "The Lean Startup." Frappyjohn (talk) 00:05, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

German translation[edit]

Note to self / to everyone interested: de:Lean Startup should be created. This for a starter. Cheers Horst-schlaemma (talk) 14:56, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Third-party sources[edit]

User:Ronz added Template:Third-party to the article today, and I agree that the article could use more third-party sources. I don't have time to add more sources soon, but I will point out that as of today there are 1,469 results on Google Scholar that cite The Lean Startup directly, and a search for the phrase "lean startup" on Google Scholar returns 3,680 results, so there is much material that can be mined for reliable third-party sources. Biogeographist (talk) 19:34, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. I agree, it shouldn't be a problem finding them.
I'm not clear how much of the concept is marketing of already existing business practice, but we need to take care determining and presenting the proper history. --Ronz (talk) 16:05, 21 October 2016 (UTC)