With 110 workshops, in 40 cities, and 8250 participating entrepreneurs, Lean Startup Machine has been nothing short of a revolution in entrepreneurial training and education. Lean Startup Machine will again come to Paris this year on May 31st – June 2nd, with a list of formidable mentors, VCs, and judges, as well as, their trademark, powerful experiential learning program for entrepreneurs. Though ideated in the States, the Paris edition will very much be ‘made in Paris’ with an actively involved, largely Paris based organizing team.
Heavily inspired by Eric Riles’ hit book ‘The Lean Startup’, Lean Startup Machine aims to not only give entrepreneurs the tools they need to validate their ideas, build disruptive products and quickly bring them to market, but also to help change the way they think about and approach entrepreneurship in general. The idea generation and validation process that entrepreneurs go through during the three-day workshop promotes a problem-centric approach to business ideation. The ultimate goal is for the participants to focus first on the ‘customer pain’, pivot their idea as required and come out of the 3 days with a ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (aka MVP).
I had the chance recently to catch-up with Lean Startup Machine Founder Trevor Owens and Founding Organizer for the Paris edition Matt Higgins about the potential they see in both France and Europe as well as the value they strive to bring entrepreneurs through their workshops:
What are your ambitions for expanding Lean Startup Machine globally? For Europe?
Trevor Owens: In 2008, Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup” resonated with a new generation of tech entrepreneurs in the valley. Now, the Lean Startup movement has an enormous global following. We train entrepreneurs on how to actually implement the lean methodologies in an intense, boot-camp like environment. These individuals might not have had the right tools or environment to learn these methodologies into their process and we hope to solve that problem around the world. We are on track to bring our training to over 40 cities around the world in 2013. In Europe we have events coming up in Amsterdam, London, Budapest, of course Paris, and we are excited to bring our training to TechPeaks, an accelerator in Povo, Italy. While the Lean Startup movement is typically associated with tech startups, we believe that understanding this methodology is critical to anyone building products or launching a new venture. In an age where time and resources are limited, it is essential for individuals to use these methods to validate their ideas and build the right products.
Tell me your thoughts about the potential of the French market.
Matt Higgins: There have already been many great successes in the Paris startup scene, and there is so much potential for future growth moving forward. France has many great schools, engineers and innovative ideas, with more and more people willing to start a business. But the startup culture is still in the early stages of development. In addition, failure is seen as taboo in French culture – the fear of failing seems to be anchored deeply in the psyche. This fear also results in most French startups leaning away from the relentless self-promoting that is seen in Silicon Valley and other budding startup cities around the world. Changing this culture, teamed with increased development in the business ecosystem, will lead to great things. That’s where Lean Startup Machine comes in. We want to help foster and build on the startup scene in Paris by showing entrepreneurs how to innovate through lean methodology. We help spread the benefits of “smart failure,” “validating learning” and “educated guesses” for startups and business development. We look forward to building a community of lean entrepreneurs starting 31st May.