Workbook for learning financial modeling and excel techniques

Giff Constable lean, startups

I’ve written about financial modeling for startups on here a few times, and included a few sample models. More recently, I led an after-work class internal at Neo for those interested in improving their skills. For those into lean, doing a thoughtful financial model from scratch is one of the best ways to spot hidden but critical assumptions, risks and …

The Value Behind Faster Horses

Giff Constable design, lean

David Bland has a funny, and painful, graphic called the Product Death Cycle. It clearly illustrates one of the more dangerous parts of customer development: taking customer ideas literally. The famous line attributed to Henry Ford goes, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.” Some people take that as an …

Lean Startup Doesn’t Need Tools

Giff Constable lean

In 2012, we were testing a bunch of new business ideas for Amex and I thought, “what if we had a tool that let us capture our assumptions, our experiments, and our progress?” So over a couple weeks, we hacked something out and tried it out on a few projects. It was a complete waste of time. Here’s what lean …

Making Innovation Unsexy

Giff Constable innovation, lean

(This post was originally posted on the Neo blog) “None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison, 1929 Many years ago, in between startups, a friend …

Fighting Our Own Biases

Giff Constable lean, startups

In 2010, I became minorly Internet-known as an early adopter of lean startup. I blogged as I went. I made plenty of mistakes. One was not defending adequately against my own biases. I have a soft spot for entrepreneurs of any kind. That’s one of my big honking biases. Liz Crawford and I were working on problems around product discovery. …

The Post-Lean Era

Giff Constable innovation, lean

Stuart Eccles, CTO of Made By Many and early adopter of lean startup, half-seriously announced the other night after a few beers that we were entering the post-Lean-Startup era. At first I thought he was referring to something we’ve discussed many times: the pendulum has swung a little too far towards lean testing and could use more respect for vision …

Announcing Talking to Humans (new book!)

Giff Constable book review, lean

At the beginning of the year, Frank Rimalovski, who runs New York University’s Entrepreneurial Institute, came to me with a challenge.  While they used my old blog posts on customer development tips and anti-patterns, and they had some videos from Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad program, but students were still struggling with how to test their ideas through qualitative research.  The …

How Not to Design a Mobile App

Giff Constable innovation, lean, technology

Noah Lichtenstein of Cowboy Ventures recently posted an article to TechCrunch, “What Studying Students Teaches Us About Great Apps“. In their survey of 1,000 high school and college students, they asked about existing mobile usage, and then they asked the question, “if you had a magic wand to create an app that you would use every day, what would the …

Lean startup is like a sine wave

Giff Constable lean

There are a lot of people trying to do “lean startup” or “lean UX” and fretting about whether they are doing pure lean (there are even more who talk about lean but don’t actually do anything close, but that’s a different story). There is no such thing as pure lean. The right balance takes into account what you need to …

You Are Spending 3x-5x More Than You Should

Giff Constable lean

In carpentry, the rule is “measure twice, cut once” because once you cut, you can’t go back. If you get it wrong, you end up wasting a lot time, money, and materials. Somehow, that concept has not made it into the vast majority of software projects. Even though “lean startup” has become a popularized term, most people don’t practice it, …