Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ben LS1

  • Intro: The Lean Startup is a book about 21st century management.  How does building a FRC robot and running a FRC team run into the same challenges Eric Ries identified in modern businesses?  How is our FRC team a group of entrepreneurs?
  • Direction and communication are areas we struggle with as well. We have to be able to sort it all out and agree on the best execution. In the end, our product has to be able to compete with all the other products produced by other teams. We are entrepreneurs because we have to make a product(robot) in great uncertainty. We have to make something unthought of before. 

  • Chapter 1: What is productivity?  When building a FRC robot, what specifically is productivity?  Based on this definition, was our team productive during the last build season?
  • I believe productivity is the increase in useable information or measurable progress made in producing something, be it a new component or applicable data. For FRC, productivity would be how much closer we get to deciding what design to use, the increase in understanding of our systems and possible future steps, or how much work is done to fabricate our parts. I don't think we were too unproductive, but we could definitely improve. Discuss what we learned about processes that day and implement what we learned. Working on things more important at the moment than just doing something for the sake of doing something.
  • Chapter 3: What did IMVU assume to be true when they designed their product?  How did     customers actually behave?  Was there a faster and cheaper way to learn the lesson they   learned?
  • They assumed that people wouldn't want to try to bring their friends to a new network, that people would rather keep with one network and just have it as an add on. In reality,  the customers wanted it as its own network since it made it much easier to meet strangers. They like the challenge of bringing their friends to a new network. They could have made quick prototypes with little effort and get feedback as quickly as possible so they could immediately start modifying to the customers wants.

  • Chapter 3: What is something that we were unsure of last build season that we experimentally validated?  Was there a faster way to learn what we learned?   
  • Deciding on the drivetrain, between four or six wheels could have been quicker. Instead of the long debate, we could have made quick, rough prototypes and run them over a ramp, seeing if they would work.

  • Chapter 4: Choose the Zappos, HP, Kodak, or Proctor & Gamble case study.  What assumptions did the Zappos founders make when they started their business?  How did they test their assumptions more efficiently than the IMVU team?
  • Zappos assumed that people would want quick access to a wide variety to shoes in a single store. They set up an easy experiment to test this hypothesis. They tested their hypotheses by testing them immediately, instead of perfecting a project for  months and finding out afterward wether people actually wanted it. 
Lean startup is a system that will teach us to work smarter. We test our hypotheses and make sure we know what it is we are truly looking for before putting incredible amounts of work are put into an undesired product.


  1. Two solid things you identified - communication and direction. Key things in any organization - does everybody understand the end goal, what purpose they have in reaching it and each persons value. Communication is a lot about how and when not just what is communicated. With direction - who sets that and how is that kept in front of us as a team?

  2. I like the comment about direction and communication. As you pointed out it was a struggle at the beginning but the team was successful. Entrepreneurs are also scrappy positive people and keep rising from setbacks until they find a path. The great thing about the lean startup concept is that it can add structure. measure-learn-build