The types of sites I read have slowly migrated away from pure technical sites talking about monkeying around with with code towards sites discussing business, customer development, marketing, and general startup concepts. Here’s a list of my favorite authors, blogs, podcasts, and forums dealing with these topics. Who else should I be listening to? Let me know in the comments.
Update: All the best Lean Startup and Customer Development resources in one place: http://www.leanstartupfeed.com/
Customer Development and Lean Startups
Steve Blank is a successful startup veteran and MBA lecturer in the Haas School of business at UC Berkeley. He took the lessons he learned in successfully marketing his startups to develop the concept of Customer Development in the must read book “The Four Steps to the Epiphany“. Seriously, if you’re working in a startup – you need to read this book.
Eric Ries developed the Lean Startup methodology by combining concepts from the Toyota Production System (Lean Manufacturing), Agile Software Development, the OODA loop, and Steve Blank’s Customer Development model. The combination of these ideas results in a low-cost startup that is critically focused on rapidly producing a product which satisfies customer needs. There are some fantastic concepts in his writing which will inspire (Minimum Viable Product) and possibly scare the crap out of you (Continuous deployment for example).
Dave McClure is a successful entrepreneur and angel investor. Dave mainly writes about using startup metrics to drive success. His “Startup Metrics for Pirates” presentation describes essential metrics any web application needs to measure to turn first-time users into obsessed fans. His refreshingly informal writing style pulls no punches, and his violent use of text color will make your eyes bleed. (The reason I have pictures next to each of these authors is mainly due to this loud advice. He’s right.).
Individual Article of Merit:
This epic saga by Recess Mobile tries to map out the entire landscape of Customer Development and Lean Startups. I can only imagine how long it took them to write this one.
Sean is a seasoned startup marketer having led several companies through to IPO. He writes about Customer Development, PR, and startup marketing. As a quick taster, check out his Venture Hacks interviews on bringing a product to market – Part One on what to do before Product/Market Fit & Part Two on what to do after Product/Market fit.
Brant is another very experienced startup marketer who is developing a series of tools and models based around the Customer Development methodology. He recently conducted a survey into the current Customer Development landscape which can be found here: Customer Development Survey. Most recently he put together a simple model which ties Customer Development, the standard sales funnel, and Dave McClure’s AARRR metrics into one cohesive whole [Available Here]. Highly recommended.
Together with Patrick Vlaskovits (@vlaskovits), he wrote the excellent “Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development“, which I reviewed and would recommend highly.
Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship
Fred is a VC at Union Square Ventures based in New York, which funds companies such as FourSquare, Boxee, and Etsy. His blog covers a wide variety of topics in the area of entrepreneurship and business strategy, and also a little bit of venture capital concepts. He provides a very interesting critical eye on technology industry news.
Mark is a successful British entrepreneur who has “gone over to the dark side” to become a VC. He covers the gamut of entrepreneurial topics from raising startup capital, marketing, right down to the definition of “Entrepreneurial DNA“. His fantastic interview on Mixergy was quite probably the most inspiring thing I listened to last year.
Nivi & Naval (Venture Hacks)
Nivi and Naval have founded successful companies, and invested heavily in startups like twitter. They cover a full range of startup essentials from securing funding from angel investors, how to choose company advisors, the psychology of a board of directors, and a fantastic selection of case studies on all of the above and more.
Business Model Hacking
Alexander’s blog centers around the Business Model Canvas methodology which involves analyzing business models, pulling them apart into their constituent parts and then reassembling them in interesting ways. Lego for business if you will. He uses an interesting tool sheet to aid this, which I think meshes perfectly into the lean startup concept of ‘pivoting’.
Podcasts, Interviews, and Videos
Andrew Warner – Mixergy
Andrew Warner co-founded an internet business with his brother which went on to generate over thirty million dollars a year in sales. With Mixergy, Andrew has conducted some of the most inspiring and amazing interviews with entrepreneurs you’re likely to find. He conducts frank and probing interviews that dig deep into the mindset of his interviewees – people who have either taken their business to dizzying heights, or failed spectacularly trying. As well as my personal favourite interview with Mark Suster listed above, you should check out this interview with Ben Huh of “Failblog”, or this amusing interview with Neil Patel of KISSMetrics. This is quite simply an amazing resource.
Jason Calacanis – This Week in STartups
Jason co-founded weblogs Inc which grew to be a huge network of niche content sites, and was eventually acquired by AOL for a giant bag of money. TWiST interviews a wide range of guests in the technology sphere, and intermittent shows where listeners can ask Jason for advice. Very entertaining and informative.
Bob Walsh - Startup success podcast
Bob specializes in news and advice aimed at MicroISVs at his blog 47 Hats. As opposed to the more general entrepreneurship podcasts listed above, the Startup Success Podcast digs into the more specialized issues faced by independant software vendors.
Lean Startups Circle
A Google group centered around advice for entrepreneurs running lean startups.
Business of Software Forum
Joel Spolsky’s forum covering a range of issues faced by developers trying to market software.
Everything under the sun relating to technology and entrepreneurship. User driven article voting, hosted by Paul Graham’s startup incubator Y Combinator.