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The library of essays of Proakatemia

The Lean Akatemia



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The Lean Akatemia

If you are looking for a guidebook to start a startup or building a sustainable business, this is the one you are looking for. The lean Startup by Eric Ries is considered the manual in some entrepreneurship communities and its impact has been huge in the startup world.

The Lean Startup is a process, or a methodology that uses concepts of scientific experimentation to prove you are making progress. It is about finding the customers’ needs as fast and cheap as possible, being time and money efficient. Erics theory applies Toyota’s lean manufacturing principles to entrepreneurship: “It is more concrete, more accurate, and faster than market forecasting or classical business planning. It is the principle antidote to the lethal problem of achieving failure: Successfully executing a plan that leads nowhere”- Eric Ries says.

I want to introduce the five principles of Lean Startup, which I can agree on:

  1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere.
  2. Entrepreneurship is management.
  3. Validated learning.
  4. Build-Measure-Learn (repeat).
  5. Innovation accounting.

So, what exactly is a startup or why do they exist then? According the book they exist to learn how to build a sustainable business, if its goal is to learn you must measure learning. Reis calls this validated learning. And here lies also one very important thing: if you set a goal to learn and start measuring it by counting money, you are on the wrong track. But is it possible to learn while measuring the success of your startup in money or fame?

I find myself comparing lean startups to Proakatemia. As a learning environment Proakatemia values failure and learning from that, it is based on forming a team, it is experimenting and it is constantly asking yourself whether to pivot or preserve the original strategy. In that sense Proakatemia is kind of a startup where startups work. Proakatemia is for people who wants to learn how to build a sustainable business. My short period of time at Proakatemia has reveiled me the potential, and its ability to change its course fast.

The first principle says that entrepreneurs are everywhere, and this is in the core of why Proakatemia exists. The community breaths from the entrepreneurial mindset, and embraces the diversity of different personal skills to support others.

Management is something where I see possibility to improve if we like to build business to sustain. I cannot speak for every team, but as I see it we are doing projects in chaotic manner. Not all the time but too often good project fails because we just “do what we feel like” and for justification we say that “well it was a learning process”. Perhaps we could use some more time to manage risks and reduce failures.

We are all in school to learn in secured environment to avoid the pot holes in the future. Validated learning means that the company learns who their customer is and what their product should be. In Proakatemia we focus more on finding the learning points to ourselves. I think this is the major difference when comparing our learning platform to a startup whose learning should be aimed towards customers, we validate our learning not only to build the company but ourselves. This might stand in the way if we want to build sustainable business, but at the same time it means that we truly learn how important it is to validate the learning. This is quite tricky to explain here on the paper so I hope you understand what difference I see in the learning motives.

The fourth principle, Build-Measure-Learn (repeat), is something that we excel at our learning environment. We have the luxury of building many projects where we can measure different things and try many strategies and variations. Proakatemia prepares us to iterate the loop faster, and that is huge asset.

Fifth principle is about managing innovations. I think that this is not valued high in our community in the same way as in tech companies where products run around different teams in the company to complete its life cycle. I see this happening when older companies are graduating and selling their established projects to new companies, and this way we get to learn also about optimizing existing products and services.

To conclude my thoughts here: Our greatest asset is to learn from our actions and being able to make fast adjustments in our projects and in our community. There is lot we could learn from the lean methods, but we need to carefully assess what serves our purpose and what might eventually harm the process.

Ries says that “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” If we believe in this statement alone, I see that Proakatemia is educating future winners.

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