Startup School Femtech Preview: Angie Eilers on Lean Startup

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Startup School Femtech is a one day crash course on running a tech business that’s taught by practicing female tech founders & executives. Join us for a day of peer to peer learning, advice and inspiration directly from the source of those in Minnesota who are doing it.

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The entrepreneur: Dr. Angie Eilers

Title: CEO/Founder

Company: UR TURN

Backed by over 25 years of educational research, UR TURN’s smart advising technology charts a path for school success and offers course corrections for students when they get off track of their education goals. By providing insights and experience for students, parents, and counselors alike, the UR TURN program helps students from milestone to milestone down the pathway of success.

Topic: Lean Startup Principles

Time: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m.

Why did you select the topic?

The idea of Lean Start Up is more than a concept; it is a way of thinking and doing, and now a book, a set of videos–a movement! It is borne out of principles from lean manufacturing and agile development and has naturally moved into the process of informing innovation. I think it initially appealed to me because I am a social science researcher by training. These principles are really just the same framework as basic scientific method:

  • Make an observation
  • Form a question
  • Articulate a hypothesis
  • Conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis
  • Analyse the data against the hypothesis
  • Repeat

How has lean startup been relevant to your business success?

I have worked at organizations that have operated from anything but “lean” methods. The contrast, in my experience, is that lean organizations are curious and with curiosity comes new ideas, discoveries, improvements, innovation. Less lean organizations can get lazy, stale, defensive. They are not changing. We now know, if an organization doesn’t change, it gets disrupted, closed down, replaced.

From my experience running a lean organization, I have learned a lot from customers, and from thinkers with whom I surround myself. As a bonus, my company has saved money by not building things, features, modules that customers don’t want or won’t use!

What is a brief introduction/overview of your talk?

Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was a market fit. Test your hypotheses and assumptions–and be prepared to pivot if hypothesis is disproven.

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