The latest edition of LiDAR News is out.  I contributed an article espousing some of the lessons learned from Eric Ries' bestseller The Lean Startup.  While the book's principles certainly lend themselves best to web-based software products, there is plenty that can be applied to those having significant hardware elements. The three best practices I highlight are: 
  1. Deliberately define 'Leap of Faith' Assumptions.
  2. Apply the Build-Measure-Learn construct with pre-planned Pivot meetings. 
  3. Shrink your batch size to improve efficiency and extend the runway. 
See the article for more details.  Also please read Eric Ries' book and great blog for a myriad of other valuable insights. 

When Gordon Nuttall, CEO of Fort Collins' Couragent, Inc., began his presentation last Wednesday by pulling out his portable scanner, I groaned. "A scanner. Really?" I mumbled to myself. "Aren't scanners going the way of the fax machine?"
Plus, the market's already saturated, isn't it? There are numerous offerings in this class of device. So much so that when I did a quick smart-phone Google search on the keywords "portable scanner," the Flip Pal scanner did not come up until Page 3. The on-the-surface competitive devices are built by Brother, Fujitsu, VuPoint, and Gordon's former company, HP. 

However, on Slide 3 of Gordon's pitch, I began to understand. With its patented "flip-and-scan" technology that keeps photos safe in their album and its ability to stitch together multiple scans, the Flip Pal's market is a sizable niche: 17+ million scrapbookers. More recently, they've expanded to include genealogists, collectors, photographers and designers. Gordon and his team of talented 2008 cast-offs were astutely applying key lessons from Crossing the Chasm and Innovator's Solution. And they're demonstrating lean startup principles in their execution (e.g., The Lean Startup by Eric Ries).  So far, they're succeeding.

It's exciting to me when you see these concepts in action, making visible differences in the launch of a business. I thoroughly enjoyed Gordon's presentation and the insights gained from a company that has demonstrated a true learning orientation during its first two years of existence.

So, here are five of the many lessons from Couragent and its Flip Pal product that you can apply to your own business.