Winsome, feisty startup ISO customers, profits...


A fundamental change for many early-stage companies is their increased capital efficiency: it simply takes less money (and time) to bring a product to market, and even to start to achieve scale.  An article in the New York Times highlights this trend towards lean-startups, with a fascinating quotation that details the transformation: “A start-up” says one practitioner, “is a temporary organization designed to discover a profitable, scalable business model.”

While this view of entrepreneurship sounds a little like a starter marriage, where one is constantly looking to trade-up business models, it’s highly customer-focused.  Instead of “Build It and They Will Come” it’s sort of “Find Them First and Build What They Want.” Lean startup advocates:

…advise quick development of a “minimum viable product,” designed with the smallest set of features that will please some group of customers. Then, the start-up should continually experiment by tweaking its offering, seeing how the market responds and changing the product accordingly.

The ideal place to explore a lean startup might include BusinessWeek’s recently published slide panorama on the top 10 cities for startups.  Locals will be pleased to see that Boulder, CO rated the top slot.  But beware, the methodology for these rankings produced some odd results.  Cities that ranked above the usual leaders San Francisco and Cambridge included Boca Raton, FL (#2), Bend, OR (#4), and Irvine, CA (#5).  Bonus points if you can name the state in which city #8 Franklin resides.  And despite the recent binge from New York City, neither it not Austin, TX even make the list. So don’t call the moving company quite yet.