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Research Insight: New Data on Lean Startup

Steve Blank and Riitta Katila, Stanford University
and Michael Leatherbee, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

In our first-ever ETL Research bonus episode, we look at one of the first empirical studies of lean startup. In a recent paper published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, researchers Michael Leatherbee and Riitta Katila find that lean startup’s emphasis on “customer discovery” — that is, directly testing business hypotheses with potential costumers during product development — does help teams converge on business ideas. They also find that MBAs are both hesitant to embrace the method and especially successful when they choose to employ it. Katila is a professor in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering and research director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and Leatherbee is a professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile as well as President of the Advisory Board for Startup Chile. In this conversation they are joined by Stanford adjunct professor Steve Blank, whose Lean Launchpad class and 2003 book The Four Steps to the Epiphany were foundational to the lean startup movement.