About this project
We hit all six stretch goals -- and we can't wait to get you all these bonuses.
1. When we raised $500,000, everyone who pledged at $21 reward level and above got an abridged audio edition of The Leader’s Guide.
2. When we hit 5,800 backers, you got a free hour-long Q&A with 500 Startups’ founding partner Dave McClure and me (May 27 @ 10:00 AM PST).
3. When we hit 5,000 backers, you got a free hour-long webinar from Alex Osterwalder as well as exclusive posters and excerpts from his books Value Proposition Design and Business Model Generation.
4. When we hit 4,500 backers, you got a digital copy of your choice of books from O’Reilly’s Lean Series and 3 months of access to Safari, which includes over 30,000 books, video courses and conference talks.
5. When we hit 4,000 backers, you got access to the Lean Content course, created by Ondi Timoner and me.
6. When we hit 3,000 backers, you became eligible to attend one of 11 international workshops from Pivotal Software.
Check us out in the news.
"Eric Ries is running one of the most successful publishing campaigns in Kickstarter's history."––Bloomberg Business
"On Monday, Ries began work on his next book project. Fittingly, he started it off with a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign achieved its $135,000 fundraising goal on Tuesday, and by Thursday morning Ries had more than $170,000 in pledges."––Vox
"Ries turned to Kickstarter as an experiment in research, writing, and marketing. He didn't want to write in a vacuum." ––Fast Company
Hi, my name is Eric Ries. I’m an entrepreneur and the author of The Lean Startup.
Since writing The Lean Startup, I’ve traveled around the world, helping companies of every size adopt the Lean Startup approach. In just five years, the Lean Startup movement has grown and transformed in ways I never could have imagined. I’ve worked with founders developing new apps, entrepreneurs at hypergrowth pre-IPO tech startups, and managers at the largest, slowest, most heavily-regulated and bureaucratic organizations in the world.
For all of the enthusiasm I’ve witnessed, though, I’ve seen a lot of people who immediately “got” it then struggle after experiencing the challenges that come when trying to build a new company or transform an existing one using this methodology. My work lately has revolved around helping people overcome those obstacles and set up systems, team structures and ways of working that support continuous innovation and sustainable growth.
And now, I want to share what I've learned with you.
The Leader’s Guide will be a 4-color, 250-page, hardcover and digital book offered exclusively through Kickstarter. In fact, I made an agreement with Crown (my publisher) that it will only be offered to Kickstarter backers and only for the length of this campaign. It cannot be sold in bookstores.
The Leader’s Guide is aimed at entrepreneurs, executives, or anyone leading a project or team. It will be full of stories about how companies both large and small are adopting Lean Startup methods to scale successfully and operate in conditions of extreme uncertainy.
The Leader’s Guide is for both those who are new to Lean Startup as well as those who love the methodology in principle, but want to know more about how to put it into practice. It will include lots of real-world examples about how entrepreneurs are tackling questions like:
- How can I convince my team that testing our early ideas with customers does not mean they should sacrifice quality or forget about our vision?
- How can I convince senior leadership that innovation projects require a different system of accounting?
- How can I do Lean Startup-style experimentation in a highly-regulated industry?
- How can I incentivize and reward my team for working in a cross-functional way?
- How can we turn functional specialists in areas like IT, HR and finance into allies when it comes to supporting new ideas?
I think of The Leader’s Guide as a kind of master class in applying the Lean Startup methodology. I can’t possibly work with all the companies who ask for help, but I can do my best to translate the work I do into book form. The Leader's Guide will also answer some of the most frequently-asked questions and dispel the myths surrounding the Lean Startup, as well as include tips and tricks from people who've been using the method successfully.
So if you’re just discovered The Lean Startup, you're a practitioner who wants a deeper dive, or you’re at a company trying to incorporate it at scale, this is a great next step.
The Leader’s Guide in both its hardcover and digital formats will ship to backers in late 2015.
The Leader’s Guide will give you the tools you need to execute Lean Startup principles in a wide range of environments—but I have another goal in sharing it with you.
This campaign is also an experiment designed to see how I can collaborate with all of you as part of the research process for my next book (working title: The Startup Way). I want to capture the experiences, stories, and learnings of those who support this campaign as they put these ideas to use.
I want to see what happens when these ideas escape into the wild.
We live in a highly-connected world that allows authors like me to get and give instant feedback to and from their readers. I have benefitted from this collaborative landscape at every stage in my career as an author. I tested the concepts at the foundation of The Lean Startup in talks and workshops and on my blog. And as I was writing that book, I had a trusted team of advisors who shared their feedback with me at every step of the editorial process.
I want my new book to be researched, written and published in a way that is consistent with the methodology I believe in—and Kickstarter provides a platform for an even deeper level of collaboration with my readers. This will be an entirely new kind of publishing process for me, and one that I hope delivers a great deal of learning about how to publish a book successfully in the 21st Century.
For someone who loves the experimentation process as much as I do, this is a thrilling proposition. I know how many of you share my love of the Lean Startup, who believe deeply in its potential to create stronger, leaner companies full of people who know that their work has value and their time is not being wasted. And so it's my hope (and my hypothesis) that you'll want to come along for the ride.
I think of The Leader’s Guide as a kind of roadmap—but maps can only take us so far.
One of the things I love about Kickstarter is that it allows backers to engage not only with creators, but also with other supporters and community members. It's an ideal platform for continual learning–an idea at the heart of the Lean Startup methodology.
As part of this campaign, I will develop a backer-only community where you can share your experiences, meet and learn from other backers, and interact with me and our entire team during the writing and research process of my next book.
This online discussion community will be 100% private to backers of the campaign. Our team will share early drafts and ask for feedback, participate in discussions, and ask for advice about which tools and material have been useful and which haven't. We'll ask backers about their own stories and experiences, and how they align and diverge from those in The Leader's Guide.
This will make sure that the learning will continue after the campaign ends.
The Lean Startup counts among its fans and supporters some of today's smartest entrepreneurs, investors, and business thinkers—and they're kicking in some incredible rewards.
Those of you who have followed me for a while know that when I launch something, I love to go big—ridiculous even—in offering extras to the early adopters who support my work.
Beyond making The Leader's Guide available exclusively as part of this campaign, I've asked my friends to donate what I think you’ll agree are spectacular rewards, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and invaluable mentorship opportunities.
We’ve created several different backer reward levels.
At the first level are a number of packages aimed at individuals who are new to the Lean Startup or want a deeper dive: these packages include books, videos, tools for developing your startup, and more.
At the second level are rewards aimed at leaders and their teams: here, you’ll find some cool mentorship opportunities, tickets to The Lean Startup Conference and other events (both virtual and live) and more.
At the third level are experiential rewards—opportunities to meet with leading VCs, thought leaders and entrepreneurs who are having a huge impact on the startup landscape.
And finally, we’ve also included some high-level mentorship and workshop opportunities aimed at leaders who are ready to start implementing Lean Startup throughout their organizations.
I’m going to spend 100% of the money I receive on the research, writing and production of The Leader's Guide, and on the cost of the campaign itself (including the new private online community just for backers).
I have assembled an all-star team to help me with the huge undertaking of producing and self-publishing a book based on five years of material with a very tight editorial deadline.
If I meet my funding goal of $135,000, I’ll set stretch goals and add cool bonus rewards for all backers at different funding levels to help share the campaign wider. The more people we can get to back the campaign, the more valuable the experiment becomes to everyone who backs it.
And thanks to the support of Crown, everyone who pledges for The Leader’s Guide will get my next book, too.
As the Lean Startup movement moves into new sectors and industries, I get constant requests for more stories about how people are using these ideas in new and unexpected ways. And so I’m very excited to share these stories with those of you who want to play a role in my experimentation process. I can’t wait to discover what I might learn from the process of writing and publishing a book in this new way.
A project like this is a massive undertaking. To make it happen, I haven enlisted a world-class team to help make it a reality on an aggressive schedule.
The Leader’s Guide is based on many of my private notes and case studies, but we still have a lot of work ahead. We have a massive pile of material that needs to be organized and edited. And we still have more research to be done: dozens of interviews both with people I’ve worked with and—more importantly—people I haven’t.
We also want to stay true to the Lean Startup methodology by testing the material in workshops and getting your feedback. We want to deliver a book to you that’s comprehensive, user-friendly, and beautifully designed.
I cannot wait to share this material. I'm consistently moved and humbled by the hard work and dedication of the Lean Startup community. Anyone who tells you that building a startup or driving a lean transformation is glamorous has not experienced how much of the work is about measurement, accountability, and being brutally honest with yourselves and your colleagues. And yet that hasn't stopped you from learning from your failures and from taking Lean Startup practices into industries and segments where no one believed it would work.
I hope you share my excitement about this experiment. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and sharing the stories and tools that are helping others work in this new way.
Risks and challenges
We're working hard on mapping out our editorial timelines to ensure that we will deliver rewards to you on time.
My team and I have decades of book publishing between us and we are comfortable working with each other and with demanding editorial deadlines. However, there can always be delays during an editorial and printing process that could result in pushing a ship date.
Since the nature of this project is collaborative, we will keep you informed throughout the editorial process of our progress and major milestones, as well as any delays.
Much of the preliminary research of The Leader's Guide has been completed, but I will plan to spend 3-4 months writing and researching the remainder of the book in order to have a manuscript ready for design and copyediting at the end of July.
The copyediting and design process will begin in mid-July and end in the beginning of September. As soon as there is a designed final file, it will ship it to you as an eBook immediately—sometime in early-mid September. The printing and shipping process will take another 1-2 months, approximately, and that final hardcover books will ship to you in December 2015.
We plan on working closely with the design team and printer to ensure the smoothest production possible and, if funded, will update backers regularly on each step of the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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