What They Dont Teach You At Stanford Business School

Stuff you can't learn in B-school: LARRY CHIANG

The Super Majority of Lean Startup Practitioners Miss 5 Things

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By Larry Chiang

I study “Lean” and sit First Chair Entrepreneurship.

Have you heard of me?? (That me on the right w my friend Lauren on the left)

Well I wanted to share something I’ve heard over and over but was kinda shy to speak up. It’s the part where Steve Blank and Eric Ries say, “Now go sell and get real validation”. I mean, it’s where real value is created. At that inflection point, many founders go to the polarized parts of the bell curve.

So, I’ll break it down into five digestibles so my giant entrepreneur brain can mentor your li’l pea-sized, pre-founder brain.

Digestible #1 /

Combine freemium with real cash validation.

Both Professor Blank and Harvard EIR, Ries, stress that leaving the building helps you get validation. And that business plans normally don’t survive first customer contact.

Solution: do a rebate that solves real cash validation that is also freemium model (it’s a startup execution subroutine called INTERNAL ESCROW AND ONE WAY LETTER OF INTENT)

Digestible NUMBER 2.

Validation via free consulting that leads to a testimonial.

I hear startups going on quasi informational interviews, posing as a sales call that levers their academic goodwill and alums loneliness. At best this is a stretch internal deliverable that results in more internal meetings.


If your startup has any morsel of innovation… Validate via free consulting that leads to a testimonial. The vehicle of that FREE CONSULTING is called Slideshare. For example, lets say your startup is called Duck5 and you’re all about engineering founders who self-fund… You do a slideshare preso

“How to do what Deep Undergrad (Venture) Capital Knowledge 5 (Duck5) Does, Without Having to Hire D.u.c.k.5”

It’s a formulaic slide deck. See my slideshare for the formula. Net net, you want to do mentorship marketing and help an industry exec understand the smallest of innovation.

Then quote them.

Then take that slideshare and…

Digestible Sales Point #3)

Take your power point and bring it to a tech conference. You will now be selling to execs

Study the subroutine “Gua Gua Guacamole crasher to VIP at a conference”.

Digestible sales and startup point #4)

“A startup is a loosely defined org in search of a business model.”
– Steve Blank, E145 summer ’11

My other mentor said, “A startup isn’t a mini company until you get $900k in sales.” His name was Mark McCormack.

I advocate the above two mentors (and Eric Ries!) so strongly that I wrote a sequel to all three books in a Harvard blog post (in the form of a book report): The Fifth Epiphany

Digestible Point Number 5

I tweeted

bd26194fa93733b624ec22966dbdb9d9_normal.jpeg Larry Chiang (@LarryChiang)
7/5/14, 8:59 AM

It helps engineers realize that there are two axis

X- axis to technical expertise
Y- axis is sales ability


Ok, lets me and you plan on doing this at SXSW 2015. March 6.

While that may seem technically daunting… Lets technically get you some SXSW housing compliments of Starwood hotel chain. REMEMBER VCS CAN’T GET THEMSELVES HOUSING BUT YOU CAN

And it’s free, the Westin hotel rooms via an Amex credit card

Disclosure: I taught ENGR 145.

Mike Arrington with Zuck (photo credit Larry Chiang’s black iPhone)

Disclosure: I’ll financially benefit from the half dozen things that you do with me that are all free and more valuable than your 4-year full ride to the PAC-12 school you play at.

Disclosure: I financially benefitted from engineering where I was a D-1 athlete.

Disclosure: I model as a heterosexual male supermodel and financially benefit from getting my picture taken (no fee a lot of the time).

Text me “http://bit.ly/mmpqq711 – Larry I just read that. My name is Tyler”

[{ if your name is Tyler}]


Written by Larry Chiang

July 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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