With a wonderful new meetup on the Scottish startup scenes that we should have spotlighted sooner, big thanks to Gordon Guthrie of Hypernumbers for offering this introduction. Scottish Lean Circle has been going for several months now, and the next monthly meeting is coming up Wednesday 19th January, 7:30pm at 39A Grassmarket (Winterwell HQ). I highly encourage you to familiarise yourself with this group, and jump in if you’d like to learn/share/strategise with other startup folks… More details from Gordon:
It is time to introduce the Scottish Lean Circle to the Scottish startup public properly.
1. What Is Lean?
Lean start-ups are the merger or a number of different ‘traditions’, ranging from Japanese manufacturing techniques (the Toyota Production System and 6 Sigma) to agile (and agile-like) software development and the dramatic drop in cost of starting an internet start-up.
There is a ‘business stack’ emerging:
Lean is the methodology in this stack. A methodology is simply ‘this is how we do stuff’ – it combines formal processes and procedures with informal or cultural ones.
What we are trying to do with the Lean Circle is have all the internet start-ups in Scotland help each other get to a viable business model.
2. Why A Lean Circle?
There is an old saying in the usability world:
People learn how to use your website on other people’s websites.
In the Valley there are enough starts and people who have gone through them to say:
The employees at my company learned how to find a viable business model by working at other companies before.
In Scotland that degree of previous knowledge doesn’t pertain. We need to learn from each other. The Lean Circle is just a meetup that aims to do that.
3. Scottish Lean Circle Rules
We operate under Scottish Lean Circle Rules, and there are only 2:
1 there is no competition this side of the Atlantic
2 whilst a company is presenting everyone present works for that company
The consequences of these rules are pretty straightforward. Companies presenting are expected to be completely frank, about pricing, costs, success, failure, future plans, previous work and anything else relevant to find a business model – including what would otherwise be considered confidential material.
In return the audience agree to keep what they are told confidential and not do anything to make that information available on the other side of the Atlantic – no blogging it, no tweeting it, no sharing of it in public. And any suggestions that anyone makes can be freely implemented by the presenting company.
4. Where Does It Fit In?
Below is a schematic of the Scottish ecosystem:
I have left lots of groups off the schematic – there are probably 20 or 30 missing – it is just really to show the positioning of the Lean Circle relative to everything else.
There are 2 points to note:
- the Lean Circle is business-focussed – our business is technology start-ups – but it is a business meetup
- the learn circle is practitioner-led – people trying to make money from technology helping other people who are also trying to make money from technology
5. Why Don’t You Come Along?
If you have a start-up then come along and present – or critique other start-ups presentations. You can also come along if you don’t have a start-up (yet) – you will just be hassled about when you are starting one.