The Lean Entrepreneur, the Power of Audience, and the Book as Startup

When we first discussed the concept of the minimum viable audience, I led off with some foundational ideas from retired entrepreneur and author Steve Blank.

Mr. Blank was the primary mentor of Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, a blog-turned-book containing a set of ideas and processes that have sparked a global movement among existing and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Mr. Ries was not the only one to be heavily influenced by Mr. Blank. So too was a gentleman by the name of Brant Cooper.

Brant teamed up with another gentleman named Patrick Vlaskovits, and they set out on a mission. They wanted to expand on the ideas of Steve Blank and Eric Ries, and take the concept of lean a giant step forward into mainstream entrepreneurial consciousness.

This week their new book — The Lean Entrepreneur — launched. If The Lean Startup was why lean is the way to go, The Lean Entrepreneur tackles the how through tons of valuable education and case studies (hey, there’s even one about Copyblogger Media and the minimum viable audience).

In this 24-minute discussion, Brant Cooper, Patrick Vlaskovits, and I talk about …

  • How The Lean Entrepreneur was born
  • Hacking the production and marketing of books
  • How Brant and Patrick are building a minimum viable audience
  • The myth of The Great Idea that Spreads Itself
  • The power of live content iteration
  • How to “move the needle” of your business
  • How to profit from real-time audience feedback

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The Show Notes:

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  1. Brian! Fantastic talk with Brant + Patrick!

    Interesting timing, I just shook Brant’s hand at a presentation last week for Mars’ Entrepreneur 101, and I was really, really thrilled with his outlook.

    I’d like to add something here that I feel is very key.

    Brant and I discussed how “discovering” musicians and creating art/music ALSO tends to benefit from the MVP/Lean model, but it’s very rarely mentioned.

    The closest I’ve heard is the discussion of “book as startup” shared in these parts :)

    Eric Ries offered the dense “why”, Brant & Patrick deliver the mainstream “How To”, it feels like there’s a fantastic opportunity here if someone wants to contribute The Lean Artist, or something like that :)

    Anyway, just felt like contributing what I felt was a cool application of the amazing ideas here, and I’ll finish by saying I *literally* felt uplifted by hearing the 3 of you discuss stuff like this.

    “The lean model is for people without vision.” 😛 LOL!

  2. I would also second the idea of The Lean Artist…. love that idea, Jason.

    As an author (The Creative Entrepreneur) and artist I’m always searching for ways to be as lean as possible on the business side, which are the parts that tend to suck the life force out of artists and creatives.

    Great stuff!

  3. This episode kicked ass! I had to keep pausing it because there were so many things I wanted to write down, I couldn’t write fast enough and listen.

    I love the idea of figuring out how to hack the process of writing, producing, and selling, and how you can leverage your MVA to do so. I think sifting through and finding your strongest supporters and giving them a platform to tell you what they think is really important.

  4. MVA is a concept I got from you last year and keep talking about it at our Geneva LeanStartup Group I created here in Switzerland (Geneva) in May 2012. It’s a difficult concept to grasp for many people, but we keep at it. Here is a blog post with links back to – keep them coming. Always following you closely. Doris

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