About the Lean Explorers Club
The Lean Explorers Club supports and guides Lean Business Exploration
The Lean Explorers Club is a new kind of startup accelerator. Using Lean Startup with Customer Development approaches we guide and support startups to effectively and efficiently search for and validate their business ideas. We help startups and investors find success!
The Lean Explorers Club has been designed to address the problems that entrepreneurs, investors and the broader startup ecosystem face finding desirable, feasible and viable new businesses. Most importantly, it helps startups do this in the cheapest and fastest way possible.
Startups are guided and supported to complete a number of tasks and to go on a number of expeditions to assist them in finding a desirable, feasible and viable business model, and if they don’t they are encouraged to pivot their business model hypotheses and search again.
Startups complete tasks and undertake expeditions to find a desirable, feasible, and viable business as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Central to the Lean Explorers Club is that startups undertake the business exploration in the quickest and cheapest way possible. This is the meaning of “lean” in the Lean Explorers Club.
Startups go on expeditions to run the quickest and cheapest experiments to test business model hypotheses and thus to search for a desirable, feasible, and viable business model.
This is aligned with Steve Blank’s Customer Development methodology and explained in his blog post “Why Build, Measure, Learn – isn’t just throwing things against the wall to see if they work – the Minimal Viable Product“
Startup exploration teams consist of a chief explorer (aka the exploration leader), and usually one or more experiment designers and builders, all of whom work together to run experiments.
We don’t call those doing a startup “founders” in the Lean Explorers Club until they have actually found and validated a desirable, feasible, and viable business model. Instead, we call them startup explorers (or just explorers for short) in line with our exploration metaphor.
Like any startup, it’s important for startups in the Lean Explorers Club to have a complementary team. However, the skills for startup exploration are quite different to the traditional startup skills sought in founders, i.e. the hustlers, hipsters, and hackers.
In the Lean Explorers Club the traditional roles are replaced with chief explorer (aka the exploration leader), experiment designers who design the experiments, and experiment builders who build the experiments, all of whom help run the experiments with the chief explorer.
Startup Exploration teams cannot outsource the exploration work but they can seek assistance from guides, sherpas and individuals or organisations offering services.
Supporting Exploration Teams
In addition to the startup explorers in the startup itself, the team may enlist the guidance and support of third-party individuals or organisation. To be clear, this is not outsourcing the work, the startup explorers must be directly involved in the exploration. However, if they have the funds they may be able to speed up their exploration by employing others.
Startups who are inexperienced in Lean Startup and Customer Development may like to employ the services of an experienced guide, who can give advice and direction on how best to undertake their exploration. Some guides may also assist with the exploration work.
Startups may also employ the services of sherpas to help them undertake the work that is required. Sherpas may be less experienced than guides and cannot give direction. Startups cannot outsource the exploration to the sherpas, but the sherpas can assist the explorers.
Third-party individuals or organisations can also be employed to do well-defined pieces of work, e.g. coding a particular experiment or application features, but the overall design and running of the experiments must be undertaken by the startup exploration team.
Startup explorers, guides, sherpas and external service providers must all pledge to follow the principles of Lean Business Exploration.
Principles of Lean Business Exploration
Central to the Lean Explorers Club is the use of the Lean Startup and Customer Development approaches, which we call Lean Business Exploration. All startup explorers, guides, sherpas and service providers must pledge to follow the principles of Lean Business Exploration if they are to be members of the Lean Explorers Club.
Searching not Building and Growing
The first principle of Lean Business Exploration is that startups are searching for a desirable, feasible, and viable business model. They are not trying to build a product or service, and then to start and try to grow or scale the business.
Cheapest & Quickest Experiments
Also central to Lean Business Exploration is that the exploration must be lean. Specifically, this means that the business model hypotheses must be tested using the quickest and cheapest experiments possible (and usually this does not mean building the product or service).
Validated Learning is Measure of Progress
Finally, the measure of progress in Lean Business Exploration is not eyeballs, downloads, sales, or tractions (although these are, of course, the ultimate goal). The true measure of progress in Lean Business Exploration is the amount of validated learning undertaken.