AWS Lean Startup Event 2012

AWS Lean CloudThe planets aligned this week which meant that I was in Sydney for the Amazon Web Services Regional Premier Lean Startup Event, with the highlight being able to hear from Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup. A huge thanks to my friends at Slattery IT who got me registered for this event. Here are my notes from the event.

Eric Ries – The Lean Startup

I am a huge fan of the Lean Startup movement, so it was a thrill to hear directly from Eric Ries. His talk mirrored others of his that can be found all over the web and the content followed much of what is available in the book, but it was inspiring and awesome nonetheless.

From Miscellaneous

This is a copy of a similar presentation from another conference.

Here are some of my notes from the talk.

  • you can now rent the means of production and compete with big players
  • join the global conversation at #leanstartup
  • this is the boring part of entrepreneurship
  • Ghostbusters is the original movie on entrepreneurship
  • startup = experiment
  • we live in a time where we can build anything we can imagine – need to ask not can it be built but should it be built…
  • entrepreneurship is management
  • most products Eric has built have failed!
  • Frederick Winslow Taylor stated things that are obvious now yet had to be invented then – work needs to be done as efficiently as possible and breaking work into tasks
  • all of the tools of general management are based on planning and forecasting – but making an accurate forecast relies on a long operating history – need a new entrepreneurial toolkit because the world is filled with uncertainty
  • the pivot – successful entrepreneurs did not have a better idea, they take the leanings and change the direction without changing the vision
  • runway should not be amount of money remaining but amount of pivots remaining
  • achieving failure is successfully executing a bad plan – this is like getting good fuel mileage when driving a car off a cliff
  • the lean revolution was led by W. Edwards Deming and Taiichi Ohno
  • Agile only works well if you know who the customer is
  • failure is the great equaliser of quality
  • “we learned something important” is an excuse, need to learn early
  • ask what experiment am I trying to run, and what learning can I take from that
  • build > measure > learn loop – minimise time through the loop
  • measurement will slow you down but optimise the part to optimise the whole
  • drive down the batch size to one day – continuous deployment – many features take longer to prioritise than to build
  • The Toyota Way says foundation is long term thinking, the startup way says foundation is accountability
  • brink of success is indistinguishable from goofing off – need innovation accounting
  • business plans are rarely achieved – achieving failure – leap of faith assumptions need to called out
  • build a minimum viable product, iterate experiments and look for upward trends, pivot when returns are diminishing
  • better to have bad news that’s true than good news that’s made up
  • pivot meeting should be a milestone in its own right, need good information to make a good decision – micro scale experiments that help make future decisions
  • lean startup is still early adopter stage

Dr Werner Vogels – The Lean Cloud

Dr. Werner Vogels is the CTO of and opened the startup event. Here are some notes from his session.

From Miscellaneous
  • Animoto – upload images and music, analyses the music and creates a movie around the mood – went from 15 to 5000 servers in a number of days
  • web services is now called cloud…
  • Australia is not yet an Amazon Web Servixes (AWS) region – soon? – Asia Pacific region is based in Singapore
  • the number of objects in S3 has increased by 250% per annum consistently over the last 5 years, currently 762 billion
  • cloud is defined by its benefits not its technology
  • scaling is as much about using the Cloud to scale down as it is to scaling up
  • lowers cost – eliminate CAPEX, reduce OPEX
  • increase agility – not constrained by resources(eg. waiting for or buying servers), reduce time to market
  • remove heavy lifting – like scalability, security, reliability
  • foundation for next generation architecture, infrastructure cost should grow with your income
  • resource models changing due to competition, limited capital, power of customers, faster time to market
  • lean manufacturing – the machine that changed the world, lean startup
  • remove waste that does lead to direct value for the customer
  • an elastic and pay-per-use infrastructure – follow their demands to eliminate waste for peaks in traffic
  • AWS makes deployment, testing and staging trivial – tools for red-green deployment for example
  • need to build security in from the ground up when building a cloud application – lots of tools available
  • advantage of AWS is you are on a continuous innovation curve
  • DynamoDB – uses low latency SSD, predictable performance, zero administration NoSQL – database is no longer the bottleneck
  • no need to have your own transcoding anymore, it all sits on the cloud

8 Securities /  Q&A Panel

8 Securities gave an overview of their use of AWS ahead of a short lean cloud panel.

From Miscellaneous
  • are all the lessons US lessons? No, early on some cultures said this would not work, particularly admitting failure, the grass is not greener in Silicon Valley, understand the underlying principles, figure out how to translate strengths and build on the Lean startup principles
  • there is a new book by Jeffrey Liker who wrote The Toyota Way (The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership) – Toyota  has translated the approach to as many plants in the USA
  • need to communicate and connect with your employees – we are still solving simple problems
  • good thing about having a small amount of customers is that when you screw up you can apologise… personally
From Miscellaneous

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