Brown University Talk

Every year I head to the East coast for vacation. We live in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato farm across the street and an arm of the ocean in the backyard. While they own tech, smartphones and computers, most of my neighbors can’t tell you about the latest trends in AI, Bitcoin or Facebook. In contrast, Silicon Valley is an innovation cluster, a monoculture of sorts, with a churning sea of new tech ideas, sailed by entrepreneurs who each passionately believe they’re the next Facebook or Google, with their sails driven by the hurricane winds of investor capital.

The seas are calm here. Most years out here I spend my time reading. This year has been a bit more interesting. One of the things I did was to speak to the startup community in Providence Rhode Island at Brown University.

The talk is here

It’s worth a listen.

7:54: How we used to build startups

11:40: How the Lean Startup began

13:34: Why startups are not smaller versions of large companies

14:06: The three pillars of Lean

20:10: Customer Development is an art

26:42: How we changed the way science is commercialized in the U.S.

29:14: What’s a pivot?

37:34: Customer Discovery isn’t just a bunch of random conversations

39:03: Mistakes that blow a customer meeting

42:45: How you know you’ve talked to enough customers

48:51: Why corporations are mostly doing innovation theater

54:59: Tesla started in my living room

57:28: It takes two: Why world-class startups have both a great innovator and a great entrepreneur

1:04:05: Failure sucks

1:08:43: Avoiding the startup deathtrap

1:13:22: Talk to the crazy people

1:16:05: How you know when you stop being a startup

6 Responses

  1. Steve, your untiring crusade with startups have helped so many.
    Even as a 30 year veteran serial entrepreneur, I find them very useful too.

  2. Dear Dr Steve Blank

    I needs your great teaching at SOItmC2019 conference at Meijo university on June 27-july 1st .

    JinHyo Joseph Yun

    2018. 8. 24. 오후 11:37, Steve Blank 작성:

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  3. Thanks Steve, You’ve motivated me to revisit my failure, which died at the $1.5M turnover mark, to stop being comfortable in my current business, and to seek harder the crazies for my startup … Cheers, Douglas


  4. One of your best talks! Thanks for sending. And, now I am making several people watch it.

    Next summer go over to Salve Regina University in Newport, where I got their first MBA in entrepreneurship. It is next to the Naval War College, who could use you too.

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