Startup Weekend University: How do I go from an idea to a startup?


What does it take to launch a new product or service?

We hope you enjoyed our first email on how to get the most out of the Startup Weekend experience, and if you missed it you can check out the content on our blog here.

This is the second of four weekly emails (reposted on our blog) that we’ll be sending you to make sure that you’re 100% ready to get the most out of SWTahoe on March 7th. The content is based on our experiences at Startup Weekends and other resources that we’ve found helpful when thinking about how to launch new companies.

Here’s an agenda of what is coming in this and future emails:

  1. What is Startup Weekend going to feel like? [Feb 11th — you can read it on our blog]
  2. What does it take to launch a new product/service? [this email]
  3. Customer development: the most critical skill for building a startup
  4. Tools that we think will help you during SWTahoe

Each email has three sections: “required reading” on things that will be super helpful for you to know before the event; extra resources to help you excel; and bonus material if you get really into the topic

So what does it take to launch a new product or service?

The must-read:

As entrepreneurs in 2014, we’re fortunate that a lot of people have already experienced and written about what it takes to launch new products or services. The most popular literature focuses on a way of thinking called the “lean startup methodology,” which synthesizes concepts from design and manufacturing. Understanding this process will save you a ton of time, money, and energy as you think about launching your own startup.

The shortest explanation of the lean startup is that your top priorities as an entrepreneur should be identifying customer needs and proving demand—before you do much, if any, product development. These are the best overviews we’ve seen:

  1. Ash Maurya’s “Why products fail” is an excellent series of videos that explains the key concepts and tools
  2. The absolute fastest video introduction (but missing a lot of the details)

Highly recommended material:

If you’re going to read one book to prepare for launching a startup, we highly recommendAsh Maurya’s “Running Lean” because it’s concise, actionable, and compelling.

If you’re more of a video person, check out this series of videos from a group of top thinkers in the space, including Steve Blank, Eric Ries, and Ash Maurya

If you want to learn more:

Some of the most interesting exploration of startup tools is happening on blogs by well-known entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. There are so many writers out there that it’s hard to keep up but here are a few of the ones that we’re reading regularly:

Steve Blank, the godfather of the lean startup movement

Fred Smith, a NYC-based venture capitalist

Marc Suster, a LA-based venture capitalist

Andrew Chen, a Silicon Valley-based writer and entrepreneur

Ash Maurya, an Austin-based writer and entrepreneur

For more background on the modern startup movement, take a look at Steve Blank’s “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”. Eric Ries brought together a lot of the principles in his book“The Lean Startup”

Thanks and please let us know if you have any feedback,
The Startup Weekend Tahoe Team

P.S. If you haven’t registered yet, head on over to our signup page: