Author Archives: Justin Souter

Global Entrepreneurship Week at Teesside University

Cross-posted from

This month, we settled into our home at Boho 4, which means we have made the final transition from the accelerator part of the programme into our incubator here at Searchcamp.

Now that Searchcamp 1 has drawn to a close, we have been gearing ourselves up for what’s ahead, including organising some awesome events for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 with our founding partners, Teesside University.

“GEW” takes place from the 18th – 24th November, and Searchcamp are planning a packed week of events for founders, entrepreneurs, academics and students.

Bobby Paterson, Programme Director of Searchcamp explains: “Our relationship with Teesside University has gone from strength to strength. They are clearly very committed to developing entrepreneurship at the university in a variety of different ways.

“Whether it be on the tech side or the business side, entrepreneurship and being a startup founder is a real career opportunity, and the university is so committed to this. As a result of that, the university have come to us about Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was perfect for Searchcamp because we want to engage all the stakeholders and partners in every level that we can to build that startup ecosystem on Teesside.”

Evolv Logo

Searchcamp are organising a weekend event, just before GEW begins, on 15th-17th November, alongside Leon Pals from the Startup Foundation and the guys from Founder Centric to bring everyone Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough.

Bobby explains: “Everything comes back to our Founder Education Programme and this is at the heart of that weekend. For us, it’s always about bringing in the best people to work with.”

This event is around building an idea, no matter how early-stage it is, and to learn and apply the Lean Startup methodologies and processes, with a particular focus on identifying the customer and their problem or need.

Register for Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough by clicking here.

Evolv Weekend from Evolv on Vimeo.

At the beginning of GEW on Monday 18th, Searchcamp are organising Leancamp with Founder Sal Virani, the first of its kind in the North East.

“I’m really excited about that.” explains Bobby, “Sal is a super guy. If we’re really committed to building a startup ecosystem here on Teesside then these are the kind of people and organisations that we’ve got to get into the University.”


As the Global Entrepreneurship Week continues, Searchcamp are hosting a Lean Startup workshop for academic members of staff, on Tuesday 19th, which introduces them to the foundations of Lean Startup and different methodologies, including the Business Model Canvas and Customer Development. The focus is very much on a User centric and Customer centric approach to product development.

Of course, Searchcamp are also putting on a Lean Entrepreneurs Day on Wednesday 20th for the students from the university through DigitalCity Innovation, Entrepreneurs At Tees, and the Teesside Entrepreneurs Society, who also have given Searchcamp some wonderful support since the start.


“For the student body, these opportunities are just incredible, and we’re so excited about putting them on their doorstep.”

Searchcamp are running the week with Lean and learning as the absolute focus. Bobby explains: “There are good learnings to be taken from Eric Reis’ book, but there almost needs to be a real education programme around what Lean Startup is.”

Insisting that Lean is here to stay, Bobby said: “In many cases, if you’re not looking to operate in a Lean way and eliminate waste, and building something that you haven’t validated, then why are you building it?

“It has never been easier to set up and build an internet based company than it is today.”

He added, “However, the success rates haven’t changed, and for me that’s really down to nobody really teaching this stuff and actually being clear about how to structure an experiment to either validate or invalidate a hypothesis. There’s a lot of learnings to be had.”

During Searchcamp 1, there were many great coaches and mentors who shared with Bobby and the teams, their experiences, and things that they would have done differently, which ties into Bobby’s Lean vision.

Startup Foundation Logo

“Lean startup is about an attitude, a culture, and it’s about founders and entrepreneurs thinking and operating in a lean and agile way and approaching things very differently.”

Tickets for Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough are available here. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email –


Websand’s 4c’s of Lean Marketing

Cross-posted from

Saul Gowens writes:

“I launched this idea as part of a talk at a Lean North East on Monday night.

This also included historic footage of Lisa Simpson creating the Lean Start Up – but that is for another post.

The idea for the 4C’s is to suggest a framework to apply for the creation of marketing processes with any business.

The rationale around that in my experience few smaller businesses create a marketing process. The 4cs also helps move a mindset away from Lean methodologies simply being applied to software, after all it emerged from a smash up between Japanese processes commonly applied in manufacturing.

So the four C’s…


Targeting the audience of your marketing message, and the behaviour change you want to influence (aka your marketing objective).

This sets your hypothesis


I recall Doug Richards referring to “marketing as code” in one of his marketing themed school for start ups.

So which code relates to your target audience. This can be existing data, webpages or social media. Anything that needs help from a techie fits here.


Here is your core brief. What elements with your control are you going to change.

Here at Websand HQ we believe that time is a key factor in finding the sweet spot on marketing messages.

The emotion involved in buying decisions make timing really important.

This can also be the basis for your A/B test so remember to test one change at a time wherever possible.


A lot of Lean methodology is considered to be common sense.

If it ain’t broken don’t try and fix it.

This is your measurement and consideration step.

If the results work, then look to apply the process consistently if that is relevant.

If not then make sure you document your learning for future reference, then (if relevant) pivot within the earlier process and repeat.

We are big believers in this stuff and at Websand we are helping ecommerce businesses to create, measure and learn the results from marketing processes for their businesses.

Hope this makes sense to you and is useful. Any questions or feedback please get in touch.

Saul (@websand)”

Saul’s Slides

Write up: Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day


This post is a rapid reflection of Saturday’s proceeding, delivered by Tendayi Viki.

Please cross-refer to my earlier post Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day for more info.




Initial feedback

Some initial feedback from the survey I sent out:

  1. “Tendayi was absolutely brilliant”
  2. “The speaker Tendayi Viki was not only knowledgeable but also very fun and energetic, keeping interest of the room throughout the day.”
  3. “A good overview of lean. The practical aspect helped reinforce the learning and the other participants made it an enjoyable day.” “It felt quite whistlestop. Good from the point of view of seeing a bit of everything. But at the start there was a lot of jargon that was assumed to be known. Some of which came out during the day, some of which I’ll need to go away and read. I think it would have been advantageous to have read the Eric Reis [sic] lean book before I came but I’m certainly motivated to do so now.”

Wash Up

A top day of Lean Startup learning – with positive feedback, and also things for us Lean North East organisers to learn from.

Big thanks to our sponsors ignite100 and Gateshead College.

We hope you’ll join us for future events; please get in touch if you’d like to help us organise them and the future of Lean Framework learning and exploitation in North East England 🙂

Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day

Lean North East, ignite100 and Gateshead College are teaming up to bring ‘Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day’ to Newcastle on Saturday 14th September.

Financial support from the ignite100 community fund means that we can offer heavily discounted tickets to the 24 course participants, so waste no time in signing up!

The Course

Lean Startup is an innovative approach to developing and launching new products or services in the market place. Lean Startup focuses on helping innovators eliminate waste through using a customer centred approach to developing new products and services.

This one day course takes a highly interactive approach involving presentations, interactive discussions and fun practical tasks that will be designed to provide participants with an experience of applying Lean Startup principles.


This course is for anyone involved in building new products. These can be software projects, physical products or services.

Whether you are from a brand new startup or a large established business, the course will provide you with sufficient knowledge of Lean Startup to give you a firm grounding in the methodology that you can then apply to your own organisation.


Lean Startup Principles

  • Principles of Entrepreneurial Management
  • Validated Learning: How to build a sustainable business model for your product by applying the scientific method.
  • Build-Measure-Learn: The fundamental loop for validating, testing and iterating towards successful innovative products.
  • Innovation Accounting: Using benchmarks and milestones to avoid vanity metrics and use actionable metrics.
  • Engines of Growth: Paid, Sticky or Viral.

Lean Startup in Practice

  • Testing the Problem Hypothesis
  • Document Your Plan A: Using the Business Model Canvas
  • Identify riskiest assumptions.
  • Generate falsifiable problem hypotheses.
  • Design research studies to test hypotheses.

Testing the Solution Hypothesis

  • How to design a minimum viable product (MVP).
  • How to test your MVP.
  • Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics.
  • The Anatomy of the Pivot.

Conclusion of Day

  • Product Innovation is A Thesis.
  • Open Q & A Session.


Tendayi VikiLean Startup in a Day training will be delivered by Dr Tendayi Viki. Tendayi is the Principal Consultant and Founder at Benneli-Jacobs & Company, an innovation consulting firm that helps large organisations around the globe develop innovation teams and launch new products using the Lean Start-up methods. He is also an academic who teaches Organisational Psychology and Entrepreneurship at the University of Kent.

Tendayi has previously co-founded several companies including Tasksauce, Book Editions and Research Innovations. He mentors and advises startup teams for Rockstart Accelerator, World Wide Web Foundation, Start Igniter, Evolv and Lean Startup Machine.

Venue and additional Information

We are excited that the venue will be The Bridge Gallery on Gateshead College’s Baltic Campus. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

A big thank you to Gateshead College for hosting us, and providing lunch and refreshments.

This is a not for profit event. Payments will be taken through ignite100 and any ticket/sponsorship money remaining after costs have been paid will go towards supporting future startup community events.


Please note that all tickets are non-refundable, however you can transfer them, please just let us know.

Get your tickets via our Eventbrite page. See you there!

Lean Conf – Manchester, 26-27th October


Hello folks!

We’re keen to play our part in the wider Lean Startup ecosystem, and we’re excited to bring to your attention Lean Conf.

In their own words:

Lean Conf

Lean Conf

Lean Conf is a two day conference in Manchester aiming to inspire and educate attendees in the principles of Lean Startup, focused on technology startups.

Day one will be running a Leancamp and day two will be a more traditional style conference.”

Roll up!

As per our tweet:

Hopefully see you there 🙂

Minimal Viable Wednesdays

Hello folks – I’m a big fan of the wisdom of Brad Feld and his insight into the Boulder startup scene.

A number of us have been meeting since this New Year on Wednesdays at 5pm — in Central Bean in Newcastle — to chat through Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Business Model Canvas thinking and our progress with our own ideas.

Random image I found when searching for ‘Community Hours’…

This is (probably) equivalent to Brad’s idea of ‘Community Hours‘ a time when folk can gather to meet and get some feedback. I’ve tried it myself, and it was surprisingly challenging / bracing.

Please join us, bring your own business model canvas / mvp and get constructive feedback and help. Let the community know you’re coming by expressing your preference in this Doodle. [anyone suggest a better tool…? :-)]

Let the customer development begin!

LeanNorth East Event with NCFE



We recently held our third event, after the Rob Fitz talk, and our Lean Tapas social. This is a brief recap of our third event.


On January 14th we were be joined by Lindsey Gibson, IT Services Manager at NCFE and David Grailey, Chief Executive.

They talked about their experience of the Lean Startup Machine and how they are applying Lean Startup to product development, innovation, and company growth. Lindsey also talked about her learnings from the LESS 2012 Lean and Agile Conference held in Tallin, Estonia in November 2012.

Thanks to Newcastle Uni Business School

The evening was kindly hosted by Newcastle University Business School, and particular thanks go to Colin Ashurst for making our event possible. Continue reading