Author Archives: leannortheastadmin

Join our Tweet Chat on MVP vs MDP

An integral part of the Lean Startup methodology is developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). But is viable enough? Should we be aiming for desirability over viability? Join us next Tuesday (18th) 8-9pm for the first of a new series of Tweet Chats hosted by Lean North East where we’ll be discussing MVP vs MDP.

What is a TweetChat?

A tweetchat is a pre-arranged discussion on twitter using an agreed hashtag (in this case #leanchatne)

How do I join in?

You can simply follow the #leanchatne hashtag on Tuesday 18th at 8pm using your twitter client of choice, but don’t forget to add the #leanchatne hashtag to any discussions you take part in.

The easiest way to participate is to use a tweetchat app such as where you can login using your twitter account and set the hashtag you wish to join. Tweetchat will filter all hashtagged tweets and automatically add the hashtag to any tweets you post using the app. Simples!

How often will tweetchats take place?

We’re starting by running a tweetchat once a month, every third tuesday of the month.

Feel free to tweet us if you have any other questions or suggestions for topics for future chats.


Lean Sales and Marketing event, 21st October


Can the principles of Lean Startup – release quickly, test with real customers, measure and iterate – be applied to sales and marketing?

Join us at our next event on Monday 21st October when we’ll be exploring this idea with speakers from HubSpot, Websand and Lean Sales Panel.

This is a great opportunity for anyone working in sales and marketing to find out more about Lean Startup and how it’s being applied to the industry and anyone working in a startup to find out how they can fire up their sales and marketing. We’ll also be eating pizza.


Ellie Mirman, Head of Inbound Marketing Funnel, HubSpot

Ellie Mirman

Ellie Mirman leads HubSpot’s inbound marketing funnel team, focused on inbound lead generation and nurturing. She specialises in lead generation, email marketing, sales and marketing alignment, and marketing analytics. She has experience launching new lead generation channels, including HubSpot’s email marketing program, growing it into the largest lead generation channel, as well as HubSpot’s webinar series, attracting thousands of attendees to each event. She led the product team’s customer research efforts and loves to work at the intersection of Marketing, Sales, and Product.

Ellie will talk about the principles of Lean Marketing (AKA How to Run Your Marketing Team Like a Startup) and provide tips of how to be a Lean Agile Marketer.

Saul Gowens, Founder at Websand

Saul GowensWith 14 years experience in loyalty and direct marketing, Saul has helped clients to build long lasting customer relationships all over the world for brands such as Porsche, Visa, and Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Saul has poured his experience into the development of marketing process software provider Websand, which is currently being accelerated through the 2013 Ignite100 programme.

Saul will present ‘The 4 C’s; Creating a Lean Marketing Process.’

Richard Lane, Founder and Director at Lean Sales Panel and durhamlane

Richard LaneDetails to follow… @richardmlane

Adrian Howard, Co-Founder at Quietstars

(Potential Bonus Speaker – Dependent on Work Commitments!)

Adrian HowardAdrian is co-founder and generalising specialist at helping people build great teams and great products by applying Lean, UX & Agile practices.

If we can grab him after a long day’s work Adrian will chat to us about ‘Lean Branding for Startups’, the presentation he gave at Lean UX NYC earlier this year.

Please join us

Please book your ticket straightaway – we’re looking forward to another successful event, and hope you can join us.

Please bring your friends and colleagues, and help us in our continuing mission to bring the Lean Startup to a wider audience — and hence improve startup and entpreneurship success across the Region.

Interview with with Carl Jones, MD at Technically Compatible

Lean Startup 101: Interview with Carl Jones, Managing Director at Sunderland startup Technically Compatible.

After the recent Lean Startup 101 course we caught up with Carl Jones, Managing Director at Technically Compatible, to chat about his interest in Lean Startup and how his company is applying Lean methods to product and business development.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Technically Compatible?

TC LogoNo problem, Technically Compatible is a start-up offshoot of The Test Factory Group. The Test Factory provides high profile customised assessment solutions to mainly bluechip clients and has a presence globally.

Technically Compatible is a SaaS product that makes it really easy to build a customised test for any given IT role as part of the recruitment process. The idea came from our own headaches experienced when recruiting our own developers, where we wasted a lot of time interviewing candidates who on paper looked great, but in practice didn’t have the skills we needed. Existing solutions on the market were all pretty clunky and expensive, so we thought we’d disrupt the market with our own product that made skills assessment cost effective and easy.

I come from a sales background and have worked with the TTF group in a few roles before being asked to head up Technically Compatible. Whilst I have responsibility for the strategic side of the business, I still like to get my hands dirty with sales and the odd coffee run!

Outside of work I’m a Durham University MBA Candidate, enjoying playing Sunday League football for a local side and spend my winters skiing in beautiful Colorado!

2. How did you first hear about Lean Startup and what got you interested?

I actually first heard of Lean Startup from our Group CEO who was adamant that I should read Eric Reis’ book when I took the reins here. As with most of his advice, I took it with a pinch of salt (Sorry Kev!), but saw the book when sitting around in an airport somewhere in the US and thought I’d pick it up. I was hooked from the offset and the main reason was that I could see a whole plethora of ways we could implement the methodology into TC straight away.

3. Technically Compatible brought a team of four along to the recent Lean Startup in a Day course – what did you learn?

Picture 012Out of the 4 of us I was the only one that had any real knowledge of the Lean movement, and I was also the only non-techie. I was keen for my Head of Technology to come along as it is he and I who are most involved in the product development side of things. So I think the majority of learning was for him and the others in terms of the Lean way of developing ideas, building proveable hypothesis and rolling forward from there.

For me, the main thing I took away from the Lean North East event was the importance of forcing yourself into an alternate way of thinking. When we were asked to consider a radical business model which had to involve giving away our product for free, as opposed to anything else that we’d considered, it really engaged your inner innovator and proved a cool way of looking outside of the box.

4. How do you see the company implementing what you learned in your day to day business?

Like most startups, TC has had its fair share of challeneges. Not least of those has been in identifying our best route to market and understanding what direction we should take our product development. When considering a new way of doing things, or building a new feature, we now implement Lean methods to ensure the work is worthwhile.

We’re also making use of the Validation Board when looking at where best to point our resource rifle.

5. What business benefits do you hope to achieve by implementing Lean Startup methods?

The main benefit that we’re hopeful of achieving is quite simple; to find the most efficient way of growing our business. We know there is a big market, and we know what our competitors are doing, but in an effort to compete we could quite easily burn through a lot of cash heading in the wrong direction if we’re not careful.

6. If other North East entrepreneurs and company directors are considering finding out more about Lean Startup, what would you say to them?

Well for a start I’d encourage anyone with an interest to drop me a line or connect on LinkedIn, I’m always happy to talk through and learn wherever I can as well.

Other than that I can highly recommend getting involved with the local Lean communities which are all over the world now. Lean North East is ours and I think it’s well worth going along to their events throughout the year.

Oh, and buy The Lean Startup!

7. And finally, what does the future hold for Technically Compatible?

We’re confident we have a really great business based around a great product which is going to change the way people assess IT skills. We’re about to push our experiments overseas to the US, Canada and Australia and on the back of that we want to grow as aggressively as possible, all the while remaining lean of course!

Big thanks to Carl for taking the time to chat with us.

You can find out more about Technically Compatible here, follow Carl @CarlJones84 and the company @TechCompatible.

New Speaker for April Event

New Speaker Announcement – Tendai Charasika joins us for ‘Lean Startup in Action’

Tendai CharasikaWe are delighted to announce that Tendai Charasika, the Entrepreneurial Director for EnterpriseCorp, the enterprise development arm of Greater Louisville Inc (Kentucky, USA), will be joining us via video link for ‘Lean Startup in Action’ on Monday 22nd April.

In his role, Tendai works with hundreds of entrepreneurs and startups annually to accelerate their learning and scaling from idea to fast-growth companies. Lean Startup methods have become instrumental in the best practices used in launching new ventures across diverse sectors in Louisville’s startup community.

Tendai is an entrepreneur, experimenter, problem solver, business coach and holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Entrepreneurship M.B.A both from the University of Louisville.

Tendai speaks regularly on the subjects of Lean Startup and Customer Development and recently presented at the Annual Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco.

During the evening Tendai will be talking about his work with startups and will provide practical examples of how some of the many and diverse companies he works with are applying lean startup methods.

If you haven’t signed up already… why not?!

Join us for a fun and informative evening (with pizza!) Sign up here.

Lean in Action with the Business Model Canvas

Next Event “Lean Startup in Action”

As Ash Maurya says “Practice trumps theory”

We’re gearing up for our next event on Monday 22nd April, when we will be looking at Lean Startup in Action – how companies are applying lean startup within their business. This will be a great opportunity for those interested in learning more about Lean Startup to get some simple, practical ideas for applying lean startup methods.

Top of the bill will be our friend, UX designer, and Lean practitioner, Ryan Foster. Ryan has worked with many US-based startups including Kickstarter phenomenon PebbleHomelightCurebit and Games that Give. Ryan will give practical examples of how some of these startups are applying lean principles. He will also share tips on tools you can use to quickly and cost effectively launch, test assumptions, and gather feedback.

Umar Yusufu is our second valued speaker. Umar is currently working on his own startup My Spot and for another promising North East startup, Spontly. Umar will be talking about the pitfalls of trying to build the ‘big idea’ and how the use of a Minimum Viable Product can help you break down and test your assumptions time and cost effectively. He will also talk about Business Model Generation and how this can help you identify the exact problem your business is trying to solve.

We’ll also have an update on the opportunity to Bring Lean Startup Machine to Newcastle in Autumn 2013, plenty of time to catch up and chat and yummy pizzas generously provided by our good friends at NCFE.

Come along, we’d love to see you. Sign up here.

Updated: Bring Lean Startup Machine to Newcastle

Lean Startup Machine is the world’s leading bootcamp on Lean Startup methodology.

Contrary to popular perception, the phrase “lean startup” implies much more than capital efficiency. It encompasses a paradigm-shifting way of thinking about how to build new companies and products, and how to bring those products to market faster.

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