« Family business: When working with relatives, plan for the unexpected | Main | Inside Miami's first Lean Startup Machine »

Lean Startup: Test, fail fast, pivot, 'make great things happen'

When Lean Startup Machine Miami rolls out of town tonight, this much is for sure: It will be back.

The company that puts on 3-day workshops all over the world liked what it found in Miami: a growing, engaging tech community, says Jefrey Bulla, who also brings Lean Startup Machine events to Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia.  The next weekend will probably be in November or December and another one in February, he says. He hopes to bring them to Miami about every three months.

Unlike hackathons or Startup Weekends, no coding is allowed at Lean Startup Machine weekends. The purpose of the weekend is to learn how to validate a concept for a minimal viable product.  A big part of this is getting out of the building and talking to potential customers. Teams keep track of their assumptions and pivots with sticky notes on "validation boards." At the end of the weekend teams present the processes they went through, explaining each time their assumptions failed and they pivoted. A winner is named -- that's the team that demonstrates it learned the most.

The 50 participants in the weekend program held at The Lauch Pad at Terremark started with one idea, and ended the weekend with quite a different concept for a minimal viable product. "Lean Startup is fundamentally disrupting education," said Patrick Vlaskovits, Los Angeles author of The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development and the upcoming The Lean Entrepreneur and one of the mentors/instructors. You learn the methodology to validating ideas quickly in a workshop like this and then you can take it your real ideas, he says. When you go to the potential customer and confront reality, he says, "that's when the magic happens."

There was a lot of magic happening.

LeanWinnersA0sQUWkCIAA_mfzEntrepreneur after entrepreneur who went through the program said the experience was eye-opening, and for some, life changing, because they learned how to test their own assumptions. Brent del Rosario of the winning team Shpot.co summed it up: "Everything I assumed was wrong, completely wrong. It made so much sense in our heads!"

Andrej Kostresevic, who runs the Lean Startup Circle, says that's what it's all about -- testing, failing fast, pivoting. Developers can get tunnel vision building products and services with lots of cool features but at the end of the day they may not be what customers really want. That's why he saw a need for more education and pushed to bring the program here.

"If you have an idea, don't stew over it. Test it," adds Travis McCutchon of Austin, Texas, who led much of he programming. By using the methodology, he says, you can save yourself and your team a lot of time and money. "We need you to go out and make great things happen by using the ideas that we've left you with this week."

Lean Startup Machine Miami was made possible with the help of The Launch Pad, CO Internet, Lean Startup Circle Miami, Knight Foundation, Startup Digest Miami, CVOX and Refresh Miami.

(Photo shows the winning team Shpot.co -- team members were Jonathan, Brent and Ryan del Rosario, Klara Cu and Jared Kleinert, the youngest participant at age 16.)

Read the next post for an insider's view (Kristen McLean of Bookigee) of the workshop and Startropica's post here.

Follow me on Twitter: @ndahlberg