Friday, October 3, 2014

The lean start-up methodology

On his Harvard Business Review article: Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything, Prof. Steve Blank explains the principles of a new strategy for start-ups developed by his alumni, Eric Ries.

Eric Ries connected customer development and agile practices like the lean manufacturing system, developed by Toyota many years ago, and named this combination "The Lean Start-up".

According to Blank (2013), the old concept for start-ups infers that exposing prototypes is dangerous due to competitors. Thus, entrepreneurs spend lots of months searching and developing a product/service inside the building and then go to the market with the risk of getting the product/service wrong. 

This is one of the reasons why many research studies have shown 75% of all start-ups fail, since most common is that the start-ups even do not know who their customers are or what their product/service should be!

The lean start-up methodology suggests that in most industries customer feedback matters more than secrecy. It claims that is essential for the survival of the new business, failing fast, continually iterating and learning. 

Therefore, entrepreneurs must to “transform business as they know it; get out of the office and test hypotheses” (Blank, 2013). The lean start-up method proposes making start-ups less risky and aims a lower start-up failure.  The model predicts an improvement in the whole economic system, since many workers will be hired if the small businesses survive and achieve success over the time.

For years, MBA programs have trained base on large-company approaches.  Now more than 25 universities are teaching Lean start-up approach and are become conscious that new businesses need different management tools. The main idea behind the lean start-up approach is that entrepreneurs, instead of focusing on just developing a business plan, must to define the “assumptions of the new venture, testing those assumptions in the field (get your hands dirty), and then changing (pivoting) based on the lessons learned” (Blank, 2013).

In my opinion, and with all the respect for the authors of this new trend, I understand this concept itself is not new at all. We know that we have the market research concept which has a high validity with respect to the information obtained. However, for a start-up, a study market research could be too costly and you could get the "analysis paralysis illness :(

Kotler & Keller state that Marketing is "about identifying and meeting human and social needs" (2012). New entrepreneurs seek a response. Marketing can help them to introduce new products and build demands. The lean start-up model is about to preserve you cash until you have product/market fit. It sounds great for new entrepreneurs since that means to design the product/service with the help of consumers, far more quickly, cheaply and effectively.


Blank, S. (May, 2013). Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Unlawful Discrimination

Mello (2011) points out -in his book Strategic human resource management- that discrimination itself means to make a distinction and it only becomes illegal when it is directed against some  classes or groups protected by the law. 

The EEOC is the agency charged with the enforcement of federal laws against discrimination in the workplace. It reports that each year there are approximately 80,000 complaints of discrimination. 
Federal laws prohibit different types of discrimination based on age, disability, salaries, genetic information (never imagined this one exists), national origin, pregnancy, race / color, religion, retaliation, sex, sexual harassment and there are many others that are not covered by the law. Those ones are not considered as unlawful discrimination.
It seems like humans have a high creativity to find ways to humiliate others. 
In my opinion, the only reason why illegal discrimination persists nearly 50 years after the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is resumed in one phrase: Feeling of superiority (or inferiority). Humans are ruthless when we are in positions of advantage over others. The only antidote that cures to suffer the evil of superiority or inferiority is the education in values. We should educate values to our children, and even educate ourselves on values such as respect, justice, love, mercy, etc. Who said adults can not learn values?
It is sad to see unlawful discrimination at all levels within human institutions, within firms, schools, church... No matter age or level of education. As a Latin-American, I have seen cases in which employers discriminate against employees from his/her same culture and that's even more painful. Let's plan to acquire values. We can learn from others, read about it, join a religious group, watch YouTube videos (yes, videos). Let's make something to be better people and we are going to see a change!

Emilsis FĂ©liz

Mello, J. A, (2011). Strategic human resource management (third ed.). Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Value Of Human Resource Against Other Resources

Let's be honest. Shareholders are really interested in a unique goal: get their money back and the profit generated. 

There are many measurement methods that reveal information of how well managers are complying with this task, through the measurement of assets that generate results in the short term.  

CEO’s are often focusing on short-term results at the expense of longer-term performance. 

Therefore, management often fails to realize the value of human assets versus other assets because the value of human resources are very difficult to measure.

Whether a company does not measure the effectiveness of their human capital, never will know the economic contribution that people generate for the business, and when it does, the result can be seen in the long term, which is not very attractive today.  
Therefore, employees are viewed as expenses rather than as investments. However, employees want to feel that they are valued in the market and valued by their shareholders.

In today's workplace it’s required to consider employees as investments in terms of getting they feel committed to the organization strategy.