Thoughts After the First Lean Startup Circle Brussels

On December 22nd, Vladimir Blagojevic and myself organized the first "Lean Startup Circle Brussels". A big thank you goes out to ICAB and Betagroup coworking for providing a venue, and to Sirris for sponsoring the food and drinks. Special thanks also for Gilbert and the guys from the Techbrew podcast.

The event itself can be considered a big success: despite a national strike of public transport, 30 people showed up!

The agenda for this first Lean Startup circle was simple and effective. First of all, Vladimir and I gave an introduction to Lean Startup. We briefly discussed the ultimate goal of a startup (searching for a scalable and repeatable business model), we touched upon the business model canvas from Osterwalder (a great tool to visualize something fluffy like "a business model"), and we finally discussed Steve Blank's and Eric Ries' approach on how to deal with risk and uncertainty with respect to your business model. You can find our slides here or the video on youtube.

Second item on the agenda were two testimonials from founders on how they look at these things, how they apply some of those tools and principles. Some lessons learned were given. Main conclusion: the theory is nice, and sounds really great; applying it in your own context is another thing.

The third item discussed during the meeting was a roundtrip among the participants on what they would expect from future Lean Startup Circle meetings. My takeaways of that session were:

  • Participants feel a strong need for a community like this, where the focus is not on pitching or finding funding, but on sharing experiences with validating business model hypotheses.
  • Participants would appreciate that each meeting is built up around a topic (e.g. landing page experiments, the business model canvas, …). The meeting could have the form of 1-2 experts introducing the topic, 1-3 testimonials of how other startups have done it, and a breakout whereby founders can have little peer-to-peer workgroups to exchange ideas on their own burning questions.

For me, the evening was a big success. There clearly is a need among founders to exchange experiences on how to search for a viable, scalable and repeatable business model. As Sirris, we are proud to be one of the sponsors and we will continue to support this initiative.

Are you founding a startup yourself and wondering how to apply this stuff in your context? For more information on upcoming lean startup circles, check http://www.meetup.com/lean-brussels/.