#NHSclinent. John Spindler @capenterprise talks about lean startup methodology – Part 1

Brilliant start to the clinical entrepreneur programme. @Tonyyoung and @theonlytoby introduce the programme (below)


Building a culture of entrepreneurial strength should be at the heart of what we are doing.

John Spindler @capenterprise – Lean Startup

Why bother starting a lifestyle business if you are a doctor. You have so much value and you want to share that with the world not just make your life easier. you don’t want a checklist business!

‘Big will not beat small anymore. The fast will beat the slow’ – Rupert Murdoch. Even he is aware of it.

Where can your business be in 12 weeks?

‘There are hidden gun’s in peoples garages which contain bullets with other companies names on them.’

‘Think big, act small, fail fast, learn rapidly’ – Eric Ries


As an investor, John Spindler finds the lack of background research by entrepreneurs to be one of the most commonly encountered frustrating problems.

2 columns:

Fact column- 2-3 facts you KNOW about what you about about do with this business.

Second column- Hypothesis. What things do I need to know to build this thing?

What is your OPPORTUNITY HYPOTHESIS. Build, Measure, Learn. Call it a project rather than a business because it is easier to fail fast. Like the psychology of this.

Experimental stage, metrics, evaluation leads to excellent execution.


Don’t build something nobody wants!

3 types of advice: validated and negative (in 8 weeks you can test it and see if it works. Good or bad it will help)

95% of advice is useless in the next 8 weeks. Shelve it because it’s useless.

Lean is just about organising the chaos, reducing waste and risk, providing more learning and a common language. IF your core assumption is wrong you need to test that FIRST. Then you will save yourself a lot of time.

It’s a common language. There is jargon and as soon as you learn it you can communicate with others – be ‘in the club’ as it were.

If you are going to build do a lot of thinking. Then build the thing that teaches you what you need to learn.

The number one thing an investor will look at is the team. If you can convince a quality person to join you that is a sign of successfulness. If you can recruit a quality army this is your number 1 asset!  What quality of ARMY can you recruit? Investors will care about this more than anything else as it is the biggest determinant of success.

Get OTHERS to validate your product. Your own validation is not that valuable but multiple external validations are.

A good hypothesis is simple & clear, written as a statement, establishes participants (who), variables (what’s involved) and prediction of an outcome (evidence).

The Pepsi Challenge type scenario is NOT the right first validation exercise. You have to assume that the first answer is wrong. Ask 5 why’s eventually & you might get to the nub of it. AVOID CONFIRMATION BIAS like the plague.

Most people are NOT early adopters in ANYTHING. Most people have habits that are very hard to break.

MVP is not a crappy version of the product. It is a prototype. Consierge MVP is legitimate. It can be a simple landing page, it can be a proof of concept, it can be something for people to engage with, it can be a paper prototype, a pitch, fake demo video, or something to help a developer to understand. It is just a way to answer the questions you need to answer.


Consierge means it is not scalable. It’s just there to allow you to learn. If your hypothesis is circular then its not a hypothesis.

Key assumptions: At least several other people are working on the same thing right now. How you think this your business idea will work is probably wrong. Your main job is to learn faster than the competitors. That is why the team is the key. It is the process and the people that win NOT the product itself.

The market is not stable and anyone who doesn’t keep moving forward will fall behind.

Call it a project, give it a name, sell something, convince someone else to join, set a goal that will inspire you, live 6 months in the future, fall in love with the problem and not your solution. Follow Peter Thiel’s philosophy as per ‘Zero to One’ (find it on Amazon its a good book.)

Don’t call it a business because you will overprotect it. Call it a ‘project’. Get people to devote time to your thing.

There are two types of teams. Napoleon team – they will follow your every command. The best teams however are people who are smarter than you and can do things you can’t and you bring them on the journey with you. They don’t want to just be footsoldiers for your army.

Paul Graham- You need three things to be a successful entrepreneur – a great team, proof that customers want it and a willingness to do it with minimal money!

Then questions:

Do you invest in startups who don’t use lean methodology? Yes but its rarer. Sometimes people just get damn lucky and hit a home run of first base but its the exception rather than the rule and it might not be repeatable.

Then he talked about financing and how ‘founders fit’ and how investors look at these things. Do you have someone resourceful, someone who can do x and y. The team you build now might well not be the team that takes it to the next level. Identify the task in hand and see if the team members can get you there.

Funders and investors must fit. An investor should never distort the function of the startup because this is your task. You have the hands on the controls. They are investing in you!

Thanks John.

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