Silicon Valley’s lean startup model may not be relevant to most regions warns writer and entrepreneur Steve Blank.
The lean startup model is based on getting the minimum viable product into the marketplace and should users be enthusiastic seeking investor funding to develop the business further.
Guy Kawasaki described this in an interview last year where he described the minimum viable valuable product idea of getting the most basic service to market at the lowest cost and then getting users and investors on board.
However it might be that model only works where “startup entrepreneurs have full access to eager and intelligent business customers, hosts of industry angels and venture capitalists with money to burn,” reports Canada’s Financial Post.
Blank came to that conclusion on a trip to Australia where he met with sports tech startups: “Meeting with a coalition of entrepreneurs in the tech and sports space, he realized the lean startup framework didn’t account for the vagaries of local economies. Australia sports-tech entrepreneurs trying to scale their businesses would find that their major customers are in the U.S., halfway around the world. And unlike most Valley startups, the Aussies would need to source manufacturing expertise — which means budgeting for several trips to China.
The problems facing Australia’s entrepreneurs probably extend further as the nation’s investors are notorious risk averse and the high cost of doing living means the burn rates for startups are much harder.
Blank’s recommendation is any region looking at establishing a startup community should identify its own strengths and advantages then build its own playbook.
That it’s difficult for other regions to copy Silicon Valley shouldn’t be surprising, since the start of civilisation each industrial or trade hub has risen and fallen on its own strengths and weaknesses.
We can be sure the next Silicon Valley – be it in the US, China, Europe or anywhere else in the world – will have different strengths than the Bay Area today.