On August 3rd, the first LeanCamp Stuttgart took place. I’d like to say a big thank you to the organizing team, especially Daniel Bartel and to the event location: Coworking0711, the one and only co-working space in Stuttgart.
It was a great event, hugely inspiring – and very intense. All of that I had expected, actually hoped for.
But what quite surprised me was the number of corporate participants at the event.
Top-line numbers are declining across the board: quarterly revenue was down 5% year-over-year (3% in constant currency), hardware revenue down 17% (16% in constant currency), and services revenue down 4% (1% in constant currency).
Some new businesses showed respectable revenue growth: for example, cloud revenue up 70% YoY, but these were too small to offset the decline from the larger legacy businesses.
A frequently heard conclusion in the market: this must show a weakness in the overall IT industry:
Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm, 2nd Edition 2002
When Crossing the Chasm by Silicon Valley consultant Geoffrey A. Moore was first published in 1991, it quickly became the marketing bible for high-tech.
It was a perfect fit, especially for the type of business model that dominated the startup scene in the 90ies: complex IT products – hardware, software, or mix of both – that required quite expensive R&D and typically were sold B2B through a enterprise sales force.
One key insight presented by Moore was this: innovative technology solutions often require their users to change habits or processes.
And since individuals and organizations are typically resistant to change, a startup trying to sell such a solution was initially fighting an uphill battle with the majority of its potential customers.
Like many young entrepreneurs as well as veterans of the technology industry, I’m a huge fan of the Lean Startup approach as described by Eric Ries in his famous book. For readers not familiar with this approach, see Wikipedia for a quick summary or Eric’s website for the principles.
But recently, I’m seeing articles that are a little more critical, for example GigaOm reporting from the Lean Startup Conference in December 2012 where Marc Andreessen weighed in:
Marc stated that not all startups should be lean startups – and that investors should not automatically reject a company that is not using this popular approach.