This week we held a Meetup on Lean Startup Methodology in Greece. We were invited by Panayotis Tzinis at Kariera.gr. Our primary purpose was to explore the startup scene in Athens and make connections with both entrepreneurs and business coaches.
The evening started slowly and painfully. Several of our members did not arrive on time or could not come at all. Athens was divided in two, because of the visit of the German Minister of Finances that triggered mass protests; so, public transportation came to a halt. On one hand, I was disappointed that not all of our members attended. On the other hand, I was exhilarated at the prospect of teaching the lean ways to people who will be forced to live ‘lean’ for years to come.
So, I started with an overview of the Greek economy since the beginning of the economic crisis and I connected it to the emergence of the Lean Startup Method. It is evident that this method would not have become as widespread, if the economic growth in European countries has not changed radically over the past five years. I could see the audience nodding knowingly and took courage to move to the next step.
I described briefly the basic principles of the lean startup and why it worked. You should have seen the reaction. Immediately the audience was divided in two camps. The ones who have used lean methods in the past and founded them useful, and those who remained skeptical. The skeptical group was the one that have never applied lean methodology and could not see how it would bring value to their ventures.
As I was aware of the possible objections, I left plenty of time for questions; these ranged from being extremely theoretical to those that demanded the demonstration of specific examples. And this was the part I enjoyed the most! I absolutely love listening to passionate people who want to learn more and want to find out the applicability of elaborate theories.
There is no doubt that lean methodology is counterintuitive. Entrepreneurs need to unlearn older and traditional methods that have been around for decades. We ask them to embrace the unknown and experience the power of innovation. At this stage, inherent fears come to the surface and they may inhibit their future actions. Those entrepreneurs, though, who will embrace lean methodology will have higher chances of success AND will enjoy more an otherwise stressful process. We wish them every luck and we would like them to know that we would welcome them to the next meetings, during which we will give a lot more practical information.