Lean Startup

Who the F..k is WhatsApp and top stories this week

Who the f..k is WhatsApp?

Possibly the most uttered question this week as Facebook announces a $19 billion acquisition of a startup few people knew much about.

Except for the 450 million users who kept logging in every day to use it.

In an industry that thrives on big stories and lots of controversy this company has been amazingly low key. My favourite story is that they apparently knocked back $10 billion from Google recently but no one knew about it.

Many people are shocked but if you want the investors view have a look at Sequoia Capitals blog post on the deal

No company has ever grown at this rate, interesting stats about the company

  • 450 million users (250 million in the last 9 months, faster than any other company in history)
  • Daily users @72%
  • 32 Engineering staff to support 450 million users
  • Free for the first year, then $1 per year after (potentially $450 million revenue run rate next year)
  • Massively disrupted the global SMS business sending 50 billion messages per day

Turns out one of my young foreign engineers doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter accounts but only uses WhatsApp, apparently this is very common outside Western world countries where SMS has been very expensive. In Mexico 90% of messaging traffic is now via WhatsApp.

Also most people seem shocked by the deal and the massive size, however consider this.

Facebook has 1.3 Billion users and is valued by the market at $100 billion approx = $76 per user

WhatsApp has 450 million users and was purchased for $19 billion and mostly paid for in stock approx = $34 per user.

Facebook is the valuation benchmark for social network users, but if it turns out they are overvalued they paid in stock so the value paid to WhatsApp goes down as well and Facebook just doesn’t have messaging right.

My favourite part? Sequoia invested $8m for a $3.2 billion return, possibly one of the best startup investments in history. That is what they call a Super Unicorn

Other interesting stories and Tweets


Fail Fail Fail Win

Fail Fail Fail Win






















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Lean Startup Tools and Processes Im using

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup, London Edition

Eric Ries – The Lean Startup, London Edition (Photo credit: betsyweber)

Lean Startup Book Cover - Credit - Eric Ries

Lean Startup Book Cover – Credit – Eric Ries

Over the last few weeks I have launched a prototyping project, its high profile, technically difficult, experimental and needs to be done quickly.

Normally in a big corporate you would spend a year on this, an academic might study it for 2-3 years, I hope to condense it to a few months and produce a working prototype.

I have listened to Lean Startup a few times now over the last year (well most of it) and started looking for tools to facilitate building a lean startup (within a multinational split over 4-5 timezones).

Funnily enough when I launched my first business nearly 14 years ago I didn’t spend much time planning, I just made a best guestimate of what we should do, the 3-5 big goals that would change my world, listed the tasks needed to achieve each goal and executed hard, measured the results and adjusted as I went, I would review the priorities every day and set new weekly goals based on a quarterly plan (but no more than that).

Everything was an experiment unless proven otherwise (I got this experimental approach from Seth Godin’s book “Survival is not enough” long before Lean Startup was a movement) and I ran lots of experiments, more than 25 different ways to get the message out (and more than 150,000 mail drops to Sydney Businesses with about 20 messaging variations)

Here is the list of tools that I have come across and tried/used so far in my process.

Please add any you think we should have to the comments and I will put them into the list.

http://leanstack.com/ has a multiuser Lean Canvas – Works well when you are working with an international team, simple but easy way to get the critical data to make a product and a decision down on one page.

Leanstack.com Canvas App

Leanstack.com Canvas App

http://leanstartupmachine.com/validationboard/ A Google Docs Validation Board template

Similar but more manual and works on Google Docs

123D Design – Free 3D drawing software, there is a desktop version (which crashed a lot for me) and a web version (which is not as capable as the desktop version). Despite these problems I still recommend it as it is very capable software and amazing given its free.

123D Design

123D Design

Tinkercad.com Very good if you are aiming to build models for 3D printing but I found it lacking for more complex object contruction (or it could be my lack of skill) Also free

Tinkercad - Credit Tinkercad.com

Tinkercad – Credit Tinkercad.com

Autodesk Inventor – This is what you will probably use if you need more than 123D. Easy enough to use, but you really need 8Gb ram and Win 64, it too will crash on 4gb. Extremely capable. Not free but a demo is available.

Autodesk-Inventor - Credit Autodesk & www.synergissoftware.com

Autodesk-Inventor – Credit Autodesk & www.synergissoftware.com

Google Docs – Because enterprise collaboration tools will arrive in your company 2 years after you need them.



LeanProduction.com Excellent explanation of the 25 lean tools for manufacturing

Strikingly.com for building a great landing page, ever wondered who builds those beautiful one page sites that explain everything you need to know about a product or service and nothing else? Strikingly.com does.

http://pollenizer.com/tools Check out Phil and Micks collection of tools, these guys are experts in the space.

https://trello.com to create a shared workboard so that you can collaborate rather than email everything – Freemium

http://www.targetprocess.com Agile Project Management Software – Freemium

https://www.circuitlab.com/ This is a great App for desiging circuit schematics and then running them in a simulator – Freemium



https://www.fluidui.com/editor/live/ Available in your Chrome Browser for designing App mockups – Freemium

Fluid - Chrome Based Mockup App

Fluid – Chrome Based Mockup App

What did we miss? Add your preferred Lean Tool in the Comments.


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