(Founder Stories) Eric Ries: How Lean Was The Google+ Launch?

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Shopkick By The Numbers: 700M Product Views; 7M Product Scans; 2.3M Users In The Past Year

In the final episode of Chris Dixon’s interview with The Lean Startup author Eric Ries, Dixon asks him whether Google was “lean” when it rolled out Google+? Dixon says in some ways it appeared so, as Google was slowly “rolling out a bunch of different things, experimenting, versus let’s say Buzz and Wave.”

Ries partially agrees but also replies “I still think they did a lot of unnecessary hype at the beginning and they kept reporting on their vanity metrics: ‘Now we’ve got 10 million users on Google+.’ That makes me really nervous. How many engaged users are there?” Ries also believes that when brands become large it is harder to have an incremental rollout so bigger companies should “experiment under a different brand name in private, in some other market just to figure out, does the thing basically work before the press starts piling on.”

As the two conclude, Dixon asks Ries what he thinks about the startup landscape. Ries feels the river of cash and founders flowing into the startup scene will eventually dry up, and references his post Winter Is Coming to illustrate the point. However, Ries believes this a good thing because the strong will survive.

Separated from the boom/bust cycle Ries tells Dixon that at large, “a fundamental change is at work, I like calling it a startup movement.  I believe for the first time in history, entrepreneurship is now a viable career.” He compares it to “the birth of the management profession 100 years ago” and says, “a few decades from now entrepreneur will be a title that you can have on your business card, even if you work in a big company.”

Make sure to watch episodes I II and III of this interview and past episodes of Founder Stories here.