Eric Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author. He is best known for pioneering the lean start-up movement. Lean start-up is an innovative business strategy that advocates using resources efficiently in the early stages of a company’s development, and takes its name from the lean production principles developed by Toyota and other Japanese manufacturing companies.
After graduating from Yale, in 2001, Ries moved to Silicon Valley to work as a software engineer. After a failed start-up called There.com, Ries and Will Harvey started another company called IMVU Inc, a 3D social network using personalised avatars. Through the company he met Steve Blank, a successful serial entrepreneur and thought leader running an entrepreneurship course at UC Berkeley.
Blank emphasised putting real features in front of customers and measuring user feedback – which he called Customer Development. The methodology resonated with Ries, who used it to quickly develop IMVU’s products, creating a successful company. Customer Development subsequently became a core part of the lean start-up approach. He began to document his philosophy in his blog with a post entitled the lean start-up.