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The Lean Startup Approach

December 08, 2014

Hristo Neychev is as good as it gets when it comes to young, yet experienced startup enthusiasts. In his 13 years in the startup arena, Neychev has worked in 4 different industries and founded 3 startups, while adding impressive titles to his resume, including Director of Business Development at Telerik Bulgaria; Senior Marketing and Product Manager at Essilor of America in Dallas, Texas; Business Development and Territory Manager at Shell Bulgaria; and Key Account Manager at Henkel Bulgaria. Neychev’s latest “child” is Tyrad Games – an entertainment media company focused on creating multiplayer games for mobile devices, where he is a founder and CEO.

Neychev was on campus on December 3 to share his thoughts on the “Lean Start-up Approach”—a topic destined to spark interest at AUBG, where entrepreneurship has always been on a pedestal. The Lean Startup Approach helps aspiring entrepreneurs analyze their startup idea quickly and inexpensively by using multiple full iteration cycles. It also gives them numerous opportunities to learn and validate their thinking. In turn, they have many attempts to succeed and to pivot (i.e., to change the strategy without changing the vision of the startup).

Elena Radeva, AUBG Instructor in Business Administration, invited Neychev for the intriguing lecture. Radeva and Neychev know each other from Dallas, Texas, where both used to live and work.

The guest started by introducing a curious analogy: “What is the most resilient parasite? It is the idea. It grows like a virus,” he said.

On pivoting in a startup, Neychev gave the example of Instagram. In the beginning, Instagram was created to have blended elements of Foursquare and Mafia Wars in a mobile app, but after successful pivoting, they removed everything except the photo-sharing feature.

The speaker also shared several tips on how to validate one’s idea. One of them was Genchi Genbutsu’s  “go and see for yourself,” which urges entrepreneurs to observe their potential customers to gain insight into the market and customer behavior.

Neychev also suggested that entrepreneurs develop several iterations of their idea/product/service called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and continuously improve anything necessary based on the feedback one receives, adapting the plan incrementally.

“You learn and adapt by trying on a MVP,” he explained, before entertaining the audience with another clever analogy. “It is like baking a cake. You learn how to bake a wedding cake by first learning and experimenting with a cupcake and then you move on with something bigger and better. If you attempt to bake a wedding cake for a first time without ever trying the cake mix on a smaller size, you are doomed to fail bigger.”

At the traditional Q&A session, students flooded Neychev with a variety of questions and sought his advice on best practices of creating a startup, what works and what does not, and in response received more intriguing cases, examples, and concepts from his rich entrepreneurship practice.

Story by Elena Radeva and Toma Tetimov
Photography by 
Dimitar Bratovanov

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