This month we at Library For All were fortunate enough to participate in the first Lean For Social Good Summit in New York City.
We joined 20 other startup organizations in presenting our stories and how they tie into the Lean Startup Principles. The event took place December 5 at NYU Law’s Tishman Auditorium. We also used it as quality team bonding and had a lovely time even if we were missing a couple members of our team (Nicole and Michael, we’re looking at you!). Before the startups pitched (each only receiving five accurately-timed minutes in which to tell their story) we got the opportunity to hear from experts in their field on such subjects as funding, communications, and governance. As interesting and beneficial as their speeches were, we at LFA can never stop working and so we rebelliously sat in the back with our laptops. There’s just always so much to do!
We listened to people such as Leah Neaderthal, the director of Start Somewhere, and Sasha Dichter from Acumen Fund. It is truly motivating to hear others’ stories of success and know that we will get there ourselves one day! They were able to remind us the importance of the Lean Startup Principles: Eliminate Uncertainty, Work Smarter Not Harder, Develop an MVP, and Validated Learning. As a young startup, we strive to bring these principles to life and we have all been encouraged by Tanyella and Rebecca (our Co-Founders) to read the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Finally, it was time for the pitches. Our COO Tanyella had been practicing hers for days and had it timed to the second. With her captivating presence and obvious passion, we knew she’d hit it out of the park. The competition was fierce!Although Tanyella delivered an intelligent pitch and answered her follow up question without hesitation (“Why would this be the preferred method over transporting physical books,” one of our all-time favorite questions and one that we have been well prepared for! The cost of shipping physical books is immense as they just have so much weight is one of the main reasons), it just wasn’t meant to be, as another organization won the pitching competition. We were able to gain a lot from our fellow presenters; it’s very energizing to be surrounded by people who also are inspired to help others. We were particularly intrigued (as were the judges) by the winner, Cynthia Koenig, Founder of Wello who is working to give people better access to portable water through an easily portable water wheel.
Overall we look back on the summit as excellent practice, a great way to promote our mission to other innovative social organizations, and an amazing learning experience! We were very happy to be a part of it.