Playing Lean lives on!

This blog post was originally posted on The Playing Lean Blog

Unless a miracle occurs in the next few hours, the Playing Lean Kickstarter campaign has failed.

We’re disappointed, but not discouraged! Playing Lean will reboot, and it will be back on Kickstarter. We just need to plan out the best way to move forward.

The campaign didn’t reach its goal, but it sure got a lot of attention and many great backers. We’re very grateful, and we want to give you something back.

That’s why we’re happy to launch the free Print & Play version of Playing Lean! To check out the Print & Play, follow the instructions here.

You probably noticed the new domain: It’s our brand new community site. Go there, give us your questions, your comments and your feedback. Join the party – we’re already there!

Once again, thank you to all our great backers and everyone who has supported the project! We’ve learnt a lot and had a lot of fun, and we hope you have too.

Live lean and prosper,

We will be back

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How Friendster got to dominate social media

It’s 2015, and Friendster is king among social media sites.

How could this have happened?

To understand, we need to go back to this week’s playtesting in Oslo. I got to lead 10 competent players who had to take on the heavy responsibility of leading Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Friendster in their fights for market domination.


Intense discussions at Myspace HQ. What strategy will lead to world domination?

Early Leader

Twitter got off to an early lead – with a bit of luck. A blogger revealed his preferences for everyone to see, and Twitter was positioned to build a product that suited his needs perfectly. While they were busy building their product, the other teams had to struggle through experiment after experiment to learn enough about their customers.


Early traction for Twitter. With this speed, victory seems secure.

The other teams despaired. Twitter had more customers and more features. Certainly, the outcome of this fight was already determined?

Blinding Success

As history would have it, Twitter took the wrong lessons from their early success. Suffering from feature creep, the speed of development slowed to a near halt. Their competitors, with leaner products and more insight about the market, soon caught up.


Competition has caught up and everything is up in the air. Twitter’s victory is no longer a foregone conclusion.

Friendster wins the day

While trailing behind for most of the day, Friendster built up great speed towards the end of the game. In the last round, Twitter suffered that final calamity: Confirmation Bias. Spending a full round confirming knowledge they already had, they made no progress.

Friendster could cross the finish line first and win the market!

After action review

Both winners and losers enjoyed a quick retrospective when the battle was over. Insights and lessons learned were shared across the table. Suggestion for improvement of Playing Lean were noted and will be incorporated.

Team Friendster had to face the hard reality that their global domination was only in a game, but took comfort in the fact that their learning was real.

This post first appeared on Playing Lean ́s Kickstarter page.

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Playing Lean Update

Since I announced the “Open invitation to Playing Lean November 17, 2014” a lot has happened.

First of all we have actually launched a Kickstarter campaign and that is extremely exciting.

My business partner, Simen Fure Jørgensen got a guest post published at Ash Maurya´s Practice Trumps Theory And I gave my first radio interview to Michele Price at BREAKTHROUGH radio.

As part of the Kickstarter, I’m traveling the USA giving free workshops with the game all over the place. Seriously, 16 cities from Texas, the West coast and the East coast. You can see the entire list at our Eventbrite page.


You can read more about the road trip at The Playing Lean Blog. The Lean Startup community has be fantastic in helping us, making introduction, helping us find venues and promoting the play sessions.

A big thanks to Platform Houston for hosting the Launch Lunch in Houston, Ash Maurya and Emiliano Villarreal for making the play session in Austin a success, Steve Rogers for making the breakfast meeting come alive in Las Cruces, Amber Brandner for guiding me around in beautiful sunny San Diego and for making the play session at 3RD SPACE happen,  Tristan Kromer, Alan Young, Matt Walters, David Bland, Stacey Louie and Gro Eirin Dyrnes for making the time in the valley so meaningful. And last but not least, John Sechrest for suggesting I should visit Seattle and making the trip totally worthwhile.

So, that the update for now, make sure that you have signed up for our newsletter on the Playing Lean webpage for the latest news and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Open invitation to Playing Lean

If you are as passionate about Lean Startup as me, this is your opportunity!

Some friends and I are working on a physical board game where you teach the Lean Startup methodology while playing. By popular demand we are now opening up for online collaboration.

When I first wrote about Playing Lean, we already had this in mind: “We want to make this game the best it can be by tapping into the shared knowledge of the Lean startup Movement, and continuing to iterate the game through customer co-creation”.

Since we first started, we have played the game face to face with startup enthusiasts at different events and forums in Houston, San Francisco and Oslo. This has allowed us to iterate and evolve fast. Now we are ready for open online collaboration!

If you want to be part of this:

  • Follow us on Twitter (@playinglean) to find out when and where we will be playing the game.
  • Check out the Google Docs folder Playing Lean: Open Innovation where you can find all about the game. Here you will find the following categories under “Version 2.0”:
    • Rulebook
    • Logbook
    • Facilitator Playbook
    • Industry cards
    • Event cards
    • Resource Cards
    • Tiles
    • Scoreboard
    • Innovation Accounting form
    • Co-founder Cards

→ If you have suggestions or feedback please make a copy of the document you want to comment on and rename it with [your name] + [document title]


Introducing the team

Simen Fure Jørgensen

Jørgensen has extensive experience with start-up and development of IT companies in Norway. He was co-founder of IT company Iterate AS, which since its inception in 2007 has grown to be a solid work space for 40 employees.

He will use his professional expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship for the development of the game concept. Furthermore, Jørgensens education degree in computer science and experience in a wide range of development projects to be crucial for the construction of the digital edition.

Catherine Kahn

Catherine Kahn is engaged as experience designer. Kahn has a double master’s degree with honors, respectively in Experience Design and Performance Design from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in England.

Kahn will be engaged to assist the company to build the bridge between the physical game and the online version. Kahn will use her expertise in transmedia storytelling techniques and communicate the learning from the game through multiple platforms and formats.

Robert Gustafsson

Newly examined bachelor student in Marketing and Sales Management, Robert has high expectations on himself and the things he does. He loves to try new challenges and get out of his comfort zone. Positive, caring and humorous he has respect for fellow human beings and it is important for him to have a cooperation that will work for both parties and to be able to give and take what could be shared.

Patricia Almeida

Patricia Almeida is a Business Psychologist passionate about technology and innovation. She has several years of experience in the design and development of computerized assessment environments as well as in statistical data analysis. She has conducted research internationally in the areas of intelligence, personality, group psychology, entrepreneurship and vocational interests. She wrote her master thesis in entrepreneurship and she is committed to identifying, developing and supporting entrepreneurial potential.

Sebastian Hemgren

Sebastian is an experienced graphic designer. He has worked and collaborated in several startups and he is an active member of the startup community in Oslo.

Tore Rasmussen

I (Tore Rasmussen) is a graduate student at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and writes my thesis on the learning outcomes of the game in my thesis in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

I have extensive expertise in social media and marketing and will use this knowledge to lead the  launch of the game on Kickstarter.


I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those how have help develop the game so far.  A special thanks go to those that participated at Startup Weekend Houston Maker Edition: David Torreggiani, Jesus Hinojosa, Kit Leung, Thuy Vu, and Reginald Garrett II

Startup Weekend Oslo: Tom Haugeplass, Sebastian Hemgren, Brage Olsen Mathias. Oldani og Marcus Morken.

Also a special thanks to Allan Lund Hansen for all the work he put in during the Lean Startup Machine in San Francisco.

The Lean Startup is a trademark and service mark owned by Eric Ries and has no affiliation to this project.

The game is consider the intellectual property of Lean Friends AS.

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Du er påmeldt!

Gratulere med å ha sikret deg plass som 1 av 16 til å spille Playing Lean på StartupCamp i Forskingsparken i dag!

Spillet testes på meetupen i Parken Bakeri fra kl. 16.00




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Introducing The Entrepreneurship Game

The Entrepreneurship Game (working title) is a tabletop game about launching a service or a product. The goal of the game is two folded, a) that the players will learn the key essentials about the Lean Startup Methodology and b) that the game itself is highly playable.

We want to make this game the best it can be by tapping into the shared knowledge in the Lean startup Movement, and continuing to iterate the game though customer co-creation.

This means that we are seeking feedback from both Lean Startup practitioners and those who are interested in learning about the methodology.

That being said the game will not be published under a Creative Commons license so the content described regarding this game is consider the intellectual property of me (Tore Rasmussen) and Simen Fure Jørgensen.

Playtesting sneak and peek


Photo: Tristan Kromer, Simen Fure Jørgensen and Tore Rasmussen playtesting the game in March. Location: Mesh, Norway.



Photo: Nicholas Mercer provides great feedback on the playability of the game. April. Location: RED Labs, University of Houston.

Stay in the loop

For those who are in Houston, I will participate at Startup Weekend Maker Edition there in April the 25th – 27th. Reach out to me it you want to playtest the game.

Not in Houston? Don’t despair, If you are in Oslo Simen would love to talk to you.

Not in Houston or in Oslo? We are on Skype. :-)


The Lean Startup is a trademark and service mark owned by Eric Ries and has no affiliation to this project.



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Walking on Water, being Crazy and doing things bigger and better: Three Key Takeaways From Interviewing Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka at Slush 2013

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to go to the Slush startup conference in Finland, which according to its founder, CMO and Mighty Eagle at Rovio (Angry Birds) Peter Vesterbacka, has become: “the best startup event on the planet organized completely by the community, by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.”

I have not been at many startup conferences to be the judge of that, however it was good enough to convince me I to definitely come back next year and I encourage you to do the same.

The conference was organized by Startup Sauna, an accelerator based in Aalto University’s campus in Espoo, a suburb of Helsinki. This year was the sixth annual conference with 6,000 attendees, representing nearly 1,200 companies. One fun fact is that Slush is the biggest gathering of Swedish startups on the planet.

With a press accreditation I was allowed to a 21 minute long interview with Peter Vesterbacka. He was honest and spoke his mind. Beware; when the title on your Business card is Mighty Eagle, sky is the limit. 


1. To walk on water is easy, and a must for survival

A small gaming company has made 51 games and is one the brink of bankruptcy. What do they do? They make one more.

People ask me how did you make Angry Birds successful, how did that happen, and I say actually it is very easy, at Rovio we have 800 people that can walk on water, so it is very easy, and they say what do you mean walk on water? I say we have 800 people that believe; they know that they can walk on water because no one have showed them otherwise. Of course they can walk on water, of course we can have a hundred million downloads. Not to become too biblical because in Finland it is easy to walk on water, because it is frozen.

What was different with Angry Birds compared to the 51 games before?  

I think it is more attention to details, one big thing; it is not so much about the game than that the distribution changed. Before Angry Birds no IPhone, no appstore, the IPhone and the appstore changed everything. We could start distributing directly to our fans. I think that was the biggest change and of course Angry Birds is a great game, I mean it is a evergreen, powerful characters, very accessible, addictive and very rewarding, so it is a combination of many things, but mostly it is about walking on water. 


2. Have crazy ambitious goals

I have been involved with startups for a long time, almost 20 years. What drives me and what drives entrepreneurs is that we are crazy people; we want to change the world. If you look at this Slush event I told everybody in 2008 that this would be the best startup event on the planet Today it is the best startup event on the planet organized completely by the community, by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Doing crazy thinks like that, going for a hundred million downloads for Angry Birds, people at Rovio and outside of Rovio everybody thought that I was crazy, and I probably am, hopefully in a good way. I have super ambitious targets for everything. 

How does your high ambitions impact the daily decision-making?

If you look at Rovio and if you look at Slush the ambition and passion is very contagious, you start to have people that believe that they can do anything. I think it really comes back to the attitude, you have to have courage you can’t be afraid to try crazy new things, crazy is good.


3. Try to do things bigger and better every day

We don’t talk about innovation at Rovio at all because everything we do is innovative.

I think a lot of companies that are talking about innovation are talking about something that they don’t have. At Rovio we don’t worry about innovation because we do new innovating things every day. We did Angry Birds Space, we launched in space, huge innovation but we don’t call it innovation, we just did it.

We try to do things differently every day, we try to do things bigger and better every day and that is way you will always hear me say “yea fine, we have two billions downloads that is a good start.” Because our ambition is much much bigger.We are never happy, we are never content, we are super hungry.


Have something to add to this story? Share in the comments.

Images: Christer Hansen Eriksen

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Which universities teach lean startup techniques?

I have asked the following question on Quora:

Which universities teach lean startup techniques?

In the article “Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything” Steve Blank write that “The lean start-up method is now being taught at more than 25 univiersityes and through a popular online course at Udacity”

Do you know the answer?



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Congratulations, you are in the loop

Do you want to buy a lottery ticket that can award you with a 5% ownership in a high-tech startup? Are you a founder of a startup and would like to get founded thru a lottery?

Startup Lottery is in the making, however if you have been linked to this page you have “won” the opportunity to follow the company from idea to launch.

We are now in the process of documenting interest for the concept and applying to startup accelerator programs.

Stay tuned and be an insider on our journey to revolutionise the way startups get funded.

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Synopsisoppgave ved Handelshøyskolen BI: Hvilke barrierer bør man være bevisst ved implementering av Lean Startup metodikken?

Jeg har skrevet en oppgave om hvilke barrierer bør man være bevisst ved implementering av Lean Startup metodikken.

Oppgaven (ORG 20001) er obligatorisk og en del av Leadership in Action – Avsluttende
bachelorprogram i ledelse (ORG 2000). Ansvarlig institutt er Innovasjon og økonomisk organisering.

For de som er over middels interessert i Lean Startup anbefaler jeg at man investerer $6.95 og kjøper “Hypothesis-Driven Entrepreneurship: The Lean Startup.” fra Harvard Business School Background Note 812-095, March 2012.

Videre anbefaler jeg Anders Gustafson og Jonas Qvillberg sin Masteroppgave; “Implementing Lean Startup Methodology” hvor de blant annet har en briljant oppsummering av Lean Startup.  (Side 20-21)

God lesning!

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