Arbitraging The Lean Startup Book for Charity

Posted by Trevor Owens on

Eric Ries is giving out ridiculous Amazon Web Service (AWS) credits with every book bundle, making his book effectively $1 a piece. Sounds great, but what would I do with all of these books you ask? I have your answer: The Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a non-profit with the mission to: "provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures." Over 15,000 high school students go through NFTE's program each year. The U.S. Secretary of Education recently called NFTE, "the best program in the country for teaching young people entrepreneurship." That being said, the program could become even better by adopting Lean Startup methodologies. LSM Alumnus Ainsley O'Connell (Director of Strategy & Partnerships @ NFTE) writes:
At the beginning of NFTE, many of our students lack confidence about their potential as entrepreneurs and struggle with the ambiguity of real-world business problems. Lean Startup methodologies can help our students overcome those hurdles by making clear that entrepreneurship isn't about having "the answer" on Day 1, it's about taking one step forward and then pausing to measure and learn before taking a next step. NFTE's goal is for students to learn the skills and mindset of entrepreneurship; lean methodologies are a great way to provide structure for and jump-start that learning.
If you're reading this post you're probably among the 1% of people that are plugged-into what's going on in startup land. You're also someone that realizes the non-lean way of thinking about building startups takes more time, money, and is more likely to ultimately lead to failure. This alone, just to realize this new way of doing things, is incredibly empowering. Multiply that empowerment by over 15,000 low-income students each year and you understand the potential impact I'm trying to get across. Back to AWS: from a quick survey, early stage startups spend $400-500 a month in on Amazon Web Server hosting. AWS is the best there is. Now, 100 copies of The Lean Startup from the bundle will run $1860 and will get you $1400 in AWS credits (three months of service). Forget all the rest of the cool stuff in there and forget the awesome 45 min. call with Eric Ries also included. That's 100 books for $4 each. Meaning for $4 you can take a high school student who's likelihood of graduating is only 66% and give her the most leading-edge knowledge on how to start a business (source). Beyond the amazing content, I believe high-schoolers will enjoy this book because it's easy to read and gosh darn it, it looks cool. In all of this I'm going to take a step forward and put my money where my mouth is (I don't have a lot). For every 2 books that are donated to NFTE before the Tuesday book launch, I will donate 1 to NFTE myself, up to 34 books. That's the first 100 right there. You can join me in this 2 for 1 effort, just tweet at me (@to2) or email me Update: The Lean UX Residency has also offered to donate 1 book for every 2 donated by Tuesday, up to 20 books. Woo. That brings the total to 162. NFTE's National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is coming up on Oct. 6th. It's their biggest event of the year, and it would be great to teach these young kids a thing or two about Lean Startup.

What you can do to support NFTE right now:

  1. Buy some books to donate to NFTE, it's an incredible opportunity to do good at a fraction of what it would cost otherwise. Just mention in the notes, "donate to NFTE"
  2. Join forces with me in donating 1 book for every 2 the startup community does.
    • Email:
    • Twitter: @to2