China Invents the “Lean Startup” for Countries 40 years Ago

The enormous transformation of China from the starving Chinese farmers of the 1960’s to having skylines full of gleaming skyscrapers in 2016 is a testamount to the incredible power of perseverance and experimentation. Deng Xiaoping who rose to lead in China in 1978 is generally accepted as a key figure who lead and drove this transformation. His philosophy was a simple one “to experiment, to take risks, and to not be afraid of making mistakes; when you make them, just correct them”. In Ezra Vogel’s biography of the leader “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China”, the word “experiment” happens no less than 78 times throughout the book.  This book was recently promoted by Bill Gates as one of the best books to read on China.

The Impact10x team had an opportunity to share our views on innovation to China tech entrepreneurs and engineers on invitation from IC CAFE, a technology incubator and china venture capital fund located in the east part of Shanghai.  The best known innovators of our time like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk were the standard part of our discussion but Deng Xiaoping took a special place as an example of a leader who emphasized execution over guessing.  It maybe the hottest thing now in Silicon Valley to be a “lean startup” but lets not forget that this idea of experimentation and fail fast was what started the incredible transformation of China over 30 years ago.

Thanks to Xiaoming, Sean and Yixin from the Impact10x team in joining and supporting the seminar!

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