Christian Heilmann

Leancamp London – a new outlook on startups

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

After spending the past weekend at Warblecamp I went up to the construction site that is the Great Western Studios to attend Leancamp. In essence, Leancamp was an unconference trying to promote a new, more agile and leaner approach to starting your own business. Instead of trying to dazzle investors with great visuals and random predictions of future prosperity you concentrate on what you want to build for whom first and then spend as little as possible to achieve as much as possible. Being nimble, agile and lean is more important than showing impressive numbers and burning through a lot of cash before hopefully being bought by somebody.

leancamp scheduleLeancamp attendees.

With me being very oblivious to the pains and ideas of having an own startup my part in Leancamp was two-fold: giving a talk introducing Yahoo technologies that startups can benefit from (YQL, YUI, Design Patterns) and interviewing David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 Signals about their new book Rework for the YDN Theatre.

The latter came as a bit of a surprise as I neither knew anything about the book or much about 37 signals really (never having had a small company I never used BaseCamp). So I spent my weekend reading the book to prepare myself for the interview. For me it was a bit of a blast from the past as I used to work for a radio station constantly interviewing people before becoming a web developer.

My talk had – after a few initial planning hickups – a lot of people in the room and covered all the things Yahoo offers for companies to use for free to build quick prototypes that can easily be turned into full blown products without worrying about scaling and them working in an environment as hostile as the internet. The slides are available on SlideShare and the audio at

I once again was fascinated just how many of Yahoo’s tools are not known to people. I do think I am doing quite a good job promoting them but clearly not enough :)

I will write more about the interview with David Heinemeier Hansson and the book once the video is out.

All in all Leancamp was an interesting (un)conference for me as it meant I met people from environments I normally don’t hang out in. The organisation was good (exception was the lack of food as it ran out very quickly – although @farhan was nice enough to get me a sandwich while I was preparing my talk).

There were some really good discussions going on and I am sure a lot of the material that was recorded will show up on the Leancamp site sooner or later.

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