IGN + Heroku Case Study at Startup Lessons Learned

IGN Entertainment was a startup some time ago and is now owned by none other than Rupert Murdoch’s giant, Newscorp. Roy Bahat, the President of IGN Entrainment along with Tony Ford their Director of Engineering shared the lessons they’ve learned along the way.


Practices of lean startup:

  • Build, measure, learn loop
  • Don’t forget to do something
  • Need to have an appreciation for the process of trying things and learning along the way
  • You can apply this thinking anywhere
  • Now hiring technical talent without a resume – actually testing people’s coding ability
  • Lean practice applied to recruiting
  • A big company is a factory for making bets

After IGN, Adam Wiggins, Co-Founder of Heroku shared his startup story and some thoughts on running a lean startup.

  • An artificial deadline is useful
  • First created a web app to write Ruby code on the web and then quickly view the results
  • Participated in YCombinator and closed a 3 million dollar VC round before finishing
  • Felt like they were on top of the world but didn’t have product/market fit – trouble in paradise
  • Adoration of your peers is not product/market fit
  • The biggest problem they had was that they had the wrong users
  • Real apps were written by real developers, not end-users
  • Real developers didn’t want to use a web dev environment, wanted to use their own tools in their own environment
  • Focus is very important in a startup
  • For every bug we fixed there were two more – this sense of being very scattered
  • Needed to narrow scope, refocused on features that provided business value
  • Then realized that they needed to narrow the scope even further – needed to cut-out the web editor
  • This was a heartbreaking pivot
  • Early success created momentum but also distracted from the search for a scalable business model
  • The early success could have killed the company, essential to pivot
  • Get the right users
  • Ultra-narrow focus
Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton