The LEAN Machines (S7E2)


It’s going down in the premiere competition episode of season 7! Get ready to soak up your first lesson right alongside the Bloxers. While you’re learning the ropes, they’re gearing up for the very first daily challenge, which means that after each lesson, things get real for our entrepreneurs. They’ve got to cook up a snappy 3-minute pitch that uses what they’ve learned and applies it to their own businesses. They’ll split into pods with about 10 contenders and one judge per crew. The goal? Nailing the judge’s tough criteria to take the win for the day in their pods. Later in the episode, we’re dropping the names of the first Blox-Off contenders of the season – but you’ll have to wait for episode 3 to see how they do!


Day One begins with the judges meeting over breakfast to discuss what they hope to give and get out of this experience, and the ideas and energy are already flying. One thing is agreed upon: everyone is about to gain so much knowledge from each other, and lives are about to be changed.

The eager and nervous Bloxers start their first day off with their first classroom experience, where the topic is The Lean Startup – quite a “meaty” methodology for something titled lean! Essentially, the Lean Startup boils down to using the Scientific Method to test what works in our business. It’s compared to when the Mighty Ducks have to go back to the basics of hockey – but in this case, going back to basics is applied to businesses. The goal is to launch sooner and faster than we are perhaps ready for because we can’t build, measure or learn without going live.

The new Bloxers seem to understand the concept, but their first challenge will truly be the test of that. They are tasked with preparing a 3-minute pitch that addresses a new build or MVP and the innovative accounting metrics that they will use to measure its success. The contestants head off to their pods where they have 15 minutes to work on their presentations. We watch as a variety of Bloxers give their pitches, and then sit down with their judge for some one-on-one mentoring to find out what it might take for them to pull off their new builds or MVPs. Although some contestants excel, many struggled with the metrics according to our judges.

The episode concludes with the announcement of the day’s seven pod winners, but you’ll have to tune into episode three to see how they fare in the first Blox-Off of Season 7!


Day 1 kicks off with a history lesson on lean principles, showing how they work for different kinds of businesses. It’s like a scientific experiment for startups. The reason we learn this? Well, there’s no instant investor panel waiting for our ideas. So, without those investments waiting, we need to find a way to break tasks into smaller, doable steps so that we can accomplish them daily. Getting traction is key, not just for investor interest but for steady growth. The real deal here is validated learning – proving your ideas work in the real world. Validated learning is proven with scientific facts, evidence, and proof that demonstrable improvements in your company are happening. We’re all about value over waste, focusing on things that matter to customers. The Learning Paradox/Analysis Paralysis, doing secondary research and planning for too long in an effort to de-risk something that can’t be fully derisked, is an example of waste.  We dive into real-world cases like Zappos and Groupon, showing how launching products as experiments and making smart changes based on real results can be a game-changer. We’re introduced to the concepts of Concierge MVP, Split Testing, and Wizard of Oz Testing, all ways to validate these scientific experiments. Innovation accounting helps you track progress in a quantifiable way. The decision to pivot or push forward depends on how things are improving in your baseline metrics. And when your product really clicks with the market, that’s the sweet spot. Essentially, “The Lean Startup” is all about arming startups with a smart approach to tackle uncertainties and turn visions into successes.


  1. Traction is what makes you investable. It is what answers the two most important questions we must answer: 1) Is value being provided to the customer? 2) Is something powering our growth in a sustainable, scalable, and replicable way?
  2. We have to learn how to sacrifice many aspects of our vision in the short-term in exchange for launching sooner, re-launching faster, pushing new products and experiments, and simply driving this thing regardless of what is at our disposal in the moment.
  3. We have to launch our businesses, or projects, into a real market as a form of experimentation. So the only way this works is to launch, or re-launch, or reimagine, your company – in a way in which the company is LIVE.
  4. Accounting is as important in startups as it is in business. But a business has a large enough sample size, in regards to revenue and other financial variables, for traditional accounting to work. So we must attempt to quantify the hard-to-quantify, in a way that allows us to establish baselines. Once baselines are established, we run experiments to improve the baseline metrics. This is called innovation accounting.
  5. You know you’ve reached Product Market Fit when stuff finally starts to work, when customers are probably resonating with your offering, and when you’ve answered the value and growth hypothesis.

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Meet The Judges

Brittany Garth-Freeman
Brittany Garth-Freeman
CEO of Pinq Inc - Atlanta, GA

Brittany Garth is an award-winning business coach & international social media consultant, coworking space owner, and owner of a business development agency for women-centric brands. Brittany has worked with brands including Disney, Microsoft, Harvard University, Bank of America, and Hyatt Hotels. Brittany has provided coaching and consulting to small and mid-sized businesses nationally and internationally within the US, U.K, South Africa, India, Dubai, and more. Brittany was selected by Forbes Magazine as a top professional Coach for the Forbes Coaches Council and was selected by Cosmopolitan Magazine as one of their top 50 social influencers for 2017. Brittany is an experienced TEDx speaker, has provided corporate training to Microsoft, and has spoken on “Global Entrepreneurship for Female Minorities” at Columbia University. She is a former contributor for the Huffington Post and and has been featured nationally and internationally as a leading life coach for women in Essence Magazine, MTV, CBS, and other major media outlets. Brittany is a 2x best-selling author of her books “Dear Pinq” and “The Plan C”. In 2018, Coach Brittany was honored with a proclamation from the Governor of Virginia for “National Life Coaches Week”, to honor her work in the industry of life coaching. She is the first person to receive this honor within the industry of Life Coaching nationally. Presently, Brittany is the owner of Pinq Inc. a global brand that provides business development services for women-centric brands and corporations where she is the CEO and lead corporate consultant.

Courtney Carini
Courtney Carini
Creator & CMO, Crazy Go Nuts - Fresno, CA

Courtney Carini is the creator, co-founder, and chief marketing officer of Fresno, CA-based Crazy Go Nuts, where she and her team manufacture a variety of walnut snacks and walnut butters. Coming from a musical theater and comedy background, Carini is self-taught in the food manufacturing industry. She now wears many hats at Crazy Go Nuts—from graphic design, and photography, to R&D and sales. Raised among walnut and pear orchards as a native of Lake County in California, nestled in the mountains just above Napa Valley, Carini is a life-long advocate for the environment and healthful practices, and she is proud to incorporate these values into Crazy Go Nuts. When not cooking delicious treats, Carini enjoys performing in many television shows, writing sketches, and telling inappropriate jokes on stage, along with educating and advocating for ADHD.

Farhan Abbasi
Farhan Abbasi
CEO, & Angel Investor - Boston, MA

Farhan is the Founder and CEO of Nue Holdings, a leading real estate private equity and management firm specializing in multifamily, single-family, coliving, and vacation rental real estate. With a focus on providing investors capital-protected growth and income opportunities, Nue Holdings also operates, a management brand that offers flexible accommodations for guests and enhanced income for property owners and developers. Farhan holds an Advanced Management in Real Estate Development degree from Harvard University’s AMDP program and serves as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs. Prior to his current role, Farhan excelled as a Manager and CPA at Ernst & Young LLP, overseeing global teams and serving Fortune 100 clients such as State Street Bank, Charles Schwab, and hedge/private equity fund complexes. He also contributed as a MassChallenge Judge and Mentor and served on the MIT Enterprise Forum Board, enhancing innovation across industries.

John Allen
John Allen
Managing Partner Calibrate Network - Media, PA

John Allen started his first company, Attingo, as a junior at Temple University. Attingo is a social media marketing agency that helps companies build brand awareness. Following Attingo, John and his partners launched Boho Outfitters, an online jewelry retailer that quickly grossed up to $40k monthly. John and his partners leveraged Boho into the creation and launch of Ivory Ella, a $30M online brand that has donated over $2M to saving elephants and other charitable causes. As the company’s CEO, John managed operations, including 150 employees. John then served as an investor and the interim COO of Proof Ice Cream, a company revolutionizing both the food and alcohol industry before he moved on to become the CEO of Alta Gracia, the only independently certified Living Wage apparel company in the developing world. Alta Gracia’s products are sold in over 500 University bookstores. After successfully exiting two companies John and fellow entrepreneurs launched Calibrate Network a funding and operations group looking to help other online businesses get through the hardships brought on by the pandemic and vastly changing digital marketing landscape. John has been recognized for his entrepreneurship, employment, and charitable efforts by Apparel Magazine winning the Top Innovator award and sits on the Forbes Advisory Council.

Kaitlyn Lemus Portillo
Kaitlyn Lemus Portillo
Owner, Money Mindset & Magic Mastermind, Freedom Automations

Kaitlyn has been leveraging her expertise to help companies create structure around their ideas and scale their businesses for over a decade. In her signature program Money Mindset & Magic, she and her team coach entrepreneurs on how to create systems that support growth at their unique starting point. She is known for her raw, authentic coaching style and encouraging her clients to connect to their authentic selves so they can elevate at exponential rates. After signing her first major publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing, Kaitlyn’s work was featured on Disney’s “A Cinderella Story”, Rebecca Black (It’s Friday!), as well as HGTV shows.

Luke Wade
Luke Wade
Owner, KC Crew and MediaAlly - Kansas City, MO

Luke, an energetic and adventurous individual who’s always on the lookout for exciting new experiences in his city, started his business when he was frustrated by the lack of engaging activities and quality events. What began as a small initiative has blossomed into an incredible success story, with over 51,000 participants engaged in diverse activities like Sand Volleyball, Basketball, Pickleball, Cornhole, kickball, softball, and more, spanning the entire city. He also orchestrated one-of-a-kind events such as a Grilled Cheese Festival, an Underachiever’s Run, and a Zombie Crawl, attracting a staggering 16,000 attendees. These endeavors not only allowed Luke to leave his conventional job five years ago but also enabled him to foster a thriving, interconnected community. His once-small initiative now boasts four full-time employees, 40 part-time officials, and an office that has transformed into a bustling arena. Driven by his desire to make a positive impact, Luke is committed to helping others cultivate vibrant in-person and virtual communities. His dedication has earned him numerous accolades, including the 2018 25 under 25 Award from Thinking Bigger Business Media, the 2017 Innovation Partnership Program award, the 2017 Social Sports Industry Association Product Innovation Award, the 2016 Social Media Club Trailblazer of the Year Award, the 2014 Mayor Sly James’ Challenge Cabinet recognition, the 2014 Rising Star Award from NonProfit Connect, and the 2013 Urban Hero Award from the Downtown Council.

Peter Busch
Peter Busch
Chief Strategic Officer, Flawless - Austin, TX

Peter Busch brings over 20 years of industry experience in film production, technology growth stage and go-to-market. He started his career in traditional 2D and 3D animation with Warner Bros. and Paramount respectively. He previously worked with computer vision company Image Metrics in 2007, where he was instrumental in the initial adoption of its facial animation technology, used in the Academy Award winner The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Nominated in 2015, for a Scientific and Technical Academy award, Busch’s other notable accolades include Kong vs Godzilla, Horizon, Call of Duty, Madden, FIFA, Halo, and Destiny. Peter helped co-found facial animation B2B Faceware Technologies in 2012, helping expand its reach to nearly 4,000 studios in 90 countries around the world. The company’s technology was used on numerous projects in Film, TV, AAA Games, VR, AR, and MR before its acquisition by Facebank, Inc. in 2021. Known for his adeptness in crafting brand strategies, shaping corporate vision, orchestrating product releases, and implementing effective growth plans, Peter has also mastered press and marketing strategies. With a history of managing teams ranging from 5 to 45, he has achieved remarkable results, boasting over 170% revenue growth since 2019. Armed with a unique blend of artistic appreciation and technical prowess, he successfully marketed tech products, tools, and services to the realms of AAA Gaming, CG Animation, VFX, and Academia, fostering relationships with over 250 key industry accounts. Renowned as a speaker, Peter has delivered keynote presentations at international conferences and earned two SciTech Academy Award nominations, along with securing adoption by major entertainment franchises. Peter’s influence has extended globally, orchestrating B2B growth across 3,500 studios and academic institutions in 85 countries, culminating in an 8-figure exit collaboration with Facebank, Inc. in April 2021.

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