The Lean Startup But Different (S8E2)


Rocket off into your first lesson, side by side with the Bloxers. While you’re getting the hang of things, they’re gearing up for the very first daily challenge, where things get real for our entrepreneurs after each lesson. With only 3 minutes, they’ll whip up a compelling pitch that not only incorporates their newfound knowledge but also applies it to their businesses. They’ll be divided into pods with roughly 10 contenders, each with their own dedicated judge. Their mission? To meet the judge’s rigorous criteria and clinch the daily win within their pods. Later in the episode, we’ll reveal the first Blox-Off contenders of the season. However, you’ll have to hold on until Episode 3 to witness how they fare in this high-stakes showdown!


On the first day, the judges convene for breakfast, setting the stage for a discussion on their expectations  for this journey. The judges seem super stoked to mentor and light a fire in the entrepreneurs, however, they are reassured that even they are allowed to use the phrase, “I don’t know.”

The enthusiastic and more-than-slightly anxious Bloxers kick off their inaugural day with their very first classroom session, diving into the world of The Lean Startup, which entails employing the scientific method to experiment and determine what’s effective within our business endeavors. The Lean Startup methodology is a crucial cornerstone for our budding entrepreneurs, and you as well. It operates on the principle of instilling fundamental practices into one’s entrepreneurial psyche, akin to how athletes build muscle memory. By swiftly getting your product into the market, you create a tangible entity that can be tested and refined. This process is pivotal in navigating the early stages of your business, helping you gain insights, adapt, and ultimately progress to the next crucial steps in your entrepreneurial journey.

The Bloxers not only grasp the concept, they are immediately excited at all the possibilities it brings and can’t wait to test it out. And they’re in luck, because their first challenge will have them doing just that. Their first pitch consists of four parts: what their new build or Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) will be, the main point they hope to prove with it, what they will do to ensure that it is launched sooner, and the innovative accounting metrics that they will use to measure its success. The participants retreat to their designated pods, where they are granted a brief 15-minute window to fine-tune their presentations. We witness a diverse range of Bloxers as they deliver their pitches, followed by insightful one-on-one mentoring sessions with the judges to decipher the necessary steps required to successfully execute their new builds or MVPs. While some contestants showcase exceptional prowess, others require some polishing and the judges take great pleasure in delving deep to provide their valuable guidance.

As the episode draws to a close, the announcement of the day’s seven pod victors leaves us in anticipation. However, for the thrilling outcome of their performance in Season 8’s first Blox-Off, you’ll have to join us in Episode Three!


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

Adam C. Hanna
Adam C. Hanna
Founder & CEO, Tactical Elite Enterprises - Baton Rouge, LA

Adam C. Hanna, a United States Army Veteran and Security Professional, is a native to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with over 10 years of combined experience in the military, law enforcement, security management, and physical protection industry. He has worked in every aspect of the security industry from the government level to the private sector. Adam has received extensive training from his experience in the military, local law enforcement, and private security industry. His military training includes his initial training at the United State Army School of Military Intelligence at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. While there he also attended Cochise college for his AA in Intelligence Operations. He has attended college at Northwestern State University, where he began to study Criminal Justice and was a member of their AROTC program. Adam’s large background in Law Enforcement, Security and Protection includes everything from Executives, Doctors, Celebrities, and Foreign Nationals. He has provided security services for billionaire mansions, high risk workplace violence details, prominent families, celebrities, clubs, concerts, and professional athletes. He has managed and supervised a number of private security companies throughout the United States. He was on a task force commissioned by SFPD which ran warrants though SFHA projects. Adam has lead personal protection details in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, and in the Colorado Springs area.

Heidi Luerra
Heidi Luerra
Founder & CEO of Raw Artist - Temecula, CA

For 20 years, Heidi Luerra has built, bootstrapped, and founded businesses in creative industries such as the arts, entertainment, fashion, and technology. With a strong and innate entrepreneurial spirit, Heidi started her first business when she was only 11 years old and has since built and sustained a global multi-million dollar enterprise, wrote and published her own book, and worked with thousands of creative companies throughout her career to date. With a deep respect for the underdog, her businesses have largely been built on the notion that entrepreneurs and creators deserve to be seen and heard. By harnessing technology, and unorthodox creative problem-solving she’s managed to disrupt industries, democratize communities, and build platforms that clear space to incubate this personal mission.

Justin Prestidge
Justin Prestidge
Owner, Custom Trailer Pros - Kansas City, MO

Justin created Custom Trailer Pros in 2012 with the specific goal of serving people who are wanting to get into the mobile food industry. At that time, there were very few who were able to effectively help those in this emerging market, and there was no one who was solely dedicated to it. From day one, Justin has been passionate about partnering with his customers – not just selling them a product – and he has created a team of people who all carry this same passion.

Lily Mockerman
Lily Mockerman
Founder & CEO, Total Customized Revenue Management - Austin, TX

President and CEO of Total Customized Revenue Management (TCRM), Lily is a passionate and devoted leader and practitioner in the revenue management field. Lily earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Management from Johnson & Wales University. Following graduation, Lily’s career encompassed a variety of roles and responsibilities, including positions with independent full-service, boutique and resort hotels, and work with major brands including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels, and Hyatt, and various management companies. With 13 years of diverse hospitality experience under her belt, Lily founded TCRM in 2012 leveraging her vision to become the premier provider of revenue management services for the hospitality community. In recognition of these efforts, she was named 2015 Revenue Management Professional of the Year by HSMAI’s Arizona Chapter. TCRM continues to grow under Lily’s leadership and has recently begun to expand into international markets.

Michael Cole
Michael Cole
President, Next Level Technician - Tega Cay, SC

Michael’s journey began on the distribution side of the telecom industry, where he sold the very products that technicians install. It didn’t take long for him to recognize a common need among customers: a demand for skilled technicians. This realization led him to embark on the path of training technicians to fill these vital roles, which eventually evolved into the establishment of Next Level Technician, a comprehensive staffing business. With over 20 years of combined experience in the telecommunications industry, Michael and his management team are well-versed in the field, understanding the needs and desires of both organizations and technicians. They consistently make the right connections, ensuring success in the ever-evolving world of structured cabling, fiber, AV, DAS, data center/collocation, and various other telecom applications. Michael Cole’s dedication to his role as a family man and his passion for helping individuals and organizations make him a notable figure in the industry.

Omar Ghadry
Omar Ghadry
Founder Advisor - International Nomad

Omar Ghadry has adventured through startup, corporate and growth stage organizations since 2002, building from concept to real business in different models, environments, and technological eras. Omar holds agency-quality digital and strategic expertise, born from consulting, advisory and startup experiences across industry: USG, edtech, healthcare, e-com, cannabis, creator/gig economy, beauty care, home services, cybersecurity, and CPG. While he enjoys winning “work passions”, Omar spends a lot of time meandering this life through writing, reading, sports, travel, deep existential conversation, and the celebration of other people’s most important moments.

Todd Putz
Todd Putz
Owner, Bottom Top Investments - Dayton, OH

Growing up Poor in Dayton, OH, Todd found a grind to do more, see more, be more and make more than his parents and those around him. Real Estate Investing became the ticket and Todd has grown his long-term portfolio to over 600 doors while his property management company handles another 500 doors for investors. Todd is also recognized as one of the top investment realtors in his area. His team still focuses on flips and wholesales to fund the other companies. Todd and his wife also own and operate developmental disability homes as well as mental health facilities. They have 3 awesome kids and love to travel the world.

Wendell Holland
Wendell Holland
Owner & Founder, Beve - Philadelphia, PA

Wendell grew up a creative and athletic child in the western Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion. He received his BA in International Studies from Morehouse College, and JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School. After being a law clerk in Philadelphia Civil Court and Family Court, he took a leap of faith and turned his passion of building furniture into a career. Within years, he knew he made the right decision as other doors began opening. In 2018 one of his goals came true when he was cast on the CBS show Survivor: Ghost Island, and he won the show. Winning Survivor proved to Wendell that anything is attainable, and that has been his stance on life ever since. He now dreams of taking Beve to new heights.

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