I'm Salim Virani. I used to design peer learning programs, and these days I'm having fun building stuff.

Scientists, Lean Startup and creativity
Jul 8, 2012

When I told a table full of biologists about Lean Startup, one asked, “doesn’t that mean you’re taking the creativity out of entrepreneurship?”

I replied, “it means we can test our hypotheses and adapt more quickly. If you could have run your PhD experiments in 3 months instead of 3 years, would you have been more or less creative?”

Same goes for your business. If you could eliminate what doesn’t work faster, think that’d make you more creative in your attempts?

What am I up to these days?

I’m working on a communication tool for loose community groups and unconference-style interactions. It focuses on individual autonomy rather than top-down coordination.

I recently became a Kernel fellow, where I was exploring models for self-directing communities of care, the history of economic cultural norms, and the connection between mimicry, memes and our sense of belonging.

I did a few advisory gigs too - for Polygon, Limechain and Bankless on education and support programs.

In the past, I designed peer learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures and The Royal Academy Of Engineering. I also played a role in creating the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Projects

  • Cuppa - decentralised collaboration protocol (WIP)
  • Nonfungo - completely on-chain NFT sale notification bot for Discord. (Look ma! No Opensea API!)
  • Powerplays - real-time token launches

Books

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference

Collected practices

  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled