Entrepreneur Eric Ries, who previously co-founded the 3D avatar-based chat client IMVU, is also widely credited with coining the phrase "lean startup" in 2008. Ries recently gathered as many resources as he could muster for lean startups and shared them on his blog, Lessons Learned.

A lean startup is one that takes advantage of open-source technologies and other products to push a product to market at a "low burn," while at the same producing continual revisions to its product based on customer feedback. Ries provides a wide consortium of links to wikis, mailing lists, meetups, and bloggers all focusing on the lean startup initiative - a collection of great value to any startup that wants to lower costs while feverishly iterating their product.

Ries, who is often invited to speak about lean startups, says that this type of development is what helped IMVU achieve its loyal following. Timothy Fitz, a software engineer at IMVU, says the developers average 50 new code iterations per day.

"That's 6 deploys an hour," writes Fitz on his blog. "Even at that pace we're often batching multiple commits into a single test/push cycle."

The inspiration for this new methodology? Ries says it came from books like Lean Thinking, which outlines ways companies can reduce waste and boost revenue, but Ries is quick to point out that a lean startup and a lean company are two different things.

According to Ries, lean companies attempting to trim the fat are striving to create value for their customers, but value is not the foremost goal for the leaning of startups.

"Lean startups operate by a different standard," says Ries. "I suggest they define waste as 'every activity that does not contribute to learning about customers'."

Photo by Flickr user Usodesita.