A great read on one companies experience with the “lean startup” model (unless you happen for work for National Semiconductor):
The latest trend among chip manufacturers is to sell really inexpensive development boards. Thanks primarily to mobile phones, components are getting smaller and smaller so bread-boarding is often out of the questions. You don’t just pull out your soldering iron to attach six leads to a component that measures 2 by 2 mm. The best way to work a new part into your design is to buy a development board. I think most manufacturers now charge less than USD 50 for processor development boards. If you don’t need a development board, they will give you samples of most any part for free. Unless they are National Semiconductor who won’t even let you view their promotional material if you don’t register first with a corporate-looking email address. My advice: forget manufacturers who has their head up their ass.