This is an honest plug for Ash Maurya because I believe he’s really earned it and I think you should really consider getting his book if you are in the process of building a company, especially a web based software company.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Ash’s Running Lean Workshop in Austin. As an entrepreneur that’s had fits and starts with a couple of startups of my own and others I am involved with, I can really relate to Ash’s real-world experience. With scar tissue and all, Ash has demonstrated, documented and successfully proven a systematic way to test a business model concept before you go down the road of building the wrong thing that ultimately customers don’t want.
I’ve known Ash a few years as a fellow Bootstrapper and feel he has truly uncovered through his own means of survival a battle tested formula that could help many other entrepreneurs in their quest to build great companies. Like Ash has, I’ve slammed my head against the proverbial wall a few times, failed, pivoted, and went looking for new ways to do things, and others to learn from. Unfortunately, I only discovered Steve Blank’s work and the Lean Startup movement earlier this year but, I’m sure glad I did as I have been devouring Lean Startup content since Craig Daniel @ Visible Gains introduced me to it.
Since I am involved in a few different companies and projects right now, I am championing Running Lean primarily for 3 reasons:
Mitigate Risk & Uncertainty
I believe too many businesses are going about company and product building today the wrong way. There is a better path and following the path of Running Lean can actually help to mitigate serious risk and uncertainty through successive market testing with real customers that would actual use the product or service. It seems ludicrous to me now to spend anytime developing a product with out 1st testing if the problem(s) you propose to solve are really worth solving. Not to mention, the knowledge you’ll gain from customers about what to build and how to market to customers is actually refreshing and almost too simplistic.
Prove Business Assumptions With Facts
If you fully adopt and practice the principles of Running Lean, you can qualitatively and quantitatively prove and disprove your assumptions with real data instead of guessing and hoping for product/market fit. I think this is a critical point that Ash makes in that you need to formulate “falsifiable hypotheses” that can absolutely proved or disproved. It’s very easy to color coat what someone has really stated or how someone has reacted to a product/service when there is an emotional investment of an entrepreneur involved. Leaps of Faith as Ash refers to cannot provide you with statistical relevancy in order to make sound decisions.
Increase Your Probability of Success
From my vantage point, when you adopt the practice of Running Lean, you will immediately improve your chances for success no matter what you are working on. However, success can sometimes mean that you don’t move forward on a proposed project and may mean that you move on to other things. Just imagine working for months or even years on a project only to uncover in the end that what you were building had no perceived value in the market. I bet you’d be crushed and be thinking about all the other things you could have been doing instead.
By following the principles of Running Lean, you can quickly validate if you are headed in the right direction, need to turn the business left, right, or just turn around and go in a different direction altogether.
Why not consider Running Lean?