Editor’s Note: As part of a series called the Techpoint Weekly Book Review, Ifeanyi reviews the first few chapters of Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup.
A “lean startup” is an organisation designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty. As simple and quite confusing as this definition appears, its relevance cuts across not just startups, but regular companies as well.
You might wonder how the application of a “lean thought” aids the process of any innovation. Recall that a lot of companies, for all their wealth and huge status, still struggle to amass high sales to product volume. It’s not that they are doing things right; where the lean startup is concerned, it’s about pitching the traditional line of thought against an uncertain practise and whose end product would most likely yield desired results. Let’s look at this practical situation from the Eric Ries’ Lean startup book.
“At a point in our careers, my co-founders and I were determined to make new mistakes. We did everything wrong. Instead of spending years perfecting our technology, we built a minimum viable product – an early product that is terrible, full of bugs that can crash your computer — shipped it to customers way before it was ready and charged money for it. After securing initial customers, we changed the product, constantly shipping new versions of our product dozens of times everyday. Often times we talked to customers and asked for their feedback, but emphatically did not do what they asked. In fact, we were much more likely to run experiments on our customers than we were to cater for their whim” — Eric Ries.
Conclusively, the most radical idea can give the best product. Value in a startup is not the creation of stuff, but rather, “validated learning” about how to build a sustainable business, and that’s the language customers understand. Customers on their part don’t care how much time something takes to build, or what process it undergoes. They only care if it serves their need. The goal in building a product is to be able to run experiments that will help us learn how to build a sustainable business.
It’s not a question of whether it works or not, it’s about trying out something new and more radical but getting it right eventually.
“While the traditional business thinking says this approach shouldn’t work, but it does”, says Eric Ries. Did this approach however work for Eric? Your thoughts are certainly swerving between Yes, Maybe, how can or No. Well we’d see how that panned out in the next review.
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