Editor’s Note: As part of a series called the Techpoint Weekly Book Review, Ifeanyi reviews his second few chapters of Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup.
Every business plan begins with a set of assumptions. And because these assumptions haven’t been proved to be true and in fact are often erroneous, the goal of a startup’s early effort should be to test them as quickly as possible.
In his book, 'The Lean Startup', Eric Ries describes these steps as a "leap of faith". As uncertain as these steps are, the success of an entire venture could rest on it. If they are true, tremendous opportunities await, and if they are false, the startup risks total failure. Successful entrepreneurs however do not give up at the first sign of trouble, nor do they steer their crashing plane more towards the ground. Instead, they possess a unique combination of perseverance and flexibility.
If you recall in our previous review, Eric and his team, having worked on a product that was typically value destroying (full of bugs, missing feature and bad designs), had to ship to customers. Well here is exactly how that ended.
“The customers didn’t even try that product, and so most of that work had to be thrown away. It’s a good thing we however didn’t waste our time fixing those bugs and cleaning up that early version. However, our learning allowed us to build products that customers did want”
Maintaining a low-quality product can inhibit learning when the defects prevent customers from experiencing the product’s benefit, therefore the new experiments you run are overall more productive than the experiments you were running before – as those learning leads to that viable product eventually.
The first step to understanding a new product or service is to figure out if it is fundamentally value creating or value destroying. As with value, it is essential that entrepreneurs understand the reasons behind a startup’s growth. There are many value destroying kinds of growth that should be avoided. The end goal of a startup however is to figure out the right thing to build – the things customers want and will pay for as quickly as possible.
In conclusion, the lean startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasize fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision and great ambition, all at the same time.
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