“I rememberthe moment I realized my company was going to fail. My co-founder and I were at our wits’ end. We desperately tried to raise more capital and fail at it... The company limped along for months afterward, but our situation was hopeless. At the time, it had seemed we were doing everything right: we had a great product, a brilliant team, amazing technology, and the right idea at the right time.”
Those could be my words but it’s actually an excerpt From Eric Ries’ “The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.”
Why do I recommend you read The Lean Startup?
When I started to read the book 'The Lean Startup' I actually thought something like 'oh, my god, this guy is talking to me, he knows what happened to me and my companies'. I'm an entrepreneur and co-founder of three companies that do not exist today, but anyway this isn't a post about my failures. Today, I just want to recommend this book, if you are an entrepreneur and you failed, then you really need to read it. You are not alone.
Throughout my life, I had the idea that working incredibly hard for a company, doing the right thing, having a good plan, a solid strategy, and thorough market research; the success would find me. That never happened, the companies ultimately failed in the marketplace. At first, mainly because of my background, I saw these problems and I knew that they required a better process, better planning, discipline, focus, or vision, but I was still failing.
This book isn't just another story of entrepreneurs who fail, the book goes beyond, describing why the Startups fail so badly everywhere, and how the old management methods are not up to the task. I think the idea is you’ll learn how to build, with the right team, a minimum viable product from your vision, and then test those assumptions, evaluating your progress and deciding wheter to change the course or persevere.
So, below I'm sharing a list of the points that seemed most important to me in the book:
First, what is a Startup and what is an entrepreneur? A Startup refers to an entity designed to create a product or service under conditions of uncertainty, it can be a department or an area inside a company, an application, or an innovative company. In this sense, entrepreneurs are those people responsible for carrying out a Startup.
When we talk about Startups, the first thing to come to mmind is how dynamic, fun, and exciting they are. Then, many entrepreneurs take an attitude of 'just do it' and put aside business management, processes, and discipline. Unfortunately, this attitude leads to failure more often than not. We live a moment of business rebirth and openness to new ideas, but to seize these opportunities and succeed it’s necessary to conduct entrepreneur management.
Another key element -and one with which I identified is "learn". When a Startup fails the entrepreneurs have the consolation of having learned something important, we can now tell a good story, but that learning is not much if you leave it as anecdote, learning does not pay creditors, employees or investors who have been with us. The book recommends that you carry out a validated-learning process. This mean that your efforts are directed to discover valuable truths about the implementation and perceptions of the business, the validated learning must be supported by empirical data collected from real customers, the rest is just waste.
So how is learning validated? Well, you need do experiments, even in the book each experiment is a first product itself. If one of these experiments is successful you can devote more resources, add staff and users to finally build the product. When your product is ready to be launched, it will have customers, your initial users will have solved some real problems for real people, also you’ll have specifications of what customers expect not only assumptions. The difference between these experiments and market research is that comments and the results of the experiment are about the product there today and not what might work tomorrow.
If you're thinking of launching a Startup or building a new product or service, if you have a business that’s not giving the results you expected, or if you want to make changes to any of the departments in your company then you really need to read this book. I just started to read it and I have a long road ahead, but the book seems quite promising.
What do you think about the post - or the book? Do you have any suggestion? All comments are welcome.