[Translation] 6 misconceptions in the Lean Startup methodology
Hello harazhiteli! Every day, a huge number of startups appear and disappear in the world. In different countries, in different areas. Many entrepreneurs dream of finding a formula for success in some kind of book on personal growth or at conferences and other events. Eric Rice's book Lean startup , which marked the beginning of a popular movement in startup culture, deserves much attention . The Lean Startup Model, which is gaining popularity in Russia and the CIS , helps build startups with small resources, due to the reduction of development cycles. Everything in this model seems to be very good and “must read” to entrepreneurs, but some of the nuances are described below and will be very useful for your future and current projects.
I'm tired of hearing about the Lean startup methodology
No offense to Eric Ries, who came up with some much-needed corporate terms, which are now widespread and ubiquitous in the culture of Silicon Valley [eg: Pivot (pivot), minimum viable product ( MVP - minimum Viable product product ), and continuous innovation (continuous innovation )], but there is much that I think is wrong - without foundation - from the whole concept. Here are some of the problems:
1. The Lean Startup model encourages individual features as opposed to creating a complete product
Silicon Valley is obsessed with companies that are built around one function ( features ), which is used in a small number of buying companies. Think of social apps as an example of the merchant Mertado acquired by Groupon, or Summify , the social resume network that Twitter acquired. This is an epidemic. But customers, unlike acquired companies, need to solve their problems, mainly with high-grade products.
And at the same time, it seems that many entrepreneurs have interpreted the Lean Startup model as an excuse for iterating and building a product in stages.
What is the result? Many companies are built around inferior features that are not important to almost anyone, and least of all for customers.
2. Negatively affects team motivation
The pace of continuous innovation that the MVP model requires is complex, to say the least. Take a look at SnapTax Intuit , which tests 500 innovations over a two and a half month tax period. And if you count, then this is up to 11 tests per day! This hectic pace is sure to demoralize your team.
Also, it seems like a waste of developers time to me. After all, A / B testing, or multivariate testing, is a well-known method these days. In practice, here at Bislr, we find that about 70 percent of what we want to test will ultimately not be of much importance to the business. The truth of entrepreneurship is to find out that many functions and events around them will sometimes bring little value.
3. Such products are hard to love
Customers should be prepared for the fact that their favorite applications can leave the market, but, in fact, you need to worry less about it. Lean products, by definition, are not very attractive. These are products that are not easy to fall in love with, and that is why companies that buy them usually do this in order to immediately cover up a product or service ( in many cases, companies buy startups only because of a team or technology, and not because that this is a good business - translator's comment ).
Perhaps technical guru Guy Kawasaki summarized this better when he was recently asked about product interactions: “A great product is attractive. It does not consist of functions done in a few weeks. As your needs become more meaningful, you will find that you do not need another product. ”
4. Depreciates product architecture
Companies that focus on MVP tend to save on product architecture, which is very important. If you do not have time to build the entire product correctly, you will also not have time to invest in architecture in the future. Unfortunately, there will be no decision on the architecture of the product that could determine your success or failure as a company.
Many companies competed with Evernote in the early days. Some were even bundled with a more colorful user interface. But the catch is that nothing happened. Why? In a word: Architecture.
Evernote is built around so that people can collect, store and retrieve all their memories and notes on the Internet. Architecturally, the product was built to scale in a living ecosystem, designed for independent software developers to create around their platform using a program that Evernote calls “Trunk” ( or “Rod” ).
5. Leads to confusion with your investors
I am for building companies that have several exit strategies ( IPOs, sales, mergers, etc. - translator comment ). The path to an IPO is not right for every company. But the creation of a company around a small number of functions specifically in order to be acquired - it seems to me simply wrong.
If you are a founder, then a quick sale, of course, can be a way to an extremely profitable refund. But this is completely unfair to the executives, managers, as well as other people who have contributed to the product and helped at specific stages of building the company to success.
6. It distorts the way people are hired in the Valley.
I think, of course, here about Nick D'Aloisio , the 17-year-old founder of Summly, which was acquired by Yahoo. Personally, I don't know anything about Nick, but I know that $ 30 million is a lot of money that was paid for the work of a 17-year-old guy.
Nick may be the most talented developer on the planet (even if his basic skills are not sufficiently developed yet), but what do we do to get the next Dropbox or Evernote if we take such a talent like Nick prematurely? I think that both Nick and his company would achieve more as an independent company.
So what is the alternative?
Take and look at the MVP model in disbelief. Most of the time, it is used at the very earliest stage of a company’s life cycle, when there is little money, and time to market is all. Constant iteration, but not in such a way that your team puts you at risk of losing strength and motivation. Build your business to the last, make pivots until your company can challenge the market.
And when more and more companies are interested in “acquiring” your startup - you and your team will ask yourself if it is really worth it. These are transactions that will not create value, and it is believed that this can be avoided.
About the author of the original article: Michael Sharkey is the co-founder and CEO of Bislr. He started his first business to impress the girl - without knowing anything about the business, his career gave rise to many successful companies. As a teenager in Australia, he created two businesses: a catalog of artisans and an ordering system for the mining industry. At the same time, Michael helped his brother, Chris, in starting his Stayz. Like HomeAway in the United States, StayzFairfax Digital was later sold for $ 12.7 million. Together, Michael and Chris founded Sharki Media, a technology-based marketing agency to help other businesses build successful sales and marketing automation. In 2011, Michael co-founded Bislr, an intelligent marketing operating system (marketing automation, etc.). Michael has been featured on TechCrunch, the Wall Street Journal, CRM Magazine, Reuters, Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC News.
The startuper from Ukraine Yaroslav Bosenko , who also translated the article “Average developer’s income depending on the programming language,” also helped translate .
Thank you for your attention and for the positive feedback. Subscribe to our blog on Habr , Twitter , Facebook, A YouTube channel to stay tuned. Previous posts can be viewed here .
Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.
Are you interested in similar translations?
- 88.3% Yes 159
- 11.6% No 21
What publications related to Silicon Valley are you interested in? (Speak more in the comments)
- 47.8% Interviews with eminent entrepreneurs and investors 56
- 37.6% Reporting from interesting places in Silicon Valley (offices of IT giants, coworking, etc.) 44
- 80.3% Translations of popular articles from TechCrunch, Hacker News, etc. 94
- 56.4% Articles from the “eminent inhabitants” of Silicon Valley 66
- 39.3% Reporting from conferences and networking events 46