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The lean start-up model: A better way to start a business or a methodology flawed from start to finish?

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

– Mike Tyson

Science Vs. Intuition

As of 2017, the lean startup methodology is one of the most popular methods of building a new business.

I know, it’s been 6 years since Eric Ries released his best-selling book “The Lean Startup” but it seems that the lean movement he helped popularize is not going away anytime soon.

And for many, that’s a good thing!

After all, as the lean startup supporters would say, it’s a scientific(ish) process that has been proven to work…

… not necessarily turning a (business) idea into a success but at least helping people find out – fast – whether it has market acceptance or not.

So what’s so special about it?

According to Steve Blank, also one of the lean startup pioneers, it’s special because “it favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development.”

Which as you might agree, at least in theory, appears to be a more appropriate formula for startups.

But at this point you might wonder, if it’s an undisputed theory that does the job (for everyone) why even bringing this topic in the first place?

Well, because it simply is not undisputed!

In fact, the last couple of years more and more people came out of the woods and said: That thing doesn’t work; time to throw it under the bus!

And on today’s post will do our usual digging and find out how much of that is true and how much is BS talk!

Let’s get started…

The Case for Lean Startups

Before going into the lean critics, I think it is worth taking a moment and to see into a bit more detail on why the lean methodology got so much traction the last few years.

Early decisions are validated by data and not market guesstimates

A couple years ago the conventional practice of starting a new business was to a) create a static business plan (which as you know described not only the area of opportunity, but also how you’ll make things happen), b) build the product on stealth mode and c) almost religiously follow the prescribed action plan.

Nonetheless, at least for startups, that approach it would seem to be gone (as in forever).


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