The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is an Onpoint guide for new startup founders who want to be big. The author has shared a blueprint of how to move ahead with ideas, what kind of mistake you shouldn’t make, and more on, what is the right time to greenlight a new idea.
Eric has shared the Learn, Measure, and Build method. So let’s explore the same in a compact way.
Let me first say thank you for reading this. This will be a weekly newsletter, hope you enjoy it. Now I will see you every Sunday at 9:00 AM (IST).
The Lean Startup Summary
The author says, most new startup founders start with the Build, Measure, and Learn method which is all wrong because this method comes with lots of risk and less opportunity to grow.
Let me give you an example of the Ark Browser by the Browser company.
Ark Browser started with the idea to change how you look and work on a browser. It is more focused on design and productivity.
So they first showcased the browser and started the wishlist. People loved the design and thousands of users signed up for the wishlist. Later they launched the first version for the wish list users for only Mac.
For a few years, they didn’t open the browser for everyone. You have to join the wishlist and if you’re lucky then you get a chance to use the Ark browser. Also when you get a browser, you can further invite only 5 users to use the browser.
This made the user special and it was great too because the browser was actually good. It is still a great browser and it’s far far better compared to what we have in the market.
Now, this is what Eric Ries tries to teach you with The Lean Startup. He says that before you build something, you need to know your audience and what they’re looking for and with time, you can make changes.
Ark browser is one example, there are many who use the Learn, Measure, and Build method.
Now, let’s go a bit deeper and explore the book.
I’m keeping my promise, this is the mini-ebook of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. So download right now and read wherever you want for free. Happy Reading.
What Do People Want
This is a great question and it’s hard to find the answer. So let me give you an answer on how you can find an audience for your new business idea.
Do A/B testing but how?
Let’s say, you’re bundling a case for an Android smartphone and you want to know whether people will like it or not.
It is a good question because you’re about to make thousands of cases for one particular smartphone and if no one buys it then you will lose lots of money.
So here is how to know what people likes.
- First, select only two designs that you like the most.
- Second, make only 50 cases. 25 cases for 1st design and 25 for 2nd design.
- Third, give away those 50 cases for free to anyone you want.
- Fourth, after a few days ask them what they like about the case, what they don’t, what they feel about this, and anything else.
Now, if you want, you can only make 10 or even fewer products and see the reaction. It also depends on how much it costs to make one case and then come to a conclusion.
By the way, I have just given you a simple example. Your business idea could be different and sometimes it’s expensive to build those products and for that, you have to go with the second option.
So let’s talk about it.
Starting with Experiment
We’re living in the internet era and most of the people on earth are using smartphones, so it’s easy for you to target whoever you want with the help of ads.
Here is the simple idea.
- Make a website about the product you wish to build. Feature everything about that product on a home page.
- Add a contact forum where people can sign up for free for updates on your upcoming products. (tip, give a discount to those users who sign-up)
- Now, it’s time to market your website. So place ads on Google, Meta, or even YouTube.
- In the end, see how many people show your product ads, how many click on the links, and how many are interested in your product.
This will give you an idea about the market fit for your idea and whether you should spend your money as well as time building the business.
You can also share your ideas with other people and take feedback.
Now, lots of people think that sharing an idea is a bad thing because some might steal your idea like what Mark Zuckerberg did with Facebook.
Here, Eric Ries says,
“Having an idea and turning it into reality are two different things.”
Yes, I agree with him because everyone is not Mark Zuckerberg.
Gather information about market fit and when you’re sure then invest your time and money to build a business.
In the end, build something that people want, don’t make something that’s already out there. If you really want to copy someone, that copy is better.
For example, if you want to make a book website then you have to write better than Me, which is not possible, I’m not lying.
So just go out there, do research, and then start your business journey.
If your idea is good but that idea is not working and people do not like it then it’s always good to change the idea and move in a different direction, just don’t be stuck there and force your idea on people.
After some time, people will get bored and move to different products.
This was one of my favorite parts of the book where he discussed Pivot.
Whoever is doing business will experience this part and not everyone loves to change the path of business.
If this happens to you then stop for movement and see what kind of changes you need to make to reach the next door.
You don’t have to play with the same rules forever, also, you don’t have to change your rules, you just have to make a few changes.
As Eric says “Pivot is not a failure”
I had two options for BookiesTalk. Whether I can go with the Premium version and the second is Free.
I went with the free model because I knew that in India, it’s hard to convince people to pay monthly to read articles.
For you, it might be different.
So choose one path from the beginning because, after a few years, it will be very hard to convert a free user to a paid one.
Take the example of YouTube. They have 2.5 billion active monthly users, of which around 80 million are Premium subscribers.
This is crazy, right?
It’s always hard to convince those users who have been using your website for free for years and suddenly you’re saying “We have a subscription where you won’t see any ads but you have to pay us”
So choose and stick to it.
But somehow, if the paid version is not working then it’s always good to Pivot and start the Free model as well.
The Lean Startup Quotes
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”
“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”
“Reading is good, action is better.”
“This is one of the most important lessons of the scientific method: if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”
“What if we found ourselves building something that nobody wanted? In that case, what did it matter if we did it on time and on budget?”
“This is an important rule: a good design is one that changes customer behavior for the better.”
“Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.”
The Lean Startup Lessons
- The first key rule in business is to make something that people want. Don’t make something that you want.
- There is nothing wrong with experimenting, so go out and show your product or give your product for free to users for testing.
- Put your product in public and see how many people are interested. Use methods like a/b testing to see the product fit.
- Choose the model in the beginning because it will be very hard for you to change a Free user into a paid one.
- Don’t be afraid to make a change in your vision because you don’t know what will come next. So make changes, if needed, a pivot is not a failure.
The Lean Startup Review
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a must-read if you’re planning to start a business because the author will tell you every single mistake that a new startup founder makes and how you can not make those mistakes.
Yes, Go read it, the author will teach you lots of things about business and mistakes that other founders have made.
Buy The Lean Startup Book:
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