Category lean

Answering the product-market fit question wrong

A tweetstorm I posted the other day: 1/ for a decade now, entrepreneurs have been asking themselves “do I have product/market fit?” They usually answer it wrong. 2/ pm-fit does *not* merely mean growth. Growth can be forced for a time (even years) with clever hacks and heavy spend, but the piper comes calling with… Continue reading

Getting Tactical: the experiment design studio

If you are trying to get your team to think more creatively in terms of experiments, this exercise might be useful. Why? When it comes to creating new products (or even features), experiments help you make more informed decisions. Ideally you make your experiment as small as possible to get believable insights, but they come in all… Continue reading

Early Stage Lean: Running Weekly Decision Meetings

At Neo (recently acquired by Pivotal), we tried to put lean startup ideas into practice. Several years ago, Time Inc was our first client where we got to dream up and rigorously test new ideas over a period of several weeks. During that initial project, I realized that we needed a weekly ritual that helped us… Continue reading

Get Explicit with a Risks Dashboard

At the start of mentoring an entrepreneurship class the other day, I realized: “This group has no consensus or specificity around their belief system.” If you don’t know what you believe, how can you check if you are right? Working blindly leads to working harder, not smarter. There are lots of ways to get specificity and shared… Continue reading

Introvert Entrepreneurs and External Affirmation

The Wall St. Journal published a piece today on “Why Introverts Make Great Entrepreneurs.” There are a lot of interesting points, but one section got a rise out of me. “They don’t need external affirmation,” the piece reads. “They generally don’t look for people to tell them whether an idea is worth pursuing. They tend… Continue reading

Custdev: Starting with First Principles

On Friday morning, I popped over to Frank Rimalovski and Lindsay Gray’s always-impressive startup class at NYU‘s Entrepreneurial Institute to talk about vetting new ideas. Afterwards, one team asked the classic question, “if I shouldn’t ask speculative questions, and yet my product isn’t ready to test, how can I do customer development?” In their case, they… Continue reading

Landing Page Tests Aren’t Useful for Validation

A few years ago, I wrote about the Truth Curve, and refined those thoughts later in Talking to Humans. Essentially it states that the believability of information you receive from market tests increases as the fidelity of your product test increases. You should not wait until you have a live, instrumented product in the market,… Continue reading

Workbook for learning financial modeling and excel techniques

I’ve written about financial modeling for startups on here a few times, and included a few sample models. More recently, I led an after-work class internal at Neo for those interested in improving their skills. For those into lean, doing a thoughtful financial model from scratch is one of the best ways to spot hidden… Continue reading

The Value Behind Faster Horses

David Bland has a funny, and painful, graphic called the Product Death Cycle. It clearly illustrates one of the more dangerous parts of customer development: taking customer ideas literally. The famous line attributed to Henry Ford goes, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.” Some… Continue reading

Lean Startup Doesn’t Need Tools

In 2012, we were testing a bunch of new business ideas for Amex and I thought, “what if we had a tool that let us capture our assumptions, our experiments, and our progress?” So over a couple weeks, we hacked something out and tried it out on a few projects. It was a complete waste… Continue reading