Finally it was so far. Ash Maurya came to Berlin to give Running Lean workshop. As a big fan of Ash, I subscribed myself to see what I could learn from the person who made Lean Startup most practical in his book Running Lean.
It was hard to define my expectations before. I had the impression that I understood the book Running Lean very well. I would like to hear the story in real, have the possibility to discuss with Ash and maybe I was hoping for success stories. Anyway the day before I evaluated what I need to focus on to start a new product or join a startup. My weak point is problem-customer fit and the best and easiest is to be a fast follower.
Below the highlights of the workshop for me based on the most important quotes from the presentation of Ash:
Running Lean is a systematic process for iterating from Plan A to a plan that works before running out of resources.
Why are startups hard?
- The myth of the visionary entrepreneur.
- Product development gets in the way.
- Listening to customers is key, but you have to know how.
Running Lean does not guarantee a successful product.
- Document your Plan A
- Identify the riskiest parts of your plan
- Systematically test your plan
3 Types of Risks:
- Product Risk: Getting the product right
- Customer Risk: Building a path to customers
- Market Risk: Building a viable business
Research (Hypotheses generation) versus Interviews (Hypotheses validation)What is an MVP?
The fastest way to get through the Build-Measure-Learn loop with the minimum amount of effort.
Speed – Learning – Focus,
click here to read the blogpost I wrote based on the book Running Lean
Time is our scarcest resource.
Canvas: Problem – Customer Fit
Problem – Existing alternatives
Customer segments – Early adopters
– Five Whys root cause analysis
– “What is the job the customer is hiring you to do?” (Clayton Christensen)
For new products, the initial battle is getting noticed at all.
- Craft your UVP around your #1 problem and finished story benefit.
- Avoid empty marketing promises.
- Be specific.
- Create a high-concept pitch.
Be Specific: Instant Clarity Headline
End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address the Objections.
- Hot fresh pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free.
- Get your dream job in 30 days.
- Not more numbers, but actionable metrics.
Pricing is part of your product.
Pricing determines your customers.
- Price relative to existing alternatives.
- Keep it simple.
- Place a value on derivative currencies like attention if you aren’t directly charging.
- Okay to start with outbound channels to jumpstart learning.
- Identify a few scalable channels you might employ.
The key numbers that tell you how your business is doing.
- List the customer action that drives value.
- How will you define success?
What is a real unfair advantage?
A real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought.
-Jason Cohen, Founder WPEngine
- What is your unfair advantage story?
- If you don’t have one yet, leave it blank for now.
If you can’t get 10 customers to say they’ll pay face-to-face…
What makes you think you can do any better online?
- Attention Interest Desire Action:
- Attention: Nail the problem.
- Interest: Deliver a compelling demo.
- Desire: Use price anchoring.
- Desire: Other techniques – prizing, scarcity.
- Action: Don’t lower sign-up friction. Raise it.
The most important thing scientists do.
(Hint: It’s not running experiments)
First and foremost, scientists build models.
They then run experiments to validate those models.
Entrepreneurs need models too.
Business planning is a waste of time.
Customer behavior is too complex to model.
“…these irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless – they are systematic and predictable.”
– Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational
Every business is different.
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Sustainably deliver and capture customer value.
Where do models come from?
01 Simple approximations of truth.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
– Albert Einstein
02 Harness the power of analogs.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing.”
– Edward Deming
Your business model is the product.
Everyone is in the manufacturing business.
“Organizations live or die as systems not as processes.”
– Goldratt, The Goal
Theory of Constraints:
Every business is a system of interconnected processes with a single constraint.
Lean tells you what and how to improve.
TOC (Theory of Constraints) tells you where to improve.
Right Action, Right Time:
At any given point, there are only a few key actions that matter.
Focus on those and ignore the rest.
- ACQUISITION > How do users find you? PAID
- ACTIVATION > Do users have a great first experience?
- RETENTION > Do users come back? STICKY
- REVENUE > How do you make money?
- REFERRAL > Do users tell others? VIRAL
What’s stopping your business from growing 10X?
Problem/Solution Fit Questions
- How many interviews?
- How should I score them?
- When do I stop?
Product/Market Fit Questions
- What is Product/Market Fit?
- How do I measure it?
- When do I transition to scaling?
- What is the best growth strategy?
- What key metrics do we optimize?
- When are we done?
What is Lean Stack?
- Lean Canvas >> Why?
- Lean Dashboard >> How?
- Experiment Reports >> What?
What is an Experiment?
- Experiments aren’t standalone but additive.
- Expected outcomes need to be declared upfront.
- Expected outcomes need to be falsifiable.
- Experiments need to be time-boxed.
- Breakthrough insights are usually hidden within failed experiments.