Book Recommendation #4: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Two weeks ago, we talked about The Dip— a book about recognizing your own limitations and narrowing your focus in order to achieve great things. This week, we’ll talk about Eric Ries’s, the Lean Startup, and look at what that kind of narrowed focus can accomplish.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is kind of like the Bootstrapper’s Bible. It’s one of those books that is so essential to understanding the contemporary startup world, that you’re actually at a significant disadvantage if you haven’t read it.
The book is about what it takes to succeed as a new company, after the Dotcom bubble. In it, Ries explains how you can focus your attention on a singular object, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), in order to get your company up, running, and building a customer base.
The MVP is critical to your success. Without it, you’re in danger of spending too much time on unimportant things. Wasting your money, energy, and resources pursuing goals that don’t play into your long-term success.
Done Is Better Than Perfect
The Lean Startup is full of advice on how to build your product quickly, get it to the right people, and continually improve it based on their feedback. However, lets look at the “why” behind those ideas. What makes the MVP such a critical component to your success?
- Idea Validation — Your MVP is the most basic version of your product, with only the most critical features. By narrowing your focus and devoting 100% of your effort to its completion, you allow yourself to get off the drawing board and into the market. And this is where your “big idea” is battle-tested to see if it truly brings value to your customers.
- Saves Resources — By concentrating your energy on building your product and nothing else, you save money and time you might have wasted elsewhere. You won’t spend $500 on a logo, $300 on company t-shirts, or two days at startup workshop. Instead, you spend your time and energy where it matters most: building a product and finding customers.
- Immediate ROI — By getting your idea in front of customers quickly, you can begin charging what you think your product is worth. This is a huge step for any future investors. If they see your product is bringing in revenue from real, paying customers, they’re many times more likely to give you the cash you need to take the next step.
This is just some of the “why” behind your MVP. And truth be told, it’s only about 10% of the whole book. The rest of the book will tell you:
- How to change directions when your product isn’t working (called a pivot);
- How to get your first customers;
- How to react to market feedback; and
- How to break product cycles into a self-reinforcing, “Build > Measure > Learn,” loop.
Of all our books we’ve reviewed so far, The Lean Startup is easily the most practical. Until now, the other books have been guidebooks for building your entrepreneur mindset. But pick up a copy of this book, and you can put that mindset to work building something great.
This is just one book review from a series. Click below to see the full list:
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