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The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets by Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits, Brant Cooper

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Chapter 6

Viability Experiments

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Winners experiment. The world is changing fast—strike that, the rate of change is increasing. You are being disrupted. The pundits screaming at you from the TV, what are they on about? They’re being disrupted. It’s what you do when you become obsolete. Innovate or die. You can double down on “ignorance is bliss” or you can start running experiments.

The idea of viability experiments is to test critical aspects of your business model, before you build them out. Just as a scientist runs experiments to prove a theory, so should an entrepreneur. Just as researchers and engineers use iterative processes to discover new things, so should founders use such processes to discover what will work in the market.

“The real measure of success is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours.”

—Thomas Alva Edison

As quickly as you are able to posit your market segments, you want to think of ways to validate that the segments exist as you describe them. Getting out of the building to interview prospective customers gives you your first insights into whether you’ve described them and their problems correctly, and now by running experiments you work to confirm customer behavior. Experiments represent the first opportunity for your potential customers to experience at some level your value proposition.

Augment what customers say they’re going to do with ...

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