Chapter 10

The Final Word


Talk to entrepreneurs tackling a consumer problem and they’ll tell you how much easier lean is in business-to-business. Talk to business-to-business (B2B) and you’ll hear the opposite. Talk to business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) and you witness virtual self-immolation.

Lean startup doesn’t work with consumers, because you can’t believe what people say. Lean startup doesn’t work for businesses, because too many people are involved in the decision-making process.

The most pervasive reasons we hear for not acting as a lean startup are mutually exclusive:

  • “It’s unproven; show me a lean startup big win.”
  • “Whatever, there’s nothing new here; entrepreneurs have been doing this for ages.”

There are lots of excuses for not doing lean startup, but the remedy boils down to the same idea: “Launch product based on what’s between our ears.”

The real reason entrepreneurs don’t want to do lean startup is that it’s hard. Don’t talk to customers; it’s hard. Don’t involve customers in design; it’s hard. Don’t analyze data for actionable metrics; I’ll have to hire a business intelligence team. Don’t run experiments; it will take away engineering resources.

The reason the Myth of the Visionary persists is that if we can’t hope to end up as visionaries, we’ll feel lost and clueless about how to build a scalable startup. The real visionaries, however, are not those who ...

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