Editor’s Note: This week as part of a series called the Techpoint Weekly Book Review, Ifeanyi concludes the review of Eric Ries’, “The Lean Startup”.
Many startups are often raised with the expectation that the best works be put forward, and in this excitement, unleash the earliest version of their product. On the flip side of this is that they often end up being burned. The first products aren’t meant to be perfect within the classroom of learning for startups. Rather than being burdened about what kind of impression/effect the earliest version of your product would have on the consumer, you may need to consider selling the products – especially if the gross number is considerably low – to the visionary early customers called “early adopters”.
Before new products can be successfully sold to the mass market, they have to be sold to early adopters. These people are a special breed of customers and usually vary with startup business models. They accept – in fact prefer – an 80% solution. You don’t need a perfect solution to capture their interest. Every adopter use their imagination to fill in what a product is missing. They prefer that state of affairs, because what they care about is being the first to use or adopt a new product or technology. With consumer products, it’s often the thrill of being the first one on the block to show off a new shoe, cool phone etc, while for enterprise production, it’s often about gaining a competitive advantage by taking a risk with something new that competitors don’t have yet.
Early adopters are usually suspicious of something that is too polished; if it’s ready for everyone to adopt, how much advantage can one get by being early? As a result, additional features beyond what early adopters demand is a form of wasted resources and time.
Eric Ries in his book — The Lean Startup — then went on to emphasise that “this is a hard truth for many entrepreneurs to accept. After all, the vision entrepreneurs keep in their head is of a high-quality mainstream product that will change the world, not one used by a small niche of people who are willing to give it a shot before it is ready and that it wins awards at trade shows and have Dad and Mom at home proud”
At the beginning, a startup is a little more than a model on a piece of paper. Its job is to measure where it is right now, confronting the hard truths that assessment reveals, and then devise experiments to learn how to move the real numbers close to the ideals reflected in the business plan. The overall idea would particularly be a good turf for startups to play on giving their lean modus operandi and budget lines.
He then adds “failure is a prerequisite for learning. The only problem with the notion of shipping out unperfected versions of a product and then seeing what happens is that you are guaranteed to succeed – at seeing what happens. But then what? As soon as you have customers, you’re likely to have more than enough opinions on what to do next.”
So which would you listen to?
There’s a lot that the Lean Startup has within its coffers to helping you understand and grow your business. But in the meantime, thank you for reading through the review of the book with us, we do hope that you find it very useful.
Kindly share lessons gotten from the book in the comment section below and I am looking forward to our next read *lips sealed*.
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Nigerian startups raised a total funding of $9.2 million in Q1 2018. Download our report to find out more.