I just finished reading Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya. This is a second edition to the theory and concepts provided by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup. The book provides an extension to the Lean Startup methodologies and gives detailed analyses, step-by-step guides and applicable templates for an entrepreneur developing a product or service.
The book is so full of detailed systems that one could use this book as blue print for building a tech startup. Ash does a nice job of methodically and technically outlining the startup process cutting away the fat and discussing only the essentials for a lean startup.
The iterate or pivot for startups is determined by how carefully entrepreneurs analyze their startup’s business model. The lean canvas is utilized in great detail throughout the book which is adapted from “The Business Model Canvas. This awesome little canvas is a matrix explaining everything from key metrics and value proposition to marketing channels and customer segments for your startup. You simply can’t hide the pros and cons of your startup once this is filled out correctly.
Almost all Entrepreneurs are fueled by their passion and we can easily be blinded by the harsh reality of whether we have a true market/product fit. Running Lean allows you to see clearly without bias how your startup is doing or more importanly “will do” in the marketplace. Just as the Lean Startup touched on MVP or “minimum viable product”, this book takes it a few steps further by systimatically understanding what you are building, and why you are building it.
If your marketplace is not big enough or your product/service is not solving a big enough problem your startup will inevitably limp along and miss scaling opportunities. The case studies that are used through the book are a breath of fresh air for entrepreneurs looking for tangible real-world examples of the lean startup methodology.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is “Don’t be a feature pusher”. If you have ever developed software or a web service you know how easy it is to fall victim to be everything to everyone. Ash stresses features need to be pulled not pushed in products and should be determined solely by customer needs and validation. Less is almost always more.
In the days of non-stop publishing including self-publishing we’re all experiencing information overload as it taxes our relevant time spent reading. The Running Lean book by Ash gets a thumbs up from Startup Addict because it qualifies as a reference manual for building a business model long after the first read. This book has found a happy place on my bookshelf tucked away neatly between The Lean Startup and Business Model Generation. I hope you find it as pertinent to startup creation trial and error as I did.