This past weekend, I attended the Lean Startup Machine Boston, a 48-hour workshop on the lean startup methodology. This is what I learned from it.
- Intensely working with complete strangers for 26 hours is a great way to quickly and exhaustingly test how well I work with others, what strengths/weaknesses we each have, if I’d work with them again, and what type of personalities and skills complement my own.
- It is really easy to give up. The team was all excited at first. After we invalidated many assumptions and realized our first and second problem-solution hypothesis was no good, we were stuck coming up with the next logical pivot. We were demoralized. The team leader left and didn’t come back. A walk outside and a drink at a nearby bar helped re-energized us and come out of that trough of despair with new perspective.
- Talking with our target customers was the best and fastest way to learn. We spent way too much time debating amongst ourselves. For every minute wasted debating, we could have been out of the building learning from our customers.
- Reading The Lean Startup does not make you an expert at it. Putting lean methodology to the test in real world situations can be challenging. Coming up with specific, testable assumptions and creative ways to quickly validate or invalidate them in order of riskiness that give meaningful insight to the viability of the business is no easy task.
- Listening to the other teams present about how they tested their assumptions and iterated quickly was very interesting and can be good case studies.
Here is our team’s final presentation slides.
Overall, it was a good learning experience, I met a lot of cool people doing interesting stuff, and I’m glad to have done the workshop. Special thanks to my team, the mentors, and the organizers. Lean is all about learning and iterating as quickly as possible, and I plan to use the concepts behind this philosophy more in everyday life and business.