Bringing order to the unruly world of early stage entrepreneurship
This article originally appeared in the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication.
Eric Ries, author of the â€śThe Lean Startupâ€ť, offers a worthy attempt to bring the scientific method to the often intuitive exploration of young companies.
What leads most startups astray is the lack of a disciplined, empirical procedure for making decisions, says Ries, who also writes on the blog Startup Lessons Learned and is a 2010-11 entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School.
Ries is by equal measure upbeat and cautionary. He sees a worldwide renaissance of entrepreneurialism, but worries about wasted, misguided efforts.
Venture investors take heart. He has an answer, which he details in the October 2011 issue of Venture Capital Journal.
â€śThe nice thing about relying on human judgment and using the scientific method is (we develop) a system for training judgment to get better over time,â€ť he told VCJ Senior Editor Mark Boslet. â€śWe will eventually start to develop better entrepreneurial instincts.â€ť
VCJ subscribers can read the full story here, which weâ€™re posting ahead of the October publishing date.
Following is an excerpt of the Q&A:
Q: Are we more entrepreneurial than in the past?
A: My belief is there are more startups operating today than at any time in history. Thereâ€™s this worldwide entrepreneurial renaissance. But I think itâ€™s not going to come to a good end unless we get serious about systematically improving our entrepreneurial practice. I think there is both greater opportunity and greater waste.
Q: â€śBuild, Measure, Learnâ€ť is one of the key messages in â€śThe Lean Startup.â€ť Isnâ€™t that what startups do today?
A: That is one of the things I think is missing in most of the startups I meet with today. When I meet with most entrepreneurial teams, I ask them a simple question: How do you know that youâ€™re making progress? Most of them really canâ€™t answer that question.
Q: If you could give these entrepreneurs one key piece of advice, what would it be?
A: I would say, as an entrepreneur everything you do â€” every action you take in product development, in marketing, every conversation you have, everything you do â€” is an experiment. If you can conceptualize your work not as building features, not as launching campaigns, but as running experiments, you can get radically more done with less effort.
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