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 ‚ÄúThe Lean Startup‚ÄĚ, 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.
‚ÄúThe 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,‚ÄĚ he told VCJ Senior Editor Mark Boslet. ‚ÄúWe will eventually start to develop better entrepreneurial instincts.‚ÄĚ
VCJ subscribers can read the full story here, which we‚Äôre 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. There‚Äôs this worldwide entrepreneurial renaissance. But I think it‚Äôs 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: ‚ÄúBuild, Measure, Learn‚ÄĚ is one of the key messages in ‚ÄúThe Lean Startup.‚ÄĚ Isn‚Äôt 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 you‚Äôre making progress? Most of them really can‚Äôt 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 ‚ÄĒ every action you take in product development, in marketing, every conversation you have, everything you do ‚ÄĒ 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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