The Lean Startup is one of those books that changes the way you approach, validate and build a product. It encourages an iterative process of experimentation and validation to learn more about customer needs and reduce risk and waste of resources.
In other words, it is about learning and getting as much feedback as you can from the user and use that to guide your product development process. Too often, startups spend their time building the product in isolation without any contact with users until release.
After years of practicing this approach, whenever there’s a new idea, I will first try to be as lean as possible before committing any resource to it. This usually means NO and that’s great since saying ‘no’ gets you ahead right?
Since time is money, you really don’t want to waste it on seemingly unimportant and dead-end ideas. Why waste time and effort on something you “know” won’t work out?
And if you want to commit to an idea, why not commit on something that will end up being a million dollar business? Why settle for anything less?
Or maybe it is really just the fear of failure. What if the idea is stupid and dumb? What’s a better excuse than not starting at all? If you don’t start you can’t fail.
Ultimately, this is just abusing the Lean principles as an excuse to not start or commit to anything. It’s the perfect alibi to convince myself that there’s no rainbow beyond the clouds. That the killer idea is still yet to come.
So all this is really a reminder for myself to stop being so damn lean and get out there have some fun. Time spent on learning something new is not a waste and not every idea has to be a viable business.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself. Figure out exactly what you want. If you just want to learn something new, forget about being lean. Just hack something up for fun.
And if you want to really build a product, then by all means apply the lean principles. Build, measure and learn as much as you can and start with a minimal viable product.
Tinkering and experimenting is how you learn and apply your skills. It is better to work on a dead-end idea than doing nothing.
So once again, stop being so damn lean and go build something fun.