Andrew Chen started a great discussion on Twitter the other day:
What is your least popular but deeply held opinion on tech/startups?— Andrew Chen (@andrewchen) August 4, 2018
Many of the replies were insightful, but Keith Rabois’s contrarian views on the Lean Startup methodology were the most thought-provoking:
The lean startup method is a guarantee of failure.— Keith Rabois (@rabois) August 4, 2018
It is a recipe for failure, and mediocrity at best.— Keith Rabois (@rabois) August 5, 2018
See, e.g., https://t.co/RJPxJjJT0O— Keith Rabois (@rabois) August 5, 2018
Keith is an expert on this topic—he’s a partner at Khosla Ventures and helped build Paypal, LinkedIn, Slide, Yelp, Square, and Opendoor.
The Lean Startup methodology originated from Eric Ries’s book, The Lean Startup, a best-seller in management and entrepreneurship since 2011.
Lean Startup concepts include “minimum viable products,” “launching early,” “build, measure, learn” cycles, “data-driven decisions,” “pivot or persevere,” and of course, “failing fast.”
I’ve experienced the limitations of Lean Startup firsthand.
In practice, the Lean Startup process looks something like this:
Perhaps the next MVP will be more successful, or maybe following this process really does lead to failure and mediocrity.
My takeaway is to unlearn the Lean Startup mentality and be more driven by willpower and vision than data.
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