The Lean Startup – Pivot or Persevere? + FREE CHEAT SHEET

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Time to dive into another Lean (as in The Lean Startup) concept: the PIVOT.

Previously… Three awesome Minimum VIable Products And one… that’s less awesome. Today… Pivot or Persevere Oh, and stick around to the end to grab your free… Lean Startup Cheat Sheet. Welcome to Development That Pays My name is Gary Straughan And In less than a week on the same day as this episode goes live – I’ll be giving a talk in central London. Yes, the person that hides from you every week will soon be stepping out in front of a room full of people. As you can imagine, I have a bit of preparing to do. So I’m recording this episode a few days early. Which means that I don’t have the results from our survey to share with you today. But it does give me the opportunity to introduce you to another Lean Startup concept: The PIVOT. A pivot is what you do when you go around this loop And discover that your cool idea didn’t work out. Put another way, the experiment designed to test your cool idea…. Failed. As Thomas Edison might have said, “You found one more way NOT to invent a light bulb.” And that’s okay. You pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. Start all over again. (You didn’t want me to sing that did you ) You Pivot… and try something else. Eric Ries in this book The Lean Standup Has a nice visualisation for this. He describes the start up phase as being like a runway. Your first idea leads to your first EXPERIMENT – which is your first attempt to get airborne. Alas, first attempts, more often than not, fail. So you PIVOT. You try out another idea. There are two ways this story can play out. You continue to experiment – and pivot – until you makes a break-though… and soar into the sunset You continue to experiment – and pivot – until you crash and burn. You’ve burned through your funding and it’s game over. Can you see that the more “pivots” you can fit in, The more opportunities you have to make a breakthrough You start to see why it’s important that the Minimum Viable Product is, MINIMAL: it’s minimal to be cheap which helps to extend the “funding” runway And it’s minimal to be fast which maximises the POTENTIAL number of pivots before Bad things happen. The MVP must also be Viable. From the point of view of the customer Ths quote from David J Bland expresses it well: “The hardest thing about MVP — you decide what’s Minimum, the customer decides what’s Viable”  And so she does But it must viable in another way It must be viable as an experiment Why Because on the outcome of the experiment rests a very important decision. The decision to Pivot or Persevere ( Eric Ries’ words, not mine ) To reiterate, we want our MVP to be: Viable as a PRODUCT – from the customer’s standpoint And viable as an EXPERIMENT – from our point of view Remember The Zappos MVP we looked at a few episodes ago the startup that wanted to sell shoes. From the customer’s point of view, it’s flawless: She browses for shoes She buys shoes She receives the shoes in the post. This type of MVP has a name: it;s a Wizard of Oz MVP…. the customer is oblivious of all the shenanigans going on behind the scenes. Behind the curtain. And because the customer is obvious it’s a perfect product. And because it’s a perfect product, it’s also a perfect experiment. But perfection is not always possible. Years ago, when I attended Swindon college ( I knew you’d be impressed ) I was there for Marketing night classes I learned about moving potential customers through the states of Attention, Interest, Desire, Action AIDA if you’re in to your acronyms The Zappos MVP “exercises” all four. All the way from A to …err… the other A The other MVPs we looked at: Dropbox, Buffer – our very own Mundane MVP Do not. They run out of steam somewhere between Desire and Action. This is unfortunate: it’s the ACTION that pays the bills. But it would be wrong to judge these MVPs too harshly. Not all products lend themselves to a Wizard of Oz MVP. Take Dropbox. Dropbox is a app that synchronises files across your devices It’s an application that installs on your PC, your Mac, your laptop. And it has to work. I don’t about you, but I can’t think of any way of “faking” that. Perhaps AIDA can help. There’s a definite sequence to AIDA You don’t get interest without attention You don’t get Desire until you get Interest And you don’t get action without desire. In a perfect world, I want an MVP that tests all four stages. But I’d settle for an MVP that covers

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