I was listening to Eric Ries The Lean Startup with the subtitle How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, last week.
I have not thought myself as a startup where the thoughts from the book could apply. In my definition a startup create a product/service to put into the market and is a team to deliver this work. I’m just a single person working on a bunch of different ideas. I’m working on software and information products to the SAP market.
The way Eric defines a Startup is:
A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
In this context I am a startup and I can see that the contexts and ideas apply much more to me. I do work under conditions of extreme uncertainty. I’m not really sure how I can make sure to sell my product and services. I know that it is possible, but I need to find the solution to really expand the market.
One probably more important aspect is the ability to measure how we are doing. For the startup to be successful and compete with big companies, they need to be learning at a much faster pace. The only way to be a better learner is to have ability to measure what works and what does not work.
I have always known that it is a good thing to make A/B testing of website or other solutions that you put into the market. Also look at the number of visitors on your website and see what makes everything convert. It take consistent practice to be sure that you follow up on the areas. But it is one of the things that often are not done. It is a bit too complicated and you don’t know what the result means.
What was your take aways from the book.
Great by choice by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen
This book is the sequel to Build to last and Good to Great. It is also a research focus book, where they are comparing a bunch of different companies of different perspectives. The book validates the principles of the previous books.
They have found 10 different companies and have compared how they are performing compared to other companies in similarly niches.
They companies they have selected did a lot better. And they introduced the concept 10 x companies to identify the behavior of the better performing companies.
The things they are finding the companies are doing better are the following.
- They are performing constituent. They don’t grow because they thing the market can bare it. They strive for a 20 mile walk everyday to make sure that people are not getting too tired have something to go for. This is like Southwestern which only open a few new routes every year. For every year they have started new routes.
- They try to experiment with something. Shoot bullets and when they find something where they can excel in they do the bet for it. They need to have the time to bet on next big and work on solving the problems.
- Innovate but still keep the old ideas that work. Know when to kill the products.
- Have a deadline, for when the product can no loger be used or when something should be done before. If we cannot make it to the top today, we have to turn around.
- Luck there does not seem to be any indication on if one or the other part is doing any bether. They seem to have been gotten the same number of luck. The difference is that the 10x was able to use the unluck to propel them forwards.
- They are Specific Methodolical and consistent (SMaC ) with their content. It makes a difference in the way to are able to communicate. It could be like the bill of rights where they have a clear understanding of what will work in the future.
To contain the presentation they are using a framework. It does make it a bit more clear on what they are doing and how things will be explained.
One thing I like about the book is there is some questions that you can ask your self at the end of each section on how this apply to my organization. This really helps and makes it much more interesting to read. The questions give a sense that there is something that I’m cheating when I don’t answer the questions.
There is also use of explores to show how the ideas works for them. It could be the comparison between Scott and Amundsen South Pole journey. They use a lot of the same principles as the 10x companies.