Research Assessment #3
Date: October 27, 2016
Blank, Steve. “Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything.” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review, 2 May 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2016. <https://hbr.org/2013/05/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything>.
After interviewing with Jon Kendall, he pointed out several key issues of my current company. It was very insightful and applicable to adjust my direction as it allowed me to tie it with the concept of building a “lean startup”. That is, after reading this article, I learned systematically how to run my business as a lean startup in the future paired with his specific advice of pivots right now. In a nutshell, lean startups are a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model, that is, experimentation over in-depth planning, market feedback over idealistic estimation, and iterating design of the product over the traditional “big design up front” development. The ways lean startups function is they build “minimum viable products” – products that fulfill the basic needs, and they “pivot” to find new or better solutions to solve further problems (if there is one). This allows them to quickly taken root in their field of competition and can help them improve their chances of success by “failing fast and continually learning”.
First off, the perspectives presented in this article crushes the old model and fallacies of having a business plan, pitching it to investors, and then starting the actual business by building the product as planned. There are several key issues to this model as business plans is often an idealistic idea of what the market might be, which is often not on par with what the customers actually wants. Furthermore, after taking AP Stats, I realized that “factual evidence” sometimes really can’t back up something without giving context (which business plans can often fail to address due to lack of time), since data can be easily manipulated to give a false perception to an opinion. Moreover, in this fast-paced world, no one can have a perfect and pretty plan that actually forecasts the unknowns; and no one can really account for all the factors and variables out there. And realistically speaking those who ultimately succeed are often the ones that go out there, fail many times, adapt to changes, and improve their initial ideas through the continuous learning process, such as the feedback from customers. Through personal experience after going through a year of Young Entrepreneur’s Academy, I realized many things we’ve done – including spending a whole year developing the “perfect business plan”, pitching it to investors, wishing to earn “free startup money”- might be a great learning opportunity for beginners to grasp the theoretical knowledge of the business world, but also something I have to caution about going forward running my actual business. Reflecting back, I realized sometimes I have unintentional false hopes that a good plan can solve my problem, that if I follow what’s on it, I have a good chance of reaching success. But looking at it now, I think I am just being overly idealistic about my ideas and what I put on the plan, and I really need to get out there, get customer feedback, and adjust my focus to market demand. Which having this realization is great, especially when Mr. Kendall talked to me about the key issues of my business.
Lastly, I highly agree with the concept of building and running lean startups, as it closely matches with the rise of big data providing customer behavioral trends, and the increasing rate of the world getting “flatter” with fewer barriers between everyone. As Professor Blank, the author of this article projected, the growing numbers of lean startups will likely “ignite a new entrepreneurial economy” in the amount of synergism across the globe of sharing resources, and running their business hyper-efficiently using this method. However, my further action is to also explore the potential limitations of this method to better evaluate the application of this knowledge to my company.