Lean Startup Machine has come to an end and I can say that their first venture into Los Angeles has been an incredible success. I originally participated in Lean Startup Machine back in July of 2011, this gave birth to Employeo and some incredible connections and friends. This weekend I was a mentor at the event helping the teams through the intense and high-pressured weekend that is the Bootcamp of the Lean Startup World.
So what’s the whole idea behind the weekend?
The idea is to teach entrepreneurs how to think Lean. Please don’t confuse Lean with Bootstrapping because these are two different things. Lean is all about customer development and validating or invalidating your assumptions. Too many entrepreneurs spent a year or more building a product without ever taking the time to validate whether their assumptions about the market and the business are true.
The Lean Startup Methodology is centered around the concept of customer development, through which you can build products that people actually want, rather than what you think people will want. The moment you hear yourself explaining your business and saying things like, “We think that the market is X” or “We think people like Y”, you know that you don’t know. If you did know you would say, we know the market is X and here’s why, or we know people like Y because…
Over the course of the weekend teams are challenged to come up with businesses and clearly defining the customer, problem, solution, and assumptions. They then pick their riskiest assumption and get out of the building, talking to their customers face-to-face. What many find is that their assumptions we just assumptions and in many cases were invalidated. The magic of the lean process is that in talking to their customers and invalidating an assumption, you can often learn where their real pain point is.
Building products or services that solve a real problem is what all entrepreneurs hope to do, the Lean Startup process helps them get to the real problems.
Now since a majority of my readers are Domain Investors, I thought I would share some insights into how this can help you with your business. If you buy domains to flip then in many cases you are assuming that the domain you’re buying, someone else will want to buy for a higher price. Is there a way you can validate this assumption before you buy?
If you buy domains for development, is there a way you can validate your assumptions about the amount of work (or money) it is going to take to rank well? Can you validate that you have a clear plan to make money if the traffic does come?
Think of how many new Domain Investors never take the time to validate their assumption. The #1 assumption people come into this industry with is that can easily jump in, buy domains, and sell them for a higher price. Many investors get started by buying a bunch of domains and quickly finding out it is not quite as easy to sell them as they thought. The question is, can you learn from this and pivot, changing your strategy based on what you learn, or do you give up, or even worse, repeat a strategy isn’t working?
I have a lot more reflections on this weekend many that I think will help my readers who are interested in better understanding their business, and the next steps they need to follow to take it to the next level. If you want to get a head start, definitely check-out Eric Ries’s book, The Lean Startup or his blog Startup Lessons Learned. Stay-tuned, much more to come!