Last night I gave a presentation about how I created iHearteSports.com using the Lean Startup Methodology. I was only allocated 5 minutes so I had to talk fast!
Lean Startup methodology was created by a guy names Eric Reis. His theory builds upon the programming methodology of 'Agile'; Lean is to business what Agile is to programming.
Agile development is all about cycles, or iterations; make a small change, push that change to your site; make another small change, and on and on it goes. Do tiny things just do a LOT of them. Agile is basically chunking your work but each chunk should be, essentially, a finished product.
Lean methodology is this Agile system placed into a business framework. Traditionally, business have huge lead-in time before they launch or open for business. They have business plans, finacials, projections, marketing materials, press releases, and websites that have to be pixel perfect before they are opened to the public. Their needs to be alpha releases and beta testers and, oh, did I mention the NDA's you need to sign just to hear what my business does? Lean methodology puts all the traditional business crap right where it belongs; in the trash!
Lean is all about the MVP. What is the Minimum Viable Product that I can launch with? What is the absolute minimum I can do to 'go live' with my site? We don't do this because we are lazy, we do this because we want to get to the data as fast as possible.
Richard Feynman said that science relies on experimentation. If your hypothesis isn't supported by your experimentation then your hypotheses is wrong. Period. Full stop. Lean Methodology wants to get to that experimentation phase as soon as possible. Why spend 6 months building and nurturing a project based on the hypotheses that people will actually want/need/buy/use something just to find out after thousands of dollars and months of work that your theory was flawed? This is silly. Building an MVP product gets you to the data, fast! Be willing to fail fast because in business, like science, failing just means it's time for another hypotheses.
Build Measure Learn
iHearteSports started with the hypotheses that people wanted to buy eSports related products. To test that assumption I followed the simple cycle of Build, Measure, Lean. My MVP was 4 stickers. So I Built (made) 4 stickers. I then sold those stickers and Measured the success of those sales. Based on the data of sales I Learned that, yes, people want eSports related products. In just 5 weeks and a few hundred dollars I proved my original hypotheses enough to encourage me to continue developing new products and expanding beyond just selling stickers.
By using an MVP (stickers) and the Build, Measure, Lean cycle I saved myself a huge amount of time, energy and money.
In the video I go into more detail of our MVP and how we have expanded from 4 stickers to 40 and, soon, into a vast array of eSports related products all using the MVP and Build Measure Learn cycle.
Hope you dig it!
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