The 7 Myths of Lean and How Analytics Can Help

Last week the 16th annual Canadian Financing Forum landed in Vancouver.

The premier access to capital event was the who’s who of the VC community and showcased some of Canada’s tech companies.

Serial entrepreneur Ben Yoskovitz was the keynote speaker on day one and gave the VC-heavy lunchtime audience a crash-course in the world of Lean Startup.

Yoskovitz is the co-author of Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster and is currently VP Product of Golnstant (which was acquired by earlier this year).

Yoskovitz’s presentation outlined what he believes to be the seven myths of Lean and how analytics can help. And here they are:

  • Lean = Cheap. Sure it’s cheaper to start companies but it still costs money to scale them. The lesson is simply this: know when to hack (do something quick, cut corners, cheaply) and know when to scale.
  • Lean = Small. You need a big vision to win. I’ve said that before. And you use Lean Startup best practices and analytics to zig zag your way towards that vision.
  • Lean = Crappy. An MVP is meant to be a minimalistic version of your product, but it also has to be viable. The key is that an MVP has to provide you with meaningful learning and insights, and it also has to provide the value you’ve promised customers. There’s no “shitty” in MVP and I use Sincerely, Inc. as a great example of building smart MVPs.
  • Pivot is a bad word. I did an entire presentation just on pivots and brought some of that into this presentation. The key to a pivot is that it’s a shift in one aspect of your startup’s focus based on validated learning.
  • Lean is only for consumer startups. Lean Startup has gained most of its adoption amongst consumer startups, but it applies across the board. I shared some quick examples from consumer products companies, a church, a restaurant and more. Many of these examples are in the book.
  • Lean = Easy. We all know startups are hard. Lean Startup helps mitigate risk and clear the path a bit more, but it’s not easy. And that flows into the final myth…
  • Lean = Auto win. Simply by following the Lean Startup steps (or Lean Analytics methodologies) doesn’t guarantee success. You can’t walk through the process and expect to win. It takes guts, luck, brains and much, more more.

Yoskovitz stressed that metrics can be the common language used by entrepreneurs and investors to bring them together more often than not and keep them on the same side of the table.

Apparently this was the first time that Yoskovitz gave this particular presentation. But you wouldn’t know it from the feedback. The audience’s appreciation was obvious in the applause and thoughtful questions.

You can order Lean Analytics online.