But then on March 10, 2000, the perspective changed. Suddenly it became clear that this was really a bubble.
This effect gives rise to a classic management dilemma – Predictability Paradox(pdf). We need to focus on tight feedback loops, which will help us adapt & co-evolve the system. With the increase in the consumer demand and change in the market dynamics, the number of new products that are launched in our market have increased tremendously.
Ash Maurya, a serial entrepreneur is running a 2-day workshop about building successful products at Agile India 2014. Bringing a new product to market, whether at a large enterprise or startup, is riddled with extreme uncertainty.
The key to raising these odds is prioritizing learning around what’s riskiest (not easiest) in the business model.
It is through this continuous feedback loop with customers that we break the product development silo and build more products that people want. I truly believe we are going through a global entrepreneurial renaissance which represents an incredible opportunity for all of us. But while we are building more products than ever before, the sad reality is that the success rate of these products hasn’t changed much. The odds are still heavily stacked against starting a new business and most of these products will unfortunately fail. The good news is that a lot of these big bang failures can be outright avoided and instead replaced with a more systematic approach to building successful products. The number one reason why products fail is not because we fail to build what we set out to build but because we waste needless time, money, and effort building the wrong product.
I attribute the entrepreneurs unbridled passion for their solution to be the top contributor to this failure.
The key is shifting your perspective from having more passion about just your solution to having as much (if not more passion) for your customers and their problems. This will be hands on workshop with part lecture and part  hands-on exercises where you will work on moving your business forward using lean techniques.
The first day will be all about modelling your business into a more more manageable and testable framework. By the end of this 2-day workshop, you will have an actionable plan for what to do next to move your business or product idea forward.
At EdventureLabs we used presentations to create quick videos to test different learning techniques and their retention power with kids.
Or we used dummy meters to validate the business model of an energy company, which wanted to build energy saving products for rural India. Your ability to quickly (almost on the fly) tweak a little parameters and quickly test a corollary hypothesis is another very important characteristic of an MVP.  This is extremely important because when you go out there in the field to run your experiment, in the moment, you might find new data or ideas which might need to be validated to solidify your validated learning. Next time you think of a MVP, think about a cheap, safe-fail experiment you can run to validate your hypothesis. For example: Recently, I wanted to test if liking a comment on the Agile India Submission system is a feature people would find useful.
At EdventureLabs, we were trying to teach kids age (5-7,) to represent numbers on the Abacus. Inspired by lot of mobile games, we came up with a hypothesis that if we created inline instructions and used micro-simulations, then the kids would have a better retention power and hence be able to learn much better. However we had not yet built an app, so building an app and creating a simulation would take us a few days. We quickly (in less than 10 mins) found a bunch of images on the net, created a presentation and added a bunch of transition to create an animation effect. This workshop will give you a hands-on experience to formulate and quickly test out your value and growth hypothesis.
The rest of the workshop is dedicated to the participants trying to validate their hypothesis. Master the art of leveraging the Minimum Viable Product to create maximum validated learning for minimum cost. For a minute, if we replace the word startup with business (early-stage-business, if you insist.) What have we lost? A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty. I remember reading a while ago about Start a Business, not a Startup on 37 Signals‘ blog Signal vs. I’m planning to pretty much do away with the word startup and instead just call it business. Should have a knack of identifying real problems and ability to visualize a simple solution to those problems.


Disclaimer: This list is based on my personal experience but originally inspired by discussions with Jeff Patton. Some companies form a Product Ownership team, comprising of different people, who can collectively bring these skills to the table.
I amazed how easily companies get convinced that they can send their employees to a 2-day class on Product Ownership and acquire all these skills to be a certified Product Owner. Wil and Amy Secuya stand outside their home, which they built together with their neighbors, as part of the self-help housing development located in Hawi. Homeownership is the closest thing to a universal family desire I’ve ever encountered, and equally important, becoming a homeowner changes your behavior for the better. At a time when banks are foreclosing on home mortgages at record-breaking rate, the Secuyas and almost 250 other families on the island have built their own home with the help of the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation’s (HICDC) [RDA-sponsored] Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. HICDC is part of a federal program that has helped build neighborhoods in Mountain View, Keeau, Papaikou, Kona, and Kohala.
The north side of Hawaii Island is certainly rural, consisting of a single highway that runs around the north points and end, spectacularly, at the overlook to Pololu Valley.
HICDC supplies the general contractor, major building supplies, power tools, technical assistance and instruction, all of which is inclusive in the price of the home.
According to Terri Ferreira, HICDC’s Program Manager in Hilo, the biggest obstacle for those who wish to own a home is the perception that they will not qualify for a loan.
A common misconception is that these homes are part of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which is not the case. HICDC is a private, non-profit organization that helps limited income households secure loans and work together as a group to build quality, affordable homes. These classes prepare future homeowners for dealing with a mortgage, budgeting, credit repair and debt reduction. You and a partner must contribute 40 hours each weekend (20 hours each) towards construction until all homes in the phase are completed. For Amy and Wil, painting the entire house was the most difficult part, as they also stained their lanai and outdoor trim.
When a small business tries to adapt its online marketing strategy, or to re-tool processes toward web commerce, owners may struggle with how to get started. The familiar elements of starting a business are still part of the formula: businesses succeed by choosing product offerings wisely, streamlining operations, growing their reputations, finding customers and getting repeat business from loyal customers. Small businesses have an advantage over large ones, in their ability to experiment on a smaller scale, tweak their strategies to meet the customer needs, and continuously improve their business model in the face of change. Let’s take the example of a company considering a move from a traditional cold calling sales method to a more modern e-mail marketing sales method. To gather additional feedback, the owner might follow up with a personal phone call to ask if the email campaign hit the right nerve, or if the recipient has any suggestions about a product that would be a better fit to his or her needs and interests. For additional ideas on how to test assumptions and learn more about your product and market, read this article at Start Lean. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend or colleague on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another favorite social network. In this 2-day hands-on workshop, you’ll learn a systematic methodology, developed through rigorous testing of Lean Startup, Customer Development, and Bootstrapping techniques on hundreds of products, that will show you exactly how to build what people want.
What is one important lesson that the large enterprises should learn from startups and vice versa? All experiments have to end in customer learning and you aren’t making progress until you can demonstrate customer value. Your Lean Canvas is an excellent tool to help companies articulate their business model in a simple format.
I recommend time-boxing business model creation to no more than a day and then shifting all the effort to business model validation using the other tools in the Lean Stack suite. While the second day will be all about stress testing this business model through carefully designed experiments. We visited a few farmers and small factories, explained how the device (dummy meter) would save them 50% on electricity bill each month. If you have to make code changes and deploy stuff, it might not be easy for you to test new hypothesis, right then and there. Using Google Analytics, I was able to measure that out of 36,000 impressions, only 6 people clicked on the Like button. Once the simulation showed how to represent a number, we would ask the kid to move the right beads on the abacus. This disconnect, leads to early assumptions about consumer’s behavior and motivations. Though the paperwork may be daunting, HICDC assists applicants throughout the loan process. Income eligibility.  A program designed to help the poor become homeowners should assure that they are in fact poor people.


For a household of two, for example, income must not exceed $44,250, for a family of four, $55,300. Sweat equity.  Just as people appreciate things they succeed at, people value what they pay for. There’s a lot to know, and finding answers can easily lead to “information overload.” Without a large marketing team or research and development department, what’s an owner to do? The difference between a traditional business development model and a “lean start-up?”  All of these factors are subject to change, and the result, at the end, may be a different product, process, market, or client. A “lean startup,” then, is an organization built to learn, and ready to adapt or change direction quickly.
There are three basic steps in this method, known as “tested assumptions:” build, measure and learn. Before completely cutting the cord on cold calling, this small business owner needs to test a hypothesis that email marketing will work for selling a product. These qualitative notes can help the business owner craft a better product, or tweak the value proposition for his product.
Contact Jason and find out how the Picobarn team can help you build, measure and learn your way to more business in today’s online marketplace. I know people who melted down Yahoo Finance’s servers by checking for their favourite stocks prices throughout the day, calculating their (paper) net worth in real time. If software development was highly structured, if we had a stable environment and we had a good data points from million other projects, this approach might work.
However the success of these products are largely driven by the consumer expectation and passion is only a driving force.
Here the startup needs to mature it’s practices and can learn a lot from existing enterprises.
We quickly discovered that our business model was flawed and surprisingly we co-created a better model.
Of course the beads would not move, but we would be able to test whether the kids tried to move the right beads and hence assert if they remembered how to represent number.
The best results, of course, are got when the participants meet real people face-to-face to validate your hypothesis.
There is also a Homebuyer Education Class that participants are required to take during the loan process.
By taking a small batch of emails, and sending out an email campaign, the owner gauges response to the campaign (for example, whether a recipient opened the email, clicked on any links or visited his website). With this tested assumption about the email campaign and product, the owner can test a larger batch, or repeat the process using a different campaign. But for software development, which is a creative-problem solving domain, with high levels of uncertainty and each project having an unique context, these techniques (best practices) are rather dangerous.
Enterprises that want to explore new or disruptive innovation should model themselves after startups. However it is important to acknowledge that each of your strategy is based on a list of hypothesis, which needs to be validated using a series of cheap, safe-fail experiments (via MVPs) to obtain validated learning. Also through this process we learned about certain key concerns these folks had which required a very different conceptualization of the product. However, we quickly realized that kids have very little attention span and if they are not able to interact with what they are seeing on the screen, they quickly (in less then 30 secs) zone-out.
If they could, we would ask them to represent other numbers which were not shown in the simulation to see if they can extrapolate what they just learned and apply the logic for other numbers. I’ve also tried to show an evolution of Agile methods over the last 11 years and the future of Agile. Phase II was just completed with 19, and Phase III will begin construction with 12 families so far, by June or July of this year. This build-measure-learn cycle can be repeated, reaching closer and closer to the perfect product and sales process, until it leads to an easily scalable, highly tested solution. Also animation was expensive and had a huge turn-around time even if we wanted to make a small change.
Also take a sneak preview into what challenges an organizations may face when trying to be agile? Some participants also get really creative and build some paper prototypes or fake products to validate their hypothesis. Using a fake credit card swiping machine to see if people will really pay is one of my favorite validation techniques so far.



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