Hi Ben,

One would expect that Lean methods would be more rigorously followed by now. I come across founders everyday who don't, and moreover even refuse to consider them. I see accelerators that pay lip service to them and "graduate" ventures with half-baked ideas by the dozen. The worst is when they leave founders without a clear go-no-go decision criterion, leading them to believe that there is hope for their "idea", when frankly there is none. Investors usually have specific decision criteria, and apart from (in)validating their hypotheses, founders should focus on seeing if they can clearly demonstrate the value to investors along these decision axes. (This assumes that they are looking for funding of course.) Ultimately, the goal of the hypothesis approach is to make the venture successful, and using these investment decision criteria as proxy goal posts may not be such a bad thing. I think the first thing that accelerators need to do is to educate founders about building a business, even before they explore users and product and market.

I have experienced first-hand how difficult it is to keep one's objectivity regarding one's product, idea, and business, and there are always other factors that affect decisions, some of which are beyond one's control. Willingness to keep an open mind and accept the outcomes of experiments are paramount. If you refuse to let decision making be guided by experiments, it's all moot anyway.

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Feb 15Liked by Ben Yoskovitz

Great stuff. I wrote something much higher level that touches on the same issues: https://tempo.substack.com/p/dont-tell-me-your-strategy-budgeting (esp. your comment about fictional excel)

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