The Lean Startup — Eric Ries

My business partner Sam asked me to read this. I hate management books. But this was genuinely good and contained really useful information.

This is the summary statement of the book:

Do consumers recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve? If there was a solution, would they buy it? Would they buy it from us? Can we build a solution for that problem?

Mostly I lol’ed:

Somewhere in the business model, probably buried in a single cell in a spreadsheet, it specifies the “percentage of customers who see the free trial offer who then sign up.” Maybe in our projections we say that this number should be 10 percent. If you think about it, this is a leap-of-faith question. It really should be represented in giant letters in a bold red font: WE ASSUME 10 PERCENT OF CUSTOMERS WILL SIGN UP.

This seemed neat to me:

Instead, they used Wizard of Oz testing to fake it. In a Wizard of Oz test, customers believe they are interacting with the actual product, but behind the scenes human beings are doing the work. Like the concierge MVP, this approach is incredibly inefficient. Imagine a service that allowed customers to ask questions of human researchers—for free—and expect a real-time response. Such a service (at scale) would lose money, but it is easy to build on a micro scale. At that scale, it allowed Max and Damon to answer these all-important questions: If we can solve the tough technical problems behind this artificial intelligence product, will people use it? Will their use lead to the creation of a product that has real value?