Problems do not exist

Problems Don’t Exist

I have long held the belief that entrepreneurs should stop talking about abstract solutions and frame their pitches in terms of solving real problems, but I was wrong.

Problems don't exist.

They are in no sense real. You can't touch them. You can't see them or hear them in and of themselves. They certainly don't smell or taste like anything in particular.

They are not ontological entities.

And here's the biggest problem of all (pardon the recursiveness)...

...when entrepreneurs start talking about problems, they stop talking about people.

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Lean Startup Machine Tips and Tricks

10 Lean Startup Machine Tips and Tricks

I was at Lean Startup Machine in New York last weekend. (LSM is a 48 hour excursion into lean startup techniques created by Trevor Owens to push your boundaries and help you learn something about your business model.) I was so impressed by a post by Cindy Alvarez that Trevor distributed, 10 Things I've Learned, that I decided to blatantly copy her and create my own top ten list specifically for attendees of the event.

Unfortunately I'm a terrible editor. So here are 21 things:

Problems don't exist. You can't go out and talk to a problem. Focus relentlessly on people. Cash in hand beats bullshit on slide. A pretty powerpoint isn't impressive. Go get a real customer to hand you money. If your teammates don't buy in, then test fast and let reality convince them. You're not going to win by arguing, you'll just wind up working alone. If your MVP can't prove you wrong, then it can't prove you right either. Ask questions like a child. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

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Kent Beck's Itchy Goat

Build Measure Learn vs. Learn Measure Build

The first time I saw Kent Beck speak he was going on and on about an itchy goat. I had I now idea who he was or why he was talking about this goat or why he was scratching it on the back. But he said something that struck me and keeps coming back.

The Build Measure Learn loop is backwards.

There is a presumption there that if you start building something and slap some analytics on it then you will inevitably learn something.

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