Courtney Downey

The Test for Success

“Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.” – Eric Ries

Pretty much everything you encounter in life is part of a process. Right now I am in the process of looking for a job after graduation. Like any other process, my journey to find a job started with an idea of what I want to do and how to execute it.

The same thing goes for building a startup. But according to the article “Methodology” by The Lean Startup, it is the steps following the idea that are the most important in gaining success. Here are a few key points they made about the process:

Eliminate Uncertainty

In other words do not jump before you fall. Execute your idea in a way that has some kind of direction, rather than muddling things together just because it is easy. If you take a “just do it” approach like the article condemns, then you risk not only failing quickly but spending more money than you need to as well. I do not know about you, but saving money and testing the idea sounds like a better option.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Disregard the question of whether or not a product can be built. Of course it can, but should it? The real question is why should the product be built and is there an sustainable business that can come out of it? These question are all part of the process and should be tested out. If you figure out what consumers are looking for before launching the product, then you have successfully created a market.

Both of these points revolve around the idea of a minimum viable product (MVP). The article “A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It’s a Process” by Yevgeniy (Jim) Brikman, discusses what a MVP is and how it is process that is continuously repeated.

What is Minimum Viable Product?

The MVP is the key component of the startup process. It is the decisions being made that lead to the execution of a product. Some of these decisions though, are not going to work, which is testing them out is a more reliable option. This point in the process might seem like a lot of trial-and-error but the faster you can pick out the problems, the faster you will be on the road to success.

Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, discusses MVP-as-a-process approach when launching his company in the “How Do You “Design” Trust Between Strangers?” Podcast by NPR’s TED Radio Hour.

Airbnb—perhaps one of the most brilliant short-term rental ideas in the world. In the podcast, Gebbia talks about the tedious process of designing this multi-million dollar company.

Building Relationships

One of the things he mentions in the podcast was the importance of relationships. He gives the example, if handing a stranger your unlocked phone makes you feel uneasy, think about handing over your house keys to a stranger. Does not seem like a good idea, right? But the way Gebbia and his team designed the website, ensures customers that it safe to use and reliable. The process of this, however, was not easy and nor was it quick. In fact, it took a long time for the company to take off but when it did, it soared.

Do not rush the process. Take your idea, make assumptions, and put them to the test. You are more than likely going to fail, and sometimes you might even need to take a step back, but the only way to find out if your product is going to work is if you put it in front of real users as quickly as you can.




2 thoughts on “The Test for Success

  1. I agree that a business can always be built, but there needs to be a reason why it is built and not started just because. You need to make sure it’s a worthwhile project before wasting time, money and energy on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this post. I really enjoyed how you focused a section on how imperative is to build relationships around you. It can be hard to trust people in general, imagine how much you need to trust people when creating a start up!


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