For a long time, disruptive businesses have scared people. Amazon is just the latest example (and like those before it, it ended up being better for consumers):
“Amazon is so new, and so dramatic in its speed and scale and aggression, that we can easily forget how many of the things it’s doing are actually very old. And, we also forget how many of the slightly dusty incumbent retailers we all grew up with were also once considered radical, daring, piratical new businesses that made people angry with their new ideas.”
This is so true for both digital startups and ‘traditional’ businesses:
“The IRL (In Real Life) channel is real. It helps you with acquisition, retention, and more. It’s starting to go both ways – from online to offline, which has been a force in retail for the past few years – but also offline to online, where IRL products remind you to interact with their digital sides.”
Shipping a feature and/or user testing are not enough, it needs to have an impact in the real world:
““Done” ain’t finished. “Done” just means that you’ve created an output. The bigger question is this: did that feature create value? You need to observe that feature in the wild to see if it created the outcome that you want for your customer and your business. In other words: “done” gets you an output. “Validated” gets you an outcome.”
This is what startups really look like in the beginning:
“The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually. Nearly all startups have to. You can’t wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them.”
Things don’t happen by themselves, especially in startups:
“A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist. Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. ”
The answer, of course, is yes. More specifically, the post spells what entrepreneurial looks like:
- Ability to execute
- No ego
- Positive attitude
My favorite: “You deliver, you never settle, you make the most of every opportunity, and you enjoy yourself along the way.” In other words, you get things done.
Good McKinsey article. Except it applies to all organizations, not just those that are trying to become ‘agile’.
“How do you know if your organization is struggling
with agile? One indication is the time required to carry out basic decisions. Another indication is whether small, agile teams enjoy the autonomy they need.”
“When it comes to incubating disruptive innovations inside an established enterprise, I strongly advocate you take a venture capitalist approach. I want you to make any future funding of your projects contingent upon them having achieved their current milestone by the date specified. What do you do when the team doesn’t?
You sidle up to the would-be entrepreneur and say, “Well, Pardner, I’ll tell you what. Mebbe you can get some more funding, depending, but only if you swap out some part of your current plan. So, what’s it gonna be—the horse, the rider, or the trail?”
The horse, in this case, is the product. A lot of times when you create a Minimum Viable Product, the customer turns it down—it is just not something they want.
Other times, however, it’s not the horse that is the problem. It’s the rider. Not everyone is a good entrepreneurial leader, regardless of how good their resume and their references. Indeed, that skill set is particularly scarce inside established enterprises.
Finally, sometimes you have a great rider and the team has built a pretty darn good product, but dang it, the more you engage with your target customers, the more you realize you are on the wrong trail. Here the team has to regroup, focus on a new use case, build out a new whole product, and identify a new set of target customers.”