Tokyo Dev

by Paul McMahon

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Build-Measure-Learn is a Dangerous Idea

Tonight I had a chance to talk with one of my personal heroes, Eric Ries. While talking to him, I realized one of the pitfalls of the Lean Startup.

At the center of the Lean Startup is the idea of the build-measure-learn cycle: that from a hypothesis, you can build something, measure the results, from them validate your hypothesis, and then iterate again. As a software developer, the idea of turning a startup into a scientific experiment is very seductive.

The allure of the idea is that it turns something that is hard for us to understand (people) in to something that is easy for us to understand (numbers). However, this is also the very thing that makes it so dangerous, as it gives us an excuse not to talk to customers, something that many of coming from a developer background tend to shy away from.