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The Artist and the Innovator - Part 1

Why Do Most New Products Fail?

Hi there. My name is Ash Maurya. I'm the author of two best-selling books and the creator of the Lean Canvas. First and foremost though, I identify as a practicing entrepreneur.

I generally split my time between working on my own products in Austin, TX and traveling around the world teaching other entrepreneurs how to raise their odds of success.

I've been fortunate to have been able to work with thousands of entrepreneurs over the last 10 years by way of the workshops and bootcamps I run which has given me some unique perspectives that I'd like to share with you today.

First, I've found entrepreneurs everywhere I've gone. According to the Global Entrepreneur Monitor there were 100M new startups in 2018. That's 3 startups a second. This is very exciting and represents an incredible opportunity for all of us.

Second, the stereotype of the entrepreneur has changed. It’s no longer just two guys in a garage. Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and transcend age, gender, and geography.


And finally, while we may look different and speak different languages, we are still more similar than dissimilar. We all want the same things, fear the same things, and even make the same mistakes.

After a while, I started building two archetypical personas of an entrepreneur in my mind — the artist and the innovator. I’ve found that every entrepreneur I’ve met falls into one of these two archetypes.

Let’s call them Steve and Larry.


Note: Even though I’ve given them names to make them more personable, I want to reemphasize that what makes them similar isn’t their age, gender, or geography, but that they both got hit with a “big idea” and decided to act upon it…

They look quite similar at the outset, but what differentiates them is how they look a year later.


A year later, Steve is still building his product. He has no product revenue and relies on part-time freelancing work to fund his product development. And he works alone.

Larry, on the other hand, has a growing customer base, growing revenue, and a growing team.

How did each of them end up in such a different place?

To answer that question, let’s take a flashback…