THE INNOVATION CHALLENGE
Whether it's getting the green light on a new venture, or securing an additional round of funding, you are constantly faced with the challenge of demonstrating progress to your stakeholders.
The term stakeholder is loosely defined here to include anyone with a vested interest in your business idea. This could be an investor, corporate sponsor, spouse - even yourself. Yes, you are the first investor in your business idea. You invest with time, which is more valuable than money.
Up until now, we have typically relied on two measures of progress: how much stuff we're building and how much money we are making. Both of these are unreliable proxies of progress.
Building an untested product on time and on budget may simply lead to building a product nobody wants on time and on budget. While revenue is key to the survival of any business, revenue is a byproduct and not as actionable by itself. It's not current revenue that matters, but rather uncovering the leading indicators of future revenue that is key to growth.
In the Lean Startup world, we fallback on validated learning. But even validated learning alone is not a reliable measure of progress because your stakeholders regard business results, not learning, as the measure of progress. So we end up building two different stories of our business. The story we tell our stakeholders and the story we tell ourselves. They both start out the same, but diverge significantly over time because each uses a different definition of progress.
Is there a way out of this dichotomy? That is the promise of this book.
YOU NEED A SINGLE MEASURE OF PROGRESS
The answer lies in first establishing a single metric of progress. A metric that both entrepreneurs and stakeholders want. That metric is traction.
Evidence of traction signals that people other than yourself, your team, and possibly your mom care about your idea. The problem is that traction means different things to different people. And it too can be gamed.
It’s not enough to simply pick any convenient metric for the y-axis of your hockey-stick curve, one that conveniently happens to be going up and to the right, and pass it off as traction. For instance, plotting the cumulative number of users over time has nowhere to go but up and to the right. A more sophisticated investor will see right through this facade of vanity metrics. You have to instead pick a metric that serves as a reliable indicator for business model growth.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN
- How to test whether your business model is worth pursuing using a handful of key metrics.
- How to define, measure, and communicate progress using a single metric of progress - TRACTION
- How to deconstruct traction into actionable levers for growth.
- How to identify what to optimize in your business and what to ignore.
- How to test any growth strategy using small, fast, additive experiments
- How to uncover what customers want using iterative LEAN Sprints
TABLE OF CONTENTS
START APPLYING SCALING LEAN IMMEDIATELY
Due to factors beyond my control, Scaling Lean doesn't officially publish until June 14, 2016. Yes, I also think that June is a really long time to wait--especially if you are launching or scaling a new product right now. Remember that time is your scarcest resource.
So I got permission from my publisher (Penguin Random House) to be able to distribute a limited number of early access versions of the book prior to official launch. All you have to do is pre-order a hardcopy of Scaling Lean from a retailer of your choice and send us the receipt.
Preordering is simply like reserving a copy book. You don't get charged until the book ships and if the price goes down when the book launches (as it does on Amazon), you'll automatically get the lower price. To further sweeten the deal, I'm throwing in a few bonuses too...
When you pre-order Scaling Lean, you'll get:
1: The early access version (digital download) of Scaling Lean
Once we get your preorder purchase receipt, we'll send you a link to the early access version.
2: Backstage access to my book launch dashboard and e-book to follow
I am writing Scaling Lean using much the same process as my last book--by applying every principle and tactic in the book. As an early access reader, you'll get backstage access to every strategy and experiment we test towards our stretch goal of selling 100,000 copies of the book. I will be rolling all this into a standalone case-study which I will package as an e-book: "Journey to 100,000 copies" that you'll get as a bonus.
3: Membership to a private community of like minded entrepreneurs
Also, like the last book, I am creating a continuous feedback loop with readers using a private facebook group. This is where you can ask any questions about the book or your startup.