Q&A with Alistair Croll, coauthor of "Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster"
Q. Why is your book timely-- what makes it important right now?
A. There's been a flurry of startup activity made possible by the lowered barriers to entry of cloud computing, social media, and app platforms. But there's less accountability. If you look at the numbers, it's a bloodbath: you're almost certain to fail. One reason for this is that founders are delusional. But data doesn't lie, and the right data in the right place at the right time can change your business (to steal from Steward Brand.) That's what this book is about-- using data to build a better business faster.
Q. What information do you hope that readers of your book will walk away with?
A. We have a ton of concrete data-- ideas of what's normal; what metric to watch at what time; and so on. But more than any of this, we hope they'll come away with an experimental eye, realizing that they're not building a product. Instead, they're building a tool to figure out what product to build.
Q. What's the most exciting and/ or important thing happening in your space?
A. That nearly every mature industry is ripe for disruption. An entrepreneur, working within a host organization, can absolutely revitalize the business (as Procter & Gamble did when it introduced Swiffer, for example.) And a small business can tackle giants or entrenched competitors by being more agile (as Uber did to taxis, or Airbnb did to hotels.) Mops, taxis, and rentals aren't new. But they're hugely susceptible to change if it's applied in a measured, careful way.
"Alistair and Ben have written a much-needed dose of reality, and entrepreneurs who ignore this data-driven approach do so at their own peril." -- Brad Feld, Foundry Group & Techstars
"This is applicable to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from small business to big government." -- Jennifer Pahlka, Code For America
"No innovator should be without this book." -- Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
"In Lean Analytics, Alistair and Ben have done a masterful job showing us how to use data and metrics to peer through the haze of uncertainty that surrounds creating new businesses and products. This book is a huge gift to our industry." -- Zach Nies, Rally Software
"As useful for today's multi-billion dollar companies as it is for entrepreneurs." -- John Stormer, Salesforce.com
"Lean Analytics is the missing piece of Lean Startup, with practical and detailed research, advice and guidance that can help you succeed faster in a startup or large organization." -- Dan Martell, Clarity