- File Size: 2957 KB
- Print Length: 260 pages
- Publisher: NISI Publishing; 1 edition (November 15, 2013)
- Publication Date: November 15, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0055D7O1U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#44,265 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #44 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Technology > Innovation
- #52 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Entrepreneurship & Small Business > Starting a Business
- #66 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Entrepreneurship & Small Business > Entrepreneurship > Startups
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Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation: The lean startup book to help entrepreneurs launch a high-growth business Kindle Edition
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Y Combinator founder Paul Graham promotes the motto "Make something people want." Paradoxically, research shows that the natural tendencies of entrepreneurs jeopardize that mission, every step of the way. For example, entrepreneurs easily fall into the habit of following their own beliefs rather than facing up to the realities of the market before it's too late. Ultimately, our greatest enemy is ourselves--investing our time and money into things that won't work, at the cost of not discovering and pursuing the things that will work. NISI outlines a process that emphasizes having a scientific, unemotional mindset and maximizes time to failure, thereby minimizing the potential sunk cost of trying to realize a true business opportunity. NISI also warns us of the natural psychological traps of entrepreneurs and how to avoid them. At its core, the NISI about avoiding dangerous path of "I've got a great idea", and instead taking the road of "customer data indicates that this is true".
The NISI process is straightforward and methodical: start with hypothesis about the customer pain, then test it. Once you've identified and validated the customer pain, hypothesize the minimum feature-set necessary to drive a customer purchase. From there, build a series of gradually more advanced prototypes, while discussing and validating with customers each step of the way. Eventually, you build a usable solution and sign up pilot customers, who help you refine your product and develop a go-to-market strategy.
This process can be applied to startups, new ventures within, and to turn around lagging companies. But while this process sounds simple--even conventional--the true challenge is avoiding common entrepreneurial pitfalls and having the discipline to adhere to this process in full. My main takeaways? Talk to customers starting on day one, and don't stop. Be a scientist, not a hero.
Two criticisms of the book:
1) I thought that the third phase, "Nail the Go-to-Market Strategy" was presented weakly compared to the earlier phases. I give the authors credit for trying to condense positioning, marketing, and sales into a relatively small number of pages. But I felt that the sections on understanding the customer buying process and market communication and distribution infrastructure were not as practical as I would have hoped.
2) The process, or at least the explanations and examples (eg. cold email scripts), is tilted toward B2B. I've started a B2B business previously, and from that perspective the content seemed spot-on. But as someone working on a B2C business now, I felt a little bit short-changed.
TL;DR: Your middle-of-the-night ideas are probably stupid. You're probably wrong. Take the minimum time to get a prototype in the face of your potential customers, iterate on their feedback, and DO NOT INVEST significant money and time until you have tried to prove your idea wrong from many angles with customer feedback. Indeed, if you haven't disproven any part of your business idea, you haven't tried hard enough -- no successful businessman or businesswoman just *knows* what people want.
Nail the customers' pain.
Nail the solution customers are willing to pay for.
Avoid the traps of conventional wisdom that lead most entrepreneurs to failure.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
Why Believing in Your Product Leads to Failure. "All too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or technology, they ignore negative feedback from customers, and they spend years building a product based on a vision that no one else shares."
Why Having too Much Money Leads to Failure. "Money allowed the entrepreneurs to execute their flawed business plan rather than to stay laser focused on the market so that they could find the facts about what customers wanted and adjust accordingly."
Where Do Winning Innovations Come From? "The key difference... is not to just ask customers what they want but to deeply understand the customers--their motivations, their needs, and most important, the job they are trying to get done... Thomas Edison stated that `I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it'."
As Ahlstrom points out, commitment of money is a very powerful validation. "The price your customers are willing to pay is the measure of the degree to which you have nailed the solution."
Fail Fast and Learn to Change. "By remembering to fail fast, you focus on rapidly testing your assumptions, iterating swiftly, and then, because you have less attachment, you can see when you need to abandon one approach in favor of a better approach."
Focus on Simplicity. "Somewhat counter-intuitively, simplifying increases customer adoption and reduces costs. Customers are attracted by simplicity and confused by complexity... Entrepreneurs should focus on developing the minimum feature set to close a customer purchase."
Unquestionably worth my time.
Thank you Paul and Nathan for the time it took you to write this book.
Adam O'Donnell, Co-Founder & CEO of Buzz.Report.