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Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth Hardcover – June 14, 2016
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“A battle-tested approach to building companies that matter."
—Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
"A practical field guide to smarter decision-making at the early stages of a business."
—Brad Feld, managing director of Foundry Group
"A smart book for smart founders who seek to make an impact. It will forever change the way you see your project."
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
"Scaling Lean is the lost guide to adopting lean practices in a growing product team. You need this book!"
—Nir Eyal, author of Hooked
“If you want to build a successful business, you need to take an analytical approach. This book shows you how.”
—Gabriel Weinberg, coauthor of Traction
“We tend to teach entrepreneurship as if we are physicists only interested in the first femtosecond of The Big Bang, assuming success is assured after those crucial early moments. Scaling Lean is about what happens after your company’s Big Bang: how to perform the many customer experiments needed to win your startup the traction to escape its black holes.”
—Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor, 3Com founder, UTAustin Professor of Innovation
About the Author
ASH MAURYA is the creator of the one-page business modeling tool Lean Canvas and the author of Running Lean. He regularly hosts sold-out workshops around the world, serves as a mentor to several accelerators, including TechStars, Accelerace, and Slingshot, and guest lectures at several universities, including MIT, Harvard, and the University of Texas, Austin. He serves on the advisory board of a number of startups, consults for new and established companies, and contributes to leading business publications and websites. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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The big issue that comes up after companies run their initial tests and get a first working model is "what next" -- or more specifically, how do maintain the pace of innovation my organization requires after the initial excitement period, and how do I create an organization that supports this pace?
Ash's approach in Scaling Lean gives you ways to find your answers to several questions:
-- How do I know if I have traction? Specifically, how do I use real-world, non-vanity metrics to know what's working.
-- How do I know where my bottlenecks and contraints are? Specifically, what can I do to identify and make progress given the realities of my current situation?
-- How do I run effective experiments? What should I be testing, and what should I test first, based on my company's business model, size, etc.
-- Where should I focus? How do I add up all the above to know where to spent the limited resources (time, money, and people) I've got?
Scaling Lean answers these questions in an effective and concise way, or at least gives you the tools to be able to find the path to answering them yourself (which is what lean startup is all about). It's relatively short, and not filled with too many anecdotes- the real-world examples are well chosen and not just filler (like so many business books).
My frustration with goal setting led me to adopt a "no goals" approach. I would only focus on the process and just "do the best that I could." This was better than trying to define the perfect goal but it still had a major shortcoming: I had no idea how to prioritize this idea over that. The "process-only" approach was good for developing my skills but not for "counting the costs." Sometimes I would execute projects very skillfully but they were doomed to go nowhere from the start.
Ash's solution is brilliant. He teaches you how to use the "Fermi Estimation" and "orders of magnitude" to quickly ballpark your idea and then work backwords to determine what inputs you need to get there. Immediately after doing the exercise you'll know which ideas are clearly not worth pursuing.
If you struggle with estimating revenue targets and timelines, you definitely need to read this book.
The Fermi Estimation is a method Ash teaches early in this book on how to create ballpark goals based on "orders of magnitude"
But warning: only buy it if you plan to do the work. This is really a workbook and demands serious effort on your part to get 100% of the value out of it.
In short, if you are responsible for a companies' growth, advise others on the topic, are thinking about jumping into your own biz or someone else's THIS IS REQUIRED READING. In fact, it is 1 of 2 books that I would put in the top 5 all time resources in print or the internet on the subject. The other is Running Lean by the same author and should be read first.
Blending the constraint concept of one of my favorite operations book, the Goal, he was able to show how any type of entrepreneur can get FOCUS on the right thing when there is so much uncertainty. Really just brilliant.
Actually one of the best things is the way the material is accessible/understandable to any type of entrepreneur without startup jargon or meaningless buzzwords. Gets right down to the basics with some helpful implementation materials that you can actually run with in your startup.
I'm looking forward to a deeper dive into the multi-sided model and how to get the right metrics. Metrics become an art when you are innovating, and this book gets you started on tackling it.