“Me lie, women lie, numbers don’t – Jay-Z
The biggest part about building a lean startup is measurement. It’s the best way to figure out whats working, and whats not working. Cut out the fat fast and move on. Many hip hop artist do this all the time with mixtapes. Mixtapes are one of the many ways for artists to measure how the public feels about their music before an album drops. If something is off or wrong, they have time to change some things up. Every other genere only has the performance of the single to measure public interest. Mixtapes are in some ways similar to creating a Minimum viable product (MVP). Creating an MVP for your startup allows you to use a very basic version of your product that focus on delivering a value with little effort. Using an MVP entrepreneurs are able to gather data on how to improve. In some ways the customers are helping you build the product, so you save time, money, and headaches.
Turn My Swag On
Speaking with my good friend and fellow entrepreneur Adrian Grant he brought up a great example using Soulja Boy. Regardless of how you feel about his music, he deployed a smart strategy to test the market. He released small videos on his own dime to see which songs took off. One song Soulja Boy released was titled “Turn My Swag On“, it took off. On his own without any help from Interscope Records he was able to gather millions of views along with some radio play. Those numbers made Interscope confident in the single, so he got reimbursed for the costs of the video and it began to get a major label push.
Pivot or On to The Next One?
I wrote a post a few weeks back about the power of a pivot, Using examples such as popular flash sales startup Fab.com and Black Eyed Peas. When did failure become a bad thing? Sometimes the numbers just don’t add up, you take from your experience what you can, and you move on. I spoke with bestselling “The Lean Startup” author Eric Ries a few weeks back and told him I decided to stop working on my previous startup Playd. His response: Congratulations! I didn’t really make that decision, the numbers did for me.
Whats your measure of success? Is it downloads, unique visitors, page views, plays, or purchases? You need to focus on the one metric that means the most to you and your startup and go hard at increasing it. When you focus on too many metrics you run a huge risk of wasting time and it can just make you fail for unnecessary reasons. For Soulja Boy its YouTube views, for 50 Cent its mixtape downloads, for Fab.com its purchases, for Foursquare it was check-ins, for Facebook its users. Just that simple.
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