Notes from Ash Maurya’s Running Lean

This week Running Lean by Ash Maurya was my companion book. Reading the book felt like a pragmatic lesson on how to apply The Lean Startup concepts from chapter one. Maurya gives a thorough explanation how he went on creating the book, by interviewing customers, creating a minimum viable product, iterating, testing, and all other attributes that are core to the Lean methodology.

The book is filled with detailed systems that one can use it as a blue print for building a startup. The author outlines a tech startup process cutting away the fat and discussing only the essentials for a lean company. He uses the Lean Canvas as a tool to analyze a start-up business models. The canvas is a matrix explaining everything from key metrics and value proposition to marketing channels and customer segments for a startup. A entrepreneur cannot avoid mulling over the pros and cons of the product idea once the Lean canvas is filled out properly.

When developing a product, the goal is to achieve the right market/product fit. This is the first significant milestone of any company. Maurya writes about the steps in the process for the entrepreneur to find the perfect market fit for a product. 1- Problem/Solution Fit: find a problem to worth solving, 2- Product/Launch Fit: basically learn from customers and finally 3- Product/Market Fit: build something that customers want. For each step in the process Ash gives examples of his own experiences creating services and takes them a few steps further by systematically explaining what he is building, and why he is building it.

One of the most elucidating chapters in the book is “Don’t be a feature pusher”. Developers can sometimes fall victim to be everything to everyone. Ash stresses features need to be pulled not pushed in products and should be determined solely by customer needs and validation. Less is almost always more.

Overall, Running Lean is a good read and offers extensive lessons on how entrepreneurs solely or in teams can go about validating their product ideas in a pragmatic manner. I have bookmarked many pages with titles such as “Customer Interview examples”, “Pricing the product”, and the like. I plan on going back to those bookmarked pages often. They have lessons abound.

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