July 4th, 2013

Book Review: Running Lean, by Ash Maurya

The “Lean” series is very popular among our ARK Challenge teams as we are all trying to learn how to get our new businesses off the ground. The latest recommended reading from the series was “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya, who will be a guest speaker for us in the coming week.

The “Lean” series is tailored for technology startups, making it very appropriate for us to read and learn from this summer. I came close to making notes on every page of the book. I particularly appreciated the focus on customer needs and testing to get to the right solution for them rather a solution that you think they need.

To sum up my key takeaway from this book: test, measure and iterate. Over and over again.

The book is definitely worth reading for those that are in the midst of building a product and trying to figure out how to make it viable to their potential customers.

Here are my favorite quotes and takeaways:

“Getting paid is the first form of validation.”

“Price has the power to change your perception of the product.”

“First-time visitors spend eight seconds on average on a landing page. Your UVP is their first interaction with your product. Craft a good UVP and they might stay and view the rest of your site. Otherwise, they’ll simply leave.”

“We live in an increasingly ‘design-aware’ world where form cannot be ignored…a product is not just a collection of features but rather a collection of user flows. You need people on your team that can deliver on the right experience that matches your customers’ worldview.”

“Customer interviews are about exploring what you don’t know you don’t know.”

“Don’t ask customers what they want. Measure what they do.”

Customers need to see the product in action to understand it. The demo should look real even if it is not.

“Usability testing research shows that you can uncover 85% of your product’s problems with as few as five testers.”

“Surveys are more effective at verification than learning.”

“Retention is…king.”

For an audio version of this post, listen to Emily read it here:

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Link to book on Amazon