How startups are like exploring a mayan jungle
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the lean startup means and how does it relate to having a vision you believe in. I think I finally came up with an analogy that makes sense to me.
Building a company is like exploring a mayan jungle looking for the great treasure.
Climbing where the road takes you
The lean startup methodology says you should keep climbing the hills around you. You’re on a road to find something, anything.
You pivot around, change direction to where the wind takes you and you see promising trails. Ask enough users and they will eventually tell you what problems they have. Try something out and you’ll eventually learn more. Never go down a path until you’ve first sent some scouts, probed some theories, tested stuff.
You don’t understand your surroundings yet, but there are unsolved problems everywhere if you know how to look for them.
If you keep climbing hills you will eventually find something or eventually understand them well enough to make more decisions about where to go next.
Sometimes you get to success. Sometimes you don’t. Crossing the death valley is out of the question, can’t you see how many are dead there?
Believing you figured out the treasure map
For you, the world simply make sense. You feel you understand it well and because of that you know exactly where you want to go.
You are in fact so convinced that you can’t stop thinking and obsessing about it. You haven’t figured it all out and you don’t know exactly how you’ll get there, but you know where your true north is.
It might be obvious for you, but not so for anybody else.
You’re crazy, most people say. It’s too risky, you have no idea that it will even work, that’s just insane and risky. You don’t care, you know you can do it (and you also know you might be wrong).
We all explore differently
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. We all have our thoughts on how to do it and god knows there’s no shortage of advice.
Some like to pace their efforts and take it step by step, some just go all in and risk it on a crazy vision. You’re proven wrong, you fail, there are casualties, but all in all it’s fun to think about it this way.
And after all, whether you find your answer or not, nobody will take away from you the stories you have, the friendships, the dramas and the near-death experiences you’ve gone through!