Lean Startups? Ho-hum.
One of the results of having been around the block a few times is that you start to realize that few ideas are original and that most are simply incremental variations on a theme. The lean startups approach has been widely touted recently as a breakthrough in the business of launching companies. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. This approach has been around since the first cash-strapped entrepreneur scrambled for ways to get his startup off the ground.
If you want proof that the lean startup model is nothing new, go read the works of Professor Amar Bhide from the 1980s on how to do lean startups. Just beware that he didn’t use that term. Instead he talked about the “high hustle” approach. Where The Lean Startup uses the annoying “pivot,” Dr. Bhide used the much better “try-it;fix-it” phrase. You can find articles by Dr. Bhide at the HBR site as well as his famous book on entrepreneurship at Amazon.
All that Lean Startups has managed to do is systemize the obvious in a manner that makes you want to read the phonebook instead. Now Steve Blank, a man we normally respect, has jumped aboard the lean bandwagon and touts it as if it is something truly new. You can see his latest attempt at making what’s been painfully obvious to entrepreneurs for a very long time sound like the discovery of the millennium.
If you have ever had to fight the urge to strangle a 20-year old Y Combinator grad who talks about pivoting incessantly, you will enjoy this video. Be forewarned that it does contain a few F-bombs.