Last week I soft-announced a new book I’m working on titled:” The Customer Factory.”
It aims to address the #1 problem, in my opinion, that trips up most lean practitioners — crafting effective experiments that lead to breakthrough insights.
Even though running experiments is a key activity in a lean startup, I constantly find that entrepreneurs get stuck within their ceilings of achievement.
To find some answers, I first turned to science. I was surprised to learn that running experiments is NOT the most important thing scientists do.
It’s the second most important thing. What do you think is the first?
For a hint: Consider how one of our most celebrated scientists, Albert Einstein, could predict the speed of light with uncanny accuracy and manage to overthrow classical Newtonian Physics from his armchair — without running a single experiment.
Scientists first and foremost build models.
They then run experiments to test those models.
Entrepreneurs need models, too, and yes, Lean Canvas is one such model. Lean Canvas helps us deconstruct the complex task of building a business into a simple model that is a good approximation of the problem.
But Lean Canvas isn’t enough. We need another model.
That search led me back to the manufacturing world — specifically in the domain of systems thinking, where I revisited Goldratt’s groundbreaking work on “The Theory of Constraints,” first described in his business novel: “The Goal.”
The big epiphany for me was realizing that all entrepreneurs are in the manufacturing business but what we manufacture isn’t simply restricted to our products.
Entrepreneurs ultimately build systems to manufacture happy customers.
Happy customers get you paid, and doing this repeatedly and efficiently at scale is the goal of every startup.
This metaphor stuck and is the basis for the book's title: “The Customer Factory.” I find the metaphor very effective in driving focus (right action, right time) no matter the stage of the startup.
Like the last book, I started with a few blog posts and shared some of these ideas in my workshops and bootcamps. Encouraged by the initial signals, I decided to undertake writing another book.
Also, as with the last book, I am building a new tool to make the principles covered in the book practicable. This is work that started as Lean Stack but of particular note is the newest member to the stack: “The Lean Dashboard.” This board encapsulates the business model validation process built on systems thinking and experiments:
Note: The tool is ready now for early access use. You can learn more at: http://www.leanstack.com.
Finally, like the last book, I will be releasing the book iteratively and refining it up until launch sometime next year. The first chapter is already written, and if you’d like to join me on this journey, head on over to: https://scalinglean.com
I gave a 1-hour talk previewing more of the book last week.
You can catch the video below: