I once read a book called The Lean Startup. It wasn’t this year, not even last, but parts of it stuck with me. The book is a guide to demystify starting companies. What to do. What not to do. Like most books some parts of it where great and others just sucked.
Why should I give a shi*t?
There are a few worthwhile ideas that I took from it that I use in my decision making process in life, farming, tech, business.
1. Don’t pretend you know anything. Do stuff, measure results, learn.
In a world of the Big Data, Big Ag, Trump, China, organic, local, quinoa, and kale do you really feel like what you did in the past is going to tell you exactly what to do in the future?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer in the idea that “History never repeats itself but it rhymes”. Don’t through out the row crops because no hipster is interested in your GMO corn.
The main point is that unless you try something you really don’t know how it might work, or not work, for you or your business.
Do something, MEASURE RESULTS, Learn.
But I can’t try lots of stuff, trying stuff costs money and scares people.
⬇️ **ahem** see below ⬇️
2. Do the very least possible to learn.
This doesn't mean be lazy or learn less. The book calls it “Fail fast, fail cheap”. It means that you can get a lot more done if rather than betting the farm on any idea you do test plots instead.
Every time you think you need to spend big money to try an idea just think. Can I do this at 1/100th scale with a few dollars and learn? If the answer is yes thats a huge win with very little risk. Learning is really really valuable.
Real life example: If you want to get in shape go for a run rather than buying a Fitbit.
This allows you to try more things. I call it “Exposing yourself to opportunity” and its a huge part of my personal decision making process. I would recommend stealing it.
3. “Unlearning” aka “What got you here won’t get you there”
The world changes, business changes, strengths and weaknesses rise and fall. Make sure that you re-evaluate everything you do currently or historically. The book suggest a rigorous formal system for this. If you think that is perhaps overkill than I agree with you. Just make sure its on your mind. Old processes may need to be scraped. Why do we do it anyway?
As goals expand to get you from ‘here’ to ‘there’ certain ideas, processes, people might not scale anymore. Everything is always changing. Remember to change with it.
Embrace the chaos. You can’t hide form it.
I hope you found some of this useful or entertaining and don’t regret spending your time reading it.