On the meaning of “Lean” in Lean Startup
While this is a relevant and foundational meaning, I propose an alternative one.
Lean in the sense of “leaning towards or on” someone else.
If a startup wants to learn how to build successful business, it must lend its hears to customers. It has to “lean towards” them and listen to their voice.
Open development, crowd sourcing, crowd funding and user-centered design go all towards this sense of Lean.
Aside this, my point here is that startups should avoid the “stealth mode” approach and be brave enough to face the customers as soon as possible, i.e. when they are able to craft a Minimal Viable Product.
They should be also ready to:
1. Setup the relevant Actionable Metrics in order to get the necessary insights for learning.
2. Pivoting: change the MVP (and possibly the Business Model) if targeted customers don’t convert (i.e. ignore you).
To conclude, I believe that Leaning Towards could be an alternative complementary meaning to Lean in Lean Startup that helps in better understanding its underlying philosophy.