Fault finding & fixing

Fault finding. Symptoms, actions to take.

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The lean model : startup history X

Lean Model, Startup History X

The lean startup model is the new fashion.

Developed already in the startup world and developing in the corporate world too now.
Yet, aside from calling lean a management model based partly on logic and partly on speed, this “lean” approach can also turn into a stamp of approval for failure too.

And failure is becoming too easy nowadays. Almost a standard.

Failing is ok, still, if happening after actually trying. Working hard and seriously does not mean success in the end but, at least, is an acceptable excuse for failure.
That is the kind of failure that can be deemed ok.
However, just dressing as a hipster and being CEO of a random something called company does not make a startup.
And not putting enough effort in the product/service delivered is also not a valid reason for failure.
That is basically where the difference is.
Too many people now feel that they can fail since everybody tends to deem failing acceptable and even an almost necessary step on the road to success (at building a startup).
But failing must teach lessons. And must allow to avoid mistakes the next time.
Which means more serious work, more planning, speed but at a reasonable pace and making sure not to launch and hit the wall straight away.

Lean, not stripped.

The lean model pushes towards speed, towards “MVP” (Most Valuable Product) but, at the same time, how valuable is a product that is not fully operational ?
Launch something that does the job, then fix and – maybe – improve.
This may allow to beat competition on adoption but what about the users adopting something that does offer shiny stuff but delivers a gloomy experience ?
This is true for apps for instance but, as a user and, sometimes, early adopter, I can not be bothered (to say it nicely) using an app that does not do half the job or crashes every time.
This is where speed and early adoption will turn in early discarding and a speedy retreat of potential customers.
Which, with today’s networks, can become a serious quality and customer experience issue.
And a full stop for a startup.

The corporate lean … .

Corporations. The men in suits (from a startup point of view).
They have recently been focusing more and more on the lean model, trying to adapt it to their own management system. Both in the search for lowered expenses and improved reactivity.
This does translate in the lean approach being mainly adopted for processes and organisation. The products and services still tend to go through a lengthy life prior to being marketed.
But, at the same time, for both (processes or products) there is an increasing trend to release without really beta testing.
This OK-to-update-later attitude taking over the very foundations of thinking things through and trying to avoid (basic) mistakes in the first place. Not to mention the theoretical building of a process (more often) or guidelines not adapted to the actual job.
The best example being terms and conditions written by lawyers and/or implemented by auditors … who are miles away from the reality of the market, of the everyday life of users.
The fix : just asking users what they think prior to releasing an invalid piece – especially when it comes to legal terms which can end up being void.

Lean is no wonder nor no excuse.

In the end, there is never a one recipe for success or successful product/organisation.
The lean model is no better or worse than another, just the fashionable one at the moment. The main point being to avoid just implementing a model without adapting it, without thinking things through.
Mistakes always come up – nothing is perfect – but people should rather try to avoid those which can be avoided.
That is lean with brains … .


Having read pieces both in favour or against the lean approach, I know people tend to debate it. What are your thoughts about it ?

Please do let me know.

Exit - Sortie - sign for startups on samuel pavin group Ltd

Train your discomfort

Entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts or just employees or average Joes, everybody striving to improve, be it in work, sport or personal life, has to go beyond habits and comfort.

It is easy to do what we like. Or pick a topic of interest and become knowledgeable about it.

Improvements come through challenges.

After a discussion I started looking into my everyday life (routine ?). Actually, not a routine as there are challenges to face and some that I create but they do remain comfortable enough, especially when it comes to sport.

I like sport and can still cope with much challenges without putting an awful lot of effort into them.

So I decided to look into things I like but to which I suck. And one of them came knocking : art. Painting, drawing, etc … definitely forms of art I like to see and would like to be able to do but which I truly struggle to do at an even acceptable level. Or even get near something we could call an achievement.

The next step came quickly in the form of buying a sketchbook and some proper pens. Before getting my hands dirty at trying. And trying. And trying.

The result, so far, being about average poor, more or less, but it is still a great pleasure to see that the commitment and hard work have allowed me to (slightly) improve.

The lessons learned and to be learned.

Getting comfortable doing something uncomfortable is a learning process. A long and continuous process which might eventually pay off. Just might.

Going creative in a different way is just refreshing (and a good way to clear the brain from the laptop/smartphone/apps combination).

The journey here is similar to a startup one. You get inspired by others, discover, get ideas, learn, fail, a lot, and get back on track. Develop, improve and strive to keep improving.

These are the main takes for now but the story goes on. I will keep learning, falling and rising again and never reach the summit of what I am doing.

So I will keep training my discomfort.

And you, what is your recipe for kicking your own butt ? Tell me in comments.

What of being the best ?

Goals and achievements

A short post on being the best. People want to be at the top, companies want to hire the best of the bests. Oh chosen one, you are the new fashion.

A lot of work left for me to get there. But, maybe that is not a bad thing as long as I keep working towards this goal.

I meet people having achieved lots and considered the best at what they do. They are, until I meet someone better than them.

Whatever the level of expertise, a person is the best as long as he/she does keep moving forward and working on improving.

The best people are the one never considering the fact that they are the best but still seeing the gaps in their skills, the never-ending road to expertise, in a few words, the challenges ahead and take them on with a smile.

In the wise words of a tattoo artist friend : “If you seriously think you’ve mastered your art, you’re as good as dead. I keep learning everyday and will, for sure, never be the best. Because there will always be room for improvement and new stuff to learn”.

And, in my regards, after you reach a mountain’s summit, once the magical moment falters, only one thing is left, going down to the bottom.

So what of being the best ?

Just strive to improve. To be better everyday.

That is how you truly are the best.