I haven’t done anything public with Remarkable Wit since the Enterprise LAMP event. I’ve decided that what I’d like to use it for, for now, is sharing what I’ve learned from my experiences since I left Emma in Sept. 2007 to find “The Way of The Startup.”
“The softest thing in the universe
Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
That without substance can enter where there is no room.
Hence I know the value of non-action.
Teaching without words and work without doing
Are understood by very few.” – Tao Te Ching 43
I knew nothing of the value of non-action when I started Remarkable Wit. For the first 18 months, I made quick action after quick action, resulting in some lucky wins and some spectacular flame outs. Here is the simple wisdom that I gained from those moments of irrational action:
Mass is not Agile
When you grow your company as the solution to drive more revenue, you marry that model and strategy. It isn’t a good or bad strategy, it’s just not an agile strategy. Innovation needs the ability to quickly pivot. It’s easier to do that with 2 people than it is to do with 4. Easier with 4 than it is with 8. And so on. If you are in discovery/validation mode, don’t bulk up.
No is the most important thing to say.
Customers, Partners, Employees, Investors, Colleagues, Board Members, Advisors and your Family. Everyone wants (but says needs) you to do something that isn’t in line with your vision. Sometimes you should say yes to those requests, because your vision probably isn’t entirely on, and some external feedback is going to be really helpful. Sometimes you should say no, because your vision is dead on, and these people just don’t understand what you’re trying to do. Customer Development, Team Building, Fund Raising and Business Operation do not require you to say yes to everything in the name of a goal.
Less Is More
Trying to convince a lot of people to do something is harder to do than convincing a few people to do something. Once a team is united, regardless the size of the team, that team can strike with multiplied force. Lots of small iterations with a small team can provide more progress than few, large iterations with a large team.
Lean Startup Is Where I Landed
I don’t know anything, so I can’t profess that Lean Startup is the answer. I can only say that it’s where I’ve landed after my lessons, and by practicing Lean Startup methods, I feel less likely to repeat the mistakes I made. That’s a lot of what I’ll talk about here, and I’ll certainly work to contribute what I learn from success and failure, with the hope that some piece of it may be useful to you.