“You have to really want to know the truth more than you want to be right,” Ries said.
“But if you have a little bit of humility and some discipline, you can break the idea down and systematically test each element and figure out what’s true and what’s not,” Ries said. “The scientific method is at the heart of the lean startup world view.”
Another common denominator for lean startups is the need for speed, Ries said.
“You would see an obsessive focus on speed,” he said. “There is a sense of urgency to get to the information we’re looking for.”
In this mode, Ries said, all decisions — infrastructure, personnel, platform — are evaluated with an eye on picking the platform that will allow the business to run experiments quickly to create a build-measure-learn feedback loop.
That build-measure-learn feedback loop helps an entrepreneur steer a lean startup and know when to pivot by making a sharp turn or persevere on the current path.
“Pivoting is fundamental to the process,” Ries said. “If you look at successful startups, most of them started out without the exact right business model, idea or strategy. Most of the time, the idea is downright crazy. But there’s just a kernel of truth buried inside it.”
That’s where the pivot comes in to play.
“A pivot is a change of strategy without a change of vision,” Ries said.