Lean Startup – an Art or a Science?

Lean Startup Machine founder Eric Ries believes there is a science to starting a business.

I’ve been trying out his Lean Startup methodology in action today on the cold streets of Camden town. It’s been a long, tough day. But you know something good is happening when you suddenly look up and it’s gone dark, and you didn’t even notice the s o f t b l a n k e t o f s n o w falling…

Science is difficult. One of our Lean Mentors reminded us that of 100 experiments we could try, 98% might be inconclusive – and that any fragment of conclusive evidence is incredibly useful even if it’s just annihilated your most cherished hypothesis.

Art is difficult too – you must learn your skills, follow your curiosity and keep faith in your ideas, but you must also – if you are to remain an artist beyond childhood – learn to enjoy the struggle.

As an architect I’m used to working at the intersection of art and science. It’s a beautiful place. Like tonight’s winter wonderland, it’s cold and icy as the scientific method, perfectly precise as a snowflake … and yet … tactile, sensuous, poetic, yielding to the touch.

and digital design share these characteristics.

Mathematician Sir Hermann Bondi saw the beauty of science. He wrote about it with wit. His most famous quotations seem apt to close off Day Two of the Lean Startup Machine weekend:

“If you walk along the street you will encounter a number of scientific problems. Of these, about 80 per cent are insoluble, while 19½ per cent are trivial. There is then perhaps half a per cent where skill, persistence, courage, creativity and originality can make a difference. It is always the task of the academic to swim in that half a per cent, asking the questions through which some progress can be made.”

“All science is full of statements where you put your best face on your ignorance, where you say: … we know awfully little about this, but more or less irrespective of the stuff we don’t know about, we can make certain useful deductions.”

“What I remember most clearly was that when I put down a suggestion that seemed to me cogent and reasonable, Einstein did not in the least contest this, but he only said, ‘Oh, how ugly.’ As soon as an equation seemed to him to be ugly, he really rather lost interest in it and could not understand why somebody else was willing to spend much time on it. He was quite convinced that beauty was a guiding principle in the search for important results in theoretical physics.”

Sir Hermann Bondi (1 Nov 1919 – 10 Sep 2005)
Austrian-British mathematician and cosmologist who (with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold) formulated the steady-state theory of the universe (1948).

Good night x

This entry was posted in Architecture, Business, Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing, Investment, IT, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lean Startup – an Art or a Science?

  1. Nagger says:

    it might just be me, but I can’t see a subscription button at the end of your blog.

    Maybe a missed opportunity?

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