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A Lean Life

Over the past few weeks I've been spending more and more time considering the lean startup methodology. The methodology is really a codification of the best practices for rapid testing.

More importantly it makes you consider what happens if a test fails

Maintaining control of failure is an important point when working in the tech industry -- the entire field can change rapidly and failure is part of the norm. At Google's scale they must assume that, for a computing task involving hundreds of machines, one of them will die in the midst of the work.

Failure is built into their methodology

Recovery after that failure is what's important -- disaster recovery without the disaster. Why can't these general principles be applied to far more than just startups?

The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop

The build-measure-learn feedback loop sits as a core principle of the lean startup methodology. To be honest, it's fairly obvious -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

  • IdeaBuild
  • ProductMeasure
  • DataLearn

If you replace Product with Experiment then you essentially end up with the scientific method.

Take and apply everywhere

  • New business idea?
    • What's the minimum amount of time to get the first iteration off the ground?
    • Is it a fit for the market?
    • Persevere and refine or burn it to the ground and start again?
  • Want to play a new musical instrument?
    • What's the cheapest way to get the instrument? Beg, borrow, hire, buy?
    • The minimum song you can learn so you can know if you like it
    • Return the instrument with minimum cost or continue learning

Repeat ad nauseum.