Making lean decisions in the wild

The wild

In the lead-up to founding a company, like many others in my position, I thoroughly enjoyed “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. Inspired accordingly, I’ve been trying to make smart decisions, in particular by making decisions at the right time. This post is really about the idea of deciding as late as possible, in order to reduce waste and increase pivot-ability.

There are SO MANY things to think about – from the impact on the rest of life, to coding some software, to actually running the business – that it’s really important to be able to correctly prioritise or risk being overwhelmed.

Let’s take some examples for decisions it is tempting to take on day zero of starting a new company:

  • Company name: needed for URL and company registry, so pretty important to do early
  • Company logo: not needed for URL or company registry, so don’t even think about it yet

One thing that took me a large amount of time and effort to make a decision on was on computing hardware, mainly because it directly involved money. It wasn’t entirely clear at what point I needed to make the decision. I didn’t even know what I’d need, and it is quite difficult to be adaptable when buying hardware (for example upgrading from one graphics card to another could be a waste of cash.)  

I had a few clear criteria though:

  • “Presentable” and transportable for working on client sites, right now
  • Able to build mathematical models whilst working in the home-office
  • Be a good value purchase

Considering my requirements, it seemed like there were two logically separable requirements that probably justified two different pieces of hardware, particularly if it meant I could delay one decision.

Firstly, I ended up choosing an Asus Chromebook Flip for its easy google integration for client work, because the tablet format would be useful during presentations, plus I needed something for this right away.

Working on the kitchen table

For the second criteria, I decided to use my (pretty old) PC as a modelling computer in the meantime so I could learn more about what I need. At the point when I have to upgrade, I will. In this sense, the lean philosophy of making the decision as late as possible has felt really helpful.

One thought on “Making lean decisions in the wild

  1. The Lean Startup is indeed a great book. I like how you’ve applied it to what might, to many people, seem a more trivial decision than those described by Ries; it makes it seem more as though the principles in the book are within the reach of the everyday man making everyday decisions as opposed to just company bosses. Thanks for sharing.


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