Ash Maurya on “Running Lean”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Books, Customer Development

Ash Maurya has released the first two chapters of his new book “Running Lean” and here are my first impressions.

His objective for the book is to define:

A systematic process for iterating your web application from Plan A to a plan that works .

His intent is to synthesize customer development, agile development methodologies, and bootstrapping into a coherent whole. He is up front about what he has done and some key beliefs:

  • If you’re ever going to charge for your service, charge from day 1.
  • You should only build and keep features that get used.
  • You should start building a significant path to customers from day 1.

He sketches out some intriguing chapters that he promises to deliver this fall:

  • Customers Don’t Care About Your Solution: Decouple The Problem From The  Solution
  • Test Pricing Early: Pricing is Part of the Product
  • Troubleshoot the Trial Period: Get Customers to Talk to You

I have been corresponding with Ash off and on for six years now. I remain impressed by the depth of his insights and his ability to articulate complex concepts and processes very clearly.  I remember hearing someone from IBM talk about what’s it like early in a new field, “we are all driving around in the dark, navigating by what we can see in our headlights; at some point the sun comes up and things become clear.” Ash is attempting to shed more light on these kinds of startups:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) applications
  • Web-based and desktop-based software
  • B2C applications
  • Freemium and Free Trial products

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