The idea of the lean startups has gained fantastic momentum in recent years. Building a minimally viable product at low cost and failing fast and failing often have led to an exploding culture of entrepreneurship. Lean startups just build things and rapidly pivot to meet the demands of the market. That can be a great strategy but investor and tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen notes that there are limits to the lean start up philosophy.
Some Ideas are Too Big for the Lean Startup Strategy
You can’t incrementally build and sell a massive idea.
“I would serve this as a challenge for the Lean Startup community. Especially the ones with the really audacious goals. Sometimes they start audacious because otherwise the product will never get to market. The Macintosh, that product had to exist in its entirety for people to wrap their heads around it,”
Sales and Marketing Still Matter
Keeping costs low and focusing on the product to drive sales may be cheaper, but not investing in sales and marketing isn’t the wisest business strategy.
“We see Lean Startup methodology being used inappropriately as an excuse to not take sales and marketing seriously,” he said. “Founders tell us that all that matters is product, and sales and market will happen automatically.
Failure is Not Cool
There is opportunity to learn from every failure, but ultimately entrepreneurs need successes to get to profitability. The lean start community may be over glamourizing the value of failure.
“The pivot. It used to be called, ‘the fuck-up.’ Taking the stigma out of failure is very exciting,” he said. “But we see founders who give up too quickly. It’s permission to give up very fast. Are they really going to do the heavy lifting over time?”