Hotter / Colder and Lean Startups

My kids, aged 3 and 5, like the game hotter colder. Daddy (that’s me) hides a toy and the kids have to find it. I give them clues by telling them if they are hotter (close to the toy) or colder (getting further away). This game is usually fun for a minute or two, until one of my kids asks me to just tell them where the toy is. Not even out of kindergarten and they already realize that it’s easier to ask for what they want rather than guessing.

I write about this because I’m concerned with how startups are misinterpreting Eric Ries’ Lean Startup. In his book of the same name, Eric urges startups to measure how they are moving toward their goal. If the problem is in reign customer sign-up on the web page, do A/B testing to measure which design works better.

This does not mean make 2 designs, test which works betters, and repeat. If this is all you are doing, you are just playing a high tech version of hotter colder. In deciding your options, what designs you should test or what pricing models to trial, it is much more efficient to just ask your customer what they think. Once you have done that, then test.

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