If launching a startup is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down, then lean startup principles are the kiddie parachutes you deploy to buy yourself time before you hit the ground. While they’re no guarantee that you’ll land safely, they do minimize your chances of a spectacular crash and burn.
To the uninitiated, the lean startup movement advocates maximizing learning and minimizing cash burn during your search for a sustainable and scalable business model. If that seems like a mouthful, here’s a summary: put your stuff out there as fast as possible, see how it does, and keep iterating until you succeed. Do both qualitative and quantitative research to figure out whether you’re building a product people actually want and whether it’s possible to acquire customers in a cost-effective way. This usually entails taking a hard but honest look at the assumptions you may have about your product, target users, monetization models, competitive landscape, and distribution channels.