Seems these days I start almost every blog post talking about Lean Canvas. I’ve seen the Lean Canvas work effectively – as a planning, strategy and communication tool – and encourage any startup I’m working with to give it a try. Ultimately it’s about focus. Focus is incredibly elusive in a startup. A lack of focus kills. Flat out. You might get lucky (and you need luck no matter what to win), but more than likely if you’re not hyper-focused on what matters, you’ll flounder and sputter out. And it sucks big time.
Running Lean is Ash Maurya’s book on how to focus (and use Lean Canvas).
He calls it “Running Lean” and the title is important: this isn’t about going slow, getting paralyzed by analysis, or lost in the weeds. It’s about running as fast as you can (remembering that it’s still a marathon) in as focused a way as you can. I read the first edition, and this second edition is even better.
Ash has mastered the science (and art!) of honing in on what matters. Running Lean is the guidebook for that. It’s definitely worth reading.
When Ash was working on the 2nd edition, he asked me to review the book and submit a quote for it. Here’s what I wrote:
Running Lean is THE practical guide for understanding and implementing Lean Startup. It’s clear, well-organized, and detailed. Ash doesn’t guarantee success, or claim Lean is perfect (it’s not!), but he’ll help you avoid the most common and painful pitfalls of running a startup. If you want to be systematic, rigorous, and honest in your startup efforts, as opposed to throwing a Hail Mary pass while blindfolded in space, read and use Running Lean.