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Lean Startup Machine vs. GTA: 5 Takeaways

Lean Startup Machine vs. GTA: 5 Takeaways

After participating in the Lean Startup Machine the other weekend, we noticed that Grand Theft Auto 5 has a lot of strikingly similar core principles with the lean startup methodology, if you take out all the brutality, theft, crime, stripper poles, and murder. Here are 5 of our main takeaways:

1) Got an Idea? Drive It Like You Stole It.

There is no place for emotional attachment to ideas at LSM. Test-drive your riskiest assumptions over and over and obtain validation. The key to staying alive is to iterate fast and pivot when necessary. If you don’t find your validation, kill the idea and pick a new one. Teams this year pivoted up to 7 times. Sometimes entrepreneurs need to scrap an idea and start fresh despite the amount of time already invested. After all, recognizing dead ends is the only way of finding your way out of a maze.

2) Don't Chase Problems, They Should Come To You.

One of the biggest pitfalls entrepreneurs fall into is pursuing ideas because they “make sense”. However, solutions need to “make money” too. If you have to tell people what the problem is, chances are it isn’t one big enough to begin with. It’s important not to spoon feed or suggest your problem/solution in any way until the person comes up with the problem on their own. After every test, you should analyze the information gained and dig deeper into the data to find a problem and solution worth pursuing.

3) Currency is King.

The local currency at LSM is called validation and the richest team has a significantly higher chance of winning. LSM's ultimate goal is to teach entrepreneurs that validation confirms that you're building a product that people actually want. Some of the most popular types of validation came in three forms: Cash, e-mails and letters of intent.

4) Take a Risk. You'll Live.

Why is it that we are inclined to do the most daring things only in videogames? Letting go of your fear of rejection is the key to success. The worst thing people can do is say no. By not asking, you are already accepting no as the default response. You will mess up and you should be happy when you do. The difference between LSM and GTA is that when you fail, you go back to the drawing board with new knowledge instead of waking up at the hospital with nothing.

5) Every Game Has a Winner. LSM Has No Loser.

LSM Winning Team From left to right: Patrick Houwer, Joshua Goldberg, Gabe Orlowitz, Vishal Bathija, Yogesh Raheja, and Dominique Aubry.

Even though team Safe Route won Lean Startup Machine Boston, the real prize was the learning experience. Everyone who made it to the end of the weekend gained a strong understanding of the lean methodology. Whether you were bothering bystanders with questions, twitter spamming to the point of suspension, or messaging everyone in your LinkedIn network, everyone eventually understood the fundamental point: Fail Fast, Succeed Faster.

By Patrick Houwer and Joshua Goldberg

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