[Book review] Startup Science - What is Startup Science?

[Book review] Startup Science - What is Startup Science?

I read one book named "起業の科学" (means Startup science, published only Japanese version). The author is a serial entrepreneur who founded in Japan 4 times and in Silicon Valley once. In order that he made this book, he spent 5 years, 2,500 hours based on over 1,000 interviews with founders and investors. Then it's only 22.5 USD. I must say thank you for your long long time.

The contents are very practical and reasonable. Our company has 2 products of the early stage such as Cookstar (beta version) and Jobright (closed beta version). After I read this book, I noticed we missed 3 phases before we build MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and it was caused due to my misunderstanding of Lean Startup.

From now, I'll write totally 5 blogs about the book review of this book. These will be the summary of each phase until we build MVP. This book shows lots of examples why founders should follow these phases but I focus on "what to do" excluding "why". If you are interested in why, please refer "起業の科学" (written in only Japanese).

*I'm writing this blog after I got the approval by the author, Tadokoro san, to summarize the contents of this book in Engish. Thank you, Tadokoro san!

Executive summary of Startup Science

According to this book, startup process is composed of 5 stages, 20 steps, and 8 milestones as below.

Idea Verification
Customer Problem Fit
Problem Solution Fit
Product Market Fit

Transition to Scale

Check points, To-do and useful frameworks and tools of each stage

How to find an idea of a startup, what is meta-principle of startups which is different from intuition?

The first phase is Idea Verification but we should check if our idea is optimum for startups or not. Here is the checklist.

Idea checklist

  • Looks like a "bad" idea at first glance?
  • Not too niche market?
  • Have not intensified the competition yet?
  • NOT what you can make instead of what customers want?
  • Can explain your idea with one word?
  • Does it resolve a problem of yourself?
  • Do you have an original experience to meet your problem?

What to AVOID before PMF (high retention rate)

  • Make a detailed business plan 
  • Make a product which is so so liked by many people
  • Make a detailed design document of a system
  • Stick to the first business model
  • To be too conscious of competitors
  • To be too conscious of differentiation
  • Make an exact financial projection
  • Make a very detailed performance report
  • Add nice-to-have features
  • Stick to the design or usability too much
  • Automate and optimize a system too much
  • Hire engineers who have specific skills with full-time
  • Participate in networking events which don't relate to the business directly
  • Hire employees before making the business model
  • Hire "Manager" instead of "Doer"
  • Make partnerships before finishing the verification of a business model
  • Make an exclusive contract with a few big companies
  • Focus on marketing instead of sales
  • Invest in PR aggressively
  • Strictly define the role of works
  • Rely on the advice of specialists
  • Approach to VC aggressively (if you have a good product, they contact you)
  • Spend too much resource to pitching for financing

In this blog, I summarize the executive summary of Startup Science and checklists of ideas. In the next blog, I'll describe the first phase, Idea Verification.
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About Tomohide Kakeya

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