Think Big, Start Small, Fail Quickly and Scale Fast

“Altitude creates attitude”. The source of human energy and creativity can be found in the distance between where we are and where we’d like to be. If we really want to build great things, we need big ideas.

Of course these ideas have to be believable and from an execution perspective we can’t think big and start big, that’s almost impossible. In these cases, the problem isn’t just that we don’t think big enough; the problem it’s that we don’t start small enough. A big dream without a small start is nothing but a daydream.

  • Think Big [start with a vision]
  • Start Small [minimum viable product]
  • Fail Quickly [test and learn]
  • Scale Fast [continuous design and deliver]

We need miniature versions of our grand idea so we can validate its parts, and then iterate and tweak constantly. There’s nothing wrong with having a really big idea and launching only aspects of that idea.

Starting small and demonstrating progress is key to building credibility and expanding a network of interested stakeholders. The best way to disappoint everyone is to over-promise and under-deliver. Therefore we must be humble and committed at the same time. Customers are more forgiving when we make mistakes if those mistakes are honest efforts in trying to improve towards a known and worthwhile direction.

An ongoing portfolio of small-scale experiments to fail fast on those without merit and to prioritize those with the potential to scale is critical. Those experiments that demonstrate the feasibility of a new model or approach become candidates for expansion. Scaling fast becomes more likely with the ability to leverage the proof point of a successful real world experiment.

These notes have been taken from:

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