Lean Analytics: Learning Data-Driven Fundamentals

tl;dr…

If you’re interested in building products for the web, Lean Analytics by Alistair Crolll and Benjamin Yoskovitz is an invaluable source & reference material.

A little more….

This is hands-down the best reference material I’ve found on the basic fundamentals of user-focused, data-driven product development on the web. It does a wonderful job advising prospective builders to form solid growth habits that have a habit of sticking around for the long-term, IMO.

On a personal level, its helped me form better data-driven habits. I’m a 1-2 year old product manager; still learning to be great. After reading the book, its pushed me up a level in terms of knowing what to look for and having a solid approach to product-level conversations. My answers are better focused, I receive praise for my insights far more often, my responses are much more analytical and data-driven, and I just feel confident in my responses.

So, how does the book help form good habits? Well, it takes the theory of Lean Startup and applies it into pertinent case studies (e.g. Media/Ad, UGC, SaaS, E-Commerce, Mobile Apps, and Two-Sided Marketplaces sites). From there, Croll and Yoskovitz append those studies with examples from the industry. There’s some good guidelines overlayed throughout the book too. Can’t ask for much more.

Now, I don’t think anyone should completely take Lean Startup & Lean Analytics to be the end-all, be-all to product development on the web. Its an experiment-focused product development process that works well with small, dedicated teams with little to no dependencies. I recommend having your own opinion on what works for you and your team and applying what you learn in the book to your own process. You’ll see a measurable difference in the quality and speed of your team’s work in building product.

Thoughts on Tesla and its growing community of advocates

If you haven’t had a chance to read through the Tesla forums recently, there’s a very interesting thread by current owners detailing issues with going back to driving internal combustion engine cars. The Model S has had phenomenal success. It’s won awards, turned a good majority of their customers into advocates (no easy feat) and recently started validating their product is something people want.

What’s the best part about all of this? The comments are mostly about their electric drive-train. It gives me a lot of hope on a number of levels:

  • A good number of their customers are advocates and are truly engaged into the success of the company.
  • The Model S isn’t just a mix-shift product, but actually an incremental product evolution. It’s generating the power needed to successfully push forward the entire electric motor industry.
  • The ICE car competitors are starting to notice and either partnering (e.g. Toyota and Daimler) or beginning to build their own competitive products.
  • Altruistically, this is saving the planet and the lives of the generations that come after us.

This type of community building doesn’t happen often. I’ve seen it at Mozilla and its extremely powerful. It’s an incredible opportunity to further push their agenda and further the cause. I sure hope the folks at Tesla understand what they’ve found and are building methods empower and foster the growth of their community. The industry and the world sure would be better for it.

In terms of the Internet, it’s like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system.

Elon Musk