“Almost every single product I’ve ever built or created in my entire career has been a colossal failure,” Reis told the 2012 Wired Business Conference.” There is no way I could be doing what I’m doing if those products had been successful.”
What Reis is doing is writing about how to do a startup. Yes, you read right. He sat down with Wired’s Thomas Goetz Tuesday to talk about The Lean Start-Up — his method, subject of a blog-turned-book of the same name, which advocates rapid prototyping to test market assumptions, and incorporates customer feedback to streamline product development.
Ries was an engineer and programmer, who was confident that better technology would yield better results. But, he said, looking for a tech solution to a human problem takes the human element out of a business. His method says you must go beyond technology, and look at the people, what quality is, and what’s important.
“I thought I would read the book on the topic,” said Ries. “But it didn’t exist.”
Back to his The Social Network moment. Reis was in college, and very wise people were telling him this idea wasn’t going to work. In the movies, you get to tell those people they were wrong. For Ries, they were right. His first Silicon Valley start-up was much the same, just much more expensive.