Hypotheses (Thu Sep 7, lecture 3)

Homework due for today

Legend: : Participation | : Early | : PDF | : Portfolio | : Zipped

  1. Lean Startup Chapter 4 and 5. Please consider the following warmup questions, and write up your responses.
    • Explain what a concierge MVP is and how it is used
    • What does Eric Ries mean by “getting out of the building”? What message is he trying to get across? What mistake is he trying to teach you to avoid?
    • What 1 or 2 important things from the reading did you not understand? And if you understood it all, then what 1 or 2 important things were most insightful/useful/valuable to you. Please make sure I can tell which is which!
    • Deliverable: Submit warmup quiz in Latte as a pdf, before 10am on class day!
  2. Pilot teams meet outside of class for at least 1 hour, and discuss project, and begin drafting their Pilot Project Report (see The Pilot Project). Do this as a shared Google doc. Make that document publically available. Update this Latte Wiki Page with the names of the pilot team members, and a link to the draft of your report. Team Deliverable: Updated Latte Wiki Page as stated.
  3. Read: Build Measure learn vs. Learn Measure Build

Useful (optional) reading


  • Thanks for warmups
  • Whats an MVP exactly, according to RIES?
  • Why is the term confusing
  • What is a concierge MVP?
  • What is getting out of the building?
  • What exactly is a hypothesis, give examples from your product ideas
  • (Don’t worry about antilog. It’s not a useful concept :)


Four Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask
  1. Do customers/consumers/users recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve?
  2. If there was a solution, would they buy it?
  3. Would they buy it from us?
  4. Can we build a solution for that problem?

The tendency of all computer science, IT, entrepreneurs, everywhere, always is to start with question 4.

The Lean Startup notion of hypotheses
  • Also ‘assumptions’, but I like the term hypothesis better because it emphasizes that we don’t take a side as to whether it is true or not. We specifically want to generate evidence that will either prove or disprove it.
  • Testable: You need to know how you would test it
  • Explicit: You need to be able to state it succinctly (on a post-it note)
Types of Hypothesis - there are lots
  • Customer: Who is the customer? Where would you find them?
  • Problem: What is their pain? What is the ‘job’ they are ‘hiring’ a product to do?
  • Solution: What kind of solution are they seeking? What features do they need? Will this solution actually address their problem?
  • Pricing: Different tiers, prices, different customer segments
  • Technology: What kind of computer, connectivity, sophsitication do they have
  • Habits: “They do …”
  • Growth Hypothesis: what ways will new customers discover the product? Why will they keep using it?
  • Value Hypothesis: Assuming use, in what ways is the idea delivering value to the customer?

The point is, don’t get too hung up on classifications. What is important is the idea of formulating testable hypotheses, running experiments, and updating your plans accordingly.

Talk about Term Projects

  • In week 5 we will begin working on the term projects
  • Between now and then we will be coming up with ideas, writing them up, etc.
  • Here is a page with Product Idea Inspirations
  • Discuss how it should work: Term Project Outline


  • Every student will have to create at least one idea for a term project.
  • As we brainstorm about product ideas you can start collecting the ones that you like and want to put forward as your idea for a term project.
Right now First round of brainstorming on possible term projects. Collect them on whiteboard and write them down.

Next Class