What can startups learn from MythBusters

My late father used to say that great idea is the one that many people come up with independently.

So as I was watching MythBusters on the Discover Channel (my favorite show), reading David Armano’s blog post about unconventional marketing, and listening to Stephen Shapiro (innovation consultant) talk at our Revolve Nation entrepreneur networking event, I realized something that I have been practicing for a long time. Stephen Shapiro calls it “failing cheaply”. When MythBusters guys try to bust a myth, they always go for small scale experiments first, before spending the big bucks. David Armano advocates for marketing micro-strategies that are agile and constantly evolving.

In the world of entrepreneurs and startups the resources are scarce. There is no such thing as a rapidly growing startup flushed with resources. For the vast majority of projects, plans, and initiatives in such an environment failure is more of a rule, rather than an exception. We DO need to be very clear about the direction we are going. Anything after that should be done in steps. One step after another with sensible commitments of resources and no large bets. Even with rocketship investment model you still need to have a very flexible strategy with measured and conservative approach. Investors take a big gamble on you, it is not your privilege to squander investors’ money by treating the mighty dollars as “whales” do in Las Vegas.

Prototype, test, prototype, and test again. Try new approaches one client at a time. Get your users/clients involved very early in the process. It will definitely take a lot of corrections, but at least you are not wasting resources on the path you have taken when you have to take the return trip to make a correction.

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