When I was at school, our class was given a task to build a feeder for winter birds. My friend and I worked our socks off the whole week to make the classiest one, and were confident that we’d nailed it: after showing it to the class, our 5-star feeder with the fancy roof window received the teacher’s praise and envious looks from our classmates. However, after we carried the finished masterpiece outdoors – the stupid birds couldn’t figure out how to get inside it, and after several attempts to land, the feeder collapsed. We had to confess: our feeder was too fragile to survive in the real world.
If this situation hadn’t been so pathetic, we wouldn’t have learnt our lesson: no matter how great your idea is, even if it gets praise from your nearest and dearest, it doesn’t mean that it will ultimately pass the real-world test. Had we brought the feeder outside in the very beginning, we’d definitely have noticed that birds don’t give a … tweet about interior design and knickknacks. Lean startup proponents would say that my friend and I had disregarded the “Idea Validation” stage. They would also wisely shake their heads and add that if we kept making the same mistakes in adulthood, it would cost us much more than 7 wasted days, some glue and a pack of crayons.
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