Mistakes are good, and other lessons from the Lean Start-Up
I started this site in 2017 after starting my career as a freelance writer. While I got started on this career, I made a lot of mistakes.
New ventures rapidly assemble minimum viable products and immediately elicit customer feedback. Then, using customers’ input to revise their assumptions, they start the cycle over again, testing redesigned offerings and making further small adjustments (iterations) or more substantive ones (pivots) to ideas that aren’t working.
Steve Blank, Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything, Harvard Business Review (May 2013).
When I left the military, I went through a process known as the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP). Along with teaching soldiers – some of whom have never worked in the private sector – before how to put together resumes and prepare for interviews, the ACAP program had a short talk about how soldiers could instead become self-employed as entrepreneurs. During the presentation delivered by a government employee, the soldiers were given instructions about putting together business plans, using their homes as collateral for loans to start businesses in a way that was old-fashioned back in the years of the first Dot Com boom (I left the military in late 2013, long after Eric Reis and Steve Blank began developing the lean start-up model). No mention was made of venture capital. No discussion occurred regarding agile entrepreneurialism.
Since my ACAP class, I’ve learned a lot about the changing nature of business that I wish I had in front of me back in 2013 when I decided to hang up the uniform. I began to use the skills I developed in the military with digital forensics as a stepping stone to a career in marketing and copywriting. I learned from non-profits and networking groups how to better approach landing clients, manage my business, and refine my products and services.
Looking at other websites out there geared toward veterans, I saw a gap. While sites like Task & Purpose covered foreign affairs and politics well, and Duffel Blog covered… um… entertainment, there was no blog that provided business, culture, and tech news to veterans interested in starting their own companies in the same vein as Wired or Fast Company.
It should be noted that, while the issues faced by veterans may be unique (combat PTSD, TBI, and other chronic ailments, for example, are not as common outside the military as within), the information is intended to be of interest to anyone in business. I appreciate you taking the time to check out the site. Look forward to new content soon!