The lean...or broke startup

The lean startup has been dominating the startup world, every pitch, every meeting, and every business plan mentions the infamous model for starting a company but what does it actually mean. For some it means MVP testing and testing a product as soon as possible, but in the eyes of many it stems from an entirely new idea...

The Broke Startup, I like to call it, carries almost every principal that the lean startup does, with one large difference, choice. Many founders look at the lean startup as the process of testing a business idea while spending as little money and time on unnecessary aspects of the idea. However, if you have the money you may be inclined to spend, to indulge, and to jump start the burn rate before necessary. However, what if it was never even an option, if spending money was just absolutely not possible.

Having been out of college for about a year, I have managed to save up a total of zero dollars outside of necessary rent and survival goods, but the goals and expectations of my business have not changed at all. I believe everyone, including myself can abide by the rules of the lean startup even more at this broke point of our lives simply because we cannot afford to spend anything.

We have begun testing our platform Jowl in a truly lean way, through completely manual processes, or Wizard of Oz Testing. We do not have the time or money to push anything ahead until we truly built something that doesnt scale (In the words of Paul Graham). If we can act as the software would eventually, then lets do so in order to get our first customers, and generate true demand for this functioning platform.

Overall the lean startup emphasizes using what you have instead of spending what you dont. If you cant afford a computer, use pencil and paper, if you cant afford a marketing budget, market yourself. It is the same with food, we can pay a premium to eat out but by using the lean or broke method we can cook for ourselves at home...most likely pasta..