That’s a big one for me. Yesterday I discussed with a friend the principle of focus and my mind created a visual (see below) to help me gain a better understanding of what focus means.
You read this best in the context of business modelling where we need to focus on the smallest possible first product, also known as the MVP (minimum viable product). The lean startup world’s famous Ash Maurya is my lean coach and on our call last week he expressed his view on a possible MVP for my business. My mind kept working on the topic after the call and that led me to deeper thinking about focusing.
The chocolate and its nuts
On to the visual I mentioned above, then.
Imagine we wanted to build the world’s most fascinating chocolate store (I’m Swiss, I can’t help it) with our own R&D and our own production facility behind it and we would want to have different chocolates with nuts in them as one of many segments.
Focus by coincidence – the regular entrepreneur
Most people would do as many different things as they can until they run out of energy and money. I know from experience how that feels.
Some focus – the “almost-lean” entrepreneur
The average “almost-lean practitioner” (I tried that until 5 months ago thinking I was “doing lean” already) might be a bit smarter. He or she would let an existing chocolate factory produce only the first 3 kinds of chocolate with nuts in them (their first segment) which he or she then would try to sell out of a box on a bicycle.
Radical focus – the lean entrepreneur
It gets a lot worse than that – or much better, in the radically lean way of thinking: the real lean practitioner who I’m in the process of becoming might have found out in interviews that chocolate with nuts is first of all about the nut more than anything else. She might decide to have no chocolate to sell at all in the beginning. She or he would instead focus on finding the perfect nut and then start selling only this one kind of a nut in bags of five. To lovers of chocolates with nuts in them, that is! Only if that proves to be too small of an offer to serve as our MVP would we then add cacao to the nut and take things from there.
It will drive me wild but I’m happy
That’s very radical thinking. It’s counterintuitive for doers and it will drive me nuts for sure. But it will guide me in the right direction and I’m happy I now have this visualisation for the abstract term “focus”.