The Challenge of Defining the Right Hypothesis
At the beginning of his project XD2Sketch, Kevin created a landing page and spread the word at places where his target audience would hang out.
And it worked: He got many email signups that then led him to building the complete thing (which was quite a lot of effort). Learn more about his story here.
We asked him if he had a number of signups (= a quantified hypothesis) in mind when setting up the landing page (= the experiment). He responded: "I thought about this, but it was super difficult to come up with a number that didn't feel arbitrary." So instead, he decided to have the number of sign-ups inform his gut-feeling. And when the number of sign-ups felt right, he built the tool.
I've experienced this myself. Especially at the beginning it's difficult to come up with hypotheses that aren't arbitrary. This often leads people to dismiss the experiment-driven approach of Lean Startup overall.
Maxim brought something up that I had forgotten: Lean Startup and its idea of hypotheses can be a lot easier to grasp if you don't think about experiments and hypotheses. Rather, he mentioned that it's important to find a startup's riskiest assumptions and then use experiments to de-risk those.
This reminded me of a post by Ash Maurya: "The true job of an entrepreneur is to systematically de-risk their business model over time."
The riskiest assumptions can be more than just "can we build it?" or "can we sell it?" If you take a look at Maurya's Lean Canvas, any of the 9 areas of a business model can hold risks: