Hi, I'm Jan König 👋. I'm one of the founders of Jovo, 28 years old, and live in Berlin. < Go back to learn more.

"Waste is any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value."

James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, Lean Thinking
 

I'm currently rereading/skimming a few books from a few years ago to make sure I don't forget the most important messages. Today on the subway, I flipped through "Running Lean" by Ash Maurya and rediscovered the quote from above.

"Lean" methodologies strive to eliminate waste. Sometimes, however, it's difficult to figure out what waste really is. I like how the authors of "Lean Thinking" break it down to 3 essential elements:
  • Human activity: manual work, something that can't be (or isn't yet) automated
  • which absorbs resources: takes time, energy, and/or costs money
  • but creates no value: you don't make money with it, don't learn anything from it, it's no fun
The important part here is in my opinion, that all three elements must be present so that it can be called waste. Some stuff actually does need a lot of "human activity" and cost a lot of time. At the beginning, you probably need to do things that don't scale to increase your learning.

And this is actually why we took the step a few weeks ago to cut every manual work of our days drastically. Our work days consisted of a lot of tasks that I would consider "waste" now, as we just did them to "keep growing," while we didn't learn anything new and didn't validate our business model from them.
 
Stay lean,
-Jan

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