agile company creation

There is nothing linear about starting and building a business. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way and successful companies are not only are open to change from their original ideas but build systematic processes for checking and rechecking their business assumptions during the early days of their company.

The idea really hit me this summer at TechStars, when I began thinking about the idea of company creation as "agile" (akin to the agile development methodology) watching how fluid the most successful TechStars companies were. They were constantly checking and rechecking the assumptions behind their businesses and reacting to what they were learning from prospective customers, early users and mentors.  These check-ins were very deliberate and occurred at regular intervals.

To me it’s the perfect model (and "agile" is the perfect analogy) for the early days of a start-up. Be flexible. Seek outside input. Be introspective. Stop and consider what you’re learning and if it effects key assumptions behind your business idea. Tweak what you’re doing.  Repeat.

  • That reminds me of one of my favorite phrases “If you are not as successful as you want to be, there is something that you do not know.” And the successful startups realize this. Hence the checking and rechecking of their assumptions.

  • It's also a good analogy for how to live life in general:

    • sethlevine

      absolutely! your post is right on.

  • Checking and rechecking your assumptions it's great but taken to an extreme I can see a company pulling 180s on longterm strategy every month. Always question your assumptions, but having focus and follow-up help too 🙂

  • Sasamat

    Perhaps agile, as applied in software development and in business startups is just another incarnation of a high sample rate, high gain, negative feedback loop. This is the basis of all modern control theory but not often applied to personal or professional life. This is also they way that people become good at everything from golf to guitar (

  • Joseph Flahiff

    check out my site devoted to this very topic Agile Business Creation (ABC)

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    • sethlevine

      outstanding joseph! thanks for the pointer to your site.