I’ve learned a few things so far in my lean startup experiment, but the biggest lesson so far would be: When conducting a lean startup experiment, keep your hypothesis singular, focused, and testable. Looking back at my first post, Lean Startup Experiment – Part 1, I made four hypotheses. I even tried to play it off as three hypotheses (by using 1a and 1b) – almost as if I knew I was being a bad lean startup experimenter.

I’ll comment quickly on those original hypotheses:

#1: People will pay for a natural version of this common product… yada yada yada.

– Hypothesis #1 is on the right track, but is a little more vague than it needs to be. I will clarify by the end of this exercise why that’s the case.

#1b:  The reason people will buy will be for health purposes… yada yada yada.

– While confirming this hypothesis will be helpful for marketing purposes somewhere down the line, it really doesn’t matter at this early stage. Frankly, this early in the process, we don’t care why someone would buy the product; we just care about if someone will buy the product.

#2: People will subscribe to automatic monthly purchases of the product… yada yada yada.

– This hypothesis will also be really useful… but LATER. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s just worry about whether someone will buy one, because if they won’t buy one, they won’t buy them each month.

#3: People will pay $25 for the product and will pay $25 each month… yada yada yada.

– This hypothesis was off to a great start until it tried to do too much. Again, we’re not at the stage where we should worry about the monthly payment thing. Also, you can see now that this hypothesis makes Hypothesis #1 vague and redundant.

Taking into account my comments on my original hypotheses, here is my new set of hypotheses: People will pay $25 for the product. (Period. That’s it. Just one hypothesis.)

I’m happy with my new set of hypotheses (i.e. my one hypothesis) because:

a) It’s not too vague to be testable
b) It will be very clear if it’s not proving to be right
c) It won’t bring a lot of variables into the picture, because it focuses on one thing at a time and not on future hypotheses. The focused nature of the hypothesis will help determine if the hypothesis is not proving to be right (see ‘b’).

In the next post, I’ll talk about how to adjust your experiment (in my case, my website is the tool for the experiment) to correspond to your hypothesis.