Forrest Blount

Bootstrapping in the Boston Metro

Achieving Flow in a Lean Startup

Eliminating waste is the fundamental principle of lean thinking.

As defined by Womak/Jones in their book “Lean Thinking” (a must-read):

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

Of all resources, there is no resource more valuable than time. Time is more valuable than money. While money can fluctuate up or down, time only moves in one direction – down.

Another way in which the value of time shows up for lean startups is through Boyd’s Law which states that:

Speed of iterations beats quality of iteration.

Colonel John Boyd, a military strategist and Air Force fighter, found this by studying an anomaly in dogfights where an inferior aircraft (F-86) consistently beat a superior aircraft (MiG-15) because it was able to iterate faster thanks to a hydraulic versus manual flight stick. Eric Ries applies Boyd’s Law to lean startups by highlighting the importance of maximizing cycle time through the build/measure/learn loop.


Startups that succeed are those that manage to iterate enough times before running out of resources. Time between these iterations is fundamental.

This article isn’t 100% original, but gives credit where credit is due. I’ve read “Flow” which I found to be eye-opening, but this articles takes the wonderful leap into constructing a meaningful founder’s schedule around the same concepts. I highly recommend reading it in its entirety and following Ash Maurya’s future posts.

I found this post from Eric Ries blog, which has a lot of other great resources for startups