For a long time I went around telling people how I didn’t really believe in ‘lean’. And I was pretty proud of that.

Turns out, I just didn’t understand it.

You don’t either, and that’s a big issue.

Being lean isn’t the same as bootstrapping.

Being lean doesn’t mean you build a crappy prototype and throw it out there.

Being lean doesn’t mean you continually iterate your features until you find product market fit.

If you do it right, you may achieve some (or all) of those things as a byproduct of ‘running lean’. But, and this is crucial, they aren’t inherently part of the lean movement.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand lean (and many other concepts that are key to launching a startup successfully) until a while after I left Saberr. It took a certain amount of time away from the game to let it all sink in. A big part of understanding is accepting that it is of paramount importance to be 100% emotionally detached from both the strategic and tactical decisions that are made in your startup.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate: you should certainly be passionate, but be passionate about the problem you are solving. And that is a very different proposition to being passionate about the company itself.

Similarly, it doesn’t mean you mustn’t love your product. You should love and believe in your product, but only because it’s a gorgeous and elegant solution to the problem. And to achieve that, emotionally detached, fact-based decision making is key.