Cover by Benjamin Yoskovitz, Alistair Croll

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Chapter 3. Deciding What to Do with Your Life

As a founder, you’re trying to decide what to spend the next few years of your life working on. The reason you want to be lean and analytical about the process is so that you don’t waste your life building something nobody wants. Or, as Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen puts it, “Markets that don’t exist don’t care how smart you are.”[11]

Hopefully, you have an idea of what you want to build. It’s your blueprint, and it’s what you’ll test with analytics. You need a way of quickly and consistently articulating your hypotheses around that idea, so you can go and verify (or repudiate) them with real customers. To do this, we recommend Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas, which lays out a clear process for defining and adjusting a business model based on customer development. We’ll discuss Ash’s model later in this chapter.

But the canvas is only half of what you need. It’s not just about finding a business that works—you also need to find a business that you want to work on. Strategic consultant, blogger, and designer Bud Caddell has three clear criteria for deciding what to spend your time on: something that you’re good at, that you want to do, and that you can make money doing.

Let’s look at the Lean Canvas and Bud’s three criteria in more detail.

The Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is a one-page visual business plan that’s ongoing and actionable. It was created by Ash Maurya, and inspired by Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. ...

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