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Diamonds in the Rough

My adventures in new venture and product creation over the last twenty years have taught me that true value creation is painfully difficult, and extraordinarily unpredictable

Luke Ferris

Out there in the wilds of the startup world, there is ultimately nowhere to hide. Delivering just “something” rather than the “right thing” has little effect. No needles are moved, no riches are made, no investors are particularly happy and the startups (over 90% on average) plod slowly towards that dark, startup dead pool beyond the horizon.

This can lead entrepreneurs to ask some difficult questions of themselves: Where is the line between chance and skill? Are there techniques or ways of viewing the world which might tip the balance in my favour? How can I spend the hours in these precious days in such a manner that wasted effort is at a minimum? These are the answers for which I search.

The journey so far has taken me through a marketing agency, digital transformation in the music industry, an MBA, eBay in product strategy, startup creation (twice), aspiring venture funds and now to Bain & Company where I am part of the leadership team for ADAPT: Bain's innovation and digital group.

My attempts to make sense of what I've seen have led me to become an evangelist for lean startup, design thinking and agile methodologies against the backdrop of the humbling uncertainty and chance that guides anyone embarking on such a journey.

This blog is an attempt to capture some of my thoughts and learnings, alongside field notes taken whilst building new products with everyone from tiny bands of solo entrepreneurs through to high budget ventures with the biggest companies in the world.

And of course, for clarity, all of the opinions, insights, arguments or other thoughts for better or worse are mine and mine alone. Unless specifically mentioned, they are not the opinion of Bain & Company.