AI Hustlers 29 June - AI Startup Validation Workshop: The Lean Way

Hi All!


Welcome to our meetup, centered around Eric Ries’ groundbreaking book, “The Lean Startup.” This methodical approach to building businesses and launching products seeks to reduce the time spent in development cycles. It fosters a fast-paced, iterative process of exploring ideas, bringing them to life as products, gauging customer reactions, and making a decision to either pivot or persevere.

The Lean Startup methodology prioritizes continuous experimentation and improvement. It values agility and adaptability over hefty initial investments and rigid long-term planning.

Idea Validation

Traditional business idea validation often hinges on extensive market research, which can be both time-consuming and costly. The Lean Startup approach offers a more experimental, direct, and often less costly alternative:

  1. Ideation and Hypothesis Formulation: Start with an idea and frame it into a business hypothesis that can be tested.
  2. Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Develop an MVP - the simplest incarnation of your product that allows you to validate your hypothesis.
  3. Measurement: Engage your target audience and evaluate the performance of your MVP.
  4. Learning: Reflect on the outcomes - does your hypothesis hold true? Does your product meet the needs of the target audience?
  5. Iterate: Learn from your findings, adjust your strategy as necessary, and repeat the process while keeping track of each step.

The Lean Startup methodology provides a dynamic, data-driven, and customer-focused approach to validate business ideas and create products that truly resonate with the market.


Today, we will be putting the Lean Startup methodology into practice. We’re going to simulate the Build-Measure-Learn process, with each of your groups acting as a startup developing a product. Here’s the plan:

Idea Generation (5 minutes)

Let’s start with an idea. You can take inspiration from a previous AI Hustlers meetup or come up with a fresh concept quickly. For idea inspiration, check the examples section below. Remember, the aim is not to develop a perfect idea, but rather one that offers a starting point for learning.

Assumptions Identification (10 minutes)

Next, let’s lay the foundation for your startup. Identify and jot down your Key Assumptions. These could relate to your customers, product, market, competition, or other business aspects. For examples of assumptions, refer to the examples section below. Keep your assumptions clear, as they will form the basis for your hypotheses.

Formulating Hypotheses (10 minutes)

Now, turn your assumptions into Testable Hypotheses - clear, concise, and measurable statements. Prioritize them based on their potential impact on your business. Also, define a specific metric for each hypothesis, which will enable you to test it later. Refer to the examples section below for guidance.

MVP Design (Imaginary)

Usually, at this stage, you’d design and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test your key assumptions. For today’s exercise, let’s assume we have a magic lamp that gives us the MVP exactly as we wish. Remember, the MVP is the simplest product that lets you start learning.

Measurement (15 minutes)

It’s time to put your hypotheses to the test. Follow the host’s instructions and simulate testing your hypotheses within our meetup group. The objective here is to gain some ‘real-world’ experience of validating or invalidating your hypotheses. Some examples of answers are captured below.

Learning and Pivot or Persevere (10 minutes)

Finally, based on the outcomes of your ‘tests,’ discuss within your group whether you need to pivot (change your strategy) or persevere (continue as planned). Share your insights and the reasoning behind your decision with the rest of the attendees.

Remember, this workshop is a simplified version of the Lean Startup methodology. In real scenarios, this process would involve more detailed research, iterative MVP development, and multiple rounds of testing and learning. The goal today is to familiarize you with the core concepts and help you experience the iterative nature of the Lean Startup approach.


1. Idea Generation

Examples of AI ideas:

  • AI-powered chatbot for customer service
  • AI-based recommendation system for e-commerce
  • Predictive maintenance software using machine learning
  • AI application for detecting diseases from medical imaging
  • Machine learning tool for detecting fraudulent transactions

2. Assumptions Identification

Examples of assumptions for an AI-powered chatbot:

  • Our customers need 24/7 customer support.
  • Customers prefer chatbots because they provide quick responses.
  • Our target market is e-commerce businesses.
  • Competitors’ chatbots lack personalization features.
  • AI can provide accurate responses to customer inquiries.

3. Formulating Hypotheses

Examples of hypotheses for the AI chatbot:

  • If we provide 24/7 customer support through our chatbot, we will increase customer satisfaction by 20%.
  • If we implement AI personalization features in our chatbot, 30% more customers will engage with it.
  • If we target e-commerce businesses, we can achieve a conversion rate of 5% in our first quarter.
  • If our chatbot provides accurate responses, we will reduce customer service human intervention by 50%.

4. MVP Design

As it is assumed, no examples needed.

5. Measurement

Examples for hypotheses evaluation:

  • Group A presents its hypothesis to Group B: “If we implement AI personalization features in our chatbot, 30% more customers will engage with it.” Group B, role-playing as e-commerce businesses, provides answers Yes or No and provides any additional feedback.
  • Group C presents its hypothesis to Group D: “If our chatbot provides accurate responses, we will reduce customer service human intervention by 50%.” Group D, role-playing as customer service staff, provides answers Yes or No and provides any additional feedback.

6. Learning and Pivot or Persevere (10 min)

Based on the feedback:

  • Group A decides to pivot: They received more ‘No’ than ‘Yes’ responses, implying that the demand for personalization is not as high as expected. They realize the demand for personalization is not as high as expected.
  • Group C decides to persevere: More groups answered ‘Yes’, indicating that accurate responses can significantly reduce human intervention. Feedback confirmed the need for accurate responses to reduce human intervention.
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