Episode #1137 Jake Knapp: Sprint

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Moe and Jake Knapp talk about how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days.


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Jake Knapp

Partner at GV, author of SPRINT View Full Profile

Solve Your Biggest Problems in FIVE Days

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Famed entrepreneur and professor, Steve Blank is fond of quoting German General, Helmuth Graf von Moltke when explaining his philosophy to get out of the building - No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy is a stark reminder that regardless of experience and intellect; the only way for one to gauge whether or not a potential solution will satisfy a consumer need is to first give it to them.  

As company builders, one of the biggest misconceptions that we face is the confirmation bias - where we interpret new information in such a way that it becomes compatible with our existing theories, beliefs, and convictions.  This is a dangerous practice; especially in the early-stages of product development.  It goes without saying that none of us are immune to this narrow perspective, still the shrewd make it a priority to continually seek disconfirming evidence.  

To protect against this fallacy and to help their portfolio companies solve problems more quickly, the team at Google Ventures pioneered the Sprint process — a 5-day race to help their startups ‘fast-forward into the future to see their finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.”   Led by design partners, Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz; this approach seeks to leverage the talent, know-how and existing resources to take the guesswork out of launching a product or starting a new venture.  I’ve been following their approach since they made it available in 2013, and if you’re someone who aspires for greater ingenuity and a more efficient approach to tackle bigger problems, I strongly urge you to listen to what Jake, John and Braden have to say.  Enjoy my conversation with Jake. 

Here’s a sample of what we discuss:

  • The evolution of the Design Sprint

  • What to expect each of the five days

  • The mindset that’s absolutely necessary to run an effective sprint

  • The role of the Decider

  • The philosophy behind the “How might we - “questioning technique

  • The science behind the FIVE customer interviews

  • What to do on the Monday following the Sprint