Get Your Startup Off the Ground with the Butterfly Effect

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect?

Dr Ivan Misner defines the butterfly effect as the “theory that a small action in one place may have a ripple effect that creates a dramatic action in another place.” This basically means that “a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air — eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet,” as told by Andy Andrews in The Butterfly Effect.

The butterfly effect is the concept that small causes can have large effects. Initially, it was used with weather prediction but later the term became a metaphor used in and out of science.

The name, coined by Edward Lorenz for the effect which had been known long before, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a tornado (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.

This universal law, as proven by physicists, in simplest words, means that every single thing you do matters. Every single thing you have done has somehow affected some future development.

What does it have to do with entrepreneurship, though?

In the context of entrepreneurship, this concept is promoted by the lean startup movement. This movements stands for the minimum viable product instead of the startup norms which dictate that only the final product, after loads and loads of expensive development, may get in front of the customer. Instead of the traditional startup concept, lean startups actually deliver their hypothesis to the customers which the customers then study, analyse and transform. What this means is that a number of times these entrepreneurs will fail before ultimately delivering the winning product. However, although this doesn’t guarantee that you will succeed, using lean methods results in fewer failures than using traditional methods.

Are you telling me that I should fail?

Yes, that is what the new process of lean development demands. According to the movement, failure is the conditioning process for the success of the entrepreneur much like it is with athletes. Athletes welcome failures in their conditioning process to win the game. They train, they get muscle aches, until finally getting stronger. Starting to get it, aren’t you?

Therefore, entrepreneurs, too, need to learn to embrace failure. It might be a cliché, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You learn from your failures, and every time, your product hypothesis gets better and better until eventually you deliver exactly what you customer wants and what they are willing to pay for.

Boom! You’re rich now!

What do you think? Is this low-risk product approach more likely to be successful?