The Quick and Dirty Guide to Validating Your Startup Idea

How to design and conduct a meaningful lean startup experiment

Alex Chuang
The Startup
Published in
9 min readJun 8, 2016


Hi everyone, Alex here. At Launch Academy, I am lucky enough to surround myself with so many talented early-stage entrepreneurs. After four years of mentoring 1000+ entrepreneurs and building six startups, I’ve consolidated my learning and developed a framework that you can apply to your next startup idea.


  1. Fully understand the problem you’re solving
  2. Know who your early adopters are
  3. Make sure you are solving the problem for the right people
  4. State your hypothesis and create a test plan
  5. Design your test to validate your solution
  6. Set your expected metrics
  7. Compare your expected metrics with your observed metrics and make a decision
  8. Sign up to our free email course and receive a curation of startup resources that I’ve collected in the past 5 years

Step 1: Have an in-depth understanding of the problem

Most startup ideas come from an observation of a pain point that is personal to the entrepreneur. Therefore, it is easy for entrepreneurs to fall in love with their ideas and dive into “solution-land” immediately without making the effort to understand the full scope of the problem. However, it is critical because by doing so, you will avoid the number one mistake that startups make, which is building something that nobody wants.

“Pitch the problem, not the solution”- Dave McClure

To grasp the full scope of the problem, you should do the following:

  1. Conduct 20–25 problem interviews to get qualitative results so you can learn about what the problem is, how big of a problem it is, and who are having these problems.
  2. Ask the 5 Why’s to get to the root cause of the problem.
  3. Do a competitive



Alex Chuang
The Startup

Co-founder/CEO @shapeimmersive prev: @launch_academy. Helping businesses incorporate VR/AR into their strategies.