By Tristan Kromer

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."


My first encounter with the term lean startup introduced me to the concept of a smoke test. The idea was elegant—place a value proposition onto a landing page with the intent to gauge customer demand. So of course I applied it immediately.

When I heard about Sean Ellis' “How disappointed would you be” survey, I used that.

When I heard about concierge testing, Wizard of Oz testing, and paper prototyping, I used them.

I used them without thought, because that's all I knew.

I used them because someone whose name I recognized used them and wrote it down on a blog, in a book, or on a slide.

I used them with the same flawed logic that says that Air Jordans make great basketball players.

After six years of living lean, I’m starting to recognize that to build something great, to build something that will last, to be a great carpenter, we don’t need a great pair of sneakers; we need a great toolbox. And we need to know how to use it.

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