Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) are experiments, but not the kind you learned in school. You won’t get statistically significant results that could be published in a peer-reviewed journal – but you will get the kind of information that can help you make a choice about your next move.
In business, the scientific method doesn’t give you proof or absolute certainty. It doesn’t make the decision for you. It does reduce uncertainty to let you place smarter bets. A small amount of data can get you from 50/50 to 25/75, and that’s a big difference.
If you think of starting a company as playing blackjack, then lean startup is counting cards. You still have to make the bet, and you’re still going to lose sometimes. But by playing smarter – by making a series of small bets, and betting bigger when you’re more certain of the outcome – you can tilt the odds of winning in your favor.