How Advice From Startup Culture Could Take Your Game to the Next Level

I recently read Eric Ries’ bestselling book The Lean Startup. First published in 2011, it has become something of a classic among entrepreneurs and the denizens of Silicon Valley. It’s easy to see why. Its pared back, simple approach to efficient innovation in business provides a template that many people forming companies could learn a lot from. As I was reading, it struck me that the lessons it teaches could equally be applied to game.

Comparisons between game and business (and in particular sales) have been made frequently before, but just as Ries’ book genuinely brings something new to the table in commerce, so its application could be far-reaching for those looking to improve their dating lives.

lean startup

What The Lean Startup Teaches

The Lean Startup is a detailed, well-written account of Ries’ innovations as as business owner, of the early successes and innovations of his tech company IMVU, which he steered from near failure to stellar, multi-million dollar success. The method that he outlines feels revolutionary simply as it is so counter-intuitive and opposed to standard business practice.

In short, Ries counsels that the fledgling company should work in the most efficient manner possible, ignoring the more lumbering processes of the larger firms they might be tempted to copy. In practice this means rather than spending ages in development, you should instead release a minimum viable product to market. In the book, Ries describes releasing an early version of his interconnectivity avatar product with bugs in it. This is against the grain – the normal practice would be to spend a long time making the product the best it can be.

Ries argues that startups operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty, especially in terms of what the customer actually wants. After all, at the beginning there are no customers. So waste time and resource on tweaks when it could be that the entire product is not popular with the market?

What you should do instead is continually test the product and refine as you go along. This saves time as it allows you to launch quicker, it saves money as you’re not testing beforehand, and means that you are being responsive to the market rather than to your preconceived notions of what should be successful.

Accelerate The Feedback Loop

build measure learn

As in the diagram above, the company should continually accelerate the feedback loop that flows through building a new product, measuring customer responses and then pivoting, or changing direction in response.

What Does This Have to Do With Game?


At first sight this may not seem to have much to do with game, but bear with me.

In a sense, every man who steps out onto the street to talk to girls, or who hits the club, is an entrepreneur. He’s taking his product – himself – out to market and testing the response that it gets. Pick-up, like entrepreneurship, also operates within circumstances of extreme uncertainty.

The problem is that many guys want to perfect everything before they go out and actually talk to girls. This leads to the problem of what we call “mental masturbation.” Mental masturbation is a buffer that stops guys getting results that hides beneath the garb of virtue. Men think that by watching infield videos or reading articles about game (this one included) that they are actually “doing” game. The truth is, of course, that they’re not. Game only exists when a man approaches a girl he likes and indicates that he likes her. Everything else is foreplay — and solo foreplay isn’t very much fun.

Think about your dating life as it is now. Are you getting out there into the field, or are you simply making excuses for yourself and watching endless videos, feeling like you could never do what those guys on YouTube are doing?

If so, you should remember the lessons of Eric Ries.

Face it – you’re never going to be perfect, so there is no point in waiting until some imaginary point in the future when your inner game is all fixed, your money is sorted and you have a Lambo in the driveway before you ask a girl on a date. What you should do instead is get out there, start approaching girls and take direct feedback from the marketplace.

The Field Is King

Amnesia girls

An old game expression states that “the field is king.” What that means is that the only valuable feedback comes from the people you are seeking to seduce – girls. So you can sit at home thinking you’re the world’s greatest stud or it’s biggest loser, but until you test that hypothesis you don’t know for sure.

What you should do is go out – whether you think you’re ready or not – and approach ten girls. Ten girls will give you a pretty good indicator of where you are. If you collect six numbers then all good. If all ten laugh in your face then you know you have a way to go.

Before You Go Out And Talk To Girls, Both The Problem And the Solution Are Unknown


Through careful, honest analysis of each set – try keeping a journal or a spreadsheet to help with this, or even recording yourself on a smartphone or Dictaphone – you’ll soon get a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. At this point you are measuring.

Next you pivot — that is, change the product or your approach according to the feedback. Are you talking to fast or wearing bad clothes? Or approaching in a city where the ratios are particularly bad? Switch up, go elsewhere and try again. Then, when you find strategies that do work build on them and make them fundamentals in your repertoire.

Remember, game is not about being perfect the first time you speak to a girl, or even the thousandth time. It’s about having the courage to step up to the plate, take negative feedback like a man and go back into the fray stronger. Although it is a book aimed at business-owners, The Lean Startup reminds us of this simple principle in a clear, considered way.

Read More: Should You Live With Her?

62 thoughts on “How Advice From Startup Culture Could Take Your Game to the Next Level”

  1. from title and photo… thought it was a ‘sponsored’ post… no evidence of kratom though… troy’s in the clear. thanks for the book recommendation!
    edit: just ordered the book from my local library (or as the common public refers to it ‘the new blockbuster video!’).

      1. well you know what i mean right red hood? very few books are checked-out compared to the hundreds of ‘how stella got her groove back’ dvd’s flying off the shelves there at the central branch!

      1. ‘It’s what we…..’ -(hold up there buddy! Back to the cerebrum workshop with you!) > Doctor Jeep’s mental process

  2. Failure is the mother to success.
    Good article Troy. It can’t be emphasized enough, you can’t learn if you don’t fail. Going out and doing it isn’t enough. Depending on what your goal is, you’ll need to test how people receive you. And that does mean not putting any weight on any one girl because your goal is king. If your goal isn’t king whatever you accept will rule you.

    1. It’s strange to me how scared many younger men are of even saying “hi” to a girl.
      “Dude, I will, just give me time” translation: When the universe ends, I hope to wave to her as our atoms rip apart.
      “Man, I can’t. I just can’t!” Translation: I won’t, because I have irrational fears of women, and my ego can’t take even the slightest hint of not being wanted!
      “Naw man, I just thought she was cute, I don’t think she’d be interested anyway” Translation: I’m afraid and can’t break out of my own self doubt
      They’re just friggin’ women, they’re human beings, if they say no, so fucking what? Your head won’t explode, the world won’t end, and with luck, cats and dogs will not start mating nor will fish fall out of the sky.
      Hell, for fun, try to make them reject you, just to get used to it. Be obnoxiously forward (without getting into the realm of “rape” of course), be so arrogant that Donald Trump would worry about your megalomania, let them know that you are king of the motherfucking galaxy. Do everything in your power (again, not in the rapey zone) to make them shrivel their noses and tell you to go away. And do it for a while, get used to that rejection, embrace it, learn from it. Once you’re immune to it, then start approaches for real, using real Game.
      Once their opinions can bounce off of you without even causing you to blink or miss your stride, then it’s only a matter of time and numbers before you strike gold, assuming you’re paying attention to what causes failure as Troy mentions.

        1. Oh yeah, hear that one too, a lot.
          No real reason why, except cowardice. This isn’t a modern thing, men have always had to approach first so the pressure is different on us than it is on women, but to make that hurdle into an insurmountable wall is shameful. Men in the 1800’s had the excuse that all they had to do was wait and society would eventually pair them up (family, or social network meetups, etc like the Amish do it). Not today. Approach, or go solo the rest of your life. Them’s the options lads.

        2. there’s always too, if you don’t like cold approaches. no, seriously. back in my single, pre-red pill/neomasculine days i had some of my best success by meeting women at spanish language meetups. i kid you not.

      1. let me relay a story from over the weekend. At a bachelor party and the younger brother of the groom was kissing some girl at the bar…..FOR ONE HOUR
        Eventually I got everyone to leave that bar. He kept yammering about how he could have “totally got with her”
        I explained to him that she was drunk and knew you were on a bachelor party…I knew after 15 minutes that you weren’t getting any.

        1. The guy just failed to escalate and relocate in your arbitrary time frame.
          The long game can work well when a connection is made over that amount of time.

        2. he was at a bachelor party drinking (too much). It’s not a long game situation

      2. i have one bone to pick with your comment here though. You say “They’re just friggin’ women, they’re human beings, if they say no, so fucking what?”
        I can’t except “human being” as a category for these animals.

        1. Whoa man, c’mon. Of course they are. They are every bit as human as you or me. All of their emotional traits are ours too, just expressed to greater or lesser degrees, which is why we can innately attune ourselves to them with Game. We recognize manipulation because we have that ability as well (expressed much less than them of course), we recognize deceit because we too can lie, etc. Women can do logic just like us, they’re just far less inclined to do so or want to. Etc. It’s the human condition.
          It’s one thing to not like what’s going on, but let’s not dehumanize women. If they weren’t human, I wouldn’t want to fuck them, and I certainly wouldn’t be attached to my wife and daughter like I am. A bit of perspective please.

        2. Perhaps the way to thikn of them is as domestic herd animals, but badly brought up who, subjected to the right forms of encouragement and control, can behave better. I don’t claim the skill myself, but from what I read on this page, there are a number here that do.

        3. what ghost said. i actually like women, or at least the ones i choose to have in my life. roosh and ROK have helped me understand women much better, which makes dealing with them much easier. maybe try to find some more traditional women or get overseas to EE, SEA, or latin america where you’ll have a better chance at seeing women in their natural state.

        4. oh come now GoJ…it was a bit tongue in cheek…like when one says “women, can’t live with ’em, can’t bury ’em in the back yard.” Of course they are human…just a different brand of human with a different skill set.

        5. again, nothing against women…they are a great place to keep your penis on a cold night. was just being a bit cheeky. Reminds me of man who told the shrink he was a teepee and a wigwam…turns out he was too tense.

      3. I think part of the reason young Men are afraid to say Hi to women is because of Feminization, and also because young Men have been taught to respect women so much that they are afraid to Offend women, the fear of offending keeps them from wanting to make women uncomfortable, and overpowers their natural instinct to “Hunt” and Court a woman.The respect is so out of hand and politically correct that a Man is told not to look at a woman as a sex object but rather his Equal (or Superior) , Modern Man is supposed to forsake and give-up his natural urges to convenience modern woman, and as much as Man has given up for woman, feminism still finds fault with him.

        1. Another important reason is that many young men are pussies. I see a lot of them in my gym. The reason they are pussies is because they have not had the firm hand of a man in their life. Some of these kids I want to slap the shit out of, with all of their bullshit complaints and excuses. It used to be that this would be done in school and/or by their father. Those slaps and yells from a grown man bend you into shape. A strong shape that is the opposite of a fucking pussy.
          Now you just have men raised by single moms and female teachers who want to protect your self-esteem. If your self-esteem is protected you will have no self-esteem. You can only get self-esteem from being brutally beat down and then getting up and realizing that a bloody nose and cut lip won’t kill you.
          Did I get beat down repeatedly as a child? Yes. Did it make me stronger? Fuck yes.

        2. My Father also disciplined me when I was wrong, and I learned respect, he also taught me values that my mother or any woman wouldn’t understand, a Father is critical in a boys life.
          “Now you just have men raised by single moms and female teachers who want to protect your self-esteem.”–
          –“We’re a generation of Men raised by women”…Tyler Durden.

      4. It’s true. Remember just approaching from my mid teens & thereafter & getting mixed responses ranging from being blown out of the water or being pleasantly surprised by the reception of the filly in question. That was pre game pre Red Pill awareness.
        I think having old school era men as Dads probably helps.

        1. Yep. If you have follow up and can spit some rap, you’re in.

        2. Its what I usually go with.
          Or I walk up with a camera phone and ask her to take a selfie of me. Always gets a smile.

      5. There’s a question I’ve been bouncing around.. In the west at least, with the raise of manosphere, game taken to perfection by some (how many?), are women becoming aware of what’s going on and most of them putting their bitch shield up? Just throwing this out there..

        1. No. Girls don’t put up their bitch shields because they’re aware men are learning game. Most girls are completely unaware of the manosphere. Bitch shields come out if girl is not interested in the guy.
          If you’re noticing you’re not getting a lot of success with girls then you need to make an honest evaluation of yourself.

        2. Girls don’t need to be aware of the manosphere, they calibrate based on experience not on logic. If more men are approaching with “better” game, then that calibration will change and not in favour of anybody who wants to approach, game or not.
          It’s no different to direct marketing, the difference is that in the businesses tend to measure these quantities. The more a sample of people are solicited cold for business, the more defensive they become. What eventually happens is you reach a point where that sample move from being defensive to aggressive. Yes it can be overcome but the effort required usually outweighs the ROI and businesses seek a better return on investment elsewhere.
          This is where I believe we are with cold approaching women and game. The effort vs return on that investment is simply too minimal for most. Sure you can spend thousands of hours learning game, many thousands more churning through approaches. The question is whether that time is better invested elsewhere?

        3. I’m a girl.
          Of course we’re aware of it, it’s everywhere now, online and off, to the point of total cliche. Also, yes, of course we increase our defences in reponse to it – especially when it comes to strangers.
          Guys, en mass, acting this way is the reason the so-called ‘sexual marketplace’ is the way it is today. It’s a huge driver and guys arguing that this rote behaviour is just a valid response to what works with women – without further consequences to the overall social dynamic – are deluding themselves. They are totally complicit and are generating the depressing, drone-like state of contemporary sexual culture.
          As an aside, the data that game is based on is totally off. You know what the median number of sexual partners is for a 30-year old woman in the US today? It’s 3.
          There’s an overview here, but you can dig into the original data if you want to:

          The ACASI test has been consolidated over multple peer reviews for correcting the problem of women under-reporting / men -over-reporting on these kinds of sensitive surveys:

          In so much as ‘game’ works, it’s enabling guys to fuck the same small number of very promiscuous women.

        4. “In so much as ‘game’ works, it’s enabling guys to fuck the same small number of very promiscuous women.”
          Ambitious statement considering that it assumes all women have equally sexual desirability to men.
          I’m willing to bet that the 25.5% of women who have 7 or more partners are also on average the most attractive women in that sample. With 63% of American women classified as overweight or obese i’m really not surprised that a rather large percentage of women have had such few sexual partners..
          Ever wondered why feminism encourages women to become less attractive? Sexual market socialism… If you can reduce the whole to the lowest common denominator, then every woman can have her equal share of alpha cock!

        5. Naw, the “Bitch Shield” is just part of female game. Women have “game” too. They started using it far longer before men ever thought about it. Male game is just getting around all that when you think about it.
          There’s all this talk about female behavior and psychology and how it’s fucked up and all that. But when you boil it all down, and consider that it’s in-bred game that they play, it helps it all make more sense.
          Guys game to get pussy, and then maybe a relationship. Girls game to get your wallet, and to get laid.

    2. On a side note, if failure is the mother to success, who’s the man who fucked Failure? 😀
      I’d love to use these terms in the presence of feminists-SJW’s just to watch their hamsters run a bit ..heh

    3. This is an important article. Too many pussified men on this site talking about “when they’re ready”. I am mid career and I am still not ready. You never stop being a little bit afraid of talking to a girl. All sorts of bullshit anxieties build up in your mind. I was terrified of talking to this Spanish dime piece. No way was she going to be interested in me. I asked her to take a photo of me. A little while later we were having mad porno sex.
      But I never would have if I didn’t push through the fear barrier.

      1. That’s what I’m talking about! It can’t be overstated, boldness is the best aphrodisiac for women. And while being entertained is big for women, being surprised is always the best reward, especially when you’re in public. You could the aspect of public display of desire plus an unabashed command of your desire equals automatic tingles.

  3. There was a girl at my gym who I would see frequently. A very pretty brunette. We had talked a few times and I even asked her out. However she said she had a boyfriend (which was a lie). I learned from the owner that she was banging some wrestler at the same gym and recently moved to Iowa to be with some dude she met online. I learned a bit about this girl via her twitter. A lot of rocky relationships, bad relationship with her father, was 35, and still single. The owner told me she’ll probably move back to Austin after this relationship fails. However I think I’ve seen enough to stay clear of this girl. Something that i learned from this site; too many red flags equal a no go.

      1. i see attractive women that age and even older all the time. while i normally agree with ROK, i’ve never really gotten the hate for women in their 30s and 40s who take care of themselves and manage to look good. yeah, they’re a small minority, but it’s kind of sexy that it’s not an accident at that age.

        1. “ROK, i’ve never really gotten the hate for women in their 30s and 40s”
          You can do whatever you want to, but you can be rest assured that any female in her 30s or 40s was a total cunt when she was 22. Older women are nice only because they have to be, which is why I think it is every man’s duty to snub any female over the age of 30.

    1. And what have you learned from this?
      A gym is for working out, not for flirting and small talk.
      I bet you´re the kind of guy saying: “You´re so beautiful” to every girl he meets.

      1. Well maybe I’m not an anti-social twit. I’ve been working out at this gym for 2 years. Made friends and met a lot of interesting people. Also lost close to 40lbs. Don’t be so quick to judge.

        1. Yah I get you. I make it a priority to go in and get my work out done. However when you see the same folks every day at the same time, you kind start to have a relationship with them. Being friendly, getting to know one another an helping keep each other motivated.
          This girl was a person I saw almost everything I was in there, at the same time, and for the most part we had a pretty friendly demeanor towards each other. I never got in her way or interrupted her during her workouts. She wasn’t very talkative but I got the occasional smile and nod from her. So when I hadn’t seen her for several months I asked the owner where she had gone.
          I’m not there flirty and talking to every girl I see but I see a lot of them all the time. There is a very flirty house wife that always comes over to chat with me or exercise nearby. But that’s asking for a ton of trouble!

        2. Cuckholding seems to be popular these days. Dont be suprised if hubby is outside with a camcorder.

        3. This woman facebooked me too not too long ago. Turned out she’s married to a marine. That’s just asking for even more trouble. Apparently she’s known as the lonely housewife around the place.

  4. Troy is King…..that’s another great article.
    I’d like to see if Trump’s The Art Of The Deal and Think Big could contain some lessons for Game….

    1. I’ve been listening to the audio book of Art of the Deal. The lessons therein are akin to those in Robert Greene’s books, but they are not ironed out; you have to pick them up in observing Trump’s actions as he talks about deals that he has made. The intro has the most cut and dry info so far, but that’s my interpretation.

      1. Think Big has lessons…about making the effort to go for the big deals as they are just as easy to get as the small details but with greater rewards…

    2. It’s easy to ‘be a bigshot’ with hordes of daddy’s money to finance you and cushion your failures, like Trump.

  5. Software product cycle
    Version 1.0 is usually terrible and sometimes unusable.
    Version 2.0 kind of works, but still has problems.
    Version 3.0 works and people want to use it.
    People use to say that it took Microsoft three versions of any product before ‘they got it right’.
    Case in Point, Microsoft Windows 3.1. For years I did not even know there had been a version 1.0 of the product.
    1.0 It ran off of floppy disks and didn’t do anything. 2.0 I do not even remember. 3.x was when people started to use it to do work.
    Usually a lot of big rollouts are failures because no one really knows what the customer wants or how to properly deliver it. It usually takes a few versions of fixing/correcting problems, finding out what people really want and being able to deliver it to them.
    Another example:
    In the 1980s and 1990s, there were some dating web sites (or BBS preinternet, mid 1990s) that no one used, fast forward 20 or 30 years and now a lot of people are on Tinder.

  6. “…The Problem And the Solution Are Unknown”; that is such a fantastic and true point.

  7. This article and Troy’s You Have to Learn to Love Rejection are absolutely key.
    Thanks Troy, articles like these have kicked me out of my apartment, and seeking actual tangible results. So far I’m astounded by the results. Plenty of phone numbers, and a couple rejections. Surprisingly, I learn more from the rejections then the success’. I feel stronger in a weird way, and every other stress fades in the background noise, as I continually put myself on the line like no other. It’s a funny thing that actually putting yourself out there does to your mental state. I used to be pretty melancholy, but I’ve noticed I feel so much more confident in every aspect of life. I have a date this Friday night, so let’s hope she doesn’t flake… In the meantime, I’m going to keep approaching for contingency reasons.

  8. one thing that i’d like to add as advice for guys is to always go for the hotter girls too. You never know, but you would be surprised how often some of these sexy smart girls are just waiting for a decent guy with a bit of edge to ask them out. Don’t ever price yourself out of the market and aim to have a high level of entitlement (of course don’t go delusional).

  9. “In practice this means rather than spending ages in development, you should instead release a minimum viable product to market. In the book, Ries describes releasing an early version of his interconnectivity avatar product with bugs in it.”
    Maybe for the tech industry this is viable, but it’s this exact mentality that turned modern video games (think of them what you will) into the unexciting crap that they are, and a main reason why GamerGate was started in the first place. It’s this mentality that drops the overall quality of a whole industry for a quick buck. I guess if it worked for the author though, good for him.
    The article’s advice on game is solid though.

    1. He has a few good ideas in that book, but it’s mostly bullshit (over generalised, and as rightly point out, leads to crap products, when ‘successful’).

  10. That process model looks like a variation of Plan Do Check Act in business & organizational management systems.
    Having an intent of outcome, planning on how to reach that outcome with known risks taken into consideration, working the plan & getting feedback, measuring & analysing feedback, reviewing & reworking the plan where needed.
    Very applicable in many areas.

  11. Has anyone tried Modafinil?? Does it help with focus on study? I have a few law based modules and there is a shipload to read!

  12. This is great advice. However, I must say, when I was single (about 10 years ago, things have gotten worse), it was honestly hard to put together more than 1-2 approaches in one outing. And it wasn’t me (well, not exactly). It was the fact that there were only a few women worth approaching in the area where I was gaming. I’d go out faithfully, at least 2-3 times a week. And, in most cases, do a few approaches (I’d say 5 was the absolute max) in an particular outing. But, after you’ve approached and either been shot down or closed every woman in the bar, then what? Now, of course, I know the answer; travel. But, as a young man, it’s hard enough to approach, let alone drive a few hours to find a bar where you’re a complete stranger and then start spitting game.
    Now, granted, I lived in a small town at the time. But, I think my experience will hold true for many men on here; it’s just slim fucking pickings out there in many areas of the country. It’s all well and good to talk about “10 approaches a night” but, for many, the reality is they’d have to start approaching 1-2-3’s to hit that number.
    In area where I grew up, I’m pretty sure I knew (or fucked) every single girl who was a 6+. Now, eventually, I did start to travel to a major city and that upped the numbers significantly, but it’s a hell of a lot harder to game when your logistics are all fucked up like that and you have no social proof to rely on. Not saying it’s impossible, I did it for years, but, at the end of my “run”, I was primarily relying on wealth/status indicators to game in far flung locations rather than just straight up “game”.

  13. Integration ruined schools, public swimming pools, recreational areas, neighborhoods and the list goes on, and on, and on. When I was growing up, there was a deep, blue spring on a local creek and along with swimming, there was a skating rink and bowling alley. People had been going there since the 1930s and it was a favorite teen destination where there was no drinking or drugs allowed. But as soon as blacks started showing up, the owner closed it. The same thing happened at a local lake where people used to picnic, swim and waterski. As soon as blacks started showing up, the owner closed it. If you drive past a public swimming pool in places with a high black population, everyone at the pool is black, with the exception of a few white trash women and their half-breed kids.

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