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Recently I sat down with Matthew E. May and Pablo Dominguez to talk about their new book What a Unicorn Knows: How Leading Entrepreneurs Use Lean Principles to Drive Sustainable Growth.

In the book – and our interview – Matt and Pablo highlight key principles about lean, strategy development, and continuous improvement – and how to apply them to scale-up businesses no matter what stage of growth they are in.

I’m excited to celebrate the book's recent release a few weeks ago and dive into some of its core concepts, what inspired them to write it, and some of the key lessons they've learned through their collaboration.

Our interview questions:

(4:12) What inspired the two of you to write a book together and what problem were you trying to solve?

(6:50) Let’s unpack some of the book’s title. Most people are familiar with a unicorn as a mythical horned horse creature fabled to be real but never seen. What does this mean in a business context?

(9:00) What is a Scale Up?

(11:23) You talk about these four different forces that work against any object in motion, including a rapidly growing company: drag, inertia, friction, and waste.

(11:49) What is the connection between scale ups and Formula One cars?

(17:08) The model for overcoming these different forces – the Unicorn Model.

(25:29) Matt - you worked with Toyota at the University of Toyota for many years. What is one important concept that you learned from your time that has influenced your thinking and your approach with helping your clients?

(27:58) Pablo – what is something you’ve had to unlearn or shift for your own leadership approach to be more effective as you’ve gone through your own learning journey?

(29:11) What is something you’ve learned with a new perspective through the process of writing this book together?

(31:46) What is a question that you haven’t, or are not usually asked about the book? What is that question? And what’s your answer?