Trump is the culmination of Silicon Valley’s aimless method.

At the end of The Lean Startup, Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial bible, Eric Ries asks, “What would an organization look like if all the employees were armed with Lean Startup organizational superpowers?”

In answering this question, he offers a number of possibilities— all plausible — before sneaking in one last line:

“We would dedicate ourselves to the creation of new institutions with a long-term mission to build sustainable value and change the world for the better.”

You can feel Ries distancing the final clause from the subject here, as if the introduction of intermediaries (“creation,” “mission,” “value”) might somehow make the equation work, justifying the conclusion that lean methodology can indeed “change the world for the better.”

But it does not, has not, and — most importantly — cannot. It is not that kind of methodology.

Entrepreneurial concepts, like “the lean startup” or “disruption” are coherent and useful, as far as they go, but have been extended past their proper domains in a way that has nothing to do with sentimental pieties and everything to do with the fact that they are techniques aimed at allowing companies to follow markets rather than direct them. That’s the polite way of saying it. The impolite way is that The Lean Startup is a handbook for mutilating your soul.

While reading Ries’s lucid and practical tome, it is easy to forget that his method was forged — after being cribbed from Steve Blank’s frankly mystical The Four Steps to the Epiphany—building something stupid. The stories in the book detail the rapid iteration of a product called IMVU. Here is is what the front page of IMVU looks like today.

Most readers will agree that this is digital detritus of the lowest order and not so close to the neighborhood of changing the world for the better. But that’s okay in lean methodology, where the holy grail is something called “product/market fit.” On one hand, this is a pretty banal idea. If you introduce a product that does not fit a market, the product will not sell. You will go out of business.

There are, however, two ways to achieve this correspondence. You can cultivate a market for a product you already have, or relentlessly tweak your product until it matches the market. This difference matters (or once did). It’s the difference between getting paid for something you think is worthwhile and doing what you can get paid for, whatever that might be. The former is the noble face of commerce, the latter what was once known as selling out. Silicon Valley pretends to be the former, but is almost entirely the latter.

In other words, The Lean Startup is not a manual for visionaries who have world-changing ideas and want to bring them to the world. It is a manual for building IMVU — for making garbage and selling it.

Now, this wouldn’t be so interesting in its own right — even if it means an entire generation has been weaned off all values save monetization — but it is plain that the incoherent Trump presidency is the result of a single-minded pursuit of product/market fit.

Lean methodology is driven by what Ries calls “validated learnings,” small experiments, deployed via a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), that inform rapid refinements to a quickly iterated product, which is a pretty good description of Candidate Trump.

What was Trump, during his candidacy, but a minimum viable candidate, freed from legacy restrictions and therefore able to run daily multivariate tests on the saliency of nationalism, protectionism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, and other verboten issues? These tests were, moreover, completely out of bounds for legacy candidates, as predicted by the other Silicon Valley bible, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clay Christensen. According to Christensen, “disruption” — he is the popularizer of this now often meaningless term — occurs when a small player with nothing to lose sees opportunity where incumbents see only risk. Bingo! Additionally, Christensen’s work provides the equivalent of a theory of “false consciousness” for business revolutionaries. You think my product is morally repugnant? You are just trapped in your “value network,” the intra-capitalist equivalent of ideology.

If now-President Trump has a useful instinct — which is all even his most ardent surrogates are now willing to claim — it is this capacity to test the marketplace, receive feedback, iterate for maximum effect, and ignore incumbent value networks. As Ries says about product/market fit, “If you have to ask if you have found it, you haven’t.”

But if Nazis show up, you might be getting warm.

As a result of this method, Trump’s persona has become a perfect reflection — a faithful transcription — of the most vicious, repressed forces in America, the pre-existing market into which he has chosen to fit his product. The result, as we now see, is even more disturbing than IMVU’s grotesque avatars.

There are two reasons to be hopeful, however.

First, Trump’s lean methodology was optimized for campaigning. Ries is clear that his methodology requires meaningful, agreed-upon metrics against which to optimize. Trump’s metric was crowd bile. Separated from a steady diet of rallies — to which he has tries to to return every chance he gets — he will be missing his main KPI.

Second, it is clear that Trump and his team have applied lean tactics to marketing —massively extending Trump’s basic method via an overhyped Facebook operation— but not to product development, as Ries intended. “Repeal Obamacare” has been optimized as messaging, but the reality? We saw how that turned out on Friday.

There’s a stodgy old marketing adage that might useful here: “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good marketing.”

Just another boastful soldier.