Customer Discovery

part of Customer Development process

Problem Interview before Solution Interview

Jobs To Be Done

Feb'2010: Ash Maurya's process - Unlike Enterprise Software, which can be chock full of features, web startups need to focus on the smallest feature set needed to learn from EarlyVangelists or the MVP. After the first reality check, you should end up with a prioritized top 3 problem list which drives the features for your MVP. I stress the importance of then building out the MVP to the point where it’s demo-able.

Dec'2010: Jason Cohen on killing an idea that fails Customer Discovery. For me it comes down to this: Will they pay for it, and how much (Pricing)? You can't stop at "Do you think this is a good idea?" and the story of this marketing-measurement tool demonstrates why, because every last person said it was a good idea, and in fact it was not. How did this manifest?... I didn't figure out that this wasn't a proper business idea until we got to the question of price, because that's where the agreement ended. Some said that although this would save them $1000/mo in marketing spend, they still couldn't afford even $50/mo; it would have to be free. I know, that ROI argument makes no sense, but that's exactly why it was a bad sign. Others said $50/mo would be easy, and I should target the small business market, however it became clear that training and marketing costs with that audience would be large. Still others insisted that I go after the "big guys" in the market, which means charging at least $1000/mo, offering professional services, or partnering with other consultants who were willing to ditch the name brands for something better — though I was never able to locate a consultant willing to entertain that idea.

Jan'2013: Kevin Dewalt on avoiding bad interview questions. Talking face-to-face with customers brings us insight we can’t get from surveys and clicks. Unfortunately, conducting face-to-face customer development interviews is a skill that takes practice. I’ve been doing it for 5 years and I’m still learning. So many times I’ve asked the wrong questions and later realized I was wasting time or – worse yet – coming to incorrect conclusions and building the wrong products.


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