Nail the Customer Development Manifesto to the Wall

Steve Blank

When Bob Dorf and I wrote the Startup Owners Manual we listed a series of Customer Development principles. Pair Customer Development with Agile Development. Success Begins with Buy-In from Investors and Co-Founders.

Customer Development is Not a Focus Group

Steve Blank

Customer Development is all about gathering a list of what features customers want by talking to them, surveying them, or running “focus groups.” As the engineers were busy rearchitecting the original Stanford MIPS chip into a commercial product, one of my jobs was to find out what features customers wanted. One of the specific requests from our chip architects was to find out whether customers would want the chip to have data stored as big-endian or little-endian.

How Customer Development Failed Us

Steve Blank

Here’s his story of when Customer Development failed. We were lucky to learn about Customer Development early on in the life of our startup. More importantly, we’d witnessed Customer Development’s massive success at another local startup. We bought Steve’s book , started product development and began reaching out to customers ins search of our first earlyvangelists. So how did Customer Development fail us?

Raising Money Using Customer Development

Steve Blank

Chasing funding versus chasing customers and a repeatable and scalable business model, is one reason startups fail. Are there customers for what you are building? No amount of learning how to get a VC meeting or improving your VC demo skills will fix the lack of concrete customer data.

B2B Customer Development

Market by Numbers

Market By Numbers on Twitter | Entries RSS | Comments RSS Market By Numbers High-Tech Marketing and Customer Development Home What is Customer Development? Post-Launch Customer Development These are tricky waters for the reasons described above.

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development

Startup Lessons Learned

I believe it is the best introduction to Customer Development you can buy. As all of you know, Steve Blank is the progenitor of Customer Development and author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany. Here’s hoping they soon tackle Customer Validation.

More Customer Development Cycles

Startup Marketing Blog

Startup Marketing Blog – By Sean Ellis Unlocking Startup Growth By Sean Ellis of 12in6 Feb 25th 09 More Customer Development Cycles I kicked off this quarter’s two new customer development projects earlier this week. Eventbrite and Dropbox were really the “Beta” customers for my six-month customer development program. I then give the founder/CEO a quick overview of my background and the customer development program.

Customer Development Presentation

Market by Numbers

Market By Numbers on Twitter | Entries RSS | Comments RSS Market By Numbers High-Tech Marketing and Customer Development Home What is Customer Development? Services Marketing Help Downloads Contact Log In Customer Development Presentation By brantcooper , August 20, 2009 2:20 pm Unlike my classmates who headed to Silicon Valley from UC Davis upon graduation, I moved to Washington DC to work for a defense consulting firm.

Big Picture Customer Development Revisited

Startup Marketing Blog

Startup Marketing Blog – By Sean Ellis Unlocking Startup Growth By Sean Ellis of 12in6 Jun 18th 09 Big Picture Customer Development Revisited Working with four startups at the same time has steepened my customer development learning curve (and also explains why it has been a month since my last update). Our customer development goal with every startup essentially boils down to a race to be able to focus on growing the business.

Lessons Learned: What is customer development?

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Saturday, November 8, 2008 What is customer development? But too often when its time to think about customers, marketing, positioning, or PR, we delegate it to "marketroids" or "suits." They almost always fail for lack of customers.

Customer Development Gut Checks

Market by Numbers

Market By Numbers on Twitter | Entries RSS | Comments RSS Market By Numbers High-Tech Marketing and Customer Development Home What is Customer Development? Services Marketing Help Downloads Contact Log In Customer Development Gut Checks By brantcooper , April 28, 2009 10:35 am Through the evolution of their start-ups, entrepreneurs will face many inflection points, at which decisions made or not made will determine their future.

Customer Development Gut Checks

Market by Numbers

Market By Numbers on Twitter | Entries RSS | Comments RSS Market By Numbers High-Tech Marketing and Customer Development Home What is Customer Development? Services Marketing Help Downloads Contact Log In Customer Development Gut Checks By brantcooper , April 28, 2009 10:35 am Through the evolution of their start-ups, entrepreneurs will face many inflection points, at which decisions made or not made will determine their future.

It’s Not a Conversion Problem, It’s a Customer Development Problem

ConversionXL

The most common mistake startups make is assuming they can operate the same way big companies do, and expect success with little to no feedback from potential customers. But for a new coffee shop, things like customer service, atmosphere and selection, will make or break the company.

It’s Time to Play Moneyball: The Investment Readiness Level

Steve Blank

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team. And we can offer investors metrics to play Moneyball – with the Investment Readiness Level.

Lessons Learned: Customer Development Engineering

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Sunday, September 7, 2008 Customer Development Engineering Yesterday, I had the opportunity to guest lecture again in Steve Blank s entrepreneurship class at the Berkeley-Columbia executive MBA program. In addition to presenting the IMVU case, we tried for the first time to do an overview of a software engineering methodology that integrates practices from agile software development with Steves method of Customer Development.

It’s Not a Conversion Problem, It’s a Customer Development Problem

conversionxl.com

It’s Not a Conversion Problem, It’s a Customer Development Problem. The most common mistake startups make is assuming they can operate the same way big companies do, and expect success with little to no feedback from potential customers. The Key To Customer Loyalty.

You Can Outsource Customer Development, You Can't Outsource Learning

Market by Numbers

Market By Numbers on Twitter | Entries RSS | Comments RSS Market By Numbers High-Tech Marketing and Customer Development Home What is Customer Development? There are times when customers are going to tell you something that you don’t want to hear.

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 45: Dan Miller and Brian Zuercher

Steve Blank

How to recognize when it’s time to pull the plug on your startup idea, and why founders can’t operate afford to operate in a vacuum were the focus on today’s Entrepreneurs are Everywhere radio show. The show follows the journeys of founders who share what it takes to build a startup – from restaurants to rocket scientists, to online gifts to online groceries and more. Dan Miller , co-founder of Level Therapy , provider of mobile therapy sessions.

Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 45: Dan Miller and Brian Zuercher

Steve Blank

How to recognize when it’s time to pull the plug on your startup idea, and why founders can’t operate afford to operate in a vacuum were the focus on today’s Entrepreneurs are Everywhere radio show. The show follows the journeys of founders who share what it takes to build a startup – from restaurants to rocket scientists, to online gifts to online groceries and more. Dan Miller , co-founder of Level Therapy , provider of mobile therapy sessions.

Building a Company with Customer Data – Why Metrics Are Not Enough

Steve Blank

Gathering real-world feedback from customers is a core concept of Customer Development as well as the Lean Startup. I called the founder and noted that there are SAT tests that are shorter than the survey. When I asked him if he actually had personally left the building and talked to these potential customers, or even had gotten them on the phone, he sounded confused. “We’re We’re a web startup, all our customers are on the web.

Lean Innovation Management – Making Corporate Innovation Work

Steve Blank

Gore , I’ve found two corporate strategy tools developed by other smart people helpful in bridging Lean Startups with Corporate Innovation. Here the company executes a known business model (known customers, product features, competitors, pricing, distribution channel, supply chain, etc.)

Lean 202

Digging Deeper into Lean Business Model Canvases

Instigator Blog

It’s too easy for founders to get distracted, wander off and lose focus. It happens to all of us, but lean canvas and similar concepts help maintain that focus and instigate a lean startup / customer development-centric approach.

Why vanity metrics are dangerous

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Why vanity metrics are dangerous In a previous post, I defined two kinds of metrics: vanity metrics and actionable metrics. In that post, I took it for granted that vanity metrics are bad for you, and focused on techniques for creating and learning from actionable metrics. In this post, Id like to talk about the perils of vanity metrics. My personal favorite vanity metrics is "hits."

How Investors Make Better Decisions: The Investment Readiness Level

Steve Blank

Investors sitting through Incubator or Accelerator demo days have three metrics to judge fledgling startups – 1) great looking product demos, 2) compelling PowerPoint slides, and 3) a world-class team. Filed under: Customer Development Manifesto , Investment Readiness Level , Venture Capital.

Fear of Failure and Lack of Speed In a Large Corporation

Steve Blank

And worse, even if someone does manage to start something new, our management structure has so many financial, legal and HR hurdles that every initiative needs to match our existing business financial metrics, processes and procedures. Bob looked wistful, “Our founders built a company known for taking risks and moving fast. They’ve found product/market fit (what products customers want to buy). There are financial metrics (Return on Investment, Hurdle Rate, etc.)

The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act

Occam's Razor

To win in business you need to follow this process: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act. We are far too enamored with data collection and reporting the standard metrics we love because others love them because someone else said they were nice so many years ago.

9 Deadliest Start-up Sins

Steve Blank

The excerpts, which appeared first at Inc.com , highlight the Customer Development process, best practices, tips and instructions contained in our book. Assuming you know what the customer wants. The model leaves little room for error, learning, iteration, or customer feedback.

Lessons Learned: Combining agile development with customer development

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, March 16, 2009 Combining agile development with customer development Today I read an excellent blog post that I just had to share. In most agile development systems, there is a notion of the "product backlog" a prioritized list of what software is most valuable to be developed next. The breakthrough idea of agile is that software should be built iteratively, with the pieces that customers value most created first.

Agile 41

Lean Goes Better with Coke – the Future of Corporate Innovation

Steve Blank

For most big, established companies like us, our business models were developed years—even decades ago. in developing these new models. It only emerges after an intense business model design and search activity based on the customer development process.

Lean 192

How We Fight – Cofounders in Love and War

Steve Blank

I often get asked about finding cofounders and I usually give the standard list of characteristics of what I look for in a founder. But Jessica Alter , Cofounder & CEO of FounderDating , pointed out that co founders did not mean two founders in the same room.

Early-stage Regional Venture Funds–part 2 of 3 of Bigger in Bend

Steve Blank

Over the years Dino and I brainstormed about how Lean entrepreneurship would affect regional development. Success depends on finding startups that have identified acute customer pains in large markets where conditions are ripe for a new entrant.

Perfection By Subtraction – The Minimum Feature Set

Steve Blank

One of the principles of Customer Development is to get out of the building and understand the smallest feature-set customers will pay for in the first release.). I can’t get more than one of ten potential customers to think that this is something they’d buy.”

Lessons Learned Launching a Lean Startup Accelerator

Instigator Blog

I believe it’s one of the first of its kind, with a very heavy focus on customer development and a rigorous Lean Startup process. During the Probe Stage, the entrepreneurs are focused entirely on customer development and validation.

Lean 164

The 6 Books That Actually Saved Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

I started getting coffees, breakfast and dinners with other founders and potential investors and I was consistently amazed by how much a single 30-minute conversation could cause us to completely re-evaluate our strategies. customer development process startups

When Do You Throw in the Towel On Your Struggling Project?

Vinicius Vacanti

But, then you also hear how the founders behind Stickybits, after struggling for almost a year, dropped the project and built Turntable.fm. Defining a Success Metric. There are many possible success metrics and it depends on your business. Your success metric improvement stalls.

No Accounting For Startups

Steve Blank

Putting together a financial model and having the founders understand the interrelationships of the variables that can make or break a business is a worthwhile exercise. As a founder you are testing a series of hypotheses about all the pieces of the business model: Who are the customers/users?

Two Giant Steps Forward For Entrepreneurs

Steve Blank

Two years in the making and literally ten years in development, I’m proud to announce that my new book, The Startup Owners Manual , goes onto the printing press next Tuesday. In fact, you could say that all that remains from my last book are the four steps of Customer Development. Integrates Alexander Osterwalders “Business Model Canvas” as the front-end and “scorecard” for the customer discovery process.

Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out – The Startup Genome Project

Steve Blank

The email continued, &# The problem I’m working on is that many founders are either making uninformed decisions or inefficiently learning the new skills they need. The solution I’m exploring is a just in time learning methodology that accelerates founders’ learning curve by aggregating relevant content, peers and mentors.&#. Solo founders take 3.6x Balanced teams with one technical founder and one business founder raise 30% more money, have 2.9x

Death By Competitive Analysis

Steve Blank

Trading emails with a startup CEO building an iPhone app, I asked him why potential customers would buy his product. Most competitive analyses are: 1) sales documents for investors and/or 2) an attempt to rationalize the founders assumptions. Where Are the Customers?

Beware of Vanity Metrics (for Harvard Business Review)

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, February 8, 2010 Beware of Vanity Metrics (for Harvard Business Review) The next article in my series on entrepreneurship for Harvard Business Review is live today. Once again, we revisit the topic of Actionable metrics and their nemesis: Vanity metrics. Any entrepreneur with a decent reality distortion field can find metrics that make it look like theyre being successful. But how do we know which metrics to look at?