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.

Time For Founders School

Steve Blank

Kauffman just launched Founders School - a new education series to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses during the startup stage by highlighting how startups are different from big companies. 2:21: Accounting Metrics in a Large Company vs. Metrics that Matter in a Startup.

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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.

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.

The Art of the Customer Development Conversation

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? The key to effective conversations is in developing the conversation around your objectives for the discussion.

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.

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.)

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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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.

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."

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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

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.

4 short stories of our attempts to be lean at our startup

joel.is

The founding of Buffer: going from an idea to paying customers in 7 weeks. This is known as customer development and I can’t recommend doing it highly enough. We had thought for some time about expanding Buffer and having a product focused on business customers.

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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?

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?

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.

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.

How To Prioritize Feature Development After Launching an MVP

Instigator Blog

You have a priority list, but customers are also telling you what they want; aside from some bugs they’ve found, they’re giving you a list of features and telling you to build them. And the customer is always right … right? Here’s a great post titled, Why Your Customer Feedback is Useless. Prioritizing feature development after the release of your first MVP is very hard. Development Time – Time is one of a startup’s biggest enemies.

4 short stories of our attempts to be lean at our startup

joel.is

The founding of Buffer: going from an idea to paying customers in 7 weeks. This is known as customer development and I can’t recommend doing it highly enough. We had thought for some time about expanding Buffer and having a product focused on business customers. Tweet.

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Founder to CEO: Mike McDerment

StartupCFO

Last week I wrote about the interviews and research I did on how founders become great CEOs. Given that I just joined his company, it’s only fitting that I kick off this series of posts with some thoughts from Mike McDerment , co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks.

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?

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.

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Pivot, don't jump to a new vision

Startup Lessons Learned

Each has its own iterative process: customer development and agile development respectively. The hardest part of entrepreneurship is to develop the judgment to know when its time to change direction and when its time to stay the course. Some startups avoid getting customer feedback for precisely this reason: they are afraid that if early reactions are negative, theyll be "forced" to abandon their vision. IMVU had a roughly two-month-long development cycle.

Founders Make the Best Startup Marketing Leaders

Startup Marketing Blog

Startup Marketing Blog – By Sean Ellis Unlocking Startup Growth By Sean Ellis of 12in6 Oct 7th 09 Founders Make the Best Startup Marketing Leaders CEOs often ask for my advice on the ideal candidate profile to lead their ongoing customer growth efforts once we’ve completed the key steps to unlocking growth. This corresponds to the overwhelming majority of startups falling short of expectations of founders and early investors. Posted in Acquiring Customers.

Times Square Strategy Session – Web Startups and Customer Development

Steve Blank

I was in New York last week with my class at Columbia University and several events made me realize that the Customer Development model needs to better describe its fit with web-based businesses. What metrics do we use to see if we learned enough in Customer Discovery ?