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. No Business Plan Survives First Contact with Customers.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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. 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.

Digging Deeper into Lean Business Model Canvases

Instigator Blog

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. Some will overanalyze their existing metrics to look for the necessary trends and proof to validate their hypotheses.

Customer Development Manifesto: Market Type (part 4) « Steve Blank

Steve Blank

In future posts I’ll describe how Eric Ries and the Lean Startup concept provided the equivalent model for product development activities inside the building and neatly integrates customer and agile development. The product development model treats all startups like they are in an Existing Market – an established market with known customers. Handspring’s customers understood what a Personal Digital Assistant was. Customers want to do a “job&#.

Intel Disrupted: Why large companies find it difficult to innovate, and what they can do about it

Steve Blank

As a consequence, corporations used metrics like return on net assets (RONA), return on capital deployed, and internal rate of return (IRR) to measure efficiency. These metrics make it difficult for a company that wants to invest in long-term innovation.

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."

The Mission Model Canvas – An Adapted Business Model Canvas for Mission-Driven Organizations

Steve Blank

In other words, how can we adapt the Business Model Canvas when the metrics of success for an organization is not revenue? The 9 boxes of the canvas let you visualize all the components needed to turn customer needs/problems into a profitable company.

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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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.

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.

Updated Customer Development Image

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? ralxz's Blogs said: Updated Customer Development Image [link] [.]

We Have A Moral Obligation

Steve Blank

6:22 What’s Customer Development. 32:05 No Innovation Pipeline, Guidance or Metrics. 41:39 Moral Obligations Filed under: Corporate Innovation , Customer Development , Hacking For Defense , Hacking for Diplomacy , Lean LaunchPad , NSF (National Science Foundation) , Teaching. Corporate Innovation Customer Development Hacking For Defense Hacking for Diplomacy Lean LaunchPad NSF (National Science Foundation) Teaching

A New Way to Look at Competitors

Steve Blank

In this case the basis of competition on the X/Y axes are metrics defined by the users in the existing market. What the chart is saying is, “we think our customers will come from these markets.” Filed under: Customer Development , Teaching , 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. They’ve found product/market fit (what products customers want to buy). They’ve learned the best distribution channel to get the product from their company to the customer. There are financial metrics (Return on Investment, Hurdle Rate, etc.)

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The 6 Books That Actually Saved Our Startup

Vinicius Vacanti

Startup Metrics for Pirates – Lastly, while not a book (though it should be), Dave McClure’s framework for thinking about startup metrics is brilliant. customer development process startups

Be Selective in Early Beta Programs to Find the Ideal Customers and Use Cases

Instigator Blog

But finding the perfect people or customers in that list is another story. This is where it’s so important to have a hypothesis and assumptions around the ideal customer. Without a strong definition of your supposed ideal customer, it becomes too tempting and too easy to hand out beta accounts like candy. And if the customers range quite extensively, their use cases are different, and their requirements, product demands, etc. Screen your beta customers.

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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Customer Development Funnel Image v.4

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 Funnel Image v.4

9 Deadliest Start-up Sins

Steve Blank

The excerpts, which appeared first at , 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.

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

Vinicius Vacanti

The key to making this decision comes down to: (1) quickly iterating the product based on learnings and (2) consistently measuring each iteration based on a defined success metric. Defining a Success Metric. There are many possible success metrics and it depends on your business.

How We Fight – Cofounders in Love and War

Steve Blank

She suggested that how cofounders fight was a key metric in predicting the success of a founding team. Filed under: Customer Development , Family/Career/Culture. Customer Development Family/Career/Culture

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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Blowing up the Business Plan at U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School

Steve Blank

Berkeley were heavily funded to develop Cold War weapon systems. Starting in the 1950’s, Stanford’s engineering department became “outward facing” and developed a culture of spinouts and active faculty support and participation in the first wave of Silicon Valley startups. At the same time Berkeley was also developing Cold War weapons systems. Traction and evidence from customers were what investors were looking for – even in “slow” sectors like healthcare and energy.

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.

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.

Massacre at IBM

Steve Blank

Long before there was the Lean Startup, Business Model Canvas or Customer Development there was a guy in Santa Barbara California who had already figured it out. I want to tell you a story about how a team pivoted and succeeded by synchronizing product and customer development. Though development was already underway, I kicked-off SyncDev in early November. The first wave of meetings was with five US customers in mid-November. Customer Development

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.”

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

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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Defining Success

Instigator Blog

You may be running an experiment and collecting metrics, but you can’t really interpret the results without something to compare them to. Customer Development lean startup Startups successThe Lean Startup model is all about running experiments, learning and making informed decisions on what to do next. I’m clearly a believer in the model, but there are some parts of it that are quite nuanced and challenging to figure out.

AARRR is from the Pirate’s Point of View

Market by Numbers

Back in December 2009 when Patrick Vlaskovits and I first contemplated our Customer Development book , I was noodling around with a graphic to illustrate the integrate Dave McClure’s Pirate Metrics with Customer Development activities.

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.

A Day in the Life of Your Customer

Instigator Blog

To sell something effectively you really need to understand your customer. You can look into customer profiling and personas as mechanisms for understanding your customers better. How and when your product will be used by your customers is critical. Customer Development