Here’s an agenda of what is coming in this and future emails:
- What is Startup Weekend going to feel like? [Feb 11th]
- What does it take to launch a new product/service? [Feb 18th]
- Customer development: the most critical skill for building a startup [this email]
- Tools that we think will help you during SWTahoe
Each email has three sections: “required reading” on things that will be super helpful for you to know before the event; extra resources to help you excel; and bonus material if you get really into the topic
Don’t build a product that nobody wants — become a customer development rockstar
One of the key activities of the lean startup (which we described in our last email) is “customer development,” and it includes the set of skills you will need in order to efficiently evaluate and develop your ideas. In a nutshell, customer development is the practice of using interviews and structured experiments to generate, test, and optimize ideas for products and services.
- Who are your likely customers? Is the market big enough?
- Are you solving a real problem or forcing a fit for your particular product/service?
- Are customers solving that problem today? If so, what is the solution and are they paying for it? If not, why not?
- If someone could solve the problem, what would customers like to see? How much would they pay for it?
Since interviews are a key component of customer development (and vital for success at Startup Weekend), we want to share some materials that Customer Development Labs put together on how to think about the process:
Highly recommended material:
Customer development is focused around structured interactions with people that will help you understand whether and how you can provide value to them. Although much of this information will come from interviews, sometimes very simple mockups (prototypes or Minimum Viable Products) can be helpful as well. Here are a few examples of solid customerdevelopment that we hope will help inspire you to think creatively about how to get customerfeedback on your idea:
If you want to learn more:
There is so much great content out there on customer development but here are a few more pieces that we think could be helpful (and interesting):
- Steve Blank discuss customer development in a healthcare setting
- How to write cold-call emails
- Bob Dorf’s list of customer development rules
- Ash Maurya discusses building a company before really “getting” customerdevelopment
Thanks and please let us know if you have any feedback,
The Startup Weekend Tahoe Team