Bob Cavezza's Blog

What often gets lost in lean startups and customer development is the talking to customers part. After reading “The Lean Startup”, one often remembers certain anecdotes about the startups. What they most often remember is the minimum viable products or minimum viable tests that sucessful entrepreneurs created. They often don’t remember the intensive customer development sessions and customer development interviews that each entrepreneur went through to find the golden nuggets of wisdom.

We need more anecdotes and how to guides for following up with visitors. We need more ways to engage and follow up with customers. We need to know how and why customers pivoted – we need to know how those companies found that golden nugget of wisdom.

The Golden Nugget Anecdote is a story that tells how the useful wisdom used to pivot was figured out by entrepreneurs. How did they corner a customer that was not very excited about their product, but was willing to offer useful feedback.

Did they use kissinsights? Did they scour the web for forum and blogposts mentioning their website or service to see what people really thought?

Did they cold email people who used their website after capturing the email address?

Do they pay people to talk to them on the phone for a half hour? Do they bring people in and watch them use their website for an hour? Do they do both? Do they pay users a fee or enter them in a contest for their time?

This is the hard part, the unglamorous part, and the most grueling and difficult part of “getting out of the building”. Once you get out of the building, you need to find which building the people are in that you want to talk to.

So after building, getting out of the building, and before going back into the building, you need to figure out what step 3 is – which building do you enter to find the people you need to talk to.

If we had more stories about “finding the other building” where the customers are hiding, and how customer development teams extract useful “golden nuggets of wisdom” they need to pivot and solve the pain they are missing or forgetting about.

That is what is missing in the lean startup movement. Until we hear more stories about this part of customer development, most of the discussion will be centered around splash pages, smoke screen tests, and services like launchrock.

§16 · December 1, 2011 · Uncategorized · · [Print]

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