Nail the Customer Development Manifesto to the Wall

When Bob Dorf and I wrote the Startup Owners Manual we listed a series of Customer Development principles. I thought they might be worth enumerating here:

A Startup Is a Temporary Organization Designed to Search
for A
 Repeatable and Scalable Business Model

  1. There Are No Facts Inside Your Building, So Get Outside
  2. Pair Customer Development with Agile Development
  3. Failure is an Integral Part of the Search for the Business Model
  4. If You’re Afraid to Fail You’re Destined to Do So
  5. Iterations and Pivots are Driven by Insight
  6. Validate Your Hypotheses with Experiments
  7. Success Begins with Buy-In from Investors and Co-Founders
  8. No Business Plan Survives First Contact with Customers
  9. Not All Startups Are Alike
  10. Startup Metrics are Different from Existing Companies
  11. Agree on Market Type – It Changes Everything
  12. Fast, Fearless Decision-Making, Cycle Time, Speed and Tempo
  13. If it’s not About Passion, You’re Dead the Day You Opened your Doors
  14. Startup Titles and Functions Are Very Different from a Company’s
  15. Preserve Cash While Searching. After It’s Found, Spend
  16. Communicate and Share Learning
  17. Startups Demand Comfort with Chaos and Uncertainty
Quite a few people have asked for a way to remember these without having to dig through the book.  So by popular demand, here’s a poster of the Customer Development Manifesto.  You can order a copy here.
Nail it to your wall.

Nail the Manifesto to your Wall

Listen to the post here: Download the Podcast here

56 Responses

  1. Cool stuff. Infused it. To the brain. My impregnable wall.

  2. I not ‘feelin’ the graphic-design-love here, (sorry) – even though I know the message trapped inside the info-graphic is great to rest my eyes on, I still want it to ‘pop’ & ‘sizzle’ – how about you run a crowd source competition on this … IMHO

    • Or better yet, how about he do some customer development on the customer development poster? 🙂

  3. Thanks for this insightful manifesto Steve.

  4. Done and done. Thanks for sharing this. I am embracing this whole-heartedly and unlearning everything else I was taught about product development and starting up! Using your methods in conjunction with those of the Lean Startup has already yielded powerful results for me in as little as one month’s time. I spent several months prior to this with my head down in an office, not talking to customers, bleeding cash, with nothing to show for it. Now, I have clients, results, feedback, and tremendous opportunities in front of me to grow & improve. THANK YOU.

  5. Done & done – thank you Steve! Your teachings and those of the Lean Startup have yielded great results for me & my startup. I cannot thank you enough!

  6. Steve,

    Congrats on publishing the book. Over the years, you have contributed an enormous amount to the way startups are approached and from what I have seen in your presentation at SXSW you do not disappoint in your new book.

    However…I have to ask…why is the book available only in hardcover?? I would happily pay the same price to get the kindle edition. The reality is, there are increasingly *no* books that I want to get in hardcover. The reading experience of being able to easily highlight, share, and comment across the kindle ecosystem is invaluable to me…not to mention the fact that I always have my entire kindle library with me to be able to refer to without weighing myself down with paper books. I’d even go so far as to say that e-books have substantially increased my consumption of books as a whole.

    It is not easy for paper books to spread…and the ideas in this book are ideas that should be spread. Seth Godin summarizes it nicely in this post on the publishing industry:

    Please make it easier to consume and spread the great work you have done. Make an e-book version available now. Charge the same price as for your hardcover if you like, but let your potential customers choose instead of making the choice for them. Don’t perpetuate the legacy publishing release windows. They no longer make any sense.

    Thanks for all your effort and I hope to be able to buy your book in kindle format soon.

  7. What a great manifesto! Thank you Steve!

  8. Tomorrow morning it will be on my office wall!

  9. This is the Declaration of Independence for Startups.
    Great as is, no fancy graphics needed.

  10. Thanks for this Steve, this will go up as a constant reminder (needed some decorations anyway) of what we are doing and where we came from.

    Also, just wanted to let you know that you’ve been a great inspiration, and above all time-saver (have all your books, subscribe to your blog, have poured through the links on your site, and have watch some of your educational videos)… However, I still have a couple questions. It would be cool if you answered them Steve, but I am completely open to receiving advice from any of your followers as well.

    1) In regards to one’s sales staff… what are some of the keys you’ve learned along the way to training and motivating the team? Is there a particular organizational design you’ve found works better than others for virtual sales teams? As for communication strategies between your sales engineers and customers, is there a workflow that you employ to increase sales (e.g., drip marketing, automated email system (what emails, when), etc)? What commission/pay structure do you find works best?

    2) So I’ve not even started marketing my company (just finishing the completion of the alpha & MVP), but I’m now being approached by some international companies, and I’m in the position where we need to hire.. but are about a month out before we can afford some of the equipment (computers, software licenses, etc) for the people, and about 2-3 months out before we can afford the base pay for the sales people as they get trained and ready. Any suggestions? What’s the best way to approach this scenario?

    I look forward to your wisdom.

    Thanks so much,


  11. Steve,

    Thanks for the summary. It’s now my screensaver. Lean Startup and the business model canvas has really taken hold in LA. We’re doing our part to help.



  12. Done! Thanks again, Steve. For several years now, you have been a driving force in changing the way people think and practice to create and deliver real value. Customers, entrepreneurs, and investors everywhere – take note!

  13. […]   创业过 8 次,并且从他的经验中萃取出了「顾客开发 (CustomerDevelopment)」的创业方法,然后从那里引发了整个 Lean Startup 运动的 Stanford 大学教授 Steve Blank,最近推出了一本新书「The Startup Owner’s Manual」。这本书我还没有看到 (没有出 Kindle 版),但 Steve 最近在他的网志上,把整本书的重点精神整理了出来。 […]

  14. thanks for this summary

  15. […] Markus Gärtner: Was würdet Ihr potentiellen Nachahmer mit auf den Weg geben? Manuel Küblböck: Die Antwort ist mir zu lang für dieses Interview geworden und ich habe daraus einen eigenen Blogpost gemacht. Stefan Roock: Das meiste steht in Steve Blanks Customer Development Manifesto. […]

  16. Steve, I’d like to design a new version of the poster. May I re-use your text?

  17. […] with wanting to work with me. I always make an attempt to help other entrepreneurs in the areas of customer and product development whenever I […]

  18. […] blog serves to chronicle my adventures in startups with a focus on entrepreneurship and customer/product development as a tech co-founder, mentor, marketeer, and investor. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe […]

  19. […] wird diese Beschreibungssprache von Business Models durch die Arbeiten von Steve Blank und seinem Customer Development-Ansatz und seinen Schülern wie Eric Ries mit dem “Lean Startup”-Movement. Gerade die […]

  20. […] Customer Manifesto from Steve Blank does not need an […]

  21. […] If you are the CEO of a small company, it’s probably wise to spend 50% or more of your time “getting out of the building” and talking to current customers, potential customers, and yes–investors. Even if […]

  22. Hey Steve your new book rocks! I refer to it daily in my position as a product manager.

  23. […] great source of requirements is Steve Blank’s Customer Development process that helps to discover, validate and create customer’s […]

  24. […] This useful definition tells us two things. First, the primary function of a start-up is to discover what customers want and not to start producing what it thinks they want. Second, it tells us that once the business model has been validated, the business is formed and can get on with executing its strategy. These two activities are very different, as shown below: […]

  25. […] you struggle with how to begin designing with the customer in mind, you can start by reading the Customer Development Manifesto by Steve Blank. For more detailed guidance, you can follow the customer development model described […]

  26. […] to hire someone to answer phones? They you’d better have customers calling. Check out the Customer Manifesto from Steve Blank. He sure knows how to hit that nail on the […]

  27. […] most powerful concepts that Steve Blank introduces is Market Type(Pages 112–124). It is #11 Customer Development Manifesto , not a high number, but it is very […]

  28. […] Nail the Customer Development Manifesto to the Wall « Steve Blank Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  29. […] the agile development process and we are currently building more and more of Steve Blank’s customer development process into our market-facing team. While our market team is responsible for getting us more […]

  30. […] think Steve Blank puts it best: “A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and […]

  31. […] Blank’s second commandment in his Manifesto for Customer Development is: “Pair Customer Development with Agile Development”. But how to make sense of […]

  32. […] Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto includes a key principle: Iterations and Pivots are Driven by Insight. Lean Startup is about applying scientific principles to study, measure, and assess the validity of […]

  33. There are 14 rules in my copy of your book for the Customer Development Manifesto, but 17 listed here. Does that mean this list comprises your refined thinking? Is there an electronic copy of the full text of the 17?

    Thanks, its a great book Steve.

    Best, Martin.

  34. […] more of your time “getting out of the building” and talking to current customers, potential customers, and […]

  35. […] Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto echoes similar challenges: 1) There Are No Facts Inside Your Building, So Get Outside … 8) […]

  36. Folks, I am working on a redesigned version of the poster that is going to be awesome. Ping me if you would like early access to the design in progress.

  37. […] always done a decent job at getting out of the building for customer development; now I’m getting an appreciation of doing it for company […]

  38. […] Meng and I are forever pushing people who come to us for advice on startups out of the door with Steve Blank’s words ringing in their ears: “Get out of the […]

  39. […] I are forever pushing people who come to us for advice on startups out of the door with Steve Blank’s words ringing in their ears: “Get out of the […]

  40. […] a conversation with my father last night about my new business, I was reminded of Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto.  This morning as I sit here, sip coffee, and read it for the umpteenth time, I can’t stop […]

  41. […] So what would a search process for a business model look like? I read a ton of existing literature and came up with a formal methodology for search I called Customer Development. […]

  42. […] situations. Well, “often” is probably an understatement. As Steve Blank said in his Customer Development Manifesto Startups Demand Comfort with Chaos and […]

  43. […] Well, in simplest terms, there’s more important crap to focus on at the infancy of your startup idea. You could (and should) be spending time on Customer Development (I’m sure I will talk a lot more about Customer Dev in the future, but for now here’s a solid resource from Steve Blank who is an authority on the   “Customer Development Manifesto”. […]

  44. […] I had run across this manifesto a couple of months ago but I couldn’t remember who had done it.  It turns out it is from entrepreneur Steve Blank. […]

  45. Great manifesto indeed. Thank you Steve

  46. Thanks Steve, I have always loved a manifesto

  47. […] popularized by the “Lean Startup” movement and the work of people like Steve Blank (… so why aren’t more founders doing it? I would be willing to bet that a lack of proper […]

  48. Would love to purchase this, but the link seems to be broken.

  49. […] Blank suggests nailing the manifesto to the wall in this blog post. Below is a screenshot of the said […]

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