9 Responses

  1. I need to do whatever it takes to introduce Steve Blank ideas and books to Africa continent because over there they are in the dark side of the world as far as startups are concerned

  2. Love the image and the concise lessons here. I think this should be a poster that every product leader (product manager, product marketing manager and CxO) has on their wall.

  3. Many Africans are self starters and millions own a 1 person/1 family business. Not that dark there although Entrepreneurship is needed there … & in Europe too

  4. Looking at this, I can’t help but wonder if all the IBM folks who worked so hard (I’m talkin’ years ago) to perfect graphical process flows and decision trees are rolling over in their graves or jumping with glee.

  5. The start up owner’s manual is totally unavailable here in Nairobi, East Africa. Not even in leading bookstores. Any convenient ideas on how to go about the purchase??

  6. How does Blank’s Customer Development Theory understand Apple entering markets (music, mobile phone) without testing their ideas prior to massive rollouts?

    • Anytime you think you’re Steve Jobs, feel free to skip Customer Development.


    • Jobs created new markets with his innovations…due to there was no market, he couldn’t ask potential customers for their direct feedback.. however it’s rarely the case.. and still in this case you probably want to get to know as much as it’s possible about your “visioned segments” and how they will adopt/welcome your gamechanger product/service or idea…

  7. Hey Steve,

    Sorry for the long comment!

    I’m the founder/CEO of Sokikom–an online program that helps k12 teachers improve student behaviors and improve student math achievement in the common core. I’ve read your book (4steps) through pg 79–I didn’t allow myself to read further since we’re not past the customer discovery step yet, ie we haven’t verified the business model part yet. I’m trying to best understand how I should approach customer discovery given the space we’re in?

    I’ve spoken to over 100 educators (mainly teachers) and using their input our team has developed a product teachers & students love. We have growing validation (active users & surveys) of this. We’ve also passed the product/market fit test from Sean Ellis (ie over 40% of activated users are very disappointed if they can no longer use Sokikom).

    The next challenge for us is figuring out the best way to approach monetization. We’ve already run small experiments and sold to the following customers: a state dept. of ed, district, schools, teachers, parents. However, I decided not to pursue sales so our team could have 100% laser focus on product. I’ve seen other k12 edtech companies move to sales too early and then become sales-driven organizations where they suddenly are competing with the massive sales teams of the big publishers that are superior. Historically, a majority of these companies end up realizing partial success and plateau between 0-5million revenue. Our vision is to focus on building more value for teachers and allow them to easily adopt us–a bubble up approach. Our business model hypothesis is that once we have a threshold # of teacher & student users, we could leverage them to influence schools & districts to pay. (or alternatively, get parents to pay).

    Given this, do you think our approach to customer discovery should be different? Feel free to respond here or to me personally: snehalp AT sokikom DOT COM

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