Customer Discovery: The Search for Product/Market Fit. 2 Minutes to See Why

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How to Be Smarter than Your Investors – Continuous Customer Discovery

Teams that build continuous customer discovery into their DNA will become smarter than their investors, and build more successful companies. — Awhile back I blogged about Ashwin, one of my ex-students wanted to raise a seed round to build Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) with a Hyper-spectral camera and fly it over farm fields collecting hyper-spectral images. […]

The Non-Dummies Guide to Customer Discovery

Customer Development is a stupidly simple idea. It’s one that you can describe in 30-seconds or less. But it took me 3 years and almost 300 pages of 10-point type to describe the concept in my book The Four Steps to the Epiphany.  Unlike a traditional business book, The Four Steps is more akin to […]

Driving Corporate Innovation: Design Thinking vs. Customer Development

Startups are not smaller versions of large companies, but interestingly we see that companies are not larger versions of startups. I’ve been spending some time with large companies that are interested in using Lean methods. One of the conundrums is why does innovation take so long to happen in corporations? Previously Hank Chesbrough and I have […]

When Customers Make You Smarter

We talk a lot about Customer Development, but there’s nothing like seeing it in action to understand its power. Here’s what happened when an extraordinary Digital Health team gained several critical insights about their business model. The first was reducing what they thought was a five-sided market to a simpler two-sided one. But the big […]

Lean LaunchPad for Life Sciences – Value Proposition and Customers

We’re deep into teaching a Lean LaunchPad class for Life Sciences and Health Care (therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health) at UCSF with a team of veteran venture capitalists. (The class has talked to 1,440 customers to date.) One of the objectives of the class was to become a Life Science Center of Excellence for the […]

Customer Development in Japan: a History Lesson

The Japanese edition of The Startup Owner’s Manual hit the bookstores in Japan this week. The book has been shepherded and edited by a great Japanese VC at Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, Takashi Tsutsumi, with help from Masato Iino. I asked Tsutsumi-san to write a guest post for my blog to describe his experience […]

The LeanLaunch Pad at Stanford – Class 4: Customer Hypotheses

The Stanford Lean LaunchPad class was an experiment in a new model of teaching startup entrepreneurship. This post is part four. Part one is here, two is here and three is here. Syllabus is here. Week 4 of the class. Last week the teams were testing their hypotheses about their Value Proposition (their company’s product or service.) This […]

No Business Plan Survives First Contact With A Customer – The 5.2 billion dollar mistake.

At $5.2-billion Iridium was one of the largest, boldest and audacious startup bets ever made. Conceived in 1987 by Motorola and spun out in 1990 as a separate company, Iridium planned to build a mobile telephone system that would work anywhere on earth. It would cover every city, town and square inch of the earth from […]

Entrepreneurship as a Science – The Business Model/Customer Development Stack

Over the last 50 years engineers have moved from building computers out of individual transistors to building with prepackaged logic gates. Then they adopted standard microprocessors (e.g. x86, ARM.) At the same time every computer company was writing its own operating system.  Soon standard operating systems (e.g. Windows, Linux) emerged. In the last decade open […]