Intro to Lean Customer Development Class Notes
Lean Cust Dev Class
Two biz purposes: mktg & innovation
Find customer for product before you build anything.
Lean startup is: pre-marketing
Startup def: institution designed to deliver a product under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
Startup is all about experimentation and uncertainty.
How do you know what the next step is?
Myth: lean == cheap Lean is about efficiency, investing just enough to validate assumptions.
Myth: lean is only for tech. Not so, it's just about experimentation.
Lean startup story: grocery delivering where they manually delivered groceries to their alpha customers by hand before building any tech to support, just to make sure that they really were delivering what customers wanted.
Why are founders reluctant to ask people about what they think about the idea? One reason: they are afraid of someone stealing the idea. Not so, ideas are cheap, execution is the hard part. Validate the assumption!
Myth: lean replaces vision with data and customer's wants. Vision is very important but your strategy (I.e. solution) needs to be responsive and validated.
UX how to ask questions do experiments to get useful feedback: First step: is there a problem worth solving? The riskiest part of the biz is rarely the solution. Don't say: 'here's a solution, do you like it?' They will say yes for the wrong reasons. How do you ask Q's that explore their experience? "here is a scenario. Have you experienced this? what did you do in this situation?" How did they actually solve the problem? Ask behavioral questions. Need to learn if there is a problem worth solving. The word problem is not always the perfect word (in the development of a game, for example).
Scientific method. Try to disprove hypotheses.
Startups that succeed are the ones that iterate enough before they run out of resources. Failure is not bad, it is part of the learning process. Learn from each failure and use that knowledge to pivot to a new iteration.
Surveys don't give a lot of info. Qualitative interviews give tons of info.
Caveat: in rapid iterations your objective is efficiency in finding product market fit. It's possible to have small enough selections of people that you don't fully validate your assumption (ie you get a false negative).
Good falsifiable hypothesis: [repeatable action] will produce [measurable outcome]
When you ask customers questions, you can't rely on what they say. When people say they will buy X, they will not. (they believe they or someone will, but people don't honestly know themselves that well and aren't that good at predicting their own future behavior). Cf Dan Gilbert quote
How do you decide the next step?
Entrepreneurs are too attached to their ideas. Until they give it a chance to see if it will fail, they can't know if it will succeed.
When you design experiment, start w the single most critical idea. What will break my biz if it is not true? What is most critical and most unknown?
"get out of the building" and work on validating your ideas.
We humans are really good at projecting and experimenting in our heads but bad at predicting others' behavior.
Customers don't care about your solution, they care about their problems. -- Dave McClure
Your obj is to find an early adopter, not a mainstream consumer.
The early adopter: a) has the prob you want to solve and b) they are aware of it. [And bonus if c) they already are trying to hack some solution to it]
You want to find them and build them an MVP.
When you have a lot of uncertainty, it doesn't take much more data to reduce it significantly.
Surveys assume you know the right questions to ask. -Ash Maurya
Myth: Customers don't know what they want. They *do* but they probably can't articulate it well. So don't ask them what they want, ask what they do (in situations like the problem you are trying to solve).
MVP are experiments meant to invalidate your riskiest assumption. Important not to focus on the word 'product'. It's not necessarily a product.
MVP phase 1: talk to people find out how they've solved this problem, see if it's really a problem. MVP 2: product pitch. Can be as simple as paper. Show it to someone and ask "would you use this?"
MVP 3: 'concierge' build something that is just barely enough to be usable, probably w lots of manual help Groupon is a good example. They just emailed ppl, printed coupons and sent them to them, to see if ppl would like this. Didn't build any tech. Tested it w PDFs and email. 'wizard of oz': build a frontend but no tech backend. Example early Charles Schwab wanted to see if ppl would do online trading so they built a frontend for ppl to enter orders but on the backend it was human traders seeing those orders and executing them.
Qs: How to find best ppl to do interviews? Come up w 'persona', find ppl who fits that persona. One type of pivot is 'customer-segment' pivot which is changing to a different customer persona and doing more interviews.