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Archive for January, 2016
I led a very interactive session on customer development and pricing for startups on Jan-19-2016 with the Montreal Lean Startup Circle. I have included the slides and their text but they comprise only about 1/6 of the session, the bulk of which was having different entrepreneurs in the audience present their challenges with customer development and pricing and helping them to walk around the situation.
An entrepreneur who succumbs to the illusion of progress does a startup more self-inflicted damage than almost anything else. Working on the wrong things squanders effort and irreplaceable time without gaining the learning needed for the actual efforts required.
Technology markets look like a game of rock paper scissors. Startups have to find an effective counter to a competitor’s offering not just a slightly better version. Their pebble cannot beat the incumbent’s rock, they have to use paper (and scissors is a really bad idea).
Dr. Alastair Hood, PhD, CEO of Verdafero, was our featured attendee at this morning’s Bootstrapper Breakfast® in Palo Alto.
He offered a candid assessment of lessons learned bootstrapping Verdafero since 2009. The Verdafero platform is used by businesses to capture, analyze, visualize their waste, water, and energy utility bills. It allows them to compare locations normalized for temperature and key business transactions (e.g. nightly occupancy for a hotel, pizzas sold for a pizzeria, daily check-ins at a health club, etc..).
Here are my notes for his remarks:
In your early customer discovery conversations to assess demand for a new offering a wide range of customer needs and symptoms can trigger a leap to a solution, which just happens to be yours. Guard against this by probing to understand the root problem–have at least three questions that allow you to dig out the details–and consider questions that would disqualify your solution.