Lately I’ve been been working closely with a group of startup founders in the idea stage. In other words, they know the space they want to focus on, but don’t have the complete business model ready to validate.
During this stage, customer feedback is always tricky. I’ll never argue against talking with potential customers - there are few better uses of time. But it’s impossible to suss out a fully-formed, disruptive business model directly from potential customers.
As the famous Henry Ford quotes goes...
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
With all of this in mind, the best use of customer discussions - either individually or in groups - is usually to focus on their biggest pain points, beliefs & motivations. They won’t hand you a business model, but (in the aggregate) having enough of these conversations is a critical part of understanding a problem deeply. And understanding a problem deeply is a necessary ingredient in creating a truly disruptive startup.
In this podcast the founder of Behance - the leading online platform to showcase & discover creative work - describes how an early focus group told them that this type of platform wasn’t needed at all (despite a laundry list of problems that they had at the time).
Update: This article was used for my monthly Hypepotamus column (that includes some addition content from Kyle Norton and Christopher Sandman, the founders of Materiall. All of my Hypepotamus articles are here and here.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 12:34 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky), founder of Behance (@Behance)
NextView Ventures (@NextViewVC)
Jay Acunzo (@jayacunzo) of NextView Ventures (@NextViewVC)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at email@example.com or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.
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