The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Customer development (2)


What Does It Take to Build Products That Matter?

I recently had the opportunity to guest lecture to a class of 200 undergrads at the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship on the topic of Customer Development. Here's a 30 minute look at why I think customer development is as important as product development to launching a successful business. 

And for some more great videos from other guest speakers in the University of Michigan College of Engineering Entrepreneurship Hour click here.


The Four Steps To The Epiphany

One of my favorite new books is The Four Steps To The Epiphany, written by serial entrepreneur Steven Blank. In the book he outlines a model for "Customer Development" which he maintains is the key to success for other budding business creators. 

"In startups, the emphasis is on 'get it done, and get it done fast," Blank writes. Opting to lean into the advice of experts - VCs, seasoned executives - entrepreneurs rely heavily on past experience instead of learning and discovery from "earlyvangelists". In some cases, Blank references, the visionary behind the startup may feel that their innovation requires them to forge a new path or disabuse the market of a prevailing myth, creating a sense that any customer insight would be irrelevant. 

Blank recommends that companies understand that until there are active and engaged customers, who both value the startup's solution and will accept the risk of interacting with a nascent or untested business, there is a risk of premature scaling or unrealistic expectations. "'Build it and the customers will come,' is not a succesful strategy."

You can find The Four Steps to the Epiphany on Amazon. Or you can download a .pdf of several chapters to get a sample of it before you buy, by clicking here.