Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagine your customers...or meet them?

Both Steve Blank (Startup Manual) and his former student Eric Ries (Lean Startup) preach simplicity and focus as key to your "Minimum Viable Product." But how do you decide which features to keep and which to postpone? Jolay Welner and Ilay Avni want to help you identify your killer feature. Welner and Avni suggest constructing a simple graph by asking yourself and your team (you do have a team, don't you?) what value each feature would have in the minds of your potential customers, and what percentage of customers would use them. This process should scatter dots and make it clear which rank highest on both scales. The problem, of course, is that, as Steve Blank says, you haven't "left the building." You've imagined leaving the building, but you can do better than that. Get up, get outside. Talk to someone. Or use that neglected feature on your pocketsize communications device - the "telephone." Now you can compare your imagined customers with a few real ones. It's a great feeling when your "feeling" for your future customers is confirmed, but you should be just as happy with whatever you hear from the real world. After all, that's where your product will actually live.