1. How to Generate
Mike Fishbein, https://stpcollege.com/
2. About Me
Founder of Startup College
Author of Customer Development for
Featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com,
Previously venture studio and corporate
3. Job of an Entrepreneur
Serve customers by solving a problem or
In a free market, entrepreneurs who don’t serve
To execute, an entrepreneur must identify
customer demands and how to meet them
4. Problems and Inefficient Processes
“The way to get startup ideas is not to try to
think of startup ideas. It's to look for
problems…” - Paul Graham
5. How to Identify Demand
1. Scratch Your Own Itch
2. Interview Customers
3. Meet Known Needs
4. Do What’s Working
6. 1. Scratch Your Own Itch
“Why is it so important to work on a problem you
have? Among other things, it ensures the problem
really exists. It sounds obvious to say you should
only work on problems that exist. And yet by far
the most common mistake startups make is to
solve problems no one has.” – Paul Graham, YCombinator
7. How to Scratch Your Own Itch
What unmet needs do you have?
What challenges do you face throughout the
What product do you wish you had?
Make sure you’re not the only one...
8. 2. Customer Development Interviews
a. Pick a customer segment
Based on your relationships, access, propensity to buy,
b. Ask them what their problems are
What’s the hardest part of your day?
What unmet needs do you have?
9. 3. Meet Known Needs
“Great companies do 1+ of 3 things:
Get you laid, get you paid, get you made” Dave McClure, 500 Startups
Paid = Salesforce, banks, Airbnb
Made = Twitter, college
Laid = Cars, Clothes, Tinder
Transportation = Uber
Surviving = Food
Save Time = Buffer
Entertainment = Movies
11. 4. Do What’s Working
“At a time when so many internet entrepreneurs are
running around Silicon Valley trying to do
something no one else has ever done, [Evan]
Williams believes that the real trick is to find
something that's tried and true” - Twitter co-founder
12. 4 Second Mover Advantages
Validated customer demand
Customer acquisition strategy
Observe product management and marketing
13. Examples of Second Movers
5 Hour Energy
Social media consultants
14. How to Test
“I have an idea...now what?”
15. 3 Key Questions
Is there demand for this?
Would supplying this lead to $$?
Am I suited to supply this?
16. Does anyone want this?
Customer development interviews to test
Pre-sales to validate demand
Minimum viable product to get fast feedback
17. How can I make money?
Is this a big enough problem that people will
Is the market big enough to meet your goals?
How strong is the competition?
18. Am I qualified?
Do you have a competitive advantage?
Do you have the skillsets required? (marketing,
sales, management, etc.)
Do you have the relationships (customers, partners,
Do you have the capital or access to capital?
Are you passionate enough to run this business for
19. Key Takeaways
Solve problems, deliver value
Gain customer insights to identify demands
Practice customer development to minimize the
risk of spending a bunch of time and money on
something no one wants
20. To learn more...
...check out Startup College