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The nuts and bolts of building a customer driven company


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A talk from 500 Startups I gave on how to build a customer driven company and do customer development interviews

I'm writing a book on How to Build Customer Driven Products based on tactics like the ones in this presentation. You can sign up to learn more here:

Published in: Business, Technology

The nuts and bolts of building a customer driven company

  1. 1. The Nuts & Bolts of Building a Customer Driven Company Jason @Evanish November 6, 2013 500 Startups Mountain View, CA
  2. 2. Who is Jason @Evanish? 100’s of customer development interviews with: Cofounded: Blog my learnings at:
  3. 3. Today’s Topics Why be Customer Driven How to be Customer Driven The Customer Development Interview Process By @Evanish
  4. 4. …be a Customer Driven Company? By @Evanish
  5. 5. Learn the language of your customers. By @Evanish
  6. 6. Build and improve the features that matter. By @Evanish
  7. 7. Understand the why behind your analytics. By @Evanish
  8. 8. Learn what jobs your customers hire you for. By @Evanish
  9. 9. Discover who and what to say “No” to. By @Evanish
  10. 10. How do you make your company Customer Driven? By @Evanish
  11. 11. Get feedback from your users. Learn more at By @Evanish
  12. 12. Learn from your support tickets.
  13. 13. Ask sales what excites leads. By @Evanish
  14. 14. Use your analytics. By @Evanish
  15. 15. Get out and talk to them. By @Evanish
  16. 16. The Customer Development Interview Learn in detail at: By @Evanish
  17. 17. The Structure 3. Solution The MVP House 2. Problem 1. Person By @Evanish
  18. 18. The Structure – 1. Person Learn about them and their role in your industry. • Who are they? What’s their role? • How is your budget handled? • How do you find new products for work? • How much time do you spend on [Task X]? Goal: Get a baseline background of the person you’re talking to. Be broad. By @Evanish
  19. 19. The Structure – 2. Problems Learn about the problems they recognize first. • NOT about the problems you think they have. • What are your top 3 challenges you face in your job related to [industry X]? • If you could wave a magic wand…what would the solution be? Goal: Get them to say the problem you want to solve is a problem they have (prefer unprompted) By @Evanish
  20. 20. The Structure – 3. Solution Now you tell them about your product concept. • “That’s interesting” = Kiss of Death. • If they’re not anxious to use right away, they’re not a key target. • Read body language, voice inflection and energy level for signals of interest. • Best reaction is actually following through after the meeting or calls. Goal: Discover if they’re interested in your solution and gather feedback. By @Evanish
  21. 21. Tips for making the most of Interviews 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Take good notes. Involve other team members. Be Conversational. Go off script. Ask to see any MVPs they’ve made/use. If they’re excited about something, ask if they’ll pay for it. Show them mockups or early concepts if you have them and pay attention to their reactions/feedback. 8. Always Follow up. 9. End with an ask. 10. Be open to new problems and opportunities! 11. Summarize and review your notes with your team. By @Evanish
  22. 22. Where do you find people to interview? Find 95 methods at: By @Evanish
  23. 23. The Best Place to Find Candidates: By @Evanish
  24. 24. Now what? • Interview in groups of 8-10 people per customer type. • Summarize notes and review with others. • Compare to your high level metrics to see if anecdotes match data. • Keep talking to customers during product dev cycle. By @Evanish
  25. 25. Customer Development in a Nutshell Common Sense + Diligent Process + Thought = By @Evanish
  26. 26. Questions?
  27. 27. Contact me…I’m happy to help. On Twitter: @Evanish Other sites: Email: Find all my Lean learnings at Find a detailed, blog form of the interview process at And 95 tips for finding your first customers at