Talking to Humans:
Executive Director, NYU Entrepreneurial Institute
Managing Director, NYU Innovation Venture Fund
Adjunct Professor, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
Instructor, National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps
May 13, 2015
Goals of Customer Discovery
1. (In)validate problem/solution ﬁt
2. (In)validate business model
3. Begin to identify & test Minimum
Viable Product (MVP)
u NOT to get statistical relevance, but
pattern recognition to get insight
What do you want to learn?
u Do not sell! No demos! No presentations!
u Get stories, not speculation
u Ask open-ended questions
u Ask why? Then why? They why again!
u Create a guide (not a script)
How do you ﬁnd interview subjects?
u At least one degree of separation
u Make referrals happen
u Get creative…recruiting hacks
u Fish where the ﬁsh are…
u …In the wild
u Promise to be brief
u Play the student/researcher card
u Thoughts on enterprise customers
How to ensure an eﬀective interview?
u Beware of conﬁrmation bias
u Do it in person, one at a time
u Get subjects to tell a story
u Look for solution hacks
u Understand their priority
u Follow your nose & drill down
u Listen and STFU!
u Have someone take notes
Pro Tips: Instructors/educators
u Do exercises & practice before hand
u Hold teams accountable to >100 interviews
u Get the class/cohort to help one another
u Make them publish interview summaries
u Read & critique their summaries
u Keep them focused on the problem, not