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Do	
  you	
  have	
  
founder	
  myopia?
@thinknow
Lane Goldstone
Co-founder

Brooklyn Copper Cookware
@thinknow
Lessons learned
@thinknow
@thinknow
“Software is 

eating the world”
Marc Andreessen
flickr.com/photos/joi
@thinknow
Every company
is a digital company
@thinknow
“9 out of 10 

new products 

are failures”
www.class-­‐central.com
Steve Blank
Photo:	
  udacity.com
@thinknow
The most expensive

features you build
are the ones 

nobody uses
@thinknow
flickr.com/
photos/joi
“ “
flickr.com/photos/betsyweber
@thinknow
The Lean Startup cycle
@thinknow
Don’t scale until you find
Product-market fit
@thinknow
You might have founder myopia if you…
Think your product is for “everyone”
Believe “if we build it they will come”
Spend more time pitching than listening
Get excited about vanity metrics
Argue with team members about priorities
Have not failed recently
@thinknow
What’s the antidote to
founder myopia?
@thinknow
You are not 

your customer
@thinknow
Micro-segments
✦
Have the same problem
✦
Use the same jargon
✦
Congregate in communities
@thinknow
@thinknow
Fall in love 

with a problem, 

not a solution
@thinknow
PEOPLE
USES
FEATURES
Business	
  vision
NEEDS
UI	
  design,	
  
wireframes,	
  
visual	
  design
@thinknow
Find a cookie monster
problem
commons.wikimedia.org
@thinknow
GOOB*
*”Get out of the Building” —Steve Blank
@thinknow
Before you GOOB
✦
Who do you want to talk to?
✦
Where do you find these people?
@thinknow
How do you find (the right) people?
✦
Social media (Facebook, Twitter)
✦
Special interest groups (Meetups)
✦
Friends and Family
✦
Coffee shops, malls….wherever they are
@thinknow
Pair interviewing
Two different jobs (remember to take turns!)
• One person guide the conversations
• The other takes notes, ensures completeness
Benefits
• Easier to focus on just talking or note-taking
• Better shared understanding later
@thinknow
Listen more

than you pitch
@thinknow
Listen for needs and goals
“If you had that feature, what
would that allow

you to do?”
@thinknow
Avoid leading questions
Leading: “Would it be helpful if
we added feature x?”
Better: “Tell me a story about
the last time you …”
@thinknow
Remember:
It’s a conversation, 

not an interrogation
@thinknow
Balance intuition
with data
@thinknow
Tips for sharing what you learn
✦
Notes on cards or stickies
✦
Photos
✦
Put it on the wall
✦
Small conversations, frequently
✦
Rainbow spreadsheet
@thinknow
Rainbow Spreadsheet
Tomer	
  Sharon	
  /	
  smashingmagazine.com
@thinknow
@thinknow
@thinknow
Celebrate failure
@thinknow
Hypotheses
We can attract people who live within a 100-mile radius of NYC to this
event via a FB event and MC mailing.
Asking people to RSVP will increase the chances they show up.
Spending money promoting the event will result in on-site sales (via
more qualified leads attending)
@thinknow
What we learned
We can attract people who live within a 100-mile radius of NYC to this
event via a FB event and MC mailing. FAIL
Asking people to RSVP will increase the chances they show up. FAIL
Spending money promoting the event will result in on-site. sales (via
more qualified leads attending) FAIL
@thinknow
New hypothesis
We suspect that Friday 3-7 isn't a convenient time.
We will do our next event on a weekday (T, W, Th) later (6-10) or weekend
during the day.
@thinknow
The antidote to founder myopia
Recognize you are not your customer
Fall in love with a problem, not a solution
Get out of the building (GOOB)
Listen more than you pitch
Balance intuition with data
Celebrate failure
@thinknow
Remember:
Fail fast, fail often!
@thinknow
Lane Goldstone
@thinknow
THANK YOU
@thinknow
AcOvity:	
  Make	
  a	
  topic	
  map
@thinknow
Topic Map
@thinknow
Make a topic map (team activity)
5 min Individual activity (silent): Write stickies that
answer the question “what do I wish I knew
about my customer/user?”
5 min Group activity: Taking turns, read your stickies
to each other and put them on a table or
poster.
5 min Group activity: organize the stickies, give each
group a short 1-3 word name.
5 min Individual activity: Copy the group names to a
piece of paper to make a topic map.

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Do you have founder myopia?