Every passing day re-affirms my fear. I have to back away from the code, close the IDE – quit doing what I love doing and start doing the other thing.
You know – the other thing, the hitting-the-phone, sell-your-vision, learn-the-problems, discover-your-customers, dine-with-rejection-and-unreturned-emails thing, you know Customer Development!
Now, I have a world of love for Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, Steve Blank and the other luminaries of the startup world. But they really could have done a better job of communicating how bloody tough it is to get to talk to customers, to handle the silence and the find the courage to carry on until you find the data you need (some might argue that the lack of feedback is plenty feedback – that is a different story).
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of 30 minutes of conversation with Kevin DeWalt, a really awesome and interesting guy with plenty of experience of creating companies and helping startups. He graciously offers 30 mins of free help to founders and startups via his site. I’ll blog more about that on a later post. Anyway, Kevin was really pragmatic and his view was really similar to @saintsal’s (from a couple of weeks ago). I have to spend most of my time out of the building, pounding the phones, the emails, knocking on doors (virtual and otherwise) and really get to meet prospects, so I can learn.
The last couple of weeks have presented some opportunities that I fully intend on exploring. So , what is my strategy?
I won’t be chasing customers. I tried that and they weren’t interested in talking to me. My new strategy is to help them find me – well at least this is my strategy for the next 3 weeks.
This means interviews, blogs and asking powerful questions about how all the businesses I am coming across do customer service. My intention is that these questions will attract the right people.
So it’s not so much ‘build it and they will come’, but more ‘ask it and the right people will answer’.
With this in mind, here is my check in.
- Glad I have a plan, being lost is no fun when you got somewhere to go.
- Glad there are people like Kevin DeWalt, Flavio Martins, @saintsal and Ian Golding who are open and invite you to seek their collaboration. Of course it is mutually beneficial – but their openness to connect is amazing.
- Really mad that I’m succumbing to carbs – the sugary kind.
- I’m grateful for the ability to reflect on my thoughts and the brilliance of others.
Consistent daily Spanish practice.
Testing my code. Recently I have been doing lots of test-free hacking.
Write this blog.
Write insights blog.
Plan my interview series.
The Trello board…
I strive to do more with less, everyday.