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Talking to Humans at the Lean Startup Conference

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2B. Story Talking to Humans: The Art of Customer Discovery Frank Rimalovski Executive Director, NYU Entrepreneurial Institute Instructor, NSF I-Corps November 17, 2015 4 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Customer Development Test assumptions about customer needs/problem & develop MVPs Seek validation that people are interested in your product/ solution Begins to build demand & improve efficiency of customer acquisition Drive growth aggressively & execute business model @NYUEntrepreneur


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Why are we here? Share ideas, tips, tricks and secrets on how to best do customer discovery @NYUEntrepreneur


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“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them.” @NYUEntrepreneur


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“New ideas come from watching something, talk(ing) to people, experimenting, asking questions and getting out of the office!” @NYUEntrepreneur


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Hypotheses & the BMC The Business Model Canvas Designed for: Designed by: Date: Key Partners Key Activities Value Propositions Customer Relationships Customer Segments Who are our Key Partners? Who are our key suppliers? Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners? Which Key Activities do partners perform? What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue streams? What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them? Which ones have we established? How are they integrated with the rest of our business model? How costly are they? For whom are we creating value? Who are our most important customers? motivations for partnerships Optimization and economy Reduction of risk and uncertainty Acquisition of particular resources and activities categories Production Problem Solving Platform/Network What value do we deliver to the customer? Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve? What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment? Which customer needs are we satisfying? characteristics Newness Performance Customization “Getting the Job Done” Design Brand/Status Price Cost Reduction Risk Reduction Accessibility Convenience/Usability examples Personal assistance Dedicated Personal Assistance Self-Service Automated Services Communities Co-creation Version: Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis Key Resources Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue Streams? types of resources Physical Intellectual (brand patents, copyrights, data) Human Financial Hypothesis Mass Market Niche Market Segmented Diversified Multi-sided Platform Hypothesis Hypothesis Channels Through which Channels do our Customer Segments want to be reached? How are we reaching them now? How are our Channels integrated? Which ones work best? Which ones are most cost-efficient? How are we integrating them with customer routines? Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis channel phases 1. Awareness How do we raise awareness about our company’s products and services? 2. Evaluation How do we help customers evaluate our organization’s Value Proposition? 3. Purchase How do we allow customers to purchase specific products and services? 4. Delivery How do we deliver a Value Proposition to customers? 5. After sales How do we provide post-purchase customer support? Hypothesis Cost Structure Revenue Streams What are the most important costs inherent in our business model? Which Key Resources are most expensive? Which Key Activities are most expensive? For what value are our customers really willing to pay? For what do they currently pay? How are they currently paying? How would they prefer to pay? How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues? is your business more Cost Driven (leanest cost structure, low price value proposition, maximum automation, extensive outsourcing) Value Driven (focused on value creation, premium value proposition) sample characteristics Fixed Costs (salaries, rents, utilities) Variable costs Economies of scale Economies of scope Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis types Asset sale Usage fee Subscription Fees Lending/Renting/Leasing Licensing Brokerage fees Advertising Hypothesis fixed pricing List Price Product feature dependent Customer segment dependent Volume dependent dynamic pricing Negotiation (bargaining) Yield Management Real-time-Market Hypothesis @NYUEntrepreneur


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More than half of your assumptions are wrong! 7 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Your job is not to validate your product… It’s to validate the problem and how best to solve it? @NYUEntrepreneur


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Customer Discovery u Apply the scientific method to business model development Observe phenomena Formulate hypothesis Test hypothesis via rigorous experiments Establish theory based on repeated validation of results Modify PIVOT! hypothesis @NYUEntrepreneur


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Create Valid Hypotheses u Hypotheses must be falsifiable “Our product will spread through word of mouth.” 10 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Create Valid Hypotheses u Hypotheses must be falsifiable “our viral coefficient over the next 12 months will be >0.5” 11 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Create Valid Hypotheses u Hypotheses u Be must be falsifiable specific (quantifiable) u You must avoid validation “people want to buy my product” 12 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Create Valid Hypotheses u Hypotheses u Be must be falsifiable specific (quantifiable) u You must avoid validation u Inverse hypothesis cannot be ridiculous “people want to save money” 13 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Talk to Humans! 2B. Story u GOTB: The #1 lesson of this talk u In person is best u You must gain insight into your customer & market u You are doing pattern recognition… Must have sufficient data points to see @NYUEntrepreneur


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3A. Who Do You Want To Learn From (Inked) Who do you want to learn from? 15 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Who Cares? @NYUEntrepreneur


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Meet People You Don’t Know u People you know will be nice and tell you what you want to hear u Those interviews are possibly harmful u People you don’t know have no relationship to protect…Only they will tell you the truth @NYUEntrepreneur


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@NYUEntrepreneur


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4D. What Do you want What do You Want To Learn to learn? 19 @NYUEntrepreneur


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What do you want to learn? The Business Model Canvas Designed for: Designed by: Date: Key Partners Key Activities Value Propositions Customer Relationships Customer Segments Who are our Key Partners? Who are our key suppliers? Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners? Which Key Activities do partners perform? What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue streams? What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them? Which ones have we established? How are they integrated with the rest of our business model? How costly are they? For whom are we creating value? Who are our most important customers? motivations for partnerships Optimization and economy Reduction of risk and uncertainty Acquisition of particular resources and activities categories Production Problem Solving Platform/Network What value do we deliver to the customer? Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve? What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment? Which customer needs are we satisfying? characteristics Newness Performance Customization “Getting the Job Done” Design Brand/Status Price Cost Reduction Risk Reduction Accessibility Convenience/Usability examples Personal assistance Dedicated Personal Assistance Self-Service Automated Services Communities Co-creation Version: Key Resources Channels What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require? Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships? Revenue Streams? Mass Market Niche Market Segmented Diversified Multi-sided Platform Through which Channels do our Customer Segments want to be reached? How are we reaching them now? How are our Channels integrated? Which ones work best? Which ones are most cost-efficient? How are we integrating them with customer routines? types of resources Physical Intellectual (brand patents, copyrights, data) Human Financial channel phases 1. Awareness How do we raise awareness about our company’s products and services? 2. Evaluation How do we help customers evaluate our organization’s Value Proposition? 3. Purchase How do we allow customers to purchase specific products and services? 4. Delivery How do we deliver a Value Proposition to customers? 5. After sales How do we provide post-purchase customer support? Cost Structure Revenue Streams What are the most important costs inherent in our business model? Which Key Resources are most expensive? Which Key Activities are most expensive? For what value are our customers really willing to pay? For what do they currently pay? How are they currently paying? How would they prefer to pay? How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues? is your business more Cost Driven (leanest cost structure, low price value proposition, maximum automation, extensive outsourcing) Value Driven (focused on value creation, premium value proposition) sample characteristics Fixed Costs (salaries, rents, utilities) Variable costs Economies of scale Economies of scope types Asset sale Usage fee Subscription Fees Lending/Renting/Leasing Licensing Brokerage fees Advertising This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. designed by: Strategyzer AG The makers of Business Model Generation and Strategyzer 20 fixed pricing List Price Product feature dependent Customer segment dependent Volume dependent dynamic pricing Negotiation (bargaining) Yield Management Real-time-Market @NYUEntrepreneur strategyzer.com


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Don’t Assume You Understand the Problem! @NYUEntrepreneur


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Don’t Assume You Understand the Problem! @NYUEntrepreneur


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What do you want to learn? u Do not sell! No demos! No presos! u You are there to learn! u Get stories, not speculation u Ask open-ended questions u Learn about their problems and how they solve them today u Ask why? Then why? They why again! u Create a guide (not a script) 23 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Finding Interview Subjects(Inked) 5A. How Do You Find Your Interview Subjects 24 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Finding Interview Subjects u At least one degree of separation u Learn to love LinkedIn 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 Enterprise customers are people too! u Play the student/researcher card 25 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Ensuring Effective Interviews 6B. How To Ensure An Effective Session (Draft) 26 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Ensuring Effective Interviews 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 priorities u Follow your nose & drill down u Listen and STFU! u Have someone take notes 27 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Pro Tips u Practice, practice, practice u NO email, focus groups or surveys u Don’t start with your dream customer u Being an entrepreneur means being aggressive & persistent u Flatter subjects u Be transparent u Follow up/stay in touch 28 @NYUEntrepreneur


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“It's grueling listening to customer feedback. And if it isn't, you're probably doing it wrong." 29 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Exercise 30 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Your Last >$100 Purchase 1. 2. 3. Write description of item on top of page Find a partner next to you & swap pages Create interview guide: ~5 questions u u What other options/alternatives did you consider? u How did you decide to buy it? Who/what did you consult? u 5. What was the process from desire to acquisition? u 4. Explain what you bought and why? How did you decide where to buy it? 5 minute interview…take notes Switch @NYUEntrepreneur


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Discuss: Observations, challenges & questions 32 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Documenting Interviews u Assign u Write someone to take notes down key a-ha’s as they happen u Note questions that worked & use them again! u Take pictures or videos! u Capture key insights @NYUEntrepreneur


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7B. How Sense of What You Learn MakingDo You Make Sense Of What You Learn (Draft) 34 @NYUEntrepreneur


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Gaining Insight u Facts are interesting…Insights are your goal u Be honest…Don’t be too quick to validate or too slow to disprove your hypothesis u Find the hidden motivations u Ask why? And why? Then why again? u Don’t fear picking the wrong market u Depth of understanding always leads to insight @NYUEntrepreneur


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What’s an insight? (the a-ha’s along your journey) @NYUEntrepreneur


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in•sight |ˈinˌsīt| noun the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing @NYUEntrepreneur


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in•sight |ˈinˌsīt| noun something you’re so excited about you tell strangers on the train @NYUEntrepreneur


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Learning Is Paramount u The knowledge you gain in customer discovery is critical to the success or failure of your business u >Half of your assumptions are wrong u You must not try to validate what you already think or want to be true @NYUEntrepreneur


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Pro Tips v2 u Focus on actual behavior, not speculative or abstract feelings u If they’ve made an MVP…ask to see it! u Listen, don’t talk u Parrot back or misrepresent to confirm u Ask for introductions u Write up your notes ASAP u Avoid premature conclusions @NYUEntrepreneur


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Customer Discovery Resources TALKING TO HUMANS Success starts with understanding your customers Pre-release edition GIFF CONSTABLE with Frank Rimalovski and illustrations by Tom Fishburne talkingtohumans.com bit.ly/llpcdvs @NYUEntrepreneur


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Questions? entrepreneur@nyu.edu @rimalovski entrepreneur.nyu.edu 16 Washington Place, NYC 42 @NYUEntrepreneur


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