Lean Customer Development

Last week we had the great opportunity and pleasure to have Cindy Alvarez with us for a full afternoon filled with Lean Customer Development. For those of you who don't Cindy Alvarez. Cindy has an exciting background combining psychology and computer science, wich has led her all the way to Microsoft as Principal Design Researcher. Prior to that she has experience from Yammar (that was acquired by Microsoft in 2012) as Director of User Experience and from KISSMetric as Head of Products and Customer Development.

Customer development is all about building your customer base as you build your product.

"If you can't get anyone to talk to you about your non existing product for fifteen minutes maybe your non existing product should stay non exiting!"

We started of with one hour filled with "scrappy data methods" for startups

  • How to think about measuring success
  • Learn by analogy (other peoples' products)
  • Asking smart qualitative questions

After some refuelling (read coffee) we continued with a three hour workshop on practicing customer development where all attending startups and entrepreneurs worked hands on with

  • Forming their hypothesis
  • Identifying their target customer
  • What they should be learning
  • Learning how to ask non-biased questions
  • Making sense of what they learned

And every once or twice Cindy threw in some curve balls by having the entrepreneurs do "mock interviews" with her. Maybe not always super appreciated but great learning value! ;-)