Synthesizing Your Work ( HowTo: Customer Development & Leanlaunch Pad )

February 6, 2013

* updated Jan 7, 2014 – add “Insight & Inspiration Map” as super-set of Market Adoption Forces Map
* updated Nov 18, 2013 – add Competitive Analysis – Petal Diagram » Steve Blank
* updated Mar 25, 2013 - includes Business Model Canvas as Scorecard examples – Jersey Square video and MammOptics.ppt


I’ve been having many meetings with people early on in their Customer Development Process. A common issue is that the Startup Owners Manual by Steve Blank is very large and figuring out where to start is overwhelming. The second issue is the unsaid, “You don’t really mean I have to develop my own diagrams and models?”. The answer is, “Yes your progress is directly correlated to how well your version of these diagrams and models is!”. Here is a post from the current LLP workshop that I’m running. It may help you prioritize. Enjoy.

Synthesizing Your Work

Here are some thoughts on synthesizing your work/data, gathering insights from your data, and develop new questions/tests to perform.

First it would be good to go back to Chapter 4 and revisit your hypotheses. In doing that you’ll see that there are a lot of diagrams and models that will help you synthesize your work. The practice of evolving these diagrams from “rough sketches” to “working models” is an important part of your work. Telling your story with these supporting diagrams will become a powerful tool for you. The gaps in the diagrams are most useful because these gaps highlight what you need to do next. Continue to focus on the “fit” between “Value Proposition” and “Customer Segments”.

The second point is that we have been focussing on the marketing aspect and you should take a peek at the Selling Concepts. This brings Channels, Customer Relationships, and Revenues more into view.

The third is to read the “Market Type” subsection pages 112–122. There is a big difference in the actions you will need to take in entering Existing, New, and Re-Segmented markets. The key is that no one is entering “existing” market head on – you are either a creating a new segment or a new market. Please look at Market Type- Cost of Entry, Table 4.2, page 115 for an answer to why this is the case.

Fourth. Some of you need to read Intellectual Property ( SOM page 171–174).

Specifically

Go Back to Chapter 4 – Refine and Go Deeper

Customer Discovery Phase One: State Your Business Model Hypotheses

  • Review Chapter 4 with a focus on Value Proposition and Customer Segments.
    • See if you can take your Canvas to another level.
  • Then take a look at Channels, Customer Relationships, and Revenue. The online How to Build a Startup course covers this material with a depth that complements the textbook.

Diagrams, Visualization, Models

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p>The Startup Owners Manual is full of techniques to diagram your work. There are Customer Workflow, Purchasing Decision Flows, Sales Roadmaps, Get-Keep-Grow Funnels, Market Maps, Organization Influence Maps, and more. Here are some that you should take begin getting familiar with and start working on.

Diagram Figure Page Number
- Business Model Canvas Examples
( As Scorecard w/ Iterations )
* MammOptics 9 Canvas Iterations
* Jersey Square Canvas Video
- Customer Workflow (organizational/influence map) 4.4 Page 92
- Customer Archetypes to Drive Strategy 4.5 Page 94
- Day-in-the-Life To Drive Strategy 4.6 Page 95
- Petal Diagram
(Competitive Analysis & Market Segmentation)
Petal Diagram
- Market Type Tradeoffs Table 4.1 Page 114
- Market Map Fig 4.1 Page 119
- “Insight & Inspiration” Map
(super-set of Market Adoption Forces)
Example
- Market Adoption Forces
( Key Players )
MammOptics (Adoption)
- Purchasing Decision Tree MammOptics (Purchasing Tree)
- Customer Workflow
(Before & After)
MammOptics(Customer Workflow)
- Get, Keep, Grow Funnel Figure 4.11 page 126
- Marketing Collateral Plan Figure 9.2 page 301
- Plan of Record Sketch
(whole product timeline)
(includes Marketing Collateral) PoR Sketch.ppt
- Service Journey
(Day in Life of Product )
* Internet H/W
* Medical V0.1
- Organization & Influence Maps “Deeper” Page 345–349
- Test Selling Page 375
- Refine Influence map page 389–395
- Sales Access Strategy Map 10.10 page 389–395
- Sales Roadmap figure 10.11 page 394

Comment on “What is the End Game?”

For me ( physical products and channels) the End Game of “customer development” is to develop a Sales Funnel with supporting Marketing activities, and materials, for your product. This translates into four maps/models: 1) Plan of Record Sketch ( the whole product timeline), 2) Get-Keep-Grow Funnel model, 3) Sales Access Strategy Map, and 4) the Sales Roadmap. If you can “discover” these and make them “operational” then everything else will fall into place. You will have what is called, “Traction” for your product/service. From this point you can “really” develop a solid “bottom-up” Sales Forecast which will provide you with a ton of leverage with investors. To make those models work you’ll need to do a lot detail work first ( iteratively ).

For more colour on the priorities of Sales vs. Marketing vs. Engineering read on. The Sharp End of the Stick « Steve Blank


What About Time in a Startup, or Entrepreneurial, Community? We Get Old and Want Stability

December 19, 2012

knowledge-funnel.png

What about time? One point that surrounds Brad Feld’s Startup communities is the element of time. He says that an entrepreneurial leader needs to commit to a “rolling” 20 years.

Over that period of time it is pretty easy to switch from the “crazy networked entrepreneur” to the “staid hierarchical status quo” ( He calls this the patriarch problem). I think it’s a little deeper than one guy. We are all searching for stability.

On a personal level the Rands In Repose: Stables and Volatiles post speaks to an entrepreneurs journey from “volatile” to “stable”. Most people I passed this along to said, “Great Stuff. It doesn’t talk about the needed renewal. The story where the stable goes back to his/her roots. Where is that article?”

On a higher level Roger Martin’s Knowledge Funnel illustrates this journey. His book The Design of Business does a great job of describing communication between what he calls “validity” and “reliability”.

On another plane psychologist Jon Haidt’s new book Book Review: The Righteous Mind – WSJ.com speaks to the moral values espoused by those who believe more in individuality vs those who believe in institutions. Interesting stuff. This book is a great read. Absolutely mind warping. Buy it for yourself for Christmas. Or go the library and put yourself on the wait list.


Thank You Steve Blank! “Open Source Entrepreneurship” is an amazing milestone

November 27, 2012

Today Steve Blank posted “Open Source Entrepreneurship” which is an update on all the materials available on his website and a challenge for us all to “get out of the building and make something happen!”

This is an amazing resource and I highly recommend that all entrepreneurs dig into it. Today the best place to start is probably the udacity Lean LaunchPad on-line course.

Reminiscing — The Good Old Days — Open Source since before 2007?

I’ve been trying my best to use this material and keep the spirit of “Open Source” alive. I just checked my e-mail archive to see when I received my first “Open Source” slide-deck from Steve. It was in 2007! It’s so amazing how much stuff he’s made available and how open he’s been with it. I’ve tried to keep that intention and openness all the way along. Thanks for setting a great standard.


paul graham says “the best startup ideas initially look like bad ideas”

November 16, 2012

Pretty amazing when a “Startup Home Run King” says something like that!

Here are some good blog reads for the upcoming weekend


Why Does A Realistic Customer Development Process Have At Least 7 Stages?

October 17, 2012

( or How Does the Customer Development Process Flow Look in Reality? ie in a TimeLine)

Most people tell me that Customer Development is really simple. They look at the Customer Development Model Diagram Customer Development Model Diagram and skim read the Customer Development Manifesto. Simple, they got it.

In practice I find that no one gets it the first time. Everyone believes that they will not have any pivots. They all expect to move linearly through it like a “Stage-Gate-Process”. They believe the process is “Customer Discovery” then “Customer Validation” then “Customer Creation” and finally “Company Building”. That is four stages. CD -> CV -> CC -> CB. The whole point of the manifesto is that this never happens in the real world. In Steve Blank “speak” No Plan Survives First Contact With Customers – Business Plans versus Business Models « Steve Blank, expect to fail a few times. That is the process.

A realistic expectation of the “Customer Development Process” is that there will be 7 Stages. That is a startup will fail at Customer Discovery and Validation at least once and maybe two times. Thus a “Realistic Path” would be CD -> CD -> CV -> CD -> CV -> CC -> CB.

“A Realistic Path” or Probably “Best Case Scenario”

 { CD -> CD -> CV -> CD -> CV -> CC -> CB } looks like this.

More on number of Pivots to expect from StartupGenome

The StartupGenome guys have some good reading on “Premature Scaling”.

Steve Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto


Dating Skills for Engineers. The 2012 Version.

September 27, 2012

I was out at UBC this week for a follow-up lecture on Entrepreneurship to Eng Phys ProjectLab students. The first lecture was on the process of developing one’s technical ideas into a “Marketable Product”. A “HowTo” startup a company for technical people. In that presentation I focused on 5 Points — Purpose, You, Scorecard, Process, and Customers. I tie together ideas from Peter Drucker (Purpose), Roger Martin (You), Alex Ostervalder (Business Model), Steve Blank (Process), and Christopher Moore (Customers).

In the follow-up lecture I focus on the People Skills that are required to execute on those ideas. I focus on four skills – Listening (Marshal Goldsmith), Communicating (Heath Brothers), Helping (Edgar Schein), and Don’t Be An Asshole (Robert Sutton). In recent years this lecture has earned a fun nickname Dating Skills for Engineers. Here is the link Dating Skills for Engineers. The 2012 Version – slideshare

enjoy.


UBC Customer Development Alumni — in Gangnam Style

September 21, 2012

The Sunberry Fitness Gangnam Style Fitness Classes in Richmond article made my day.

It also reminded that I should mention other projects that have continued after classes ended. Here are projects that past BAEN 502 / e@UBC students and supporters are working on.

Swiip released their Swiip ToDo app “for twenty-somethings” to the AppStore this week.

Namkis has been “Smiling and Scowling” all summer.

and supporter Contractually keeps working hard.


Living Thru “The Struggle”

July 4, 2012

For some strange reason I’m really liking Ben Horowitz’s post The Struggle // ben’s blog. I’ve re-read it many times in the past few weeks. Here’s the “gist”.

As your dreams turn into nightmares, you find yourself in The Struggle.

I think I resonate with “The Struggle” because I recently attended the 20 year PMC-Sierra re-union. That event brought out a lot of really fond memories, but it also cracked the anxiety closet wide open to reveal some extremely dark times. Whew! Somehow we survived through “The Struggle.” What a test that was. In and out of the “pit of despair” so many times. It was fun to laugh about it.

I’m always amazed when someone wants to do a startup a second or third time. Have they forgotten how hard the Struggle is? Or do they feel the need to be “tempered” like steel again? It is definitely a period of growth, one really feels alive, but man it can really really hurt. It’s totally disorienting. I still vividly remember going to Packet Engines in the late-90′s and seeing the Struggle in action. I’d completely forgotten about it. I’d forgotten that it is a required part of the journey. That was a huge “Oh Shit” moment. C’est la vie.


20 Years of PMC-Sierra

June 14, 2012

A BIG “Thank You” to Colin for hosting a party at PMC.Burnaby to celebrate 20 years of PMC-Sierra. It was lots of fun. I can’t believe it was that long ago.


My First Attempt At Teaching Lean Launch Pad

June 8, 2012

fyi … I’m running a Workshop based on the Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad at entrepreneurship@UBC.

Here is a link to the blog I’m using for the course. E@UBC Customer Development WorkShop Blog

My first impression is that this is way better than the Customer Development Course I’ve been teaching. Having groups doing real work makes is it much more tangible.


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