Customer Interviews — “Talking to Humans” by Gif Constable

October 6, 2014


Talking to Humans by Gif Constable is a great Customer Development Interview primer. It extends on his earlier blog posts and discusses how Customer Development Interviews fit within the Customer Development process. Great Stuff and it is mostly “free”. It is available in .pdf, .epub, and .kindle (small fee).

/enjoy

tip to Denise Withers for introducing me to this book «smile»

More Customer Discovery Interview Readings

Here are useful Customer Interview readings and a video from Seth Godin on “Being Remarkable”.

Just for fun — I’ve included the Ted talk on the history of Botox. It is a “new market” story. Also a video from “Lainey Gossip” that describes customer archetypes in action.

Customer Interview Readings

The Gif Constable readings are the best place to start. If you want more KissMetrics has a great list of readings and resources.

“Be Remarkable” Video by Seth Godin

Seth Godin on being “Remarkable”. Watch Seth’s “Purple Cow” Ted Talk — “How to get your ideas to spread” Fun and informative.

Botox History – New Markets.

Beneath the Surface of Botox: Dr. Jean Carruthers at TEDxVancouver – YouTube

Lainey Gossip – Customer Archetypes

Lainey Gossip there is a connection with creating archetypes.


Thank You For The Great Experience in Kenya!

September 21, 2014

– updated December 16 with revised “UBC SSE 2014 Video”
– updated November 28 with “Final Day Presentations”
– updated October 29 with “UBC SSE 2014 video”


I’d like to give a big “Thank You” to Frances Chandler for putting on a great show in Kenya this summer. I hope that all future trips are as successful.

My trip to Kenya with UBC Sauder Social Entrepreneurship (UBC SSE) this summer was fantastic.

Below is a summary of the trip — Photos, Blog Posts, Partner Links, And UBC SSE Links.

/Enjoy.

Video

What Happened in the Classroom?

  • Final Day Presentations — A collection of all the “Final Day Presentations” — Business Model Canvas, Plan-of-Record, and Financial Summary.

Photos

Favorite 5 Blog Posts

Partners in Kenya

UBC SSE ( Sauder Social Entrepreneurship )


First Ten Days in Africa With UBC Social Entrepreneurship

August 5, 2014

Kenya is not a simple place.

It’s beautiful.

We went to the Nairobi National Park to see incredibly beautiful animals. We saw Lions, Wildebeest, Giraffes, Secretary Bird, Heart Beast, Elan, Thomson Gazelle, Wart hogs, Rhinoceros, Hippo, and more. It was wonderful. Way better than on TV or photos. The smell was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Over the top beautiful.

2014 08 03 Lion 3

It’s a mess.

The slums are a collage of garbage, rubble, corrugated metal, rope, and “mystery materials”. It is hard for a Canadian to actually look at it. It is also very hard for a Canadian to listen to the slum people talk about their beautiful home neighbourhood (especially Mathare). I’m getting used to it and beginning to see the features they love. It’s kind of like a beehive where they need all the people around them. They love the sound and smell. I’m still exploring this and don’t really understand it.

It’s densely populated.

There are tons of people and cars. The traffic is bumper to bumper. There are times when our drivers turn off the car and we wait for 15 minutes to get going. The people density is thick downtown, it gets denser in Kibera, it gets even denser in Mathare, and then we went Korogotche (ultra-dense) which was a mind altering experience. To help you understand, Mathare rents are around $12USD month and Korogotche is less. The guys from the Kibera neighbourhood were wary of driving thru it.

It’s well dressed and groomed.

Everywhere. We are teaching in the slums of Mathare and the contrast between the people and the landscape is shocking. The people are all dressed, pressed, and groomed. Even as they navigate the garbage. The sight is disorienting, well dressed people and slum buildings in the same place.

Kenya is friendly.

Everyone has been extremely nice to us. Our program has helped many business owners in Kibera, Mathare, and Dandora become more successful and they want to talk to us about it and train more of their neighborhoods.

Kenya is security conscious.

We went to Safaricom House for a student show and went through a process like at the airport. Metal detectors for bags and personal search. We’ve been shopping at the Nakumatt General Store and security is a bit lighter, but still it’s there. There are security people working at every store downtown and at every hotel. The locals expect it.

Pictures

Here is a link to my photos.

/Enjoy
Iain


Getting Ready for African Adventure with UBC Sauder Africa

June 22, 2014

I’ve been preparing for my trip to Nairobi this August. I’m going with UBC’s Sauder Africa (SAI) group (@UBC_SSE) and local Nairobi partner Strathmore University. This group has been teaching Business Planning, Accounting, Marketing, and Development on the ground in Nairobi for over 5 years. I got involved with the program a few years ago to support them with developing brand new businesses and entrepreneurship. This will be my first trip with them.

Where in Nairobi?

Here is my Nairobi Map in Google.
Nairbobi

We’ll be teaching near the slums of Kibera (bottom left) and Mathare (top right). This will be the first year that SAI will not teach in the slums. They’ve decided that they’ve had enough of “no bathrooms” during the teaching day. We’ll be staying pretty central (near the tent icon) and will be close to Strathmore University and local tech incubator iHub. For days when I’ll need contact with “home/escape”, there is a golf course nearby.

Unprepared For Slum Experience

I’ve been told by past participants that this is a great adventure. They’ve also told me that there is no way that I can prepare for the “experience” of walking in the slum for the first time. The sights, sounds and especially the smells all trigger strong emotions and feelings. Most participants don’t really “aclimatize” in the month. It’s that strong a feeling. This does create a bit of anxiety.

Slum Density

On the topic of Slum density. There is an estimated 250K people in the Kibera slum and it is roughly the size of four golf courses. ( when compared to adjacent Royal Nairobi Golf course). It is ironic that the poorest and richest are adjacent.

Culture, Weather, & More

We’ll also be having two trips during our stay. One will be to the Maasai Mara reserve ( i.e. the Serengeti) and the other will be to Mombasa .

I’m pretty keen to experience the music of Kenya. I don’t know what to expect. I’ve loved African music for a long time. I’m expecting to be amazed at how the youth mashup traditional drumming with synthesizers and group vocals.

The weather is supposed to be cool during our stay. This is kind of strange given that Nairobi is on the equator (1 deg South). The cool temperature comes from the 5,450 foot elevation.

Class Rooms

The classroom environment in the past has been a bit extreme. I’ve been told that this year we will be adjacent to the slums and not in them. Here is the Kibera classroom from August 2013.

School Room Door School Entrance Mathare

School Neighbourhood School Neighbourhood Mathare

Inside Classroom. We will have to pack in and pack out our materials daily. Anything left behind will be gone. School Room Mathare

Links to UBC Sauder Africa Initiative (UBC SAI)

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  • SAI on Facebook — lots of pictures and videos
  • SAI Blog — lost of personal stories of the trip.
  • UBC SAI webpage — the donations page and “official” notes

  • Lean Launch Pad Presentation Examples & Mentor Notes on Steve Blank’s Slideshare

    May 26, 2014

    Here is a collection of Presentation Examples & Mentor Notes for Lean Launch Pad from Steve Blank’s enormous slideshare collection.

    Mentor Notes

    Presentation Examples


    Startup Boards is an Awesome Resource for Young Startup CEOs ( and those in Training )

    April 28, 2014

    Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors: Brad Feld, Mahendra Ramsinghani is a very useful book for young entrepreneurs and their advisors. I really like that Feld & Ramsighani spend a lot of time defining the roles and boundaries of the people involved in a board. Most importantly they describe the roles & boundaries as a Startup evolves from two guys in a garage, to early stage Startup, to the Revenue Phase, and the Growth Phase.

    Early Companies Need “Customer Development” Advisors

    I find that most early entrepreneurs want to meet VCs and finance people and I really like that the authors recommend that finance is more important later on. Yes you need money, but find something to sell first. Focus your advisory time on past CEO’s, Customer Discovery, and Product Development people. Overall the key is that the board is for your companies development, so be organized about what you need from your board and advisors as you evolve.

    Board composition Brad Feld

    Action For Young Entrepreneurs

    One take away is that a Young-CEO-in-Training can begin preparing her personal board of directors right now. Her early mentors will help her make personal career decisions and later when her responsibility grows she will already have had experience reaching out to more formal helpers when she needs it. Asking for feedback and help is “hard”. Learning to develop that skill is important and you should start “right now”. Organize your own personal board now. Be disciplined. Learn how to develop meaningful relationships to improve ones performance and not search for “cheerleaders”.

    Lots of Support Available Online

    I like that they authors leverage blog posts from prolific bloggers so that readers can dig in after reading the book. There is lots from Fred Wilson, Ben Horowitz, Steve Blank, Mark Suster, Noam Wasserman, and more.

    Lawyers

    I like how the authors cover, and justify, the role of a lawyer in an early stage startup. In the beginning she’s likely to do little more than keep the minutes, but that involvement will pay dividends later.

    Quibbles / Reminders

    I really like this book and yet I often have to remind myself that the authors are VCs and that most bloggers on this topic are VCs. This reminder comes about because the authors make a strong recommendation for non-financial experts on ones board and thus I’m looking for more coverage of this “non-VC-voice” that they are recommending. It’s great that they’ve included Steve Blank. A list of other non-financial experts would be great, going beyond that would definitely be beyond the scope of the book. I’m thinking of examples along the lines of problems brought up by Eric Ries’ “lesson’s learned blog” back in 2008 when he was a CTO. The Product Managers Lament, Engineering Managers Lament, and What Does a CTO actually do? are items that early CEOs need to have sorted out.

    More


    Remove Mac Dashboard App

    April 21, 2014

    It felt good to get rid of the Dashboard.

    Here is what I did.

    Open up Terminal and type: ‘defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean true’ followed by Enter. Relaunch the Dock by typing ‘killall Dock’, and the deed is done.

    More Here » Tech Radar


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