Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

Customer Development Resources for Startups

First rule of Customer Development Club: No selling! Ever!

First rule of Customer Development Club: No selling! Ever!

A first time founder of a very early-stage startup asked me recently about how to do customer interviews (aka doing the Customer Development part of the methodologies collectively known as The Lean Startup) properly.

I get asked this question a lot. Because doing customer interviews is for many like Justin Wilcox puts it, “a special kind of torture”.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a bunch of resources to help you conduct customer interviews like a boss. But first, let’s take a look at what this Customer Development thing is, why it is so important and how to avoid the usual mistakes.

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Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

The very first Lean Launchpad Dusseldorf successfully launches

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This Wednesday evening saw the very first meetup with 9 regional non-funded early-stage startups attending the very first Lean Launchpad Düsseldorf powered by PwC.

Here are some impressions from our first meetup:

About the Lean Launchpad Program

The Lean Launchpad (LLP) is a highly experiential educational program created by the father of the Lean Startup, Steve Blank at Standford and Berkeley. It helps startup founders gain a crucial base of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to be better prepared and to build more successful startups.

It’s the world’s premier pre-accelerator program rooted in the scientific methodology, driven by mentors and unique educational content aims to make early-stage startup ready for applying to an accelerator, a first seed investment round, setting them off on a healthy self-financed (bootstrapped) path or launching their first Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

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Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup

Teaching the Lean Launchpad – in Iran!

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So this just happened: I was invited to hold a lecture at the Qazvin Islamic Azad University (QIAU), one of the most successful and private universities in Iran and one of the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the world according to Wikipedia.

After thinking long and hard about what I should focus on at such a fantastic teaching opportunity, I settled on the introductory part of the Lean Launchpad curriculum called “What We Now Know“.  I think it gives the most bang for the bucks – the chance to introduce anybody to what a startup is, what we have been doing wrong in building them, why and what to do instead in a short, comprehensive and actionable lecture.

Me. On stage. In Iran. Below two Ayatollahs. Teaching the Lean Launchpad curriculum. From Stanford and Berkeley, USA.

So, yeah. That’s me. On stage. In Iran. Below two Ayatollahs. Teaching the Lean Launchpad curriculum. From Stanford and Berkeley, USA. With Farsi translator on stage, right.

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Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup

Lean Launchpad @ University of Cologne

Teams presenting their progress

Teams presenting their progress

Great things take time. A year from when I was invited to Stanford to be trained by Steve Blank, we finally made it! This week, I started to teach the Lean Launchpad curriculum at the University of Cologne, more specifically at the recently launched university incubator named “Gateway” – the perfect place for it.

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Customer Development, entrepreneurship, Events, Lean Startup

3rd NEXT Cologne is a go!

The 3rd NEXT Cologne kicked off on the evening of October 23rd and this time we have four very early-stage startup teams attending the program – Including one team traveling all the way up from France to attend in Cologne – respect!

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