Bring Donuts: The Secret To Effective Customer Development

Donuts cc vynsia Bring Donuts: The Secret To Effective Customer Development

Today was an exciting day because I helped a client “get out of the building,” and solicit product feedback from strangers. For those who follow startup guru Steve Blank, “getting out of the building” i means actually leaving your desk (gasp), risking rejection, and putting your idea before the public. It can be a nerve-wracking experience for an introverted, product-focused entrepreneur, but it’s invaluable.

We were armed with two dozen donuts, hot coffee, warm smiles and our assumptions. Turns out donuts were a smart move. The pastel pink pastry box is a trigger and people know what’s inside, even when they didn’t want to eat the donuts.

Our assumptions were shattered, which was the disorienting part of the endeavor. I won’t go into detail about the product, but we thought we knew where we could go to encounter raving fans. People were very cordial, listened to us and shared their thoughts, but no one was interested in downloading our app. One woman told she had been in our exact position before, developing and user testing “software in search of meaning.”

From one vantage we got our butts kicked today. Viewed from another perspective, however, we learned a lot about the customer development process, and identified clearly who our customers aren’t. Addition by subtraction. That’s quite exciting.

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