Startup Lesson 3: Five reasons you’re still wrong

Congratulations, you’ve made it through customer discovery and you’re now feverishly working on your MVP (minimum viable product). There’s just one problem: you’re still wrong.  Yes, you “know what your customer wants” before you build your product, but, sorry, that’s just not good enough.


Here’s 5 reasons why “knowing what your customer wants” and then building it is good, but not good enough.

  1. Do you really think you’re the only one to think of this idea? Get over yourself. You’re not that smart.
  2. You know what your customers say they want. You can’t know until they write a check.
  3. Someone else is already out there doing it just a little differently, and there’s a reason for that difference.
  4. If you’re customers know what they want, they are already solving the problem somehow today. Why should they change?
  5. Ask yourself this question: can my customers live without my product/service? Now ask your customers.

OK, so how do you get it right?  All credit for this answer goes to Merrick Furst at FlashPoint.  Customer discovery is all about finding out via face-to-face interviews what your customers want before you build a product, and that is a priceless experience for anyone starting a business. However, FlashPoint takes it a step further – and more painfully – by going far beyond what your customers tell you they want, or need, or have to have.  Dig further and get to this point:

Build what your customer cannot not buy.

Yes, I’m a grammar guy and the double negative there drives me nuts, but you can’t correct this one.  Building what your customers cannot not buy means to deliver a product or service that they simply cannot live without. It’s far more than pain killer or a solution to a problem. It’s building something that your customers cannot avoid buying.

What do you think?