Customer Development

Like most startup founders at such an embryonic stage, the bigger challenge I have is getting and talking to customers. So my choice to be CEO of the Customer Development class was me taking myself out of my comfort zone, a form of self-inflicted baptism of fire. And it worked out quite well.

Organising the class was more educational than I thought. The apprentice started in earnest with the sourcing of the experts, speaking to them and finding out what they could offer. It did improve my confidence speaking to strangers, a key component of customer development. Cathy Rushworth Curran, a former CEO was particularly gracious with her time, provided speaker recommendation, and had great insights with regards to the content of the class and the actual running of the class on the day.

In preparation I did a fair amount of reading, watching and listening, to learn more about customer development. During that process I ran into a video by April Dunford, about product positioning, and it made me re-think how I was currently reaching out to my potential customers. I realised I had never deliberately thought about how I position my product Joblock. I had always gone with the default positioning, and April says it’s almost always wrong. Looking at it now, I believe she’s 100% correct. Positioning is not easy, and I am currently doing it, and I believe it will be beneficial to my ongoing customer development. April has many YouTube videos on positioning, and I would urge any startup founder to watch them, all of them. One of the insightful things she says about deliberate positing is that you can literally chose your competitors, rather than the market doing it for you. Imagine a general who can choose their enemies!

That’s powerful.