About the book
The aim of this book is to help you reach product-market fit. In other words, to help you diminish your market risk and build a profitable business, by understanding and delighting your customers.
Without customers you don’t have a business. So this book will show you how being customer-centric instead of product-centric can save you from many dangers on your entrepreneurial journey.
The content of this book is crowdsourced.
It is an aggregation of quotes from 68 interviews with founders, investors and specialists from all over the world, revealing their perspective, advice and lessons learned. The order will not be random. The quotes are nicely puzzled and glued in the customer seduction story.
The purpose of running the interviews was not to achieve statistical answers of any kind, but to understand challenges and solutions in a startup when dealing with customers.
This book is less about startup strategies and methodologies, and more about tactics.
You will not find an exact roadmap. You will find food for thought, advice, examples, case studies, alternatives from different industries and regions and from different types of tech startups. You as a founder should be smart enough to get what you need out of it and to build your own steps.
I am not an author in the sense that I teach you something from my own experience and perspective. I did these interviews to learn myself as well, adding on top of the experience I had in qualitative research and with my first startup.
I am an author in the sense that I have hand-picked information for you from experienced founders, investors and specialists.
And I hope that I have put it in an attractive form, that will arouse your curiosity and inspire you. So prepare for a straight forward and playful book around the art of seducing your customers and building a long term relationship with them.
This book covers the first stages of a tech startup, from the moment of spotting an opportunity until reaching product market fit – the mysterious path that founders need to unlock. Scaling stage is covered very briefly.
About the reader
This book is for founders of tech startups that want to build profitable businesses.
It is a book for founders only (regardless of background, business or technical).
The best use of the book is for founders who did not start yet or are just starting their journey. However, they will need to know already some concepts and methodologies. Parts of the book can also be useful for experienced entrepreneurs that look for specific knowledge exchange.
If you are only product-oriented, you are just a tech artist, not someone building a real business. I know the sweet exciting feeling of seeing your concept becoming reality. But if you only aim for that, you are an artist, not a businessman. And we know from history that being an artist without being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily bring money.
This is for those of you who are willing to make money (maybe not from day one, but still…), alongside doing what you love. And what I mean by willing to make money is getting money from real customers, not investors.
Murad Sofizade – Co-Founder & COO at TravelTipz.ru:
“At the end of the day, it is not about how much money you raised, but about how much do customers pay you.”
Lately, it has been the revenge of the nerds. Those who could build amazing tech products could run the world. But now it has become easier to build technical products (at least in the case of software, web platforms and mobile apps). Time has come for the revenge of the cool geeks – those who can combine perfectly their technical passions with the cravings of the market.
Mircea Pasoi – Tech Lead (Growth) at Twitter, Co-founder at Summify:
“My advice is to focus on what makes customers tick. As an engineer, it is easy to focus on building the product. But a quality product doesn’t necessarily solve a need. You can make something that works better, but people are not adopting. Everything that counts is to find a big enough group for which you solve a need. It is all about finding the product market fit.”
Ahmed El.Hussaini – Founder at splinter.me:
“When you have a technical background and you decide to build a product, you think of algorithms. This is how we developed the first version, we focused on the backend and we ignored how users interact. It took a few minutes to an early adopter to understand what the product is about. Which means it will not work out. If is not simple, they will not use it. So I started talking to users and looking at analytics, which helped me make it user-friendly and easy to understand.”
About the interviews
The interviews on which this book is based are mostly with founders of different types of tech startups, at different stages and from different industries. A full list is provided here.
They vary from big data health apps built in Singapore, to superfast electric cars built in Croatia, to marketplace for elearning built in Argentina, to bio-tech chips built in USA, to recruitment platform built in Egypt, to social network app built in Australia, to 3D printer network built in Poland, to augmented reality app built in France…You get the point.
Some were part of accelerators (to mention a few: YCombinator, 500startups, LeCamping, GammaRebels). Some got investment up to a few millions, some were pursuing investors. Some were already past product market fit and struggling with scaling, some were recent launchers and some were in between these stage. Some were at their first startup experience, some are serial entrepreneurs.
The idea was to offer diversity to you, the founder. The beauty of this book relies in the diversity it showcases.
Besides interviews with founders, there are also several interviews with investors (Business Angels and VCs active in tech ecosystem) and with specialists related to the topic (User Experience specialists, Qualitative Researchers, PR specialists).
Leslie Barry – Co-founder & CEO at GetViable:
“Get access to as many experienced entrepreneurs as possible. Learn from others. However, be very careful who you take advice from. There are many people that try to get in the startup scene just because it is cool or because they try to find a job inside it – these are people pretending to be mentors. Find a good mentor in the vertical or industry you want to address, or someone with a lot of experience in startups.”
Elmar Platzer – Founder & CEO at PhotoMerchant.net:
“Lean Startup is a great book but the challenge is to implement it. The devil is in the details. It sounds logical, but how do you do it? You have to start doing it. When you hit obstacles, learn by doing, reach to community, to people who had similar problems.”
Catalina Rusu – Co-Founder TangoMeet and Co-Founder Geekcelerator:
“All these lean methodologies are strategies, less tactics. You should use tips and tricks from other entrepreneurs that went through the process. The tactics come out of practice.”
List of the 68 founders, investors and specialists who were interviewed:
Check it here
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