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The New Way, 2003:
Steve Blank Launches
In Ten fast years:
Columbia U, Skolkovo,100+ more
Tech de Monterrey
US National Science Foundation
THOUSANDS of Startups
…more than we can count!
More startups fail from
a lack of customers
than from a failure to
Why Most Startups Fail
Assume Customer Problem:
Assume Product Features:
The most important slide Steve Blank ever drew, circa 2003:
Customer Discovery Step 1:
“Get Out of the Building!”
1. Does anybody care?
2. Do they grab it from you?
3. Become your own Customer!
DON’T talk to friends or family!
FOUNDERS must do this themselves
DO NOT SELL!!!
Customer Discovery Tool #1:
Your Minimum Viable Product
Google without ads
Zappos without any shoes
Diapers.com without diapers
Non-Working Websites or Apps!
…Fewest possible features to show what it does!
…Something a customer can touch, feel, try
…Delivers far more, richer customer feedback
Tool #2: The Pivot
• The heart of Customer Development
• Iteration without crisis
• Fast, agile and opportunistic
Just a few(of many) Historic Pivots
Groupon: the $12billion pivot
Steve Blank: “Page 6”
Perimeter: “there are 9000 of us”
…and thousands more!
Pivot Cycle Time Matters
• MVP speeds up cycle time
•Speed of cycle minimizes cash needs
• Customer feedback drives the product!
How do you know when Discovery is “done?”
Complete regional overview
Populate life cycle data for
key distinctive product features &
benefits for the target customer
total cost of ownership for segment
why will segment buy Durathon
versus alternatives (i.e. value
minimum feature set (i.e. our launch
configuration) and ultimate feature
opportunities to claim IP or
trademark / is there freedom to
what regulatory/ certification/
requirements should be met or could
product positioning/elevator pitch for
Prospect roadmap: how to get faceto-face with right person at
prospects in each segment
key competitors in each segment and
their market share
key competitors' characteristics &
What outbound marketing/
advertising/ promotion activities are
support tools required by segment
(white papers, TCO calc., tradeshow)
pipeline of leads
identify key market segments
(geography/application) and customer
segments (e.g. operator versus
how many customers in each segment
and estimated potential volume for
how do customers make money … key
customer pain/gain points in each
how are buying decisions made in
each segment - id
process, hurdles, decision makers
what does an Earlyvangelist look like
in each segment
who influences purchases in each
segment (trade groups, key
resellers, trend watchers)
Who are our key partners/ suppliers
Which key activities does the biz
What value do we deliver to the
Educate market on metric: $/kWhday delivered over life of asset
Establish strong partnerships with
Which key resources does the biz
Integrated power system engineering
– compatibility for retrofit and
optimized system solutions
Financing options for Power services
What type of relationship does
each segment require of us
Through which channel does each
segment want to be reached
which segments can only or best be
reached through a channel partner
which channel partners are important
to optimize sales in each segment
what are channel partners'
requirements and cost to become a
proactive sales channel
initial channel partner response to
value proposition & customer segments
For whom are we creating value
What are our cost drivers
How much is each segment willing to pay and how would they like to pay us this amount
What are price /performance characteristics of competing technology
What is the 2013 price target for 1 MM cells
What is the 2015 price target for 10 MM cells
what is optimum sales method for each segment (asset sale, lease, pay for performance, etc.)
X = number of in depth customer data points / data sources used to validate hypothesis
red = low hypothesis confidence
yellow = medium hypothesis confidence
green = high hypothesis confidence
• Repeatable, scalable profitable?
• Passionate first paying customers?
• Pivot back to Discovery if not!