Notes from Steven Blank Talk on November 12, 2010

I’ve been a fan of Steve Blank’s writing for a LONG time.  I wished HBS would teach more about the search for a business model.  Where you need to get out of the office, and test and refine.

Today, I not only had the the chance to hear him speak, but I also won a copy of his product management book,  4 Steps to the Epiphany, by limbo-ing better than the rest. If a picture of my limbo-ing appears, I’ll definitely share it.

Notes from Steven Blank’s talk:

  • A startup is a temporary organization used to search for a scalable, repeatable business model
  • Great founders know how to search for ideas that work.  Someone needs to build the business. And then, great managers know how to execute the busienss.  VC’s might want someone different for the different stages.
  • Startup metrics:  Customer Acquisition Cost, Viral coefficient, Customer Lifetime Value, ASP/Order Size, monthly burn
  • Startup customer acquisition: early adopters, one-off deals, done by founders, pricing/features are unstable
  • Startup product management:  you talk about testing hypotheses, minimum feature sets, pivots, continuous deployment, continuous learning
  • Your organization should not be a startup forever…or even 10 years
  • Customer development solves for unknown risk.
  • Founder needs to get out of the building
  • More startups fail from a lack of customers than a failure of product development
  • It takes 3-5 times for a CEO/product visionary to hear why a customer thinks their product sucks! Humans don’t want to hear what’s wrong about their idea.
  • Startups have a series of crises.  That’s just what happens. Pivot is the process to deal with them.
  • Customer development reduces customer risk and market risk.  It doesn’t reduce technology risk.

Also, thanks to Gary Whithill for organizing the event–and getting such a great speaker.

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