Minimum Viable Customer

Every once in a while I think about developing a product and / or founding a company. Up until 5 years ago I thought “the idea” would be crucial – that the product idea would make the difference between failure and success. Then I realized that ideas are cheap and the hard part is follow-through: To pick one idea – out of the millions of ideas out there -, make it a reality and sustain it. That’s the hard part!

Along came the book “Lean Startup” by Eric Ries:

The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? You’ve got an idea, test it, implement a minimum viable product, hone it and are hopefully successful. And yes, it does make sense, but it still has the premise of “idea first”; even if it incorporates that your initial idea and the product you end up with, won’t have much in common.

Last month I discovered that you can also arrive at a successful product from a very different starting point: Amy Hoy makes a case for choosing your customers first and then creating a product for them. Instead of a Minimum Viable Product find Minimum Viable Customers! *mind blown*

Think about it: Whatever you build, you’ll have to support it. Which means that you will have extended contact with your customer group. If you want to be happy, make sure you can stand your intended customers. Then find out what they need and are willing to pay for. Give it to them. Become rich and famous!

Watch Amy’s talk if you want to know more 🙂

The official part of this post is now over. Welcome to the unofficial part!

As you might have guessed, I took Amy’s advice to heart. So, who do I like? Who can I imagine to service for an extended period of time?
Lean and agile folks!

And within this group, what’s a pain that might need alleviating?
Hm, maybe starting out as a Scrum Master? That wasn’t easy and I would have appreciated more pointers.

What do you think? Is there a helpful product in there somewhere? If you are or were a Scrum Master I’d really appreciate your feedback on this:
Sure, I can spare 3 minutes to tell Corinna what would have helped me, when I was a newly-minted SM

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