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The Four Steps to the Epiphany (2005 Book)

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Max CameronMax Cameron, Co-Founder at
I would recommend you take a look at Indi Young's book "Mental Models." She gives you a lot tactical advice on how to conduct a good problem interview. Some of her key points include:

  • Never ask l...
Steve BlankSteve Blank, I wrote the book
11 upvotes by Marc Bodnick (Co-Founder, Elevation Partners), Corey Recvlohe, Samihah Azim, (more)
Short answer is yes, it's still a New Market. Just because two companies are struggling in a market where customers don't know or understand their product concept it doesn't make it an existing mar... (more)
Jeff LashJeff Lash, Building awesome products cust... (more)
9 upvotes by Quora User, Paul Unterberg, Francis Irving, (more)
Yes, you do need to get out of the building because A/B testing, landing pages, test ads, web analytics and the like will tell you what is happening but not tell you why.

Interviews, on-site visit... (more)
Kahlil CorazoKahlil Corazo, currently doing CustDev
6 upvotes by Quora User, Scott Brinker, Terrence Yang, (more)
Four Steps is what academics like to call a seminal work. Its limitations are common to such works. I could think of three:

1. A Sexy Brand
Let's admit it, Customer Development sounds as exciting as ... (more)
Marcin RaczkowskiMarcin Raczkowski
4 upvotes by Cody Breene, Quora User, Nick Fassler, (more)
I think the quote (paraphrased) from Ford should answer your question: "If I asked people what they wanted the'd say faster horses"

This shows that while focus group ("people") might give you an i... (more)
Jason CrawfordJason Crawford, Seeking what the masters sought
26 upvotes by Quora User, Tristan Kromer, Russell Jurney, (more)
Probably because it wasn't intended as a book--it was just Steve Blank's course notes:

After I retired, I began teaching Customer Development, a theory of how to reduce early stage risk in entrepr...
The core IMO is validating or invalidating your unknowns and the hypotheses, and prioritizing what you test.

If there are clear examples of advertising-based companies with very similar character... (more)
Nikita ZhiltsovNikita Zhiltsov, Research Fellow, Kazan Federal... (more)
5 upvotes by Sumit Agarwal, Quora User, Quora User, (more)
From my perspective, the answer is evident. It isn't available electronically, because it could be easily spread out in Internet via multiple copies. Thus, Steve allegedly tells us: "Look, guys. Bu... (more)
Tristan Kromer is a very experienced and friendly mentor, that is very open for new entrepreneurs. Highly recommended.
Steve BlankSteve Blank, Author of The Four Steps to th... (more)
5 upvotes by Marc Bodnick (Co-Founder, Elevation Partners), Terrence Yang, D. Charles Holloway, (more)
The worksheets in the Startup Owners Manual are the updated versions of the ones offered in the Four Steps. You can find digital version here: Startup Owner's Manual - Founder's Workbook
Adam CarmackAdam Carmack, Jack of some trades
1 upvote by Terrence Yang.
The biggest reason is because of social pressure.  People like to please other people and will invariably tend to provide the answer they think that the person conducting the session wants to hear.... (more)
Heather ShirkeyHeather Shirkey, startup survivor, embroiled si... (more)
Hi!  It depends what type of business or product you have. Do you have a web-based product? A mobile product? A mobile app? A service?

For our mobile app alpha test, we released the app to a small... (more)
i work with steve and he is anti-kindle for the four steps, mostly because every copy he's ever seen is dog-eared, scribbled in, post-it noted and used more as a workbook than a book per se.
Drew DillonDrew Dillon, @drewdil, vp of product & engi... (more)
4 upvotes by Hutch Carpenter, Derek Haller, Quora User, (more)
With regard to a feature rather than a new product offering:

You probably don't. Some sales person told you it was going to be worth $X. You build it in a rush. A year later they win the d... (more)
David J BlandDavid J Bland, Management Consultant, Advisor
I'd say you have a pretty significant risk of nuanced conversation being lost in translation.

I typically start with open ended problem interviews with pairs. 1 person asks and the other scribes.... (more)
Patrick VlaskovitsPatrick Vlaskovits, Practice it and wrote a book a... (more)
1 upvote by Tom Layfield.
Your method, channel and whether you compensate them depend on context. 

I would frame this a little bit differently though -- Who are your early adopters and what pain(s) do they have?  Think of... (more)
Brant CooperBrant Cooper, I help startups get started
It's uncommon (never happens?) for one player to be attacking a new market.  All those companies were creating a new market.  In our #CustDev book, we suggest looking at it from the customer's poin... (more)
Michael WolfeMichael Wolfe, Four startups and counting.
7 upvotes by Quora User, Patrick Vlaskovits, Talat Fakhri, (more)
There is no eBook.  Buy the paperback.

A Pdf on the "Customer Development" subset of Steve's book can be purchased here:
Tomás CharadTomás Charad, Industrial IT Engineer, Entrep... (more)
If you have your MVP ready (assuming software) you can track the behaviour of your users based on the activity in your product.

If you want to test value proposition I'll guess that if they are us... (more)
Jeff LashJeff Lash, Building awesome products cust... (more)
1 upvote by Shawn Arnwine.
You say they "may not want to meet in off-hours." Have you actually asked them? Some small business owners or managers may prefer to spend time with you when it doesn't interrupt their business -- ... (more)
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