You are previewing Running Lean, 2nd Edition.

Running Lean, 2nd Edition

Cover of Running Lean, 2nd Edition by Ash Maurya Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
  2. Dedication
  3. Praise for Running Lean, Second Edition
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
    1. Safari® Books Online
    2. We’d Like to Hear from You
    3. Attributions and Permissions
  6. Introduction
    1. What Is Running Lean?
      1. Why Are Startups Hard?
      2. Is There a Better Way?
      3. What Will This Book Teach You?
      4. Is This Book for You?
      5. How Is This Book Organized?
    2. About Me
      1. Why This Book?
      2. Field-Tested
    3. Disclaimers
      1. Practice Trumps Theory
      2. There Are No Silver Bullets
  7. I. Roadmap
    1. 1. Meta-Principles
      1. Step 1: Document Your Plan A
      2. Step 2: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
      3. Step 3: Systematically Test Your Plan
    2. 2. Running Lean Illustrated
      1. Case Study: How I Wrote Iterated This Book
  8. II. Document Your Plan A
    1. 3. Create Your Lean Canvas
      1. Brainstorm Possible Customers
      2. Sketching a Lean Canvas
      3. Now It’s Your Turn
  9. III. Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
    1. 4. Prioritize Where to Start
      1. What Is Risk?
      2. Rank Your Business Models
      3. Seek External Advice
    2. 5. Get Ready to Experiment
      1. Assemble a Problem/Solution Team
      2. Running Effective Experiments
      3. Applying the Iteration Meta-Pattern to Risks
  10. IV. Systematically Test Your Plan
    1. 6. Get Ready to Interview Customers
      1. No Surveys or Focus Groups, Please
      2. But Talking to People Is Hard
      3. Finding Prospects
      4. Preemptive Strikes and Other Objections (or Why I Don’t Need to Interview Customers)
    2. 7. The Problem Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Testing the Problem
      3. Formulate Falsifiable Hypotheses
      4. Conduct Problem Interviews
      5. Do You Understand the Problem?
    3. 8. The Solution Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Testing Your Solution
      3. Testing Your Pricing
      4. Formulate Testable Hypotheses
      5. Conduct Solution Interviews
      6. Do You Have a Problem Worth Solving?
    4. 9. Get to Release 1.0
      1. Product Development Gets in the Way of Learning
      2. Reduce your mVP
      3. Get Started Deploying Continuously
      4. Define your activation Flow
      5. Build a Marketing Website
    5. 10. Get Ready to Measure
      1. The Need for Actionable Metrics
      2. Metrics Are People First
      3. Simple Funnel Reports Aren’t Enough
      4. Say Hello to the Cohort
      5. How to Build Your Conversion Dashboard
    6. 11. The MVP Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Formulate Testable Hypotheses
      3. Conduct MVP Interviews
    7. 12. Validate Customer Lifecycle
      1. Make Feedback Easy
      2. Troubleshoot Customer Trials
      3. Are You Ready to Launch?
    8. 13. Don’t Be a Feature Pusher
      1. Features Must Be Pulled, Not Pushed
      2. Implement an 80/20 Rule
      3. Constrain Your Features Pipeline
      4. Process Feature Requests
      5. The Feature Lifecycle
    9. 14. Measure Product/Market Fit
      1. What Is Product/Market Fit?
      2. The Sean Ellis Test
      3. Focus on the “Right” Macro
      4. What About Revenue?
      5. Have You Built Something People Want?
      6. What About the Market in Product/Market Fit?
      7. Summary
    10. 15. Conclusion
      1. What’s Next?
      2. Resources
  11. A. Bonus Material
    1. How to Build a Low-Burn Startup
    2. Why Premature Fundraising Is a Form of Waste
    3. How to Achieve Flow in a Lean Startup
      1. The Conflicting Pull for Time
      2. Creating Daily Flow
      3. Creating Weekly Flow
      4. Eliminating Software Waste
    4. How to Set Pricing for a SaaS Product
      1. What About Freemium?
      2. The Problems with Freemium
      3. How to Approach Freemium
    5. How to Build a Teaser Page
      1. How to Write a Sales Letter
      2. How to Create a Teaser Landing Page
    6. How to Get Started with Continuous Deployment
      1. Commit
      2. Test
      3. Deploy
      4. Monitor
    7. How to Build a Conversion Dashboard
      1. How to Collect Data
      2. How to Visualize Your Conversion Dashboard
      3. How to Track Retention
  12. Index
  13. About the Author
  14. Copyright

Chapter 6. Get Ready to Interview Customers

The fastest way to learn is to talk to customers. Not releasing code, or collecting analytics, but talking to people. We’ll be using customer interviews as a learning tool[13] throughout the rest of book. This chapter lays some groundwork for conducting good interviews.

No Surveys or Focus Groups, Please

When asked to do the smallest thing to learn from customers, many founders’ first instinct is to conduct a bunch of surveys or focus groups. While running surveys and focus groups may seem more efficient than interviewing customers, starting there is usually a bad idea.

Here’s why:

Surveys assume you know the right questions to ask.

It is hard, if not impossible, to script a survey that hits all the right questions to ask, because you don’t yet know what those questions are. During a customer interview, you can ask for clarification and explore areas outside your initial understanding.

Customer interviews are about exploring what you don’t know you don’t know.

Worse, surveys assume you know the right answers, too.

In a survey, not only do you have to ask the right questions, but you also have to provide the customer with the right choice of answers. When taking a survey, how many times has your best answer been “Other”?

The best initial learning comes from “open-ended” questions.

You can’t see the customer during a survey.

Body language cues are as much an indicator of Problem/Solution Fit as the answers themselves.

Focus groups are just plain wrong. ...

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