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The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development: A cheat sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany Paperback – July 29, 2010
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About the Author
Brant Cooper helps startups get started. As a Lean Startup thought leader, he travels the world speaking to entrepreneurs at conferences, hackathons and workshops. Recent speaking events include the Kuala Lumpur Venture Capital Symposium, Lean Startup conferences in Vancouver and Michigan, the Forward Technology Conference in Wisconsin, the Lean Startup Challenge in Boston, and Lean Startup Machines in London, New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. Brant also consults for and advises startups on Lean Startups and Customer Development, with clients in Silicon Valley, New York, San Diego, France, Australia and Singapore.
Clients include Qualcomm, MOGL, HubKick, MotherKnows, i.TV, Lean Startup Machine, Discovr and many others.
Prior to becoming involved in the Lean Startup community, Brant was involved with startups in a more traditional way. He has over 20 years experience in IT and a long track record of bringing high tech products to market. As a leader in Professional Services, Product Management and Marketing, he has directed strategy, design, marketing and implementation of numerous products for a variety of startups including Tumbleweed, Timestamp, WildPackets, Incode and InfoBright.
He has published articles for Venture Beat and Business Insider, blogs at Market By Numbers and tweets @brantcooper.
Patrick Vlaskovits is an entrepreneur, mentor and author. He has founded two startups (now on his third).
Patrick has spoken at tech conferences nationally and internationally, including SXSW. He blogs at http://vlaskovits.com and can be followed on Twitter @Pv. Patrick enjoys advising and mentoring and serves as a mentor for the 500 Startups seed fund/accelerator as well as for The Lean Startup Machine.
Patrick organizes Twiistup, a well-attended tech/startup conference that celebrates the entrepreneurial and investment talent of the Los Angeles startup ecosystem. He also organizes the Los Angeles Lean Startup Meetup.
Patrick holds a Master’s in Economics (emphases in finance and econometrics) from University of California, Santa Barbara. When he has spare time, he can be found with his family usually on the beach or in the ocean either fishing or surfing.
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Top Customer Reviews
Right in the book, on page 21, the authors state that this book focuses on the first step only (Customer Discovery). And I quote: "Future books will attempt to tackle other portions of the Customer Development process - believe us when we say that Customer Discovery is more than enough to 'bite off' at one time."
I am docking the book one star for this. The authors should know better.
Okay, now for the real question - Is this book worth getting, or should you just get Blank's original?
Get them both. Read Blank's first, then read this one and use it to update the notes you took from Blank's book. They work well together but I would not just get this one, as you only get a small piece of the whole picture (per the authors' own admission).
It's worth $30 if you actually use it, but don't assume it's a shortcut to Blank's book. It's only 1/4 of a shortcut.
Borrow the book if you most - these guys do not deserve your money.
Other books are better and cheaper - try "Marketing Straight to the Heart" for one.
It's half the price, has 200x the amount of tips and info, and the writer has more experience.
I'm giving it 2 stars because although it wasn't that bad, it's just not complete nor honest. And it's way too expensive for what it is.
Here are some useful metrics on the book. It has 103 numbered pages. However those page numbers appear to start at the blank flyleaf at the start of the book
- 20 of those pages are completely blank
- 5 pages container `filler' (A `disclaimer', `forward', `Author biographies' etc.)
- 2 more are used for the table of contents
- 10 more pages are only half-full
So do the math: for your £12 you are getting 71 pages! And these are rather small pages, with a rather large font, and a few badly drawn pictures strewn around.
One of the images (Figure 10 "Business Model Value Path"), in contrast, has a font size which renders 6 lines of text in 1 centimeter - I would judge to be about 5pt font and hence completely unreadable. But no free magnifying glass with this volume.
I heard Eric Ries talk at a conference the other day and heard him say "If you are not embarrassed by your first release then you waited to long.". Well the author's of this volume certainly didn't make that mistake. I can't say if they are embarrassed or not - but they certainly should be. Otherwise it is complete arrogance that would make them think that their trivial, low-content 71 pages are worth £12 of anybodies money.
By the way - big chunks of the information in this slim volume are also in the Reis book, so you might as well buy and read that rather than waste your money here. The rest of it you will find by Googling for around the area of `customer development' and `lean startup' for an hour or two.
A am putting my copy back in the post to Amazon to get my money back. Either don't buy this - or wait a few weeks until they are selling for a penny second-hand on Amazon.
Most of what is here you can get in Validation board from startup machine and in Eric Ries book.
"The Entrepreneur's Guide" is a "cheat" sheet to Customer Development - a methodology for reducing risk in the early stages of product development when you should be focused on learning about your customers and their problems.
Brant and Patrick walk you through the key concepts, the process and steps involved with Customer Development. If you're new to the customer development process, the case studies are helpful to get the concepts across. Furthermore, the book contains email scripts to help guide you along the way. I highly recommend this book to anyone in new product development (large or small organizations) or startups!