Early this year I agreed to write my MSc thesis about customer development at early stage software startups. I was working part time at Open Ocean Capital, a top-tier European venture capital firm as well as Mendor, a startup that is disrupting the diabetes care globally. My original plan was to do the thesis as fast as possible. However, I had no idea what was about to happen next…
I chatted with my startup friends about the thesis and what I soon realized was that founders find it really hard to do customer development in practice. I was a bit surprised, because there are many great books on the topic: The Startup Owners Manual and The Four Steps to Epiphany by Steve Blank, Lean Startup by Eric Ries, The Mom Test Book by RobFitzbatrick, Lean B2B by Etienne Garbugli. After having having a couple more chats with founders and checking out what kind of knowledge there is out there, I saw that there is a need for a Founders at Work like book that focuses on the time before Product/Market Fit. Also, I know that founders are not interested in academic mambo jambo. I played around with an idea to write a book about a couple of days and decided it’s worth it! There is always a why and then there is a why not. Personally, I’m more of a “why not type of a guy” who loves to try out new things turn ideas into reality.
The book is called The Path to Product/Market Fit and it is based on tens of interviews with startup founders. I’m interviewing founders like Russel Simmons (Yelp), Mikkel Svane (Zendesk), Tim Trefren (MixPanel) and Tikhon Bernstam (Parse & Scribd), Niklas Adalberth (Klarna), Javier Soltero (Acompli) and Nami Zarringhalam (TrueCaller) among others. For the very first time, you are able to get direct access into practices founders have used in customer development.
At the moment, I’m enjoying the California sun in San Francisco and interviewing many successful startup founders. Something I did not plan three months ago.
Ps. You can pre-order the book at http://custdev.io/. Enjoy! 🙂