Oct 18, 2012

Tips on choosing your customer learning method

Exploration, pitching and concierge are 3 common experiment categories in the startup world.  Often these are incorrectly seen as steps, but they’re not. This will help choose which method is appropriate.

Exploration (Learn, aka Customer Discovery)

  • if you have an early idea for a solution
  • if your customers aren't biting your arm off and chasing you for your product
  • if you're not sure where you need to be to make new customers aware of you
  • if you don't know what budget you belong to, or who else in the organisation can affect your sales
  • if you don't know how to segment your customers based on behaviour or job-to-be-done
  • if you're not confident how consistent your problems are within your target segment
Pitch (Confirm, aka Customer Validation)
  • if you have an idea of how and when people will buy from you
  • if you have an idea of when customers start looking for a solution, and where they look
Concierge (Learn or Confirm)
  • if you're confident in the customer segment to target, but less sure about exactly how to help them
  • if building the solution will take time and there are still unknown unknowns in terms of how customers will use it
  • if you have an idea for a solution but don't know the exact customer context or job-to-be-done
Choosing your learning method starts with [understanding your options](http://www.decisionhacks.co/) so you know you're investing your time effectively.

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams