So I had my epiphany in chapter four although each chapter was a step towards that final. Can you guess the name of the book? Well it sat there for a while I knew I had to read it but it looked so text based and the lines were really long kind of reminded me of my old A Level (pre university for you North Americans) Sociology text book, it was a great door stop, helped me sleep (in or out of class) and was textual overwhelming (too many words per line, not easy navigable, chapters too long, etc)
OK enuff fluff. The Four Steps to the Epiphany has been a great book in helping me think through my start-up concept (Professional You). It is helpful in getting several parts tightened up. And it smells great, I love ‘real’ books.
Areas it’s helped me with:
- The customer hypothesis
- Customer led development rather lab led
- Market Research – The right questions to ask e.g. pricing
- Defining my market type
- The whole product development process
So if you are responsible for creating new things that you want to be used, you need to read this book. I am not saying you have to agree with it all (for me Chapter six had a lot that I don’t agree with) BUT it will stretch you mind, it will help consider your current process and if you don’t have one, create one. It will help you consider which things you should and should not build.
So if you a CEO, start-up founder, product manager, marketing or developer or a manager/consultant/adviser of these folks, you need to read this book. I am sorry to tell you its not well laid out, that the text is heavy and you may need to breakup reading it, but its worth it.
And as a special bonus there are “confidential” images in it! Pg 155
You can get the first three chapters for free here (second edition, I read the third edition) http://www.stanford.edu/group/e145/cgi-bin/winter/drupal/upload/handouts/Four_Steps.pdf
Steve Blank’s blogg (the author can be found here) http://steveblank.com/
Eric Reis did a great summary here http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/2008/11/what-is-customer-development.html
UPDATE: If you want to understand the concepts of Customer Development quickly here is the cheat sheet version – The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits www.custdev.com