Steve Blank explains that successful entrepreneurs intimately know their customers – what pain do they experience, how they buy, why they buy, what problems do they face and why, and what solutions they might need.
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Steve Blank Intimate Customer Understanding Transcript
Steve Blank: If you look at my career, I was never in the same industry twice, maybe semiconductors. There is nothing about a business that isn’t rocket science to understand well enough within a certain period of time. I’m not asking you to become a heart surgeon, but it’s not that hard to understand the tools a heart surgeon might need, but you won’t do it from inside your building. That is the job of a great entrepreneur is to become a domain expert enough to understand the day and the life of their customer, their buyer and anybody else in their organizational chain. If you can’t do that, you are just tying one hand behind your own back. And if that sounds like too much of a burden, don’t do it. Be like every other entrepreneur that goes out of business. Understanding why your customers buy, what’s important to them isn’t past “Gee, I developed the neat idea in my dorm or company.” Does that answer your question?
Male: Did you ever, from out of your personal experience, ever experience something that you’ve actually driven a customer purely by understanding his business model?
Steve: Sure. It’s not that I’ve driven a customer. It’s the other way around. I’ve understood that I was talking in Greek and they were speaking in Spanish. That usually is because I was talking about features and they had a problem they needed me to solve and I wasn’t talking like about reservoir simulation. I was trying to sell supercomputers. I wasn’t talking about computational fluid dynamics and I was trying to sell them supercomputers. I wasn’t talking about Corp, PageMaker and Illustrator and I was trying to sell them desktop publishing graphics boards. Usually when you could connect on a level of what’s their need, you actually get a lot further about let me tell you about the bits or let me show you this great website. Does that answer your question?