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So talking about the Lean Start-Up, the third tweet that caught my eye was a threat from a guy called Chris Bucker. I hope I pronouncing his name right. He’s an investor, I believe previously had a company which he sold to, indeed the mega job site. And he was tweeting a really interesting thread about his approach to customer development. And so the customer development that he’s talking about in the tweet thread is comes from the lean start up. And it’s an idea from Steve Blank and Eric Reese, who came up with a list, RSA and customer development is essentially customer discovery and customer validation. So customer discovery is finding who your customers are, what needs that they might have exactly. As we were talking about earlier, the having a problem based mindset, talking to your customers, finding out what what kind of problems they have. And secondarily is customer validation, which is OK. Once you’ve found a group of people who might be interested in your approach, your thing, whatever it might be that you’re confident that it solves or you have some level of competence that solves the problem, that you actually go to them and you find out and you get the you know, you get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Does this solve your problem? Are you willing to spend money on it? What are the edges that you need to sort of smooth off? What is the pricing? Right. All of the kind of little tweaks that you need to do to a product or service to to sort of fit it perfectly in that product market fit, which is the ultimate way you’re aiming to get out. As part of the late development model and. It’s quite an art form. You know, you will find there are people out there who are really good at doing this and there are people out there who find it really quite a struggle to do this because it involves not cold calling so much, but actually going out and talking to lots of people, maybe getting some negative reactions. So if you’re you know, I’m very much in this camp, like, I don’t like doing sales in the classic sense of like going out and getting rejected and, you know, talking to people. And my idea of an absolute nightmare would be like a sort of tele sales selling something horrific, which I’ve done in the past. And it was, you know, sweat inducing. And it’s horrible. But but it doesn’t have to be that sort of combative at all. And it shouldn’t be that combative at all.

It’s like if you’re looking for signals and he just has some interesting takes on that.

He is recommending a book, which I also recommend as well, called The Modern Test. It spelt The American Way anyway. And that’s got back to Rob Fitzpatrick, who has been around the scene for years. And I met him a couple of times in London many years ago, maybe eight or nine years ago now, some sort of various types of events and beers and burgers that used to go on in our street. And he’s really a nice guy and he’s very approachable. So I hit him up on Twitter or wherever. But he’s got a great book there, which is about understanding how to talk to customers and to get that learning and information out of them. And, you know, his his entire thesis of this is it’s like if you’re trying to explain this thing to your mom. Right. You know, or if you’re trying to explain video calling to your grandma, it’s like how how do you approach a sort of non-technical audiences but get some usable feedback from them?

So, Chris, a.

So it takes some of the learnings from this book and sort of pulls out some interesting angles or specific ways of doing things, which I thought was quite good. And he goes in some details, he says, and preplanned the top three things you want to learn from someone. So don’t go into a conversation, you know, completely open ended with no idea where you want it to go. You want you want it to be relatively focussed and know what it is that you want to learn from your customers. He says keep doing customer development and to stop hearing new information. You know, you go to you get bored. It’s like I know what this person is going to say. Once, you know, you can predict telepathically what it is that the person is going to say. Then you know that you have a good understanding of who your customers and what their problems are. And he says ideally have two people in any meeting, one leading the questions and one taking notes, because if you’re taking notes at the same time as you’re trying to have the conversation, then you’re going to not have a successful conversation. You’re going to miss and nuance. The other way doing this is recording your interviews with your customers permission and then going back and taking notes down as a secondary act. He’s also linked to this Twitter thread, will be in the show now. So look in there. He’s also got some great examples of specific ways to ask questions, to dig into features wise, to dig into the emotional signals which can be important from your marketing and positioning perspective, like how are you going to convince people who don’t know about you to buy your product or service if you can sort of draw out the emotions in the words that your customers use, and that can be very powerful from a marketing perspective. What has been your experience with customer development, if anything?

Yeah, I think nowadays Sparty with networkers, let’s say let’s put an example just to make a practical case. I think it’s important to ask your audience. Just ask them questions. You don’t need to meet them personally. But if you have a website, you have traffic or in social media, there are many bots nowadays that you can out to made some lie. Yes. I ask, as you’re saying, like standardise the questions, try to guide them into what you want to learn from them.

So but give them options. So our audiences, of course, entrepreneurs, but qu’est them? And we realised that there were like Entry-Level entrepreneurs, others looking more for growth strategies, others looking for personal development. So it was like within the entrepreneurship or entrepreneur category, there were a bunch of different interests and status. So that was very important for us to know. Also, I think you should give some good always some free products. So you get them to taste some of your products on what you are. Even if it’s free, what you are able to produce, how you communicate with them, and then you also perceive how they interact. Of course, then if you have paid for that, the expectation will be higher, but they have something to compare with. So I think that’s important. So quiz your audience gave some free products first so they can.


Trial you or they can make a judgement if it’s really what they want or if it’s, you know, your product redig would fit. So yeah, both. I agree. There are many tools out there. Many charities are doing a great job. But then you have other boards because they’re type form, which I think is a bit crunchy, but it’s useful. How was this one? Who would try the outflow? Something like that. Anyway, there’s several tools, but you should also. We took the approach us as well on being very responsive and reachable. So we put the simple contact forms everywhere. So just don’t be.

And don’t try to automate as much on their sense of just just just leave it to. It’s good to plan some flow of information or a potential multiple choices, but then leave it open for them to expand as well. So you explore the tensions and some angles that can, you know, could be new for you, for your product features, you know.

So you’ve had experience building sort of custom customers and companies in both Latin America and Spanish speaking countries and also in the U.K. You invested in English speaking countries. There been you know, you’ve obviously done customer development across both of those kind of markets. Is there been any sort of similarities, differences? Is there like a difference in approach that needs to happen between those?

I think there are. Behaviour is different.

Bar day interests are almost always the same. So if you also compare like Google trends or keywords on how they search, you will see the same search terms translated almost like plain translation. So that’s surprising.

But when it comes to interact with a product or the ways they like to be contacted. So, for instance, in Latin America, they use way less. They e-mail. Whereas in the U.K. or U.S., they use it way more often. It doesn’t matter.

They use more like Facebook Messenger or, of course, WhatsApp. So I will be so they use more their phone. There will be a better way to reach them out. They also many times prefer to call because e-commerce is in the UK.

USA is very developed, whereas in Latin America now Mongolia is doing a great job. It’s like a 60 billion company. It’s almost kicking. They’re so famous and so well in Latin because they built they inspired actually they went more for the China market, places like Alibaba and Tencent, and they tap into payments as well, like they did in China with their QR codes and eBay and so on.

So they got all these. They were they are monopoly of e-commerce marketplace in LatAm, but they invested a lot on infrastructure for the shipping and also now they tapped into the payments ecosystem.

So they have a very they have ring-fence their audience and they have huge value added. And they there are multiple countries. So I think it’s really hard to compete. There will be a long standing monopoly.

But so that improved credibility of ecommerce in LatAm way more. But there is outside that is there see a way to go? There has been, you know, less regulation. People were also the financial system is not as great. So if you I mean, if you put your details online and you and, you know, you get scammed on this and that and your bank is self responding, then neither do the website where you bought from. Then you lose trust. So they rather you want to give you a call many times. So they they feel more comfortable or they do more cheques of on their hand. They, they care less about privacy. I would say that unece less regulated as well than in the UK.

Yeah. If you send out an unsolicited email in the UK, you will get responses for sure.

And that’s, that’s some interesting cultural habits. But overall they look to I mean, they have the same problems or similar problems. And they they adopt similar solutions as well. So they shared that common problem base. I would say. So then you need to keep an eye on the cultural differences, but you can keep some. There are some universal rules. Like if you are efficient. No, if you are transparent, efficient. And if you get the product out there fast and cheap, that there will always be happy. Yeah. Like Jeff Bezos was saying on Amazon today, it. Knowing their customer is important, but that they will always like their products at lower cost and sort of as fast as possible. So he was investing a lot in prime ready in one day than on the same day at the lowest possible cost. So that was kind of my universal rule. I think it’s going to apply to any product or service as well, regardless country. So proving a great service that that’s always going to work. So then, yeah, I understand your customer on how they want to help. Actually, we run for networkers. We have their English and Spanish version and we run the quizzes and their preference sets were very, very similar. That was surprising as well. But yeah, that’s also probably something you can take away for creating new business models or new businesses. As we talked last podcast on them, a potential business idea was to replicate business models that work in one country and take it to another country. So, yeah, you can count with similar interests. So for building, if there is a business in the UK or US that’s working and it’s not in other countries. There’s an opportunity for you to replicate that.

Great stuff. So, yeah, make sure that you talk to your customer. Learn what you can from your customer. Appreciate what sort of cultural differences might be there. If you’re reaching out to people who are different than you in any sense, then, you know, take the opportunity to learn what’s different. Don’t assume. And if you have enough of these conversations, then you can get a deeper understanding. Thanks very much for listening. We’ll be back next week with some more nuggets of knowledge. In the meantime, please cheque our YouTube channel, which is where we post this podcast on our other podcasts. You can search for a net workers two words, or you can find the link in the show notes below. If you’re interested in a deep dive into all things entrepreneurial, including more detailed information, help mentorship and courses, please cheque out our Web site, which is at networkers dot com. See you next week.

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