It was late at night on top of the Topricana Hotel in Las Vegas. The drinks were flowing. The conversation was electric.
Admittedly, it wasn’t a pole dancer or a roulette wheel that was creating the excitement. It was #microconf. 100+ pretty geeky guys (almost exclusively guys) where enjoying the dessert air, pumped up after spending the day swapping tips on building an online business.
“Dude, I’m going to help you with your product”, Stephen said to me.
“Fantastic, will you be my first paying customer”, said I.
“Ehhhhh”, said Stephen.
Aw well. I guess I’ll have to keep looking for a better validation of LInktart, a tool we use internally to track who is doing the best job social media marketing for us. Its the latest in a long list of projects on my hardrive.
Little did he know, Stephen did me a favour. When it comes down to it. you can talk until the cows come home, but the only real test of your product is whether someone is willing to hand over a credit card number.
Does that mean that ‘customer development’ interviews are useless? Well. Maybe. After all, it takes no more than a day or two to knock up a sales page for almost any product. Slap a credit card field at the bottom, and you are 90% ready to validate your market for real.
So why don’t we do it more?
Well, there are some human factors.
- People will say ‘no’ more often, and we don’t like rejection.
- Its easier to ask people what they would pay for (again, avoid having them say no)
- It takes longer with more interviews to find someone who will say yes (aka: laziness).
- We’re afraid of getting stuck in some local maxima, just missing out on a pot of gold in some slightly adjacent opportunity.
So why shouldn’t every customer development interview end with …
As a way of saying thanks for your time, would you like to pre-order a license? I’ll take you card number but won’t charge you until the product is launched.