I think I was wrong in thinking that the 10x nature of startups is the reason why you have to build something first so you can truly test.
Startups are 10x in a different way than big-cos can be 10x. When big co’s attempt 10x products, they do it for large markets.
So big companies do both 1.3x for large markets and 10x for large markets.
Startups always start with a 10x offering for a market that seems ridiculously small or nonimportant. In that sense, that 10x is probably not a difficult product to build; quite the contrary, it is probably very easy, since that ridiculous small and unimportant market is neglected and there hasn’t been much innovation for a long time. So you can always find something that will be 10x for a few guys that you can write in a couple weeks.
Of course startups think that initial 10x offering for a small group can be expanded into a 10x offering for a very wide market. But that’s completely uncertain, and that is why big companies probably will never take these type of bets. This is probably the key core difference between startups and corporations.
So I think you are right that non-leading questions, and non-product using behaviors can be useful to decide on what direction to go, both for startups and corporations.
It would be awesome if you can expand on lessons learned in this regard — maybe with examples?. It could be useful for founders.