Thanks for reading. Let me break down your question in two.
Pablo Castro

wow — that is surprising! i totally assumed you were building it from scratch based on biases and prejudices.

regarding the second point, I think it’s very hard to “discuss” with customers wether what you are building ( but haven’t built yet ) will be something they want. I think that works only if they can compare it with something it already exists ( an example in the extreme: hey, would you like to use a search engine like google but with different colors? yes! can you make it yellow? sure! ). that “works” because your product is not a 10x product. when you are trying to build something 10x it will be so different that I believe a discussion with customers about wether they want to buy it will be completely ridiculous. Imagine steve jobs saying “hey, do you want a much better blackberry? e.g., It won’t have keyboard BUT that’s a great idea because the UI will be flexible and we will get gazillion apps over time”… people would be like “hmmm?”. Moreover, the iPhone was actually much more impactful with people that didn’t have smartphones already. So he had to build it.

But the iPhone example is bad, because when I say “v0.1” I literally mean something that you can put together VERY quickly. An atom of utility. A tiny little thing that FOR SURE will be massively useful to at least a few people.

I think identifying that atom of utility / v0.1 version that you can build in a couple of weeks is one of the most important challenges for an enterprise software startup.

Curious on your thoughts about this. What specific non-leading questions and behaviors are you referring to?

I think the Microsoft case is slightly different — and this is one of the key differences between a real startup and a small group of independent people operating in a startup way within a big corporation: Big cos can compete in the non-10x space. So you guys can build something 30% better than an existing set of offerings and still succeed. So more traditional “customer research” albeit lean, can be effective.

But in the case of a completely independent startup that’s probably not going to work, no? Because you HAVE to try somethign 10x better and 10x better things are things that when you ask customers “would you buy this idea?” they would say “sure!”- and that means actually nothing. Because the specific way that you put together that 10x idea matters- and so I think that for 10x products, you have to have something real (albeit ultra tiny, almost to a ridiculous extent) to sell, and that’s the only way in which you can start iterating/learning.

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