Book Summary — The Four Steps to the Epiphany

Successful Strategies for Products that Win

Michael Batko
Aug 12, 2018 · 4 min read

You can find all my book summaries — here.

The book provides hands-on instructions on how to go about customers, sales, marketing and building your company at different stages of your business. It can be dry at times, but looking back on it it’s a great checklist on what to do when.

Most entrepreneurs feel their journey is unique. […] However dissimilar the stories may be in detail, their outline is always the same. Most entrepreneurs travel down the startup path without a roadmap and believe no model or template could apply to their new venture. They are wrong. For the path of a startup is well worn, and well understood. The secret is that no one has written it down.

The Path to Disaster: The Product Development

Classic Product Development

Concept → Product Development → Alpha/Beta Test → Launch


The Path to Epiphany: The Customer Development

  1. Customer Discovery (SEARCH) →
  2. Customer Validation (SEARCH)→
  3. Customer Creation (EXECUTION)→
  4. Company Building (EXECUTION)

  1. Testing wether business model is correct — does the product solve a customer pain?
  2. Develops a sales model that you can replicate
  3. Create and drive end-user demand
  4. Transition from learning/discovery to well-oiled machine for execution

Customer Discovery

Discovery wether the problem, product and customer hypotheses in your business plan are correct.

→ Get Outside the Building

Get Buy In

State your Hypotheses

Test Problem

Test Product


Customer Validation

This is where the rubber meets the road. Build a repeatable sales roadmap which sales and marketing can follow.

The customer discovery process turns the world upside down for experienced sales people. You are still validating — you will start selling to a small set of early visionary customers. Don’t get this confused with selling → you’re focusing on learning and finding a scalable/repeatable sales process.

Get Ready to Sell

Sell to Early Evangelists

Giveaways do not prove customers will buy your product. The only valid way to test your assumptions is to sell the product.



Customer Creation

Driving end-users into the sales channel.

  1. What type of startup are you? Existing vs Resegmenting vs New Market
  2. What are your positioning messages (based on customers and what they want)?

The Team

At this stage you have NO marketing team, NO sales team → everyone is on the Customer Development Team. Creating departments is not until the next phase.

One Year Objective

Company Building

Transition from informal, learning and discovery-oriented to formal departments.

Before you hire you need to articulate the department’s goals and mission statements. Once you’ve hired it’s too late — nobody is going to say “Yeah… my position is superfluous”.

Implement Mission-Centric Management


A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.

Keep superstars by integrating them as role models and coaches in larger teams. This is the ultimate test of great leadership.

You can find all my book summaries — here.


Goal: Read and summarise one book a week

Michael Batko

Written by

Learning Enthusiast



Goal: Read and summarise one book a week

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade