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


  • ignores customers

The Path to Epiphany: The Customer Development

  1. Customer Discovery (SEARCH) →

  1. Testing wether business model is correct — does the product solve a customer pain?

Customer Discovery

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

→ Get Outside the Building

Get Buy In

  • articulate your mission and core values

State your Hypotheses

  • rigorous writing

Test Problem

  • test them with potential customers

Test Product

  • test with customers


  • Verify customers’ problems

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

  • articulate your value proposition — single, clear, compelling message of how you are different and why your product is worth buying

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.

  • Visionaries know they have a problem, they tried to solve it themselves and they are ready for change


  • Now you have real feedback and facts — develop your company / product / market positioning


  • Summarise your findings

Customer Creation

Driving end-users into the sales channel.

  1. What type of startup are you? Existing vs Resegmenting vs New Market

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

  • Existing Market — get market share

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

  • everyone knows what goal they are driving


  • culture for information gathering

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

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