An interesting phrase to understand if your app or startup idea has potential

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Idea validation. The two words that lie right in between coming up with an idea and actually building it.

Got a startup idea? Bring together a quick minimum viable version that shows how it would look like, the 20-min MVP as Product Hunt’s Ryan calls it.

Got that MVP? Great. Now, leave your office (OK, your seat in that coffee shop) and get out on the street to collect some feedback and validate whether it actually has any potential.

However, there is a little trouble with collecting validation feedback.

Excited entrepreneurs often mess up customer discovery interviews by bombarding potential customers with way too many unstructured questions and using interview techniques that inevitably result in experimenter bias.

Moreover, those interviews rarely make it clear what’s in it for the interviewee and the entire interview ends up being a situation where entrepreneurs feel as if they are begging potential customers to stay a little longer to give a bit more feedback.

At Appster, we do dozens of customer discovery interviews every week. And it’s not unusual to see our customers hitting the streets to talk to consumers about their app ideas and coming back with not always easy memories.

Over the last few years, we’ve discovered one interesting phrase that gets those interviewees magically open up and start caring about giving valuable feedback to our customers:

“I’d like your advice so we don’t build the wrong thing.”

I love this phrase.

Before you have a product, you need to validate the concept. You need to understand if it’s going to be something your market needs or wants. Up until this point, it’s just been floating around inside your head.

Simply adding “so we don’t build the wrong thing” turns the interview upside down. Suddenly, the interviewee starts feeling part of your journey and less exploited. She/he starts being driven by this natural need to help.

Give this phrase a go next time you interview your potential customers before building your product.

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