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Real Product Discovery won't happen in your Office


Guy Brunsdon

11 July 2022

You won't understand your customers' needs sitting in your office

Last week I was listening to a Steve Blank podcast from June 2021 ("Your Product is not their Problem"). His opening sentence was, “There no facts inside your building; so get the heck outside!” In other words, go and talk with your customers. That’s the only place you’ll get actionable information.

The podcast reminded me of my early product management training with Pragmatic Marketing (now known as “Pragmatic Institute”). Pragmatic touted 12 marketing rules that were featured prominantly on the laminated "Pragmatic Framework" cards every trainee received. Rule #2 is “The answer to most of your questions is not in the building.” The instructor referred to this as “NIHITO” —Nothing Important Happens In The Office. Rule #7 is “Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” It’s a consequence of breaking Rule #2 where you have little customer evidence and rely upon your opinion.

So, get out and talk with your customers. Find out what annoys them. Have them walk you through a warts and all end-to-end experience where things went awry (generalisations have a smoothing effect on the pain points, so avoid them). Dig deeper with the “five why’s”. And then, of course, you want to turn those findings into your body of knowledge of needs and desired outcomes and have them (and others) quantify those needs/outcomes on importance (problem space) and their degree of satisfaction with the current product/solution (solution space). The important and yet unmet needs are your opportunity for innovation and creating value.

You know what to do!

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