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Rows Of Green Shopping Carts

Customer Problems At The Center

You must create things that solve a real problem for your customers (valuable) and are intuitive to use without a ton of explanation (useable). If not, your customers won’t spend their finite time or money on you. You must also orient your organization’s entire purpose towards being able to discover and deliver these two things for a specific set of customers, often by putting someone in charge of continually discovering what it is your customers need.


Hint: your customers won’t always tell you what they need or want because sometimes they don’t even know!

Why It Matters

When humankind grew beyond subsistence existence (you know, hunting animals out in the wild and hoping to live until the age of 30), we invented machines and other tools that allowed people to specialize in a specific trade or skill instead of having to do it all. These machines and other tools saved immense amounts of time, allowing people to create goods and services that provided value and could be exchanged for other goods and services (and later, currency). This currency could then be invested to create more goods and services.


Why the history lesson? Well, in the early days you didn’t survive (literally) if you couldn’t produce something that someone else would either trade for or purchase. So why do we think we can do it now? Exactly. The thing you produce must solve someone else’s problem. It is the cornerstone upon which modern economics is built. If you can’t do that, you might as well stop now.

You're Doing It Right If...

You’re spending at least half of your week meeting with your customers in some shape or form.

Your customers build your product with you and actively submit ideas to make it better.

Your customers exhibit a willingness to pay for your product at a price that exceeds your wildest expectations.


You start with a solution in mind and then try to find a customer who wants to buy it.

The perceived problem that the customer is experiencing is very different depending on the role you’re talking to and everyone has an opinion on how to solve it.

You do not have any proven demand for your product ahead of launching it. Demand is signaled by your customers’ exchange of either time or money for your product.

Key Practices


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