What Customer Development Doesn’t Tell You

We’re a week into working on our new startup. We’ve spent the past week running “customer development” interviews, and we’ve already learned a ton and iterated on our original ideas a few different times.

Yet, while customer interviews are great for learning what paint points customers have, how customers react to product ideas and mockups, and propensity to buy, there are many things that customer interviews don’t answer:

  • Is the product sticky? Will customers continue to use it for multiple years?
  • How competitive is the market? Will larger companies enter the market? How well-funded are competitors?
  • Can the product thrive as a stand-alone offering? Or, will it eventually become commoditized as part of a larger suite?
  • Does your team have the skill to pull this off? Are you eager to spend the next 2-3 years solving this problem?

These are just a few of the questions we’re asking as we build out our product strategy. Yes, customer development is a powerful technique for identifying pain points and receptiveness of potential solutions. But, it’s not a complete blueprint to building a business.