Often, this means thinking creatively about how to turn an exploratory customer interview into an experiment. While working with a large bank that insisted on asking customers, “Are you concerned with the security of your financial information?” all 10 customers Cindy spoke to answered “Yes.” This wasn’t giving her the insights she needed so she switched gears, telling one customer he would only be entitled to the $50 gratuity if he shared his mother’s maiden name and Social Security number.


“Without hesitation, the man grabbed a ballpoint pen and reached for my sheet of paper,” Cindy writes. “I stopped him before he could write anything, but my point was made. Very concerned about security…until $50 was on the line.” A word of caution to anyone embarking on the Lean Startup journey: If you think you know what’s important to your customers, you’re in for a big surprise. Whether you work at a large corporation or a scrappy startup, whether your enterprise is hoping to build the next big thing or your startup is learning how to deal with hypergrowth, whether you build consumerfacing apps or large industrial engines, this difficulty unites every one of us. The Lean Startup process won’t give you all of the answers, and neither will Lean Customer Development.


Instead, we hope these techniques will help you challenge your assumptions as quickly as possible so that you can build a lasting company that serves customers well.