Scott Becker's Blog

Tech startup experiences and lessons learned

Startup Tip #2: Talk to people early, talk to people often

with 6 comments

While, and more importantly before, you “release early, release often“, talk to your customers, advisors, and partners early and often.  This is a great way to prevent yourself from building the wrong thing.  Coding is hard, talking with people is easy.  [Though, many engineers might argue the opposite.  🙂  ]

Customers:  Pitch customers your ideas and get their feedback.

  • Will they pay for the new product?
  • Which features could they live without?
  • Try to have a basic demo/walk-through so that everyone can see what you are thinking.  White boarding works too.
  • Be sure to talk to a decent number of potential clients;  Early on, you don’t want to waste time building features that only one client will use (of course, eventually, you may want to do so for your biggest clients).

Advisors:  You need a solid set of experts to bounce ideas off of.  People who have been where you want to go.  You would be surprised just how friendly and helpful people can be, especially when you give them a piece of equity.  [I’d like to take a moment to thank David Brussin, Brian O’kelley, and Mike Nolet;  These guys are fantastic advisors on the product / management side].

Strategic Partners:  Be sure to get your partners on board with what you are doing.  You don’t want to develop something only to find that you can’t get access to a critical relationship.

Vendors:  If you can pay someone (a reasonable price) to supply a component of your system, don’t build it!  Oh boy are you going to save time.

  • Try to lease/pay monthly and avoid long term contracts off the bat;  You may want to drop the vendor in a few months.
  • Be very cautious though if you plan to rely on an early stage startup for something… they could shift their product focus and leave you stranded.

At Invite Media, we lost a year of work because we didn’t talk enough.  We iterated in a bubble and essentially developed a product without talking to a significant sample of  potential customers and critical partners.  We finally did figure it out though and shifted the product to something customers wanted.  Josh Kopelman compared our journey to a heat seeking missile.  I must admin that initially, we even made the mistake of developing with a single client in mind.  We lost time working on features that only a single client ever used.


Written by scottb

September 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Product Management

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. When someone writes an article he/she retains the idea of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it.
    Therefore that’s why this piece of writing is perfect.


    November 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

  2. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s content all the time along with a mug
    of coffee.

    Kurt rollins the king style

    November 28, 2013 at 12:45 am

  3. Its not my first time to visit this web page, i am browsing this
    site dailly and take fastidious data from here all the time.

    jump manual exercises

    December 16, 2013 at 10:38 pm

  4. It’s not my first time to pay a visit this web site, i am browsing this website dailly and take
    nice facts from here everyday.

    local mobile

    December 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  5. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared
    to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irked while people think about worries that
    they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and
    also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects ,
    people could take a signal. Will probably
    be back to get more. Thanks

    mobile marketing

    December 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm

  6. Diets high in fat and protein are usually effective for people in losing weight.
    At this time, their body temperature drops and their heart rate can decrease from 200
    beats per minute (bpm) to 10 bpm. If you don’t know the cause of a pain, tap on the image of that pain and you’ll probably get a measure of relief.


    January 12, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: