Archive for July, 2011

Customer Development Simplified

Steven Blank outlined the strategy of customer development in his book The Four Steps to the Epiphany back in 2007 after a career as a serial entrepreneur. His detailed thoughts on understanding customers before building products have become known as the bible for startup businesses. Founders who are in touch with his thoughts fully understand the need for market validation before product development. Customer developmentis challenging because it’s difficult to automate and receive quality feedback. How many times have you clicked diligently through a 10-minute survey? How many times have you beta tested a product and expressed your distaste with a particularly annoying experience? If you’re like me, then it’s not too often.

The process of collecting honest and anonymous  feedback was a tedious task, often leaving the founders without the most crucial feedback they are seeking. The service offered by KSSinsights changes the dynamic of customer development by only asking users simple but pivotal answers. The users are given few options to choose on the survey and you have the ability to ask questions that are relevant to the page they are on.

An example survey we’re using on Ingenic for logged-in users only is the short answer prompt: “Is there anything on this page not working the way your expected it to?”. In addition to the short response, KI reports the User Agent (Browser and Operating System) to make troubleshooting much easier. We’re getting more data from our users, and that helps us make better product development decisions for our immediate and long-term success.

Bottom line, it’s quick, targeted, and specific feedback.  The burden on the user becomes minimal because the short feedback does not interfere with their experience using the product. No more will I have to settle for a generic question and receive generic feedback. And the installation doesn’t take longer than a couple minutes.

I’ve installed the code on this blog post. Take a look on the bottom right of your screen.

View the feedback report*

*Note a 2-hour reporting delay due to Amazon Web Services!

Click the image below to take a look at a few survey questions that might generate valuable customer insights for your product development:

What’s the cost for KissInsights, and are there any benefits for the premium account? It’s $29/month, so about $1 per day. And with the premium account you can create unlimited white-label surveys and receive unlimited responses. Each successful feedback submission then calls the user to follow your Twitter account or like your Facebook page. It’s an elegant solution to a complicated and continuous customer development challenge. 


07 2011


Courtesy of Denver Post

Yesterday’s stage 13 of the Tour de France was a thrilling sight as a gutsy climber named Jérémy Roy and the chase pair Thor Hushovd and David Moncoutie battled out the final 15km. The middle part of the stage included a lengthy mountain climb, and Roy broke free from the peloton early in the climb. From the bottom of the mountain, Roy decided it was going to be his day, and he went for it. By the time he crossed the top of the mountain, he was in leading a full minute ahead of the nearest rider, and exactly eight minutes ahead of the peloton. When Roy crossed the final peak 120km into the 152km stage, he was over a minute ahead of the nearest rider Moncoutie. Roy had made his move, and it was bold test to see if anyone was willing to chase him through the valley.

What’s more, Thor Hushovd, the defending road-biking world champion, was pushing for his first win in the mountains. Up until yesterday, no one believed the lethal sprinter had the stamina to push through the mountain stages with the same speed he has over more forgiving terrain. By the time the riders neared the finish line, it was Hushovd who had successfully chased down  Roy.

The attitude embodied by both riders is an excellent model for audacious behavior. On one hand, you have a terrific climber, Roy.  He  muscled out absolutely all of the energy he had in hopes of beating the entire field on one of the toughest stages. Roy decided early that he wanted to win, and he was going to give everyone a run for their money. On the other hand, Hushvod is a world-champion on the road, refused to let his title define his capabilities when he was outside of his comfort zone in the mountains. The relentless pursuit of speed with hopes of victory was incredible.

I believe Roy will eventually find the additional energy to finish strong the last five minutes of the race because he’s already accomplished in the toughest part, the climb. In other words, be a climber. Attack without hesitation and relentlessly pursue your goal. If you can get through the climb, the finish will come over time.


07 2011

First E-Book Experience

This week I’ve finally purchased my first real e-book. The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser.

After my high school graduation last month I was fortunate to receive an Apple iPad. Am I much of a laggard? Maybe. I tend to hold off on the first iteration of any new product release. During the past few weeks I’ve been navigating my way around my iPad 2 wifi version. Just a couple days ago I downloaded Kindle app with the hope of finding real productivity on my tablet device.

I’ve been happy with the Kindle app for my reading. A few observations of things that have been most useful:

  • Mobile ads are big business, they are installed on almost every free app.
  • My book comes with me wherever I travel.
  • Ability to highlight lines and search for definition of obscure words.
  • Kindle app syncs my progress across all devices, android, iPad, and desktop.
  • Instant access to more books!
  • Reliable battery life. (This is crucial.)

I didn’t expect to be using my iPad as my primary e-reader. Although, I think the iPad is so appealing because it’s low maintenance and it only requires one or two unique user experiences (e-reading) to make it worthwhile.  There are a few other important apps which are nagging at my attention, such as the recently released ShowMe App which is enabling teachers to flip the classroom. It will be interesting to see if any other excellent content creation mechanisms evolve on the iOS platform.

I’m looking forward to posting more about my thoughts on The Filter Bubble, and why we need to be cautious about a world that revolves around our likes and interests.


07 2011