Decide to Keep or Push Out Customers

Who do I not want to use my product now, but may want to in the future?

We tend to assume that any customer is a good customer. However, if you find that you’re working like crazy and have a solid and reliable customer base, but you’re still not making the profits you expected, then ask the Killer Question, Who do I not want to use my product? Do you remember back […]

What customers are saying and thinking about you

Who complains about my product?

A few years ago, a passenger complaint letter to Virgin Atlantic circulated around the web. It was very long, fully illustrated with photos, clearly somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and very funny, but it made a few good points about the bad food and surly service this particular passenger had experienced. Almost three years later it still occasionally […]

Keep your users passionate in a positive way

Who is passionate about my product or something it relates to?

I’ve never shopped at the online craft marketplace Etsy.com. I’m not often in the market for hand-knitted iPod cozies, customized guitar cables, or the like. However, since 2005 Etsy.com has signed more than 400,000 merchants and nearly seven million users. Their annual sales figures for 2010 were $273 million. Even more interesting to me is […]

Unshakable Beliefs: Know What Your Customers Want

What are your unshakable beliefs about what your customers want?

One thing is to know what your customers want to do, another is to understand how they intend to get it done. It’s easy to look at their goals and tell yourself that your product will match their needs. However, if you don’t understand their internal philosophy about what they are doing and why they […]

Discovering the Hidden Buying Criteria of Your Customers

What are the criteria our customers use when selecting our product?

Do you know what your customer’s reasons are for choosing your product over that of your competitor’s? When was the last time you really explored what does, or doesn’t, motivate your customer? What is hidden buying criteria they use? Just a few years ago a computer’s screen size was one of the key decision factors […]

Your objective is to sell your product. Your customers objective is to solve a problem.

Who is using my product in a way I never intended—and how?

Once a product has sold, it’s pretty much out of your control. You may have an idea why people will buy it, and what they’ll do with it, but the most you can ever do is guess. So why are you assuming that you know what your customer actually likes and values about your product, […]

Explore Observe Ask: Suspend Your Own Assumption

Understanding What Your Customer Wants Before They Know It

I used to spend a lot of time in India, as most tech guys do. The subcontinent can be spectacularly disorienting for a Westerner. On one trip, I stayed in a blissfully air-conditioned, five-star hotel. Outside there was 100-degree heat, and the uniquely foul stench of Kolkata’s open sewers and packed streets. Inside I had endless […]

Understand The Needs Wants and Fears of Your Customers

Avoiding your bias on what you think your customers want

All your work, all your ideas, all your devotion and sacrifice mean nothing if you’re not confident of whom you are doing it for or why. In order to succeed—whether you are developing a new product, service, or process—you must understand the needs, wants, and sometimes fears of the person you are targeting. Why is […]

Not Understanding Who Your Customers Are

Innovation Fail

A couple of years ago my kids gave my ninety-three-year-old grandma a digital picture frame for Christmas. It contained several hundred photos that they had painstakingly selected, organized, and then downloaded onto it. Every minute or so a new image of the kids living their lives would appear; exactly the kind of thing any grandmother […]

Why You Need an Innovation System

An innovation system ensures you identify the best ideas

So, what happens if you don’t use an innovation system like FIRE to innovate and execute the strongest ideas? One of the biggest dangers of not having a way to identify and execute the best ideas is that weak ideas get selected and the results are disappointing. When this happens, management loses confidence that the organization […]