Customer development for offline startup?


1

Customer development is a nice way to build a company through iterations. However, all blog posts and articles that I have read depict software and web startups which can be developed through Customer_Development-Agile_Development iteration loop.

But how about non-software startups? What if a startup needs to buy expensive hardware assets before switching from Customer Discovery to Customer Validation phase?

How can a startup pivot if it has physical assets comprising a part of its business model? You can pivot from a software prototype, but not from machine tools and other physical equipment.

Any ideas?

Physical Product Agile Prototype

asked Sep 30 '11 at 19:46
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Martin Lee
120 points
  • Sell the physical assets or trade them, then pivot. When you pivot software you take a loss on code, when you pivot a physical business you take a loss on equipment. By the way, pivoting a software startup is expensive unless you're the developer. Just like pivoting a physical business is expensive if you didn't build the equipment yourself. – Jason Colantuoni 9 years ago
  • Dear Jason, could you please post your comment as an answer? I will accept it. – Martin Lee 9 years ago
  • Sorry it took so long. I added my comment as an answer. Thanks! – Jason Colantuoni 9 years ago

2 Answers


1

I don't think it really matters whether you are a software or "non-software startup". Cust Dev is all about questioning your core business assumptions.

Doing cust dev allows you to make better decisions based on tested hypothesis, instead of just assuming things - e.g. buying a lot of expensive hardware assets. What if you find out that there is no market for what you've been working on for let's say over a year?

You have given us little background information on what it is that you are doing, but it looks to me that one of the first things you'd want to validate is whether you'd actually need all that hardware you talk about.

answered Sep 30 '11 at 21:35
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Stanimiroff
21 points

1

Sell the physical assets or trade them, then pivot. When you pivot software you take a loss on code, when you pivot a physical business you take a loss on equipment. By the way, pivoting a software startup is expensive unless you're the developer. Just like pivoting a physical business is expensive if you didn't build the equipment yourself.

answered Dec 2 '11 at 06:06
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Jason Colantuoni
437 points

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