A big part of the Customer Development process laid out in The Four Steps to the Epiphany is doing interviews with real people outside the building, but the question is always, “Where do I find those people?” Typically you know a few, but where should you go from there? While there are various places to look, some of the best leads come from asking your initial set of interviewees for their recommendations. This yields not only possibilities, but pre-qualified possibilities that come with a referral – a potent combination for being able to set up actual interviews.

But how you ask for referrals makes a big difference, and Kevin has an awesome post on his blog – The Magic Word in Customer Development Emails – that supplements the advice from Four Steps really nicely. As per the title, I thought his hard-won experience with using the right words to elicit a response was golden.

I found Kevin’s post on the Lean Startup Circle, and the thread there has some interesting follow-up discussion. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the LSC list is an amazing resource and shouldn’t be missed.

So are you doing interviews for your startup? I’d love to hear about your experiences if you are!

Posted by Nathaniel on Jan 19th, 2010

You can still contact Nathaniel at nathaniel@terralien.com