At Brown Venture Labs, we make all the teams blog their customer interviews during customer development. As their mentor, blogging the interviews helps me follow what they’re learning from customers, review their question sets, and ensure that they’re participating and not wasting the oxygen in our accelerator =)
However, blogging primarily enables the founders. Blogging forces the teams to process the information, then provides a platform to reflect after a few interviews.
Blogging doesn’t mean copying and pasting handwritten notes into the post and that’s that. The blog is for journalizing thoughts, strategies, personal problems, and more during their time in the accelerator. A journal for the journey.
Sign up for a Wordpress.com account.
If you’re scared about competitors finding your blog, name it something silly and turn off search engine crawling.
Don’t spend time on making it look pretty. Waste of time. And weren’t you scared of someone else seeing it anyway?
Set up a page with your business model canvas. The page won’t resemble the real canvas, but we’ll make due. You can name the headings the same as the canvas and jot down your hypotheses. As your hypotheses change, do not erase them from this page. Strike them out and write the new hypotheses underneath. You’ll want this makeshift repository of hypotheses to observe how your startup evolves.
In your first post, write down all the assumptions you’re making about the problem, your solution, customer behaviors, current solutions, and why people will want your product.
Next write a post with the first list of interview questions you’ll use on customers in order to test the above assumptions.
Remember, with this initial question set you have to test the problem, not the solution, and focus on how people are already attempting to solve the problem so you can make it easier. Your product will only succeed if it adapts to customer behavior and habit.
Immediately after interviewing a customer, blog their responses. Don’t copy and paste. Write down the customer’s name, their background information, how you came into contact with them, their answers, and then any additional thoughts you had during the interview?
Was the customer unusually emphatic about something? Blog it. Did the customer inspire an idea or point out a major assumption? Blog it. Did the customer cuss you out for wasting their time with a stupid idea or offer themselves as indentured servants in exchange for the product? BLOG IT.
Post a photo of the customer to add the human element to your blog and research. You could easily snip one from Facebook. Use Rapportive to easily gather data from customers you email with. The more personal and informative these blog posts become, the more in touch you’ll become with your customer segments.
If you have team discussions in which major decisions are made, blog the update and the reasons why.
If you meet with a mentor or get a big piece of advice, blog the experience and how the feedback influenced your thoughts.
After every 10 interviews, review the blog posts as a team, change the hypotheses in your business model canvas page if needed, update your questionnaire if needed, and write a summarizing post on how the last 10 interviews changed your startup’s strategy or thinking.
Provide your mentors with a link to the blog so they can read along and you won’t have to catch them up over coffee. Imagine of all the money and time you’ll save!
Hope that helped! Read my other startup articles here in my archive.
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