Shut up and listen: Customer development insights

This past week as part of the Tech Wildcatters program, we were asked to reach out to current and potential customers and ask them what their problems and pain points were. This might seem like an obvious thing for companies to do, but you'd be surprised how often founders and startups build a product that solves a problem nobody has.

We had a lot of really interesting conversations, and honestly it was helpful in figuring out what exactly we should be building next. The best advice I can give to anyone else starting a company or building a product is to "Shut up and listen" every now and then.

I have previously written about how customers are not always right, and yet here I am saying it's important to talk to customers, which might seem at odds with each other. The key difference is that you are always free to (at least) listen to what they're saying. What you do with the information is still up to you--You can either choose to ignore it and feel that you know better than they do (which could be true, honestly), or you can build a product exactly for them and solve their problems. 

No matter what you choose to do, it's always interesting to talk to people about what you're up to. Sometimes in fifteen minutes, you might glean an insight that you never would have had. Other times it's just fun to hear that you're building something that people care about (and will hopefully pay for!) If nothing else, it's fun to step back from building things and find out what the world thinks.

So yes. Shut up and listen every now and then.