It was Product Development and Customer Day at SLP Bangalore. We met on Saturday 13th of November for what was a very productive day.
"You are not your User", was the gist of the talk by Shyam Narayan from dig designstudio. Shyam walked us through his experience of designing for various customers, he discussed the approach they typically follow at their design studio while designing products. The four stages of Absorb,Ideate,Prototype and Validate set the tone for the rest of the day.
Other key highlights from his talk were:
- Check Assumptions
- Don't jump for the first solution, try to think of different possible solutions (then come back choose the first ;) ).
- Identify at least 20 issues and 5 solutions in your product.
- Be an idiot while gathering feedback from users.
- Hear what was unsaid, users typically don't say negative things about the product.
We then had a SLP Bangalore fellow John (Duron) present the product they are selling in India. It was interesting to here his story on how, driven by passion to solve the energy problems, he and his batch mates at college started Duron. Theirs is classic story of identifying a pain point and trying to solve it. One of the books that John recommended that everybody should read was Steven Blank's The Four Steps to Ephiphany.
Following John was another SLP Bangalore Fellow Deb(Sparsha). Higher education in India for a majority is learning by rote. Deb and his team set out to remedy this with an innovative approach to teaching, learning and evaluating. If you are in academia recommend you to have a look at their offerings.
We had Mr.Navneeth Bhushan (Crafitti Consulting) speak on "Customer Value The Unknown Fundamental". He started with challenging the existing methods of valuing customer relationship as defined by various tool vendors and went on to introduce us to Customer Value framework, the concept value net etc. A major take away was in today's world "Competitive advantage is collaboration". He also introduced us to the six different truth filters one encounters and why "science" as truth filter is more important to entrepreneurs than others.
It was turn for another panel discussion with Naveneeth, Saumil Majumdar(EduSports), Gaurav (Chakpak) moderated by SLP Bangalore Fellow Milind Naik. The discussion revolved around sales and the strategy associated. Some of the points which I recollect were:
- Difficult customers tell you what your product sucks at.
- Customers value longevity, build thought leadership.
- In the initial stages of the company you need people who can sell concept. Once the product gains traction you need people who can sell the product. Both are different skill sets.
- Big customers typically try to squeeze, however keep in mind, the overall value they give your business and not just the transactional value of the deal.
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