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February 27, 2014

Mtg: Customer Development, Business Development, and Crossing the Chasm

by @ 5:03 pm. Filed under ALL, Engineering Mgmt
 

THURSDAY May 1, 2014
SCV Technology Management Chapter
– early-stage, partners, feedback, early revenue …
Speaker: Joe Giglierano, Ph.D., San Jose State University
Time: Networking at 6:00 PM, Mgmt Forum at 6:30 PM, Dinner at 7:00 PM; Presentation at 7:30 PM
Cost: $11 for IEEE member; $14 for non-member ($3 more at door)
Place: Ramada, 1217 Wildwood Ave, Sunnyvale
RSVP: from website
Web: www.ieee-scv-tmc.org/meetings/all/2014-05-01

Customer development is closely related to â??business developmentâ? in early stage companies.  Much of the early experimentation of customer development is done in collaboration with customer partners.  The partner gets new products or new technologies in exchange for giving the entrepreneur ideas, feedback, and early revenue.  Crossing the chasm by building new revenue through partnerships between the two essentially same goals will be discussed.
In the last decade, Steven Blank introduced the idea of â??customer developmentâ? and Eric Reis has refined this, calling it the Lean Startup method.
The thinking and observations that form the underpinnings of customer development (and hence, lean startup) focus on the high level of uncertainty inherent in a startup, especially when an innovative idea (product or service) is being launched into an unfamiliar market.  When the product (or service) is unfamiliar to intended customers, market research is not very good at projecting how these prospective customers will respond.  To reduce this uncertainty, Steve Blank says that it is necessary for the startup to conduct customer development and product development concurrently.
Customer development involves â??hypothesis testingâ? â?? trying out small product experiments, using prototypes, which allow prospective customers to react positively or negatively interactively.  The idea of customer development is to discover a product-market fit through this series of experiments.  Being wrong and adjusting is part of the process.
Customer development is closely related to â??business developmentâ? in early stage companies.  Much of the early experimentation of customer development is done in collaboration with customer partners.  The partner gets new products or new technologies in exchange for giving the entrepreneur ideas, feedback, and early revenue.  Since business development is generally viewed as building new revenue through partnerships, customer development and business development at this early stage are essentially the same.
Research done by the speaker also suggests that â??business developmentâ? is a way to overcome problems faced by an emerging company trying to â??cross the chasmâ? â?? the period that Geoffrey Moore identified in the adoption of an innovation when most visionaries have adopted, but before pragmatists begin to adopt.

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