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4 ways we learned we are building the right thing

After 40+ conversations with people, we know we’re building something of value. Here are some tactics we used to start customer development conversations:

Start conversations on twitter

I set monitoring for people tweeting “user retention”. I saw Rick Perreault, CEO of Unbounce (check them out) tweet “I’d pay for that!” and asked him if we could speak about what he wanted to pay for.

Respond to emails

Whenever I see something in my inbox that looks like a triggered email, I reach out to the company that sent it. The first time I did this this was with an email I got from Dropbox.

I ended up having a great email conversation with Naveen at Dropbox and learned more about how Dropbox is sending retention emails.

Reach out to bloggers

There are a couple examples of this I can cite:

  1. Paul Stamatiou blogged about user retention as a service in December. We reached out to him and had a great chat with him about how he set up emails for Picplum.
  2. I recently saw a post about Automated Emails from Allan at Lesseverything (makers of Lessaccounting). I reached out to Allan to ask how they set up automated emails and mentioned that we were working on a product. He responded with a something like “We would love to do X and also do Y”. X and Y were on the roadmap. We just got more validation that those features are important.

Tell everyone you know what you’re working on.

The best example so far is of a company who had posted on a forum asking if anyone knew of a product that automated marketing emails. The features they described where exactly what we had planned to build. A friend forwarded on the request saying: “This reminded me of what you’re up to”.

What we now know

We’ve spoken with ~ 40 people who have helped us establish:

  • There’s a need for our product
  • We know what’s critical to build first
  • We now have people who want to pay us for it.

It’s a great feeling to know you’re building the right thing.