How many customer interviews did you run before you found a decent product idea?

Anybody out there, who uses idea extraction via customer interviews in order to find a problem worth solving? If so, what are your experiences? How many interviews have you conducted before you came up with a problem hypothesis that finally proved to be a gold mine?

What industries and company sizes did you approach for idea extraction? What have your experiences and learnings been so far?


      • How many have you done, OP? Are you just randomly going to people to ask questions or do you already have an idea and just want to extract the valuable features?

  • Your questions seem overly general.

    The customer interview process is generally to validate a potential business thesis – not to identify potential business per se. While I’m not going to say that you cannot find a viable business proposition that way, I will say that it is highly unlikely you can find a defensible, high value add, and cash flow positive business in that fashion.

    Customers know what they want – and the result is that often the feedback you get will be contradictory: I want my cake and eat it too!

    Equally I’d question the “gold mine” thesis. If you want money, open a hedge fund.

    If you want to create value which may eventually be rewarded with monetary value – that’s much more what a startup is really about.

  • I have talked with as many as 170+ to as few as 1. Just depends. Sometimes, a single client will pay you to solve a problem or develop a solution. Then you can take that to market. Other times, you are looking for something bigger to find a need then solve it. Just depends. It just depends on your goal.

  • Customer interviews are extremely valuable to get input about an existing idea. Not to generate an idea.

    Customer interviews can also be a great alternative to the MVP approach where you build crappy little MVPs that are too small to solve anyone’s problem and don’t tell you anything you need to know.

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