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The art of collecting stories
Unlearning bad customer discovery habits can be hard
I’ve talked a lot about telling stories, but what about collecting stories?
Earlier this week, I met with one of those incredibly generous founders who do their best to tell you about all of their early mistakes so that you can bypass them and move faster.
As a product person (and first-time founder), one of my (many) weaknesses is jumping too quickly into ideating features, growth hacks, and interfaces. I err towards solution-ing: I take a small nugget of feedback from a user, fill in the gaps with assumptions and biases from my own experience, and then confidently put forward a plan.
In other words: I’m throwing on a blindfold, picking up a dart, and “yolo-ing” it in the direction of where I think the dartboard is. This rarely goes well.
The founder’s advice to me was simple: think about customer development as merely “story collection”.
“What sucked for you last week?”. “How can you prevent that?”
Imagine that you are publishing your own version of Humans in New York that’s focused on a specific type of role or customer. Note that the author of HNY, Brandon Stanton, never adds his own thoughts, candor, or opinons to a post about someone. It’s just their story.
The hard part about this process is letting go of our analytical muscle and just listening. Collect enough of these truly unbiased stories, and what they need (or more likely, don’t need) will become clear. Huge thanks to Hiten for the guidance.
Raman at Rhetoric
📚 What’s made me a better storyteller this week
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