The birth of the “Customer Development” movement

I’ve been a fan of Steve Blank and Customer Development ever since the guys at BudgetSketch pointed me to it – it really fits with how we see the world, although now we’ve got a framework we can be a bit more disciplined about it, and communication is a lot easier with a common language.

In this post he explains how it all took off:

After I retired, I began teaching Customer Development, a theory of how to reduce early stage risk in entrepreneurial ventures. The first time I taught the class at the Haas Business School, U.C. Berkeley, I had a few hundred pages of course notes. Students began to ask for copies of the notes so I threw a cover on them and self-published the notes as a “book” at

As a pun on my last company as an entrepreneur, E.piphany, I called the book The Four Steps to the Epiphany.

Two years later, Eric Ries mentioned that I could list the book on Amazon. I never imagined more than a few hundred copies would be sold to my students. 15,000 copies later, the horrifically bad proofreading, design and layout is now a badge of honor. You most definitely read the book for the content. (Congratulations to all of you who actually managed to slog through it.)

I love how a mixture of blogging, self-publishing and easy distribution mechanisms have allowed an idea to start from something quite small, to finding a larger community, to becoming a movement.

Hopefully the eBook movement will make it all so much easier….

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