The Cranky Product Manager is Back…. Presenting “Market Interviews GONE BAD, Part 1″

Ever wonder why so many startup entrepreneurs put out misguided and doomed products, EVEN AFTER attempting to take four steps toward an epiphany and drinking the “Lean Startup” Kool-Aid?

Market Interviews Gone BAD: Too Vested To Listen

****Face Palm****

Alas, the Cranky Product Manager has witnessed similar “attempts” at market validation too many times to count. Maybe they could use some help from a real product manager.


  1. Geoffrey Anderson

    Shazzam, and the Cranky one is back.

    And an insightful post as well. Validation is hard, even harder is avoiding confirmation bias. And all too often you are cheating and not talking to a true “target customer”. Three strikes before you even ask the first question.

  2. Upstreamer

    Can I add that another misnomer created by 4-Steps and Lean Startup dogma is promotion of the practice of conducting customer research AFTER a new product concept is created. It seems like Blank and Ries are completely unfamiliar with the process of uncovering unmet needs BEFORE a product concept is created and then designing the product to address the unmet needs.

  3. Roger L. Cauvin

    Yeah, asking hypothetical questions is number 4 on my list of top prospect interview mistakes, but even many product managers still do it. Enlightened product managers and lean startup practitioners know that customer development and experiments should focus on understanding actual behavior of prospects. And in the spirit of Karl Popper, seek falsification, not validation.

    Your graphic says it powerfully and concisely. Good to have you back.

  4. Stephen

    I knew a guy that was working on a service offering for restaurants and he validated his project because when he asked restaurateurs (while eating there) they were all very positive. I tried to convince him that if they were willing to comp your food to be in your beta, then you can trust it otherwise only really listen to those who would give you some criticism. Sufficient to say, he completely disagree and still hasn’t made any money.

    People are busy and almost all of us have learned the quickest nice way to get out of a conversion is to just agree. No one cares to give you their attention. I would be more confident not changing product concept having listen to a ‘generous skeptic‘ than a chorus of nothing but glowing reviews.

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