Customer Development via Kickstarter

Kickstarter for Customer DevelopmentWhat’s the difference between asking a customer, “Would you pay for a product that…” and “Would you like a copy of your receipt?”


I’m a fan of customer development.  Asking a customer, “Would you pay for this?” before we waste time building, can be a huge win.  But is “would you pay” the best we can do?

What if we asked, “Will you pay for this?  Now. Before we start coding.”

What if we only solved problems that customers demanded we solved as they were shoving money in our faces?

  • Security. No more guessing/praying whether companies would be successful.  They would be, and would have the cash to prove it.
  • Money. Fundraising?!  Spending months of your life giving away a piece of your company? Pass.
  • Happiness. The hard part would be done, all that’s left is the good stuff – building things to solve problems.

Lucky us, there’s a way to make this happen.

Today, Kickstarter is used mostly by artists or folks with physical goods that need to be mass-produced.  But what if we used Kickstater for the Customer Development of our startups? What if we ran a Kickstarter campaign and asked our customers,

Do you want  _______ so badly, you’ll pay for it to be built?

If the answer is yes, fantastic! We’re solving a problem people care enough about that they’ll pay to solve. The project gets funded, and we start development.

If the answer is no, fantastic!  We don’t waste our time solving a problem customers won’t pay to solve.

This is the first experiment of Customer Development Labs:

Can Kickstarter determine if an iPhone app is worth building?

More about how we’ll run the experiment soon, but for now – what’s been your favorite Kickstarter campaign so far? A couple of ours:

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1 comment
  1. Diaspora ( was my favorite campaign for quite some time.

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