The entrepreneur’s guide to customer development
A “cheat sheet” to The Four Steps to the Epiphany
Entrepreneur’s Guide to
by Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits
Foreword by Steven Gary Blank
open source or low cost development platforms.
“Customer Development” is a term used to describe business processes defined in The Four Steps to the Epiphany, by Steven Gary Blank.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany used by permission from Steven Gary Blank.
“Lean Startup” is a term trademarked by Eric Ries and represents a combination of Customer Development, Agile development methodologies, and
Product & Market Development, Inc. claims a trademark for “Minimum Viable Product.”
All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Fonts include Trade Gothic and ITC Officina Serif. Design by Garth Humbert and the May team.
A lot has happened with the Customer
Development process since I published The
Four Steps to the Epiphany. When I first
conceived of the concept, I was attempting
to articulate a common pattern I recognized
in successful startups. I did this because
I wanted to change the way startups were
built–without completely depending on
serendipity and at a much lower cost.
Today, thousands of students have heard my
lectures and more than twenty thousand have
read my book on Customer Development.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of startups
are practicing some elements of Customer
Development today. Many in the venture
capital community have come to embrace
the concepts, encourage and, in some cases,
require their portfolio companies to adhere to
the Customer Development principles.
In addition to growing adoption of Customer
Development, is its advancement. A former
student of mine and intrepid entrepreneur,
Eric Ries, combined Customer Development
with Agile development methodologies
to form the powerful concept of a “Lean
Startup.” In little more than a year’s time,
there are now over 3,500 members in Lean
Startup Groups in 27 cities and 9 countries.
Dave McClure’s AARRR metrics represent
the quintessential method for measuring
progress through Customer Development for
web startups. In a series of deeply insightful
blog posts, Ash Maurya extended my work by
building a Web Startup version of Customer
Before I began writing and speaking
about the Customer Development model, I
thought it paradoxical that these methods
were employed by successful startups, yet
articulated by no one. Its basic propositions
were the antithesis of common wisdom yet
they were followed by those who succeeded.
“It is the path that is hidden in plain sight.”
No longer is it hidden. Clearly, Customer
Development has lit a fire.
What I find perhaps most gratifying is
businesses. Customer Development is not
this: Customer Development continues to
be advanced by practitioners, mentors,
entrepreneurs and investors who endeavor
to build successful startups into scalable
This book, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to
Customer Development represents another
the bar. Authors Brant Cooper and Patrick
Vlaskovits have integrated the thinking of
and evangelists so any entrepreneur can
distilled Customer Discovery into a series
of steps illustrated with clear examples,
concrete action items, and traps to avoid.
– Steven Gary Blank
Menlo Park, CA, April 2010