Tag: Rob Adams

“More than 65% of new products fail. If we switch over to startups, the failure rate takes huge leap to 90%.” – Rob Adams

Even the pros bat less than .500.  And the pros have marketing departments that conduct research and focus groups.  They can afford advertising.

Niche markets are a great strategy for startups.  They tend to have unique needs that are not being met by the big companies.  They are more accessible, generally more forgiving and usually very loyal; all things that favor the startup.

Read “If You Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“To win in a market with a new product or service, you have to go after a market that has significant market pain, a pervasive problem, and a willingness to pay for a fix.” – Rob Adams

This one phrase sums up the customer discovery process.  Many startups begin life as the founder’s passion for making a change.  Creating a new gadget to solve a specific problem is the purview of the inventor.  Inventors are wired to iterate and redesign until they are happy with their invention.  This often uses up their resources and capital until there’s not much money left to start the company.

If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, then you need to determine if your cool new gadget idea is something people want and will pay money to acquire.  Do this as early as possible so your design is informed by what the market wants and not what you think they want.

 Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Interviewing customers is not what most people get out of bed every morning dying to do…, – Rob Adams

“…but in the end, it’s the utlimate way to produce value in the market and it is a sign of an execution mentality.”

We talk plenty about the importance of the customer discovery process and Rob Adam’s quote from “If You Build It, Will They Come?” is dead on.

But I’d like to focus on the last eight words, “it is a sign of an execution mentality”.  This is subtle but it’s really very important.  Investors are a skeptical bunch and most tell you, all other things equal, that they invest in the management team.  The question in the back of the mind is always, “Can this person pull it off?”

The ability to show results and data from a well documented customer discovery process is a huge validating activity that shows you know how to get things done.   But it also shows you know how to do hard things that aren’t fun but very import to the process.

“You need to allocate 60 days effort before you start building your product and 10% of your budget to get the Market Validation work done.” – Rob Adams

This is bold advice from “If You Build It Will They Come?”  and it flows in parallel with the customer discovery process.  Rob Adams just put some numbers on it.

Understanding your value proposition and market is important.  So important that Adams recommends two full months of effort to nail it down.  Allocating budget means get out of the office and talk to people.  You can’t Google your way through customer discovery.  Go to trade shows.  Talk to industry experts and leaders in your market segments.  You may consider buying a market research study from one of the leading research firms.  They aren’t cheap.

Doing this before you develop the product helps reduce the risk that you make something no one wants to buy.

It’s cheap insurance.

Read “If You Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“The fact that one or more competitors are operating in the market proves that an opportunitiy exists.” – Rob Adams

I hate to hear someone pitch, “We don’t have any competition”.

For one thing, it shows they aren’t being honest with themselves, let alone me.

For another, if it is true, then there is no market and if there is no market, then there are no customers.  It’s not impossible to create markets from scratch but first movers have the burden of convincing people to be interested.

Finally, it shows they have overlooked the one competitor we all have.  That’s the customer’s decision to do nothing.

If there are a number of competitors in a market with no clear leader, the good news is that there is a defined customer problem but it also means no one has figured out the solution.  Go figure out why and you’ve got a hit.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“The capitalist system is brutal; it takes no prisoners… ” – Rob Adams

“…and has no regard for how much energy you have invested in your business.”

Inventors often face this issue.  They spend years and much of their own fortune designing the perfect product and they spend thousands on patent costs, only to be frustrated when they can’t raise funding or find out how little they can get for licensing their idea.

That’s because all this activity does not equate to value in the business world, nor does it guarantee that customers will buy the product.  The thing that builds value is whether the invention solves a problem for a lot people at a price they are willing to pay.

Dr. Adams will tell you to spend the first 60 days and at least 10% of your budget interviewing customers to see if your idea addresses a real problem in a market.  That way, the money you spend on development and intellectual property isn;t wasted on a hobby.

Definitely read “If Yo Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Interviewing customers is not what most people get out of bed every morning dying to do…” – Rob Adams

“…but in the end, it’s the utlimate way to produce value in the market as it is a sign of an execution mentality.”

There’s a lot packed into this sentence.  Beyond the obvious message of the importance of talking to customers, and the fact that no one likes to do it, there is a more subtle message that is very important.

Investors are interested in traction as a validation of your business model.  But before you have 1,000 visitors to your web site a day, there is the time when you don’t have a product and you don’t have customers.  But as Rob Adams preaches, that is the optimal time to validate the market through customer interviews.

It takes discipline and effort; two things that are going to be of interest to investors.  If you can demonstrate from hundreds of customer interviews that you have a minimally viable product, you not only validate your business model but you show you have the discipline and execution mindset to get the job done.

This is an intangible that all stakeholders look for but there is not a standard slide in the deck for execution mentality.  It comes from evidence of how you conduct business, how you research your markets and how you validate your value proposition.

Read “If You Build It, Will They Come?” by Rob Adams

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“A company fails because it doesn’t sell enough products or services.” – Rob Adams

Entrepreneurs don’t paid to design great products.  They get paid to sell products that solve customer problems.  Great design is part of that effort but only in balance with delivering a minimally viable product initially.

If you get your products in the hands of your customers as soon as possible, they will help you design greatness, and it will come most likely in a simple form.

Rob Adam’s “If You Build It Will They Come?” is a great blue print for understanding customer value.