Customer First, Nothing Second

Since Fred Wilson’s “Mobile First, Web Second” post a few years back, there has been a lot of discussion over its claim. We have seen “Web Second, Mobile First“, “APIs First“, and Wilson has even revisited the topic in the past few months.

Everyone has their opinion on the ‘right’ approach. The problem with framing the issue in a right or wrong strategy is it neglects the most important part of any business: the customers.

Unless you’re Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, you should be directly asking customers what they want. The focus is uncovering customer problems and building a product to solve them. This seems like such an obvious solution, yet it is so frequently neglected (especially with early stage startups). Many businesses are so focused on building something beautiful that solves a “problem”, they neglect the masses that will be using their product.

It’s time to stop debating the best strategy with colleagues and instead let the customer define the product*.

*Most people don’t know how to handle customer development. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovitz is a must read. Jason Evanish has also wrote a helpful blog post here.