The Four Steps to the Epiphany

This book is a handbook for those who are thinking of bringing a product to market. It describes the traditional product development model, and suggests it is a recipe for disaster:

  1. Seed concept
  2. Develop product
  3. Test product
  4. Launch

Author Steven Gary Blank describes why this approach rarely works. First, the greatest risk for new endeavors is not in the development of a product, but rather in the development of customers and markets. His assertion is that startups don't fail because they lack a product; they fail because they lack customers and a proven financial model. They over-emphasize execution instead of learning and discovery, and typically end up launching the wrong product.

Instead, he offers an alternate, customer-focused approach to pursuing a new endeavor:

  1. Customer discovery
  2. Customer validation
  3. Customer creation
  4. Company building

The kinds of questions that should be asked through this customer-focused process are:

  • What problems will our products solve?
  • Which customers are most impacted by these problems?
  • What is it worth to them?

Each of Blank's four steps are described in detail

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