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Startup Notes: How to Talk to Users (Eric Migicovsky)

Abhinav Reddy - Mar 25, 2021

Created - Mar 22, 2021

The following series covers my personal notes about startups. Today's topic is about Users, and specifically how to talk to them. This might sound obvious at first, but there a number of nuisances.  In particular, the tendency to dog-food answers to our users, instead of being empathetic and really understanding their problems. Eric, our speaker today, is a partner at YCombinator and founder of Pebble, an early fitness tracker and smartwatch company.



- Founders must be able to directly talk to users. Do not outsource this 🙊☠️ (0:30)

- A great user interview is about getting information to help you improve your product. Not about selling your product to them (3:40)

- Talk to users about specifics. Not hypotheticals about your product or their use cases (4:27)
- Learn to listen instead of speaking. Take notes (5:17)

- Five great questions to ask (6:00):
   > What is the hardest part about X?

   > Tell me about the last time you encountered this problem?

   > Why was this hard?

   > What, if anything, have you done to try and solve this problem?

   > What don't you love about the solutions you've already tried?

- Talking to users 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 is useful at all stages:
   > Got idea? -> find users with problem (18:10)

   > Built prototype? -> best first customer (20:50)

   > Launched? -> find product market fit (25:30)


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Abhinav Reddy

"It is always impossible, until it is done" - Nelson, Mandela