Customer Discovery Video by Steve Blank

Steve Blank on Uncovering the Needs of Your Target Market

Customer discovery is the rigorous process of interviewing potential buyers and determining how your product or service can best meet their needs. In the videos below Steve Blank discusses how the discovery process is about validating your hypothesis and understanding which product features should be built, expanded, or dismantled.

source: Steve Blank

On-Demand Payments Consumer Growth Opens Startup Opportunity

On-demand payments are a significant shift in the way that consumers prefer to shop and buy and the way that merchants push the payment process into the background.

New research identifies how card-on-file solutions have been given a new lease on life and are now the primary consumer method for making payments via mobile devices.

The report – From Card-on-File to On-Demand Payments: New Payment Model and Strategies For Payment Providers – by Mercator Advisory Group describes several examples of third-party solutions that enable consumers to better control and manage their payments.

Examples are also cited in the report indicating how card issuers have responded to on-demand payments in a tactical way but have so far failed to grasp the strategic implications of this model.

“Sometimes changes in technology and consumer adoption occur so slowly that both the nature of the change and the magnitude of the change are misjudged.” said Tim Sloane, VP, Payments Innovation, and author of report.

“On-demand payments may appear to be a simple extension to traditional card-on-file solutions, but nothing could be further from the truth. On-demand payments are a significant shift in the way that consumers prefer to shop and buy and the way that merchants push the payment process into the background. With the issuer’s brand almost invisible at the point of purchase, issuers need to identify new strategies to remain relevant to consumers,” notes Sloane.


Startups should consider the impact of on-demand payments and look for growth opportunities that exploit this trend in consumer shopping preferences.  Technology changes and consumer adoption play big roles in the shift toward this new way of paying for purchases.  The advisory groups report offers insight into other possible reasons for the shift.


Report Highlights

  • Evidence that the on-demand payments model is the primary driver of the explosive growth in digital payments volume, further displacing cash and check transactions
  • Issuers should move from the tactical efforts in place today to a strategic response required to remain relevant with cardholders in the long term
  • Industries once thought to be impervious to disruption are now being radically reshaped due to smartphones and on-demand services


All Hail the Data Chief and The Rise of Digital

The exponential growth of data and digital has spawned companies to take advantage of this convergence by rethinking their business models.

A recent report from Experian Data Quality highlights the growing momentum of the ‘data force’ in response to the union between data and digital.  Below are some key points in the report.


Emphasis on Getting Buy-in

  1. Embedding data at the heart of a business and getting buy-in from the people at all levels requires a culture shift.
  2. Great importance is placed on making sure data is weaved into an organization’s culture.
  3. Companies are investing in professionals who have the mind-set and skills to drive solid results from data as operating models evolve.


The Chief Data Officer Role

A key responsibility of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) is to make sure the business is using their data in the most efficient way.  The CDO must ensure data aligns with the organization’s business needs and strategic objectives. It is the role of the CDO to break down deeply-rooted silos that can stagnate the flow of data and present new initiatives or current issues to the organization’s leadership.



source: Janani Dumbleton, Principal Consultant, Experian Data Quality.

Twitter Does Not Disrupt Traditional Media

Twitter Compliments Traditional Media Rather Than Disrupt

eLuminate Note: Fast forward video to 09:11 to view key parts of the discussion

Technology companies in the social media space are typically thought of as disruptors to television programming. However, Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, thinks Twitter compliments traditional media instead of disrupting the space.

If you are an entrepreneur in the tech space, with a social interaction product, you may want to consider ways in which your product adds to the user experience by complimenting media.

Now that almost anyone has access to tools that allow easy distribution of media, news gets disseminated in seconds.  The speed with which information gets pushed out around the globe is likely to shift the focus of television, print and radio news.  News organizations may have to rethink the business they are in and go back to their original roots of curating, analyzing, and synthesizing information.  No longer should news outlets try to compete with the immediacy of information on social media.

It is expected by most people that Twitter would try to crush any and all media that competes for eyeballs. Instead, Costolo emphasizes that Twitter and television can co-exist and compliment one another.

So, what does this mean for startups? As an entrepreneur, the so-called “obvious” threats to your business may include companies that have synergies that can be leveraged.  Consider possible opportunities for increased advertising revenue, content distribution, product expansion, etc.

Also, disruption may not only occur in the way that you planned. For example, you may not achieve world domination of every media outlet, but you may reshape the way your competition does business.  Similar to the possible return to the original roots of journalism, disruption may cause your competition to reinvent the way they deliver their product or service.

Source: Dick Costolo



Kinkos Co-Founder Shares Advice On Running A Startup

In this video, former Kinkos co-founder, Bernard Perrine, gives advice to entrepreneurs and discusses his startup.  Leveraging a team and transferring corporate skills to entrepreneurship. eLuminate Entrepreneur Profile Series moderated by eLuminate Network founder & CEO, Sharon R. Brown (@heysharonbrown).

Register for your free eLuminate membership to find out when additional clips from the series will be posted.

3 Pieces of Advice on What Entrepreneurs Can Do At The End Of Each Year?

Helpful Insight on Actionable Advice For Entrepreneurs

When the end of the calendar comes or the end of the fiscal year, it’s easy to stay wrapped up in the holiday festivities and possibly take a break.  Below are three useful tips and pieces of advice that entrepreneurs can use to take action and prepare their businesses at the end of each year.

1. Re-evaluate Strategic Objectives

Re-evaluate strategic objectives to avoid recycling old strategies and tactics that will have little to no impact of moving the business forward in the new year.  For example, a shift in market conditions may no longer make pursuit of certain customer segments worthwhile.  A startup founder can end up “spinning their wheels” chasing a strategy that does not make sense given changes in the business climate.

2. Eliminate Waste

Review key processes to eliminate waste.  Though businesses can have multiple processes, there are mission-critical and/or customer-facing processes that should be reviewed to uncover inefficiencies and waste.

Startup founders should ask, “What are my top one or two processes?” and “How efficient is each process?” They can then evaluate the performance of each process in terms the target metrics (e.g., speed, reliability, or other key metrics).


3. Plan For The Next Holiday Season

Small retailers should start high-level planning for the next holiday season.  It may sound premature, but the end-of-the-year is the time to think about what product or service options met performance expectations and which sales tactics may or may not have worked.

Entrepreneurs can easily get bogged down in the day-to-day operations involved in running their businesses, and then easily overlook much needed planning for the future.  At the end of the year, a founder may have plans set for the first quarter of the next year and even know what key initiatives they will pursue through the first six months of the year.


However, it makes sense to analyze the pluses and minuses of the current holiday season and note key takeaways that can be implemented the following year.

Time goes by fast in business and before they may realize, the next holiday season arrives. Then they maybe forced to react to critical needs like sourcing or inventory, without having considered the impact of their previous years’ efforts.