Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here
Have you defined your market?
Do you know what it takes to reach your market?
Who do you talk to when your market doesn’t respond?
That’s the problem that edX, a consortium started by MIT and Harvard University to develop free online courses, faced and here is what they found.
Though edX aimed to reach the world, its initial courses were designed for the people professors at MIT and Ivy-caliber partners know best—the ultraqualified students they’re accustomed to teaching in their hallowed halls.
edX needed to learn why they weren’t reaching their target market, since it there was no question of the need.
And learn they did, but not from the brainpower already involved in the project.
They learned from a 15 year-old user from Mongolia who aced the course in spite of the way the experts designed it (it’s been changed).
The edX team and contributors show the error in looking to ‘stars’ and assuming what they say/do is the best approach.
While Battushig Myanganbayar is a genius, one of the best skills I offer clients is my ignorance of their project, but they will literally fight to forcibly educate me about it.
But it is ignorance that allows me to ask the question-sans-assumptions that light up inconsistencies, missing pieces, and other customer turnoffs.
The Lean approach pushes founders to talk to their market early and often, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the main market.
Often you can learn more talking to outliers, both inside and outside the company, than you can from the majority and the experts.
Image credit: HikingArtist