The Two Quotes

Quote #1

“The business and marketing functions of a startup should be considered as important as engineering and development, so they deserve an equally rigorous methodology to guide them”

Steve Blank(1)

Quote #2

“So why so many organizations hire expensive and highly qualified engineers for developing software and then invest in a few-hours, general marketing courses for their marketing/business people?”

Donato Mangialardo (2)

(1) Blank has spent over thirty years within the high technology industry. He has founded or worked within eight startup companies, four of which have gone public. Blank is recognized for developing the Customer Development methodology, which launched the Lean Startup movement. Blank teaches and writes about Customer Development and is a consulting associate professor of entrepreneurship at Stanford.He currently lectures at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, Columbia University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). @sgblank

(2) Donato Mangialardo is an unknown follower of Steve Blank. He helps  organizations to define, validate, build and market products for sustainable commercial success.  He has spent 10 years of his career in Silicon Valley where he learned how to learn. With focus on Product Marketing/Management. He is still learning a lot. He believes that there is nothing like “seeing the light in your customer’s eyes”. And he does see that from time to time. @donatomm


Today’s BIG thing

It is great to see that most of the principles and the techniques I use to inspire and drive my customers’ businesses were “Just a crazy idea two years ago, but [they are ] now teached at Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, Caltech, Princeton and for the National Science Foundation at the University of Michigan and Georgia” Tech”

Many, many thanks to the authors of the Next Startup Weekend for helping new businesses to suceed.  The other good news is that well established businesses can really take advantage of these principles and techniques. They match the problems I see everyday at my customers’. Even if the many things are still perceived as “crazy” in Italy today, things are changing rapidly. I do love my job.

Lean, Agile, Nimble and ready to rock. Or to fail? Part1


Our business is creating software products. We know that “Value” means “providing Benefits to the customers”.

By Product we simply intend “any source of value for customers”.

Now, we are at a time where everybody here at tecnotec13897 is extremely excited for the following reasons

  • We got a new, great idea, a vision for a new product that we believe it will be a groundbreaking innovation
  • We are proud of what we plan to release to the world. It will improve many things
  • We have got a solid strategy in place
  • Our team is composed of very smart people who work very well together in a self-directed manner
  • We are thankful for being able to count on an inspiring, principle-centered, strong management team
  • We know that success depends on the ability to learn how to make repeatable what we have done so far
  • We have put great infrastructure in place to open the road for scaling up when it’s time
  • We have a robust yet very feasible and crystal-clear business plan that has been happily signed off by all stakeholders
  • We have a very well working and well-managed Agile methodology in place, since 2003 and we are now using Lean Agile

We have built our product.

We have tweaked it, fixed some issues, added a few features and shipped again

The conclusion we have to draw is always the same

Our intended customers don’t like our product

They simply won’t buy it

– o –

Using Eric Ries’ words,

we have




executed a plan to achieve failure


Because we did not know what our customers wanted

Or, worse, what they actually needed

We did not know who our customers were supposed to be

How are they rewarded in their job, what’s their environment like. What are their top-of-mind issues.

What problem they have. How critical that is. How urgent is for them to solve it. How pervasive is that problem in the market of customers we intended to sell our product into

How are they rewarded in their job, what’s their environment like. What are their top of mind issues. What problem they have. How critical that is. How urgent is for them to solve it. How pervasive is that problem in the market of customers we intended to sell our product into

We did not know about them. What they love, what they hate, what is a perfect day for them, what they are afraid of.

We did not know how they buy, when they research what, how do they get the information they seek about the problems they want to solve

Instead of focusing to the landing field, we were piloting a plane focusing to ourselves or to other non-landing related targets.

Have you ever been there? Please share your story

This will be the topic of my talk at Better Software 2012



Your organization builds products.

A product is, simply stated, any source of value for your customers. It can be a service, a phone, a candy, a Cloud Platform for B2B apps.

Value means providing benefits to your customers

Your organization has the following :

A new great idea, a vision for a new Product
A solid strategy in place
Ridicolously smart people
An inspiring, principle-centered, strong management team
A great infrastructure in place
An hard-working, dedicated team
A robust yet very feasible plan
A very welll working and well managed Agile methodology, since 2003

Then you ship the product.

Your customers don’t like it. They don’t buy it.


Your dream organization  has been successfully, faithfully rigorously executing a plan to achieve failure (Eric Reis, The Lean Startup)

This is why I spend every day of my week helping organizations to make sure they know their customers, their buyers, the problems they have and that we can help with our current and future products.

Changing things for the Better

Despite what our leaders say [….] studies show that our organizationsd are much less productive that they once were ang going out of business faster and faster

  • Jurgen Appelo, How to change the World
  • Stephen Denning, author of “The Leader’s guide to Radical Management”

The same authors say that what was working 20 years ago no longer works today, including the way you changing things. I see two areas in today’s business where a big change is needed. Why is needed? For better results and happier workers.

1. The way we build solutions to problems (e.g. Products, Services)

  • As an example, the Agile Manifesto/Movement has made a huge impact in the world of software development in just a few years. Jurgen Appelo is changing the way managers influence their organizations.

2. The way we build and market solutions to problems  (e.g. Telling our Buyers how good our products are)

  • As an example, the “world’s most popular product management and marketing training company”, and virtually every single marketing leader say that it is the market, the buyers that drive winning products, not a bunch of smart people in a meeting room, regardless of how smart they are (if you think of Steve Jobs here, that allegedly “did not do market research” remember that he knew his buyers like nobody one else including the buyers themselves)

These two areas need change. As for the first one, I recommend reading the small book mentioned above, “how to change the world”. It’s 1.5 Euros on Lulu.  It is only a starter of course. Nobody things any book can do any change. People do. Inspired and motivated people do. So this book helps you to start the right tway.

As for the second one, no secret recipe here either. It’s hard. It’s complicate. The shift from telling/pushing products  to listening to buyer’s problems, adapting to their purchase habits, and modeling a complex reality with a few but very helpful models and methodologies (along the lines of the market-driven approach, the Buyer Personas profiling) is a hard and complex task.

Of course they are complex. It is the way you deal with complexity that makes a difference!


If you don’t aknowledge complexity (and the ways to deal with it) and  use shortcuts instead (such as solely listening to what your salespeople or vocal customers say) then the risk of failures increases. It is under your control really. Why shouldn’t you build a repeatable way to do business that brings the results you want? Stop for a moment and think about it.


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