Chapter 15. Stage One: Empathy

At the outset, you’re spending your time discovering what’s important to people and being empathetic to their problems. You’re searching through listening. You’re digging for opportunity through caring about others. Right now, your job isn’t to prove you’re smart, or that you’ve found a solution.

Your job is to get inside someone else’s head.

That means discovering and validating a problem and then finding out whether your proposed solution to that problem is likely to work.

Metrics for the Empathy Stage

In the Empathy stage, your focus is on gathering qualitative feedback, primarily through problem and solution interviews. Your goal is to find a problem worth solving and a solution that’s sufficiently good to garner early traction. You’re collecting this information by getting out of the building. If you haven’t gotten out of the building enough—and spoken to at least 15 people at each interviewing stage—you should be very concerned about rushing ahead.

Early on, you’ll keep copious notes. Later, you might score the interviews to keep track of which needs and solutions were of the greatest interest, because this will tell you what features need to be in your minimum viable product (MVP).

This Is the Best Idea I’ve Ever Had! (or, How to Discover Problems Worth Solving)

Entrepreneurs are always coming up with ideas. While some people say “ideas are easy,” that’s not entirely true. Coming up with an idea is hard. Coming up with a good idea is harder. Coming ...

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