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The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win
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The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,414 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
The essential book for anyone bringing a product to market, writing a business plan, marketing plan or sales plan. Step-by-step strategy of how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development for a new product or company. The book offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. Packed with concrete e ...more
Paperback, 281 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by K & S Ranch (first published 2003)
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Sep 21, 2011 Herve rated it it was amazing
Although I had mentioned him in previous posts such as The Art of Selling and his Views on Entrepreneurship, I had never read Steve Blank’s until now. I just finished reading The Four Steps to the Epiphany and I must just say it is a great book.

I will explain into some details his theory but the main reason I love this book is how he explains why founders are critical in all the decisions of the early phases of a start-up. Not the usual “hire business people”, but “learn and become an expert unt
Jul 15, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
(4.0) Good stuff, helpful resource, especially for enterprise software

* "Customer Development" should be the focus, rather than blind execution of product development
** You've got a product vision, so find your potential customers and cultivate them, learn from them
** Validate your vision, refine as appropriate
** Don't ramp up sales/marketing efforts till you have a repeatable, proven process for selling (and be sure it's repeatable for the mainstream market, not early adopters
* Know whether you
Eric Smith
Oct 29, 2012 Eric Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
I am torn between giving this book five stars and giving it two - it's an incredibly useful book to me personally and I wish I'd read it years ago, but at the same time it is turgidly written, complex, encrusted with typos and amateurish editing, and it is applicable to a narrow audience. However! If you are a member of that audience - entrepreneurs starting up a technology-based firm, especially one doing business-to-business - then it is incredibly useful, provided you can get through it and d ...more
Marwan Tarek
Feb 19, 2015 Marwan Tarek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
provides fresh approach on how to find your customer through the customer development process. it is a good read with the lean startup.
May 25, 2014 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-book-list
A must-read if you're going to start an organization or business.

Some takeaways:

* In the early stages of start-up, focusing on 'execution' will put you out of business. Instead, you need a 'learning and discovery' process so you can get the company to the point where you know what to execute.

* Before you can build and sell a a product, you have to answer some very basic questions: 1. What are the problems our product solves? 2. Do customers perceive these problems as important? 3. How many cu
Dan W
Mar 13, 2012 Dan W rated it it was amazing
An exceptional book that deserves its own category. Rough in spots as it's from the author's keystrokes to your page. You can quite literally take this book in hand and use it as a field manual on growing your business. Mr. Blank rightly points out within the starting pages that most business have failed before they even started, illustrates clearly why no amount of time or money will fix them, and what the more successful approach is and how to use it.

Charts, graphs, and words with definitions
Harish Venkatesan
Dec 10, 2010 Harish Venkatesan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: product-design
This is the best book I've read about starting a company, full of key insights about how startups differ from established organizations-- and the practical implications of how to run your business based on this core difference. An in-depth manual/how-to-guide/workbook all in one, the concepts in here are ridiculously valuable and will assist anyone interested in bringing a product to market and achieving the mythical "product-market fit". This is the first book I recommend to people in startups/ ...more
Kevin Arne
Jul 20, 2015 Kevin Arne rated it really liked it
The main idea of the book, though not stated explicitly, is that scale up should happen at the right time: after real customers have been found and validated, and the business model still makes sense with the information gathered from real customers. The four steps are customer discovery, customer validation, customer creation, and company building. Each step is meticulously described, complete with documents you should end up with, numbers of interviews, and so on.

What Blank doesn't mention up
Sarah Uhlfelder
May 19, 2014 Sarah Uhlfelder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the startup, product launch, business planning BIBLE!
Will Szal
Mar 20, 2014 Will Szal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Number one book to read on entrepreneurialism. If you can practice the principles outlined in this book, you'll be a successful entrepreneur [unlike most books of this sort].
Mar 07, 2016 Cristian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech-startups
Excellent. This is THE foundational book if you are taking this path. Very hard and slow to get through. Be sure to also check the rich bibliography.
Igor Artamonov
Mar 12, 2012 Igor Artamonov rated it liked it
Step by step guide to running your company/startup, with a lot of details about every moment
Kari Metzger
Jan 15, 2016 Kari Metzger rated it it was amazing
"The Book that Started the Lean Revolution". For a reason I would say. This is a must-read for any startup founder or leader, and is worth reviewing until you hit the post-transition stage of corporation (and then re-read it when you create your innovation departments). It grants a simple, elegant, clean view of the different ways a startup needs to focus in the different markets (existing, new, etc), and the steps it will go through as it matures. There are a few books that every startup busine ...more
Robert Postill
Jan 30, 2016 Robert Postill rated it really liked it
Shelves: got-it, business
I've taken a while to get to this book butI'm glad I did. This book is a greta recipe book for working with a startup. It gives clear specific advice on the business of running a startup and provides necessary and valuable guidance for those people in charge of startups. The book gets mentioned a lot in other people's work (particular hat tip to The Lean Startup and it's clear to see why. The advice is clear and no-nonsense. I know it's not exactly the meat of the book but I did love the biblio ...more
Max Nova
May 10, 2015 Max Nova rated it it was amazing
For a first-time entrepreneur, reading "Four Steps to the Epiphany" is like getting sucker-punched in the chest, but in the best possible way. Steve Blank rounds up all of those questions that you've had floating around in your mind but were too afraid to ask, illustrates why failure to answer these questions means failure for your business, and shows you a clear path towards answering these questions and growing your company.

I wish that I had gotten my hands on this book about 12 months ago bec
Feb 19, 2015 TarasProkopyuk rated it it was amazing
Очень и очень рекомендую данную книгу всем-всем-всем предпринимателям, менеджерам, инвесторам да и другим специалистам, которых интересуют вопросы запуска бизнеса, удержания «на волне», и его эффективное развитие.

Найти похожую книгу весьма редчайшее удовольствие. Одно из преимуществ данной работы это очень и очень качественный материал и легкая форма подачи, понятная даже для «чайников». А ещё вы найдёте в данной книги те советы, которые можно получить только у опытных практиков, а не у паркетны
Yevgeniy Brikman
Jan 14, 2015 Yevgeniy Brikman rated it really liked it
A good book to learn how to develop, market, and sell products as a startup. Makes a very convincing case for why the product development, marketing, and sales practices used in a big, established company will not work in a new venture trying to grab a foothold. Reasonably clear guide on the proper way to do it in such an uncertain environment, including lots of great questions to ask yourself (as a startup employee) and your customers.

Downsides to the book are that parts of it feel a little dra
Jeff Yoak
Oct 18, 2010 Jeff Yoak rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book.

It is a theoretical description, roadmap and workbook for how to think about aspects of marketing, sales, business development and even engineering for a startup and how they differ from processes you should follow in a mature company. It is a step-by-step process you can follow to do these things well written in a way that even an engineer can process and follow successfully.

My own experience is in startups is that sometimes the early vision is so good that these things
Fran Toolan
Apr 12, 2013 Fran Toolan rated it it was amazing
I thought this was one of the most pragmatic books any entrepreneur/founder could possibly read.

Unlike most business books, this one is packed with step by step advice on how to start a company or even a new product or service. Steven eloquently synthesizes everything I've ever learned from 25 years in business in this book.

I cannot recommend it more highly to anyone who is starting a company, or in a position to start a new service within an existing company.

Perhaps the most prophetic thing he
Ben Curtis
May 25, 2014 Ben Curtis rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
The guy is smart, and from what I can tell he has good points to make. I'd love to sit and chat about the businesses we've started. But the book itself is unreadable, confused, amateurish and no longer as relevant as the much better blogs and books on the subject that are now available. It might have been a good thing that he got this book out when he did, but to pick it up now would be as much a mistake as creating new technology based on any other 10-year old ideas.
Jan 31, 2016 Ben rated it it was ok
A reluctant two-stars since the book is not bad. It simply didn't quite meet my "worth the time it took to read" criteria. In short, while it has a lot of legitimately good information and ways of thinking, it felt too anecdotal and artificially formulaic about how things can and will happen. A well-edited, reorganized, much shorter rewrite of this book might get it up to four or five stars, but alas that's not the book as it is.
Traian Stancescu
Mar 30, 2016 Traian Stancescu rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read. Significantly harder to finish than the newer titles out there, but it does contains a wealth of information with little redundancy. It truly shows the scope and complexity of starting a business. The highly detailed and exhaustive manner in which the startup process is explained makes it an excellent reference book -- expect to get help here whenever you're in a dilemma
Dave Applegate
Aug 12, 2015 Dave Applegate rated it it was amazing
A stellar book on lean startup methodology. Blank breaks the steps down to ensure your startup is a success in an easy to understand an very actionable way. My only complaint is the book is geared more towards B2B enterprise level sales than B2C or smaller customers. That being said, it doesn't take too much effort for the reader to extrapolate his process into these markets.
Egypt Scholars Scholars
Dec 29, 2012 Egypt Scholars Scholars rated it really liked it
The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win
هل تطمح أن تكون من رواد الأعمال "Entrepreneurs" و تنشئ شركتك الجديدة؟ هل تحب أن تعرف كيف تطرح منتجك في السوق و كيف تكتب خطة عمل أو خطة تسويق أو مبيعات؟ هل تبحث عن من يدلك على استراتيجية تخطوها خطوة بخطوة نحو تطوير شركة أو منتج جديد؟.........
اخترنا لك في فقرة "الكتب القيمة" كتاب "نحو الإلهام في أربع خطوات" أو "The 4 steps to the Epiphany" و هو من تأليف ستيفن بلانك أحد كبار رواد الأعمال و التسويق في وادي السليكون بكاليفورني
Paul Noordhuizen
Feb 14, 2015 Paul Noordhuizen rated it liked it
I'm the co-founder of a cloud product startup and this absolutely is a valuable book for anyone starting something new. For me the key insight is to release your product (very) early & often and heavily invest your time in talking to (potential) customers, gathering feedback, truly understand their needs and pivot quickly when your hypotheses are invalidated. This is essential in getting a good product-market fit and customers love it when you really listen to them and do something with thei ...more
Aditya Mallya
Feb 18, 2016 Aditya Mallya rated it it was ok
This book has some sensible things to say about how startups fundamentally differ from large companies, and how they should be managed accordingly. A lot of it seems like common sense, but if you believe Steven Blank, common sense is often in short supply in the startup world, even in truly revolutionary thinkers. I don't doubt the validity of his ideas - they are deceptively simple, but clearly valuable. However, while 'The Four Steps to the Epiphany' would have made an excellent article for th ...more
Ko Matsuo
Nov 05, 2014 Ko Matsuo rated it really liked it
Steve Blank is really smart. The insight that Blank brings into why products fail is really worth the price of the book. His solution of what he calls Customer Development (talking to the customer to validate whether he has the problem you are trying to solve and whether your product solves it) is really spot on. Unfortunately, his explanation of the process is tedious and linear, introducing sub-process after sub-process.
Jan 28, 2016 Kip rated it liked it
Insightful when thinking about business problems of a start-up. My business has many of these characteristics, even though the business is now 20 years old. Helped me clarify what people want from my work, not necessarily the product we offered.
Garik Avetisyan
Jan 16, 2015 Garik Avetisyan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
to be read and re-read

This is a book that should permanently be at hand for any entrepreneur , this single book probably can save much more money than together all books in entrepreneurship field.
Read , undestand , repeat
Ryan Hurst
Mar 28, 2016 Ryan Hurst rated it really liked it
Tucker Max on this book and The Lean Startup: "I generally recommend these books together. They are a really good guide to coming up with good startup ideas and then, most importantly, testing them and iterating on the tests. If you need a more step-by-step guide to coming up with ideas and testing them, there is not much better than these two books together."

When the tech boom began in Silicon Valley in 1978, Steven Blank was on the scene. Although he retired in 1999, Blank had accumulated a we
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  • The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to the Four Steps to the Epiphany
  • Lucky or Smart?: Secrets to an Entrepreneurial Life
  • Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model
  • Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup
  • Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets
  • The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup
  • The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs
  • Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
  • Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
  • Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
  • Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Web Application
  • Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
  • Out of the Crisis
  • The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law
  • The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
  • Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster
  • The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix The One You're In)
  • Business Model Generation: A Handbook For Visionaries, Game Changers, And Challengers (Portable Version)
Put to a vote, I might have been chosen “least likely to succeed” in my New York City high school class. My path has taken me from repairing fighter planes in Thailand during the Vietnam War, to spook stuff in undisclosed location(s), and I was lucky enough to arrive at the beginning of the boom times of Silicon Valley in 1978.
After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, I retired in 1999. I sta
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“My advice was to start a policy of making reversible decisions before anyone left the meeting or the office. In a startup, it doesn’t matter if you’re 100 percent right 100 percent of the time. What matters is having forward momentum and a tight fact-based data/metrics feedback loop to help you quickly recognize and reverse any incorrect decisions. That’s why startups are agile. By the time a big company gets the committee to organize the subcommittee to pick a meeting date, your startup could have made 20 decisions, reversed five of them and implemented the fifteen that worked.” 16 likes
“In a startup no facts exist inside the building, only opinions.” 2 likes
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