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Talking to Humans

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With a foreword from Steve Blank, Talking to Humans is a practical guide to the qualitative side of customer development, an indispensable skill for vetting and improving any new startup or innovation. This book will teach you how to structure and run effective customer interviews, find candidates, and turn learnings into action.

75 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 21, 2014

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Giff Constable

3 books18 followers

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5 stars
574 (34%)
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699 (42%)
3 stars
307 (18%)
2 stars
60 (3%)
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12 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 167 reviews
Profile Image for Shreef A.
21 reviews33 followers
October 9, 2014
This book is recommended by Steve Blank. That was the main reason to read it. I found the book to be delivering exactly what it promised to deliver, and in a an easy, practical way. No unimportant theoretical stuff, but a lot of practical real life stories and examples. The book is a short read, and that's a plus.
Profile Image for Jerecho.
387 reviews47 followers
November 27, 2017
This one is a good book for starters who wants to know how to approach people in order to make a products into sales. Also, it is best for people who are not new in the business with products that need sales...

It's a practical guide in customer relations and development, product innovation or improvements, and how to convert learnings, ideas into action.
Profile Image for Amity.
51 reviews25 followers
November 14, 2015
I finished reading this in a few hours. You can get this book for free at their website.

Easy to understand. Useful information. Comics to keep things light, funny and understandable.
Profile Image for Jose Papo.
260 reviews133 followers
October 14, 2014
This book is so good! It's a must read for everyone working in a startup and also everyone who works turning "requirements", features or needs into products. Talking to Humans is a practical guide to the qualitative side of customer development. It teach you how to structure and run effective customer interviews, how to focus on assumptions and how to turn learnings into action.
Profile Image for Tudor.
13 reviews
April 26, 2020
Great book for finding out more about customer development. It is very straight to the point, giving just the right amount of examples and explanations. On the other hand, it is very similar to The Mom Test and I consider that one to be more comprehensive.
45 reviews22 followers
May 25, 2015
I came across an interview[1] with Andrew NG recently and I quite randomly picked
one of the books he suggested.

This is a super short, crisp, onto the point advice on understanding your
customers and what they want from your product. The book highlights the need for
a systematic approach to analyzing the feedback, and tells you how to do that.
The book eventually talks about topics like balancing customer feedback and
product vision, systematic interviews, validating assumptions etc.

Something I should read again when I start my startup.

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05...
Profile Image for Marco  Piras.
2 reviews3 followers
July 11, 2017
The basic take-away is that interviews should be organised in this way: part 1. behaviour and mindset where they only talk about their issues and past solutions they used - part 2. feedback on product or prototype where they feel they can be brutally honest about calling your baby ugly. // During both parts I try to talk 5% and listen 95% (silences are fine, too - they need to think) and I follow a basic list of questions (based on some assumptions I make before and I want to confirm or deny). Whenever I hear something interesting, I ask why 5 times or so to dig deeper and get to the root of the issue, being prepared to hear things I don’t expect/want to hear.
Profile Image for Shivangi.
5 reviews13 followers
June 15, 2015
I was reading an interview of Andrew NG where he highly recommends this book, so I picked it up. This book is essentially for people who are working in a startup or intend to start one. Through stories, it shows how one needs to focus on assumptions at work place and work towards qualitative customer development.
Profile Image for Antoine Bordas.
58 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2021
Une lecture intéressante et simple pour les étudiants et jeunes product owners / entrepreneurs qui ont besoin d’une méthode pour se lancer dans la discovery. Donne notamment des outils pour :
- bien approcher les personnes à interviewer pour penser son produit
- bien structurer ses questions pour écouter activement son interlocuteur
- utiliser un business model canvas pour framer son approche
- s’assurer d’avoir suffisamment d’utilisateurs pour avoir une diacovery pertinente.

J’ai trouvé peu de modèles vraiment nouveaux dans l’ouvrage, beaucoup de bon sens et de grandes vérités bien structurées.
6 reviews
July 13, 2021
This book is about product and customer discovery. It started with a hypothetical pair of researchers who found a new cost-effective but high-quality material for pillows. Could they sell it? Would anyone buy it? Would they be successful?
The authors' advice is: talk to people. They list out or systemize steps to do:
- Who do you want to learn from?
- What do you want to learn?
- How will you get to them?
- How can you ensure an effective session?
- How do you make sense of what you learn?

All of these seem natural but at least the authors list them out. Several highlight points, in my opinion, are:
- write down what you believe or think before testing it or gathering data. This could help us to see our biases and speculations.
- learn from mistakes.
- don't wait for perfection, try, fail, and learn.
Profile Image for Stephen So.
3 reviews2 followers
September 22, 2017
Short and concise book to open up the world of communication to budding entrepreneurs. To get out there to talk to "humans" might seem like common sense, but there are some little tips that are extremely helpful -- don't sell, ask for advice first.
"If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Henry Ford
March 5, 2020
I've spent a good part of my time at Tata Motors to speak to users and ask about their experience with the vehicles we made. This book would've helped a lot at that point but i guess it's never too late to understand how to do customer research.
Recommend this to anyone who wants to talk to customers for their ventures.
Some solid advice and frameworks are in there.
Profile Image for Andreea Popescu.
11 reviews
October 26, 2022
Wonderful book, easy to read, and with extremely useful advice. I will definitely recommend it to my mentees.
July 14, 2020
A short book but explains in detail how to go about knowing and then talking to the customers. A good read if you're into product development.
Profile Image for Juan Hernandez.
14 reviews
April 26, 2022
Fácil de leer, buena información y muchos tips para poder hacer buena investigación sobre el mercado. Para empezar un proyecto y tener buena idea de cómo hacer buena investigación, este libro te da muy buenas bases.
Profile Image for Saran Sivashanmugam.
34 reviews5 followers
December 6, 2020
Insightful quick read. If you're someone thinking about developing a product or startup this is a must-read. This goes beyond the details of the vague advice "talk to the customer". The books explain then"why" rather than the "how".
Profile Image for Radoslava Koleva.
102 reviews15 followers
October 2, 2021
Yesss this is a great product book! Very short and sweet, and hits the problem right in the heart: before you go and build any new product, make sure someone out there actually needs it.

You have an idea which you think you can turn into a viable product? Check your assumptions and get them validated with some real humans.

While customer research & development is essential, I also loved a section at the very end of the book that says:

Lead With Vision
Customer Development and lean startup techniques are some of the most powerful ways to increase your odds of success, but they are not a replacement for vision. You need to start with vision. You need to start with how you want to improve the world and add value to people's lives.
Profile Image for Lucyfedia.
29 reviews10 followers
February 13, 2017
So helpful on so many levels. From simple lists of question types that you should not forget to ask to ingenious ideas (and encouragement) of how to get people to talk to you.
3 reviews
February 10, 2015
Great read when planning your customer interviews

This is great, concise guide that will help you plan how to approach and what to say to your potential customers. The advice is very helpful and a good supplement to Lean Startup series.
Profile Image for Ilia.
126 reviews
February 28, 2015
Great book for a basic, quick intro to talking to customers to validate your product assumptions. Not ground breaking but very fast to read and gives some very solid advice.
Profile Image for Daniil Lanovyi.
393 reviews37 followers
June 27, 2019
Extremely concise, highly valuable how-to cribsheet for product people and entrepreneurs to do product discovery.
Profile Image for Ivan Khokhlov.
9 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2020
"The art of being a great entrepreneur is finding the right balance between vision and reality."

"First, I want you to walk a day in your customer’s shoes and actually go out and buy a pillow. Second, I want you to observe people in the process of buying a pillow. And third, I want you to talk directly to them."

"Human beings have an amazing ability to hear what they want to hear (this is called “confirmation bias”). Go into each session prepared to hear things that you might not want to hear."

For me personally these 3 quotes summarise the essence of this short but incredible book. The technological fortresses in which we live in these days often make us forget about the true essence of who we are - humans. And all humans have problems. If you are an entrepreneur, a manager, a UX research researcher, or perhaps simply a student trying to gather some data, then you absolutely need to learn to talk to humans.

Google, or the internet, or all the data in the world will never have the answers you will find from direct but also correct interaction with other humans. And this book is an excellent guide for how to correctly interact with humans, but also a good reminder of why it is important.

The book takes us through several fictitious stories about UX research. Through these stories it guides us in the direction of having the right mindset for gathering data from humans, and also asking the right questions.

A highly recommended read.

Below are a few other quotes I personally liked from this book:

"Founders commonly obsess about product at the expense of understanding the customer or the business model."

"You need to understand your market. How does your customer buy? When do they buy? Why do they buy? Where do they buy?"

"If you can connect with people at the moment of their theoretical pain, it can be very illuminating."

"One tip is to try to ask questions that start with words like who, what, why and how. Avoid questions that start with is, are, would, and do you."

"Disarm their politeness training. People are trained not to call your baby ugly. You need to make them feel safe to do this."

"Try to shut up as much as possible. Try to keep your questions short and unbiased."

"If you are in the consumer space and haven't spoken to at least 50 to 100 people, you probably have not done enough research."

"Ultimately, you are better off moving fast and making decisions from credible patterns than dithering about in analysis paralysis."
Profile Image for Naveen Arun.
52 reviews
January 12, 2021
Nice quick reference for startups engaging in primary market research, and a good fit for my current needs. Of course, I have yet to verify that the contents actually improve startup performance in practice. The book is written like a desk reference (thus making a rating inappropriate - it would feel like giving a rating to a dictionary), and there is plenty valuable intuition contained within, e.g.:

- Don't pitch/sell your product to interviewees, as they will either try to brainstorm new features they want or be unable to give accurate estimates of how much they'd spend on your product. These aren't necessarily bad things, but they don't yield useful information about what really counts: whether end users would actually use your product.

- Certain details re. how to cold-email or cold-call people; there's a template included in the appendix

- Be clear about exactly what you want to learn from your interviews, and from who. Quantifying results can help eliminate human biases (especially confirmation bias).

I'd recommend this book as a workbook and/or continuous reference rather than something you just read through once and put away.
January 30, 2022
“Entrepreneurs have a tendency to over-obsess about their product to the neglect of other business risks. They also tend to stay inside their heads for far too long. I urge you to be brave, get out of building, and go talk to real human beings.”
Although i work for a large corporation, the statement above stays true. We know our product is for customer, but we focus too much on internal discussions/agreements to get our work done. There are a lot of managers out there who clearly oppose presenting ideas prematurely to people outside the company. This book not only tells you how to talk to people about your idea, but also why it is so important to do so by showing many positive examples. If you like your idea so much and get it work out, you need to talk to real people to get as much feedback as possible (so that you can eliminate or validate your risky assumptions). This book convinces you that you are not serious enough otherwise. “It is never as difficult as you think”!

Note to myself: I also need to remember that talking to humans is a method to support my idea, not the method to create an idea. Shaping a solution is our job, not customers’.
Profile Image for Darshita.
16 reviews65 followers
December 16, 2021
Talking to Humans provides founders practical guidance on how to develop good customer discovery principles and conduct meaningful primary market research (PMR).

As the founder of an early-stage enterprise tech startup, my key takeaways were:

1. It is important to include all of the following personas in the discovery phase:
- Actual users
- Technical buyer who holds approval rights
- Economic buyer who controls the purse
- Strategic buyer who is excited about the change you can bring

2. Observations from customer interviews, which are often thought of as qualitative exercises, must be translated into quantifiable metrics. Otherwise, we run the risk of creating our own "subjective reality" by filtering what we want to hear. However, we also need to be careful of turning statistics into facts. The overarching advice is to calculate metrics but to also remain skeptical of them.
Profile Image for Anna Rasmussen.
30 reviews1 follower
July 12, 2020
I chose this book after wanting to gain a better understanding of “how to” perform customer discovery and interview users. Another good book to read as a follow up of The Lean Startup.

The book offers great practical tips and templates for planning, conducting and interpreting interviews and I will be implementing a lot of these ideas into my work. I found the descriptions and warnings about confirmation bias, leading questions and making sure you are asking the right audience particularly useful. I also think the advice to remain skeptical and not focus on a single metric was made well and I appreciated the links back to other related works.

At only 70 pages, it is a bit short and I would have liked a bit more information/depth but still worth the read! Recommend to anyone wanting to speak to users to validate ideas and test.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 167 reviews

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