Preflight - Customer Validation

Preflight helps founders, developers, and designers experiment and validate a scalable product/startup idea. We take a hands-on approach to helping you make that first real commitment to building a high growth tech startup.Preflight - Customer Validation, a 5 week workshop exploring customer discovery, starts January 28. (Deadline to apply is January 25th.) 

Cam Linke, Startup Edmonton Co-Founder, shares some insight on the role customer validation plays in launching a successful product. In addition to his role at Startup Edmonton, Cam is CEO of Touch Metric, makers of business-to-business surveying software. Touch Metric serves hundreds of industries and thousands of clients world-wide. 

Q: Why is customer validation such an important step for a startup idea/company? 

A: Customer validation is super important because entrepreneurs can end up spending a ton of time early on going after the wrong idea, or the right idea in the wrong way. The problem is that until you start talking to customers you don’t know if you’re right or wrong. Customer validation helps you get answers and a better understanding so that you are building the right product, the right way, with the right business model around it.

 Q: What is a common mistake you see startups making when it comes to customers? 

Often entrepreneurs mistake excitement, or a customer agreeing with them, with something the customer actually wants. Most people are too nice to tell you that they don’t like something so they’ll end up saying things like “we might use that”, or “yeah let us know when you’re done and we’ll try it out”. So entrepreneurs go out and make the product and end up surprised when the customer isn’t that excited when they are asked to use it and pay for it.

 Q: What is the most challenging parts of understanding your customer before having product to sell? 

The most challenging part is that you very often don’t have more than an idea, or some basic mockups and you need to get some sort of validation that you are going down the right path. The hard part is really understanding what they user wants without having them have something concrete in their hands.

If you’re interested in learning more about this process, Preflight Customer Validation gives you the tools to make this process less painful and move on to building a minimal viable product with confidence. 

Preflight - Customer Validation is the first of three Preflight workshops on offer for Winter/Spring 2015. For more information on the series,

P.S. There is still time to register for tonight’s Preflight Beta session! 2 hours dedicated to exploring your startup idea using the Lean Canvas Model. A great primer and prerequisite for all Preflight workshops.