Understanding customers' needs

It's often a blind spot for scientists: in order to build a viable business, there has to be a market need for the technology you're developing. If not enough people want to buy what you're selling, your venture won't get off the ground. Each of the below experts stresses the importance of understanding customers' needs, and making sure you meet them.
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"Do you really understand the market you're playing in? Have you carved out a big enough piece that you can really lead?" ... more
Katie Rae
Managing Director of TechStars Boston
"Is there a pull? Do people want to buy this? What's the problem you're trying to solve with this technology?" ... more
Linda Plano
Principal, Plano and Simple and former Assoc. Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center
"You've probably spent the last two, three, five, maybe ten years developing your technology. How much time have you actually spent out talking with prospective customers?" ... more
Hambleton Lord
Managing Director at Launchpad Venture Group
"The lens of the market is a valid lens for doing research." ... more
Dr. Judith Giordan
Venture Founder, Investor, and former Fortune 100 executive
"Do not underestimate how important marketing will be to making your company successful, especially if you come from a scientific background." ... more
William Contente
Partner, Gessmer Updegrove and Chairman of the Board of Launchpad Venture Group
"You have to really have an open mind about where you think the technology will be applied, what the first application will be, who will find it most valuable. And you really get that information by asking questions." ... more
Dr. Abigail Barrow
Founding Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center
"Seeking advice from others, asking questions, challenging your own confidence around the technology itself...is really useful to do." ... more
Robert Balke
Principal, E&E Capital and Former Fortune 100 Exec.