Andreas Klinger is serial entrepreneur and co-founder of LOOKK.com. The Bulgarian community is proud to have him as a participant at the Balkan Venture Forum Sofia in May.
Give us a short brief about yourself.
Until recently I ran a London-based fashion startup called LOOKK.com. Among others we had Seedcamp, 500 Startups, Eden Ventures and several other well known people as investors. We worked on it for roughly 3-4 years but ultimately decided to close it down beginning of this year. Since then I work with startups to help them understanding customer signals better and more importantly earlier.
What have you heard about the Bulgarian entrepreneurship/startup ecosystem?
Half our company was Bulgarian. We produced garments in Sofia and also our development team was based here. Thanks to that I had the possibility to come to Bulgaria quite often. Personally I am a huge fan of Sofia and I am happy to see it’s active Ecosystem. I don’t dare to say many names as I certainly will forget most, but as an example Eleven and LAUNCHub are very well known even outside of CEE.
We know that you are coming to the Balkan Venture Forum Sofia in May, what are you going to talk about mainly?
I believe that most startup founders are exceptionally great builders. Many have technical background, some built companies before. Founders can execute. Especially Bulgaria is known for technical talent – companies like Telerik or Hackerspaces like Initlab come to mind.
I believe we are all good in developing things right. But we suck in developing the right things.
There are hypes around methodologies like lean startup or customer development. And we all know we want to speak to our customers. “Our customers love what we do” “We got very positive feedback” is things I hear very often from startups. The problem is: People lie.
Everyone lies. You lie when you “ask for feedback” while you consciously or not bias the person you ask to get them to say what you want to hear. They lie when they answer, because they want to keep us motivated or simply because we were very convincing to them.
Based on the works on many UX experts and Steve Blank’s Customer Development I want to highlight a few techniques in how you can differ useable feedback – feedback you can build decisions on-top of – from non-useable feedback, feedback that might kill your company.
How would you define “successful product”?
What should entrepreneurs have in mind when working on their “customer development”?
Understand your customer’s problem from their point of view and in their words. They use/buy products because they get a job done for them. Your tool might be a perfect solution for no problem, or you might communicate it in other words or to the wrong people. Only if you understand the “job to be done” of your customer you can build a truly focused product.
What is your best advice on starting up “lean”?
Don’t look for a holy grail. You won’t succeed just because you do everything lean. Entrepreneurship takes wits, creativity and hard work. No methodology will ever change that. Lean will just help you decreasing the impact of each of your wrong steps and failures.
Give a short advice to Bulgarian entrepreneurs.
Join the Balkan Venture Forum and connect with national and international like-minded people. It is one of the best times to be an entrepreneur ever.
If I can help feel free to reach out on Twitter via @andreasklinger
The Balkan Venture Forum is a leading regional investment and innovation forum. It showcases innovative companies to active investors and promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, investment readiness and access to finance in the Balkans.