Ep 46 – On Product Validation and How to Learn from Customers – with Mark McFarlane

mark_mcfarlaneFinding the right product-market fit is businesses’ toughest mission. This is usually where most entrepreneurs’ failure originate. It is therefore crucial to initially focus on listening to market’s feedback instead of counting on technology as a solution. Indeed, technology doesn’t solve problems in itself but is the vehicle to a solution for a particular business need. One should instead direct his efforts on learning from customers before relying on technology.

This is what my guest, Mark McFarlane, focuses on whenever working for clients or on his own product. Mark is the Founder and CEO of Tacchi Studios, a mobile and web app development agency based in Tokyo. He is also behind the local social network for creatives called Canvas.

Mark started his entrepreneur career in the UK as a co-founder and investor of Vinetrade, a web-based wine trading service. Despite the company failing after a few years, he shares with us the most valuable lessons that he learnt along the way.

One thing that I was particularly interested to discuss with Mark was the natural progression of his career from freelancer to agency to product. Mark explains how the transitions took place on this path to scalability and we discuss the pros and cons of each business type.

Questions: What are the best strategies to validate the product-market fit? What are great question to ask at interviews when hiring? (reply in the comments)

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  • Introduction of Mark McFarlane
  • Learning from startup failure
  • Building an MVP
  • Technology is not the solution
  • From freelancer to agency
  • How to become a good manager
  • Hiring, what question to ask
  • The importance of having side projects
  • Scalability by building a product
  • Canvas: social platform for creative people
  • Customer feedback and product validation
  • Quickfire questions

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