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The Four Steps to the Epiphany Paperback – 1 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Quad/Graphics; 3 edition (1 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976470705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976470700
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mark Gibson on 26 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
If you were to interview entrepreneurial high-tech CEO's having just sold their companies, or less than successful CEO's who wound them up, they would provide a great source of information; however their reflections could sound like Tiger Woods at his recent press conference, "Regrets, I've had a few....too few...I mean too many to mention".

Underachievement of potential is an opinion many investors will have reached on exiting their high-tech investment. In a conversation with Nic Brisbourne, investment partner at Esprit Capital Ventures in London last week, we concluded that the principal factors causing underachievement are generally people, not product related and the root cause is nearly always poor sales and marketing execution.

In hindsight CEO's will generally agree that they should have made changes earlier and knowing what they know now, can tell you what they would have done differently.

But what if entrepreneurs had a method or set of best-practices that were proven to create early sales and marketing success in both startups and new product introductions in high-tech companies...would this change the odds of survival and over/underachievement and the value of the company on exit?

I believe it would and am currently reading and absorbing the wisdom and four steps cover knowledge captured in Steven Gary Blank's "The Four Steps to the Epiphany", subtitled "successful strategies for products that win", a book about building successful high-tech companies.

Blank is better known in the US than in Europe, having started 8 companies in CEO or Marketing roles, five of which were IPO's including names you may remember: E.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Note: The review that follows is of the Third Edition, published in 2007. Other than minor revisions and refinements, the material in the Fifth Edition is essentially the same. "A few typos were corrected and unfinished sentences completed."Blank would be the first to suggest that his book is literally a "work in progress" as is the revolution to which he continues to contribute. I especially appreciate having all of the information, insights, and counsel in a hardbound volume and only regret that it has no Index. Let's all hope that one is provided in the next edition.

* * *

In this volume, Blank introduces and then explains in thorough detail the "Customer Development" model, one that he characterizes as "a paradox because it is followed by successful startups, yet has been articulated by no one [person other than Blank, prior to its initial publication in 2005]. Its basic propositions are the antithesis of common wisdom yet they are followed by those who achieve success. It is the path that is hidden in plain sight." In fact, Blank insists that what he offers is a "better way to manage startups. Those that survive the first few tough years "do not follow the traditional product-centric launch model espoused by product managers of the venture capital community." And this is also true of product launches in new divisions inside larger corporations or in the "canonical" garages.

Moreover, "through trial and error, hiring and firing, successful [whatever their nature and origin] all invent a parallel process to Product Development. In particular, the winners invent and live by a process of customer learning and discovery.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Edward Smith on 2 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a comprehensive guide to creating a technology product that sells. It reads a little like an MBA textbook and is better for it, eschewing the usual buzzwords and wit typical of this genre for clear, practical advice. Steve Blank is all over YouTube if you want to listen to some of the material before committing to the book.
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Format: Paperback
Note: The review that follows is of the Third Edition, published in 2007.

In this volume, Steven Gary Blank introduces and then explains in thorough detail the "Customer Development" model, one that he characterizes as "a paradox because it is followed by successful startups, yet has been articulated by no one [other than Blank, prior to its initial publication in 2005]. Its basic propositions are the antithesis of common wisdom yet they are followed by those who achieve success. It is the path that is hidden in plain sight." In fact, Blank insists that what he offers is a "better way to manage startups. Those that survive the first few tough years "do not follow the traditional product-centric launch model espoused by product managers of the venture capital community." And this is also true of product launches in new divisions inside larger corporations or in the "canonical" garages.

Moreover, "through trial and error, hiring and firing, successful [whatever their nature and origin] all invent a parallel process to Product Development. In particular, the winners invent and live by a process of customer learning and discovery. I call this process `Customer Development,' a sibling to `Product Development,' and each and every startup that succeeds recapitulates it, knowingly or not." Wow! This really is interesting stuff and I haven't even begun to read the first chapter.

Few start ups succeed, most don't, and Blank notes that each new company or new product startup involves (borrowing from Joseph Campbell) a "hero's journey" that begins with an almost "mythological vision - a hope of what could be, with a goal few others can see. It is this bright and burning vision that differentiates the entrepreneur from big company CEOs and startups from existing businesses.
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