By  Ciara Garvan, founder of WorkJuggle.com. See her reviews for Irish Tech News here. More about Ash Maurya here => author of and Creator of . My new book: .

Picture above Orla Battersby, Manager Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start Up Division, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, Ash Maurya, Keynote Speaker and author of Running Lean, Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland 

The pictures came from Enterprise Ireland

“Life is too short to build something nobody wants”

Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean and serial entrepreneur was the keynote speaker at the Enterprise Ireland Showcase in Dublin Castle last Thursday. The Showcase brought together 400 start ups, investors and entrepreneurs in a friendly, high energy environment.

Maurya is best known for his work on the Lean Business Model Canvas, following the trail built by Steve Blanc’s lectures on “Customer Development” and Eric Ries’s early ideas on The Lean Startup. In 2010 he published “Running Lean” a practical, systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising the odds of success.

We got the opportunity to sit down with Maurya and talk about Ireland’s tech scene, what it means to have global ambition and how not to do customer interviews.

Maurya is engaging company and like most highly accomplished tech entrepreneurs he is both humble and full of common sense. He is also a fan of the Irish Tech Scene.This is his third time in Dublin and he sees lots of good ideas and lots of talent. However he also says

“Sometimes I think there is a tendency not to think big enough. With just a little more effort you can build something that works globally.”

Maurya absolutely encourages Irish startups to think bigger and have global ambition. But he also doesn’t think thinking bigger automatically means leaving Ireland and moving to Silicon Valley. He also says

“It is better to stay in your own environment, grow there and contribute to the local scene”.

In his keynote address he remarked that he increasingly sees founders building a business with no plan at all. Whilst clearly not an advocate of the business plan he advises against the “no plan” plan.

“The problem being that you lose time trying to figure out your market/ product fit. And those weeks trying to understand those variables can turn into months and then years very easily”.

Instead he advises utilising lean business model canvas and working through as many iterations as needed.

Maurya also shared the three big mistakes entrepreneurs make when doing customer interviews;

3 Big Mistakes in Customer Interviews

Talking about the solution before understanding the problem. Discipline is key here. The person doing the interview needs to stay silent, put their ego aside and just listen to what the customer is saying.

Leading the customer into saying yes by asking questions such as;
“What do you think of this?”
“Do you like this?”

This is a soft approach but ultimately the entrepreneur needs to pay attention to what the customer does rather than what they say. Are they placing an actual order? Or are they just being polite?

3. Pricing – People often skirt around pricing, uncomfortable talking about money. He advocates putting it on the table and asking directly, “What would you pay for this”. Put the onus on them to figure out the right price.

Finally, it was just too hard to being talking to an American and not bring up the recent election of President Trump. A naturalised American citizen he greeted Trump’s election with “surreal disbelief” and has not been shy to share his views on Trump. Maurya is clear that “immigrants are key to the country’s success”. He feels that the reaction of the Tech Industry was swift but would like to see the rest of the business community respond as well.

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