The Four Steps to the Epiphany

I finished concluded The Four Steps to the Epiphany (Steve Blank, 370 pages), and I think it is a nice piece of work.

The main ideas here were mostly not entirely new to me, because this book was actually the precursor of other well-known books that followed, and whose I had read first. Concepts like customer discovery and validation, also very present in books like The Lean Startup, were actually first disseminated by Steve Blank.

The main overarching topic in this book is that there are some steps that seem to be common to many startups that eventually succeeded. These steps, according to the author, start with customer discovery, and then evolve to customer validation, customer creation, and company building.

As mentioned, these are relatively well agreed upon ideas by now. Especially the two first steps. And the author also makes great observations about the Chasm problem, and how it is one of the main challenges behind moving away from the initial “earlyvangelists” to the majority of buyers in a given market.

What I still found original here, however, is the clear distinction made to market types. The startup’s target market can namely be an existing one, or a resegmented one, or a completely new market. And the overall strategy and tactics vary significantly depending on which market is being pursued. Even more on phases three and four, of customer creation and company building.

So, in general, the book brings lots of insights, in addition to some interesting anecdotes. I would recommend to anyone thinking about the dilemmas and challenges of starting and growing a company.