Customers Interviews not only tell you what to build, they save you big $$$ for usually $0. But they are also your first Marketing campaign. Interviews are actually a great way to spread the word about your product/service, but only if you can make the right approach. It's selling without selling.
In Ed Catmull's new book, Creativity Inc., he outlines the process he and his team developed at Pixar, unarguably one of the top movie makers in the world, and brought to Disney.
Disney Animation, which almost got shut down after a decade of embarrassing box-office failures, used the Pixar process (without any of Pixar's staff!) to turn itself around and produce "Frozen", the highest-grossing animated series of all time.
The lessons learned go far beyond movie-making, though, and are an instruction manual on how to manage any development process.
How do you build your business, making the most-efficient use of your time and resources, especially when you don't have any? One of the core symptoms we see over and over again is building too much, choosing to build more than you need, developers building more-complex things than you need, and using the wrong software or technology stack. The keys to solving these are Iterative Development and the Prototype.
In the 1970s several researchers looked into how different technology companies went from "unheard-of" to mainstream. What they discovered still holds true today, and is codified in Geoffrey A. Moore's book "Crossing the Chasm". Every product category follows this basic pattern of adoption, and you must learn to understand and master the 5 very-different types of customers to stay relevant in your market.