A template for customer pain

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore, is a must read book for any tech start up. And as I have said before, maybe any product maker who intends to scale at all.  Maybe even all business owners full stop. The book is full of common sense/ business theory tactics on launching products. It is designed for high tech products but I think it lays out a general prescription for products of all kinds. This is just one example (taken straight from there), about your customers. Anyone who has or is going to start a business should know the results of this at the front of their working memory:

A day in the life of your customer (before sale)

Scene of Situation – Focus on the moment of frustration. What is going on? What is the user about to attempt?

Desired Outcome – What is the user trying to accomplish? Why is this important?

Attempted approach – Without the new product, how does the user go about the task?

Interfering factors – What goes wrong? How and why does it go wrong?

Economic Consequences – So what? What is the impact of the user failing to accomplish the task productively?

— I swap some of the words around to make it suitable to my industry eg. I turn “economic consequences” into “pedagogical consequences” as I work in edtech.–


A day in the life (after sale)

New approach – with the new product how does the end user go about the task?

Enabling factors – What is it about the new approach that allows the user to get unstuck and be productive?

Economic Rewards – What are the costs avoided or benefits gained?


This is the basics of business. What problem does your product solve? Know the answer to this scenario and  the empathy you are able to offer turns you into an instant sales person. Of course, it is hard to get accurate answers for, but we live in a world of social media so now anyone can use their brain and start asking clever questions.  

The book has so much more than this pithy blog. Read it.



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