Announcing Talking to Humans (new book!)


At the beginning of the year, Frank Rimalovski, who runs New York University’s Entrepreneurial Institute, came to me with a challenge.  While they used my old blog posts on customer development tips and anti-patterns, and they had some videos from Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad program, but students were still struggling with how to test their ideas through qualitative research.  The problem is that our instincts are too often wrong. People sell when they should listen. They speculate when they should observe. They get intimidated trying to figure out what to ask, to whom, and how.

Frank’s question: what if we created a concise primer, full of practical tips, that focused explicitly on this aspect of lean startup?

I was in, and Talking to Humans came to life.  Steve Blank wrote the foreword. Tom Fishburne drew some hysterical cartoons. We iterated the text based on feedback from two groups of NYU students as well as other practitioners and educators. The book has earned praise from entrepreneurial leaders at places like MIT, Berkeley, University of Maryland, as well as with VCs who get this stuff, like First Round Capital, True Ventures, and Flybridge.

Now you can get the PDF, as well as other useful materials, at  We’re giving it away for free because the whole point was to give something to the community.

I’ll be adding ebook formats and getting a print version available for purchase (at cost) soon.

In the meantime, I’ll end with a 10-minute, impromptu interview I did for Govlab on the topic:

GIFF CONSTABLE 03-SD from The GovLab on Vimeo.

1 Comment Announcing Talking to Humans (new book!)

  1. John Latham September 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Giff, This is a great post and video with a ton of points in a short amount of time. You made a great point about how there is no magic number of interviews that will give you the right answer. The concept you elude to is what qualitative researchers call “saturation” which is when subsequent interviews don’t add many new insights or patterns. Research and my experience put that number around 12 to 20 for a homogeneous group. For more on this with references I have a blog post titled “How Many Participants is Enough?” if you or anyone is interested.

    Again, thanks for a great post and video


Comments are closed.