Another cool hack that we've seen some great success with, actually a YC company in this batch is actually selling products to firefighters. And they realized that cold email introductions was just not working, was not a way that they could get through to customers. So, what they did was they actually just dropped by fire stations in-person. They didn't even, you know, email them to say that they were coming ahead of time. They just showed up and they said, "Hey, could we speak to the fire chief? Could we talk to someone about this problem that we've got a solution to?" And you know what? It worked great. They managed to get dozens of in-person, you know, 10 to 15 minute long meetings just by showing up.
The fourth question is, "What, if anything, have you done to try to solve this problem?" One of the biggest things that I've encountered while helping YC companies over the last few years, is that if potential customers are not already exploring potential solutions to their problem, it's possible that the problem that you're trying to solve is not a burning enough problem for customers for them to be even interested in your better solution to this product. So, this question tries to get at the root of that issue. Is the person who encounters this problem already trying to solve this?
Talking to users is so critical that at the core of kind of YC 's teachings, there are only two things that you must do in order to search your company. You need to code or build your product and talk to users. So, this is easier said than done. I want to provide today some tactical advice on how to plan your strategy for talking to users, as well as some questions and strategies that you can use to conduct your own user interviews at the beginning of your company. A lot of the advice that I'll present today is actually synthesized fantastically in this book actually written by a YC founder called, "The Mom Test."
Eric: Hi everyone. My name's Eric Migicovsky. I'm a partner here at YC. I actually started a company that went through Y Combinator back in 2011. I started a company called Pebble. We made one of the first smartwatches. I am really excited to be here to talk about talking to users because this is one of the perennial things that you always hear about as one of the critical factors in starting a company. The best founders maintain a direct connection to their users throughout the lifespan of their entire company. They maintained a direct connection because they need to extract information from their users at all different stages of running their company.