Are they two separate frameworks, with differents origins, to resolve similar problems?

If so, when to use one or another?


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    Can you provide some additional context? Where did you see the terms "customer discovery" and "product discovery"? Was it in the same source or different sources? Was there any context in the source of either phrase?
    – Thomas Owens
    Aug 26 '21 at 0:35

Product discovery is how an existing product evolves. Customer or market discoveries are when a discovery occurs for a new product, a new market, a latent need uncovered.


Marty Cagan, in this article, explains that he started using the term Product Discovery in software projects long ago. He uses it to encompass all the processes or techniques used when figuring out what is the right thing to build. He liked it because it was technique agnostic, meaning that an MVP, Desing Thinking and Customer Development are all techniques of Product Discovery.

That said, Customer Discovery is a phase of Customer Development.


The term "customer discovery" is generally attributed to Stanford professor Jacob Ries in The Lean Startup. He says the concept came from an earlier book. However, its roots date back to the Learning School approach to business development, formalized in 1978. My point is, I wouldn't worry about specific terms! Whatever you call it, no one should put much time and effort into a startup (or new product) until you are sure someone will actually pay for it. The history of product launches is littered with "really cool ideas" that failed in the marketplace with massive losses.

A key is that you don't go talk about your product. You find people who are in your target market, and then ask questions about their activities related to your product. In other words, the potential customer should be talking 90% of the time, and you should be listening. I've been interviewed, and it was actually a pleasant experience, so don't worry that you are wasting their time!

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