The Edges of Lean — Ep 125 You Can’t Do Lean Here, Customer Development Edition with Danny Nathan

Lean practitioners often discuss the importance of delivering value to customers and understanding their needs. However, Danny Nathan takes this to a new level with his unique approach to lean customer development. His business is a testament to this. Intrigued by his methods, I invited him to join me on a journey to the Edges of Lean, where he shared his insights and practices. 


Danny Nathan:


Danny is a versatile entrepreneur who has made a name for himself by helping companies create and launch new products and ventures. With a background in various fields like product design, marketing, and strategy, Danny is known for his ability to solve complex business challenges. As the founder of Apollo 21, a company that combines business consultancy, product design, and venture studio, Danny helps companies foster innovation, drive growth, and overcome obstacles to scaling by developing cutting-edge technology.


00:02:59 – Transition from Acting to Technology

00:04:14 – Types of Products Developed by Apollo 21

00:10:42 – Challenges with Misunderstanding MVP

00:12:02 – Lean Customer Development Explained

00:13:14 – Importance of Validating Customer Needs

00:18:13 – Learning from Customer Development

00:20:04 – Identifying Ideal Customer Groups

00:21:34 – Process of Customer Interviews

00:26:24 – Creating Conviction Through Learning

00:27:00 – Differentiating Apollo 21’s Approach

00:29:13 – Ensuring Against Post-Launch Failure

00:30:37 – Customer Observation Techniques

00:39:06 – Handling Multiple Stakeholders

00:40:17 – Heuristic vs. Data-Driven Processes



  • Lean customer development is about discovering the purest pain point and validating the need, potential solution, and willingness of customers to pay for it before building anything.
  • The focus should be on delivering value to the customer and understanding their needs. 
  • Lean customer development helps streamline the process of bridging the gap between discovery and minimum viable product (MVP).
  • The concept of an MVP has evolved and can be interpreted differently by different organizations.
  • The goal of an MVP is to learn as quickly as possible, mitigate risk, and minimize cost and time expenditure.
  • Innovation is great, but it is crucial to innovate something that is valuable to the customer and that they are willing to buy.
  • Lean Startup provides a clear-cut series of actions to move towards creating something new, but it is vital to adapt and customize the methodology to fit specific needs.
  • Lean customer development involves talking to customers, asking the right questions, and gaining a clear understanding of their pain points and needs. 
  • The process starts with defining the problem space and then talking to a wide range of people to discover pain points and potential solutions. 


Memorable Quotes From Danny Nathan::


“Fall in love with the problem and not the solution.”



CONNECT WITH Danny Nathan::