Y Combinator's How to Start a Startup

Lecture 16: How to run a user interview

Who you talk to is as important as what questions you ask because different users can give entirely different feedback.

Don't ask specifically about features because what they tell you not necessary good solution to problem. Stay focused
on their needs and wants etc. Also, don't ask directly whether excited about a feature. Feedback different to whether
user would actually switch.

Need to speak to 6 or 7 people before completely now about any one point.

If people using product already and willing to ignore kniggling issues, perhaps not actually the biggest problems.
What people who aren't using service care about (competitor interviews) may be the items to focus on.

Data doesn't tell you where the problems are you need to address.

Pool of people who want to interview shifts over time. Those that get you started probably not using your product
three years later.

Important to turn user interviews into a continual process.

Don't show your product
Don't ask whether would use a feature
Talk to who need to, not just who is available
Record the interview
When user says something new, interesting or didn't know or expect, drop into detective mode to learn more
Great if user tells what really thinking, what real problems are. Great if they ramble.

Channels to reach users:

  • onsite messaging systems (e.g. LinkedIn messenger)
  • email
  • events and request details

Don't recommend compensating (user should care enough about problems to talk to you).

Pre-launch watching user use product can be very insightful.