Since 2010, our research and design team has helped over 300 incredible startups wrestle with critical questions about their products and customers. We’ve partnered with these companies when they are building something new, expanding into new markets, and troubleshooting sales or other metrics. It’s undeniable that early-stage founders are under intense pressure to figure out exactly what to build and to have unique insights about their target audience. Teams can collect usage data after building and launching their products, but those numbers often don’t lead to truly understanding customers’ needs and motivations. Answering those questions faster—before sinking time and money into development, marketing, design sprints, or expensive market research—is a huge competitive advantage.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Learn More Faster: How to Find Your Bullseye Customer and Their Perfect Product and open-source our formula to accelerate learning and customer discovery. For this book, we’ve drawn on hundreds of research sprints to create an essential guide for early-stage startup founders, product managers, and researchers. Learn More Faster helps you quickly zero in on what to build and precisely who to target.

Over the past 30+ years — particularly the past 14 years running research sprints for GV — I have learned that many research best practices in mature organizations don’t apply to young companies tasked with velocity, change, scarcity, and uncertainty. Along the way, I’ve had to adapt and accelerate user research techniques for faster and leaner companies. The biggest lesson I learned, over and over, is that the quickest way to accelerate a team’s progress is to expose them directly to their customers so they see the world and their products through customers’ eyes.

Learn More Faster in action: Author Michael Margolis applying the Learn More Faster formula to healthcare startups (2018)

GV’s design team has successfully run this formula with portfolio companies in GenAI, enterprise security, robotics, apparel, food, construction, developer tools, home appliances, drone delivery, biotech, and healthcare. We’ve developed a fast, efficient approach that helps early-stage startups define their unique value propositions and identify the specific subset of their target market that is initially most likely to adopt their product or service. We call this a Bullseye Customer Sprint.

Our formula for Bullseye Customer Sprints is “5 and 3 in 1”: Five bullseye customers and three simple prototypes in one day. We help founders specify the details that precisely define their bullseye customers. Then, we carefully recruit those bullseye customers for interviews. We prepare three mock landing pages that highlight distinct value propositions. Then, in one day, we interview the five bullseye customers about the pros and cons of each landing page while the whole team observes remotely and debriefs together at a watch party.

Interviewing a handful of specific customers in a single day makes it easier to spot patterns and align around big takeaways and next steps. How we map out the mock landing pages helps teams articulate their distinct value proposition with greater clarity and precision and fuels deeper customer conversations. By observing and debriefing as a team, no time is wasted writing reports or trying to convey what happened. Even after a long day of interviews, teams leave watch parties fired up to implement what they’ve learned, revise their prototypes and bullseye customers, and run another Bullseye Customer Sprint. With these critical improvements, Bullseye Customer Sprints accelerate startups’ customer discovery process. has everything you need to run your high-impact Bullseye Customer Sprints: step-by-step instructions, templates and worksheets, sample interview guides, and demo videos. We’ve even put together an awesome research-themed Spotify playlist!

A GV portfolio company watch party (2018)

We’ve seen hundreds of startups working hard to define their bullseye customers and the products they need, and we’ve noticed many common patterns. However, your situation, team, target customer, and product are unique. Or you may have a better idea and want to try a different approach. So get your free copy of Learn More Faster: How to Find Your Bullseye Customer and Their Perfect Product, and start answering those nagging product questions that keep you up at night. We only ask that you let us know how it goes.