Learn by doing, Learn more by listening

We know! Building a startup takes time, perseverance, creativity, is downright f#%$& hard work! But your most valuable time spent is listening, and listening more. Just a simple mantra emphasizing that you need to take time to listen & learn.

4 min read

You always want things to go faster than they actually do, you encounter problems you never thought existed and discover opportunities you never before imagined. And that doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t happen if you do not go out there, talk and engage with you prospective clients. It doesn’t happen if you are afraid to fail, if you are afraid to try, if you are afraid of your users’ honest opinion.

You need to take the time to learn, build trust with those who you want to fall in love with your product. Listen carefully to what they have to say.


Metrics are important, but getting out there and listening to your prospective clients is the one key metric you should be worried about.

Go sit down with them when they are using your product, see how they are perceiving it, using it. Watch them making mistakes you never will because you now your product from a-z, but your users don’t.

For Map Your City we are marketvalidating and testing through Map Your City Labs. That is us investing time, money and all of our energy in pilots to improve our product & our businessmodel. We are blessed with amazing earlyvangelists — prospective clients & stakeholders that are willing to walk this road with us.

We have already found out a ton of valuable intel that is helping us improve your products.


What some people do not seem to understand is that there is no easy way to get here.

We are often finding other startups or businesses with similar product offerings signing up for our free trials, entering into conversation without disclosing their background, or downright copying stuff.

If that is you:

  • It might sound easy enough, but it is not getting you anywhere.
  • We never shy away from conversation and love to connect and talk to you and everyone who asks about our dilemmas we are facing. We are open to exchange experiences.
  • We want to let you know we work so hard to make a product our users love, we often find ourselves falling asleep holding the Macbook, to be waking up to continue the day with the same amount of energy.
  • We hope you are aware we spend a huge amount of money, and leave a great deal of money (income) on the table still, in order to build a strong sustainable business and trustworthy brand.

If this does not hit home or connecting with us in person is not your thing – then here’s some advice:

Don’t spend your time looking at, worrying about or copying others. Rather spend your time finding an issue to solve which you are passionate about and start talking to your clients & users to improve your solution.


Personally I am a huge fan of Strategyzer® and their tools for value proposition design. For example their test & learning cards are a simple but effective way to structure your product development, learning cycle and market validation.

Over the years we have gained valuable experience building projects and learned from mistakes. But some of these mistakes could have been avoided if I had these helpful tools and insights by my side.

That is why we have developed our Project Coalition Suite. We wanted everyone to be able to start their project or idea without having to reinvent the wheel or spend resources on expensive consultancy services.

The suite consists of three canvasses. Simple to use action based hands on tools to build your project with others. And now it is all there, free to use, share and remix.

If you are working on Podio® all our tools are also available in the Podio app market®. We have recently added the Strategizer® based test & learning card we are using ourselves frequently.

I am curious to know what learning tools you use and find valuable? How are you structuring your learning process, involving your (prospective) clients & users?

Keep in touch!