I've never tried this myself, but I've heard it works extremely well -- and in fact, I'd love for someone to try this and then post a comment on this blog (ideally w/ pics!) describing how it goes:
As I've written about in the past, I've learned with Armory about the importance of putting customers at the center of the company's focus.
If you're the founder of a B2C startup, here's a great way to interview prospective customers:
Ideally, you'll have something to show them -- say a prototype running on your laptop or your phone. The goal is to solicit very specific feedback from them based on something they can actually interact with.
Huge bonus if they'll let you record the interaction -- maybe you have a co-founder there with you who's recording each customer's reactions on their phone.
Even bigger bonus if you can get the customer to provide you with their contact information -- or even a credit card number -- after you've interacted with them.
Using this approach, you should be able to interview 10 or so customers an hour. In just one morning or afternoon doing this, you'll be able to get a bunch of feedback from your prospective audience.
Why does hearing from customers matter so much?
I recently listened to this great podcast  about the evolution of basketball which illustrated both the simplicity and challenge of strong product market fit. Basketball back in the 60s and 70s had gotten boring because tall players were dominating the game. There was a lot of debate about banning slam dunks (which the NBA did for a decade), about moving the basket height up or down, and even imposing height restrictions on players.
But the answer proved to be beautifully simple: The 3 point shot, which allows shorter players (like Steph Curry) to balance the game out and energize it with killer edge-of-your-seat shots.
The beautiful thing here is that nobody was thinking about the 3 point shot when they were all throwing opinions out about how to fix the game of basketball. In fact, it was a competing league, the ABA, which was created to experiment with new approaches to basketball, and tried a dozen new ideas -- most of which were terrible -- from which came the 3 point shot.
The simplicity of product market fit is that in hindsight, it's obvious. But it requires actual experimentation and a willingness to try what may seem like bad ideas -- and to fail -- in order to find it. And this is why actually interacting with customers, running experiments with those customers to get their feedback, and then iterating on that feedback is so important.
And this is also why it can feel like it's not important to interact with customers: Successful PMF is often achieved due to small, simple tweaks -- things that founders think they can do themselves. And indeed, sometimes they can. But just like everyone was focused on solving for basket height, or player height, but the solution was actually away from the basket, I find that as founders we become fixated on what's in front of us, and it's the customers, by sharing their pain and reacting to prototypes in front of them, that leads founders most quickly to strong product market fit.
 A note about the Overcast podcast app I used to share the link above: It's incredible and a highly recommended replacement to the default Apple Podcast app. It allows you to do things like:
I listen to podcasts at 2x speed + Overcast cuts out ded space, which gives me even more speed. This allows me to rip through podcasts.
Tons more. Here's an article about it. If you're a hardcore podcast listener like I am, upgrade your listening experience with it. And PS if the creator of the app reads this: Just wish you offered embed code for the shares, so I could've embedded the audio right into the blog above!
Also -- Happy to share some favorite podcasts if you tell me what you're interested in (just comment in the blog below). Please share your favorite podcasts too.
Daniel Odio gives tips and tricks for entrepreneurs!
Click to listen to "Episode 65: Interview Part 1" and click to listen to "Episode 66: Interview Part 2"
Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts
Podcasts are usually recorded and edited using home equipment and done for the love of it. There is specialized podcasting software available like Apples Garage Band or QuickTime Pro. These packages make it quite simple to record, mix and format the audio files correctly. Just like bloggers, though, many podcasters are trying to figure out ways of making money from their podcasts and turning listeners into revenue. A lot of people are producing music podcasts. This has meant a huge move to circumvent traditional rights issues about downloading music from the Internet. There is now a large body of music that is classified podsafe. This has either been composed, especially for podcasts or the artist has specifically decided that they want their music to be available via the net for all who want to hear it.
Radio stations have realized that they have a whole new way of using their content. They began packaging their output so that fans could listen to their favorite shows whenever they wanted to (without the music). NPR was one of the innovators of supplying their shows via podcasts, now almost every radio station around the world does the same thing. Educators and teaching institutions have latched on to podcasting as a way of sharing content and providing tuition for learners who cannot be present at lectures or tutorials.
The corporate world is also realizing that podcasting can add huge value to their communications mix. The term podcast is increasingly being used to cover any audio or video that is embedded in an organizations web site.
Podcasts offer an incredible opportunity for marketers. The bottom line is that you now have a way of getting content to your target markets without having to persuade a media channel to carry it or to pay huge advertising rates.Podcasts are:
However, the content must be: