I love the work Eric Ries is doing with Lean Startup. (IMO, coupled with an investment model where funds are predicated on implementation of lean startup principles and achieving specific customer development milestones #leanstartup could revolutionize the start-up and investment landscapes.)
Words are powerful and and the intent of catchy phrases can be lost when removed from their original context. I brought this up before a few weeks back, when the “Fail Fast” meme was cruising through Twitter and among some cheerleaders, it seems, failing itself had become the best means to success, as if it were the end objective, as if tripping your way to finish line will ensure you are the winner.
So it goes, IMO, with this quote about the customer’s vision:
Early customers are often more visionary than the startup they work with for that product.
I’m not so sure. So while the initial intent of the phrase is not to misplace ownership of the vision, I fear (perhaps unwarrantedly so) that upon oft-repeats or retweets, that the wrong message emerges. Not to repeat myself, but one has to treat customer input carefully.