The Founder Has Left The Building…Part 2

3rd Party Market Research

Now astute readers of my last post will be thinking: an online survey is fine but there still could have been bias on the part of respondents. Another drawback was the lack of a hands-on prototype demo. These two pitfalls eventually prompted me to look for a third party to do more in-depth customer interviews. Unfortunately, this put me back where I was before; looking for an expensive market research firm.  This is where my contacts list and a little luck came to the rescue.

I happen to know an independent medical product rep who works in Maine and New Hampshire. She is constantly in doctor’s offices as part of her job selling medical products. She was a natural to do some market research, especially among podiatrists. I approached her and she was excited about taking on the project.  There was still going to be a cost to cover her time but much less than hiring a market research firm. I applied for and was awarded an MTI TechStart grant to help defray these expenses. She is now out there doing in-person customer interviews and prototype demos with my initial target customers. I couldn’t have planned it better.

Next Post:  The founder himself finally gets out in the trenches of customer development.

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About Todd O’Brien

Dr. O’Brien graduated from Bates College with a BS in biology in 1986. He then attended the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and graduated summa cum laude with a DPM degree in 1990. After completing a podiatric surgical residency at VAMC Palo Alto and Stanford, Dr. O’Brien was employed at Sgarlato Labs, a biomedical start-up then based in San Jose, CA. He served in a variety roles there including product developer, project manager, technical writer and sales presenter. After three years at Sgarlato Labs, he returned to the full-time practice of podiatry until founding O’Brien Medical, LLC in 1999. He has since divided his time between running a podiatry practice and developing medical products. He has successfully licensed six surgical products and holds four issued patents. Writing credits include several articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, a chapter in a surgical text and a book on entrepreneurship for inventors. He is a past-president of the medical staff at Penobscot Valley Hospital as well as the Maine Podiatric Medical Association. He is a graduate of the 2012 class of the Top Gun entrepreneurship acceleration program administered by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development.