Salim Virani, entreprenerd. Creator of Leancamp.
Trevor Owens, founder of Lean Startup Machine, recently wrote a great post where he details 3 methods of customer learning: exploration, pitching and concierge. This is consistent with the principle of Learn, then Confirm, which works beyond entrepreneurship - in science, design, and even espionage.
I thought it'd be useful to help you choose which method is appropriate.
Exploration (Learn, aka Customer Discovery)
Pitch (Confirm, aka Customer Validation)
Concierge (Learn or Confirm)
Choosing your learning method starts with understanding you big picture so you know you're investing your time effectively. You can use the Business Model Canvas, Pirate Metrics or Growth Engines to help you. Then, choosing between Trevor's 3 learning methods is clear.
If you'd like to experience Lean Startup methods in a safe environment, Trevor's Lean Startup Machine is a fun way to spend your weekend.
If you have a startup idea and want to beef up your Lean Startup skills with face-to-face training - including learning methods, Customer Development techniques and experiment design - invest a day in a Founder Centric workshop, which I run with Rob Fitzpatrick.
If you have Lean Startup or related experience, and want to trade notes with other founders, host or participate in a Leancamp near you.
(They're a great combination btw!)