In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what is a customer empathy map? and where does it fit on the lean startup methodology?


Counted are the days in which the abilities of a person are directly linked to their intelligence. On the old days being book smart was one of those things that could pretty much guarantee you success and admiration of your social circle. As time went on, it became clear that intelligence on the most known sense of the word was not all. One classic example is of the person who isn’t necessarily the smartest in the room in terms of tangible disciplines, but somehow has the power over all, including the ones who are considered to be the smartest. This new and intangible form of intelligence gained and still is gaining more and more of the respect it deserves. It can take many names, and one of them is social intelligence.

Social intelligence could be reduced to the idea that the person who possesses it in abundance has a better time dealing with any kind of social interaction. On dating, getting new dates is not a problem. Friendships are as abundant as the abundance of that kind of intelligence, and somehow there is an understanding of what to do and how to behave on even the most complicated of the interactions. This form of intelligence, lies on the root of a very powerful tool in business : the costumer empathy map.

Customer empathy map

The costumer empathy map is in a few words a “map” that describes in a detailed manner the target costumer of a business. By filling out/answering the questions from this map, a greater insight to the minds of the target costumer is gained. Common questions in the empathy map are:

  • What does the costumer think and feel?
  • What does he hear?
  • What does he feel?
  • What does he say and do?
  • What are his pain points?
  • What are the gains from the product?


Costumer empathy map and the lean startup methodology

The lean startup methodology works on the assumption that with each release of a product/feature, some form of learning will happen. This learning is usually an insight to the inner workings of the mind of the target costumer. So if you filled the empathy map first, and went through the build->measure->learn cycle, the there are chances that one or more answers of the empathy map might have changed. This is an evidence that on each iteration you not only have a better understanding of what is the best product for the costumer, but you also understand him better.

Try to answer the empathy map questions yourself, and notice that somewhere in the process you are likely to answer the questions in a biased manner. One of the reasons why this might happen is that we its easy to think we know the costumer in a deep way, but the truth is that often we don’t. To get more accurate answers for the questions a good practice is interview the target costumer itself.



It is all about knowledge and experience;)

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