Eric Ries – A real Customer Advisory Board:
"In a previous company, we put together a group of passionate early adopters. […] Every two months, the company would have a big end-of-milestone meeting, with our Board of Directors, Business Advisory Board, and all employees present. At this meeting, we’d present a big package of our progress over the course of the cycle. And at each meeting, we’d also include an unedited, uncensored report direct from the Customer Advisory Board.
[…] It’s a lot harder to claim everything is going smoothly, and that customers are dying for Random New Feature X when the report clearly articulates another point of view. Sometimes the right thing to do is to ignore the report. After all, listening to customers is not intrinsically good. As always, the key is to synthesize the customer feedback with the company’s unique vision. But that’s often used as an excuse to ignore customers outright. I know I was guilty of this many times. It’s all-too-easy to convince yourself that customers will want whatever your latest brainstorm is. And it’s so much more pleasant to just go build it, foist it on the community, and cross your fingers. It sure beats confronting reality, right?"