Book: Start from Zero, Dane Maxwell


I’ve first learned about Dane a few years back when he launched his TheFoundation software course. I didn’t join but learned a lot from the free material he provided with the launch. I loved the concept of idea extraction and wanted to test it out but was working on a project that was going really well. Fast forward a few years and a painful lesson learned and he jumps back into my feed at just the right time. I found that he renamed the course to Start from Zero and you can start the learning with a book.

Dane talks a lot about mindset which I fully skipped (he seems very passionate about it though), as I’ve read a ton about that in my early 20s and don’t need a kick in my behind anymore. His software building section is a good summary for the concept of getting people to tell you what they actually need instead of guessing, building, and hoping to sell it.

I’ve also continued further into his funnel to the video interviews and have not been disappointed. Highly recommended.


Focus on the customer and what result they want. Reach out to people in a niche and interview them about their pain points. Build a product for cheap and get it quickly into customers’ hands. Record the result and then use online sales to get more customers like them.


  • Customer — Uses A Mechanism — To Get A Result
  • My focus is on a customer and the result they want. The mechanisms could be infinite.
  • Carl’s story
    • He asked them a powerful question, “What do you use Microsoft Excel for in your business?”
    • Microsoft Excel is a hotbed for potential products because companies use it to cobble together solutions for their various business needs.
    • Then Carl asked a second question, “How does that process work for you right now?”
    • So then Carl asked, “What would your dream solution be?”

Chapter 10: The Surveyor

  • Apply pattern recognition to existing successful businesses using this framework: Customer, Pain, Solution, Offer.
  • Business Model:
    • Automated sales (people sign up without speaking to me).
    • Recurring revenue (people pay me monthly for years).
    • I sell tools (instead of providing a service).
    • I get paid upfront.

Chapter 11: The Tiller

  • Tilling is akin to finding the person or niche market (the land) working with them to find the pain (seed you will plant) that will be solved for them.
  • The ego is deadly. Remember, success is not about being right. It’s about surrendering to what works.
  • For a seed to grow, it helps to be rooted within a deep pain. A real, deep pain.
  • The Five Question Framework
    • Over the course of the last year, what has been your most persistent and present problem?
    • How do you currently go about solving that problem?
    • What happens if you don’t solve that problem?
    • What would your dream solution be? (Or) If you could wave a magic wand how would you solve this problem?
    • Would that be worth paying for, and if so, how much?

Chapter 12: The Planter

  • The high goals of the Humble Product Creator are to get the product built quickly, with limited financial risk, and to get results for the first group of customers with the product.
  • Here are the four killers of a great product.
    • Does the customer currently do this activity outside of the product?
    • Does it require a great change of behavior?
    • Is the burden to use the product high?
    • Does the product deliver an end result clearly?

Chapter 13: The Gardener

  • Get the concept tested or built. Get it into the hands of your first customer. Get that first customer a result (treat them with the care of a newborn baby). Repeat with your next few customers. Get all of your customers’ results. Document the results as case studies and stories. Create one focused marketing process using your case studies to convert paying customers. Promote the case studies within the niche market. (Tip: Master a single traffic source first, before you expand.)
  • There is no better marketing mechanism I’ve found than demonstrating proof.
  • I don’t like looking for competition because it scares me out of action.
  • Stay focused on what keeps your business moving forward; there’s always room for another excellent solution.

Chapter 14: Using Words That Sell

  • [End Result a Customer Wants] + [In a Specific Period of Time] + [Addressing Objections]
  • Then I’d ask them…
    • What are your favorite products as a video editor?
    • Where do you visit online to get good information?
    • What online video editing communities do you hang out in?
  • I can run ads where he visits online and see about running ads inside the community he visits or talk to other video editors there.
  • Because as a salesman with a noble intention you are directly helping someone get a perfect match.