Insights derived from interacting with customers can be invaluable, as the story of one startup focused on gathering agricultural data shows, writes Steve Blank. The company, called Ceres Imaging, originally planned to use drones to gather data but eventually discovered they could attach their special cameras to crop-dusting planes. "This meant that Ceres didn't need to build an aerial infrastructure -- it already existed," Blank writes. "All of sudden what was an additional engineering and development effort now became a small, variable cost."

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