Great post by Alex Osterwalder (based on his discussions with Steve Blank) about how to determine ‘user vs. customer’ within the context of business models.
We implicitly went through this in the early days of defining the SettleUp min viable product, when we had to figure out where to place emphasis within the day-to-day reality of challenging trade-offs - organizer vs. participant and sender vs. receiver (it is possible to place emphasis everywhere but the results are guaranteed to be poor).
Although our research had pointed us towards Organizers, we decided to double-down on them because without the Organizers as the customer, it wouldn’t matter how great the Participant ‘user’ experience was. This created a set of guiding principles that helped push through key features like the Netting Algorithm (See the Math), Support for Multiple Expenses, Managing Offline Payments, etc.
At the time, there was a lot of debate and this was radically counter-intuitive because most analogs in the person-to-person payments (C2C, not C2B) world focused primarily on the Sender.
From a pricing and monetization perspective, this is a crucial point that all product managers need to understand so that they can target the correct source of value (i.e. customers not users) and avoid misalignment or faulty positioning/targeting. Most research efforts are designed to validate customer needs, derive feature sets, etc. but doesn’t go explicitly far enough to help extract insights on who the ‘customer’ should be.