In terms of startups there’s one age old discussion. The question is what is most important for the success of a startup. Is it the team, the product or the market? It’s kind of like the chicken or the egg of startup questions.
The prospect of setting up your own startup dream team is very appealing to me. I think it is easy to be enamored with your own team though. When you are putting together a team of people you are close to of course you will hold them in high regard.
As Marc Andreesson mentions in his startup guide, the fact that the American culture harps on how important our people are lead to the perception that your team is the most important factor. I thought this was an interesting point because it is so true. We live in a culture where we are told we can do whatever we want but as a result we often don’t put in the work to get what we want. When we come across adversity we may not deal with it properly or fight through it. That may be a bit of a generalization but it is true for some. It is also a death sentence for startups because there will be adversity along the way, that is a fact.
The product is obviously essential to the success of a startup. Without the product your startup has no purpose. You can’t make money or even test a market without a product. But even if your product is stellar that doesn’t automatically mean your startup will be a success. On the other hand, if your product is mediocre your team still has the ability to improve it and make it worthwhile. But ultimately everything is dependent upon the market, which is why Andreesson asserts that the market is most important.
The market is what ultimately dictates how successful a startup is. Your team can be comprised of the brightest minds in the field and it means nothing if you cannot seize the right market. You can have a great product but if there is no demand for it then what is the point? This is important to remember because you can always adjust your team or product to fit a better market and expand your startup’s potential. As Andreesson points out, if the market demand is large enough it will pull a product right out of development and into the market. Even if the product or team are subpar as long people want your product badly enough you will be a success.
I think Andreesson’s post really opened my eyes to the fact that studying markets and what has worked, is working and could be the future is a key to being successful as a startup. Of course all three components are necessary. Nothing will get done without a team and the more efficient they are the better the startup will be as a whole. The product is the whole business and should be what you are trying to perfect at every turn. But the market makes all of this possible. It is the true determinant in the startup process.