Startup 101: Customer "pull"

In my blog post "Startup 101: Sell to Users" I emphasized the need to focus on the product before scaling up a company. Marc Andreeson has recently started a new blog and he has a great term for this concept, "Product/Market Fit".

Whenever you see a successful startup, you see one that has reached product/market fit -- and usually along the way screwed up all kinds of other things, from channel model to pipeline development strategy to marketing plan to press relations to compensation policies to the CEO sleeping with the venture capitalist. And the startup is still successful.

Conversely, you see a surprising number of really well-run startups that have all aspects of operations completely buttoned down, HR policies in place, great sales model, thoroughly thought-through marketing plan, great interview processes, outstanding catered food, 30" monitors for all the programmers, top tier VCs on the board -- heading straight off a cliff due to not ever finding product/market fit.