Jony Ive

The difference between an idea and a product is that you’ve solved the problems. When someone says to me, “Well, you can’t do this for these reasons,” all it means is that there are problems to be solved. If they can be solved, the idea transitions into becoming a thing. If they can’t, it remains an idea.

Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

When a market is up for grabs, the risk isn’t inefficiency — the risk is playing it too safe. If you win, efficiency isn’t that important; if you lose, efficiency is completely irrelevant.

Matt Lerner

When I hear that founders are looking to “educate the market,” I get nervous. In order to educate somebody, you need to fully capture their attention and get them to suspend their current beliefs and consider, adopt and master a new way of operating. I run an education business, and I must say that is a herculean task.

Matt Lerner

Language/market fit is the most under-appreciated concept for early-stage startups. For starters, most founders are focused on finding product/market fit, zeroing in on the right set of features to match their prospects’ needs. Moreover, fine-tuning language seems like “marketing,” which is usually seen as a later priority, not step zero. Lastly, people also don’t tend to like going out of their comfort zone — and … [ Read more ]

Four Questions Every Marketplace Startup Should Be Able to Answer

Marketplace businesses can be messy, and every gain is hard earned. After all, you’re dealing with an ecosystem of participants — buyers and sellers — that’s constantly in flux, their needs and desires changing over time. Unfolding in both online transactions and offline interactions, marketplaces are organic and dynamic.

Marketplace leaders need to be experts in the dynamics of their platforms. Identify those dynamics in … [ Read more ]

Marc Andreessen

I’ve learned that there are two kinds of mistakes in venture capital. There’s the mistake of commission, in which you invest in or go work for a company that fails. And then there’s the mistake of omission, in which you don’t invest in Google or don’t go to work at Facebook in 2005.

The longer you’re in this industry, the more you learn that the mistakes … [ Read more ]

Marc Andreessen

Succeeding as a start-up is as hard as it’s ever been, because the same fundamental dynamic is in play. You’ve got some idea of why the world should change, but the world doesn’t want to. People are too busy to hear another pitch from another start-up. People are happy in their jobs and don’t want to leave for your start-up. People are happy with the … [ Read more ]

Stanford, Harvard, MIT Still Top The List Of Schools Producing Funded Founders

Crunchbase data offers some insights into how a degree from a particular institution correlates with one’s likelihood of becoming a funded founder. It turns out, your likelihood of raising funds for a startup has a pretty strong correlation with where you attended school.

Pull, Don’t Push: How Catalysts Overcome Barriers and Drive Product Adoption

Trying to change someone’s mind often feels like a fruitless pursuit, almost as if it requires waving some sort of magic wand or casting an enchanting spell.

Trying to change someone’s mind often feels like a fruitless pursuit, almost as if it requires waving some sort of magic wand or casting an enchanting spell. On a smaller scale, you might think of a particularly sticky … [ Read more ]

How to build a unicorn: Lessons from venture capitalists and start-ups

New data highlights five things incumbent businesses could learn from venture capitalists and unicorns.

The World’s Best MBA Programs For Entrepreneurship In 2022

For three years, Poets&Quants has ranked the best MBA programs in the world for entrepreneurship. And for each of those years — 2020, 2021, and now 2022 — the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis has topped the list.

Gagan Biyani

Product creators like to think of what’s possible: They dream about how introducing their product into the market might change the world. This is an appropriate framing — as long as it comes with a bit of humble pie. New products don’t succeed because of the wide breadth of features they provide. Facebook isn’t successful because it allows people to build groups, host events or … [ Read more ]

Jane Davis

When you’re adding new features, the question shouldn’t be, “Is this potentially useful to someone?” Instead ask, “How does this contribute to our users achieving their goals?” It’s very easy to “value add” your way straight out of product/market fit.

Ron Amadeo

MVP works when you have almost no competition, or if you are taking a radically different approach to what’s on the market, but it completely falls on its face when you are just straight-up cloning an established competitor.

Ryan Glasgow

Founders should recognize the difference between validating product/market fit and discovering product/market fit. If you can deeply understand what your customers are looking for, you can discover product/market fit without actually having to build a product.

Nat Turner

If you’re going to be successful as an entrepreneur, the biggest thing is being able to take in conflicting feedback from all these people, many of whom are jaded or have bad habits, and some who are spot on. You have to be able to sit there and distill that information into something valuable.

Tara Viswanathan

If you have to ask if you’re in love, you’re probably not in love. The same goes with product/market fit — if you have to ask if you have it, you probably don’t.

Tara Viswanathan

In startups, there will be times you need to persist, and times you need to pivot — therein lies the founder’s dilemma. To get conviction on the right path, validate your gut feelings with logic and research.

Kevin Fishner

While early employees help set implicit norms, building systems early in a company’s lifecycle sets explicit norms. How do decisions get made? How are meetings structured? How are goals set? These systems are much easier to build when the company is small, and very challenging to put into place as the company grows.