A Startup and a Product is a Series of Bets

  • Timing bet — Is this the right time for this product and company? Can we capitalize on it within our available window of time? If you get this timing bet wrong, nothing else matters. Timing is critical.
  • Problem understanding bet — Can the team understand the problem at a deep enough level to create a product that solves the problem in a way customer will value and use? What will it take to get deep problem understanding if the team doesn’t have it?
  • Team capability bet — Is a team already formed, or can one be brought together, with the capability to create the product in a reasonable timeframe, while also grasping the complexity and severity of the problem? Solving complex problems with complex solutions doesn’t get anyone excited. Solving complex problems with simple solutions does.
  • Customer Product Fit bet — Can we get to Customer Product Fit? How quickly? What is it going to take? How do we create a product that is simple and elegant yet undeniably valuable?
  • Funding bet — Can we raise the funds to begin product development and found a new company? If not, how will we acquire funding? Is the product investable and how do we demonstrate that?
  • Sales and marketing bet — Can we find a way to acquire customers efficiently and cost-effectively enough to make the economics of the business work and to get to a point of being self-sustaining out of operations?
  • Team recruiting bet — Will be able to recruit the team necessary to pull this off and how do we go about it?

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