Which matters most? asks Matt Preuss for Visible VC.
In Summary: "The difference between Venture Capitalists is how they rank the importance of market, product and team,” Marc Andreessen said recently during an interview at Stanford.
Peter Thiel, early Facebook investor and author of Zero to One, favours product above all. Technology, he says, is about product development not distribution.
Don Valentine, founder of Sequoia Capital, believes "great markets make great companies." People can be hard, he believes, so a fast-growing market makes things much easier. Don also prefers existing markets (with a few products) to creating new markets.
Marc Andreessen, on balance, invests in teams. If you get really good people you stand a greater chance of building something great, but if even if you don't, you will still learn a lot.
If you're looking for investment for your product, it's worth knowing which element each VC prefers. Their philosophy might not be right for your business.
Get your EQ on, says Linkedin's Sachin Rekhi.
In Summary: Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing. It goes well beyond 'gathering requirements' to developing deep appreciation for the depth, breadth and nuance of human emotions and experience. The best way to develop empathy for a specific audience is to truly immerse yourself in their lives or work.
Mindfulness is also useful. It enables you to focus attention on the internal and external experiences you are having in the present moment, to act as a rational observer to your own thoughts and emotions.
Building strong relationships and rapport with your team members is also an excellent way to practice empathy on a daily basis.
Developing products for yourself helps shortcut a lot of these challenges in the early stages since you take out much of the risk associated with empathy and ultimately product/market fit.
It's empathy that enables great Product Managers to understand user pain points and develop compelling products that truly delight them.
Y Combinator's Michael Siebel on what to do after MVP.
In Summary: At SocialCam, Michael's Product Team found themselves in a rut of long development cycles, vague decision-making and demotivated engineers. To turn things around, they established a simple process for fast, effective development.
Development cycles were fixed at 2 weeks to ensure the team stayed motivated. Clear goals were agreed for each cycle in addition to the analytics by which they would be measured. Each cycle kicked off with one planning meeting only. The emphasis was on contribution and consensus from all members.
Once ideas had been agreed they would be spec-ed and documented in detail. Development then proceeded quickly and quietly with Michael, as Product Manager, focussing on business and operations until the end of the cycle which finished with 3 days of testing, then release.
Getting back to basics allowed the SocialCam team to ship a raft of features in a short time whilst maintaining a clear view of whether or not each release was delivering the intended value.
It's all about the Auftragsklärung, says Arne Kittler.
In Summary: Most strategic frameworks focus on alignment with top-down directives. Spotify do this by identifying strategic 'Bets' that are disseminated down into the organisation.
Like Spotify, XING have a clear vision, a defined 'North Star' and initiatives identified as 'needle movers' towards company goals. XING also have a process that empowers the product team from the bottom-up.
Known as 'assignment clarification' or Auftragsklärung, it ensures teams are clear about the purpose, boundaries, hypotheses and outputs of any initiative they work on. To clarify further, XING capture the details on an A1 canvas which is used in the discovery and development work of the product teams involved.
Practicing Auftragsklärung leads to more substantial product discussions, ensuring teams think and talk about intentions and outcomes throughout.