Thoughts on development, design and the world we live in.

Conversation with Marc Andreessen Part 2

By bill in Lean Startup. Posted on December 3rd

Continued from Part 1

3 gradations of this thing

  1. Founders who build the product for themselves have a huge advantage: founder market fit.
  2. HP theory (in the old days) - the “next bench theory” - each bench would make the product for the next:  voltmeters -> oscilloscope -> down the line; adjacent markets.
  3. Hardest, and lucrative becuase it’s harder: building for something you’re not. Lots of enterprise companies are this: Workday (HR and financial software). Professional product management really matters.

Eric: You and I both lived through the dot com crash. People don’t understand what that is.

Marc: It informs a lot about the psychology of Lean Startup, which is a direct reaction against “go big or go home” from then. A lot of psychological damage done to people who went through it — both entrepreneurs and investors — I think we’re halfway through it. I actually think all of the dot com ideas were correct ideas: they were just early. It’s hard to name an idea, even the crazy ones (like Webvan) — those business all work today. Amazon grocery stations; diapers.com was successful — industry magazine (800 pages every 3 days of ads of companies selling to each other was a good business model while it lasted = legal pyramid scheme lol) — it’s literally a catalog of startup ideas that are working today. In early 90s, only 50 million people online and mostly on AOL.

The dot com bubble itself, I think, was only 18 months long. We think it’s 5 or 6 years. Dotcom bubble was bad, crash was bad, only 18 months out of 20 years - put a stake in it and bury it.

Eric: I hear of complaints form all my friends who are VCs: entrepreneurs are coming into their office with the same garbage pitch but leanwashed. Would please tell them to stop doing that?

Marc: Yeah for a while “disruptive” was the thing.

Eric: Yeah so sorry about that. Most common misconceptions that people bring to you.

Marc: The thing that drives us most crazy: Lean Startup used as an excuse to not take sales/marketing seriously. We see this all the time. ”All that matters is product! if we build it, sales/marketing will happen by magic! If you build it they will come!” that’s the sales/marketing version of the problem that lean sovles on the product develop side.

Read Part 3

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