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

Conversation with Marc Andreessen Part 1

By bill in Lean Startup. Posted on December 3rd

“We pivoted twice, which is like 8 fewer than we should have needed to.”

1. Interactive television. Time warner had rolled out 60 homes in Florida (40 thousand dollars), gave up on that idea. gave up on that.

2. Xboxlive or psnetwork for… n64! We were slightly premature. Luckily we punted on that one.
And that was the beginning of Netscape.

Mosaic continued

University == lack of security, so I kept myself on all of the mailing lists. Customer suport emails bombarding in which is a good sign. Had inquires for commercial inquiries. Free for academic and nonprofit use and pay for commercial use; were fishing (no price) — at certain point with 1400 requests in inbox, thought — this might be a business.

Hit product market fit as a company 1.5 year later.

“Product market fit” — learned Lean Startup Blog — inspired Marc to write everything about startups while you were doing it. People throw this term around all the time and ask for help, and if you’re calling me to ask, you don’t have it.

Eric: How do you know you hit product market fit?
Marc: Kind of like calling you and saying “did i just have sex? i’m not sure.”

It’s actually a feeling. The key to being successful in life is to find a parade and jump in front of it.
startup everyday: pound your head against a wall, is this gonna work? oh my god. Once you hit product market fit, you’re like “omg this is running away from me.” I need to figure out how to get my company to grab this opportunity that we are not yet prepared to grab. We have to go get the market. If we don’t do it, someone else is going to (if you’re paranoid like me). Lots of stories about people who got product market fit and then someone came out of left field and stole the market out from them. It is a very distinct feeling. From talking to people who’ve experienced it, you KNOW when you hit it.

Eric: People think after you hit it, you’re done
Marc: People are social, so when your friends are doing something, very strong inclination to jump on. You have to build the company to do that. That’s when hiring explodes, or international becomes a really big deal. You decide: do I go international or do I wait and let others do it (and then buy them later)

Eric: In the months leading up to that moment, were there significant predictors that you were gonna get it?
Marc: A couple. Real early adopter phenomonen: really smart people that
small group of enthusiastic adopters that really love it, but everyone is laughing. 3D printing is going through that right now. There’s a group of people who are actually manufacturing guns. (WIRED magazine had the funniest headline of all time: 3d printed gun only fires six shots before breaking. Should have been: 3d printed gun fires six shots OH MY GOD. Twitter went through this too.

Microversion of that: when employees themselves are enthusiastically using the product. Not even friends and family cuz they can be coerced but when employees are using it, you can feel it.

Read Part 2

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