At lunch today I was talking with an entrepreneur who was lamenting that the company he was recently with has disjointed, inefficient technology powering their web services. He also talked about management turnover at the C-level as well as board of directors. I then casually asked how the company was doing financially and he said it was growing like crazy with substantial revenues and profitability.
This conversation got me thinking about the old debate as to whether the market opportunity or the management team is more important in a startup. Some people, like Marc Andreessen, the Netscape and Ning co-founder, believe that market opportunity and size is more important. Others, like Mark Peter Davis (a classmate of mine at Duke), believe that the management team is critical.
Personally, I’m starting to put more stock in the market opportunity and timing over the management team.
Now, of course, there has to be a modicum of competency on the management. But, beyond that, I think the market, product, timing, and product to market fit are the real drivers for phenomenal success.
What do you think?