The conventional wisdom in the startup community these days is that to create a successful startup, you need to move at breakneck speed in everything you do. And, to facilitate this, you should consume as much money as you can get your hands on along the way to make sure you’re removing all obstacles from getting to market. The perception is that if you move too slowly at the beginning, you’ll miss the market and, even worse, you won’t get funding.
But, is this correct? While we completely support the idea that getting a great product to market as quickly as possible is a cornerstone of startup success, we just don’t buy that frenetic speed is the best way to do it. It’s not what has worked for us, nor for any of the successful startups we’ve invested in or advised. So, here’s how we think about it.
No one wins when a startup optimizes all its success for the short term. Yet, uniformly applying speed to everything you do does just that. As a startup, you need to deliver more than just a first product to a handful of customers, you need to continually deliver to a large number of customers over a long period of time to be successful. We refer to this as scaling. You can’t scale if you’re always firefighting and scrambling. Scaling requires at least some structure and methodology. Especially early on.