Founders often focus on building platforms rather than products because they hear that VCs like to back platforms. This is a mistake. They should instead start by solving a problem and become a platform only once they’ve become the standard in solving that problem.
The Difference Between a Platform and a Product
- Products are tools or services that you have exclusive ownership of.
- Platforms allow others to build products and generate revenue by taking a cut of proceeds. Costs tend to scale in proportion to their use.
Humor VCs When They Bring Up Platforms
- There's nothing wrong with describing what your company will become
- Make sure they know that you’re going to start by solving a real problem for customers, and that hopefully can become a platform over time
Don’t Trust Me—Study Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Jobs
- Most platforms in the startup world emerge as the byproduct of a successful product solution
- Amazon’s AWS, Facebook, and iOS are great examples of this