Focus (or Do Less, Better)

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I was thinking about early teams recently that are out to change the world, conquer multiple areas, and dominate multiple business lines – all from day one. The reality is usually quite different. I have found that focusing in on what matters most, your core competencies, executing in one area serve the the company, investors, and market at large is a better plan.

Some recently examples are the sheer focus on execution by the Zoom team, who are only now branching out to other areas. The other is Discord which only recently opened their game store. I am sure these items have been a part of the vision and roadmap for awhile, and certainly talked about with investors and the team – but the focus on execution is everything.

To put it another way, doing less better is a much better way to focus.

The other common reference I point teams too was written by Mark Suster (heavily influenced my title here) about the frenetic and unfocussed nature of the early stage founder.

The balance can be difficult to reach. Investors want you thinking about a broad vision that attacks a large TAM, and creating a billion dollar company – while the market knows you for the first product/service. Balancing between external conversations and investors with the reality of the customers demands are usually when things derail. The early days of a company make it seem like anything is possible (it is!) but the reality of resource planning and when execution starts can be stark. The path dependance of choosing and sticking with a strategy can be overwhelming. However, I have found that this focus and clarity are what separates the best from those that are easily distracted.

New entrants and competitors will always be zigging/zagging through your product roadmap, but if you are listening to your customers and giving them what they want, ruthless focus can be an asset in all the noise.

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