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Company vs Feature – How do you know?

I’m struggling with the vision of my business. The struggle is more visionary vs functionality of the tech product. The product works and the beta users the product was released to all are still using the tool daily. But based on some user feedback, I’m fearful what I thought was a product/start of a company, just might just be a “feature” at the end of the day and not really a company/business.

Any advice on navigating the tug of war I’m facing today: Do I have the start of a company, or just a web tool?



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3 replies on “Company vs Feature – How do you know?”

Is there a compelling reason to leave your competition? If yes, can your competition copy you in less than 6 months?

If you can steal customers from the competition (or sell as a side by side service) and you direct or near direct competition can’t copy you and get to market in I would say 6 months or less (some would say a year or less) then you have a company. If you are easily copied and added into an existing company you have a feature.

Sometimes we may want to take a step back and think through.

Especially even more for startups.

Is the feature still a subset of your vision ?

One good case study is Sybase. They were competing in the fast growing relational database (RDBMS) market and is backed by well known VCs in the mid-80s.

They are proud that their database supports the stand SQL specs. They enjoyed good growth till the 90s where they start to trail behind Oracle and Microsoft.

Needing a turnaround, they dug deep and try to find out what their customers are using their database for. They were surprised that customers loaded their database for field work (something that competitors can’t do) . That discovery leads to them repositioning for the growing mobile workforce and ultimate sales to SAP.

What I see is that you may potentially have a technology or solution. While you may think it should be use in a certain way, the customers may be showing you otherwise.

With this in mind, can the ‘web tool’ be your entry into a larger market?

Hmmm, maybe this is just you overthinking or questioning yourself too much? Even if it is “just a feature” what concrete issue are you seeing that prevents it from being a business?

For example, a web extension might be a “feature” but it also can be a business too (see Honey which got purchased by PayPal for billions).

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