Pick Your Poison

Every so often I see a pitch from a startup who’s product can do a multitude of things for a multitude of industries.  An example is as follows, taken directly from an executive summary I just read (I have omitted the name of the company):

[Company] offers world-class technology, branded under the [product] label that represents a secure, digital communications platform that couples the ubiquity of the internet with access to virtually every known telecommunications protocol to connect organizations, people, machines, computers and physical infrastructure in both emergency and routine situations…. and supports a diversity of applications in industry, commercial business, government, military and residential sectors.

You can’t be everything to everyone.  Not only does such a claim tax credulity, it also shows a lack of focus from management.  Pick one or two things your company is great at, and then target one or two industries.  Once you have proven your worth in those industries, then it is okay to expand to other industries and to augment your offering.  As a startup you need to be able to summarize your business in one sentence without invoking ironic laughter.


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