January 15, 2010
Lots of us consumer internet VCs like to spout off about the importance of a great “product guy” (which, by the way, is meant to include gals). I am as much of a “product guy” bigot as anyone I know. And for good reason: for my money, the strength of a founding team’s product chops is the single biggest determinant of an early stage consumer web business’s success.
That said, every once in a while we product guy bigots need to be reminded that sometimes great product guys come in unexpected packages. Sure, the Stanford grad who was a rising PM star at Google is one flavor, but sometimes entrepreneurs with no formal product training at all are great product oriented entrepreneurs.
I was reminded of this just a couple days ago. I met with a social web startup founded by a young entrepreneur whose only experience was a late night food company he started (and made quite successful) during college. Virtually no web experience or formal product training. When I heard about the guy I wasn’t exactly blown away. But then I spent a couple hours with him yesterday and got an extensive tour of his current product and view into his vision for future products. And I was blown away. It was a great product, fantastically well conceived and implemented.
Which led me to conclude the guy is as good a product guy as they get.
Just another reminder to be open minded.