CHAPTER FOURThe Pull of the Market

Attach to Your Customer,Not to Your Idea

The greatest danger for a new venture is to ‘know better’ than the customer what the product or service should be.”

—Peter Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Apple founder Steve Jobs predicted its impact on society would rival that of the personal computer. Its inventor, Dean Kamen, believed cities and towns would be redesigned around it. “It will be to the car,” he said, “what the car was to the horse-and-buggy.” And legendary venture capitalist John Doerr promised that its maker would be the fastest company in history to reach a billion dollars in sales.1

In December 2001, in one of the most anticipated launches in commercial history, Kamen and his backers unveiled ...

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