In the technology world, we generally have three stages of companies: startups, growth‐stage, and enterprise companies. Let's briefly consider how we characterize each one of these stages, and the challenges you are likely to face in each.
I loosely define startup as a new product company that has yet to achieve product/market fit. Product/market fit is an extremely important concept that I'll define in the pages that follow, but for now, let's just say that the startup is still trying to come up with a product that can power a viable business.
In a startup, the product manager role is usually covered by one of the co‐founders. Typically, there are fewer than 25 engineers, covering a range of from one product team up to maybe four or five.
The reality of startup life is that you're in a race to achieve product/market fit before you run out of money. Nothing else much matters until you can come up with a strong product that meets the needs of an initial market, so most of the focus of the young company is necessarily on the product.
Startups usually have a limited amount of early funding, intended to determine if the company can discover and deliver the necessary product. The closer you come to running out of money, the more frantic the pace and the more desperate the team and the leadership becomes.
While money and time are typically tight, good startups are optimized to learn and move quickly, and there's normally very little ...