When you are talking about the best strategy for your startup, there are only two ways to go- strong marketing or mind-blowing technology. If you are an amazing marketer, then you can sell anything. But if the technology is absolutely brilliant, the product can simply sell itself. But which route is better?
It’s between Stanford and MIT, West Coast and East Coast, Marketing and Technology. Only someone who’s worked both sides can really answer our question, someone like Amir Hirsch. Courtesy of Forbes, Hirsch has earned three degrees from MIT- Math, Electrical Engineering, and a Master’s in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. Ater MIT, he worked on processor upgrades for a nuclear power plant before founding his tech startup Zigfu, which created a user interface for developing apps for Xbox’s Kinect motion sensor; the startup was also chosen to be a member in the Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator’s class of 2011. As you can see, he’s kind of a big deal.
There is only one right answer to this debate- one side that has the greater advantage. In his Reconfigurable Computing blog titled “The Stanford Startup and the MIT Startup,”Hirsch gave us the simple answer: “Technology is not a prerequisite for business success, but marketing is.” Do you disagree? Here’s why Stanford startups are better than MIT startups.
At technology powerhouse MIT, a startup “seeks to develop an unassailable technical advantage, optimizing their product or process in terms of kilojoules, units per second, and dollars.” In Silicon Valley’s elite Stanford, the simple thought is that a startup “gets a product out quickly, they make money, iterate and then raise money.”
According to the Forbes article:
The Stanford company will use “network effects to lock-in customers or viral growth tactics to get super-linear returns on marketing investment,” whereas as the MIT company will “either find a market-fit or sell their technology to a Stanford company
Why is this important? Because VCs don’t like to see products that will take years to develop before they start to see revenues, as it usually is with technology based startups, however brilliant their product is. Hirsch explains that, “Investors look for ‘order of magnitude better’ when vetting technology companies to determine if the technology is defensible.” VC firms don’t jump on the best technology, no matter how much the world needs it; take it from an expert, they jump on the product with the best marketing plan, plain and simple.
In the end though, Hirsch provides the fact that “the best startups develop technology and a market simultaneously.”