Startups die at the mercy of go-to-market, not at the hands of product.

This interview with former Google and Flipkart product leader Punit Soni covers a lot of ground and is interesting all the way through. His thoughts on the importance of a go-to-market strategy is so important, and a trap many product managers fall into:

When an idea is finally in sight, it may be tempting to jump feet first into product building. According to Soni, founders need to resist the impulse to obsess over product to the exclusion of everything else at the very beginning. “It’s tempting to slip into a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality, especially if you’re convinced of your own product prowess. Now I’m a product manager through and through, but I’ll be the first to tell you that product usually isn’t the issue,” he says.

Instead, tackle go-to-market, working through who’s going to buy, why and what they would pay. “Product is more binary in that, either the tech will allow you to do it or it’s not possible. Making sure that you can build a sustainable business model around that product is a far tougher task,” Soni says. “Figure all of that out before you start a company, not as you go along. Once you check that box, then you can become a product-focused company.”