Sep 30 2015

Price of Admission Is An Amazing Product

As I read about the unveiling of the Tesla Model X, I have two thoughts. The first one is “I want” (hint: Amy – you need to replace your red Range Rover.) The second is that price of admission is an amazing product.

Indulge me while I go on an amazing product rant from our portfolio.

  • Glowforge is turning 3D printing inside out by using a laser to cut and engrave, instead of an extruder to, well, extrude. They just crossed the $4 million mark in day five of their thirty day pre-order campaign.
  • Sphero has sold more BB-8’s in the month since they launched than even I thought possible. I have one on my desk and it gives me joy every day I’m in the office.
  • Accenture just launched their Connected Analytics Experience’s immersive environment which is enabled by Mezzanine. As a daily user of Mezzanine, it actually makes video conference and collaboration tolerable.
  • The demand for the 3D Robotics Solo drone is off the charts.
  • Rock Band 4 comes out next week. Yesterday two new U2 songs were added as exclusives. Enough said.
  • We closed an investment yesterday in a company that will announce next week. I’ve been using the product for sixty days along with their competitor’s product. Their competitor has raised 10x the amount of money so far (prior to our investment), and the product from the company we invested in, from my own head to head comparison, is amazing, compared to the “meh” product from its competitor.
  • We are issuing a term sheet today to another company that I hope accepts our offer. Your mind simply explodes when you use this particular product.

I could keep going but you get the idea. When I reflect on our successful investments, regardless of the form factor (software or hardware or both) that they take, they all are amazing products. And the founders come from a product first mindset – their goal is to unambiguously create the best product that delight users every time they come in contact with it.

I’ve heard the discussion about how important product is for over 20 years of being an investor. But it’s not important anymore. Instead, an amazing product is simply price of admission. If you don’t have an amazing product, you don’t get to play, at least in my little corner of the world.