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Will They Make It? Part Two - Focus

Developing a focus is hard for any organization, but it is probably the most important thing to
the emerging technology company. As I stated in the first part of this
series, determining if the emerging technology company you're looking
to partner with is going to make it is never an exact science. There
are many variables to consider, but one of the most important is their
ability to focus.

Focus can come in several forms but one that I look for is how many
problems is the company trying to solve? In my experience the fewer
problems they try to solve the better. In fact solving one problem with
one product family (based on scale) seems to be the best ingredient for

Companies that take a multi-tool approach seem to have a greater challenge. While a case can be made
that these companies have an advantage because the potential target
market is larger, it seems
these companies have a harder time explaining what they do and for whom they
do it. It is much easier to say we solve a specific problem and here is how.

Beyond the first product and how focused it is, there is also the
challenge of staying focused on that market and not expanding too
quickly into other markets. While larger, more resource rich companies
can get away with solving a host of problems (although they struggle as well), smaller companies don't have that luxury.
It is the classic case of getting stretched too thin.

It is especially tempting for smaller companies to try to take
advantage of an adjacent market opportunity. They are often cash-strapped, and that one-off project could help pay some bills. Reality is
that in most cases, this adjacent market becomes a time waster and costs
the emerging company valuable time and development resources that never
leads to significant revenue.

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