“If I build it, they will come” VS “If they come, I will build it”

Prathamesh Krisang

I have met 2 types of founders in my life: Product-First Founders & Distribution-First Founders.

The product-first founder believes, “If I build it, they will come.” They focus their energy on building a “world-class product”. Something that nobody else in the marketplace has ever seen. They are bitter about distribution-first founders who build shitty products and have the confidence to sell and make more money than they could.

The distribution-first founders believes “If they come, I will build it”. They focus their energy on aggressive distribution. They see a huge spike in sales as soon as they launch.

But they can’t wrap their head around why customers don’t retain or refer their brand to others. They think the solution is to sell harder.

Both struggle to find ground until reality hits. And the reality they learn is they cannot escape being customer-first.

As a matured customer-first founder they now believe, “I will build, what they need”. They are obsessed about talking to their customers. Understanding their context. Instead of getting the customers to fit within their own products and services. 

The product-first founder learns there is no such thing as a world class product. The best product is the one customer is willing to buy.

And the distribution-first founder learns there is no point in searching for new customers all the time when you can’t keep them for long.

What kind of founder would you like to be?