Going to Market When No Market Exists


watch time: 28 minutes

When a technical founder creates a widget, their de facto stance too often is that it has intrinsic value that’s surely obvious — that people will not only understand what’s important about that widget, but also the dollar value attached to it. The reality is: No matter how cool that widget is, until you go to market, it doesn’t exist. This is especially true when trying to CREATE, not just enter, an existing market category.

In this deck, presented at one of our company building events, Martin Casado (who was part of the a16z portfolio) shares the how, when, and what of pricing (hint: do NOT set the price too early or too low!); marketing to early markets (especially given the rise of the developer as buyer); and finally, what kind of sales motion you need and when to deploy it. Casado shares these lessons learned as part of his own journey, from a PhD to co-founder of Nicira, which was acquired by VMWare and would eventually run up to a $1B business and even “greater potential strategic opportunity”.

But in many ways, says Casado, this is a deck about his failures. From a technical background, building a company can be very non-intuitive. This is not a block-and-tackle business school lecture (which tend to look only backwards, and to focus mature markets) — it’s about how do you get your “magic beans”, this amazing thing you’ve created, to market, to market. And not just into the market, but how to get that market to understand, and value the magic. For technical founders starting on your journey with your own magic beans, this is the roadmap you’ll need.