If you look at a broad cross-section of startups — say, 30 or 40 or more; enough to screen out the pure flukes and look for patterns — two obvious facts will jump out at you.
First obvious fact: there is an incredibly wide divergence of success — some of those startups are insanely successful, some highly successful, many somewhat successful, and quite a few of course outright fail.
Second obvious fact: there is an incredibly wide divergence of caliber and quality for the three core elements of each startup — team, product, and market.
At any given startup, the team will range from outstanding to remarkably flawed; the product will range from a masterpiece of engineering to barely functional; and the market will range from booming to comatose.
And so you start to wonder — what correlates the most to success — team, product, or market? Or, more bluntly, what causes success? And, for those of us who are students of startup failure — what’s most dangerous: a bad team, a weak product, or a poor market?