previous | contents | next

Chapter 9


We look for market first when deciding to invest.

-Don Valentine, Sequoia Capital


Marketing and sales are so interdependent that sales personnel often walk around with titles like "marketing representative." When the product is ready to be sold, marketing is responsible for clearly segmenting the market, providing initial sales leads, and supplying the right product information for the sales personnel and customers. Sales is responsible for identifying specific buyers, closing sales, and when the product has been delivered, ensuring that the customers are happy.



In the past, I have argued that marketing organizations provide little in the way of value. From an engineer's perspective, marketing facilitates the birthing of a product by initially establishing the requirements that help define the product and by creating a wonderful image of the product in the minds of potential buyers, making them want it. Finally, when the actual product becomes available, marketing helps a sales organization sell it. In the 1970s and 1980s, I believed that obtaining market input during the formation of a product was usually a waste of time, based on my own experience at Digital in driving system and generic computer products.1


1 For example, when I led the team that defined the VAX architecture and when the VAX computing environments were put in place, the only input we sought was from Ken Thompson, one of the UNIX developers. One marketing person attended biweekly status meetings, at which he was assigned data-gathering tasks.


previous | contents | next