It’s all about product….

There are many elements that go into the recipe book for startup success. Team, opportunity size, timing and luck are all huge elements. But at the end of the day – the foundation of startup success is having a kick ass product or service.

If I look back over the almost two years I have been associated with Tungle (I became an advisor in Jan. 08 and CFO in April ’08) it is amazing to think about the progress this product and team have made.

Two years ago we had a download that made my Outlook slow. Now, we have a kick ass web service that gets better and better.

Today, Tungle announced the latest update to (check out mine here). This is just one more element of what makes Tungle an essential part of my productivity toolset.

Anyway, the point (other than that you should sign up for Tungle if you have not already) is that it’s all about product. Tungle has all the elements I listed above from a proven team, big opportunity, etc. But that team is completely focused on usability and making a great product that we all want and need. We have resisted distractions and just gotten as close to our users as possible.

It takes discipline (and admittedly capital) to be so focused and to delay revenues until the product is bang on. Still, I think there are lessons for all of us in terms of the attention we all need to give to nailing our product, user experience and value proposition.

Disrupting the book publishing industry

When investors look at companies, they look for two things in assessing the industry – size and change. Both are big factors in the book business, and this is why it is so ripe for disruption and so full of opportunity for innovative startups.

Book publishing is a $ 50B industry. For a very long time it has operated in more or less the same fashion – with a handful of publishers controlling which authors get published and of course controlling access to the main retail channels.

This is all changing. Electronic or e-books and print on demand books are growing like crazy. In fact, last year, there were as many print on demand titles as there were traditional ones. And devices like Amazon’s Kindle are making e Books mainstream.

There are three main reasons why the book industry is about to be turned on its head:

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