by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Traction is real customers. If you charge for your product, it's real paying customers. If your product is free, it's a real user base. Traction is a signal that your team can produce real results in a real market.
Getting traction is a signal to everyone (including yourself) that your business is less risky. In other words, traction trumps everything.
If you're starting a company, chances are you have the ability to build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product. What most failed startups don't have are enough customers.
We advocate exploring getting traction in parallel with product development, and to approach doing so in a systematic way that we present called the Bullseye Framework.
1. They don't pursue traction in parallel with product development.
2. They didn't spend enough time pursuing traction.
3. They were biased towards or against certain traction verticals.
4. They didn't take a systematic approach to getting traction.