Thought of the Day: Questions vs. Answers

[Scott] Cook has an unusual ability to ask the right questions (which my partner Vinod Khosla insists is more important than getting the right answers; in business, there are often several right answers),” writes VC John Doerr, of Intuit founder Scott Cook, in the introduction to a new book about the company, Inside Intuit.

It is Khosla’s point that we’re highlighting here: Concentrate on asking the right questions, not on finding the perfect answers. The answers to any given question will change, depending on the circumstances at hand. But the most important business questions are evergreen, and we try to address them here as often as we can

According to folks like Doerr, Khosla, founder Marc Andreessen, and the many other serial startup folks whose wisdom we pluck for you as often as possible, some of the most important questions include:

* What is your market?
* How big is your market?
* How does your idea address your market differently from everyone else?
* How much money do you need to address your market (in a way that is different from everyone else!)?
* Does it scale?
* Is there a potential buyer of your company, in case it doesn’t scale as much as you think it will?
* What assets will you have to sell in a worst-case scenario? got IP?
* How does each team member help you address your market better than everyone else?
* Is this person/project/strategy a cost center or a revenue source for my company?
* Does each member of my board offer me some piece of wisdom/perspective, business channel or relationship I cannot get on my own? (If they are just “supportive” this isn’t enough!)
* Does the marketplace know/understand what we’re doing? (This is your marketing question)
* Am I happy doing what I’m doing?
* Are my employees more happy than less?
* Do I want to be rich or king?

There are so many, but these are a good start. What do you think are the most important business questions?

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