What are a Startup's key assets?

ShelfMade CEO, Michael Sabat, muses about the key assets of web-based startups in a recent post on his useful, and not-always-techcentric blog. (Good to get a perspective that sees beyong the forest now and again.) Anyway, according to Michael…

* The 1st priority asset remains the technology or website (including the people who build it.)
* The 2nd most important asset is the user base.

The larger your number of users, the more valuable your start-up is. No surprise that folks at Twitter are focusing their energies on evangelizing Twitter and expanding the Twitter-world. The size of the userbase is a main reason why YouTube got a higher valuation than Crackle, and every other online video start-up.

I’ll add the 3rd priority asset: a Startup’s community. Flickr, Blip.TV (now Shortbrain), Skype, Sling Media, Twitter and Jaiku are all start-ups that benefitted from a passionate community that evangelized for them, helping them grow their user base, and their brand.

My favorite example of company that prioritized these three assets effectively is Slim Devices, a small digital music device maker that recently sold out to Logitech, after holding its own against larger players. It was a company that was recommended to me by Photo Matt, who evangelized it endlessly.

Passionate users are the difference between success and failure. In addition to everything else, they are the best marketers and advertisers for your company. Frankly, they’re more effective than any media outlet I know.

Editor’s Note: Check out today’s Silicon Alley Insider post on MySpace, which makes a supporting argument for why the quality and growth of the community takes priority over the content on a social networking site–something Facebook gets, but MySpace seems to misunderstand.

Again, if you have some suggestions about a startup’s key strategic assets, please share with us.