Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, Product Manager at a VC Funded Startup, on Quora

Some indicators of a great startup in its earliest stage are:

  1. One or more paying customers who are ready before the product is out. Great products are so good at solving a pain point that customers anticipate and are willing to pay before the product is even ready. Slack signed up 8000 customers in 24 hours.
  2. User interest in the product grows exponentially since its launch. Customers should be impatient to get their hands at the product after hearing others use it. 10 guys tell 100. 100 tell 1000 and so on.
  3. The product should be so focused and straightforward that its initial users should not have trouble understanding how to use it. They should get going without manuals or Powerpoint decks. This means having the fewest possible features that are so critical.
  4. The product users are so passionate that the customers and the founders handle all the support calls. In short, no dedicated support personnel in the initial days for a startup that is well executed.
  5. The team has already pivoted from a couple of other ideas. This indicates flexibility and the ability to experiment. Almost all great startups evolved from something that was totally different. Slack founders were, for instance, trying to build a multiplayer game. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter all went through massive changes from their first product.

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Published on: Mar 24, 2015