What Would You Rather Acquire…

August 8th, 2007 | Categories: acquisitions, launch, marketing, off topic, strategy

I’ve been pondering the following question for quite some time and I’d like to get some reader feedback. What would you rather acquire?

  • A) A start-up with a killer product and a mediocre team, or;
  • B) A start-up with a mediocre product and a killer team.

It is a very hard decision if you consider both sides. Both have their advantages and downfalls.

Initially, I (and many others I am guessing) immediately chose B. After all, the team is absolutely critical to success. Human resources are at the focal point of the new information / knowledge-based economy. How could you not choose B? 

But consider a revolutionary product or service that sells itself. Assume that barriers to entry have been set in place. Regardless of the team, one is certain that this product is going to take off and eventually reach widespread adoption. Is there really a need for a strong team if the product sells itself?

If you had to put your own money on the line, would you opt for the killer team or the killer product?


  1. Els Says:

    Can’t I just choose A and replace the team?

  2. Aidan Says:

    Yeah, absolutely.

    Just remember that you may not be able to replace the passion and energy of the founders. Furthermore, the original team is probably more knowledgeable in the given space.

    Just a couple things to keep in mind…


  3. Mark Evans Says:

    I’d go with A based on the assumption you can replace the team easier than improving the product/service.


  4. Els Says:

    If the team is knowledgeable, and has the needed passion and energy, it’s not a mediocre team ;-)

  5. Joe Stolarski Says:

    I agree with A - at a very fundamental level (not taking too many outstanding variables into account), its likely that if a killer team could only produce a mediocre result, then its not likely that replacing the team , with one that may not be as “killer”, will produce a better result. If the product or idea is great, it just may need a different/better mix of talent to get it over the hump -

    Who is going to be more success moving a permanent brick wall - a really strong person or really weak one? The answer is neither.

    Warren Buffet has made a living on buying companies with good products and services, then reorganizing structure, strategy and people..we all know how successful he has been.

  6. Jing Says:

    Killer Team anyday.

    A killer team will stick together during the tough times, revise strategy/product, and basically do whatever is needed for success.

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