I have often heard people (including myself) say “That isn’t enough to build a company on. That is just a feature”. In theory it is good to think about this: is your idea or technology something you can build a company on or just something interesting that might be added to another company or product?

But in practice things work differently.

Yahoo started as a page with links to websites. Can you imagine that someone said “Yeah that is nice. But it is just a feature. You can’t build a company on a page with links”.

Or take Google. All they had when they started out was a better technology to index pages called “BackRub‘. They tried to sell this ‘feature’ to a few established search engine companies. These companies weren’t interested so they started their own search engine to show the world that their technology provided superior results.

I think it is dangerous to dismiss ideas as only ‘features’ and have decided to stop saying this to people. Great companies are built on simple features. Lets not forget that.