The last two Tech Tuesdays were about common blindspots for all engineering founding teams (marketing, sales) and ditto for all business founding teams (technology). In the comments Brandon asked “how many designer led companies have these problems”? The short answer is “it depends”! What does it depend on? What you mean by “designer.”
If by designer you mean someone who is in love with a pretty surface (UI) then I have actually seen both failure modes — failure to deliver the actual product (fear of technology) and also failure to market and sell (build it and they will come). And if that is not bad enough I have seen a third failure mode which is delivering and marketing a pretty product but one that nobody actually winds up using.
If on the other hand by designer you mean someone who cares deeply about how something feels and works for the customer then you have your best shot at avoiding all of these problems. There are three critical pieces here: feels, works and customer. The feels part includes how the product looks but also how it is marketed and sold (as that also impacts how people feel about it). The works part means appreciating the importance of the underlying technology in enabling that feeling. And the focus on the customer is what drives the usability and usefulness of the product.
It is that three way combination that marks the most successful companies. His astute sense for all three was also the hallmark of Steve Jobs. In their brand new (released today!) book “Customers Included" Mark Hurst and Phil Terry do a terrific job debunking the notion that Jobs created products without the customer. So yes, that kind of design is the best way to avoid the key traps I described in the two previous posts.