Background : IPL (Indian Premier League) is a cricket league tournament which only recently held its first series and which by most accounts was phenomenally successful. As an engineer, I have often focused on products, and IPL has been a great educator. It has sent a clear signal - products aren’t so important as markets are !. This post talks a little about what I learnt from IPL. (By the way - this ain’t my thought - its lifted from : The pmarca guide to startups, part 4 : the only thing that matters.) 1. Focus on the market needs ! IPL figured out the market - IPL focused on it. The rest is history. 2. Leadership may be diverse, it may be distinct - it matters Leadership matters at the end of the day. As IPL and Shane Warne demonstrated - it can really really make the difference at the end of the day. There is no one right pattern for leadership, but at the same time it does make a difference at the end of the day. Check this article : “Different strokes”; for details. 3. There’s always a Kerry Packer and a Lalit Modi to upstage status quo : You may feel safe in your beliefs - this is how its always been done. But if you do not ask yourself the question - am I doing the best I can for my markets and try to answer and react to the question to the best of your abilities - please do not worry - there’s always a Kerry Packer and another Lalit Modi to upset all your assumptions (and all your apple carts). 4. Its the world of fast food People want to consume - and they want to consume in a hurry. Forget italian food - McDonalds rules. Please figure out who you are serving. And please please .. if you want to serve a slow italian meal - do not take on McDonalds and do not envy its riches. 5. Do you want to be the “real man” or the “rich man” ? These are no longer necessarily the same. Do you want to be the real man” or would you be the ”rich man or the one who sets up landmarks ? Here’s where I do a sudden U turn and say - if you have a product which really helps the market - take an inspiration from IPL and just run with it - the status quo simply doesn’t matter and if you are meeting the market needs - don’t worry about the current club rules - the market rules and clubs don’t matter.