Moving from Features and Function To Vision

When you ask Matthew Scullion, CEO and co-founder of Matillion, what his company’s vision statement is today, he’ll answer that it is “to make the world’s data useful.” However, when he co-founded the company in 2011, you would not have heard such a lofty answer.

Matthew and his team founded the company to create a solution for businesses to access cloud-based data analytics with a lower failure rate than typical projects. This practical goal generated results. They built solutions using already-existing software and made a dent in the market.

However, things shifted for Matillion when they pinpointed a problem they kept running into time and again: Data analytics only work if data is clean and usable, and most of the time, data is very, very messy.

In 2014, Matillion built its own ETL tool for the cloud. It found immediate product-market fit because the team made a product to solve a real problem they had faced repeatedly. But they could not reach market saturation because their marketing message didn’t quite sync up.

When selling to prospects, Matillioners were focused on the tech and features. But Matthew quickly realized it’s not specs that sell a platform. Instead, people buy outcomes. They make a purchase because the solution will change their life for the better.

This realization drove Matthew to rethink Matillion’s value proposition. It was no longer about offering specific technical prowess; it was about making data useful. That emotional hook resonated with executives who wanted to use data but struggled to get analytics programs off the ground.

Matthew highlights the vital learning here for aspiring entrepreneurs. Sometimes, folks hold back in starting a business because they think they need to develop the best product or solution before beginning. That idea of achieving perfection right out of the gate is a myth. Instead, if you can land in the zone with your first idea, then you can use data along the way to refine your idea until you hit the sweet spot.

To hear more about how data can help you assess your product-market fit and define your vision, tune into Matthew’s full episode here.