There are (4) different types of companies:

1. Sales driven

2. Engineering driven

3. Finance driven

4. Market driven

The first 3 are by far and away the most common.  This often evolves over time with new leaders, manager, and macro economic shifts.  Mainly I think this stems from the personal biases of the leadership team.  People naturally gravitate to what they know and what has gotten them to where they are today – too often with no regard for the fact that what made them successful is not necessarily what will make them successful in the future.

The sales-driven organization:

Focus is on the customer.  What could be wrong with that?  Every customer demand is sacrosanct.  Problem with sales driven companies is that they end up building 42 different products for every customer corner-case that comes up.

The engineering-driven organization:

AKA: building cool shit.  You build what your developers think is the most kick-ass way to solve a problem even if the problem is something either no one cares about or worse, not enough people care about or even worse doesn’t fit in the real-world way your customers behave.  How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Answer: no one cares..

The finance-driven organization:

You don’t actually build anything because it costs too freekin’ much.  kidding.. But seriously, the finance group rules the roost and everything has to pass through the ‘viability filter’ which by definition means you never go out on an innovation limb.  These companies save their way into irrelevance.

The obvious answer is the market-driven organization.  The trick here is that its easy to say, hard to do.  Most of us will always suffer from our own biases and past experiences.  The market-driven group has an uncommon ability to view a business holistically – sort of like keeping multiple competing ideas in your head at the same time.  Tons of optimism with a thick layer of realism baked in.