If you've been reading my blog for a while, a recurring metaphor you'll see that I come back to over and over again is that of Hunters vs. Farmers. 'Hunters' in this case are the innovators and entrepreneurs that start a company and create the vision. 'Farmers', by contrast, are the individuals who go execute on that vision and, more often than not, scale the initial vision far beyond the Hunters who created it.
Both are necessary, and there needs to be a balance of the two of them in any organization in order for it to succeed. When I see companies that are too heavy in either Hunters or Farmers, it's often a source of trouble as there is either a deficiency of focus and execution (too little Farming), or a deficiency of vision (too little Hunting).
Don't get me wrong, everyone should be executing relentlessly in a startup, not just a chosen few, however both roles require dedicated attention and finesse. I have seen more than a few startups that were created by Farmers who had a small spark of vision, only to have them obsess on the execution to the exclusion of everything else. This is often fatal, as 'vision and strategy creation' is not a discrete event that happens at an annual 'Strategic Offsite', then put on a shelf next to all the other folders of years past. It is a constantly evolving and adaptive strategy that best reflects the continually-changing world and marketplace we live in.
I have also seen startups that are entirely run by Hunters, who never seem to get escape velocity for their products as they get caught in the recursive loop of constantly ideating new features or products or markets or whatever, and never actually ship the damn thing. Their attention is on vision, and not enough on execution. Like Sun Tzu said "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
If you are a farmer, good for you too. Find a hunter to work with that can be a constant source of inspiration and direction, and to insulate you from the non-linearity of early product release feedback. Your job is to go forth and execute, as your work will be the foundation of the long-term foundation of the company.
Trouble in Paradise
When an organization has scaled to the point where the initial vision is taking off, I often see the Hunter-founders start to dream of the next product or markets, often at the expense of thinking through how to scale the existing products to larger and larger adoption. This is where the Farmers and Hunters clash, when the daily chores of the shipping product no longer capture the attention of the visionary(ies).
Have a plan for this when you start the company. It's critical to have a roadmap of future functionality, products, and markets when you are getting started, however it is equally if not more critical to have a sustaining-plan of your initial product(s) as they gain larger adoption. Just because it's no longer sexy, Hunters, does not mean that it doesn't need care and feeding. At the same time, if you get locked into a continual sustaining-only product approach, you quickly fall behind organizations that have struck the balance between vision and execution.
To summarize: You always need to be exploring new markets, products and features, while also balancing the daily demands of the products that cause your payroll checks to clear.