Rahul Vohra

[Sean] Ellis [has] found a leading [product/market fit] indicator: just ask users “how would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” and measure the percent who answer “very disappointed.” After benchmarking nearly a hundred startups with his customer development survey, Ellis found that the magic number was 40%. Companies that struggled to find growth almost always had less than 40% of users … [ Read more ]

Rahul Vohra

To increase your product/market fit […] spend half your time doubling down on what users already love and the other half on addressing what’s holding others back.

Bethanye McKinney Blount

Compensation is culture, period. It’s how you pay your people and it’s where the rubber hits the road. It’s the metric you can’t cheat. It’s naive to think that you’re just going to give people money and they’re not going to feel everything that’s attached to it. Pay is incredibly personal and emotionally charged. It directly affects how we live our lives and how we … [ Read more ]

Bethanye McKinney Blount

When you start talking about pay transparency, the first thing everyone thinks is “I’m going to know how much everybody makes.” I think a better way to frame it is “I’m going to understand why I’m paid what I’m paid and how I can increase my comp.” It’s about making sure employees understand their current reality and see a career development path in front of … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Your challenge is to create product experiences for two different mindsets, one for your potential customers and one for your engaged customers. Initially, if you want your prospective customers to engage, think of them as lazy, vain, and selfish. Then for the customers who survive the first 30 seconds and actually come through the door, build a meaningful experience and relationship that lasts a lifetime. … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Whether you’re building a product, creating art, or writing a book, you need to remember that your customers or patrons make sweeping judgments in their first experience interacting with your creation – especially in the first thirty seconds. I call this the “first mile,” and it is the most critical yet underserved part of a product. […] In a world of moving fast and pushing … [ Read more ]

Scott Belsky

Life is just time and how you use it. Every product or service in your life either helps you spend time or save time. […] The only exceptions are rare products … that add a time-consuming action to your plate while also making that experience faster than it normally would be.

Scott Belsky

Simple is sticky. It is very hard to make a product—or any customer experience—simple. It is even harder to keep it simple. The more obvious and intuitive a product is, the harder it is to optimize it without adding complication.

Elad Gil, Vinod Khosla

As Vinod Khosla has observed, your market entry strategy is often different from your market disruption strategy. And too many people focus on how small the market entry side is, but the entry point almost definitionally has to be small, because you have to find a space that isn’t covered or saturated by incumbents. If you find a gap and push your way through, often … [ Read more ]

Elad Gil

A lot of founders will go to customers and say “Hey, would you want to use this?” And customers will say “That’s great, we’d love to use it.” And so the founders go off and build it, but when then they come back with a product, no one’s using it. That’s because what they should have asked is, “Would you pay for this?” Being interested … [ Read more ]

Elad Gil

Markets with potential usually have a changing dynamic that allows new players to climb in and make room for themselves. It could be falling costs, new tech or a new distribution channel. Whatever it is, if you’ve heard something was difficult, you can’t just stop there because things have probably changed.

Elad Gil

As a general rule, when I make investments, it’s market first and the strength of the team second, which is quite different from a lot of other angel investors who are more founder-driven. I think that’s a mistake. Even if you have a strong founding team that’s able to pivot, they’ll probably stay trapped in the market they’re already in. Many great teams get taken … [ Read more ]

James Everingham

You can have more decisions than decision-makers, but if you have more decision-makers than decisions, that’s when you run into problems.

James Everingham

When you think of transparency, you usually default to the communication aspect: telling everyone what’s happening or admitting when you’ve made a mistake. But when folks say that things aren’t transparent, what they’re probably getting at is that decision-making isn’t transparent. It’s the feeling that decisions sometimes roll on down from the lofty perch of the leadership team, seemingly out of nowhere. Instead, pull back … [ Read more ]

Opening Up About Comp Isn’t Easy — Here’s How to Get More Transparent

As a two-time founder and a seasoned engineering leader, Bethanye McKinney Blount has seen misunderstanding around comp rear its head time and time again. And in her experience, this hesitation to pull back the curtain on paychecks and think more deliberately about a compensation philosophy tends to cause problems down the line as startups scale. In this exclusive interview, Blount tackles the thorny questions startups … [ Read more ]

Terra Carmichael

I’m a big believer in teaching leaders to fish. That’s why we’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders … that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders … [ Read more ]

Khalid Halim

The double-edged truth of the fast-scaling startup: If the company grows as it should, it will outgrow many of its people.

Khalid Halim

The law of startup physics: humans grow linearly, companies grow exponentially.

Khalid Halim

I started noticing patterns in startups — which I’ve validated with executives and VCs over the years — that how companies scale and break matches military groupings. So, the most efficient group in the military is a group of three, then a group of eight, and then three groups of eight, so 24. Look across companies and you’ll see that around 24 people, someone speaks … [ Read more ]

How to Shape Remarkable Products in the Messy Middle of Building Startups

Scott Belsky’s new book, The Messy Middle, covers an expansive range of topics, from constructing teams (“If you avoid folks who are polarizing, you avoid bold outcomes”) to culture and tools (“Be frugal with everything except your bed, your chair, your space, and your team”) to anchoring to your customers (“empathy and humility before passion”). We’re pleased to present Belsky’s introduction to his “Optimizing Product” … [ Read more ]