The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life. The show hosts, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah, are both serial entrepreneurs who have founded multi-million dollar SaaS startups. Being busy CEOs of fast-growing companies, they know the value of your time and make sure you get the most out of each 22 minute episode. Tune in for new episodes every Tuesday and Friday.



Recently updated notes

Steli and Hiten talk about the art of asking better questions, why it one of the most important skills in business, and how questions is the best way to understand or gain deeper insights about almost anything or anyone.

Updated on May 12

Key points in this episode

Working remotely is on the rise these days, and while being able to work from outside of a company’s office has been possible for a while, working remotely is only now becoming mainstream. In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the brand new remote work report. key lessons that were learned from creating the report, some interesting statistics about remote working and much more.

Updated on August 26

Key points in this episode

As a founder, creating new things is something you’ll need to do all the time. Whether it’s creating a new blog post, shooting a marketing video or writing a new line of code, creativity is part of being a founder. However, there are going to be times when you can’t think of what to create and this can slow down the progress of your startup. In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to overcome creative blocks.

Updated on May 19

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Extreme Ownership is a book written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and it talks about the leadership concepts used by US Navy SEALs to accomplishing the most difficult missions in combat.  This book also provides readers with Jocko and Leif’s formula for success and demonstrates how to apply these directly to your business and life to likewise achieve victory.
In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thought on the book, how the concept can be applied to your startup and much more.

Updated on April 28

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about encouragement vs advice and the importance of encouragement.

Updated on July 30

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Parallel Entrepreneurship is the practice of running multiple companies at the same time. On today’s The Startup Chat, Hiten and Steli share their experience and we explain reasons to run multiple businesses, and reason why you should not.

Updated on June 29

Key points in this episode

There’s a lot of startup advice out there in the world, and much of it is diluted to the point where it’s pretty much meaningless. Reading a book can be the best place to get the advice you need right now.

Updated on May 06

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Being a founder can be very lonely. We hear a lot about startups that succeed and do very well, however, what is not talked about very much is the number of startups that fail and how these failures can affect a founder negatively. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what you should do after your startup has failed, why letting go is super important, why you shouldn’t make instantly massive life decisions on the day your startup fails.

Updated on May 08

Key points in this episode

It’s very common for people to feel that their ambitions are not big enough and then beat themselves over it. This shouldn’t be the case, because of how big a goal or ambition is a very subjective issue. Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the fear of doing something insignificant and what to do about it.

Updated on June 02

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about doing what scares you.
When trying to accomplish something, the fear of the unknown can prevent you from taking action and completing your goals. Whatever it is that scares you, overcoming that fear and completing your goal can only be beneficial to you.

Updated on May 14

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to get unstuck when you’re trying to complete a project. Not knowing how to get past a roadblock can reduce your productivity or cause frustration. Steli and Hiten have some great tips on getting unstuck.

Updated on May 20

Key points in this episode

In this episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten sit down for a candid conversation about listening. Like it or not, everyone (yes, even you) has a problem listening—especially company founders. Founders are notorious for having some of the worst listening skills out there. An inability to listen amongst company leaders is a big reason so many startups fail. Fortunately, listening can be learned.

Updated on June 15

Key points in this episode

How do you product management during the COVID-19 crisis? The current crisis is causing a lot of disruption for many companies, and one area in particular that most companies will be affected is in their product development roadmap. Should you stick to your road map, or should you change everything? A quick guide from the trenches.

Updated on April 10

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about business Intelligence for startups.
Handling all the data that you interact with at your startup can be a challenge, and it gets even more complicated as your business grows. It’s important to be on top of your data as things can easily get out of hand for your startup if you don’t.

Updated on June 20

Key points in this episode

In any relationship, whether professional or personal,  setting clear expectations is key to making sure that that relationship is successful or not. But knowing what is expected of us something a lot of people struggle with, and this can lead to a lot of headache at work or home.

Updated on June 06

Key points in this episode

There is this idea that teaching is the edge a company has over its competitors. On today’s The Startup Chat we talk about teaching your audience and how that helps your company. We talk about what is teaching and how to use it.


The topics we covered today:


What is teaching?

How teaching helps company marketing.

The common criticisms of the teaching method.

Figuring out what you should teach.

How teaching builds trust with your audience.

What sort of information can be taught to your customers.

How teaching attracts both customers and employees.


We invite you to join our Facebook group.  It’s great to have such an incredible group of entrepreneurs out there making it happen every day.  We’d love to hear from you; please feel free to join our Facebook group and share your experiences, challenges, and motivation with us and the rest of Startup Chat community.


We appreciate having your email address at The Startup Chat  because we’ll be sharing some special podcast episodes and other things exclusively with the people on our email list.  Click the link above and fill out the email address box to become part of the community today!


As always, you can hit us up on Twitter @Steli or @hnshah, #thestartupchat.


The post 141: The Importance of Teaching appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Updated on July 05

Key points in this episode

Being the “face” of a startup can be very intimidating for some founders, which is why a lot of prefer to not approach marketing this way. However, being a public CEO or founder can be a very effective way to market a startup. Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about whether you should be the face of your company.

Updated on May 29

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to set up successful partner programs.]

Updated on June 26

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While revenue or profit-sharing is a good option for attracting quality employees to your startup knowing when and how to distribute profits with your employees can be a challenge, especially for self-funded companies. In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about revenue model sharing for startups.

Updated on June 07

Key points in this episode

Being a startup founder can be very stressful, and It’s very common for founders to struggle with sleep. Not getting enough sleep can not only affect your productivity, but it can also be detrimental to your health. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how founders tend to struggle with sleep and some challenges that keeps founders up at night, how there’s a science to sleep, and how tools like Headspace, Clam, or Brain.fm can help you.

Updated on May 25

Key points in this episode

Affiliate programs can be an effective way to get new customers and scale your startup. For it to be successful, it is important to know how to create a program that helps your customers and advocates do your marketing for you. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what an affiliate program is, why they don’t work for some startups, why some programs have failed in the past and much more.

Updated on June 27

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how reinvention causes everything to thrive.


People or companies might seek to reinvent themselves or change the way they do things, and most of the time, this can be a good thing. However, a lot of the times, people think that for you to reinvent yourself, something has to be destroyed. While this is true in some cases, it doesn’t always have to be.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about reinvention versus destruction, one beautiful thing about the USA, how reinvention can cause hardship and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


01:07 Reinvention versus destruction.


02:24 One beautiful thing about the USA.


04:01 How reinvention can cause hardship.


05:13 How more American companies go through reinvention.


05:47 Why Hiten wrote this tweet.


06:01 How America has always been about reinvention.


06:23 What destruction is about.


07:19 What causes things to survive and thrive.


3 Key Points:


I don’t think destruction is always required for reinvention.Reinvention is such an interesting concept.It is not easy to reinvent yourself.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti : Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about something I... Popped in my head and I tweeted. And the statement is, "Reinvention is what causes everything to thrive." And for me, just to lay it out real quick, this comes from the fact that many folks think about destruction, or destroying things, in order to build them up again, or start fresh. And I feel like that's a very... Has a lot of negative connotations and can probably bring up a lot of things that prevent people from thinking about how to change and adapt. I truly do believe that is how you thrive. And when I think about it like that, I think the right word is reinvention, versus destruction, or versus tearing things down. Because I don't think, that is always required for reinvention. Maybe it is sometimes, but our worldview, I believe, which is healthier, should be oriented around, at least my worldview, I prefer being oriented around reinventing the things I'm working on. My business, my product, my marketing, my sales, whatever. Myself. Over thinking of it as rebirth, which is what a lot of other folks sometimes call some of this stuff. So anyway, I know you wanted to talk about it Steli, because you saw it amongst the things I tweeted recently.

[0:01:38]

Steli Efti : This is one of the new format that we've established this year, which is, Hiten tweet episode, which is when I see a tweet of yours and I'm like, "I wonder why he tweeted that. This interesting thing. Let's talk about it." Which is what we would do if we met up for coffee today, I'd be like, "I saw this tweet of yours. What was up with that? That's an interesting thought." I think reinvention is just such an interesting concept. See, I thought about it very differently, because I didn't have the context. But to me, one thing that I've always been explaining to Europeans, about one of the greatest things about the US to me, and the US has a lot of bad things about it, and I talk about that as well with people, but the one beautiful thing that I find in the US to be more true than in any other place that I've ever lived or visited, is this belief in the individual, and the belief in the power of reinvention for the individual, right?

[0:02:50]

Hiten Shah: Yes.

[0:02:51]

Steli Efti : So you can be anything and everything you want to be. And there's no expiration date to that.

[0:02:57]

Hiten Shah: Right.

[0:02:58]

Steli Efti : There is none. You could be 60 years old, your whole life you were an accountant and you now want to be an actor.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to make plans during 2020.


With everything that has happened in 2020, you’d be forgiven if you chose to describe this year as the year of crisis. With this crisis comes uncertain and it can be quite challenging to make long-term plans in uncertain times like these.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about if you should make plans in 2020, how you should plan in this year, why your timelines have to be shorter during a crisis and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:42 Why this topic was chosen.


01:33 Should you make plans in 2020?


02:43 How you should plan in 2020.


04:19 Why your timelines have to be shorter during a crisis.


04:59 How Steli currently makes his plans.


06:04 The right way to approach crazy times like these.


08:00 How Hiten approached the crisis.


11:59 How teams could deal with high pressure.


12:12 How you can adapt to the uncertainty.


3 Key Points:


You’re just planning, but not as far ahead as you normally would.2020 isn’t done with us.During a crisis, your timelines have to be shorter


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to make plans during 2020. So, making good plans is always challenging, but I find 2020, I mean... 2020 is a particular, unique year, in that it probably is a more challenging year for companies and startups and founders to make any sort of plan that people might have real confidence in, especially if it's a longterm plan. So I've encountered this a couple of times this year already with friends that I thought it might be useful for the two of us to unpack this for our listeners, which is, "What the hell do you do?" If you run a startup, if you're a founder and you want to plan, should you, in 2020? Are plans completely useless? Are they totally useful? And how should you think about making plans kind of the way that we approach this and the things that we've seen work well? I thought might help founders keep their sanity and hopefully accomplish more of the things they want to accomplish, even during an outstandingly crazy year like 2020. So, first of all, let me ask you this question. 2020, should we still make plans or would you advise anybody to stop making plans because this year is too nuts?

[0:01:29]

Hiten Shah: So, the... The... I've had, like, two or three conversations specifically about this, and I've shared something that... By the time I have two or three and I get the same question, and it's a new question, I tend to like, have some kind of way to think about it or, like, you know, I'm driven crazy, you know? So I think that's a really good question. The way it worked for me, and the way I was approaching this, not too long ago is I... Hang on, I just need to fix my mic. So I basically... When the sort of pandemic came along, I was taking things in a sort of hour by hour adjustment period, so to speak. So everything to me was thrown out the door because now all of a sudden, there's this virus that we're all dealing with and we have to sort of figure out what that means for us. And so I was taking it hour by hour because new information was coming in. This is like all up to about Shelter in Place. And then after Shelter in Place, I think the first few days were very similar and our, by "our", meaning, like people were consumed with the news about it. Nobody knew what was going on obviously, and what was going to happen to us as a society like overall. Like what's next? And then basically I... I realized that I was then going day to day and after that I was going week to week and I barely got to like a month ahead. And then the protests started and the rioting and kind of...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the lack of mastery in inner work.


As humans, we all are experiencing life differently, and these experiences shape who we are and mould us into what we are at any given time. Although some of us would love to master our shortcomings, it is an ongoing situation, and mastering inner work is the type of work that never ends.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how your strength can be your weakness, how inner work is the type of work that never ends, why you shouldn’t dehumanize your heroes and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:48 Why this topic was chosen.


01:01 How your strength can be your weakness.


03:04 How inner work is the type of work that never ends.


04:05 How inner work can feel like a never-ending onion.


05:21 How what you are today will always keep changing.


06:22 Why you shouldn’t dehumanize your heroes.


07:12 How Jeff Bezos is a human.


08:47 Why there’s no mastery at the end of the tunnel.


09:51 How long it took for the Steli and Hiten to realise they were full of shit.


3 Key Points:


There’s no mastery in inner work.Inner work is the type of work that never endsYour strength is your weakness.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the lack of mastery in inner work. So, here's what I want to briefly chit-chat with you about and kind of unpack with you for the audience. Recently, I had a very intense kind of weekend session with a good friend of mine, where we did a lot of what I would call inner work, just very introspective work of what's going on in our lives and what are the challenges? What are the limitations? What are possible blind spots? We had some very deep, very, very intense, very good and honest conversations with each other. Then there was one moment where my friend looked at me and was like, "Wow," because I'd brought up something that I've just recently gotten to realize about myself and how surprising that was, because it didn't fit my self-image at all. I was like, "I'm so surprised that I am this way." It would have been- [crosstalk]

[0:01:03]

Hiten Shah: But I am. And I know.

[0:01:04]

Steli Efti: But I am. Now I know like, "Wow." And then it was like, "Wow, I'm mind blown," especially, I wouldn't have expected you having this kind of a surprise revelation because you have such a master of inner work. And I was like, in that moment, my response was like...

[0:01:19]

Hiten Shah: Feel like that but not really.

[0:01:20]

Steli Efti: No, I'm like... I think I said verbatim and then I thought, "Oh, I should tweet this someday." And then the world, it started exploding...

[0:01:27]

Hiten Shah: Wooh, yeah.

[0:01:29]

Steli Efti: So I'm just thinking about, I just kept it to myself. But he was like, "You're such a master of inner work." I'm like, "There's no mastery in inner work. This isn't mastery."

[0:01:36]

Hiten Shah: None. Sorry. That's good. That's good.

[0:01:39]

Steli Efti: "This doesn't exist. There's nobody that has a black belt. You don't remember how many books you read. I don't remember how much I've analyzed."

[0:01:43]

Hiten Shah: No. No. No. No.

[0:01:44]

Steli Efti: "You'll never figure the shit out." And I think that that's what I wanted to talk about a little bit, because I think...

[0:01:53]

Hiten Shah: That's great. Great topic.

[0:01:54]

Steli Efti: I see this with myself a lot, Hiten. I see this with some of my smartest, wisest, most successful friends. Your strength is your weakness. The thing that you spent a lot of time around...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about "Should Have Done This Earlier".


Business comes with lots of challenges. Sometimes we figure out the solution to a challenge and, depending on how you look at it, might feel relieved about figuring it out or frustration about not doing so sooner.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things, the benefits of having a positive outlook on things why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


01:07 Why Hiten tweeted about today topic.


02:32 How there are different ways to look at a lightbulb moment.


03:52 How what you focus on changes how you look at different situations.


04:56 Why how you feel whenever you figure out something challenging doesn’t matter.


05:15 Why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things.


06:54 Why you shouldn’t set conditions for yourself.


07:00 The benefits of having a positive outlook on things.


09:53 Why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer.


3 Key Points:


If you feel that you were dumber a year ago, you’re growing.Not every day is going to be the same.What you focus on a situation, changes how you look at it.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, this is another tweet episode. This is a new tradition we have, where Steli Efti reads Hiten's tweets and once in a while thinks, ha, this is both very wise and kind of curious, and there's something here that we should probably unpack for the audience on the Startup Chat. So I'm going to read the tweet that you posted recently Hiten, and then I'm going to ask you what prompted it, and we'll just see what unfolds.

[0:00:34]

Hiten Shah: Sounds good.

[0:00:34]

Steli Efti: So here's the tweet. "Should have done this earlier. I should have done this earlier. A statement full of frustration and relief at the same time." All right. So what made you tweet this?

[0:00:51]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, it's one of those things that's related to another thing that I really kind of have funny feelings about. And that thing is this idea that if you felt like you were dumber a year ago, you know you're growing. Or you felt dumb for some opinion you had, or thought you had or think you did a year ago or whatever, you're growing. So it's very similar to that where it's like, sometimes you just have those moments and this is very, it's personal life and work and business, but you have those moments where you're like, "Oh, should have done this earlier." And sometimes it's just an idea that you have, and you're like, "Crap, that's just the one." Or for like, let's say, a marketing channel or something like that, that you just didn't think of then all of a sudden you did, just to give a very simple example. Or it's something that you just did and you're like, "Oh, I should have done that earlier." So it's kind of like this feeling that I get sometimes. And I'm frustrated because I wish I would've figured it out earlier, but I'm also very relieved because I figured it out. I finally figured it out. I got it. All right, cool. So it was one of those moments where I felt that and felt like I had to share just to release it and get over myself. So that was it. It was just that.

[0:02:20]

Steli Efti: You know, what's funny is that, I should have done this earlier, there's many flavors of this, right?

[0:02:26]

Hiten Shah: Yeah.

[0:02:26]

Steli Efti: And there is one that is more regretful...

[0:02:30]

Hiten Shah: Yes.

[0:02:31]

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to keep your sanity in 2020.


With all that is going on in the world at the moment, the COVID-19 epidemic and the current police brutality protests going on around the world, it’s really difficult to stay composed and not let it all affect your mental health negatively.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about things they are doing to stay sane at the moment, how nobody really knows how to feel right now, how information overload could be a problem right now and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


01:58 How Hiten is keeping his sanity right now.


02:36 The difference between luck and gratitude.


03:00 How nobody really knows how to feel right now.


03:12 How information overload could be a problem right now.


04:06 One really unique thing about these times.


05:50 How Steli is keeping his sanity right now.


07:19 One reason why this current situation is so intense.


09:07 How this current situation is hitting a nerve with a lot of people.


3 Key Points:


This year is something else!These are unusual timesI just feel really lucky.Nobody really knows how to feel.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to keep your sanity in 2020, how to be a founder during these times, how to be a human these times. Man, this year is something else, and I'm sure we're not the only... Lots of people are going through a lot of things right now. I felt like typically we're known for super short, super sharp, very tactical and practical episodes, but these are unusual times so maybe they call for an unusual Startup Chat episode. I felt like it might make sense for us to just check, how do we deal with this? How do we think about all the insanity that's going on in the world? Maybe we do have a few things to share with our listeners that are going to be helpful or if not, maybe that in and of itself gives some comfort that not even the two of us know how to deal with this.

[0:01:02]

Hiten Shah: That's right.

[0:01:03]

Steli Efti: So let me ask you, the first big wave was obviously the global pandemic and COVID, now we're going through this wave of worldwide demonstrations and rights, peaceful protests kicked off by police brutality, but it's maybe even bigger than just that. There's a lot of different things that are in the mix that are going on right now. How have the last two, three weeks been for you, and for your team, and your company? Has it been different than the first COVID wave of craziness, and how do you cope? How do you keep your sanity during all of this right now?

[0:01:50]

Hiten Shah: Yeah. For me, I just feel really lucky and I think I have, at this point, an unlimited number of reasons why, and so I couldn't even cover them. I think that's how I deal with this, I just realize where I'm lucky and make sure that I don't lose sight of that regardless of what else is going on for other people because that's really helpful. I think we might've talked about this a little bit, but I've been really wrapping my head around for myself, the difference between luck and gratitude. I think we talked about that a little bit a couple of times at least, and for me, that's the thing that helps the most is this idea of just remembering how lucky I am. If I have to, reminding other people whether it's in my family or people around me, when they're feeling sad or feeling the collective situation in whatever ways that they might be feeling it because one of the things about this is nobody really knows how to feel. Nobody knows how to act. We just don't know. There's a lot of combined things going on,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about online meetings & virtual events during COVID-19.


One thing that has been on the rise during the COVID 19 crisis has been online conferences, and there are a number of factors that are causing this. One of those is that people ar3e working from home and have more time to attend these conferences.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how the number of invitations to online events conferences has revved up rapidly, Hiten’s experience with online events, how people have more time for online events right now and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


01:28 How the number of invitations to online events and conferences has revved up rapidly.


02:02 Hiten’s experience with online events.


03:39 How things might gradually shift.


04:23 Why this explosion of online events fascinates Hiten.


04:54 How people have more time for online events right now.


06:00 How people are starving for new connections.


06:40 How online events are much easier to attend.


07:22 One thing that’s always going to be true about online events.


3 Key Points:


The amount of invitations to online events and conferences has revved up rapidly.There’s been a lot of exuberance for online events, more than I’ve ever seen in my life.This explosion is fascinating to me.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is [Steli Efti].

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: This is [Hiten Shah].

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we want to talk about online meetings, webinars, conferences during COVID-19, is it a good idea, is it a bad idea, is it going to, yeah what is happening in the world around the trying to bring physical events online, what are we experiencing, observing? We both felt like it's an interesting thing that's going on around the world, Zoom fatigue and other things pop to mind. We just wanted to chit chat and see what we're observing, what we think will happen next, how to think about these things. Let me ask you first, I have just, the amount of invitations to online events and conferences for me has just ramped up drastically. Obviously because this is conference summer time I guess and a lot of conference organizers decided to try to do their events completely online but also just the amount of webinars that companies give, the amount of meetings that you, I mean we always because we were remote, always had a lot of Zoom meetings. It's gotten even more because now I do Zoom meetings with friends, I do Zoom meetings, calls with family members. I just do a lot more of these virtual video conferencing calls. Yeah, I'm curious, are you also, I've done a few conferences, I've done a bunch of webinars and everything in between so far. I'm starting to try to figure out how I feel about all of this and if I want to do more or less and what's going to happen in the market. What about you? What's kind of been your experience of the last couple of weeks?

[0:01:45]

Hiten Shah: I think there's been a lot of exuberance for online events like more than I've ever seen in my life. I'll start that way because I still don't know what to think because of what I just said, there's been more than ever. For the moment, it feels like people are into it. Into it meaning there's enough people that are still into it where if you throw some online something or other and have some way to promote it people will show up because it's not that they don't have anything better to do, it's that they're seeking connection. They're seeking this. I led a few over the last two or three weeks. I wouldn't say an insane amount but definitely more than I would've normally and I probably have a few more to lead in terms of like topics like product management or remote work or whatever in partnership with different folks.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the Sales & Marketing Grind.


This episode is inspired by a tweet from Hiten that pointed out how marketing is a grind, one that you need to get used to, as it requires you to do the same thing over and over again in order to be successful.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the tweet that inspired this episode, what prompted this tweet and why marketing is different from sales and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:34 Why this topic was chosen.


01:05 The tweet that inspired this episode.


01:40 What prompted Hiten’s tweet.


03:02 How marketing and sales is a grind.


04:09 How marketing and sales are like working out.


05:03 What makes Steli stay consistently on the sale grind.


08:22 A mindset that salespeople need to develop.


10:10 Why marketing is different from sales.


11:34 How Hiten gets through the grind.


3 Key Points:


The most difficult part of marketing and sales is getting used to the grind.Just do more of what ended up working.It’s the same thing over and over again.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today I'm going to start off the chat. Steli is prodding me to talk about a tweet, and this tweet was talking about how sales and marketing is a grind, and you have to do the same thing over and over and over again, and you might even quit before you hit gold. So what thoughts did it spur for you?

[0:00:33]

Steli Efti: Well, first let me actually read the tweet, right?

[0:00:36]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, go for it. I totally butchered it.

[0:00:38]

Steli Efti: So, "The most difficult part of sales and marketing is getting used to the grind, doing the same set of things over and over and over again, sometimes with such mediocre results that you think about giving up right before striking gold." I like that tweet, because I think there's a kernel of truth in there, but there are parts of me that instantly recognize the truth in this or my truth in this, but there's also a part of me that wants to disagree, and then there is a immediate question that I have once in a while when you tweet, which is what prompted this? I literally go, "Huh, I wonder what prompted this? Probably something interesting. I have to remember to ask him next time I talk to him." So let's start the episode with that. I'll tell you what I think about this, but first, what made you tweet this? What prompted this tweet, this thought?

[0:01:34]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, I think especially with sales and marketing, people look for the silver bullet, and the silver bullet is the one thing you can do and everything's all taken care of. What I've noticed for sales and marketing, it's not that. And so what prompted it, is nothing super in particular one event or anything like that, but I was just thinking why a lot of people have a hard time with sales and marketing, while let's say with engineering or design or even product, they might not have as hard of a time. One conclusion I came to is you're doing the same thing over and over again. When it comes to some of these other areas like engineering or product or design, the repetition is not the same. You're not necessarily doing the same thing over and over again and likely seeing mediocre results. You have a tangible feeling of progress and momentum that can happen in those scenarios. While with sales and marketing, I don't want to say it's hit or miss, but especially earlier on when you're trying to sell something or even marketing a product or service, the amount of grind is there. And then when something works, the next thing you have to do is just grind some more on the same thing. So even when it works, you're just doing more of the same,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about starting a Startup during the COVID-19 pandemic.


During the COVID pandemic, there’s going to be a lot of people thinking about starting a new Startup. However, whether now is a good time or now to start is a question that needs to be answered.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about if this is the right time to start a Startup, why there’s never a good or bad time to start, what to consider if you’re starting something right now and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


01:37 If this is the right time to start a Startup.


02:22 Why there’s never a good or bad time to start.


02:34 How the world is very different right now.


04:38 Why this is a good time to start.


07:44 What to do differently if you started now.


09:05 Why cash flow is more important right now.


10:16 Why “nice to haves” are off the table.


11:57 What to consider if you’re starting something right now.


3 Key Points:


I don’t think there’s ever a good or bad time to start a Startup.The world is different.There’s more access to information right now than in 2008.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about starting a startup during COVID-19. Basically the idea, if we have to start a new company or a startup right now, no co-founders yet, no money, no product. Would we do it? Would we think that, with what we know about entrepreneurship, would we think that this is a good time or would we want to wait until whenever the economy's better? And if we thought that now is a good time to start something, how would we go about it? How would we think about it? Is there anything different about starting a startup right now during this kind of special time in history around the world? Would we approach in any way differently than we usually would? I thought that it'd be a fun topic to talk about. It probably is going to have a few golden nuggets for people. So let's get the first question out of the way because I think that's going to be an easy one. You never know, especially with when you talk to Hiten Shah, but is this a good time to start a startup or a bad time to start a startup? What's your reaction to that if I asked you, "Hiten, I have entrepreneurial ambitions, but I wonder if this is the right time for me to start something."

[0:01:16]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, great question. It's just a great question because the circumstances, like this has happened before, right? So there's like the 2000s, and this is particularly in tech, so there's the 2000s and there's like the 2008 kind of housing bubble thing. And then I think the next one was right now. And these are all times when people are like, "Should I start something? Should I not?" People start talking about it. The one thing that like fascinating to me with this question as I think about it right now is, first I don't think there's ever a good time or a bad time. So I think it's false to think it's good or bad. But for some reason it comes to people's minds when the world is going to shit and they're like, "Oh, is this a good time?" It's never a good time. Is this a bad time? Well, it's never a bad time. I think it's like whatever time works for you. Meaning whatever it comes to mind or whatever circumstances dictate that you have to find other options in whatever you were doing, like you're laid off. So that's where I'll start. But I think there's a big thing that I haven't thought about till now that really hit me right now, which is, the world is different. Every one of those times, the world was different. You're talking about like 2000, then eight years later, and now 12 years later,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to get good at taking critical feedback.


Sometimes we need other people’s feedback or opinion on something that we are working on, this is perfectly normal and can help you improve what you’re working on. However, some people are not good at taking other people’s feedback and this can lead to negative reactions from that person or worse.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t take anything personally when it comes to feedback, how to get better at taking feedback, how to give feedback to someone so that they don’t take it personally and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:04 Something Steli is very sensitive about.


02:01 An example of someone who doesn’t take feedback well.


03:23 Why you shouldn’t take anything personally when it comes to feedback.


04:05 What makes people good at taking feedback.


05:06 How to get better at taking feedback.


05:21 How to give feedback to someone so that they don’t take it personally.


06:04 What to think about when you give feedback.


08:07 Why it might be better to ask for someone’s opinion instead of feedback.


3 Key Points:


I’m very sensitive to people that ask for feedback but can’t take it.When it comes to feedback, don’t take anything personally.Start learning how to ask for feedback.


[0:00:00]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten: And this is Hiten [Shah 00:00:04].

[0:00:05]

Steli: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to learn to take critical feedback well. And to learn from critical or even sometimes negative feedback. Here's why I wanted to talk about this Hiten, where do I start? I think one of the things that I have very little patience for, I've gotten better at this in life, but I'm not great at it, is people that have a difficult time. That are asking for feedback but can't take it. It's something I'm very sensitive to. I instantly, very quickly I shut down on this. So one second... The thing that I have a difficult time with is people asking for critical feedback. But then when I'm telling them very direct feedback, they don't want to hear it. They get defensive or they explain or excuse or push back or try to convince me and I've gotten a little better. But in general, I'm running out of patience very quickly with that and I instantly disengage. I am very judgmental of this, because in my mind I think you asked me for feedback. I didn't ask you to convince me that your idea is brilliant. And when I told you what I think of your idea, instead of being curious and asking for more of my thinking, and then you can decide what the fuck you want to do with it. Instead of doing that, you're now spending all this time trying to convince me of something I don't want to be convinced and I didn't even ask for. So I get really annoyed and irritated. And I just recently had a case where a good friend of mine, over long periods of time, multiple times had told me, "Dude, I know you don't want to give... I know that most people can't take critical feedback, but I really want you to always be brutally honest. You have to be really direct with me." And then couple of times after he told me that he wants me to be more honest, more direct with him. Anytime I was direct with him, he spent all this time defending his position and I was really annoyed, until I recently brought it up. So that made me think that, the truth is most people I know are not good at taking critical feedback. I know you're really excellent at this. I think I'm pretty okay at this. I mean nobody's perfect, but I think I'm pretty good at this. And when people give me critical feedback, you'll never hear me argue or excuse or explain. I usually shut the fuck up and I just ask for more...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about questions to ask yourself during this crisis.


In times of crisis, especially one like the

COVID 19 crisis, where anxiety is so universal, it’s important to ask yourself

certain questions so that you recognise when you might be exhausted and there’s

no good answer or solution to a challenge you’re facing.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about

what the concept of a wartime CEO means, why there’s no such thing as a

peacetime CEO, the right way to think about this concept and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:36 Why this topic is important.


02:56 Why this particular crisis is unique.


03:53 Questions to ask when you think you’re

tired.


04:50 How we sometimes ask ourselves questions

that don’t have an answer.


05:57 Good questions to ask that can be

helpful.


07:54 A question Steli asks his mum now.


10:00 Why Hiten switched to focusing on luck

rather than gratitude.


12:03 The difference between gratitude and

luck.


13:28 How focusing on what you feel lucky about can give you a new perspective on life.


3 Key Points:


I can’t tell you why I’m

exhausted.When you go through a time like

this when anxiety is so universal, it’s literally in every interaction.We’ve never had a crisis at this

scale before.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about good questions to ask yourself during these uncertain times. I think this is a important topic. I will tell you why and get personal, but we always get personal on this anyway. I had a friend text me the other day, text me something of the nature of like, "I don't know, man. I'm just tired today." He was like, "I feel like I'm tired every night." And it's a friend of mine that wouldn't tell anybody else that. I texted him and I'm someone who really wouldn't tell anybody else that either.

[0:00:51]

Steli Efti: Yes. [crosstalk 00:00:52].

[0:00:53]

Hiten Shah: I told him, "You know what? Me too." Then I texted him and this was the night before last, literally very fresh. I texted him last night and I'm like, You know what? I feel the same today as well." He's like, "Yeah, me too. He's someone like you Steli, where I'll tell him anything privately and we'll chit chat publicly sometimes and stuff like that. I understand where he's coming from when he says it to me because there's a lot of... He's just resilient. He's seen lots of different things in the past. Someone like you, right? We just have this common either experiences or way of dealing with the world. I've just been wondering, how do you still... Of course it's okay to feel that, but how do you ask yourself questions to just recognize when you might just be exhausted and there's no good answer. Because I can't tell you why I'm exhausted at night. He can't explain why he is either. There's just a lot going on in the world.

[0:02:18]

Steli Efti: Yeah, it's interesting. It's not just a lot going on in the world in the abstract. I think that when you go through a time like this where anxiety is so universal and uncertainty is so universal, it's literally in every interaction. It's in the hello goodbye. It's even in small interactions that seem harmless and positive. The underlying energy exchange between all humans right now in varying degrees is always, no matter what we're saying, we're also probably communicating, "I'm anxious. I'm stressed. I'm worried. I feel uncertain. I'm not sure what's going to happen next." That, we've just never had that at this scale where almost everybody we interact with feels that, right? And therefore also communicates that verbally or non-verbally with each ...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten

talk about how

to ruin your reputation during a crisis.


In times of crisis, like the current COVID 19

situation, a lot of people will panic and act in a way that would ruin the

reputation of themselves or that of their brand. So you want to be very careful

how you treat people in times like these so as not to cause bigger problems for

yourself when the crisis is over. 


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about Steli’s recent experience with a desperate salesman, Hiten’s thoughts on this particular experience, how treating people desperately and sleazy can ruin your reputation and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:42 Why this topic was chosen.


03:15 Steli’s recent experience with a

desperate salesman.


07:12 Hiten’s thoughts on this particular

experience.


08:22 How this is an unusual experience.


09:10 Why the devil is in the detail.


09:44 What was wrong about this person’s

approach.


10:32 The second thing that was wrong with

this person’s approach.


12:16 The importance of communicating your value.


12:34 How treating people desperately and sleazy can ruin your reputation.


3 Key Points:


During a crisis, people will sometimes show their true colours.Some people have been consistent over the years that anything they do is not surprising.The devil is in the detail.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today with The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to ruin your reputation during a crisis, or what not to do, so that you build a strong and positive reputation in the marketplace during a crisis. So let me set the scene real quick. The reason why I wanted to talk about this is twofold. One, a common acquaintance of both Hiten and mine, did something a couple of days ago that has ruined his reputation with me, and we were just chatting about that. But that also sparked this thought, that during a crisis I think people will sometimes show their true colors and true face, but maybe sometime impulsively just act weird. And underestimate the damage that you can do to yourself and your brand, during this difficult time, when you act selfishly, or out of order, or do shitty stuff, right? Because you're in a panic, or because you feel pressure, or because you're stressed. So I felt like it might be a good idea to talk about that a little bit. I'll summarize my story, and then maybe we dissect it, and try to highlight some learnings for our listeners, that they can take away from this. So the thing that happened with this common acquaintance between Hiten and I, is that this is somebody that has been friendly with me, and I've been friendly with him online for many, many years. Once in a while he needed help with something, I try to help when I could. Once in a while I asked for help, he tried to help when he could. Just very casual, very like twice a year email exchange, everything's cool. And then recently this guy has a podcast, and I have been meaning to be booked on a bunch more podcasts, to promote a new book that we're going to have coming up. And so we had somebody on the marketing team reach out to a couple of these podcasts that I've been on, and a few that I hadn't been on yet, but that I'm kind of friendly with the hosts. And so my team reaches out to him to book me on his podcast, if he'd be interested in that. And in response, he sends me a message and basically goes, "LOL. Do these cold emails work to be a podcast guest?" Now to give some context on this, Hiten and then I know a lot about this. We have a podcast, there's not a week where we don't get cold emails from people that want to be guests on it. And for us it's special LOL,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli

and Hiten talk about how to stop your customers from churning during COVID-19.


During a crisis like the COVID pandemic, it is

to be expected that a lot of your customers will cancel their service with you.

However, there are some things you can do to reduce the rate at which your

customers cancel.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about

why you should always be working hard to improve your retention, what you

shouldn’t be doing during this crisis, what to do to stop churn in this crisis

and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:27 Why this topic was chosen.


01:10 Why churn is to be expected.


01:24 Why you should always be working hard to

improve your retention.


01:34 What you shouldn’t be doing during this

crisis.


03:00 Why you shouldn’t be lazy about trying

to stop churn.


03:21 What to do to stop churn in this crisis.


04:10 The importance of talking to your

customers.


05:43 Some practical ideas to help you stop

churn.


07:58 How people’s feeling has been changing

over time.


3 Key Points:


We have to expect that some amount

of churn is unstoppable.You should always be working hard

to improve your retention.You shouldn’t be lazy about trying

to stop churn.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about this idea of having a sense of urgency in your business and instilling it across your business. The definition of this is basically people in the organization, you as an organization, thinking of urgency of execution, urgency as like a sort of either a framework, a mantra, a way of being, that I think is necessary in business and it's something that I strive towards in my own companies. And there's usually no better time than like when there's a pandemic or a crisis to really think through how you can have a greater sense of urgency because you're kind of forced to at this time. But how can you do that more regularly in your company, in your business, and why is it important? It's kind of like, I think what we can unpack.


[0:00:58]

Steli Efti: I love it. I just had to think, what a weird statement that's totally normal to be like, "There's no better time to think about urgency than during a pandemic." And it's like, "Yeah, of course this is [inaudible 00:01:12]."

[0:01:12]

Hiten Shah: Sounds about right, right?

[0:01:13]

Steli Efti: There's an old business saying that, thy shall move fast during a pandemic. I get it.

[0:01:20]

Hiten Shah: Yeah. I mean, come on. Okay, go on.

[0:01:28]

Steli Efti: So I'll challenge this, because this episode is actually inspired by our last episode around being a wartime CEO, and I think I know how to act with urgency during crisis. I had been told that I'm particularly effective when things are tough and-

[0:01:49]

Hiten Shah: You know why, right?

[0:01:50]

Steli Efti: Tell me.

[0:01:51]

Hiten Shah: You're steady, that's why.

[0:01:53]

Steli Efti: That is true.

[0:01:54]

Hiten Shah: You're steady. That's it. You're just steady, and when you're steady and everyone else might not be steady or needs that steadiness, you're there. That's just who you are. And I think that that's different. Different in the sense of like, that would be you being able to be calm under pressure. That would be my read on it.

[0:02:19]

Steli Efti: Yeah. So, so there's some truth to that. I think there's also something to be said that during a crisis, I know how to make decisions under fire and had creed clarity and execute, not freeze when there's uncertainty,

Key points in this episode

In the startup world, the most successful CEOs tend to be the ones that maintain a sense of urgency and order in their business. They react quickly to market changes, develop new products all the time or add new features to existing ones. Having this sense of urgency is key to the success of their startups. In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to instill a sense of urgency in your business.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to be a good wartime CEO.


In times of crisis, companies need strong leadership to make some tough decisions that will help them get through this crisis. However, there is a tendency for some CEOs to use the crisis as an excuse to behave badly towards employees and everyone around them.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what the concept of a wartime CEO means, why there’s no such thing as a peacetime CEO, the right way to think about this concept and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


01:13 The concept of a wartime CEO.


02:55 Why there’s no such thing as a peacetime CEO.


03:57 How people think about wartime or peacetime in business.


05:07 How your business is always under attack.


05:23 The idea of wartime versus peacetime really means.


06:30 Why context really matters when deciding how to lead.


09:05 The right way to think about this concept.


10:09 How speed is the most important thing during wartime.


3 Key Points:


There’s a very different mindset and leadership style as a CEO during wartime versus during peacetime.A lot of companies are under some level of threat at the moment.I don’t think there's such a thing as a peacetime CEO.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about being a good wartime CEO. What does it take? What does it look like? What is it? How could it be useful to know more about this? You use this framework potentially during these difficult times. So first maybe we'll break down for the listener the concept of peacetime CEO and wartime CEO. First time I heard about this was Ben Horowitz's book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. I think he's the first one to use this metaphor. I'm not sure if he stole it from somebody else. I haven't read that book in many years, but something tells me maybe not a bad book to read right now.

[0:00:44]

Hiten Shah: Definitely not.

[0:00:45]

Steli Efti: For some people, it just describes very difficult times, very difficult decisions for a CEO. But the way I remember his breakdown on wartime and peacetime, and then I want to focus on the wartime metaphor is that he basically describes, hey, there's different phases a company can go through, and during the peacetime for a company, it means the company is not under any direct threat by a competitor, by industry, by markets, by whatever. And it is growing and it's prospering. And so, it's a time where you as a CEO, you have to manage that growth, that prosperity, you have to stimulate creativity. And it was describing how for a long time Google was in peacetime, right, not on the really aggressive attack of competition and all that. And there's a very different mindset and leadership style that's required during peacetime as a CEO versus wartime. And wartime is the exact opposite. Your company is under direct threat either by a competitor, by an innovation technology industry market economy, or like we are probably right now, the entire world is on fire, we're in a global pandemic and that might create a ton of economic attacks to the lifeblood of your business. So a lot of companies are under some level of a threat right now. Will we survive this time? How will we survive this time? And wartime CEOs have to be very different in the way they think and manage and they lead their troops during this time. So, I die to hear your thoughts on this, even on this peacetime, wartime framework. Do you like it, do you hate it? And then, let's maybe unpack a little bit about what it takes to be an effective CEO during these times that maybe is different from others.

[0:02:33]

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to notice your own bias.


As humans, it’s natural for us to have biases in different ways. However, not noticing these biases can be detrimental to us and cause us to make bad decisions in business and in life in general. 


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of noticing your own biases, examples of how people can be biased, how people can be irrational during uncertainty and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:36 Why this topic was chosen.


01:31 The importance of noticing your own bias.


02:32 Examples of how people can be biased.


04:16 How people can be irrational during uncertainty.


05:09 How every prediction can be right at some point.


06:34 How people don’t like to uncertain.


08:40 Examples of how people can be irrational.


09:13 How people can be unhelpful with their bias.


10:04 How biases can be a defense mechanism against being wrong.


3 Key Points:


Noticing one’s bias is sort of a superpowerThere’s irrationality that comes up when we have uncertainty.Every prediction can be right at some point.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to notice your own bias and how to ensure that you don't make bad decisions because of a rigid internal bias that you might have. The reason why we wanted to talk about this, at a prior episode we were just talking about how to negotiate with oneself and we had shared a little bit about this idea that the one thing that I recently noticed of people wanting to believe something because of self-interests and then trying to selectively find the information, the experts, the articles, the data that confirms their bias and continuously defending their mind against everything that would attack their thought process and collecting the things that confirm that thought process. And how big of a waste, to me that seems such a... I mean, we always do this, but right now it's such a heightened environment that I just notice this so much and just... I'll give you one quick example and then let's talk about this because noticing one's bias, I feel like, is a superpower in avoiding making avoidable mistakes.


[0:01:23]


Hiten Shah: Absolutely.


[0:01:25]


Steli Efti: One thing that was really interesting at, I don't know, maybe six weeks ago or so, five, six weeks ago when we were in the Western world in Europe and the U.S. Much earlier in the pandemic timeline. And it seems still very far away, like a problem that was in Asia and in China and maybe there are a few, a couple of cases in Germany, a couple of cases in the U.S. But there were still a lot of debate of it would ever become a problem in the Western world. I remember talking to a friend of mine in the U.S. And then I remember talking to a friend of mine in Germany. What was interesting was how both of them, my friend in the U.S. Was like, "Well, I'm sure I'm in the U.S., I wouldn't want to be in Germany right now because..." I was like, "Oh, why is that?" "Well, if a pandemic would happen, I'd much rather be in the U.S. Than in Europe or Germany." And I said, "Oh, why is that?" He was like, "Well, the U.S. Healthcare system is really amazing and it's not as population dense and..." He brought up a number of reasons why. He was like, "You know what, I feel pretty safe, this is probably around the world, not the worst place to be at a pandemic and Germany would be much worse." And then I talked to my German friend a couple of days later, without prompting it, he was telling me, "Well, I'm glad that you're in Germany, Steli, right now and not in the U.S. Because you're much safer here if there's a pandemic.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to negotiate with yourself.


Sometimes, we talk ourselves out of doing something that’s good for us or we know we should do. This is a common habit that a lot of founders have, and is known as self negotiation. Tts a sabotaging tactic that keeps us from changing our habits or procrastinating.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why self negotiation is a very interesting concept, when to negotiate with yourself, what negotiating with yourself can look like and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


01:06 Why this is a very interesting concept.


02:28 Why the biggest impact that we can make is mostly inward and not outward.


03:27 How a lot of people negotiate.


03:49 When to negotiate with yourself. 


04:38 Things Hiten does when he negotiates with himself.


05:40 What negotiating with yourself can look like.


08:47 Hiten’s thought process for figuring out what the right thing to do is.


10:07 How Steli approaches decision making.


3 Key Points:


Usually, you negotiate with two parties instead of with yourself.For me, it’s all about figuring out if what I want to do is the right thing to do.The biggest impact that we can make is mostly inward and not outward.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:05]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about, how do you negotiate with yourself. This is based on a tweet. I think it was James Clear on Twitter that tweeted it and then I retweeted it and Steli saw it, put it on our list to talk about. We're jumping in. We're going to talk about how you negotiate with yourself. I think it's a very interesting concept. It's something that... One of those things that when you read it you're like, huh, what does that mean? How do I do that? I think that's really where the discussion starts.So to me, negotiating with yourself is almost like... Usually you negotiate because there's two parties and they want different things. They're not aligned yet. I think in a way you could say either it's because I'm watching too many shows right now and random things. There's a show called Limitless and there's also a movie called Limitless. The main character takes a pill and the pill makes him super smart. When he does that, pretty much when everyone takes the pill, they see a part of their psyche, whether it's somebody else they love or themselves and they start talking to themselves. And literally what they're doing is, they're negotiating about what to do because now all of a sudden they're super smart. They need someone to talk to apparently, but it's all in their own psyche. But it's someone to talk to you to negotiate what they should do.


[0:01:38]


Steli Efti: That's interesting. I saw the movie. I've never watched the show. The reason I put this on the list of potential topics was that I don't retweet that many tweets. When I saw this in my timeline, you had retweeted it, I instantly retweeted it. Then after the fact, I was like, why did I retweet this? Right? What about it was compelling? What made me want to share this more widely and to me, And to me I think that the biggest battles that we fight, the biggest impact we can have, is mostly inward and not outward. It's like being in competition with yourself is the negotiations we have with ourselves, is improving ourselves. I think that an incredible amount of value can be created when you see all the versions of yourself that exist. When you are observant and mindful and present to your thoughts, your feelings, your mental states, your habits, and you're not just the victim of your impulses and your thoughts and your character, but you're in negotiation with that and you're aware of it and you're mold...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to maintain mental health during a global pandemic.


Due to the current coronavirus crisis, a lot of companies are struggling, and this is going to affect so many founders mental health. So it’s important to know how to cope with the current climate an avoid harming your mental health


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how this current crisis can affect your mental health, what Hiten is currently doing to take care of his and his family’s mental health, how Steli is coping with in the current crisis and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


01:39 How this current crisis can affect your mental health.


03:48 What Hiten is currently doing to take care of his and his family’s mental health.


04:49 Why Hiten was consuming a lot of content about the crisis early on.


07:22 How everyone has their own wy of dealing with this crisis.


09:13 The importance of knowing when to cope.


09:45 How Steli is coping with in the current crisis.


10:23 How making checklists is helping Steli cope.


11:57 How Steli is coping through exercising. 


3 Key Points:


The staying at home part is not just challenging for meYou need to know when enough is enough when consuming content about the crisis.You have to consume information in order to understand what’s going on for myself.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to maintain one's mental health during a global pandemic. So, for those of you that don't know, we recorded... The last, I think four episodes or so, were very focused on the current COVID-19 crisis around the world, and this is very unusual for us. We've been doing this, I think this week we're going to surpass, or just last week we surpassed the 500 recordings. We've been doing this for five years plus. We had never done episodes that were centered around world events at the moment.


[0:00:41]


Steli Efti: Nope, that's right.


[0:00:42]


Hiten Shah: But then again, there's never been a world event that's so big that it literally has captured-


[0:00:50]


Steli Efti: Impacts everybody.


[0:00:50]


Hiten Shah: The entire world.


[0:00:52]


Steli Efti: That's right.


[0:00:52]


Hiten Shah: So this is a different time even for us in this podcast. We did an episode on sales during this crisis, marketing during this crisis, and working from home during COVIT-19. I felt that it would be helpful and useful to people that are listening to us to talk a little bit about mental health. I think that in step one, when all of this started rolling, or becoming a bigger topic in the Western world, in Europe, in the US especially, I think that first mechanism of preparedness was about shopping, having groceries, having toilet paper, obviously. The most important item of all. And just thinking cash and in the US a lot of people were buying ammunition and guns and whatever. There's some kind of a, how do we survive in our homes if we can't go out and if it's really dire circumstances outside for long periods of time. So people were thinking about that. And now... But I feel like once people have gone through, one, two, or three weeks now of actually being mostly at home and having, if they have children, their children at home and not in school, and their significant other at home, not at school, and they've been in this cramped up environment and space for a good amount of time. And on top of it, there's been now two, three weeks of nonstop bad news and anxiety just ramped up around the world to a really high level. I feel like now more than ever, people will start thinking about this,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what we have learned from each other in 500 episodes.


After 500 episodes of the podcast, Steli and Hiten dive into what they’ve learned from hosting the podcast over the last 5 years.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the very first episode of the show, what Hiten has learned from doing the podcast, why the podcast was started and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:12 Why this topic was chosen.


01:15 About the first episode of the show.


02:11 What Hiten has learned from doing the podcast.


03:50 How friendships should be natural.


04:56 The importance of friendships.


06:11 Why the podcast was started.


07:03 What the podcast has allowed the guys to do.


07:40 The nature of Steli and Hiten’s friendship.


09:14 A real gift of the podcast.


3 Key Points:


It’s been a wild ride.We don’t talk about our personal lives as much as other things.To me friendship should be natural.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about, today is a big day, the 500th episode of The Startup Chat. What we're going to talk about is what we have learned from each other in over 500 conversation's over five years now or so. So would you believe it? Who in the fuck would have ever known when we first grabbed the coffee and I told you we too have great chemistry, we should do a podcast together, and you said, "Sure, whatever you want, Steli," who would have known that? That's the first encounter would have led to this type of relationship, friendship, and this kind of podcast. If all of you that are like, "I wish I was at the coffee shop, and could have listened to how they came up with the idea and how they put it together." You can, a lot of you don't know this, but the very first episode, if you Google thestartupchat.com and then episode one you're going to find the episode that we recorded right after walking out of that coffee shop where we basically came up with the name, what should it be, how long, why do we want this? Like that very first conversation we had about doing the podcast is recorded and published as the very first episode of The Startup Chat. So go and check that out, but who the fuck would have thought would have made it so long, to 500 episodes. Man, it's been a wild ride. It's been a wild ride. So today I thought it'd be fun to reminisce a little bit, to look back and to share a little bit of some things that stand out today, for us, in terms of what we have learned from each other, from doing a 500 episodes on The Startup Chat. So I'm going to put you on the spot. Since I had the idea for the episode, you're going to be the first one that's going to have to answer this. What's the first thing that comes to your mind, if somebody, if you had coffee with some founder and that founder said, "Hey dude, you've been doing this podcast thing with Steli forever. What have you learned doing the podcast with Steli? What's something that stands out to you?"


[0:02:13]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, yeah. Huh. What have I learned? I think talking to you and doing it in public basically, so like I'd say 99% of the time we've spent together has been essentially in ... Sorry. [inaudible 00:02:56]. Or enough friends or whatever. You have your five friends, whatever we want to think about it. You got friends, for sure. Like your friendly guy. It's taught me about friendship and what I mean by that is, we don't talk about our own personal lives as much as we talk about things that are not our personal lives. Obviously sometimes on the podcast we talk about it, but usually it's something that's on our mind, some advice, something that we think the audience would find valuabl...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to sell in the current climate.


In the current environment, making sales right now is extremely difficult. A lot of sales people will be working from home and that in itself can be very tricky. Also, many businesses are going to be struggling financially and this will hinder your ability to sell your product or service. 


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what to do right now if you work in sales, how working from home can be tricky for sales people, tips to help you cope when working from home and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:12 Why this topic was chosen.


01:26 What to do right now if you work in sales.


01:59 The nature of sales.


02:38 How working from home can be tricky for sales people.


03:11 Tips to help you cope when working from home. 


05:04 The importance of authenticity when working from home.


05:32 Why you should focus on what you can control.


05:58 Why speed matters a lot right now.


08:10 Why cashflow is king right now.


3 Key Points:


This is going to be a tricky time for people in sales.Sales people working from home is highly unusual.Nobody is going to care about what you sell in a week or two from now.


[0:00:02]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:05]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat in our pandemic series... That's what it is. We're going to talk about sales because I have a sales something, savant genius, whatever word people want to use, but he knows a thing or two about sales. So let's talk about sales. I've seen some emails you folks have sent, I've seen some features you folks are releasing and I know you've changed it up, your roadmap a little bit, yourselves, in order to service folks. But I think the big question on people's minds from a sales standpoint, both if they're managing salespeople and they have sales people or they are a salesperson, what do I do? Everything's different now. I'm not in an office. I don't know if my prospects are going to listen to me anymore. Or even like... What do I do? So please lay it on us.


[0:01:03]


Steli Efti: Yeah. This is going to be a very tricky time for people in sales, but there's many other people that are in much worse situations. Okay, so a couple of things. I think first on an individual level, salespeople working from home is highly unusual and selling just from their home. And on top of it, it's going to be even much more unusual if the whole family's with them, right? Sales is such a context sport, kind of high velocity, high quality context sports, such a communication sport. And it's so fundamentally relying on the state that you're in being a powerful enough state to be able to influence people, hopefully in a positive way. That if you are at home and you are depressed or anxious or fearful or confused and there's children screaming in the background and you're in your pajamas and you're not trying to call somebody that is equally distracted at home, confused and you're trying to now make people pay attention to you and then make buying decisions, it's going to be tough, right? There's no sugarcoating and this is going to be a tough time. It's funny the first big surge of questions that I got from sales team, salespeople, sales leaders, was the selling from home piece. And on that, there's a lot of advice out there. And I think the only things I can say there is you'll have to find a way to get yourself in as good of a state as you can and you're going to have to improvise and incorporate, right? So if you do Zoom calls, for instance... I heard this multiple times people are like, "I'm doing these Zoom calls and then my children come into the room." Don't be like the one guy that was like whatever expert on BBC that had the wife or ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about marketing during the COVID-19 crisis.


Due to the current coronavirus crisis, a lot of companies are sending out a bunch of emails to their customers, updating them about how they are handling the situation amongst other things. However, while it may be necessary to do so for some companies, it may not be the case for yours, and if so sending an email out might not be the best thing to do right now. 


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some brands are reacting to the situations, how some brands are using the opportunity to send emails to their customers, what type of marketing is working at the moment and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:15 Why this topic was chosen.


00:59 How some brands are reacting to the situations.


02:12 How some brands are using the opportunity to send emails to their customers.


03:16 Brands that should be contacting their customers.


04:20 How FYI is handling the situation.


05:57 What to say to customers during this period.


07:09 Why you have to think about the audience.


07:52 What kinds of messages companies are sending.


09:26 What type of marketing is working at the moment. 


3 Key Points:


There are a lot of brands that are using this opportunity to send emails to their customers.None of the essential companies that I’m a customer of have sent an email.Part of it is reminding people that you exist.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about marketing during a crisis. Actually, marketing during a pandemic, as everyone's working from home while everyone's checking information about the pandemic all day long.


[0:00:24]


Steli Efti: All right, well-


[0:00:25]


Hiten Shah: This is... Go ahead, go ahead.


[0:00:28]


Steli Efti: No, go ahead. Go ahead.


[0:00:31]


Hiten Shah: I mean, seriously, I was just going to say that it seems like there are a lot of brands out there that are taking this, and I want to hear your reaction, taking this opportunity as a reason to send email to their customers. Are you noticing that?


[0:00:58]


Steli Efti: Oh, no. No, just about 20 to 30 emails every day. Who was it? I saw a bunch of people funny tweeting about this like, "Thank god, every company I've ever given my email is telling me how they're managing the COVID-19 situation." Yeah, there's a lot of emails about COVID-19 from brands. And the funny thing is, I would say that almost all of them, with a few exceptions, are from companies I don't even know. Or I'm not even like, "Am I a customer of this? Why use this? Why am I getting an email from this particular brand?" It's not very relevant. It's not, I don't know, if AWS sends me an email, or [inaudible 00:01:40], or some software product I use every day, Zoom, is sending emails. Zoom hasn't sent an email and if they sent an email-


[0:01:48]


Hiten Shah: They have not sent a single email. That's right. Let's think about that for a second.


[0:01:55]


Steli Efti: But if they sent an email, it'd be like, "At least I'm curious to know because I really fucking need this service right now." But it's none of these essential infrastructure type software products and services I'm a customer of that have sent me an email, none of them. It's all this other bullshit that I don't even know why they have my email that's sending emails about COVID.


[0:02:15]


Hiten Shah: That's right.


[0:02:18]


Steli Efti: So I assume your recommendation is not necessarily, first thing you have to do is send an email to everybody in your email list telling them how you feel and what you do about COVID-19.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about daring to WFH without losing your mind during the COVID-19 crisis.


With the Coronavirus epidemic going on, a lot of companies are being making their teams to work from home. This will inevitably lead to some challenges especially if a company culture and the way it has been set up is not designed for remote work.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how there’s been an increase in remote working since the virus broke out, the biggest issues about working from home, why your company culture and how your team is set up matters now more than ever and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:21 why this topic was chosen.


01:12 How there’s been an increase in remote working.


02:15 One of the biggest issues about working from home.


02:52 The biggest concern companies have about WFH.


04:08 Hiten big tip for companies dealing with the current situation.


05:10 How Hiten’s team is handling the current situation.


06:19 Why your company culture and how your team is set up matters a lot.


08:35 How the current situation is not normal.


10:21 How the current situation will reveal what’s broken rather that breaking it.


3 Key Points:


I don’t think there has ever been more companies going remote in the history of the worldBeing distracted is a big issue when you work from home.All it takes is for someone you know to get the virus and everything changes.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to work from home without losing your mind as the world is melting down right now. So it's been an interesting decade. Over the last week or two, Hiten, a lot is happening-


[0:00:23]


Hiten Shah: Pretty much.


[0:00:23]


Steli Efti: ... Has happened and will probably continue to happen. But one relevant thing for people that are listening to us is that you and I have been championing working remotely for many years. We've been teaching anything we learned as we've been running remote teams and companies for many years, but I don't think there's ever, in the history of the world, been more businesses going remote than in the past three, four weeks. And so now there's this surge of demand for all these companies, and we're going to focus on startups, that were used to going into an office and working, collaborating, and communicating with each other in person, that are now forced to do that from home. Which is also a slight different flavor than working remotely, since many people who work remotely might go to a coworking space or a coffee shop, now you're full-fledged, you're working from home, all your colleagues work from home. How the hell do you do this? How do you coordinate this? How do you kind of manage this transition? I don't know about you, but I've seen with our customers last week, the number one worry was, "How the hell do we work from home?" This week it's 50%, "How do we work from home?" And 50%, "Oh my God, how do we deal with the financial crisis?" And I assume in a week all people are going to care about is, "Do I have to let people go? Customers are not buying anymore." They're going to be moved on from the working from home problem. But right now it's still really, really large. So what is the advice that you give to people that are like, "Shit, Hiten, we had to send everybody home, we have to work from home now and what the fuck? How do we do this?"


[0:02:08]


Hiten Shah: It's interesting. One of the biggest issues right now working from home is the amount of distraction you can have if you're just reading and looking into this stuff.


[0:02:21]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:02:24]

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to give presentations to your team.


Internal presentations are very common in the startup world. And while these presentations can be very boring and packed with data, it doesn’t have to be. Learning how to make your presentations exciting will help a long way in communicating your message to your team.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about some mistakes people make when they give internal presentations, examples of good presentations, how to improve your presentations and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:29 Why this topic was chosen.


01:23 A big trend in internal communications.


03:20 How to present your data.


03:56 Why your presentations should have context.


04:27 How internal presentations are similar to speaking at conferences. 


05:00 An example of how to create good presentations.


07:14 How to improve your presentations.


07:45 How the best presentations have stories in them.


09:10 What teams need from presentations.


3 Key Points:


Internal communication is a very big topic.People are not used to presenting.People are overwhelmed by with too much information.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about something that plagues every company at some point. And Steli had an experience that I haven't heard yet, or some experiences, so I'm dying to hear them and talk about this. But it's basically the idea of how do you communicate internally inside your company? Steli, take it from here. Lead out.


[0:00:26]


Steli Efti: Yeah. There's obviously the internal communication is such a big topic. The one thing that I'd like to zero in on, because we are going through this and I've just personally had to go through this a couple of times and I'm currently working with leadership at close on this, is when people who are leading teams are giving presentations either for those teams or company-wide. And this could be a monthly report, hey, let's a summary of what happened last month and what we are projecting or our goals for next month. It could be a big project that was concluded or that is planned. Any kind of communication where somebody that is responsible for a project is sharing the learnings, pros and cons, or what has happened, or what is about to happen with people. One big trend that I see, one thing that I've seen again and again and again, is that people will go through the, this is a general communication challenge, they'll go through the simple work of just collecting information. So let's say I'm running a sales team. February concluded, so I'm doing a summary of what happened in February and it's a slide, and let's say there's six bullet points and it goes, we had a, whatever, 20% conversion rate, we closed this amount of customer, our goal was this revenue, but we only had that hit that revenue, with this one audit that affected closing two deals. Just reporting on a bunch of information, a bunch of numbers, a bunch of random events that happened. Just [crosstalk 00:02:12]. Yeah, go ahead.


[0:02:14]


Hiten Shah: No story.


[0:02:15]


Steli Efti: No story whatsoever.


[0:02:17]


Hiten Shah: That's what you're trying to get at, right? No story.


[0:02:19]


Steli Efti: Yes. You've instantly got it.


[0:02:21]


Hiten Shah: I was like, wait, I've heard this before.


[0:02:23]


Steli Efti: So you look at this and basically as an audience, as the sales team, or let's say the company that is getting this presentation about the sales results of last month, as a team member, or as an employee of the business, I look at that slide and now I am burdened with doing all the hard wor...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to deal with rejection.


Rejection is very common. If there’s one thing that is going to happen to you as a founder is that you’re going to be rejected a lot, and this hurts. But just because you’re likely to be rejected when you ask for something shouldn’t stop you from asking. How you deal with rejection can determine if you’ll be successful or not.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how nobody likes being rejected, coping mechanisms that you can use to deal with rejection, the problem with rejection and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


01:08 How Steli doesn’t like to be rejected.


03:13 How Hiten deals with rejection.


04:30 The problem with rejection.


04:50 Why rejection is just an idea.


06:01 Why you need to ask all the time.


07:43 Why your decisions matter.


08:24 Why you shouldn’t put your self worth in someone else hands.


11:00 Tips to help you deal with rejection. 


3 Key Points:


I encourage people to get rejected and put themselves out there.I, for sure, don’t like to be rejected.Ask the person who you think is good at dealing with rejection how they do it.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to teach you how to deal with rejection. If you know Hiten and me, you know that we do believe great things come with taking great risk. If you know me, you know that I encourage people to get rejected. To put themselves out there, and to ask for things specifically that will place them completely outside their comfort zone, and with that bring a lot of risk of being rejected. Both Hiten and I have been rejected many, many, many times in our lives, and we know a thing or two about it. I do believe this is such an important topic. We thought today we're going to do a little bit of a back and forth of just like coping mechanisms that we have developed, strategies, ideas, habits that allow us to deal with rejection. One thing that I'll say right out of the bat, before I'll ask you for your first tip Hiten here, is that I do not know anybody, I've never met somebody, and I surely I'm not somebody who doesn't care about being rejected, or who likes being rejected. I for sure don't like to be rejected. People think, especially when they see somebody that is as outspoken and as loud as me, and has as much sales experience as I have that I don't care anymore. I could attempt anything and get rejected and I would not even just nothing from me, I would just dust off my shoulder. It's not true. It is simply not true.


[0:01:46]


Hiten Shah: That's not true?


[0:01:46]


Steli Efti: That's unfortunately not true, no. Even after many, many, many, many, many thousands of rejections over the past 20 years of being an entrepreneur and in sales and all that, I still don't like the feeling. I still don't like the word no. No does not feel good to me. It doesn't. I have just learned to deal with it. I've just learned to deal with it better than most people. I have learned to not run away from it as much. Not delay my actions as long. To me it's like I've jumped a thousand times from this super high point into the water, and every time I'm a little afraid I get a little bit of goosebumps, but when I look down, I'm like, "I've done this many times. It sucks the first few seconds, but I'll just jump." That's how I deal with this, versus what I think most people think, which is after he learned the magical art of not caring about being rejected and being so confident, nobody can shake his confidence. Now Steli walks around like a machine, and could ask anybody for money or for anything. Has zero emotions, zero fear,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about daring to be different in all that you do, for your future happiness.


In a world where most people seem to be doing the same things, being different can be a good thing. It can help you stand out from your competition and lead to you being very successful in future.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about What it means to be different, why being different takes courage, how being different pays off in future and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:33 why this topic was chosen.


00:43 Steli’s initial thought on Hiten’s tweet.


01:39 What prompted Hiten’s tweet.


03:00 Why being different takes courage.


05:46 Why Hiten used to word “dare”.


05:05 What it means to be different.


08:39 How being different pays off in future.


09:07 Why Hiten chose the phrase “future happiness”.


10:34 How being different helps you express yourself better.


3 Key Points:


It’s ok to be different.Being different takes courage.Different means going against something


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about a tweet of mine that was very impulsive, not in a bad way. And I'm tweeting a little bit more than I was over the last few months and the tweet said "dare to be different in all that you do for your future happiness" and Steli, it must have like struck a nerve or did something cause we're talking about it today and Steli suggested it. So yeah, it's about being different and daring to be different. So how did you take it? What did you think?


[0:00:39]


Steli Efti: Well, the first thing I thought was what prompted this? (laughing) When I see a tweet of this nature, especially with somebody that I know like you, I'm like, huh, I'm curious what... Typically I would assume it's a conversation that inspires this with you, but who knows? It could be a million different things, but the first thing that it made was make me go, huh, this is interesting. I wonder if there's a backstory or there's a thought or a conversation that made Hiten want to send this message out to people.


[0:01:14]


Hiten Shah: Yes.


[0:01:15]


Steli Efti: What prompted this?


[0:01:17]


Hiten Shah: Yes, so there's no exciting story or a conversation. Some of the tweets definitely are part of a conversation. I think this one was just, I think I was thinking about it. And I was thinking about what makes people exceptional? And what causes them to, achieve things, basically? And I think one of the factors that if you start looking at a bunch of patterns of people that have achieved exceptional stuff, whether in business or personally, is they were different, there were different, something was different. They did something different. And in that process, thinking about that, I just came to this thought and I wanted to inspire myself, but also others that, hey, it's okay to be different. And I think it comes with happiness too because if you're not different, you're likely conforming to whatever, society's expectations are or your own expectations are based on society and other people of what you should be.


[0:02:34]


Steli Efti: So one of the reasons that I love this tweet is in the details, right? And so let's break them down one by one because it's two statements basically right there. I mean it's one statement, but it's like two sentences. So it's broken in two parts. The first one, the thing that I found interesting in my mind, the thing that stood out was the choice of the very first, word which was "Dare", right? You didn't say "aim to be different" or "be different in all that you do", "aim to be different in all that you do", "You should be different in all that...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about 100 ways to count your blessings.


Being grateful for the things in your life is key to being happy in your life. The life of an entrepreneur can be super stressful sometimes and we tend to dwell on the things we don’t, which tends to increase our stress levels, versus being grateful for the things we do have. 


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you should be thankful for what you’ve got, why you should appreciate the people around you, the importance of counting your small blessings and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:13 Why this topic was chosen.


02:18 Why you should be thankful for what you’ve got.


02:47 Why you should appreciate the people around you.


04:23 When to have a moment of gratitude.


04:53 Why you should write down what you’re grateful for. 


05:49 The importance of being grateful with somebody else.


06:05 Why you need to find something to be grateful for when you’re feeling down.


07:08 The importance of counting your small blessings.


08:31 The need to be grateful for your health.


3 Key Points:


No matter what the experience is, be thankful for what you’ve got.Tell people that you’re grateful for them.I think it’s good practice to have a moment of gratitude everyday.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti : Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti : And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about all the ways in which you can count your blessings and why you want to become an expert and really good at doing that. So any of you that have been listening to us for a long time, and a lot of you do and we really appreciate your attention and we really appreciate all the feedback and you sticking with us through all these years. We've been doing this podcast for a while now. For those of you that know us well, you know how much the power of gratitude and the power of appreciation means to both Hiten and me and how much we think about it and how much we try to practice it. We did a really popular episode awhile back, episode 161, The Power of Gratitude. You can just search it on thestartupchat.com or if you just put it into Google, Startup Chat, and then episode 161 you'll find it and you can check it out. But today I don't want to talk that much about why being grateful is of benefit to you in the world and why using the power of appreciation is really impactful. We'll just assume you already know. What I'd like to do is just do a quick episode where we share all the ways we have practiced and counted our blessings and just to stimulate people maybe with new ideas or to push them to pick up some old habits that they had accumulated. Because I really think that if we can increase, if we can even just get a handful of listeners to start counting their blessings a bit more every day, the impact is impossible to measure, but it'd be very exciting to me. So I want to just ping pong, go back and forth between you and I. I'm going to share a way I have counted my blessings or practice gratitude or have seen others or heard from others. And then you go and I go and we'll do this for a couple of minutes and we'll wrap it up and hopefully people won't be able to help but to start using some of these ideas to increase the level of appreciation in their daily life.


[0:02:04]


Hiten Shah: That sounds good.


[0:02:05]


Steli Efti : All right. You go first.


[0:02:08]


Hiten Shah: I think one thing to practice is, no matter what the experience is, being thankful for whatever experience you got. You're next.


[0:02:19]


Steli Efti : No. All right. I love it. I was like, "This is a negotiation tactic." I'm like, "Silence, maybe he'll say more." I was like ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about hobbies for founders.


The life of a founder, and entrepreneurship, in general, can be very stressful. In order to avoid burnout and stress-related illness, it’s important for founders to disconnect from work and do other non-work related activities, and picking up a hobby is a great way to do this.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about whether having a hobby is a good idea, why you should decide if you’re a marathon runner and a sprinter, the benefits of hobbies and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


03:06 Whether having a hobby is a good idea.


04:11 Why you should decide if you’re a marathon runner and a sprinter.


06:20 How most people go through different phases.


07:03 What Hiten hobbies are.


08:00 Why Hiten’s hobbies are not seen as traditional hobbies.


09:52 What Steli’s hobbies are.


10:29 The benefits of martial arts to Steli.


11:23 How Steli views his hobby. 


3 Key Points:


Are you a marathon runner or do you like to sprint?Some people might operate best in certain situations.I don’t particularly have any hobbies at the moment.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah.: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about hobbies for founders. Should founders have hobbies and a life? Should they not have them? Are there good hobbies and bad hobbies? Let's just quickly talk about this and kind of unpack it for our listeners from our perspective. So I want to set this up with a story. Many, many years ago and I'm going to have to be careful, I can't use real names, but I remember being at an event where one of our angel investors had invited us to, this is 2011 so long time ago, we had raised a small seed round back then and for what we were doing, and this is like a legendary [Angelo Messi 00:00:00:57] or somebody, everybody really knows in the start-up world, and I remember sitting in the audience, he was giving a talk and one of my co-founders is a super passionate skier. He loves the outdoors in general. He loves hiking, but he especially loves skiing. And remember at some point of the presentation of that angel investor, an angel investor going on on a rant that if you want to be a founder and now that it's great skiing season, every weekend you want to go hit the snow and ski, then you know you need to figure out your priorities. He would never invest in people that waste their weekends for lifestyle instead of putting focused effort into their work and outworking their competition. I remember looking over at my co-founder, this angel just had invested in us. He just didn't know that my co-founder was a passionate skier at the time and so we looked at each other and we both had to smile and laugh so much. And then Anthony, my co-founder, whispered in my ear, "Let's not mention to him that I'm going skiing this weekend," and we had a laugh about this and that stuck in my head. The is it a good idea or a bad idea to have hobbies? I feel since 2011 in the last nine years, a lot has changed and I don't think that that same angel investor would be on stage telling the same story again and telling people that founders with hobbies or with interests out of work are not fundable. But I'm pretty sure he still holds the belief, but I think it's not as politically correct to voice those. And a lot of people's minds have changed over the years. So I wanted to unpack this for the founders, especially the earlier founders that are listening to us and are wondering, is it a good idea for me to have a hobby? Is it a waste of time? Should all my free time be dedicated to the company that I'm starting to get off the ground and if I have a hobby,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the role entrepreneurship plays in your childhood.


Things that happen in our childhood play a big role in shaping our adulthood, and becoming an entrepreneur is no different. Most founders would agree that there were things that happened to them when they were kids that influenced their decisions to become entrepreneurs. 


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about events that influenced them to become entrepreneurs, how your past is not your future, how our natural tendencies can affect us becoming entrepreneurs and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:14 Why this topic was chosen.


01:15 Things that influenced Hiten to become an entrepreneur.


03:03 Why Hiten’s father gave him some early advice.


03:42 The effect this advice had on Hiten.


04:31 How you get a better understanding of your childhood as you grow up.


05:54 Why how you respond to what happens to you is super important.


07:05 How your past is not your future.


08:24 Things that influenced Steli to become an entrepreneur.


10:12 How our natural tendencies can also affect us becoming entrepreneurs.


3 Key Points:


There were things that happened in your childhood that made you become an entrepreneur.My dad told me not to work for anyone.Your past is not your future.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about what role your childhood plays in entrepreneurship and if it plays a role at all. So here's an interesting question. When you think back to your childhood, I do believe ... I have prior knowledge, but I do believe that there were things that happened during your childhood that played a role in you becoming an entrepreneur and how you develop as an entrepreneur. Is that true? Would you agree?


[0:00:33]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. Yeah.


[0:00:35]


Steli Efti: And I would agree for certain on my childhood and what role it played in me becoming an entrepreneur and how I approached the whole thing. So maybe let's just talk personal on this episode and talk about kind of what role our childhood played in it and how it influenced us. So when you think about your childhood, what are the immediate things that stand out where you go, well this is what happened during my childhood and how these events of things influenced me becoming an entrepreneur and what kind of an entrepreneur I became?


[0:01:08]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. Mine was very direct. So my Dad, when I was four or five, told me I shouldn't work for anyone. So I think he wanted to live vicariously through me and so he spoiled me at that point and said that. Then, over the years, he said three things. He said you could be an entrepreneur and work for yourself, the sky's the limit. That was his take on it. And he was already a workaholic. He's a physician, he's an anesthesiologist. So what would happen is he would come home from work, we would have dinner and then he'd actually take me to work with him. I would sit in, basically, the IT room and I would mess with the computers and stuff. That was his version of taking a kid to work. It was literally every day. And then by the time I was seven or eight I just sat there and messed around with the computers. I had one since I was eight. I would build them and break them and take them apart and learn all about them and get on BBS's and all that kind of stuff, the bulletin board systems from back then. I had dial up really early, Prodigy, AOL, all the good things and that was my childhood. The second and third things said were get married early and have kids early. So now what I'll say, and then I'll hand it over to you, is I've done everything he wanted so I don't need to l...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about whether entrepreneurs are made or born.


Is being an entrepreneur something that comes naturally to some people and not to others, or can they can anyone, through education, experience and mentorship, develop the skills needed to become an entrepreneur? This is a question that comes up all the time and one that is not easy to answer.


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how entrepreneurs and founders come from all works of life, the intent behind this question, why no one is born to be an entrepreneur and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:17 Why this topic was chosen.


01:14 How entrepreneurs and founders come from all works of life.


01:14 How It’s the hard work that comes after you’ve started that matters.


02:43 The intent behind this question


03:47 How hard work plays a big role in being successful. 


04:45 Why this question might matter to some people.


05:57 Why no one is born to be an entrepreneur.


06:31 The biggest fear people have about starting their own business.


07:32 How there’s always an issue to solve when you own your own business.


3 Key Points:


Entrepreneurs and founders come from all works of life.Everybody wants answers, but nobody knows anythingIt’s the hard work that comes after you’ve started that matters


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Show we're going to talk about and debate the age old question, entrepreneurs, are they born or are they made? I don't know if you've ever been asked this question, but I definitely have. So let me ask you right out of the bat, Hiten, and we've never talked about this before, I think. Entrepreneurs, what do you think, are they made or are they born?


[0:00:29]


Hiten Shah: What if I said neither?


[0:00:31]


Steli Efti: Yeah, if you said neither, I wouldn't be surprised. That's what would happen.


[0:00:37]


Hiten Shah: I don't think this question needs to exist. And I think this question doesn't need to exist because entrepreneurs, founders, people who start companies come from all walks of life and they come from all kinds of backgrounds. And there is no predictor of success. That's bottom line. There's no predictor of success. There's no high likelihood that this founder, that founder is going to build $1 billion business or even a profitable business. There is no predictor of success. This stuff is hard. And so I think my response to the question of are they born or are they made, is that they are who they are and most are accidental to some extent. Right? They build something and it just works. And in some way, right? After 10 years of nothing working for example, or the first thing that they decide to do, they just get it so right. But that doesn't make them a genius. It's the hard work that comes after you start that matters, not necessarily the fact that you started. And this whole born or made almost basically suggests that it's already taken care of before you start in some way. Even made, it's like, "Oh, before you start, these are the things you need to do." Your mate, a founder or an entrepreneur. Or if you're born with it, it's like, "Oh, your family comes from a family of entrepreneurs," or, "you grew up in the Bay Area and you've been around it," or whatever. That's just not how it works. They come from all walks of life. There's no real strong pattern. There are things that you can do once you start, there are a lot of things, but I don't think that means that you're made or you're born. I think that just means that you're in this current existing situation that you've got yourself into, whatever it may be.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how Zoom became the best web conferencing product in a decade.


Zoom is a popular video conferencing tool used by a lot of companies around the world, from small startups to big enterprises. However, the story of how Zoom became so popular is quite remarkable, as they were going into a very competitive niche when they started.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how Zoom got started, what makes it so competitive in a crowded market, Steli’s initial thoughts on Zoom and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:25 Why this topic was chosen.


01:15 Steli’s initial thoughts on Zoom.


03:11 How Zoom just works.


04:48 Some not so obvious things that Zoom did.


05:58 How Zoom got started.


06:20 What Hiten learned while researching Zoom.


06:37 What made Zoom succeed in a crowded market.


09:00 How difficult it must have been for the founders to make Zoom a success.


09:59 What makes Zoom competitive. 


3 Key Points:


One of the most interesting thing about zoom is that they went into an existing category and set the bar on reliability.What Zoom did was very subtle.We use Zoom extensively within our company.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat we're actually going to talk about, I think a company that both Steli and I are big fans of, the company Zoom. I'm sure many of you listening are also big fans of the company. Many of you might know, I do these long write ups about companies just because I feel like a historian sometimes and I like really documenting kind of the history of a company and give my take on it. The company I did a little bit ago was Zoom, and it's a blog post, it's on the FYI blog. It's at usefyi.com/zoom, Z-O-O-M dash history. And you'll be able to get to it and you'll read, I don't know how many words it is, probably five, six, 7,000 words or something like that about Zoom, if you're interested. But you can also listen to us now as we talk about Zoom. One of the most interesting things about the company to me is that they went into an existing category and actually set the bar on something very basic, which is reliability. It's really reliability with this idea of video conferencing and being able to see people on video, and even the audio part of it. Now, ironically or not, we're also on Zoom right now as we're recording.


[0:01:18]


Steli Efti: That's very true. Now, this is the funny thing, when Zoom first launched, or when I first became aware of them, I remember, and there's an important lesson in this, I remember thinking, who wants to go into the video conferencing or web conferencing space now? Right?


[0:01:43]


Hiten Shah: Right.


[0:01:44]


Steli Efti: It was both, although I knew that all the web conferencing solutions sucked, it was not a single one that was out there that I thought was awesome or that I knew anybody else thinking is awesome. Although I knew all that, there was still something inside of me that went, this is a crowded and established market. There's a few winners. Who'd want to get into this right now? Then I also remember checking out Zoom and the first impression ... Now, I'm probably not as sophisticated or as smart at evaluating products on day one, but when I looked at it, it was not immediately intuitively clear to me why this is amazing. I was searching for something that stood out. But what Zoom did was very subtle, right? The interface was not different. They didn't do anything that was flashy, right, and in your face, "Wow, they're innovating because they're doing web conferencing with [inaudible 00:02:41]." No, it was basic web conferencing. But from the start you realize that this kind of just works.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Product Hunt do's and don'ts.


Product Hunt has become the ultimate place where founders go to launch their products to an audience that’s passionate about technology. While launching on Product Hunt can be great for your product, there are some do’s and dont’s you should be aware of if you decide to launch your product on Product Hunt


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten how Product Hunt is a strong community to push something out, the importance of finding a way to engage with the community, how to launch your product properly and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:17 Why this topic was chosen.


01:53 How Product Hunt is a strong community to push something out.


02:25 The importance of finding a way to engage the Product Hunt community.


02:59 Various ways to engage the community.


03:03 How to present your product on Product Hunt.


03:24 The importance of timing on Product Hunt.


05:43 How to launch your product properly.


06:19 Why you should be prepared to promote your page.


06:40 How founders should think about promoting their product launch.


3 Key Points:


Most internet-related products are launched on Product Hunt today.If you can find a way to engage the community, that would be really smart.If you know there’s going to be a popular launch, you shouldn’t launch on that day.


[0:00:04]


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:06]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about Product Hunt do's and don'ts. The reason for that is because I ended up getting contacted sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes it just comes in waves, to submit a company, post a company to Product Hunt. Or a feature, or a marketing tool, or something like that. I tend to have a response to people right away after I check out what they have. The biggest do is make sure you do your homework about what's required when you need to submit to Product Hunt because there's a bunch of stuff that's required. There's like a title, a sort of tagline, a description, a bunch of images or a video if you have it, ideally, the makers and the categories you want to be in. There's just a number of things that are required. If you don't pay attention, you're not going to ... Basically you're going to come to me, or anyone else that might post for you, if you want someone to post for you, and they're just going to come back to you and say, "Hey, I need these things." So just be ready for those things. So that's my first two. I'm sure you have some questions, Steli, or at least some idea of what we should be talking about here, because I could talk about this probably all day.


[0:01:31]


Steli: Yeah. Well first of all, I think that it's important for to understand ... I mean, would you say that most software products, most internet related products they're launching on Product Hunt. It's become a more and more popular platform to launch early access or to launch a new feature to launch a brand new product into the world. Right? It's an exceptionally strong community to put something new out?


[0:02:01]


Hiten: Yeah, absolutely. I think, the community is great. I think there's a lot to say about that. The biggest thing is like if you can find a way to engage the community, that would be really smart. That's what I would highly recommend. But yeah, the community is great. I'm a big fan. I think it's important, make sure that whatever you're posting, you understand how it can be valuable for people in general. You understand who it could be valuable for, you understand kind of what it is that you're providing, and it comes across in the things that you put out, whether it's the images or even the first comment. So another do, is make sure that one of the makers has a really stro...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about mistakes to avoid when trying to sell your startup.


In the startup world, it’s very common for founders to sell their startups at some stage. While this can be an exciting time for the founders, it’s important that you avoid certain mistakes so that things go as smooth as possible.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about common mistakes to avoid when selling your startup, why companies buy other companies, how not to negotiate a deal and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:14 Why this topic was chosen.


01:18 On really big mistake to avoid.


01:33 Why you should think about the reason people buy companies.


02:54 Why you need to know what you’re bring to the table.


03:31 How not to negotiate a deal.


05:29 Why you need to know what you want to optimise for and what position you’re are in.


06:00 The importance of prioritising.


06:45 How emotions can get in the way of getting a deal.


08:15 Why you should learn to disconnect your emotions.


3 Key Points:


Companies are bought not soldBuys are strategic.You need to know what you’re bringing to the table


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about mistakes to avoid when trying to sell your startup. So here's the reason why I want to talk to you about this, Hiton. Well one, I think it's compelling content and people are going to be interested in this. Lots of people that are running a startup might want to sell it one day. And currently it's kind of part of my world because I have some friends that are in the process of selling their startup, and I've been very much involved in that and observing from the sidelines their approach and their strategies. And also, from my perspective, I've been observing a bunch of mistakes they're making or have made. So I thought, and I know that you've helped a ton of people sell their startup, so I thought that we could provide some value to our listeners out there. So, let me start with asking you, if you think about the more recent examples, or maybe there's just a top-of-mind. This is a big mistake most people make when they're trying to sell their startup, and if there's somebody that's listening to us that's going to be in this situation, this is the one mistake I'd like them to avoid. What comes to your mind immediately on this topic?


[0:01:21]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, the typical thing is that companies are bought, not sold. So, you got to think about, why would someone need your company, why would they buy it? Even if you're going through a banker or one of the firms that helps with that sort of opportunity of selling your company, you still need a reason why someone would buy it. And I think that's my number one tip is, if you know that and you're going to sell your company either way, whether people are coming to you or you have to use third party and go to them, you have to think about this idea that companies are bought, they're not sold. So why would someone buy it? What impact are you and your business going to have for them? And that's often not thought about enough in the right ways. Because the best buys are strategic, not because they're going to buy you and acquihire you as they say, and then shut down whatever you're working on.


[0:02:22]


Steli Efti: That makes a ton of sense and that's killer advice. I think the thing that's top of mind for me when it comes to mistake to avoid what you're trying to sell your startup, is ... I mean, this is true in many different situations, but in this situation it's very important. You need to know what your line in the sand is, and you need to know what you bring to the negotiation.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the perfect onboarding plan for a new hire.


Making a new hire is an exciting time for a team, however, it’s really to get onboarding right, as the experience that a new hire gets at the early stages determines if he’s going to succeed in the team or not.


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how Hiten handles onboarding of new team members, why you want to make new team members feel like they’re in the right place, How some onboarding plans set up new team members for failure and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:26 Why this topic was chosen.


01:14 How Hiten handles onboarding of new team members.


02:11 What Hiten’s onboarding process looks like.


02:45 Why you want to make new team members feel like they’re in the right place.


03:33 Why you should make sure that they can get to work as soon as possible. 


04:35 How isolating it can be for new team members.


05:28 Why getting onboarding right is very important.


09:03 How some onboarding plans set up new team members for failure.


10:00 What you should do if your startup fails or is failing.


3 Key Points:


We want to make sure that new team members feel supported.You make sure that they get to know the team.You want to make them feel like they’re in the right place


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the perfect onboarding plan, the first 30, 60, 90 days of a new hire. What are the best practices to make sure that, once you've gone through the intense exercise of recruiting and hiring and finally making an offer and that offer being accepted. And having this new team member that you are now bringing into the company, into your startup, how do you make sure that you onboard these people in the most successful way possible to really set them up for success and longevity? And what are some mistakes that companies, teams and founders make when it comes to onboarding new hires that we have made or witnessed painfully and you should avoid? So let me ask you first, Hiten, when you hire somebody new, do you have a formal 30, 60, 90 day onboarding plan? Do you do that with everybody or is it something that with some roles you do, sometimes you don't or? Is it something that you don't like and just out of principle, you never do with anybody?


[0:01:07]


Hiten Shah: I don't know if it's like a 30, 60, 90 days. I like to do a [Koster 00:01:11]. The way we think about it is we want to onboard someone within two weeks and make sure that they have everything they need. I think one thing that we keep in mind is this idea that when an employee joins, one concept we try to make sure that we're accounting for is the idea of they don't want to look stupid and we want to make sure that they feel like they're supported and don't have this situation where they feel like they're looking stupid to anyone else. And so we have a very deliberate process around that.


[0:01:50]


Steli Efti: What's the process around that? I love the framing by the way. I'm not surprised that I love the way that you guys frame things but not making them look stupid. Just tell me more about that. I think that's super awesome.


[0:02:01]


Hiten Shah: So you make sure that they get to know the team and the team's really friendly. That could be as simple as a really solid welcome message inside of Slack, welcoming the person to the team and encouraging that person to write their own version of it as well after. I think a welcome email for the person. We haven't done this yet, but one thing I'm really excited about is as we're scaling teams and scaling people,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about remote work worries? Are people working hard enough?


Remote teams are relatively a new thing in the startup world, and deciding whether to allow your staff to work remotely can be a challenge. Questions about managing team members while they are working remotely are inevitably going to come up and how you address these issues is important.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about founders concerns about implementing remote teams, how some people are better at working remotely than others, why hiring the right people is very important for remote teams and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:10 Hiten’s thoughts on how to handle remote working.


02:36 How some people are better at working remotely than others.


02:58 Qualities a good remote worker needs to have.


03:15 The number one challenge of remote working.


03:34 How managing a remote team is ultimately the same as managing a non-remote team.


04:07 Why having good processes is important for remote teams.


05:29 Why hiring the right people is very important for remote teams.


07:21 Why Steli doesn’t worry about his remote teams. 


3 Key Points:


I don’t hear this specifically because I think people are not just willing to ask me.There are certain people who are better at remote working than others.The ability to direct themselves and be proactive about getting things done it super important.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about remote work worries. Are your people working hard enough? Here's why I wanted to briefly talk to you about this. This should be a fun little episode. This is the number one... I don't know what your number one thing is that founders ask you regarding to remote work, but the number one thing founders and CEOs ask me when they meet me somewhere and they learn that I run a fully remote company. The number one thing that they seem to be worried about is that they, and usually they lower their voice and they look me deep in the eye and they look around as if it's some kind of a dangerous thing to say. They look around and they go, "How do you know these people are actually working hard enough?" And I'll tell you what my answer to this is, but I would die to hear two things from you first Heaton. Number one, do people ask you this as much as they ask me as well? I mean, I also direct a lot more internationally with people. This might be much more something people bring up in Europe than they do in the U.S and I would assume in the Bay Area it would be even less. But I'm not sure, so I'm curious. So do you hear this often or as often as I do or at all? And then what would your response be to this particular concern of remote work? And then I'll give you my...


[0:01:39]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I don't hear this. I don't hear this specifically because I think people are just not willing to ask because I think people are just not willing to ask me. And I also live in the Bay Area where even if people were thinking that, they probably wouldn't ask unless they were... I have been asked it. When people are considering going remote, that's the situation I've been asked similar things. But then it's very tactical about, not out of curiosity, but out of, "Hey, how do I deal with these things that are easier right now when I'm remote? So right now I'm not remote. Our team's not remote, we will be remote. How do I deal with these thing?" And so if the question is very specific like you said, my response to it would be, there's a bunch of things you do. Well, one, there are certain people who are better at remote than not.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how startups grow you as you grow them.


Being part of a startup, whether you own it or you work at one, changes you as a person. There are a lot of opportunities to learn and improve yourself. It is safe to say that who you were at the early stages of your startup journey changes after you’ve been involved in it for a while or after you’ve left it - and this is a good thing.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how there’s a huge opportunity for personal development at startups, how you stop growing when you don’t care anymore, how people struggle with creating an identity for themselves and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:05 About today’s topic


01:14 Why this topic was chosen.


03:49 How there’s a huge opportunity for personal development at startups.


05:33 How there are a lot of people who get into venture capitalism but truly don’t know the job.


08:16 How you stop growing when you don’t care anymore.


10:33 How Hiten approaches tweeting these days.


10:47 How Hiten feels about how certain people tweet.


12:59 How startups demand growth from you.


15:12 How a lot of people going into the world of venture capitalism and make no contributions to it.


17:13 How people struggle with creating an identity for themselves.


3 Key Points:


A startup is a venture that demands growth from you.If you created a startup, or even if you work in one, the amount of personal development opportunity that you have, I think, is almost as great as like joining the army.There are things you experienced in your life that truly have the potential to change you completely.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah : And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the tweet, the infamous tweet by now from Hiten Shah, startups grow you as you grow them. So Hiten, I saw you tweet this, startups grow you as you grow them, I instantly liked it and retweeted it because I thought it was a beautifully expressed idea. And then as I often do, especially with you, I asked myself, "Why did he tweet this?" I ask myself this with other people as well. Sometimes I'm just like, "Why did this person decide to write this tweet right now? What is going on in their life, in their world that triggered this?" But with you especially, because we're very good friends, and because I know I have a space, this podcast, where I can dig deeper. And so let me ask you, what triggered this tweet? Why did you write this on Twitter?


[0:01:15]


Hiten Shah : I'm not tweeting a lot. I used to tweet a lot. I'm not tweeting a lot. I think a lot of people are tweeting a lot. I have been working on multiple projects at my company, FYI, for three or four months now, and that's just going to continue for the foreseeable future. Things that only I can do. It has a lot to do with the phase of the company, and the things we want to achieve, and all kinds of things like that. And quite frankly, I don't have time to tweet. I don't feel like it either. And .I lurk on Twitter sometimes I'm considering just ripping it off my phone again. I'm not on Instagram. And I'm thinking about a lot of things these days. I'm thinking about the people I know who have built startups, and whether I know them or not, and then turn into venture capitalists, or turn into angel investors. Then I'm thinking about the people that I know that, and I've done those things before, and I've had that phase of my life where I wanted to invest in companies, and then I decided I don't want to continue that phase of my life. And then I'm thinking about people who I know used to run businesses very actively, and are relatively from an age standpoint, young, and now only work two to four hours a week.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to reflect and plan ahead at this time of year.


At this time of year, it is very common for founders to go into reflection mode and reflect on the progress of their business. This could be thinking about what they’ve achieved in the year, what went well in that year and what didn’t go so well. This is a good thing, and while it is recommended that some founders do it, some other founders might decide to use this time of year to plan for the coming year.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how you could use this time of very productively, two key things people do this time of year, why you should do what works for you and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:38 Why this topic was chosen.


01:10 How you could use this time of year very productively.


01:44 Two key things people do at this time of year.


02:40 How this time of year is the easiest time to get somebody to reflect on the past.


03:07 Why a lot of people reflect at this time of year.


04:34 Why you might want to reflect at this time of year.


06:07 Why you should do what works for you.


09:53 How there’s no one path to be successful.


10:51 Why Hiten loves giving one on one advice. 


3 Key Points:


This is the easiest time to get somebody to reflect on the pastIf you’re in that mood, don’t fight it.Just do you.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, what are we going to talk about, Steli?


[0:00:07]


Steli Efti: Well, Hiten, I think we're going to talk about the mood that we're all in, which is we're kind of in the tradition between holidays, New Year's, and kicking off 2018, and I think we want to talk a little bit about that season from an entrepreneurial point of view, from a [subtle] point of view. First, things slow down, right? And they kind of, I think, a lot of people... It puts people into a contemplating mood. You start reflecting back on how this year went, and you start trying to prepare for what the goals and what the changes and what the "resolution" should be for next year. I think we want to just go through this a little bit from our own lenses and maybe highlight some of the things startups and entrepreneurs can do to use this time in the most productive way possible, to make sure that the next year is going to be killer and successful, and they're going to accomplish the right type of things that they want.


[0:01:11]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I love that. I think I'd like to split it into two. I think there's two things people do during this time, in my experience, which is they reflect on the year and what's gone on, in this case in 2017, and then they think about what's next. In some cases, one thing I wanted to mention is, you mentioned startup and founder perspective? I've found this to be a business and personal perspective as well. Holistically, regardless of size of company or what you're up to because a lot of companies go into planning mode pre-holidays, and even into the holidays depending on how aggressive the company is and how much they let you have a holiday, so to speak. And they're planning out next year. They're doing forecasts and all that fun/boring stuff, depending on how you look at it, and then other companies that are much smaller, like a startup, they tend to not have formal processes. Sometimes they don't even think about this stuff, but there's still a bunch of reflection and figuring out what's next going on. So to me, let's talk about reflection really quickly. What I've found, and this is mostly in the advisor role I have in a lot of situations, whether it's with friends or companies I'm formally advising, as well as in my own companies,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why your startup isn't your baby.


In the startup world, it’s very common for some founders to compare their businesses to raising a child. And there’s a good reason for this as certain aspects of running a business does feel like raising a child and a founder can develop a level of attachment to that business. But doing so can be quite harmful and should not be encouraged.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about Hiten’s thought on calling your startup your baby, why a lot of people think of their startup as their baby, the fundamental differences between a startup and a baby and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:34 Why this topic was chosen.


01:24 Hiten’s thought on calling your startup your baby.


01:11 Why a lot of people think of their startup as their baby.


04:22 How a startup is not biological but mechanical.


06:18 How you might have to kill your startup at some stage.


06:41 The fundamental differences between a startup and a baby.


06:57 The harm in thinking of your startup like a baby.


12:15 How attachment can be a bad thing.


12:50 Hiten tip on how to avoid making running your business difficult.


3 Key Points:


With your kids, you have no choice but to deal with them.I feel like people create a false sense of attachment when they say their startup is their baby.A startup gets killed by the founders every day.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody.


[0:00:01]


Hiten Shah: Hi. Cool.


[0:00:02]


Steli Efti: Okay. Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:05]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:07]


Steli Efti: In today's episode we're going to talk about all the reasons why your startup isn't your baby and why you shouldn't say your startup is your baby or think it. Now this is something that's kind of one of your pet peeves, right? If you talk to a founder and they think or say that their startup is like their baby, it usually pisses you off.


[0:00:28]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. The other day, I'm working with an engineer, a new engineer, and he was like, "I'm birthing this thing," and that probably pissed me off even more. But, this engineer doesn't have any kids, so I don't think he really understands what that looks like or feels like. I've had two and I was in the room when the kids were birthed ... Birthed, or whatever you want to call it, both times. And yeah, I have a visceral reaction. One of them is, with your kids, you have no choice. Unless you're really, really a unreal human being, you have no choice but to deal with them. They're your kids. There's exceptions, but they're very rare, where someone will not deal with their kids. Obviously if you give your kid away for adoption, all that, whole different story. But in the context of this, it's like these are ... Startups die. They just die. They die and it's your fault. Kids generally die and things like that happen, but it's not your fault. Also, with the kids, you have an attachment. It is part of you. It's your DNA, to a great extent. This kid would not exist without you. A startup is much different. It's a business. It's not anything else at the end of the day. I feel like people create a false sense of attachment when they say, "This is my baby."


[0:01:53]


Steli Efti: All right. So I'll play devil's advocate here.


[0:01:55]


Hiten Shah: Go for it.


[0:01:56]


Steli Efti: Not because I disagree with you, just because it's going to be fun. Don't you think that ... I would argue that a lot of people think about a startup as like a baby because it is a potentially useful metaphor, right? You came up with the idea of the company, and you probably didn't do it by yourself, there were other people involved in creating it.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to handle private life challenges while running a startup (forgiving yourself).


One thing that is inevitable at work is that there’s going to be personal issues that will happen to team members. This could be as a result of health issues, loss of a member of something as simple as relocating to a new place. Managing life challenges at work are crucial as if poorly managed can lead to a lot of stress in the team.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what life challenges are, how to handle challenging issues at work, why great communication is key when these issues arise and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


02:15 About today’s topic


00:42 Why this topic was chosen.


02:00 How to handle challenging issues at work.


02:31 Why great communication is key when issues arise.


03:33 Why you and your family should always come first.


04:25 Why companies should be proactive in helping team members through life challenges.


06:05 Practical ways companies can help manage life challenges.


08:30 How team members can be overly optimistic about their situation.


09:38 The importance of being transparent in difficult times.


3 Key Points:


We’re all going to have challenges at work but how we deal with these issues is what matters.It’s really about communication.Everyone knows that life happens and family is super important.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about this concept or this idea where like, how do you deal with things that happen in your personal life that are debilitating to some extent or that really cause you to have to focus on it. Maybe in some ways cause you to really have to put a lot of your energy towards your family or your personal life compared to your work? And what do you do about it?


[0:00:36]


Steli Efti: Yeah, so the reason why we wanted to talk about that was that just recently, I had a number of people, both on my team but also friends, going through just personal challenges, right? Somebody's father dying. We had just started. So a new team member works with us for a month or so, then his dad passes away. And so that is obviously a super dramatic personal life event that affects work as well. But also people with less traumatic things happening to them of just like moving, and how interrupted that can be to life and therefore also to work. And the common theme that I saw in many of these situations was, most of the advice and most of the work and energy I had to invest in those people was all about giving them permission to deal with life and be okay with the fact that work will have to take a step back for a little bit. Just telling people, "Hey, it's okay. Take care of yourself, take care of your family, work will still be here in two weeks, in three weeks. It's okay if you're not on your A game". And seeing how much people struggle with giving themselves permission, to be out of balance at times, to be struggling. We're all going to go through phases where we struggle, but how you deal with that struggle if you're giving yourself permission and if you deal with it with forgiveness towards yourself or if you make it even harder because you create this pressure and stress of thinking, "Oh my God, I'm behind on work". And creating this extra pressure and destructiveness that ultimately I think will lead to even worse results in work as well.


[0:02:33]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. I think it's really about communication because remember, you're not the only one on our team. So being able to communicate with your team, even if it's a highly personal matter and you don't want to share what it is, you should say, something personal is going on in my life and these are the...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why founders need to schedule quiet time to think deeply.


The world we live in today can be described as noisy. There is too much information and most of the time we’re consuming this information and not making time for ourselves to think or meditate.  


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you need to schedule quiet time to think deeply, how not scheduling some time for can affects you, the importance of meditation and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:41 Why this topic was chosen.


01:16 Why you need to schedule quiet time to think deeply.


02:27 How not scheduling some time for yourself affects you as a person.


03:39 How there’s a lot of noise in the world. 


04:01 The importance of meditation.


06:30 A story about the power of having quiet time.


09:43 What Hiten’s quiet time looks like.


10:55 An activity Steli has recently picked up.


12:00 A big goal Steli would like to hit.


3 Key Points:


We’re not starving for information.Find your quiet time.There’s a lot of noise in the world.


[0:00:01]


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about thinking time, quiet time. Why is it important for you as a founder to spend some amount of time in your day to day life, not doing or listening or watching or communicating with anyone? Quiet time, just being with your own thoughts. Why is that valuable? Why is that important and how do we do it and how do other people do it? And kind of some tips on how to incorporate that in people's lives. Let's start with setting up the reason why that's even a thing and why it's valuable. I'll go first and I'll let you chime in with your ideas or tips Hiten. But the deal is this, I don't know how hard I have to pitch this to anybody, but in today's world where we have unlimited access to information, people, content, we're not starving for information, right? It's the opposite. It's like there's so much nutrition that we now have to learn how to keep a good information diet or a good consumption diet of information just like we have to do now with food. And too many people spend all their day either talking to other people or listening to audio books or listening to podcasts like this one, or listening to music or the scrolling through Twitter or Instagram or Facebook. And so there's not any moment during the day, now even when people are on the toilet or taking a shower, they're constantly consuming or interacting with content and information. And so there's not enough time to now process that, or be even in touch with how you feel and how you think during the day and create the space that you're mind and body and soul needs to actually process some of that information. And for you to actually be in touch and present with yourself and your own thoughts and feelings. And I think that comes with massive costs associated with it. I think that comes with people struggling more and more with being able to concentrate. I think it comes with people being less and less thoughtful because they never have the time to actually think through things. And it comes with a lack of creativity, a a lack of thinking differently or creatively, or coming up with really high level strategic ideas or insights. And it comes with a certain tension because we're constantly bombarded by information. We never have the time to just relax into ourselves. And so this is, I think today, a huge topic and something that is really slowing down most people, but especially founders. And I think it's only going to get worse. So becoming competent at this is, I think, super, super crucial.


[0:03:11]


Hiten: Yeah. I mean,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to earn the trust of a team you're taking over as a new manager.


Winning over members of a team you just took over is not an easy feat. There’s bound to be resistance from some team members and if you don’t manage the situation well, this can affect how successful you’re going to be as a manager.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what to do when you first take over a team, the importance of making a good first impression, what to do with team members you don’t want on your team and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


00:43 The importance of making a good first impression.


01:05 What to do when you first take over a team.


02:10 The quickest way to fail.


04:07 What to do with team members you don’t want on your team.


05:50 Problems that can arise when you make changes to a team.


06:17 Why it’s important to be upfront with team members.


06:42 How company culture can affect your decisions.


07:19 Why you should use the values the company has to your advantage. 


3 Key Points:


First impressions matter.Talk to everyone on the team and just learn.Have honest conversations with your team members


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about what to do or what to recommend this person does when somebody comes in and takes over a team.


[0:00:14]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:00:15]


Hiten Shah: This is a great topic. I think this is one where you can do a terrible job coming in and taking over team and you can do a great job. And in some of these cases, I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I'd give somebody who's in this situation, either advising someone on how to do that in their own company or the person coming in doing it is first impressions matter. And I think that's a big deal. And also my prescriptive suggestion, regardless of how large the team is, is go talk to everyone on the team and just learn, take lots of notes and understand the lay of the land in terms of that team that you're taking over. And give the context of I just want to learn. I just want to understand how you folks do things and what's been going on, what you do here and kind of how you think about it and what are things that you'd like to improve. So really just have a one on one conversation with everybody. Doesn't matter the size of the team. Obviously thousand person team much harder. So you've got that large of a team, congratulations. Well you've got this problem happening. Otherwise I would focus on talking to everybody on the team if I were coming into that role or suggesting to someone what they should do.


[0:01:33]


Steli Efti: I love that. I think that that's definitely kind of step number one is when you join, you need to be, you're the most junior person on the team no matter if you're now their manager, you have to learn, right? Learn about the business, the team, the project, success, failures, culture, the individuals, the people, the team dynamics. There's so much to learn and if you step in, you want to take over immediately, that is the quickest way to fail. And to also have that entire team once you do fail, right? And feel like you haven't earned the trust for them to want to follow you. So by being humbled, by listening more than you speak, by learning more than you teach, people will start feeling comfortable. And then when you make a recommendation, when you start taking over, they will know that you've done your homework and that you have the proper context to make these decisions. So that makes a ton of sense. Now once you go through this, right? Eventually you're going to have to probably...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about death.


Losing a loved one is a very painful thing to deal with, and can have a huge impact on a person, especially if the loss happened at a very young age. While there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to deal with the grieving process.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about Steli and Hiten’s personal experiences with death, how death has affected Steli’s view on life, how Steli dealt with the death of his mum and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:34 Why this topic was chosen.


01:11 Steli and Hiten’s personal experiences with death.


02:48 How death has affected Steli’s view on life.


05:44 How Hiten thinks about the worst-case scenario first.


06:21 Hiten’s experience with death.


06:57 How expecting the worst can be a good thing.


07:15 How overcoming a tragic situation can strengthen your character.


08:38 How Steli dealt with the death of his mum.


09:43 The impact losing close family members has had on Hiten.


3 Key Points:


Once it happens, it’s part of your universe.I think about the worst-case scenario first.If you are expecting the worst, and the worst happens, then you’re in a better position to deal with it.


[0:00:00]


Hiten Shah: It's a very good idea to talk to somebody and just bring out their emotions. I've done it a couple of times. It's worked.


[0:00:33]


Hiten Shah: Today on the Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten and we're going to talk about death.


[0:00:38]


Steli Efti: Holy fuck! Elaborate.


[0:00:41]


Hiten Shah: So both of us, when we were children, a parent passed away and I think that's impacted how we both think about death. Steli and I have never talked about this before. I didn't know that about him when I first met him until very recently. So I want to talk about death. My mom died when I was eight.


[0:00:58]


Steli Efti: My father died when I was six. And also we're doing this recording on a balcony. There's airplanes flying and construction work going on. So, just to give you guys some context, but, so my dad died when I was six and I had both of my grandparents die of cancer in our house. So I saw them over years struggle with it, and then ultimately die. So those are the vivid deaths in my life early on.


[0:01:22]


Hiten Shah: Okay. So when I was eight, my mom actually passed away in her own bed surrounded by everybody she loved basically. There was a house full of people. I don't even know how many people. I as well watched as I was growing up, my grandfather die of cancer. My mom died of cancer as well, but in our house, same situation.


[0:01:43]


Steli Efti: So yeah, my dad died in our house. It was very unexpected. So it seemed like he had just a virus or cold, a really bad cold for a few days. And then he died at night in his sleep. So the next morning my mom just thought he was sleeping really long and eventually she figured out that he's not reacting. And then the whole thing happened. I remember it was a Sunday morning playing with one of my older brother's Lego, we had a Lego castle or something like that. And we were as quiet as possible because we thought our parents are still sleeping. And then I remember just tidbits of my mom telling us to go to the window and wait for the ambulance to come. And I remember a bunch of commotion and people in and out and everything. And then people started crying and ... So then it's just chopped up little movie clips of what I remember happening. But it was very unexpected for us and it basically had some virus in the heart that basically clogged up the heart. So his heart just stopped beating in his sleep. So a peaceful way to die, but very unexpected for the rest of us.


[0:02:47]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how even seasoned founders can feel like first-time founders.


Starting a new company can be scary. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first company or you’re started a couple in the past, you never know if your new venture is going to be successful or not, and this can cause us to feel insecure or scared


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how starting something new can be exciting, Hiten’s experience with starting companies, what to spend your time on when you’re starting something and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


02:15 About today’s topic


02:45 Why this topic was chosen.


04:29 How starting something new can be exciting.


05:31 Hiten’s experience with starting companies.


06:33 How Hiten handles pressure and insecurities.


07:25 Questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling insecure.


08:31 How starting a new company can be a totally new experience.


10:37 The danger of spending too much time on things that are comfortable.


11:38 Advice on what to spend your time on when you’re starting something.


3 Key Points:


When you start something new, you don’t know anything.There’s a lot of beauty in the feeling of starting something new.I can’t know right now if it’s going to be bigger or better than the last one.


[0:00:00]


Hiten Shah: ... If you're fearful of it, like you're just thinking about it in a way that makes you fearful, so you'd probably need to think about it a different way so you can just stop being paralyzed. Because usually fear paralyzes and then there is no momentum. So-


[0:00:34]


Steli Efti: Hey guys, this is Hiten Shah and Steli Efti with our awesome podcast, The World's Best Business Podcast, the startup chat. I don't know exactly what we finally decided on, but we're still kind of coming up with the best possible name. At this time I'm still in Europe traveling and Hiten is in a car driving to... Where are you driving to Hiten?


[0:00:57]


Hiten Shah: I'm actually on my way home.


[0:00:58]


Steli Efti: Oh, that's nice. That's awesome. So from where? From where are you driving home?


[0:01:04]


Hiten Shah: I came to San Francisco for a couple of meetings and now I'm going back home. I live in the peninsula, which is between San Francisco and Palo Alto, in the middle.


[0:01:12]


Steli Efti: Awesome. It's midnight right now here in Berlin. I had a very full day of conference talks, workshops, meet-and-greets, hiring interviews, and now I'm at the peak of my day which is having the podcast with you before I walk my way over to the other apartment and hit the bed, hit the pillow.


[0:01:34]


Hiten Shah: That's awesome. So I'm assuming you guys have one apartment to work, one apartment to sleep-


[0:01:39]


Steli Efti: Exactly right.


[0:01:40]


Hiten Shah: ... And all that?


[0:01:40]


Steli Efti: Yeah. Exactly right.


[0:01:41]


Hiten Shah: Oh that's cool.


[0:01:41]


Steli Efti: And you know what, today they did a big thing in Berlin they call Startup SAFARI where they do open offices of all the startups and everybody that wants to work at a startup can just go. They bus these people from startup office to startup office. And we got included in that. So people came in, arrived at our Airbnb apartment. So a Silicon Valley startup working in a Berlin Airbnb loft.


[0:02:07]


Hiten Shah: They must have loved it. That's awesome.


[0:02:09]


Steli Efti: It was a lot of fun. People definitely had fun and we did so too. All right. What are we going to talk about today, Hiten? What do we want to talk about?


[0:02:17]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, this is my topic, I guess, maybe. So I have this thing where, I have a friend and I was just hanging out with them on the weekend which ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about not dedicating enough time to your most important customers & team members.


As a founder, you have to decide what to spend your time, energy, and money on. This can be from customers, team members to investors. To be a successful founder, you need to decide what’s worth your time and what isn’t, and even more importantly, when to cut your losses.


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t spend too much energy on people that are not working out, how to decide how much time to invest in something, how to work with challenging customers and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


03:33 Why you shouldn’t spend too much energy on people that are not working out.


04:00 How to decide how much time to invest in something.


05:10 When to cut your losses with a customer. 


06:20 Why you should ensure that you spend most of your time with your most successful customers.


07:30 How to work with challenging customers.


09:34 The importance of understanding how to help your customers.


09:14 How most people put in so much energy in things that are not working.


10:44 How to decide what to spend your energy on.


3 Key Points:


There’s very few people who spend time on the right things when it comes to people.If it’s a bad fit customer, it might just be a better use of your time to refer them to someone else.Find your most successful customers and ensure you spend time on them.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today The Startup Chat we're going to talk about this phenomenon in business of spending most of your time with employees and customers that aren't working out and neglecting your superstars. You're rock stars, the best employees, the most successful people on your team, the happiest and most successful customers. So recently I had a conversation where this came up again, but it's been a theme and it's been on my mind for over a decade now. I've noticed this in my own businesses. I've noticed this in many other people's companies where I think it's natural that we all spend or invest most of our attention where there's conflict, where there are problems, right? So if you're managing a team and there's somebody not working quite out at that well in that team, that person is going to consume a lot of your attention, a lot of your energy, a lot of your time and you're going to coach them more, spend more time with them, look over more of their work, worry more about them, talk more to them. And maybe at some point you part ways, but you'll give them a ton of your energy and time. And then the people that just crush it, the people that are kind of just superstars doing their own thing, over delivering on all the numbers, just showing that they don't need, you know, they're not struggling, they're thriving, right? They don't need a lot of your handholding. And with those people, oftentimes we just don't spend any time with him. And maybe it's even more dramatic in customers, right? The customers that complain the loudest that are the unhappiest you might take a plane fly to them, spend a lot of time one on one with them. Your team is going to worry a lot about them. There's going to be lots of internal discussions about that customer, what to do and how to help them. And then there's a bunch of customers that are just happily paying you full price, right? Never complain about a thing, never sending you an email, never ask for a discount or for a handout and you happily ignore these people or just don't even realize they exist. I think that there's a real cost to this, there's a real downside to this in business.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Fundraising for startups.


When it comes to funding a startup, previously, you had two options to choose from self-fund your start or get VC funding. Now times have changed and there are more funding options available to founders.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how there are so many options for fundraising, self-funding versus VC funding, why it’s important to do what’s right for you and more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


00:58 How there are so many options for fundraising.


01:23 Self-funding versus VC funding.


03:22 How Steli and Hiten have always preferred self-funding to VC funding.


04:05 How the world has changed.


05:00 An example of a company that took VC funding after discouraging it.


07:49 Why it’s important to do what’s right for you.


09:03 Why there are different ways to be successful at anything.


00:00 How there are more funding options available today. 


3 Key Points:


There've never been that so many options.We don’t hate VC funding.Business is THE religion.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about something that we know ends up being on people's minds off and on, especially if they haven't done it yet. This is for all of you that haven't done this yet and for some of you that might be doing it again. The topic is basically we wanted to check in on the fundraising climate when it comes to startups raising money. We both get to see that all the time in different ways. We also get to see self-funded businesses. So yeah, what are you seeing Steli?


[0:00:36]


Steli Efti: Well, I do see that there are more options out there today than probably ever before. It used to be that you had to decide if you wanted to be a venture-funded startup and go and raise a C round, series A, series B, series C, just do the whole typical VC model of raising money, going for hyper growth. Or you were deciding that you wanted to be a self-funded startup, a customer-funded startup, a bootstrapper, a micropreneur, whatever term you want to use, which basically just meant you were generating or trying to generate revenues and profits ASAP and you weren't interested in raising money from the outside world. And typically these two worlds where... And traditionally had been very hardened camps. One camp thinks the other one is dumb or bad basically. The VC funded startups would think that the self funded ones are thinking too small and the self-funded ones thought that VCs are evil and all these VC funded startups, I don't know, are full of bullshit and a bad quality of life and are going to whatever.


[0:01:50]


Hiten Shah: And the thing is it's funny, they say it's hardened camps, or it's been hardened camps. I have never said anything against VC funding. I've raised money and people think like, "Oh, he's a self-funded founder and hates VC money or something." I'm like, "No, that's not true. That'd be a very absurd way to think about business, in my opinion." And even the camps, I think it's absurd. It's like in life what they call a duality. You act like there's only two options. There's this duality in your life between good and bad. One's good and one's bad. It's furthest from the truth.


[0:02:36]


Steli Efti: I love that you're saying this because it's so true. I guarantee you, our very listeners that are listening to this very episode would have thought that both you and I are totally against VC, right?


[0:02:48]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:02:49]


Steli Efti: Maybe with you even more than with me, just because they think you're a better person probably.


[0:02:53]


Hiten Shah: No way,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about The challenger, helper, victim cycle.


The victim mindset is one that some people have and it can be depressing being around someone who is always negative and constantly complains about everything. And while playing the victim might seem advantageous to certain people, other times it can prevent people from wanting to help you.


So in this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some founders can either be stuck in the helper or the challenger frame of mind, Hiten’s philosophy when it comes to giving advice in general, how most people with a victim mindset have a hard time getting out of it and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


01:23 How some founders can either be stuck in the helper or the challenger frame of mind.


05:00 Hiten’s philosophy when it comes to giving advice.


05:32 One very useful way to help someone.


06:20 How people, in most cases, want to feel good about themselves.


07:30 How Hiten approaches giving advice to people.


08:34 Why Hiten started sharing more about himself.


09:14 How most people with a victim mindset have a hard time getting out of it.


12:56 Hiten’s approach to giving advice to people with a victim mindset.


3 Key Points:


My philosophy is to tell people what I think they need to hear, not what they want to hear.There’s a way to help someone by actually seeing what they are not and communicating it to them.I think that as a founder, you can be either stuck in a helper or the challenger frame of mind


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to become more of a challenger versus a "helper". Here's the deal, this could be a super tiny episode, but something about this made me think of you and thought this could be a cool little conversation to have that might be useful to people. I saw somebody tweet this the other day, and it was just a little graph. I don't know, honestly, I apologize for this. I didn't do my homework to research where the graph is from and which book it is associated with, and who wrote this or who came up with it. But I don't think it's really that important for the purpose of this conversation. But it was a little bit of a circle and it just ... A graph or a circle that described a concept, and it was called something like the helper victim cycle and how to break through it. And it basically was describing how people can take on a victim frame of mind of describing their problem or their challenge from a passive, "This has been done to me. I'm powerless, and I need help," kind of framework of mind, which will then elicit somebody to step in as the "helper", and a helper is somebody that will look for victims to be useful to, right? That person will step in and will give the victim advice, comfort, empathy. Typically, basically the message of the helper will be, "I hear you, I feel for you, and I can help you." Right? Either by telling you what to do, or by doing it for you. And how these two ... These frameworks are obviously not that useful because they leave both people ... Maybe they feel slightly better in the moment, but they're not really changing anything about the situation. And then they introduce this different framework, which is the challenger framework, which is somebody that is in a victim frame of mind doesn't really need somebody to come and be a helper but need somebody to come in and be a challenger. So somebody that maybe as well says, "I understand that you are in a challenging situation. I understand that this is difficult for you. I am happy to listen to you, but my amount of listening has limits.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten try to answer the question, what color is boredom?


One of the most important roles of a parent is helping your kids get through school. Sometimes, they may act in a way that doesn’t align with the system of the school, which could land them in trouble, and how you deal with the aftermath of that situation can make a huge impact on your child.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to handle awkward situations with kids in school, the importance of following the rules, lessons Steli’s wants his kids to learn and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:37 Why this topic was chosen.


03:52 How to handle awkward situations with kids.


05:40 How Hiten handles tricky situations with his kids.


06:42 The importance of following the rules.


05:00 How Steli handles tricky situations with his kids.


09:09 Why Steli enables his kid to experience the real world.


10:24 Lessons Steli’s wants his kids to learn.


10:50 Why Steli doesn’t care so much if his kids go to college.


11:10 Hiten’s experience in high school.


3 Key Points:


I like treating kids like adults as much as possible.There are different views in the world.My wife a more difficult time with conflict.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to try to answer the question, "What color is boredom?" So, for you Hiten, you have no idea what I'm talking about and our listeners. Let me set this up a little bit. Another way of describing this, today's episode is how to help your children get through school, especially if they're getting into trouble all the time. So here's the situation. I'm just curious to hear and discuss and digest this with you. And I feel like I could see a lot of entrepreneurs and startup people out there, at least those that have children, to have to go maybe through a similar experience, so they might benefit from this discussion. So, my oldest, I have two boys, my oldest is currently going through second grade and he has now started to get into daily trouble in school. And just recently he was thrown out of the class, a classroom. And when he explained to me what happened, it was very hard for me not to laugh. So he was telling me that the teacher was describing to them that colors could be an expression of emotions. So she was describing that red, for instance, could be love, could also be anger. And she was going through a couple of colors and what their emotional meanings could be. And then my son decided to raise his hand and ask, "What color is boredom, because I'm very bored right now?"


[0:01:38]


Hiten Shah: Wow.


[0:01:39]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:01:39]


Hiten Shah: Wow. Wow.


[0:01:43]


Steli Efti: That got him thrown out of the classroom. And now, not to defend my son too much, because he can be a smart ass. Right. I don't know who has got that from. He definitely has that from me. But, in this specific case, for all his smart assness, he is surprisingly honest sometimes and sweet. And so, he told me afterwards that he actually really didn't know why that was a bad thing, and he was actually curious. And then we proceeded to Google search what color boredom is, and we couldn't quite get a definite answer to this question. But we landed on maybe beige, maybe brown, we weren't sure. But that was a funny encounter. But he's getting into trouble all the time with teachers. And so now we're in this situation where I now, for the first time, have to figure out, as a parent that may or may not completely believe in the principles that the teachers have that my son is in class with, when he gets in trouble with school or with his teachers,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about scheduling principles for startup founders.


Being a founder of a startup means you’re extremely busy most of the time. It also means that you’re being asked to certain things like speak at events, be a guest on a podcast and so on. When not managed properly, fitting all these into your busy schedule can get out of hand, especially if you schedule way in advance.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about a bad habit Steli picked up recently, One way to decide if you should schedule an event in advance and how Hiten schedules events much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


01:58 Steli’s latest tip in sharing philosophy.


03:22 A bad habit Steli picked up recently.


05:32 One way to decide if you should schedule an event in advance.


06:49 How Warren Buffet schedules events.


08:01 How Hiten schedules events.


09:00 Why you shouldn’t say yes to everything.


09:34 Why you need to ask yourself how saying yes to something will benefit you. 


3 Key Points:


One bad habit that I’ve recently developed is scheduling things for many weeks in advance. If this is gonna happen next week would I do it?We are not Warren Buffet.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about scheduling hacks or scheduling tips for founders. Here's why I wanted to talk to you about this. I think we've, with the years, we've talked about how to manage your time in a couple of episodes and shared some of the kind of time management principles that we use to make sure that we get the most out of our time. But recently I made a pretty big shift, there was one ... I've changed many things over the years in terms of how I handled my time and especially the requests for my time. But just recently I made one I feel final big change that I wanted to share, and then I thought it would be fun for us to just share a little bit of how we decide what to schedule, how to schedule things and all that good stuff. So, I'll kick it off by sharing my latest change in scheduling philosophy, and then we can just go back and forth on some tips, tricks. I know that you are really principled and disciplined in the way that you give out your time, because of the demand and requests for your time is so high. So, for me the latest and greatest on this is that, I have stopped allowing anything to be scheduled in my calendar that is further out than four weeks. And here's why. One bad habit that I've developed over the last two years, especially I feel like, is that I've been pretty good at pushing back on requests for my time if I know that you know, this month or the next couple of weeks it's not really ... It doesn't really fit. But it might be something, it's a nice to have. Yeah, "I'd like to talk to you one day," or, "I'd like to maybe do your podcast one day but just this month it doesn't really fit into my schedule." And then one really bad habit that I picked up was that I would just tell people, "You know what, whatever, October, November are not really good months for me to be on your podcast. But maybe early next year." And then they would send me an invite for some random time in January or February and I'd be like, "Sure." If it was far enough out, it would be easier for me to say yes to it, because it just felt so far away. I'm like, "Do I know what I'm doing July, 2025? No. Ah, sure, I might do your whatever." Podcast events, whatever it is. But then inevitably time passes and I look in my calendar and I go, "What the hell is this thing in my calendar?" Why am I doing this this Thursday if this doesn't work at all with the rest of my day?

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to foster a state of flow in startup teams.


Sometimes, we are completely immersed in an activity that we don’t realize how much time flies by. This experience is a mental state that psychologists refer to as flow. 


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what it means to be in a state of flow, examples of being in a state of flow, what flow state is all about and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:39 What it means to be in a state of flow.


02:00 Examples of being in a state of flow.


02:30 What flow means to Hiten.


02:50 How you can have influence over people’s states.


03:49 The kinds of people Hiten likes to work with.


04:43 What flow state is all about.


07:17 The stress can affect founders’ flow.


3 Key Points:


Flow is when everything you do feels so easy. You can be watching TV and be in a state of flow.You can have influence over people’s states.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about flow states. What are they? Why are they valuable to you? But also more importantly, the thing I wanted to talk about is how to set up your team and your company in a way where those people get as much into a state of flow as possible. The reason why I wanted to talk to you about this, I went to the gym with a new found friend, a young entrepreneur from Switzerland who just moved to New York and we were talking about work and all the challenges and this, that and the other, and eventually he was telling me how everything in his life, he's trying to design around being in a state of flow for as long of a period of time as possible in each day. Then he was like, "Flow is such an important thing to me. It's such a fundamental thing to my happiness and my mental health. I feel flow needs to be a human right. Like everybody needs to have the rights to be as much in a state of flow as possible." I had to laugh about that statement, but then it stayed in the back of my mind. I was like, "Yeah there's real power in being on a state of flow." So I thought that it might be really useful for us to unpack that. So first let me ask you, Hiten, what is... For those that don't know, how would you even describe being in, quote unquote, flow, on a state of flow?


[0:01:29]


Hiten Shah: Things just feels so easy, whatever you're doing right now. They feel so easy, you feel like you can just keep doing it. Another example is, that people bring up about flow is, you don't realize how much time has passed. So in a way when you're watching TV, you are in flow, so you don't know how much time has past. So I think flow is just the state that you can get into. A lot of people talk about it because there's a whole book on it and stuff like that about how, it's like this a place where you're learning but it's not too hard and it's not too easy. I want to call bullshit on that, and say like, you can be watching TV and be in flow, which is something super easy for you to be able to do. Right? For most people. To me, flow is just like, I'm literally happy and satisfied with what I'm doing right now and I feel like I can do it for very long time at this pace. That's one reason why when you talk about like, "Oh, your team and flow and this kind of stuff," I don't control anyone's flow, Steli. I really don't. I don't control anyone's flow. I really don't.


[0:02:43]


Steli Efti: Well, you may or may not. You may or may not control it, but you can have influence over people's states.


[0:02:50]


Hiten Shah: I get it. I get it. I mean, as somebody who manages people, I'm like, okay, I get it.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the messy middle.


As your startup grows, new challenges arise. Processes and strategies that you used in the early stages are not the same pones you’ll use at the middle stages. Adapting to new changes is something you want to get right, as getting this wrong can have a negative effect on your startup.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how every company you work on now is uniquely different, why the middle is messy, what a messy middle looks like for a real company and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


02:58 How every company you work on now is uniquely different.


03:40 Why the middle is messy.


04:42 How tech debt is one of the messiest things you can have.


05:00 What a messy middle looks like for a real company.


07:09 How marketing can be one of the messiest things about a company.


08:24 Steli’s experience with messy middles.


09:00 One of the biggest challenges about running a startup at the early stages.


10:10 Why things you did in the early days isn’t what you’ll use at the later stages.


3 Key Points:


It’s really crazy how whatever company you’re working on now is totally different from past ones.The reason its a messy middle is that what got you in the middle usually means you’ve created a mess.Tech debt is one of the messiest things you can have


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the messy middle. Or what I like to call it, the awkward teenage years of your business. So we've talked a ton about the super early stage days like how to come up with an idea, how to validate an idea, how to build an MVP, how to get your first customer, your first 10 customers, how to hire your first couple of team members. Like we've talked a ton about kind of the super early days as founders in your startup. And a lot of the topics that we discussed kind of touch all stages and phases of the business. But today I wanted to talk to you about what the most awkward time, and probably the the largest phase, or maybe not the largest, but it'd be a kind of significant phase, which is the phase in your company where your business is up and running. You have customers, you have customer growth, you have a bunch of team members. And kind of you're not in the hyper early pre product market fit. We don't know what we're doing. We don't know who's our buyer. We don't know if we're going to ever generate any money or how to market and sell and grow this thing. You're not in those early days. You've passed through that stage of your startup, but you're not quite yet at a place where you just add hyper scale and hyper growth or where you're now a super mature, super stable business. You're kind of in the awkward middle phase. And I wanted to chat with you a little bit about kind of, we've both gone through these phases with multiple businesses. What do founders need to know about the messy middle? How do they need to prepare for it? What mistakes to avoid? I thought it'd be fun for us to unpack kind of the most awkward phase of your business basically.


[0:02:04]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, so Scott Belsky and his now I think Chief Product Officer at Adobe, he wrote a whole book with the title, The Messy Middle. So we should definitely give him a shout out. Bumped into him somewhere the other day in the morning and I didn't recognize him. He's looking a little different these days. Looking good though. And so yeah, wanted to shout out. Great book, you should read it. That being said, we've got our own thoughts on this, so we should share our thoughts that have probably very little to do with what's in the book,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the Enneagram personality test.


Enneagram tests are online tests that can help you to determine which personality type you are and those of your team members. Like any personality test, Enneagram tests are not a science, but it can be a useful tool to help you understand yours and your team members’ tendencies in order to anticipate and prevent conflicts, and create a great working environment.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what an Enneagram test is, why it’s one of Hiten’s favorite tests, how they are different from other personality tests and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


00:50 Where to take an Enneagram test.


01:21 Steli’s thoughts on personality tests in general.


04:04 What an Enneagram test is.


04:17 Why it’s one of Hiten’s favorite tests.


06:49 How Enneagram tests are different from other tests.


07:00 About Hiten’s Enneagram score.


09:17 How to use Enneagram tests at your company.


3 Key Points:


There’s a lot of online material about it.I think Enneagram tests are more practical.It can help with diversified thinking at your company.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: and this is Hiten Shah, and today we're going to talk about something that's been popping off in startup land a little bit on Twitter and in other places. It's actually something I've been familiar with for the last I want to say like 15 years or something. It's called any Enneagram, and it's E-N-N-E-A-G-R-A-M. You can look it up online, and there's a great site called CrystalKnows.com where they actually have a lot of details about a lot of personality tests, because that's what Enneagram, is and they let you take it and then they tell you about yourself. And they have a lot ... They are sort of a startup that has kind of this, it tells you about people's personalities and how to interact with them. So it makes sense that they have this, they have a bunch of other tests for other personality tests. But for today we're going to talk about Enneagram because there's been a lot of tweets about it, and even friends of mine at many different types of organizations have started talking about it more, and it's something that I've been familiar with for awhile and has been really valuable to me.


[0:01:06]


Steli Efti: Yeah, that's how I actually picked up on it. There was a Twitter thread where I think somebody at Clearbit was writing about them using this internally now, and that they've seen a lot of value, and then there was a very kind of engaged thread going on with all kinds of either very positive things about it or some critical things about it. And as often times when I go down the rabbit hole of an interesting Twitter thread, somewhere in the middle of there is Hiten Shah saying something insightful. So I saw that you had responded to it or retweeted it or something and, and mentioned that this is one of your favorite personality tests, and that kind of led me down the rabbit hole of playing around with it a little bit and reading a bit more up on it. And here's my background and then I don't know this that well, so I want to ask you a bunch of questions about it. But when it comes to personality tests in general, there was a time 15 years ago that I got super into these, and I did a couple of them and I read a bunch of books and I was like super fascinated I think by the topic. And then I did the inevitable mistake of walking around and abusing the knowledge, thinking that I can now just put people into boxes super quickly.


[0:02:23]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:02:24]


Steli Efti: Like, you are a this, that and that color. You're a this, that and that number. And then I annoyed others and myself,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to build a remote sales team.


In today’s startup world, working remotely is more popular than ever. And the popularity of remote work is also spreading to sales teams as well. However, having a remote sales team can be challenging and you need to manage it properly to make it work for your business.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how having a remote sales team is possible, the type of people to hire for your remote sales team, mistakes to avoid when running a remote sales team and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:27 Why this topic was chosen.


02:11 How having a remote sales team is possible.


03:29 One major mistake most companies make when they start to build a remote team.


04:16 How hiring a junior sales person remotely can be a challenge.


05:26 The type of salespeople to hire for remote work.


05:56 The second major mistake most companies make when they start to build a remote team.


06:37 Why you need to think of your sales team as its unique ecosystem.


07:39 How to work with a remote sales team.


09:18 The third major mistake most companies make when they start to build a remote team.


3 Key Points:


Remote is happening and can work.It’s very hard to hire junior salespeople and have them be successful.Hire more experienced people on the sales side.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to do a very tactical episode around how to start, run, scale remote sales team. And it's because we have Steli here. And I've got questions, and I know he's got answers. And it's something that I'm really curious about. And I'm sure a lot of people are. Because the typical answer is, "Don't run a remote sales team."


[0:00:29]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:00:29]


Hiten Shah: So that's the typical answer, and that's because people are used to basically the equivalent of call center, open office, lots of people in the sales room, talking and doing their thing, and selling, and picking up the phone, and blah, blah, blah. So that's not what a remote sales team is. And remote work is obviously on a lot of people's minds, pretty much everyone's now. And so, all right Steli, what do we need to know about how to run a remote sales team really well?


[0:00:58]


Steli Efti: Well, before I jump into that, because I want to give a shout out to the report that you've done. You and Use FYI, the whole FYI team, you guys are publishing more and more stuff around remote work. It's really, really good. You did a kind of a up to date state of remote work report. What's the URL that people can get this? For those that haven't seen this yet, you should check it out definitely.


[0:01:19]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, it's pretty straightforward. It's UseFYI.com/remote-work-report.


[0:01:26]


Steli Efti: Boom.


[0:01:26]


Hiten Shah: And you'll get to it. And this was done a little bit ago. Then we have... My co-founder wrote 11 Best Practices for Remote Work. That was a hit. I wrote a post on remote work resources. We have another one coming up that I'm sure we'll talk about on the episode... On an episode in future. So yeah, remote work's a thing. People love remote work. So why shouldn't sales do it?


[0:01:48]


Steli Efti: Yeah, I think that... And this is something that is picking up. I used to get a lot of questions about how to run a remote company, and now, I'm increasingly getting questions around remote sales teams or emails in panic of people that are like, "All right, we've been trying for a year. We've gone through every mistake and failure. Is this actually possible? So please help." So let's talk about it.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the heart of your startup.


Sometimes trying to make a decision can be quite a challenge and whether you should listen to your heart or not in that situation can be a challenge for most founders. One reason for this is opening up your heart requires courage, and if things go wrong, feelings can get hurt.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why most people can’t speak from their heart, one thing that prevents people from bringing their heart into things, how the truth isn’t in the mind and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:03 Why this topic was chosen.


03:28 Why most people can’t speak from their heart.


04:20 One thing that prevents people from bringing their heart into things.


04:54 One thing that helps Hiten come at things from his heart.


05:13 One of the things that makes this podcast valuable to people.


06:06 Why the present moment is an important way to practice bringing your heart into things.


06:04 How the truth isn’t in the mind.


07:17 How Hiten has a hard time speaking his truth sometimes. 


3 Key Points:


There is heart, there’s mind and there’s soul.The most esoteric of the three is the soul.The truth isn’t in the mind.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the place of the heart in a company or in a startup. Does the heart have a place in business and for you as a startup founder? Here's why I wanted to tackle this weird subject with you, Hiten. This is going to be a funky episode. For all of you that are only interested in the most tactical and practical stuff, this may or may not be useful. But maybe if you don't want to listen to it, maybe it's going to be especially useful to you. We'll see. Here's the reason why I wanted to talk about this with you, Hiten. Recently, I had a discussion with a couple of friends of mine. Most of them are entrepreneurs themselves, and one of them kept repeating this new mantra in his life of some big realization that he had recently in his life that he wanted to listen to his heart more. He was like, "The mind has been too much of the boss. I just want to listen to my heart, and just follow my heart." We were discussing this topic as if it was absolutely clear what he meant. Eventually, I went, "Wait a second, guys. When you say 'follow your heart,' I kind of think I understand what you're saying, and we've been talking about the heart, quote-unquote, as an entity that we all... We all talk about it as if it's the most obvious object in this context, but what the fuck do we even mean when we say 'the heart'? When I say "follow your heart," what do I mean? What is the heart? Is that your soul? Is that your spirit? Is that your subconscious? What is it?" Then, we had a epic, three-hour philosophical conversation, that made us go in circles at times, that made us all realize that this is a hard question to answer. It's a big concept, and I realized, "Shit, I've never even thought about my heart for more than, I don't know, a minute at a time in this kind of context." Obviously, whenever I have a discussion like that that leaves you with more questions than answers, I'm like, "I need to break this down with my main man, Hiten."


[0:02:15]


Hiten Shah: Let's do it.


[0:02:16]


Steli Efti: So I wanted to ask you, do you ever talk about your heart as like an entity that helps you make decisions or that has a place in your world? Is that something that was weird from us, have you heard other people refer to, like, "Follow your heart, do what your heart is saying. I listen to my heart"? What, do you think, does it mean and how does it work in the world of business and entrepreneurshi...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about founder distractions.


Being distracted from work is something all founders have to deal with and, while some kind of distractions can be a good thing, when distractions start affecting your level of productivity then it may be time to make some changes. 


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what founder distractions are, the most common types of distractions, how you can overcome these distractions and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


01:00 The first thing that comes to mind when meeting other founders.


01:40 Why meeting other founders can be a big distraction.


03:32 How Hiten approaches requests for meeting up.


03:40 How founders get distracted by competition.


05:17 Another major distraction for founders.


06:45 Why you don’t need to read ten books a day to become a successful founder.


09:25 How meetings and getting on calls with people can be a distraction.


10:10 Antidotes for distractions.


3 Key Points:


One of the biggest founder distraction is meeting other founders.Founders get distracted by competitionHelping and meeting is not the same thing


[0:00:01]


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli: And today on the startup chat we're going to talk about founder distractions, the types of things, maybe the most tempting temptations or the most distracting distractions for founders. Things that founders easily get distracted by or with that founders should avoid if they don't want to get into trouble. What comes first to mind when you hear a common founder distraction? What is the first thing that pops up in your head?


[0:00:35]


Hiten: Oddly I think one of the biggest founder distractions is meeting with other founders. I think-


[0:00:45]


Steli: Tell me more.


[0:00:46]


Hiten: I think there are a lot of meet with other founders, get feedback on what you're doing or have sort of a community or a group of you that kind of can talk about work, right, and talk about how, what your dealing with and things like that. There's a lot of camaraderie that shows up in that way when you have friends that are founders, and one of the biggest things is when founders are just meeting other founders almost like a... How can I put it? Like just for the sake of meeting other founders, "I'm a founder, you're a founder, let's meet up." Or a founders meeting of other founders with the idea of there's a lot out there that have a lot to do with, "I am meeting other founders, they're early stage founders. I want to help them." So I actually even think helping other founders can be a distraction for many people, right? And I know many people would be, that are listening, know me really well and know I help a lot of founders. They probably know you really well, Steli. You help a lot of founders, right? And they're like, "Well what are you talking about?" But look, I don't think most founders are actually should go help other founders all the time. And the reason I say that is it's either something that you know how to do and you can do it because it's just part of your DNA and also like it helps your businesses somehow or your business, or it's just not something in your DNA. It's just not something that you you know how to do, right? So I think there is a lot of distraction I've seen with founders trying to help other founders or founders meeting with other founders just because they're are other founders, and this is easy because what happens is there are so many founders out there now that will email you and want to meet up. Or will email you and be like, "Oh you did X, Y, and Z. I'd love to learn from you." And you can get caught up in that.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the various things they do to relax.


It’s no secret that running a startup can be super stressful, and being stressed out can affect your performance as a founder and that of your team. So it’s important that you allow yourself to relax when you can.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why it’s important to relax, ways in which they relax and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:00 Why it’s important to relax.


01:56 One way Hiten relaxes.


03:15 Another way Hiten relaxes.


04:13 A third way Hiten relaxes.


05:06 Why relaxing is a good thing.


06:04 One of the most relaxing things for Steli.


07:25 Another way Steli relaxes. 


3 Key Points:


For some startup founders, Relaxing sounds like the opposite of what they need.For me driving is relaxing.Tension breeds more tension.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the ways that we relax and I think this is going to be one where we're just going to talk about the things we do to relax. But maybe before we jump into sharing kind of some personal stories and ideas. Let's talk about why is it even important to relax? Relaxing sounds like a bad idea for many. I would imagine for many kind of early founders of fathers that are doing this for the very first time. Entrepreneurs that are doing this for the first time. Relaxing sounds like the opposite of what they need.


[0:00:42]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, On my end. This is something I have a lot of trouble with.


[0:00:45]


Steli Efti: Mm.


[0:00:46]


Hiten Shah: I think if you asked people that either work with me, probably people that work with me, because my family tends to be similar to me. So I wouldn't count them in this bucket. But people who work with me would probably say that like, he never takes a vacation because that is true. Objectively. That is true. Factually. That is true. And I don't have a good reason why I don't take a vacation. It's not that I don't like them, I probably just don't understand them the way other people do for many different reasons. And so vacations are not how I relax. So even if I took one, I don't think I would call that relaxing, which I know might sound really weird to most people. And that's what I mean by like people in my companies don't necessarily understand this and we don't talk about a lot because they obviously just assume, whatever about me. And so for me, relaxing is more about how do I ... The most relaxing thing I do is driving my car.


[0:01:56]


Steli Efti: Mm.


[0:01:57]


Hiten Shah: And it's because I generally drive my car alone the majority of the time. I wouldn't say it's relaxing driving when someone else is in the car for me. And I do that typically like multiple times a week, at least three to five times a week. And when I do it, I'm driving for 30 minutes at least and then 30 minutes back to my house. So that's a whole hour where I kind of get it to myself. Sometimes I do calls in the car, which is another form of relaxation because I'm driving and I grew up in Southern California where driving was a thing. You needed a car to get around. I had one right when I was 16 and so for me driving is relaxing, believe it or not. Speeding is also relaxing, just like driving is. So it's a little more nuanced than just driving and I really enjoy it quite frankly. And if you asked me what do you do to relax, it's that.


[0:02:54]


Steli Efti: I love that.


[0:02:54]


Hiten Shah: The only other thing I can think of is, I will basically use my time with my kids as much as possible to relax.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about making exceptions for employees.


There might come a time in your startup when a team member might ask you to make an exception for them either due to their performance or due to unforeseen circumstances. Deciding whether to give such exceptions to a team member can be tricky as you’ve got to consider how it will affect your workforce.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you should always prioritize the group instead of a person, the mindset of an employer's mind when they let go of a person, why exceptions are not the new normal and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


04:33 Why you should always prioritize the group instead of the person.


05:08 The mindset of an employer's when they let go of a person.


05:00 How companies can over-index on an individual’s needs versus the group.


05:35 How to approach a situation when a team member wants to be treated differently.


06:31 Questions to ask yourself before giving a team member special treatment.


06:39 Why exceptions are not the new normal.


08:44 The different way ways to make an exception for team members.


09:54 How to judge a team member’s performance.


3 Key Points:


When you let go of someone, there’s a lot of people who spend a lot of energy on the person being let go instead of the team that’s still there.You’re over-indexing on the people leaving.Ask yourself, if you’d do this for anyone else on the team if they were in the same situation.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about making exceptions for employees. Is this a good idea, bad idea. How to approach this topic? Here's why I want to talk about this with you, Hiten. So recently I was talking to a manager and she was describing to me kind of her team and team set up and some of the challenges that she has and she went through a list of like certain things that were challenging on one team member and challenging on another team member. Most stuff sounded kind of pretty normal. And then she talked about one of her direct reports who is this amazing human being. Great personality and person. Is bringing a lot of value to the plate but has this like very difficult life situation and all these things going on in her life and like it's just very, very messy, very complicated stuff that leads this manager to make all kinds of exceptions for her. Right? There's like, she might work less at times than her coworkers. She might get a whole weeks, where she does almost nothing. She might get special projects to work on versus the work that she was really hired for because she liked those special projects more and she needs something to support her emotional needs because she's going through trauma in her life and other areas. And as we were talking about that, like I was very much reminded of the sales teams of the past. This is a very different example. If I could share the details, it will be very hard not to feel an insane amount of like empathy for that person that's getting all these exceptions, but it reminded me very much of the sales teams of the past that will be built with these incredible assholes in them that would be crushing it when it came to their quota and just bringing in revenue and customers and just destroying it in terms of the amount of money that would bring in for the company, but just be terrible to their coworkers. Just crush morale, be terrible to new sales reps. Just be super toxic employees. Right. And I would always tell sales managers that they need to cut them loose. Like nobody is important enough, no matter how much value they bring in. For them to be basically,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the need for speed versus the need for focus at a startup.


Deciding whether to prioritize speed versus focus at your startup can be crucial to how successful you’re going to be. Overall, prioritizing focus will always trump speed. However, in order to prioritize focus on you need to know what to focus on.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about why focus and speed are really important, how focusing can affect your speed, how to tell when you should focus and when you shouldn’t and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:20 Why focus and speed are really important.


01:48 How focusing can affect your speed.


02:14 How to tell when you should focus and when you shouldn’t.


03:54 An example of what to focus on.


07:55 How some founders tend to prioritize speed over focus in the early days.


05:42 How focus always trumps speed.


06:42 How focusing has helped Close succeed.


3 Key Points:


Speed and focus are still an important aspect of your job.A lot of times when you’re very thoughtful, speed isn't your biggest consideration.Most founders in the early days prioritize speed over focus.


[0:00:02]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to be talking about speed versus focus and this is one of those topics where one of us kind of knows what we want to talk about and the other one of us doesn't. And in this case I know what we want to talk them about it a little bit and Steli is going to be surprised and then we're going to get into a discussion about this just because it's a super fascinating topic and it's one that really is inspired, not necessarily fully sponsored, but inspired by this. A partner of ours that we brought on to basically talk about something, give us a some inspiration to, and it's a brain.fm/startupchat is where you need to go and they are a product that it provides science backed music to help you focus, relax, and sleep. So you can guess why I was inspired on this topic. Now this is a topic I've talked about before a lot, so I'm going to jump right into it and say, Steli, this is the deal. I think that when you're working on a business, regardless of what size or where you are in it, there's two things that are really important: focus and speed, and you can say, "Oh, I'm in a larger organization. Speed is something that I don't control or whatever," but still speed is still an important aspect to your job regardless. And focus is also an important aspect of your job. And you can imagine that sometimes both of those things can be contradictory. And the reason I put those two things together is because I think the way I look at it is focus can either bring you a lot of speed and can make you quicker at executing or focus can actually distract you from going fast because you're spending so much time or going so deep into something and you don't need to. So how can you tell the difference between when you should focus and when you shouldn't on something about your business or in your business? And then how do you decide whether it's something you need to go fast on or something actually that you should go slower on because it requires more depth or requires more focus and that focus will ultimately speed you up. And one example I'll throw out is engineering. So when I think about engineering and I think about wonderful things like technical debt, which is this idea that you are accruing debt that you're going to have to pay down later on as you're writing code because the code gets old, for lack of a better word, or the code. As you pile on more code into your software, you end up having all these, all this code and that code can be on top of each other.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how what perks and benefits should you offer your employees at an early stage startup.


Offering your employees perks and benefits can lead to a happy workforce, however, deciding what types of perks and benefits to offer can be challenging.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten why founders struggle with deciding what types of perks and benefits to offer, how Hiten typically approaches this issue at his businesses and the importance of establishing why you want people to work for your company much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


01:20 Why this topic was chosen.


01:50 Why people struggle with this.


02:37 How Hiten typically approaches this.


03:50 How Google handled perks initially.


04:22 The main types of benefits you can offer.


04:46 The importance of establishing why you want people to work for your company.


06:23 Questions to ask around benefits when you’re hiring.


07:21 The difference between benefits and perks.


08:46 Why it’s important to think about what types of benefits to offer your employees. 


3 Key Points:


People definitely struggle with this because they just don’t know what to offer and at what stage.I do the best I can in terms of benefits until I can do better.Benefits grow as the business becomes more successful.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:07]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about perks and benefits. Just in general, how should you think about what you offer to potential employees in an early-stage startup to be competitive or to attract the right kind of talent? And so here's the setup. Right? We're talking about early-stage startups. You're trying to hire. Maybe you're less than 10 people. You try to hire an initial 10, 15 people on your team, and when you are negotiating with these potential hires, there's other companies that will compete for these people with you and make competitive offers. The main focus is salary and equity. It might be the main things that you are putting as an offer on the table that a potential employee could compare. But then there's also benefits and perks, and benefits and perks might be, especially for kind of first-time founders and less-experienced entrepreneurs, a more difficult to navigate world of like, how much should I care about benefits and perks? How important are those? Is this kind of a luxury thing that I do once I've raised $20 million? Is it something I do once we're profitable? Is this something I never do? I think it might make sense to unpack this a little bit and give especially earlier stage founders a bunch of ways of thinking about creating perks and putting benefit packages together for their company and their teams. What are your thoughts, and what are your experiences with that?


[0:01:52]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, people definitely struggle a lot with this, and the reason is they just don't know what to offer at what stage, and I think at the earliest stages, it's really tough to offer a lot. There's things like health insurance that most people require. There's even like you can bring people on, on contracts. So there's a whole concept here for me which is like, the people who are joining really early-stage, they're taking a lot of risk. And so my experience has always been just do the best I can in terms of benefits until I can do better and then do better. And better means the businesses is profitable, or the business is making money, or there's a significant amount of capital that we've raised, or something like that. I actually think that benefits grow in a business as the business becomes more successful, and that's my philosophy with it.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to know if your conversion rates are good or not.


In the startup world, it’s very common for founders to get hung up on benchmarks, conversion rates and so on, that they lose focus on what really matters - testing and optimization. There are just too many variables that affect the results that it is impossible to know what a good conversion rate for your business is until you’ve tested things out.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about benchmarks, how knowing the right benchmarks depends on a number of criteria. how different variables can affect benchmarks and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


03:00 How knowing the right benchmarks depends on a number of criteria.


03:39 Why ranges don’t matter.


04:10 Why you should look inside your business not outside it.


05:00 How different variables can affect benchmarks.


05:15 Why you should benchmark yourself.


06:39 The importance of testing and optimizations.


08:12 An example of things you can test out.


08:43 Why you shouldn’t get hung up on benchmarks.


3 Key Points:


Everybody wants to know what the benchmarks are.There are ranges for all of this stuff.I would look inside your business not outside it.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to explore the question, "Are my conversion rates good or bad?" This is the setup for this episode. I was talking to a marketer, and he was telling me about the SaaS company that he works for. He was telling me about the current conversion rates that they see from traffic to trials, and from trials to paid. He was asking me basically, "Are these conversion rates good," to which of course I said, "I don't know. It depends." Right? How much did it cost to get this traffic? How much traffic are you getting? How long do these customers stay versus churn? How much does it cost to service these ... I mean it's a complicated question. As I was going through this with him, at some point he was like, "Yeah, but aren't there benchmarks? Where can I go to get 2019 benchmarks for SaaS companies, or SaaS companies in my vertical industry, or in my country? There must be some place where I can just look at what do other SaaS companies get to have some kind of an idea if this is good or bad, or how much worse or better I fare?" I had to tell him, I was like, "Yeah, I'm sure there are some studies of some stuff, but I don't have this on top of my head. I don't really know. I haven't looked into this." To which then that marketer said, "Well, why don't you bring this up to Hiten? I'm sure he has good answers. You guys should do an episode on this. I think I'm not alone with this kind of predicament or challenge." So here we are Hiten, and this is a big call out and props to all The Startup Chat listeners. We listen back to you, and any time you guys send us an email, steli@close.comm, hnshah@gmail.com, or you tweeted us, or you come up to us in person at an event, conference, or anywhere else, coffee shop, where you see us, we love the suggestions, and we always try to make it happen for you. So any time a listener tells us, "Hey, wouldn't this be a great topic for an episode? I'd love to hear this," we try to make it happen. So here we go Hiten. This is the mandate I was given, and hereby I offer you the big question, "What the fuck should be my benchmarks, and how do I figure this out as a marketer in SaaS in 2019?"


[0:02:24]


Hiten Shah: Everybody wants to know what the benchmarks are. Everybody. It's just like, "Hey, what are my benchmarks? Well, what should I be aiming for? What should I target?" There's a lot to unpack when it comes to this beca...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about launching a starter plan.


Recently, the team at Close.com introduced a Starter Plan for their software - a plan that’s designed for 1 - 3 person teams and costs $35 a month. This comes after years of focusing on bigger companies and charging a lot more for their CRM


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk dive into why Close decided to introduce a starter plan, one of the main philosophies at Close, how fear preventing the team from introducing a lower priced plan and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


02:20 Why Close decided to introduce a starter plan.


03:11 One of the main philosophies at Close.


03:38 How Close discourages certain companies from buying their product.


04:21 How Close’s reach grew over the years.


07:55 How fear preventing the team from introducing a lower priced plan.


08:43 How Close is now ready to support smaller customers.


10:00 How a lot of companies focus on startups initially and move on to bigger customers.


3 Key Points:


We never wanted to compete on price.We always believed in the founders of small and medium companies.We’ve probably told a thousand companies not to buy our product.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about something that I see a lot of companies do. And I just saw the folks at Close.com, happens to be Steli's company, do this a very recently. I think a little quietly. But I go stalk his pricing page and his site sometimes. So I saw this. And so I'd love to talk about it. So what they've recently done, and I'd love to hear the thinking behind it, is for their CRM, they've launched a starter plan. And that's for one to three person teams, and it's at $35 per month if you pay monthly. And it's right under $29.75 if you pay annually. And prior to that, their lowest plan was actually $65 per month if you pay monthly. And $55.25 if you pay annually. So with that, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, because this is a very common practice that companies do. And I'd love to just understand how you folks thought about it. And I think it'd be really beneficial to our audience to kind of hear what this sort of thinking was like.


[0:01:07]


Steli Efti: Yeah. So this took us a very long time to launch, right? So we from day one ... We launched in January 2013 with Close. And from day one our lowest tier plan was 65 bucks a month if you paid monthly. And from day one, we had a lot of competitors that offered a lot cheaper products and entry prices. But they were always, if you looked at their kind of a comparable product, we were always at the same range or even a bit more affordable. We just never wanted to compete based on price. We always wanted to build and create the most value, and built the best fucking product for our type of customer, which are small and medium sized businesses. And wanted to just crush it, help companies close more deals and drive more revenue where it wouldn't matter if you close a couple of deals more a month, because you have the right tool in your hands. That's tens of thousands dollars more in value to your business. It doesn't matter if you're paying 65 or 45, or 35, or whatever bucks a month per user. So that was our philosophy from day one. And I think that philosophy served us pretty well in the early days. I think one thing that happened kind of slowly, and it built up more and more over time. And I think we were a bit tone deaf to it, and a bit kind of with a blind spot around that was that ... I mean, we always believed in, and invested in founders, and startups, and the smallest companies possible. We always knew that we are probably going to be one of the few,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to deal with your employee's side project.


When an employee begins a side project, it’s easy to think that that project will affect his or her productivity. However, this is not always the case and in fact, doing a side project can actually increase the productivity of an employee.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten how to decide if an employee should be allowed to do a side project, examples of side projects that are ok, the difference between a side project and a hobby and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:20 Why this topic was chosen.


02:20 Hiten’s take on this issue.


03:44 Redlines to look out for.


04:50 Examples of side projects that are ok.


05:22 Why your priorities should be your work.


05:40 The difference between a side project and a hobby.


06:41 What side hustle means to Steli.


07:50 Why running a side startup can affect an employee’s productivity.


10:46 Why the discipline of an employee is crucial when deciding if he should be allowed to do a side project. 


3 Key Points:


Some of these things are required for these people’s happiness.As long as the project is not competitive with the business then it’s cool.Your priorities should be your work.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to deal with your employees' side projects. So here's why I want to talk about this with you, Hiten. Just got an email from somebody that was asking me... He basically, he has a small team of five people in a startup, and he discovered that one of his developers is working on a side project, on a little app on the side. It's something that he didn't know about and kind of like just stumbled over it, and he was kind of conflicted about this. I think that this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs go through, especially probably less experienced ones, where maybe you're a bit more, I don't know, afraid of the energy and time commitment and work that your employees put into your company, versus potentially putting into their side projects or something that could turn into their own business one day. And I have gone through this... a journey of this of myself. I think when I first started as an entrepreneur, I was maybe not as cool with it, and I've become a lot more cool with it and even would hire people that had very prominent side projects and tell them that I would support them with them. And if, in a couple of years, those side projects grew bigger, they could go on and do that full time. And that has happened successfully many times before. And I'm sure you have a bunch of good examples, bad examples. So I just thought it would be a fascinating topic to talk about from a founder perspective. How should you think about the side projects of your employees? Good, bad, encourage it, discourage it? What's been your experience? What's kind of your take today on this topic?


[0:01:56]


Hiten Shah: I think it's... There's two answers I have. I don't really have a take. I haven't experienced this a lot in my businesses, and when I talk to people about it, I think it's cultural. Is it accepted or a norm at the company you're at? Is the leadership, founders, whoever, are they encouraging it, okay with it? How do they view it? And then what do you want, as a team member, in a company too? And then there's a piece that's like... So I guess there's more than two things, but there's a piece where it's like legally what are you allowed to do and not do based on the agreement you signed? Yeah, so I think it's a topic that's definitely something where I see a lot of people doing... Or I see an increasing amount of people do freelancing...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why focus is so important and how to get more of it.


If you’re going to be successful at anything, then staying focused on that thing is super important. If you lack focus in your life or your business, it is a safe bet to say that you will not succeed with your mission.  


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why staying focussed is super important, tips to help you stay focused, they share a mental hack to help you when you feel stuck. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:41 Why this topic was chosen.


01:00 About Brain.fm and how it can help you focus.


02:15 One way Hiten stays focussed when working.


03:21 The importance of staying focused.


03:29 One thing you can do to stay focused.


04:40 Another thing that can help you stay focused.


05:29 How accomplishing your big task can be a challenge.


06:45 A mental hack to help you when you feel stuck. 


3 Key Points:


Without focus, nothing gets done.Music can help you stay focused.Have one big rock for the day.


[0:00:01]


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli: And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about why focus is so important and how to get more of it.


[0:00:11]


Hiten Shah: And one way that both Steli and I have discovered in the last few months is a product that actually helps you focus, relax, or sleep. And specifically the number one use case I have for it. And I know Steli does too, cause we talk about this is focus. And the product is essentially replaces the music you listen to with their sort of music, and it's backed by science to actually help you focus, relax, or sleep. And you probably don't already believe me because it's like how can something like that actually be scientifically proven to help you focus? Well they've done studies on it, and I know you're probably dying to hear like what is he talking about? Well it's this product, it's a, and you can get a 20% discount on it. So I'm going to jump right into that part of it, which is it's that brain.fm/startup chat, and it's only 40 bucks a year or six bucks a month. If you go to brain.fm/startupchat. Now, here's the thing, we're going to talk about focus today. This is the number one way we've found to actually focus, which is listen to music that's designed to help you focus. That's it. And the studies prove it. So you know, the episode's over. It's just a big, you know, ad for brain.fm. Just kidding. I wanted to mention this because I rarely find something that works this well for me. The last time I found something that works this well for me, that actually helps me basically focus. It's something really weird, which is I would play the same song on repeat, while I'm working. So that's the last thing that worked for me. And I still like that sometimes, but this is way different. So, you know, it's like, it's one of these things where you really desire focus if you're working especially when you're in work mode. Whatever you're doing, whether you're having to jam through, you know, a whole bunch of emails, or you're writing a blog post. Or you're sitting there trying to do some actual like programming even. There's like this almost like how do you get out of your head while you're doing that and get into the work? And that's what I really like about any of these methods that help people focus, which is this idea that you're getting out of your head, you're getting into the work. And that's what I'm really looking to do when I want to focus. So I think it's important because we can be in our heads and like even right now, while I'm talking to you, I could have five billion other thoughts in my head, right?


[0:02:35]


Steli: Such as you thoughts there's like you could do five o...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to increase your productivity.


If there's one thing founders struggle with a lot, it's being productive. With all the distractions of social media, mobile gaming, and the internet, in general, staying productive at work can be a challenge, and this can have a negative impact on your startup.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what it means to be productive, how to define productivity for the role you’re in, tips for being more productive. and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:50 How being productive makes Steli happy.


03:42 Why it’s a good idea to consciously review your day, week or month.


04:10 What some of Hiten’s most productive days look like.


05:00 How to define productivity for the role you’re in.


05:35 Why Hiten works a lot on weekends.


06:01 The different angles to productivity.


06:37 Tips for being more productive.


07:14 How to measure productivity as a manager.


3 Key Points:


Productivity is a human desire.The feeling of productivity is really high up on the list of things that make me happy.Some of my most productive days are the most random days ever.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti`.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to increase your productivity and there's a really good reason we're talking about this. We've been wanting to talk about this. We know that this is something that is on most of your minds, whether you're working in a company or working on your own company or in a really large company of some kind. It doesn't matter. Productivity is something that's almost like a human desire, especially at work.


[0:00:34]


Steli Efti: Okay?


[0:00:34]


Hiten Shah: That's where I'll start. I'm like, hey Steli, I think it's a human desire.


[0:00:37]


Steli Efti: That is not what I thought you would say. So like my mind was wandering off in a specific direction and you took a left turn while I was still going straight and eventually I was like, where is he? He must have taken a left turn. I kind of lost it over there.


[0:00:55]


Hiten Shah: There we go.


[0:00:57]


Steli Efti: What did you say? Human desire?


[0:00:59]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, we want to achieve. We want to be productive. We want to get stuff done. I also want to be happy. Don't get me wrong.


[0:01:07]


Steli Efti: No, but you know what I mean. I fucking love this because that is actually one of the, I'm sure it's the same with you. I'm sure it's the same with most people that listen to us. If I have to identify a very big contributor to either my happiness or my lack of happiness. Productivity, the feeling of productivity is really high up the list. So even when everything is going well, like I could have a great day with lots or a week where lots of good things happen, where there's a lot of reasons to be happy. But if I personally didn't feel productive that week, I guarantee you I'll be unhappy. It's feeling productive is kind of a crucial, fundamental thing I need to be feeling kind of good in my own skin, right? To feel comfortable, feel it.


[0:02:03]


Hiten Shah: When you reviewed, you actually think of it like that?


[0:02:06]


Steli Efti: Yeah. But you know what it is? The crazy thing is it is not a mental thing. It's not a, wow, I had so much fun this week. Everything went well. Let me review the week. Let me think, what is everything that happened then? Shit, I wasn't as productive. God and then I start mentally making myself feel bad about it. It is literally like not showering the entire week, right? If you told me we're going to have an amazing week.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how we’re all dreaming of our own realities.


Sometimes, we tend to dwell too much on past experiences that we don’t enjoy the moment that we live in. This can make us unproductive and lead to so many of the issues and uncertainties we encounter in life.


In today’s episode of the show, Hiten’s theory about how every experience we have is all a dream, how holding on to memories of that past can diminish our future experiences, why you should figure out where your primary focus is in your thinking and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:38 Why this topic was chosen.


02:51 Hiten’s theory about how every experience we have is all a dream.


03:47 One way to test this theory.


06:03 How holding on to memories of that past can diminish our future experiences.


07:49 A killer quote by Erich Maria Remarque.


08:30 When Hiten typically brings up this concept.


10:45 3 ways people tend to look at the world.


11:52 Why you should figure out where your primary focus is in your thinking.


3 Key Points:


It was all a dream.As human beings, we hold on to so much of the pastEach individual has their own perspective.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about a thing Hiten told me, an idea that he planted in my mind that months later I still think about. I will just give you guys the quote and then Hiten will unpack the conversation and we'll dig deeper. "It was all a dream."


[0:00:30]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. So yeah. There are so many people that I've explained this to privately and I don't think I really shared much publicly, maybe randomly somewhere on some podcasts, but this is our podcast and it's something I told you and if you're still thinking about it, I know other people are, too. And it really kind of makes you wonder about a lot of things when you think about it like this. So I said this in reference to something I've been thinking about a lot, and what I've been thinking about a lot is the fact that as human beings we hold on to so much of the past and we hold on to things typically that are related to ourselves and also that are related to other people. And one of the points I want to make about life is that whatever your perspective is today, now or was, or even the fact that you and I right now, Steli, are having two very different experiences, even though we're in the same moment, in the same conversation recording a podcast. Now, let's just expand that. There are thousands of people that are going to hear this. Think about all the perspective that they're going to have when they read this and how many different perspectives there are. Each individual has their own perspective. Even if we see and hear and talk about the same thing, we didn't really have the same experience. It was our own individualistic experience to have. And so when I think about those kinds of things, and a lot of the theories people have out there that make it very complicated, like we live in illusion or quantum theory proves there's multiple dimensions or aliens, right? And all these things and whatever you want to believe. I have no judgment, zero judgment. I probably know more of these theories than most people who are listening because I just am curious. And so my summary is, it was all a dream. Whatever you're hanging on to, whatever happened. Even if it was literally 30 seconds ago, whatever I just said, it was all a dream. It was just all a dream. And what's a dream? It's something you don't even believe was real. It wasn't real. You woke up from it, you're like, "Wait, what just happened? It was so intense. I did this and I did that and wait, I was sleeping and I was dreaming.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to become a customer-first company.


The startup world is very competitive. One way to stand out is to build a customer-centered culture at your company. This is the key to surviving the modern business environment. 


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why everybody in the company should be obsessed with the customer, how to create a culture around customer-obsession at your startup, why you need to hire people who are customer-obsessed and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:39 Why this topic was chosen.


02:20 Why everybody in the company should be obsessed with the customer


02:44 One way to create a culture around customer-obsession.


04:16 Another way to create a culture around customer-obsession.


05:17 Why the best way to be customer-obsessed is to be the customer.


06:03 Why you need to spend time with your customers.


09:04 Why you need to hire people who are customer-obsessed.


09:28 One tip to help you hire the right people.


09:46 Another tip to help you hire the right people


3 Key Points:


I think that everybody in the company should be obsessed with the customer.Your job as a business is to serve your customer better than everyone else.Use your product


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to become customer obsessed, how to create a culture of customer obsession, or becoming a what today a lot of companies call customer-first companies. So here's why I want to talk about this with you in this kind of framework, Hiten. Obviously, for people that have been listening to us for a long time, you can go back four years ago when we started this podcast, 400 and soon to be hitting 450 episodes deep. We've always been talking about customer obsession in one way or another. A lot of times our advice boils down to, well, you need more customers insights, you need more customer intimacy, you need to talk to more customers, you need to spend more time with your customers. Your customers are what matters. They have the answers you need. They need and deserve your entire focus and attention. We've been saying this for a really, really long time. Now, there are companies out there, I think Amazon is the first company I remember, that very publicly communicated this very well. As in, this is the way we're going to do things, is we're going to obsess over the customer. Moreso than anything else, we're going to let the customer and the customer's wishes dictate what we build, what we do, and how we do things. But in the last couple of years, this has come up more and more and more. I see it more when I look at value statements sometimes where companies will state, always help the customer, or customers first, or they will state it as an explicit part of their core values.


[0:01:41]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I-


[0:01:43]


Steli Efti: Go ahead.


[0:01:43]


Hiten Shah: I call this customer obsession. I would just call this customer obsession. And I think that all parts of the company, everybody in a company, should be obsessed with the customer. And if they're not obsessed with the customer, then you're going to end up having a problem at some point. It's for a very simple reason. And the reason is that, the way I think about it, your job as a business is to serve your customer, or the customer, better than anyone else. And the only way you can do that is being obsessed with them. So I think that's why we're seeing all of, like you said, customer first, a lot of values that involve the customer. But it's really about how the company behaves and acts and whether the customer thinks that they are thoug...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what to do if your clients and customers are not paying you or paying too late.


When you provide your services to a client, you expect to be paid for it. But sometimes, clients pay very late or worse, don’t pay at all, and it’s important to know how to handle a situation like this if it arises at your startup.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t rely on one big customer, the first thing to do when a customer doesn’t pay, how to prevent this from happening and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:44 Why you shouldn’t rely on one big customer.


02:25 The first thing to do when a customer doesn’t pay.


03:40 What it’s like working with big companies.


05:37 Things you could do when this happens.


06:10 How to prevent this from happening.


07:14 Why you should ask for payment upfront.


08:47 How cash is king and key to a successful business.


10:10 Why having a great contract really matters.


3 Key Points:


Make sure you don’t rely on one big customer.You don’t control other people.The best thing to do sometimes might be to take it as a loss and move on.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hello everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about what should you do if your clients or customers aren't paying you or are paying way too late. Here's the reason why I wanted to talk about this, Hiten. I had a founder email me a few days ago, basically asking for advice. He has one very large customer, the problem might already start there, and that customer just decided not to pay and isn't paying, is basically saying that they are going to pay but he has to wait to get that money. He was describing how helpless he feels in he's like, "This is a really big company. I don't really know what to do. Should I get a lawyer? I don't have that much money. Should I just wait, but I need the money right now. Can't wait for a couple of months to get it. What do I do?". That triggered the thought like this has happened so many times in so many different situations when a customer's not paying or paying way too late that I thought, "Hey, this would be a good, cool, fun episode.". To jump to this one specific example, we might go more broad broadly, but to start there, what would you advise this founder to do? Single founder, you have a big customer, the customer decides money is going to come a little later, what can you do? What should you do?


[0:01:30]


Hiten Shah: Make sure you don't rely on one single customer. That's that large [inaudible 00:01:36]. That's what you do before you get in a situation. But even if you're in this situation, go find more customers. You don't have much of a choice. This is the reason this is going to be a fun one, you don't control other people. There are actually things to do and I know we'll talk about them, but someone doesn't want to pay you or is lagging, then the first thing I do is I go look in my contract. What does my contract say? Hopefully they signed a contract and they're contractually obligated to certain things. Usually some of them involve paying on time and on time is determined by the contract. I start there, I send them an email or a message, or a phone call, or whatever and I let them know basically work's going to stop until they pay. You don't need to work until they pay.


[0:02:41]


Steli Efti: The service will be interrupted, whatever the service is.


[0:02:45]


Hiten Shah: Just like your cable, just like your water bill, whatever. You don't pay, you don't get service. I would look at my contract because you probably forgot what you put in there,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about product/market fit of popular products.


Product/Market Fit is a common concept that is used a lot in the startup world. According to Marc Andreessen “Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Understanding this concept is hugely important because when your users understand and use your product enough to recognize it’s value, it is a huge win for your startup.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what product/market fit means, what Hiten's new show is all about, where to check out the new show and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


02:00 What Hiten's new show is all about.


03:03 One thing that gets Hiten really excited about the new show.


04:57 Steli’s reaction to the new show.


05:05 Where to check out the new show.


06:11 One interesting thing about the research that was done for the show.


07:29 The second interesting thing about the research that was done for the show.


08:26 The importance of differentiating your product.


3 Key Points:


If someone is using a document app for less than a year, that company doesn't have product/market fit.You need to figure out what you need to do to get product/market fit.People don’t get invested until they’re like a year into the product.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about product market fit. And the reason we're going to talk about it is because I'm doing a video show. So the first time I'm on video on a show. There's like eight episodes of seeing me talk with my friend Patrick about basically product market fit of popular products. What we did is we took this sort of now very popular question, and a whole bunch of other questions, and asked people these questions about certain popular products, including Netflix and Evernote, and a bunch of others. The website is at producttradeoffs.com and you'll be able to sign up via email and you'll get every episode. Now that I got that out of the way, Steli, it's really fascinating. This is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time, since I had first learned about the magic question that Sean Ellis, who is one of the people who coined the term growth hacker, he is the one and popularized the whole idea of growth hacking and all of that. He has this question and he uses this question to help companies like Dropbox and Xobni and Eventbrite and a bunch of other companies when he was sort of interim VP of marketing at those companies. And the question here is how disappointed would you be if this product no longer existed? And it's a multiple choice question. It's very disappointed, somewhat disappointed, not disappointed at all, are the three options. He'd asked this question of the customers that use a product. And his idea is that if a company has 40% or greater respondents saying they'd be very disappointed if the product no longer existing, the company essentially has product market fit. It's just something he came up with, and this was like back in 2009 that he actually shared the methodology, and this was after he had helped some of those companies I mentioned. So we just decided to go survey thousands of people for each of the companies. Hundreds in some cases, but usually thousands of people for each of the companies. And did a whole video show, I think it's about 20 minutes roughly each, talking about what we learned. So we learned about why people love and hate Evernote. We learned about why people love and hate Netflix. Not that many people hate Netflix. And the value props around it. We also asked Net Promoter Score for these products. I'm not gonna share any of the stats or any of that stuff,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to hire service providers for your startup.


Choosing the right service provider to work with for your startup can be quite challenging, especially if you haven’t worked with one in the past. You may be lucky and get it right the first time, but it’s highly likely that you’ll go through a couple before finding the perfect match. 


In today’s episode of the show, what it’s like working with service providers, tips to help you choose the right service provider, why you should do background checks when choosing a service provider and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:38 Why this topic was chosen.


03:30 Steli previous experience with working with service providers.


05:12 How you never know what you’re going to get with a service provider.


07:08 Why a service provider should always know more about their specialty than you do.


07:35 Tips to help you choose the right service provider.


08:02 A case when hiring a service provider went bad.


08:26 How you can negotiate your bill with a service provider.


09:38 Why you should do background checks when choosing a service provider.


3 Key Points:


Most firms will do the minimum required work for your startup.You never know what you’re going to get with a service provider.A service provider should always know more about their specialty than you do.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hello everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about hiring service providers for startups. And when Hiten Shah proposed this as a subject to me, Steli Efti, I was like, get out of my way, Hiten, I need to introduce this topic.

[0:00:19]

Hiten Shah: That's right.

[0:00:20]

Steli Efti: Right. Because it's not often that I actually get angry or pissed at things, but this is one of those topics. I think just a couple of days ago we had. I was on a sailing boat with a bunch of entrepreneurs through the beautiful Spanish Mediterranean Sea, and this topic came up.

[0:00:36]

Hiten Shah: Wow.

[0:00:36]

Steli Efti: The topic of the value of a great lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, to you, as an entrepreneur. And it was a big disparity between kind of super early founders, that are doing their first thing ever and started a year ago, and founders that sold their, I don't know, sixth company and have been doing this for 20 years. There was a big kind of range of experience on the sailing trip. And so, it was so fun to see kind of the differences in responses. When you first start out, I don't know if it was different for you, Hiten, because you're way, way ahead of your time, in terms of wisdom and good looks. But for me, when I started my first business, and when I think about the kind of my friends that were starting their businesses, I always thought, oh, I'm going to be a business owner, and then, I'm going to go and find a lawyer. And if the lawyer works in a large law firm, reputable, I'm going to pay that person a lot of money, and then that person's going to be kind of my genius side kick ninja of the law, and be constantly supplying me with tips and tricks and hacks and the best way to optimize the law to put myself and my business in the best position possible. And if I go to an accountant or bookkeeper, that person is going to give me all these pieces of advice on how to manage my cashflow and money and how to create expenses or add expenses and how to optimize to pay the least amount of taxes legally required for my business, to use that money in ways that fuel growth, rather. I thought that these people would be incredibly smart, incredibly experienced, but on top of all of that, really working hard, constantly creatively thinking of solutions and opport...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why hacks are not enough for growth anymore.


Growth hacking is a term that is used a lot in the startup world, but what does it really mean and what should you really care about when it comes to measuring it?


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what growth hacking means, how the term growth hacking came about, things to avoid when it comes to growth hacking and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


01:56 Why this topic was chosen.


02:24 How the term growth hacking came about.


03:41 Things to avoid when it comes to growth hacking.


04:00 The biggest mistake I think people make.


04:47 The best subject line hack.


06:01 How lying is a very bad idea when creating subject lines.


06:44 Why the open rate is not the end goal.


08:39 Hiten’s number one growth hack.


08:58 The real question to be asking about growth hacking.


3 Key Points:


The biggest mistake I think people make is not looking at the entire customer journey and the relationship you’re creating with your customer.When you lie to me to get you to do something, I don’t want more of you in my life. The open rate is not the end goal.


[0:00:00]


Speaker 1: Come on in, from the startup chat, Steli Efti and Hiten Shah.


[0:00:06]


Hiten Shah: Here we like talking about more than just sales and marketing.


[0:00:08]


Steli Efti: We just want to bullshit and chat about business and life. And hopefully while we're doing that we'll provide a lot of value to people.


[0:00:13]


Hiten Shah: The world's best business podcast.


[0:00:14]


Steli Efti: Oh shit, we got it.


[0:00:17]


Hiten Shah: For people trying to get shit done.


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: Done, yeah. We don't want to give you feedback that's bullshit.


[0:00:22]


Hiten Shah: We want you to do your best. Hi, I'm Hiten Shah.


[0:00:25]


Steli Efti: And I'm Steli Efti.


[0:00:43]


Hiten Shah: What are we doing here?


[0:00:44]


Steli Efti: I don't know. Apparently, we're talking about why hacks are not enough for growth anymore.


[0:00:49]


Hiten Shah: That wasn't the topic we suggested.


[0:00:51]


Steli Efti: What was the original topic?


[0:00:54]


Hiten Shah: Why growth hacks don't work anymore.


[0:00:57]


Steli Efti: Don't exist anymore.


[0:00:58]


Hiten Shah: Oh yeah, don't exist, right.


[0:00:59]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:00:59]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. It was a little aggressive. First of all, how many of you listen to our podcast already?


[0:01:04]


Steli Efti: Raise your hand.


[0:01:06]


Audience: Woo.


[0:01:07]


Steli Efti: Woo. We appreciate you, wooing person. You are awesome, great taste in podcast. Who here has no fucking idea who we are? Just raise your hand real high.


[0:01:15]


Audience: Woo.


[0:01:15]


Steli Efti: Ouch.


[0:01:17]


Hiten Shah: Perfect.


[0:01:18]


Steli Efti: Ouch.


[0:01:18]


Hiten Shah: You can Google us. Our names are so original, you can just Google us. So Google us, but pay attention to us right now because we're going to say all kinds of dumb shit. I can cuss, right?


[0:01:29]


Steli Efti: Yes, [inaudible 00:01:30].


[0:01:30]


Hiten Shah: Kind of, sort of?


[0:01:31]


Steli Efti: It's not my conference, but you can cuss.


[0:01:33]


Hiten Shah: Okay, thanks. I need people's approval. [crosstalk 00:01:35].


[0:01:35]


Steli Efti: There you go. You got my approval.


[0:01:37]


Hiten Shah: All right, so where do you want to start with this thing?


[0:01:40]


Steli Efti: Well,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about due diligence during fundraising.


The fact is, no investor in their right mind is going to invest money in a startup that has sketchy numbers. Investors will want to know everything about how your business is doing and if you can give them the answers they need then that can kill the deal. 


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what due diligence is, how it can happen, what fundraising is about and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:36 Why this topic was chosen.


01:41 How due diligence can happen.


02:10 The problem with due diligence.


03:00 What fundraising is about.


04:07 How due scrambling during the due diligence process can ruin your confidence.


05:06 Why your emotional state is the most important thing to manage during the process.


05:44 Why trust is super important.


06:19 How problems can arise when you scale.


06:55 The number one thing that founders tend to neglect.


3 Key Points:


This is a place where, if you’re looking to raise funds, things can go wrong.If at any time you scramble during the due diligence process, it ruins your confidenceThe most important thing to manage during that time is your emotional state.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about due diligence during fundraising. One of the reasons we're talking about this, the main reason, is because this is a place where your fundraising, if you're looking to fundraise, can go wrong. It goes wrong because what happens is, you get into your fundraise, and it could be any stage, it could be a pre-seed round, a seed round, series A round, later on. You've got you know your term sheet and now you're like, okay, I'm going to sign this thing. You sign this thing, and then what everybody calls due diligence starts. That typically happens for most rounds. I think pre-seed, seed round, sometimes it doesn't happen unless you have a lead investor. During this period, basically your company is getting assessed almost in a different way. Again around everything that's going on in the business, whether it's some of the metrics that you have, if you have those, the money and how you've been managing it, and the cash flow and what's going on there, and whether the numbers that they heard from you a pre-diligence, or not even pre-diligence, but during the fundraise process, is actually true. Are those things actually what's going on in the business? Now, another aspect of due diligence is oftentimes, you have a data room, and you have a bunch of your financials there, you have a bunch of your case studies from customers, and you have a lot of your data there about your business, whether it's your retention or your growth or your engagement. That is already being shared with folks during the fundraising process even before term sheet sign. So there's a bunch of different ways due diligence can happen. Now, the problem... And then, Steli, I want to hear your take on some of this, because I think there's a lot of problems with diligence and where things can go wrong. One of the biggest problems is you just don't have that material all together. You're not ready. You're not actually ready to raise money if you're not ready for due diligence.


[0:02:11]


Steli Efti: Yeah, that's probably what's probably a really big problem, because what happens is, focus all your energy on fundraising. You focus all your energy on the story, on relationship. You start the process, and then when due diligence starts, you scramble. One of the things that needs to be kept in mind here is that fundraising, to a big degree, is about communicating confidently the story of your company, outlining the future of it,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to deal with bullies as a founder. 


If you’re in sales, you’re going run into a prospect that is unreasonably aggressive. This typically tends to overwhelm most sales people and can lead to submission and overreaction by the sales person. 


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how most people see bullies, the main reason why bullies are over-aggressive, how people’s childhood affects how they act and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:40 Why this topic was created.


01:37 How most people see bullies.


03:04 How are bullies are just afraid themselves.


03:46 The main reason why bullies are over-aggressive.


04:03 How to deal with bullies.


05:59 How Steli deals with bullies.


10:00 Hitens thoughts on bullies.


10:45 A tip that can help you deal with bullies.


11:41 How people’s childhood affects how they act.


3 Key Points:


Once in a while you’ll run into a prospect that is unreasonably aggressive.


I’ve learned that bullies are just afraid themselves.


The best reaction to a bully is to stay cool calm and collected.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat we're gonna talk about bullies and we're also getting to talk about how bullies relate to sales, so Steli you're gonna lead the way on this cause it's a topic that I think is on your mind for a bunch of reasons.


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: Yeah, so I think teaching sales people for a long time, had to deal with bully prospects. So, if you're in sales, you know, once in a while you will run into a prospect that is going to be unreasonably aggressive. Right? Kinda of a bully personality and typically sales people they all have a, they all feel overwhelmed by this, which is normal, as a human being, if I call somebody and they start screaming at me, my first reaction is overwhelmed and say “ Wow. What the hell is going on here?”, right? This is signal like overwhelm/intimidation that's the natural first response if you're not somebody that is dealing with bullies all day long and is prepared for this. But then more sales reps, most humans, most people, they look at a bully or somebody that is intimidatingly strong and they will put fear in them and then usually they will either submit to that person's demand or requests or in some rare cases they've learnt to kind of overreact in response to the overreaction of the bully, right? So, the bully screams and then the sales person screams back, right? But the interpretations that somebody that's super dominant, super pushy, super aggressive is probably a strong human. I've learnt over a long period of time, in sales and with that in life in general that bullies are just afraid themselves, right? There's no reason, they call you hidden and they try to sell you something. There's no reason for you to have to scream at me. You have the power to just hang up. I cannot force you to buy anything, I'm on the phone with you, there's really no reason for you to go nuts and start screaming profanity said anything, there's no reason for that. The reason that most people or why the bullies will be overly aggressive is because they are afraid. There is a certain level of insecurity that the sales person is gonna sell them something they don't want and order two because they are so insecure and so afraid of being sold something they don't want, they overreact in like attacking mode. Right? Or sometimes people they are bullies in negotiations, they are so afraid of being taken advantage of, that they're unreasonable in how aggressive they are and asking for what they want. If you're truly confident, there is a certain comment cuneus that comes with real confidence,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about startup money management.


In the startup world, it’s very common for founders to overlook the significance of how their money is managed. Properly managing your startup’s financing is super important and not doing so can have serious consequences for your startup.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what money management means, why you should take money management seriously, how to deal with upfront revenue and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 What money management means.


01:40 What money management is all about.


02:43 How to deal with upfront revenue.


04:11 The best money management advice for new startups.


05:53 Why you should take money management seriously.


07:15 How founders run into money management issues.


10:31 Our first sponsor.


10:46 Why you shouldn’t do your own accounting.


11:30 About Pilot.com.


3 Key Points:


If someone pays you upfront for a year, how do you recognize that revenue?I will find a way to make it someone else’s problem.You can’t afford to completely ignore it.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hello everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:06]

Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about startup money management. Ooh, what does that mean?

[0:00:13]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, this is the one we've been wanting to do for awhile. And this is one of those where like, "Ah, what's this money management thing? That's not the fun part of startups?" You know, and it's like, well it's what startups in business is all about. You make money, or maybe you don't make any money yet, but you're still managing money because it's likely you're spending money somewhere, right? Even if it's with a bunch of software that you buy. So we wanted to talk about money management and why it's important as a founder, and why it's a skill that you need no matter what.

[0:00:44]

Steli Efti: So you said not sexy. So this is not about how do we take the money in the bank and invest it in other startups to get a faster ROI or higher ROI that we can. This not about any of that shit, right? This is about money's coming in, money's going out. You have to keep track of all of this. There's taxes to be paid. We've heard many stories of founders and startups getting into real trouble. Maybe we should do a whole episode on how not to get in trouble with your taxes, because-

[0:01:15]

Hiten Shah: Oh that's great.

[0:01:16]

Steli Efti: Right. Because this is such a big topic. It's not sexy, but you know how many founders get in real trouble, because they mess up the bookkeeping, or the mess up their taxes, and boom, all of a sudden surprising big bill that comes from the government and there no money in the bank. And what the hell do we do? Like scramble, scramble, scramble, or you're the case that's like you get audited. Congratulations. Ever gotten audited before? It's not a lot of fun.

[0:01:45]

Hiten Shah: Yeah we have. Yeah. It's not a lot of fun. Another one is revenue recognition.

[0:01:50]

Steli Efti: What is that? Do I just look at my revenue and try to recognize it? Or what exactly did you mean?

[0:01:58]

Hiten Shah: If someone pays you upfront for a year, how do you recognize that revenue? [crosstalk] All at once? Or is it for the month that ... Do you spread it out across the month that you actually are supposed to get it for, because they paid up front for a year. Which means that you're supposed to amortize it as they say across the 12 months. You're supposed to split it up by 12, and provide basically accounting in a way where you know that that's how it impacted let's say your MRR. Right? Because that's monthly recurring revenue.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to listen & learn from those with less success than you.


Getting advice from people is taking that feedback is a key part of growing both personally and professionally. Being receptive to people’s opinions helps strengthen the relationships we have with them and gives us a different perspective on that topic. 


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how you can learn from anybody and everybody, what Hiten cares about when he asks for advice from people, examples of people not to listen to and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:41 Why this topic was chosen.


02:30 How you can learn from anybody and everybody.


05:15 What Hiten cares about when he asks for advice from people.


05:38 Worst thing that can happen when you listen to people opinion.


06:59 People that Hiten doesn’t listen to.


07:17 Examples of people not to listen to.


07:55 A weakness of Steli.


09:33 People Steli loves listening to.


3 Key Points:


You can learn from anybody and everybody.Everyone can teach you somethingWhat is their perspective


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:05]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:06]

Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to learn and listen to people that are much less successful than you. So here's why I want to talk to you about this, Hiten. I had a conversation with a friend the other day and I don't know how we got to that topic, but we talked about my brothers. I have two older brothers, they're both entrepreneurs. We might have talked about me manipulating them many years ago into entrepreneurship and thinking maybe that wasn't the best idea I've ever had because they had some good success but they had a lot of failures as well afterwards, but anyways, that besides the point. My friend and I were talking about my brothers being entrepreneurs and all that. At some point he asked me, how much do they know about your business, and do you guys talk shop? He was admiring us, like, "I wish I had brothers that I could talk about business entrepreneurship all the time." And I was thinking about it and I was telling him it's not like that. My brothers' businesses are very different from mine. They have two small almost like a local AT&T shop or something that they're managing as kind of franchise partners of sorts, and so their business is kind of very small, local consumer shop type business, very little to do with mine. The way they think about business, their experience, honestly, and their success is very different from mine. So oftentimes when I talk to my brothers, when they ask me about my company, I tell them very honestly kind of the good, the bad, what's going on right now, and then oftentimes, especially my oldest brother, will feel the need to give advice or give his two cents and he'll tell me something, "Oh, if I had this problem, this is the way you need to approach this," and I barely ever listen. I kind of just sit there, nod and smile, but I'm not taking anything in. And that's mainly because, honestly, I'm like, "You don't fucking know anything." Like I love my older brother, but when it comes to business I don't have that high of an opinion of him. I don't think that he's super knowledgeable. So, as I was telling this to my friend, I'm like, "Yeah, to be honest, I'm a little bit of a shitty human. I'm not really listening to him when he tries to give me business advice." As I was telling him that, I was like, you know what, that's probably a mistake, because there might be truths in what he wants to share with me that have nothing to do with his success or failure. I just need to be more open to it. I just shut down with certain people when they try to give me advice if I don't admire and respect them or if I do...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about comparing yourself with other founders & startups.


It’s common for some founders to compare themselves and their startups with other founders and startups. ,and doing so is never a good thing. The moment we start comparing ourselves to other people's apparent success, most of the time, we all lose.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why comparing yourself to others is never a good thing, why you need self-awareness and self-acceptance to get to self-improvement, how a lot of founders are so insecure about who they are and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:45 Why this topic was chosen.


02:02 Hiten’s point of view about founders comparing themselves.


03:23 The importance of self-awareness.


04:00 Steli trying to emulate Steve Jobs.


05:24 Why you need self-awareness and self - acceptance to get to self-improvement.


05:47 How a lot of founders are so insecure about who they are.


06:26 How lack of self-awareness leads to unhappiness.


07:00 How we’re always looking at others.


08:37 How you never know what someone else is going through.


3 Key Points:


I think in one word we want to say stop!It’s easy to compare oneself on social mediaWhat’s important is your journey.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, I think, something that it seems like people get prone to off and on. Which is comparing yourself to other founders, other companies, other businesses. Other people, even. And I think this is just a topic that we haven't talked about that we wanted to talk about. So Steli, take it away. What's the thesis here? What are we trying to say?

[0:00:28]

Steli Efti: Well, I think in one word, we want to say stop. Stop comparing yourself to others. There's some beautiful quote, I tried to look it up real quickly, but I couldn't, but somebody can tweet that at me. There's probably a bunch of great quotes around the evils of comparing yourself to others. But this one particularly eloquent one around the source of all unhappiness or the source of a lot of unhappiness is really to find us, as humans, comparing ourselves to others and with others. And that goes for founders, and that goes for startups in general. Like startups just going, oh, this other startup is much harder than the company that we are working for, or whatever. So maybe we'll break down why. At least my thesis or my opinion is that it's not helpful to constantly be comparing yourself with others. And why it's not helpful and what to do instead. But I'd love to hear... I don't think you disagree, but I'd be shocked if you did, but I'm curious, would you agree with that? Did you give advice to others not to compare themselves with other founders of the startups? Is that even a problem? Or do you feel like most founders and startups are very... It's a hypothetical question, a rhetorical one, but have you gotten the sense that founders don't have this problem? Because I for sure haven't.

[0:01:52]

Hiten Shah: I think founders do have this problem. I think it's easy to go out there on social media or read Tech Crunch or any other news site and be like, oh, they're doing great, I'm not. Right? Or I'm doing great, they're not. And what we forget is, we're individuals, we have our own journey. And that's what's important, which is, what's your journey like? How are you doing on your journey? Not like, how are you doing compared to somebody else? So I think it is true that the greatest source of pain is when you start looking at other people and things outside yourself, outside your business, outside of your control, and start comparing to them. I think that that's definitely something that I w...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to run marketing experiments when you’re just starting out.


As a founder, you need to run experiments in order to find out what will work for your startup. However, most marketing experiments are done wrong, and this can lead to failures, demotivation or can cost you a lot of money.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to run marketing experiments the right way, why having a goal super important when you run experiments, why comparing a startup to a big company is not helpful and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


02:20 What marketing means to Hiten.


02:46 Why having a goal super important.


03:01 Why comparing a startup to a big company is not helpful.


03:42 Why trying complicated strategies too early is a bad idea.


06:20 Why you should try doing things that are easier to pick up.


06:50 How Hiten approaches marketing.


08:10 Why you should listen to episode 30 of the podcast.


09:11 Why learning from your competition is a good idea.


3 Key Points:


I think the killer here in terms of comparison is the mentality.To me, marketing is just about driving traffic with a goal in mind.Figure out how you’re gonna get the right visitors that will sign up for your product


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to run marketing experiments, especially when you are at the very beginning or super small. So here's the reason why I want to talk about this with you, Hiten Shah. I was emailing back and forth with a single founder that is just building NBP, and he's trying to start his start-up, and one challenge that he described to me was the challenge that he was trying to be super data-driven, and super kind of experimentation-driven, and was saying that he was trying all these different experiments, but it would take like a week or two to collect enough data. And then a lot of these experiments that he's tried haven't yet worked, and he was asking me if... He was basically getting to a point where he was doubting that this will work well, and saying to me, “Is it the case that maybe just really well-funded start-ups with lots of people can afford to run all kinds of crazy AB tests and all kinds of different growth experiments, because most experiments won't work, and when you are a one-person team, with very little money, you don't have infinite time to just keep experimenting with great, crazy ideas that most of them don't work. You might just have to do bread and butter things that are easier to succeed with, even if they are not necessarily as data-driven or as experimental in nature." So, basically asking, are experiments only for big companies, or for start-ups with more resources, or can a single person be super experiment-driven and try to grow their start-up from day one, based on running different tests, and driving different experiments? And I could not think of anybody better than to state this problem to and get probably a funny reaction that's like, “This is the totally wrong way of thinking about life”. That's the problem that he brought up to me, and I was super curious to hear your kind of first reaction on that.

[0:02:22]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, I think the killer here, in terms of mentality, is comparison. I think that's part of the problem. To me, marketing is just about driving traffic with a goal in mind.

[0:02:41]

Steli Efti: Right.

[0:02:43]

Hiten Shah: Well, what's your goal? Well, your goal is to get traffic. Figure out how you're going to find the right visitors that are going to sign up for your product, right? I don't think it's more complicated than that.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to get marketing attribution right.


One of the most important thing a marketer needs to know is whether your campaigns are driving revenue or not. If you’re unable to answer this, you’ll struggle making the right marketing campaigns. While vanity metrics like number of shares on social media and open rates for your emails are super easy to find, the important data - the one that tells you which helped close a  sale - is less obvious.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what marketing attribution is, what startups need to do to get marketing attribution right, why you should do the best you can with what you’ve got right now and much more. 


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:30 Why this topic was chosen.


02:40 What startups need to do to get marketing attribution right.


03:59 How to make decisions based on the data you collect.


04:22 Why you should do the best you can with what you’ve got right now.


04:53 Best practices to use.


05:24 Why you should regularly audit what you track.


06:50 Tips for tracking your data.


07:46 Hiten’s game on attribution.


11:59 Steli’s big take away.


3 Key Points:


I just assumed that more companies will have marketing attribution figured out.If you know better, do better now.Do the best you can with what you’ve got right now


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:05]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about marketing attribution.

[0:00:12]

Steli Efti: Yeah.

[0:00:13]

Hiten Shah: There's a very specific reason why. Steli share why we're talking about this.

[0:00:18]

Steli Efti: Yeah. So I think talking to a ton of marketing leaders recently, we're looking to hire leadership on the marketing side of the Close. And so I've been reaching out to many super senior people, that work in really amazing organizations to ask for advice. And one thing that really surprised me and it didn't, because on the one hand, I know that every company's full of shit and all things always look better from the outside. But then again it's good to be re reminded. But one thing that surprised me still in the moment, was that a lot of these people would share like the problem of running marketing organizations for really big SAS companies. And we were talking about the type of companies that are like 20 to 40 million in ARR, right? So much later scale. And one of the things when I asked them about like big projects over the last couple of years, things they wish they'd known and done differently when they first joined. The surprising thing is how many of them said, "Wish we'd had a data and attribution models figured out earlier." And some of them even like they worked at analytics and metrics SAS companies, were like, "It's really embarrassing. I would never admit this publicly, because we're an analytics and metrics company, but we don't have our metrics analytics shit figured out. Our stuff doesn't work, our attribution doesn't work and we're still working on fixing that." So it was surprising to me to see, I knew that early stage, a lot of companies don't get this right, but I felt like at the 20, 30, 40 million, I just assumed that more companies would have marketing attribution figured out or prioritized. And it seems like it still was a struggle for many. So I felt like, maybe this is a topic. Maybe this is something we should bring up as advice for SAS companies. So that they don't get to this level of scale and still struggle with it. And you've built a number of analytics and metrics companies, you're pretty famous in this area. So just wanted to like quickly pick your brain and share it with the world in terms of like what should startups do to get marketing attribution,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about we they recently learned as dads that helped them as founders.


For most people, our first teacher is usually our fathers. From riding a bicycle to playing football, fathers typically teach us many lessons when we were children. Our dads typically are there for us through our heartbreaks and failures, and heartily encourage and pat us on our back when we achieved something.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what made this year's father’s day different, an example of a situation where a person never had a father, special moments and lessons they learned from their kids and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


02:30 What made Steli appreciate being a dad.


03:00 What made this year's father’s day different.


04:18 An example of a situation where a person never had a father.


05:59 Steli shares a special moment he had with his kids.


09:03 How Steli can sometimes be part of the problem.


10:37 How empathy can help people do their best.


11:33 Hiten shares a special moment he had with his kids.


3 Key Points:


I just talk to my kids more.When things are difficult that a good thing.I am a big part of why he gets frustrated so much.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti .

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. We're actually recording after Father's Day. It's the day after Father's Day today. We wanted to do just a quick podcast on Father's Day. Don't know where it's going to go, but I think ultimately it's an important day for us fathers. We're both fathers. I think it's interesting. Steli mentioned that he wanted to do this, and it's interesting you mentioned that, because this was a very interesting Father's Day for me, and interesting in a great way where I actually felt the need, and I texted you too, actually felt the need to text as many fathers as I could remember yesterday, and just say Happy Father's Day. I don't think I've ever really done it. I've done it to a few people, but I'm talking, I probably hit 20 or 30 people. I don't know, it just meant something to me this year in a different way. Not sure why.

[0:01:02]

Steli Efti: Interesting, because first of all, I got a very sweet text from you. I was really happy about that, and I wrote you something back. You're the only person who texted me about Father's Day, by the way. You really stood out for me. But I saw so many messages on social media about it. Maybe last year I was not mentally there. I don't know what it was, but this year, more so than ever before, it was like, wow, everybody's sharing something related to Father's Day. What is going on? It was like my screen was flooded with content around this. For me, it made me do one thing that's maybe not really practical, really doesn't have anything to do with startups, but it did make me step back and re-remember to be grateful that I'm a dad.

[0:02:01]

Hiten Shah: Yeah.

[0:02:02]

Steli Efti: And that I'm having a chance, at least with my oldest ... My oldest is now ... This year was kind of interesting, because my father died when I was six. So last year when he turned six years, my oldest is going to turn seven in exactly 14 days, when he turned six, I was like, "Okay, I was this old when my dad died." It was so interesting to see. I was like, "I was so tiny. I thought I was a bit older." It was just a good, a funky thing to have my son as a way to relive that or go through that experience of what six even means, what that age even means. But also it's like for me, a little bit of a, wow, I'm grateful that I get to spend more time with him than my dad and I got to spend together. It's kind of a reminder for me to be a grateful and how much I actually enjoy and love having two little monsters as my sons.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about lies founders tell themselves and others.


It’s common for founders to unknowingly tell themselves and others lies about the state of their companies. And not realizing that what you may be saying to yourself about your company can lead to the lack of growth of your company or worse.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the common lies founders tell themselves, how to realise that you’re telling yourself these lies, how to prevent telling these lies and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:30 The most common lie founders tell themselves and others.


02:27 Why your belief in the success of your product is a lie.


03:40 Why you should use your belief of success to figure out how to make it happen.


04:34 The second most common lie founders tell.


05:47 Why this lie is a way of covering up the truth.


06:57 How things aren’t going well for startups most of the time.


07:39 The third most common lie founders tell.


08:07 The fourth most common lie founders tell.


3 Key Points:


The number one lie is telling yourself that this is gonna work.You wouldn’t start something if you believed it wasn’t gonna work.Things never get easier, they just get different.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Boom. Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat we're going to talk about founder lies. The type of lies that founder tell themselves and others, how to prevent them, how to realize that you're telling yourself and others, things that might not be fully true or are completely untrue. And who better to actually talk about this topic that you hitting. I mean, we've both been entrepreneurs for almost our entire adult career lives.

[0:00:35]

Hiten Shah: Yep.

[0:00:35]

Steli Efti: We have so many founder friends, we've adviced, we've invested, we talk to founders to every day. And if there's one of the major themes of our podcasts in general has always been, have self awareness and we've talked about self awareness in many, many different versions. And I think this topic really fits into that theme as well. Being aware of the lies that you tell yourself and others. Right off the bat. Let me ask you top of head, what is the most common lie that you have observed founders tell themselves and others?

[0:01:18]

Hiten Shah: This one's interesting because a lot of it has to do with the idea that, to start something, you're essentially starting something from scratch, like in doing the impossible, right? And you have to have a lot of belief in yourself, belief in so many things that you don't control in the beginning. And so I think the number one lie is a really weird one that I would say. And the lie is this Steli, it's, this is going to work.

[0:01:55]

Steli Efti: This is going to work.

[0:01:58]

Hiten Shah: This is going to work. It's going to work Steli. It's just got to work. And you start your business with that lie. Like let's just put it out there.

[0:02:09]

Steli Efti: [crosstalk].

[0:02:12]

Hiten Shah: How could you start it if you didn't believe that?

[0:02:15]

Steli Efti: True. But why is it a lie if you believe it Hiten?

[0:02:19]

Hiten Shah: You don't know. You're lying to yourself. You don't know. You started with no conscious understanding of, if it's going to work. And I'm talking about day zero, like you start, you're like, I don't know, right? Truthfully you don't know, but the mind, you have to convince your mind that this is where it started. And the way you do that is by saying this is going to work. You wouldn't start something if you believed it wasn't going to work,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create a successful pilot program for your startup.


In the startup world, running a pilot program for your startup is a great way to fine-tune your solution and get in some early customers. Sadly, many pilots end up failing due to mistakes made during them, and this is something that Steli and Hiten explore in this episode.  


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to do pilot programs correctly, why you need to be clear about KPIs, why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:46 Why this topic was chosen.


02:36 Why you need to be clear about KPIs.


04:46 Why clarity is super important.


04:16 Why you need to be as hands-on as possible during the pilot.


05:13 How you need to babysit the pilot.


06:36 How to get more advice about your pilot.


06:41 How to handle contracts and timelines.


06:50 Why want to learn from your customers past.


06:33 A question you can ask your customer during a pilot.


3 Key Points:


Find out from your customer what you’d need to do to get them to purchase your product.You need to babysit the pilot.You wanna learn from your customer’s past.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today we're going to talk about sales but what we're going to talk about sales is how to do pilots correctly so that they lead to successful outcomes and basically close deals.

[0:00:19]

Steli Efti: Yeah, this is one of the biggest heartbreakers. Whenever I talk to startups that have A, pilot or multiple pilots going on usually with either larger customers or maybe if it's very early in their development phase where the product maybe doesn't work yet or is very rudimentary. Startups like to do pilots, right? It's these agreed upon times where a potential customer in a startup will come together and they'll agree that they're going to run a certain amount of tests. They're going to try to use the product or implement it or integrate it and if it goes well the idea is at the end of pilot, once we've tested this out, we would buy. The company would become a customer. The heartbreaker is that a lot, the vast majority of the time, especially startups that are not super experienced in sales, they'll put these pilots together in a way that's destined to fail and they will work so hard and have such high hopes. Then at the end of a one month or three month period when they were hell bent on needing this pilot to turn into a successful customer relationship, it doesn't, right, and it doesn't just crush the morale. It doesn't just deplete the funds and the money but it's also wasting the biggest resource the startups have which is time. So let's unpack a little bit of the mistakes that startups do, how to do avoid them and how to do this well in order to save some people a lot of trouble and a lot of wasted time.

[0:01:49]

Hiten Shah: Yeah, pilots are so key, especially to get the kind of deals that you're looking for. They also help companies get really comfortable with your product and your technology and help you actually sort out how to make something that actually provides something that they actually need and want and help them get ramped up on something. I'm going to let you lead the way because I'm sure you have more tips than I do on this.

[0:02:12]

Steli Efti: I have a million of them. All right.

[0:02:13]

Hiten Shah: Go for it.

[0:02:15]

Steli Efti: After all, a few simple things and I know you'll pepper and salt it with your wisdom around it. One of the most important things when you set up a pilot is to create clarity on what the key KPIs are that will indicate that this is going well.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of overcommunicating.


Communicating effectively in a startup is super important to the success of not just your startup, but also the businesses of those you serve. And it’s up to the leadership of a startup to communicate effectively.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate, why overcommunication is usually the reason projects succeed, the most powerful thing about “beating the drum” and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:10 Why you need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate.


01:59 Why overcommunication is usually the reason projects succeed.


03:13 Why you need to learn how to overcommunicate.


04:56 How Hiten writes more of his ideas down than share it with people.


06:37 How Hiten continues to beat the drum.


06:59 The most powerful thing about beating the drum.


07:40 An example of beating the drum.


08:33 Why you want to guide people to beat the right drum.


3 Key Points:


You need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate.Whenever I see someone managing a team or project properly, it usually means they are doing one thing very well - overcommunicatingWhen people overcommunicate in projects, those projects always do well.


[0:00:01]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the value of over communicating or how to over communicate and why you want to do it all or maybe why you want to avoid it. So here's the setup for this topic, Hiten. So there's two sides to this, two reasons why I wanted to talk about this with you and why I felt this could be really valuable to our listeners. Number one, a lot of times when people ask me I get this question asked a lot, and I know you do too. Which is, how do you run a remote company? How do you run a fully distributed team? Isn't it really challenging? Is it possible to do it well? And one of the core things I hear myself talking about again and again and again and again, is that I'll say a lot of things that are important about running a distributed team or remote company with a great culture. But one of the things that I keep repeating when it comes to that is. You just need to be incredibly disciplined about how you communicate, you actually have to constantly over communicate, right? And I think that that's just a muscle that's good in any company, in any team. I don't think this is just for remote companies. But then remote company, you can't be lazy with it at all. You can't get away with anything. If there's any kind of lack of communication, things break down instantly. So I'm just keep repeating this theme a lot. And then the other thing that I notice is that there are people, whenever I see somebody do really well in managing a team or managing a project or championing something. It always goes back to them doing one thing particularly well, and that is that they over communicate. They state what needs to happen in a very clear way. They communicated in different channels and they keep repeating the message to keep everybody aligned and keep everybody on the same page as well as everybody remembering this thing that we're trying to accomplish, the deadline that we have, the date, the reason why we're doing things. And when people over communicate in projects, those projects always do well. They always do well. And whenever I see somebody managing a project, or a team, and I wonder well, I don't hear much, there's not much communication going on. They said big goals last quarter, but nobody ever repeated them. I don't even remember what they are anymore.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to keep morale up in your company.


In all startups, there are times where the moral or the mood of the team is not at it’s highest. When the morale of your team is low, it is important that you take steps to raise your team's morale quickly, so that they can handle issues in your company better.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what morale is, why keeping up morale in your team applies to everybody, how to measure morale in your team and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:30 Why this topic was chosen.


00:40 Why keeping up morale applies to everybody in your team.


01:00 The definition of morale.


02:46 Why morale is a very interesting topic.


03:17 How to think about morale in your company.


04:03 How to measure morale in your team.


04:56 Why morale is important.


06:33 Why you need to ask people how they’re feeling about something.


3 Key Points:


I don’t think this only applies to managers and leaders in your team. This applies to everybody in your team.Do you feel like the present is going well and the future is going to be better?If people are confident, they feel really great about what they are doing.


[0:00:01]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah, and today we're going to talk about how to keep morale up on your company. I don't think this just applies to managers or leaders or founders. This applies to everybody on the team. I'm going to start off by saying that. Steli, what do you think?

[0:00:19]

Steli: Well, I think you couldn't be more right. At the end of the day, first of all, I am going to do the Hiten Shah thing. I learned this from you Hiten. Let's actually read the definition of morale.


[0:00:34]


Hiten: Let's do it.


[0:00:36]


Steli: Let's do it. Morale, what I found here is the definition says the confidence, enthusiasm and discipline of a person or group at a particular time. All right. Confidence, enthusiasm and discipline, those are interesting-


[0:00:52]


Hiten: Very.


[0:00:53]


Steli: ... Words. I don't think I would have picked any of these three if you had asked me to come up with word associations around morale. But I'm not sure which words I would have come up with alternatively. [inaudible] morale, if I wanted to describe it, it was like what is the outlook that people have on the future and what is their feeling about the present? Do you feel like the present is going well and the future is going to get even better? Is there an upbeat, positive, looking forward to, energized, motivated, inspired vibe, positive? Or are people having doubts, stress, struggle, misalignment, worry, thinking things aren't going well, having doubt? A doubt and worry would probably be kind of the counter to morale in my free flow association.


[0:01:52]


Hiten: Morale. I think it's a very, very interesting word and very interesting topic because when you think about morale, you might not be thinking about it too much. When you think about the definition, you say it's confidence, it's enthusiasm, it's discipline. That's three very different things, right? If people are confident, they feel really great about what they are doing and are confident in their ability to do it I would say in a business, right?


[0:02:26]


Steli: Right.


[0:02:27]


Hiten: Enthusiasm, that's clear. You and I are always enthusiastic about this podcast. So everybody all right knows how that works. Then discipline, that a fascinating one. It's this idea that you are actually getting the things you say you're going to do and you want to do done, right? It's the discipline to get the stuff done. You're organized, you're structured, you're getting this stuff done.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Steli's outbound recruiting hack.


Hiring a new member of staff can be challenging. If you want to find the right person for the role, you need to invest a lot of time and sometimes money on the whole process. One way to approach the whole hiring process is by seeking the advice of people who are overqualified for the job, and this can lead to a lot of benefits for you.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how hiring for a role at Close is going for them, how approached the recruiting for the position at his company, how people can be very helpful when you seek their advice and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:41 Why this topic was created.


01:56 How Steli approached the recruiting of a position at his company.


02:44 How people can be very helpful when seeking advice.


03:31 How one simple question led to a ton of recommendations and referrals.


03:50 How this approach allowed Steli to meet people that he’d hire in the future.


04:38 How this approach helped him understand the quality of the available talent pool.


05:54 Why Hiten recommends more people do this strategy.


06:22 How this approach can help you build relationships.


06:41 Another benefit of this strategy.


3 Key Points:


I did a lot of outbound recruiting.I met people that I know I’ll hire in the future.It was a very valuable calibration of talent for me.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hello everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: On today's episode of The Startup Chat, we wanna share with you a [inaudible] recruiting hack that has been working wonders for me and have helped a lot of other people use. So this is kind of the hack of hiring people that are really hard to hire and getting smart in the process of it. Here's the deal, a lot of you that have been long time listeners, you know that we've been looking for a director of marketing for quite some time. I put myself out there quite a lot with videos, and even with a podcast, tiny episode, 2 minute episode. Where I ask you listeners to help, and a lot of you did. We are very close to filling that position so this has been a very successful, even if it very intense recruiting effort. But one thing that I've done this time around that I've never done before that has worked really, really well, and I wanted to share, is something that I've used in sales as a strategy. But never in recruiting in this specific way, which is I did a lot of outbound recruiting. But the way I did it was, I didn't reach out to people telling them I think you could be a good candidate, or maybe you're interested in this job we're looking for. I was reaching out mainly to people that seemed either slightly over qualified or drastically over qualified, and would tell them, I am currently looking to hire an executive in this position. I'd love 10 minutes of your time to get some advice from you on how to do that. A lot of people would take me up on that and would graciously offer their time and advice. Then what would happen, there were a number of benefits that came from that. One is that, one positive thing that happened, which is part of the strategy here, is that as I would describe passionately to them about the company, the opportunity, all the action that is going on and who we are looking for. Some self-identified and raised their hand and went, this actually sounds interesting, maybe I'm your person, right? Then we would engage into our conversation about that. Some people would not even entertain this because they were so clearly over qualified. I would have actually been shocked if they wanted the job. But those people would truly be at first, an advisor for me. So they would say, you know what,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about introverts that learned to talk.


It’s common to assume we know the difference between extroverts and introverts. One might be forgiven in believing that extroverts are talkative and outgoing people, while introverts are quiet and tend to be very private. However, this is not always the case.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the history of the startup chat, the idea of being introverted versus extroverted, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert, why categorizing people isn’t helpful and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:41 Why this topic was chosen.


01:00 The idea of being introverted versus extroverted.


02:11 The difference between an introvert and an extrovert.


03:20 Examples of introverts being extroverted.


04:05 Why categorising people isn’t helpful.


05:00 Why this might be more of an activity.


06:12 How one can use their fears as excuses.


06:44 How personality is a spectrum.


08:07 How it’s about stories you tell yourself.


3 Key Points:


Everybody has people they could be extroverted with even if they consider themselves introvertsI’m not sure there’s a difference between an introvert and an extrovert.It’s not that helpful to think in absolute categories.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about a very fascinating topic. The topic is about introverts that learn to talk. That's the title. I find it fascinating, I find it really fascinating, this whole idea of introvert versus extrovert. I'm going to sort of start it now that you've given me the topic, Steli, right before this, by saying, "Is there really a difference between an introvert and an extrovert?" That might be a really controversial statement. I think, my take, is that there are ... That everybody has people who they can be extroverted with, even if they consider themselves an introvert. So I want to start there,-

[0:00:57]

Steli Efti: Beautiful.

[0:00:57]

Hiten Shah: ... Because I know some self-proclaimed introverts, multiple ones.

[0:01:02]

Steli Efti: You live in Silicon Valley, how would you not? How would you not?

[0:01:07]

Hiten Shah: They tell me things like, "I don't get energy from people." But, these are the same people that I can talk to them, at least one of these two that I have in mind. I know that they'll talk to me all day. They don't have a problem talking to me. It's just interesting to me to experience that, and yet, that person say, "I'm an introvert." Sometimes, I think this is the whole point that we wanted to get to was, there are people who either consider themselves introverts, or very introverted, or have those qualities, that actually get out there and do things in the real world, and around people, and go speak like you and I do. It's something definitely worthy of talking about, because, first of all, I'm not sure if there's a difference. I'm not actually sure if I agree with the fact that there are people who are introverts and then there are people who are extroverts. I think there are just people. We tend to make up our own stories about what we like and what we don't like, and who we are and who we aren't.

[0:02:15]

Steli Efti: I love that. This is one of my favorite things about the podcast, is I'll throw a premise at you, then you'll step back and be like, "Is this premise even real?" And reframing it. So that's part of the fun of this. There's a part that I agree with and a part that I don't. So what I like and agree with, is that it is mostly, most circumstances, not that useful to think in absolute categories. Label, introvert, extrovert, pick your label and then act accordingly,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the benefits of therapy for a founder.


Running a startup comes with a lot of strain and stress, and if not managed properly, can affect your mental health. As a founder, if you feel you need help to get you over these trying times, it may be a good idea to talk to a therapist.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the history of the startup chat, why the name was chosen, why the show is all about startup mentality and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:41 Why this topic was chosen.


01:25 Steli’s experience with therapy.


02:24 How we sometimes give the answers we want to give.


03:18 Why every therapy session is different.


05:05 More on Steli’s experience with therapy.


06:00 What makes a therapy valuable.


07:14 Steli’s thoughts on mental health.


08:39 How to find the right therapist.


09:00 Why it’s important to understand the you’re paying them to help you.


3 Key Points:


In some ways, a lot of our conversations borderline therapyWith therapy, some of us might give the answer that we want to give, not the answer that is true to us.One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I can make some go around in circles in therapy.You’re paying them to help you.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about a topic that's a little bit en vogue, especially in Silicon Valley startup land. But, maybe even further out than that, I would say. This idea of therapy for founders, particularly. I think it's going to be an interesting topic, just considering how much attention it's getting right now. It's really about mental health. Right?

[0:00:32]

Steli Efti: Yeah.

[0:00:34]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, let's talk about it. What's your experience with therapy?

[0:00:39]

Steli Efti: I've not been in therapy as an adult. I mean, in some ways, a lot of our conversations borderline therapy.

[0:00:47]

Hiten Shah: Like what?

[0:00:49]

Steli Efti: Especially the ones we don't record, for many reasons.

[0:00:52]

Hiten Shah: Very true.

[0:00:54]

Steli Efti: But, so in a sense, I do feel like I have had many, many therapeutic discussions with very special people. But, I've not been to a therapist as an adult. I have thought about it though, on and off, as like maybe this would really benefit me, but I didn't ... Nothing propelled me to push that though forward. Although, I don't think that that's something that maybe I'll decide I'll do that sometime soon. I don't know. As a child, I went through therapy for a little while. Maybe that jaded me a bit, because after my ... I think after my father died, maybe I was acting up a little bit in school. I think my mom brought me to some kind of a test doctor or something. They gave me a ... They did a bunch of tests with me, and then they gave me this multiple choice questionnaire that was basically like trying to figure out if there's something wrong with me. I don't know why, but I remember very consciously answering those questions in a way that I was like, "They probably want to ..." "Do you want to be part of a group or be alone, because you're afraid that people won't like you?" "They probably want me to say that." I found like fucked up ... I feel like I knew what I had to ask for them to say that it's some psychology issue. I don't know why I wanted that. But, I know that I followed that. Like I didn't really honestly answer that thing.

[0:02:13]

Hiten Shah: I think, Steli, you just brought up a huge point. With therapy, some of us will give the answer that we want to give, not the answer that is true to us.

[0:02:27]

Steli Efti: Yeah,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the difference between running a fully remote company versus semi-remote companies.


The business world has changed. It’s now possible for employees to work outside of an office and be very productive at it. But deciding if your company should be a remote company or a semi-remote company is a critical decision a founder can make


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how Close started as a semi-remote company, why remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employees, how Hitens company managed their remote teams.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:10 Why this topic was chosen.


02:00 How Close started as a semi-remote company.


03:39 Why remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employees.


03:37 Why Airbnb stopped referring to their headquarters as HQ.


04:44 How companies fail to understand how to make remote working work.


05:05 How Hitens company managed their remote teams.


05:50 Why everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.


06:06 How to ensure that everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.


06:33 The importance of understanding that you have to fight silos.


3 Key Points:


Remote employees shouldn’t be treated or feel like second class employeesWe started documenting meetings all the time.Everyone should have the information they need to do their jobs.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey, everybody this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the difference between running a fully-distributed, or remote company, versus being, let's say, semi-remote and semi distributed. So, let's first define what the difference is between the two, and then let's go through the pros and cons of both approaches. Right, so we have talked recently on The Startup Chat about the trend of remote work and that not going away. Check that episode out if you haven't listened to it, but today I wanted to talk about a difference between companies that from Day One have decided that they're not going to have an office and that every person that works in the company is basically working in the distributed fashion remotely and is setting up their own work environment. All right, and all work, all collaborative work, all communication, happens virtually versus companies that do part of their work or have part of their workers outside an office. So, semi-remote, in my definition, means you have an office or multiple offices but you also have... Either you have a bunch of people that work for you that are not working out of these offices and live in completely different locations or, and this is a big or, you have everybody that works for you, let's say... The early days of Close we were qualifying ourselves as semi-remote because we did have a small office, and everybody lived in the Bay area, so they could get to the office. But people were traveling so much, or entire team was traveling so much, and we really didn't care that much about having working hours in the office. But we thought of ourselves as semi-remote because, at any given time, it was very rare that all of us were at the office. At most of two out of three months there was maybe just like two out of the six or seven people that worked actually in the office.

[0:02:03]

Hiten Shah: Wow, yeah I've had an office once, and I didn't really go into it as much as other folks did that were in the area. I don't think we've made it the biggest requirement to go there and then we had a lot of folks who were remote as well, and I think I'm going to start it off by... their equal in terms of team members. And I think that's a very challenging thing when you have an office and you also have r...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about remote work or distributed work.


The topic of having remote or distributed teams is a hot one in the startup world. It is common for some startups that implement remote work policies to see increased productivity, efficiency, and fulfillment from their employees. However, the reverse can be the case when a remote team is not managed properly


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about having a remote work or distributed work, what the workforce could look like in the future, how the business landscape has changed and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:44 Why this topic was chosen.


02:10 One side of the trend line.


04:34 Another side of the trend line.


06:40 What the workforce could look like in the future.


07:31 How we’re going to get better at managing remote teams.


08:16 Why the growth rate of distributed companies is going to play a bigger role in the future.


08:56 Companies that have had success being fully remote.


09:43 How the business landscape has changed.


10:37 How the future of the workforce could look like.


3 Key Points:


It’s so difficult to hire from a local areaWe’re going to find and learn how to hire productive team members no matter where they areThe growth rate of distributed companies is going to play a bigger role in the future.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to do first of a few, and I know we've talked about this before at some point too, but I think this is a trend, and so the topic is about remote work, or what some are calling distributed work, and we just wanted to talk about it as a trend and talk about why it's so important right now and why so many people are talking about it. And, on top of that, I'm doing some research on the topic, by creating a report with my team at FYI, and we're partnered with a company called [Mirro] to do that, and before we even begin, I did want to give one shout-out because there's a newish podcast and blog by Matt Mullenweg from Automatic, and it's called Distributed, and it's at distributed.blog. One of the things that Matt, I believe, really believes is that he likes calling it distributed work, not remote work. I think he's got the pet peeve similar to mine of, put it as self-funded instead of bootstrapped.

[0:01:09]

Steli Efti: Yup.

[0:01:11]

Hiten Shah: But he's really talking about what most of us have been talking about as remote work. So distributed work, remote work, this is a trend. I know you've been doing it for years. I've been doing it for about 16 now. Let's talk about it.

[0:01:24]

Steli Efti: Yeah. And specifically, I think I'd love to talk about why it's seeming to be bubbling up even more so than I've seen ever before and becoming more and more of a topic. I see a lot of debate area kind of an echo chamber of ... Just recently there have been a bunch of articles about more and more startups leaving the Bay area or more and more startups starting to hire more aggressively remotely. I think recently there were big news that Stripe said their next big hiring hub is going to be distributed or remote, right?

[0:01:58]

Hiten Shah: Yup.

[0:01:59]

Steli Efti: And that was kind of a big announcement, for a unicorn startup to say that, that was, I think, traditionally very much based on setting up these large offices, right, and headquarters. And, so, I wanted to talk about why this is a trend and why I don't think it's going to die down, right? So the trend part on my end, from my perspective, is just that ... I mean, it's just like everything else. You go through cycles, but the trend plan is definitely going up in the sense that there's a bunch of peop...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what to consider before changing your domain name.


There are multitudes of reasons why a startup might want to change it’s website’s domain name. This could be due to rebranding or switching to something entirely new. While this can be an exciting time for your startup, there are risks to this and it can also be one of the scariest you may ever do for your business.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about why close.io purchased the domain name close.com, risks involved when changing a domain name, things to keep in mind before changing a domain name and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:34 Why this topic was chosen.


02:13 The first reason why they purchased close.com.


03:05 The second reason why they purchased close.com.


03:46 The third reason why they purchased close.com.


04:23 Risks involved when changing a domain name.


05:37 Things to keep in mind before changing a domain name.


05:56 What typically happens when people change domain names.


06:50 The biggest thing to do when you change domain.


3 Key Points:


We didn’t want our competition to buy it.We wanted to communicate to our customers that we have matured as a company.Make sure you have a good reason before changing domain.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat,, we're going to talk about how to change your domain name, should you change your domain name, risks changing your domain name and benefits of changing your domain name. A lot of people have been asking me recently, why close changed from Close that Io Close.com, why we purchased that domain name and what the benefits were that we were looking for. I was surprised, I always felt like people just intuitively know, but apparently, this is still a really big interesting topic. And then we have talked about over the last couple of weeks, multiple times about how the migration to the new domain has gone for us and we've asked you for advice. I felt like we might give people some like, do's and don'ts quickly for those that are in this situation. I'll start and tell people the core reasons why we bought the domain and the benefits and risks. And then I'll throw over to you as some like best practices on what to keep in mind when you change your domain name, especially when it pertains to not losing all your SEO juice and all your organic traffic. Does that sound cool?

[0:01:13]

Hiten Shah: Sounds great.

[0:01:15]

Steli Efti: All right. For us one of the biggest questions people ask me has been, did you buy Close.com because it's going to bring you millions of more traffic? And the answer to that question has always been no, right? I'm sure there might be a domain name that you could purchase, that you could track, that has a ton of traffic and has relevant traffic to your product or service. Right? And then you purchasing that new domain name is an actual growth strategy or a distribution or demand strategy. But that was not the case for us. We didn't think that close.com was getting a lot of like relevant traffic. The reasons that we bought it, where more branding and positioning and more competitive, securing than anything else. A number of things. When we launched in January 2013, we wanted Close.com as our primary home and domain for our brand and product from the get go. We just couldn't buy it, because somebody else owned it that wasn't interested in selling, so we had to settle to the dot io name. And then we always referred to ourselves as Close.io publicly, because we wanted to tell people how to find us and not just what the name is, right? If we had said Close, people would have not known where to go,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about building your content muscle.


As founders, sometimes we want to create content, but we talk ourselves out of it. And this could be due to many reasons, and one of those is that we overthink it and strive for perfection in version 1, and then when you start doing it, it feels wrong and this takes all the sails out of your wind.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to get comfortable at creating content, why you shouldn’t over think your content strategy, the importance of understanding that you might suck in the beginning and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:28 Why this topic was chosen.


01:52 Why you shouldn’t over think your content strategy.


04:05 Why you should start with whatever comes easiest for you.


05:16 Why you should find the form factor that’s easy for you and start there.


05:50 The importance of understanding that you might suck in the beginning.


07:05 How consistency can help you be great at creating content.


07:56 How to get comfortable at creating content.


09:30 Why self-criticism can make you self conscious.


3 Key Points:


You’re over thinking it and trying to be to perfect at it.Whatever comes easiest for you, start there.You don’t have to be perfect when you get startYou can either progress, or you can look great. You can’t be both at the same time.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we want to talk about building your content muscle. So, here's why I wanted to talk to you about this and why I wanted to share it with The Startup Chat Nation and the listeners, I've had this experience many, many times but it's happened again more recently where a good friend of mine who is charismatic as hell, very wise, smart person, big heart, lots of unique and interesting experiences as an entrepreneur, has done super small bootstrap things, has done big venture funded things, has failed, has succeeded, but is just overall a beautiful human being with lots and lots of funky experiences and lots of life energy to him. He has been having the desire and has been communicating the desire to create content, start creating more content probably for the last year to me. And he has been somebody that I've heavily encouraged and I know we have a lot of common friends and a lot of people encourage him heavily to create content because he's such an entertaining storyteller. He's such a great personality. And so he's been talking about starting doing content for a long time, but he has been struggling in really getting into a groove, and the struggle is always the same. I'm sure this is the same for you, but and maybe there's some listeners out there, I'm pretty sure there are, that have been thinking about starting a podcast or YouTube channel or blog more or just tweet more, whatever the hell it is, and have not been finding success with it or getting really into it. I always find it happens for the same reason which is you're overthinking it and you're trying to be too perfect. In version one, hence, where you're never really getting into it and when you start doing it, it always feels wrong because you're not as great at it as you think you should, which then takes all the wind out of your sails, all the momentum out of the whole thing. He is a perfect example because he's such a charismatic storyteller, but the moment he puts, the few times I was traveling with him through Thailand, we were doing Muay Thai Camps and training together, with [Ramine] together. Big shout out to Ramine who is a big part of this podcast and behind the scenes. And so we're nagging him on to start recording and not overthinking, and you could tell the moment he would click on record on his l...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about effort vs leverage.


Using leverage can be seen as being lazy by some and being smart by others. Sometimes it might be in your best interest to put in the effort to perform a task or it might better to have someone else who better at it than you do that task for you.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about when to use effort vs leveraging what you have, the idea of working hard versus working smart, what approach to take at the early stages and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:24 Why this topic was created.


01:37 How people tend to see leverage.


02:50 The two sides to leverage versus leverage.


03:37 Why you have to be more mindful where you put your effort and when to use your leverage.


04:46 What approach to take at the early stages.


05:01 Hiten’s point of view on the issue.


05:54 How most people are not naturally inclined to get other people to do stuff for them.


05:50 Why you probably have more leverage than you do.


06:17 How to leverage your time better.


3 Key Points:


In the beginning, you might need more effort than leverage.You have to be more mindful where you put your effort and when to use your leverageIs there a way to get someone better than me to do this.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about effort versus leverage. So, this is just an interesting topic that came up last time that we met in person when we were recording an interview at a conference. Or, not an interview, an episode at a conference. So, why don't we dive into kind of the difference between effort versus kind of leverage? I think one concept that you mentioned, Steli, about this was that in the beginning, maybe you can't use leverage in your business or even in your work because you might not have anything to leverage, and you need to spend more effort. I think the big thing on my mind about this is that we're taught to do hard work and that's where effort comes in. So, effort to me, the AKA, also known as, is hard work.

[0:01:09]

Steli Efti: Right.

[0:01:10]

Hiten Shah: Well, leverage, the AKA, also known as, is lazy. And-

[0:01:21]

Steli Efti: Wait, is it lazy, or is it...

[0:01:24]

Hiten Shah: Smart?

[0:01:25]

Steli Efti: Smart. I'm not sure.

[0:01:27]

Hiten Shah: It could be seen both ways, right? If you're... One way to think about leverage, at least one way I think about it, early on in a business or not, is do I have to do this? Is there someone better than me that I can get to do this? Or, something like that. So, that's what I meant. That's kind of what's on my mind about it which is, is there a way that I can get someone else to do this? Possibly someone who can do it better than me.

[0:01:59]

Steli Efti: So, I love that. So, I think one of the reasons we wanted to talk about this, just to give people kind of a window into some of our private conversation, was that we were discussing something. And then we both looked at each other and we went, "Well, we don't want to do this because this would be a lot of effort and we'd rather use leverage."

[0:02:20]

Hiten Shah: Yeah.

[0:02:21]

Steli Efti: And then we both laughed, right? And that stuck with me because I thought, I mean, there's two sides to this, right? One is kind of the psychological one, which you brought up. I think we both have this and many, many founders probably have this. We've been brought up with this sense that hard work is good, right?

[0:02:40]

Hiten Shah: Yep.

[0:02:41]

Steli Efti: And putting effort into things is good.

[0:02:44]

Hiten Shah: Yep.

[0:02:44]

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the new positioning for The Startup Chat.


After over 400 episodes of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten have decided to step back a little and review the podcast positioning, content and brand.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the history of the Startup Chat, why the name was chosen, why the show is all about startup mentality and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


02:25 A little bit of the history of the podcast.


03:24 What Steli thinks of the name of the show.


05:05 What Hiten thinks of the name of the show.


06:48 Why the show is all about startup mentality.


07:28 How the content of the show helps a wide range of people.


08:24 About the show’s tagline.


08:58 A more accurate description of the show.


10:18 How you don’t need to be starting a startup to get value out of the show.


3 Key Points:


It’s really about the startup mentalityThe name could be misleading but could also be accurate.The name has been a question mark for me


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: In today's episode of The Startup Chat, we actually want to do ... This is going to be a behind the scenes one. We have had this topic on the docket of talking about the podcast, especially about, we've done now over 400 episodes. I think that we both love each other, we love the podcast, we've had tremendous, I think, impact. Even trying to be humble, lots and lots and lots of people over the years have given us the feedback loop needed that this is something that provides a lot of value to people. We also are helpless self-improvers and people that try to grow so I think we've been thinking about, "What's next for the podcast?" We've been thinking a little bit about the brand and positioning of the podcast and what is going to be the next stage. Are we still happy with both the name, The Startup Chat? Are we happy with the positioning that we have which is two experienced entrepreneurs just talking shop? And the intro that we have. We don't even have an outro I think.

[0:01:21]

Hiten Shah: Nope.

[0:01:21]

Steli Efti: The intro that we have that's basically a bit of a funky music and then the two of us that are just like, "We just want to talk startups. Talk entrepreneurship with no bullshit and just have the best business podcast." All that, our positioning, our name, the way we intro, everything, really happened 400 episodes again in episode number one which was basically, we had the idea, "Should we do a podcast?" And then we started recording. We recorded a 20 or 30 minute episode where we figure things out really quickly, "How long should this be? What should it be about? How would we structure it? What's the name?" And then boom. And we never looked back. So we thought four years into this, maybe we should take a few minutes and check in and see, "Are we still happy? Do we need to adjust or improve or change something about it?"

[0:02:15]

Hiten Shah: I think all great questions that we currently don't necessarily know the definitive answers to. Let's go at it. I think we did this. I actually had a domain-

[0:02:30]

Steli Efti: That's true.

[0:02:32]

Hiten Shah: ... Startupchat.com. Actually, is it The Startup Chat or is ... Yeah, it's thestartupchat.com. I always forget. We have the Twitter handle, The Startup Chat, and, Startup Chat. Use Startup Chat on Twitter but don't tweet much because someone would have to do that. I think another thing about this is that you and I just spend our time focusing on the content by getting on and talking about things that we feel are interesting in the world or interesting to us,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about The Energy-Thoughts-Action Framework.


The thoughts that we have in our your mind play a huge role in the actions we take. And our thoughts influence how we behave, our attitudes to things in life, and they also control how you react to different situations as well.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what the Energy-Thoughts-Action Framework is, the hierarchy of action, how behavior usually leads to action and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:00 Why this topic was chosen.


01:50 What is the Energy-Thoughts-Action Framework.


03:39 Why Hiten calls it the hierarchy of action.


04:37 Things that come before thought.


04:44 How behavior usually leads to action


05:05 How the ultimate thing that you’re looking for is your actions.


05:42 Why the trigger part is crucial.


05:48 How most of us are not aware of how susceptible we are to external factors.


08:17 The importance of setting positive triggers for ourselves.


3 Key Points:


Before there even is a conscious thought, there is a feeling.The ultimate thing that you’re looking for is your actions.Being aware of the trigger is really really important.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:05]

Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah. On The Startup Chat today, we're going to talk about something that Steli's going to explain, I thought I'll throw at you at first, that I've shared with many people privately and haven't really discussed in in any way, shape, or form in a way where other people can be on a one-on-one, can take advantage of it. I think, Steli, you wanted to go after this?

[0:00:28]

Steli Efti: Yeah, yeah.

[0:00:29]

Hiten Shah: I'll let you set it up, and then let's talk about it.

[0:00:33]

Steli Efti: This is one of my favorite things about the podcast is uncovering these little nuggets of content gold, private discussions. Then later, just putting them on the docket and be like, "We should talk about this. The world needs to hear this." Last week, I think last week. Yeah, last week I was in San Francisco. We were having lunch after a conference that we spoke out together. We always drift into, I think, very interesting topic. We're always drift into a current state of new self-discoveries and self explorations. Things we've discovered about ourselves in life, and psychology, and energy in the universe, and everything. You brought up a beautiful framework that I wanted to share with people, which was what I will call it now, the energy thoughts, actions, framework. I'll summarize what I heard, and then you can correct me. We can unpack this for the listeners real quick. We were talking. I think the conversation started about inner talk, self-talk, and how our thoughts and the quality of our thoughts and the tendency and energy of our thoughts, how that then affects our actions and our habits. You were like, "You know what? One thing that I've started to think about more is energy. I've discovered that a lot of times before they're even is a conscious thought, there is an energy. There's a feeling. That feeling of energy in your body then produces a certain type of thought in a talk. That in a talk and thought then creates a chain of inner thoughts that then create actions. Maybe those actions eventually create habits." It all always starts at the energy level, right? At the feeling level, at the emotional level. You were describing to me how you started paying a lot more attention to the energy before even the thoughts arise. The feeling could be, "Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I irritated? Am I excited? Am I nervous? Am I afraid?" There's an energy in your body. If you catch that early on, you'll be a step ahead of the thoughts that might arise.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of choosing the right market for your product.


When developing a SaaS product, choosing the right target market is the most critical step in planning a successful launch of your product. And making this choice comes down to understanding two things - tailwind and trend.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten if the CRM market is still a good market to get into, why you shouldn’t worry so much about the right market and focus more on executing properly, the two T’s to determine a good market and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:44 Why this topic was chosen.


02:12 Steli’s response to the question of if the CRM Is a good market.


02:47 Why you shouldn’t worry about the right market.


04:00 The two T’s to determine a good market.


04:43 How to know a good market from a bad one.


05:55 The importance of thinking through if a product has tailwind and if it’s a trend.


07:38 How there’s a growing trend for business to move to SAAS.


09:33 Why the market you’re in is an important thing to consider today.


10:11 How Evernote hit on a tailwind.


3 Key Points:


The less great you are in your execution, the more the market and timing matters. I think that for us, I don’t care how competitive our market is.The truth is, I don’t rely on the market to make things happen.


[0:00:00]

Steli Efti: Let's go. Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:04]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the importance of choosing the right market or a "good" market. So recently, we had a chance to catch up in person. I was in San Francisco. We grabbed some coffee. There were many hugs involved for those that are interested.

[0:00:19]

Hiten Shah: Three. Two or three. Yeah, yeah.

[0:00:22]

Steli Efti: Three for sure. Big bromance. We do not just pretend to like each other.

[0:00:28]

Hiten Shah: Not pretend. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's not pretend.

[0:00:31]

Steli Efti: Actually, I'm wondering honestly, Hiten, if there is another podcast duo like us that likes each other after four years as much as we do. And I'm going to make a claim that I don't know, but I doubt it. In the startup space, I definitely doubt it.

[0:00:48]

Hiten Shah: I like it. I like that.

[0:00:51]

Steli Efti: One of the things I'm very proud about when it comes to this podcast is that it has increased our love and our respect for each other rather than decrease it like it does for many other people.

[0:01:00]

Hiten Shah: That's a very good point.

[0:01:02]

Steli Efti: So anyways. Enough of us. But one thing that we briefly chatted about for just a minute, I think. But back in my head ... And I thought, "We should share this with people." The importance of being in a good market or bad market or in a competitive market. Is this market still a good market to be in? Is this market too-

[0:01:24]

Hiten Shah: Can I share how that came up?

[0:01:25]

Steli Efti: Yeah.

[0:01:27]

Hiten Shah: I asked Steli what he thinks about what he's doing in the CRM market, and that's what led to the, I think, one-minute discussion. It was a quick one because he said something great. But literally, it was just a question for you. Because it popped in mind. I'm like, "Wait. I should ask Steli this. This is really interesting, and I want to know what his answer is." And I'm glad that we're sharing it.

[0:01:46]

Steli Efti: Beautiful. Yeah. So you asked, "Do you think the CRM space is still a good ... Do you think your market is still a good market to be in?" My response was, "I don't think it matters that much." I think it's a huge space. Yes.

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about bragging versus being humble.


How you feel about an entrepreneur who brags about his successes or is humble about them is something that is very subjective in nature. However, there are certain situations where bragging or pumping yourself up might be the right thing to do and vice versa.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about why people feel differently about humble founders versus those who brag often, the big revelation he made, why what’s important is the motivation behind people’s actions, the utility of being confident and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:28 Why this topic was chosen.


00:52 How people typically look at bragging versus humble.


04:35 Why the motivation behind what you do matters so much.


05:50 How you can never know the motive of people actions.


06:27 How people that are good at what they do, hardly have to say it.


07:00 How our attitudes towards people can affect how we look at them.


08:06 How MMA fighters pump themselves up before a fight.


09:00 The utility of being confident.


3 Key Points:


The things that people say about other people, say more about themselves than anybody elseIf you’re a billionaire and you drive a Honda Accord, it’s because you want to drive a Honda AccordI think we care too much about what other people do with their money.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about bragging versus being humble, because we think that it's just an interesting topic that I think both Steli and I have some thoughts on and haven't gotten the chance to really think about. So y'all get to listen as we think about this topic between bragging and being humble. Bragging, it's an interesting word to me because I always think about these words and what's the connotation. The connotation is that you're bragging, it's a negative thing, it's something that nobody wants to hear, and if you do it, you're a bad person.

[0:00:42]

Steli Efti: Right.

[0:00:43]

Hiten Shah: Being humble comes across as oh, that person's humble. They're really successful and they don't really talk like they are, or they don't act like they are, or they drive a Honda Accord that's a 1996 Honda Accord, like the first car I drove. And that's it. And they have a billion dollars or whatever. It's almost like those things that people do that we label ... I'm going to get a little esoteric on it for a second, but those things that people label about other people say more about themselves than anybody else. It's almost like if you keep talking about the person with the Honda Accord that's worth a billion dollars or the fact that Warren Buffett supposedly lives in the same house he bought I don't know how many years ago, 60 years ago, 50 years ago.

[0:01:42]

Steli Efti: When he was 12, when he was 12. Yeah, yeah, yeah.


[0:01:43]

Hiten Shah: And then you know, that's cool. You have an opinion of that, you share it, and then it makes for good content on a blog post on Business Insider or something like that. But I've read a Quora post breaking down Warren Buffett. He has other houses apparently. Not to blow the man up, but that's what I heard, that's what I read. It was just because I'm interested in Warren Buffett just like many other people, and Charlie Munger and all these folks, because they're just interesting, successful and share a lot of their wisdom. I just look at this and I'm like, I don't know how much of this is our impression of other people and our own opinion and our own lens, or it's actually truth about the other person and how they feel about themselves. Why does that billionaire drive a Honda Accord?

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Hiten's Billion Dollar Mistake.


This episode comes after a blog post that Hiten wrote a couple weeks ago that blew up on the internet. It’s about a billion dollar mistake he made at his company KISSmetrics.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the reaction to the blog post, the big revelation he made, lessons he learned from it and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:55 Why this topic was chosen.


02:15 One reason why his blog post blew up.


02:34 The second reason why it blew up.


03:31 Some statements about the Hiten bomb.


05:16 The reason Hiten believes this post resonated with people.


05:32 An experience you’ve probably had at your team.


06:56 The reaction to the blog post.


08:00 Why Hiten is no longer feels bad about the situation.


3 Key Points:


We were ahead of the market by 3 years.Product development and building products is hard.If you are a team member in a company, you’ve had this experience.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hello everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:05]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, drum roll, the billion-dollar ...

[0:00:11]

Hiten Shah: Mistake.

[0:00:12]

Steli Efti: Boom. Whose billion-dollar mistake, Hiten?

[0:00:16]

Hiten Shah: I guess it was mine because I wrote about it.

[0:00:18]

Steli Efti: It was your billion-dollar mistake. Now, before I let you talk, because this is going to be mainly a Hiten Shah-

[0:00:24]

Hiten Shah: No, I don't think so. I'm going to make you talk. What do you mean?

[0:00:27]

Steli Efti: What? No, don't do that. Don't do that with me. Let me set it up first for the audience that don't know what we're talking about. It's hard for me to believe that if you're listening to this podcast that you don't know what we're already talking about, but just in case. A couple of weeks ago, Hiten wrote a pretty impactful blog post about his billion-dollar mistake, and it blew up like a bomb. My Twitter feed and my Facebook feed was full of people sharing that article and sharing it not just like ... They didn't just click the To Tweet This button or something. People would write really, really long responses about why this was impactful to them, how vulnerable and powerful this blog post was. People were praising you. People felt ... They felt something. It really had an impact with them, and so this thing blew up. It's been everywhere. Everybody responded to it. It's been a really, really big thing. I think that you shared some incredible lessons that you learned with Kissmetrics, which was your billion-dollar mistake. So, I wanted us to talk about this a little bit on the podcast as well as make people aware of the fantastic blog post that they should read that's going very in-depth and in detail. You'll give people the URL in a second, and we'll have it in the show notes as well. But let's talk about ... Maybe summarize it in a sentence or two. What was the big mistake that you made? What was the big revelation that you shared with the SaaS world, and why do you think people responded so strongly to it?

[0:02:05]

Hiten Shah: Yeah. Well, first of all, a lot of people know the Kissmetrics brand because we hit about a million page views a month on our blog. So, even if you don't use the product or didn't even know what it was, you knew the brand. That's one reason. What I talked about was how we had two product failures early on. Then, we had a product success, which was our original version of Kissmetrics, and we really nailed it in a few key areas. I'll save the technicals for the blog post because I want to give more than what's on the blog post on this because you all are listening.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of hype in your marketing campaign.


In the startup world, it is common for a business to try to build some hype around a product that they are about to launch. However, this can leave a sour taste in the mouth of users, if the product doesn’t meet expectations, and it can hurt a brand


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some companies are really good at being out there, the good and the bad kind of hype, how to separate hype from the quality of a product, and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:24 Why this topic was created.


02:00 Hiten’s thoughts on hyping your product.


02:40 How some companies are really good at being out there.


02:54 The bad kind of hype.


03:46 How to separate hype from the quality of a product.


03:59 How a great product will sell itself.


04:54 How there’s no perfect product.


05:40 There’s no such thing as a product that everybody loves.


06:39 How hyping is a balancing act.


3 Key Points:


I think there’s good hype and bad hype. There are many reasons why a product might not work for your company.If people are sharing things about a product, unsolicited, you’ll see it


[0:00:00]

Hiten Shah: Ask me. This is when it started.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:08]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:09]

Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about the value of hype in your marketing, or for your company. Here's what I want to talk about Hiten. Hyping things. I think maybe the tech industry this has been a discipline that's been practiced quite a lot. Some companies had mastered that. Some companies were really, really great at hyping the next big thing they're launching. The thing they're launching, why it's the most amazing thing and will change everything forever, and then there was, I think, a counter trend to that where companies became much more, or startups specifically became much more engineering driven, so much closer to being truthful. The truthiness factor went up a lot and it was just like, "Let's just tell people what the product does and what the features are and functionalities." We're going back and forth, I feel like between how much tech companies and startups are hyping what they're doing, versus how much they're understated, but I recently in B2B SaaS I recently see a resurgence. There's a bunch of companies out there that, to me, seem to be particularly good at hyping. Creating hype around their brand. Creating hype around their product launches, and then when you look under the hood, they're shit is not that exceptional. Their technology is not that crazy. Their things break. A lot of when you dig a bit deeper, there's a lot of disappointment for people that look really deep, but what I realize is that the vast market doesn't look that deep. They just buy into the hype. I wanted to ask your opinion on is hype good or bad? Should hype be a thing that you excel at as a company or not? What are the dangers? Let's just digest this, or dissect this a tiny bit.

[0:01:57]

Hiten Shah: I think there's good hype and bad hype. Immediately when you started asking about this topic and wanting to talk about it, which I think is a really important topic. My first thought was, "Well, what is hype? Do we need to worry about that? I don't know." Because in a way, hype implies smoke and mirrors or something that has no substance. It implies that maybe. I want to get away from that though. I want to talk about the fact that I think what you were really getting at is some companies are really good at being out there, and basically building out a brand for themselves. We can call that hype. They're hyped up. They have hype, and things like that.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about meditation for founders.


Meditation is an ancient practice that helps those who do it control their mind and consequently their lives. It’s a practice that is becoming increasingly common in the startup world and this isn’t surprising as meditation has many benefits.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten they got into meditating, the different things you can experience when you meditate, how meditation is much more about being than doing and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:25 Hiten’s point of view on meditating.


02:24 How meditation is becoming common in the startup industry.


03:25 How meditation isn’t something you get good at.


04:30 How there’s a lot of different things that you can experience when you meditate.


05:28 How Steli got into meditation.


06:51 How hypnosis can be very directive.


11:58 How meditation is much more about being than doing.


10:10 How meditating has affected Steli.


3 Key Points:


I didn’t start meditating until a few years ago.I don’t think meditation is something you get good at.I think there’s a lot of different things that you can experience when you meditate.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah. Today, on The Startup Chat, because Steli insisted, we're going to talk about meditation.

[0:00:11]

Steli Efti: Exactly. This is basically ... We could call this the podcast, Because Steli Insisted, that would be a cool podcasting title. Steli and Hiten Shah, because Steli insisted. Well, we've done an episode before on mindfulness, which was episode 286, 2-8-6 Mindfulness For Founders. We touched about that subject in very broad terms and we talked a little bit about meditation, but I thought it'd be cool to take meditation as a single focus for an episode, and talk a little bit about that in the context of you and I, which then puts it in context for, I think founders and CEO's and people in startups. Since meditation's become quite popular over the last couple of years, especially in the startup community, but even more broadly so. Here's my question to you and I'll answer that question as well, which is, A, do you meditate? And B, if so, tell us why.

[0:01:11]

Hiten Shah: All right. I guess I'm going to go first. I didn't start meditation until a few years ago, but I grew up in a house where my grandmother meditated pretty much 75% of the day. She was either reading scriptures ... I grew up in a Jain household, so it's a religion between Buddhism and Hinduism. We don't eat meat and things like that. I'd say I'm definitely practicing a lot of the principles of Jainism, and I go to the temple whenever I get a chance, but not on a regular schedule, so I actually hadn't really meditated beyond any of the religious activities growing up. Then more recently in the last three or four years I started meditating. One of the biggest reasons is because my co-founder, Marie, is really into meditation, and helped me see the sort of benefits of it. There's a lot of movement right now in the sort of tech culture around meditation and things like Transcendental Meditation and there's the [inaudible], which is a breathing one. Then there's meditation retreats, silent retreats and all these kinds of things as well, so there's a ton of this stuff going on and a lot of different methodologies and techniques and things like that. I've tried a number of them in different ways, and I think for me, to answer the question more succinctly after that background is I do my best to meditate at least once or twice a day. I do like finding a mantra in the moment that might pop in my head, and say it if I'm feeling really intense about something, or something like that.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about quantity versus quality when it comes to content marketing and marketing in general.


In the startup world, it’s common saying that content is king. However, deciding whether if your content marketing strategy should be to push out tons of average content or just a handful of quality content can be tricky. And making this choice comes down to your content marketing goals.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why your goals matter more than anything else in content marketing, the various types of content marketing goals you could focus on and why you should focus on distribution first much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


01:50 Why your goals matter more than anything else.


01:55 The various types of content marketing goals you could focus on.


02:14 The importance of figuring out the worth of content to you.


02:21 How brand awareness could be a short term goal


03:05 How random content doesn’t help you.


03:13 Why you should focus on distribution first.


03:20 The importance of keyword research.


03:28 Various sites you can use to do your research.


3 Key Points:


Goals matter more than anything else.Do your research on the right keywords to create content for.Start with the distribution and then worry about the content.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:02]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:06]

Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat we want to talk about quantity versus quality when it comes to content marketing, or maybe marketing in general. What is better? I had somebody recently ask me this question, and I didn't quite know. I wanted to say it depends, but I was like, "Does it still ... Maybe I should talk to Hiten about this." That was a question ... It was phrased very kind of current, where the person asked me, "In today's reality of content marketing, does it make more sense for us to focus on sheer quantity - just try to create as much content as possible, promote ourselves as much as possible, be on all podcasts, do blog posts and guest posts on all the blogs, just fill up the market with our presence, or, should we just focus on doing less stuff, but really, really high quality? Maybe for work for six months on a super in-depth long-form article with insights and data that you can't find anywhere else, and really just ... Or do a video that's highly produced? Should we just aim more on quantity or more on quality when it comes to our content marketing efforts?" What is better in today's content marketing reality as a software company as a startup?

[0:01:25]

Hiten Shah: Yeah. Goals matter more than anything else. What's your goal? Forget everything else, what's your goal? So let's talk about some goals, right? If you're doing content marketing today with all the content that's out there already, and with, I think, more than ever people understanding that content is really about getting search traffic, you need to figure out if content is worth it to you in the short run, or if it's a longer term thing. If it's a longer term thing, you're focused on SEO, and it's going to take a while. There's no quick win there. If it's a shorter term thing, then you're just focusing on brand awareness, and you're probably much more focused on making sure the things you write get a lot of social media traffic, or things like Hacker News, or Growth Hackers, or Reddit traffic. And the honest, real truth is, when you do content marketing, you should be aiming for a long terms SEO benefit researching all those things, as well as finding things that will hit on social in the beginning, so you can just start building up the traffic in the back links and things like that as well. That's a very elementary way to put it,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to deal with Investor conflicts.


Disagreements happen all the time between founders and investors, and these can affect your performance and that of the business as well. So it’s safe to say that how you handle these conflicts when they arise is super important to the success of the business.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into how why conflicts might arise between founders and investors, what to do if these conflicts arise, why you shouldn’t get too emotional when they do and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


03:50 Reasons why you might have a conflict with your investors.


04:32 What to do if you’ve got conflict with your investors.


05:08 The importance of making conflicts a business problem.


05:55 How to address investors you’ve got conflict with.


07:04 Why you shouldn’t be emotional about these things.


08:41 The first place to start when you’re trying to contain emotions.


09:33 How to deal with your emotions when you feel like you’re being attacked.


10:00 The importance of being cool and collected.


3 Key Points:


You’re a business person first and these people have given you money. Find your part towards being professionalThe first place you should start is with your own emotions.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hi everybody, this is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:05]

Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're gonna talk a little bit about investor conflict. Here is why I wanted to talk to you about this Hiten, a listener has been emailing back and forth with me for the last couple of days, and basically he describes a situation where he has perceived conflict with a number of his investors. And I thought it would be cool for us and valuable hopefully to the listeners to kind of talk a little bit about how do you deal with is when you have investors that wants you to do something completely different from what you want, or if you perceive that there's conflict and pressure with the people that give you money. So in this particular case, I'll summarize to my best of my abilities what has happened so far, which is, this guy a raised a small round, I think a total of 500k from some angel investors and some small VC investors, has gotten the company to profitability. And now that the company is profitable, he feels really proud of himself and that things are going really well, but now he's starting to get pressure from some of these investors. The pressure that he's getting is that, A, he's not thinking big enough, so they want him to expand into a lot more markets much more aggressively than he thinks is right. And there are also, he shared some quotes that they've used in talking to him, that seem fairly aggressive to me. The sort of thing of like, don't fuck with your investors, you might regret it one day and that sort of thing. It's slightly like intimidating language on taking on their path or their advice versus resisting or pushing back on it. I went back and forth quite a bit trying to understand how many investors are those, have they orchestrated this, is this is a bigger problem that he describes to me or a smaller problem that he perceives it to be, how much power they really have in terms of voting and all that. And my summary is that right now it's not that big of a deal, I think he is, he seems to me to be very sensitive to this problem, maybe hypersensitive. He has full control of the company, these people can't really like just politically do anything to him or force him to do anything. And there was never a kind of a departure of what he promised in the early days when he raised money and what he's trying to do now. It seems that one investor in particular is not a professional technology start...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about mistakes people make when they ask for advice.


Asking for advice can be a tricky thing. Often times, when asking someone is struggling with something, that person might not know exactly how to ask for it. Other times, that person might not be seeking new ideas but is rather looking for validation or an affirmation of a choice they’ve already made.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about some common mistakes people make when they ask for advice, how to ask people the right questions, why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:43 The first mistake people make when asking for advice.


01:56 The second mistake people make when asking for advice.


03:48 Why you should always take negative advice gracefully.


05:16 Why observations from other people are really valuable.


06:14 How to ask people the right questions.


07:02 The importance of meditating on a piece of advice before acting on it.


07:43 Why you shouldn’t give unsolicited advice.


3 Key Points:


The first mistake you can make is not knowing that you should ask for advice.When you’re struggling with something, it’s really important to ask for help.Observations from other people are really valuable.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:03]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Start Up Chat we're going to talk about mistakes when asking for advice and we're just going to do a relatively quick episode going back and forth. I think the first mistake I'm going to share is probably not obvious and that mistake is not knowing that you should ask for advice in the first place. Right? So we're assuming people are asking for advice. I think one that I'm bad at and you might be too I don't know, but I think we've talked about this in the past is that you just don't ask. I think it goes beyond just work or business. It's a life thing where like if you're dealing with something, there are people that will just talk to you. You know and go talk to them and ask. When you're struggling or suffering, even worse, it's really important to do that. It might even be people you don't even know that well. It doesn't really matter. It's not a humility, it's like the opposite of humility but there's like a vulnerability that we might not be willing to go to certain people or anybody when we have a problem. I would just say if you have a problem and you don't know anyone else to call, call the A team. I'm going to leave it at that 'cause I think that sums up one of them for me.

[0:01:25]

Steli Efti: All right, I love that. Yeah I didn't see that coming. I already was in that mind frame of people have already asked for advice so I love that. Two things that come to my mind instantly, one is making sure that when you ask for advice you ask from a place of curiosity instead of from a place of trying to confirm that your idea, your opinion is right. Not that it's bad if somebody confirms that the direction you are going towards is one they think as well is the right direction to take, but I always find that people make that mistake where sometimes they come into a conversation, they are seeking advice, but what they really seek is confirmation. All that we really want to hear is that they're right and what they're doing is correct. They're not there to truly here what this other person or this group of people has to say. So that closes you up to all the value you might be able to receive if you're totally open minded in that conversation so make sure when you ask for advice, you truly want to hear everything the other party has to say, even and especially if it contradicts what you think the right thing to do would be here, or the tendency,

Key points in this episode

Today’s episode of The Startup Chat is a special one, in it, Steli asks for your help finding the right person for a job at his company, Close.io.


Close.io is currently looking to hire a director of marketing for their team. This is as a result of the growth and scaling they are currently undergoing. While Steli has been talking to some amazing candidates, he’s decided to appeal to the Startup Chat community for help finding the right person for the job.


In today’s episode, Steli talk about what they’re looking for at Close.io, the best and worst case scenario of recommending someone for the position, what Steli is going to do with what he learns from this experiment and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:24 Why this topic was created.


00:47 What Steli needs help with.


01:25 What Steli is looking for at Close.io


02:25 What to do if you know someone that fits the role.


02:33 The worst case scenario of recommending someone the Steli.


02:47 The best case scenario of recommending someone thh Steli.


03:00 Why Steli had to try this out with the Startup Chat community.


03:09 What Steli is going to do with what he learns from this experiment.


03:39 A reminder of what the role is about.


3 Key Points:


No one knows me better than the Startup Chat community. Worse case, they make a new connection and I make a new friend.Best case, you could be the one that connects me with the perfect candidate for the position.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti with The Startup Chat. No Hiten Shah, this is a special tiny little, it's not really an episode. It's just me basically asking for help. So if you don't want to know what I need help with and if you don't want to help me, just move on. Just delete this episode and go do some of the older ones that I we have that are incredibly valuable. Basically I just need two minutes of your time to tell you what I need help with and see if there's anybody out there that can help. At Close we're currently looking to hire a director of marketing, a marketing leader. I've been talking to many amazing candidates and still talking to many more and I thought who knows me more than The Startup Chat Community? Who would be kind of an army of people better qualified to help me find the right candidate than you guys? Nobody obviously, so I thought I'd record a quick video and tell you what I'm looking for and see if anyone out there can help me out in one way or another and I'll come up with some way for me to repay the favor if one of you guys helps me out finding the right candidate. So here's what we're looking for. Close is growing and scaling really fast. We have a tiny marketing team of just four people. We've been doing incredibly well with content marketing up until this point and so we're looking for somebody that is a proven marketing leader, that is experienced in SaaS and SMB. Somebody that's a bit more senior, so somebody that has taken teams as small as four people and managed teams up to 20, 30, 40 people. Somebody that has incredible leadership skills but is both a player and a coach so is not so far removed from marketing that they have never got their hands dirty in the past couple of years, and somebody that obviously would be a culture fit and would work well with people like me. So if anybody comes to mind, especially people that you think have an amazing job right now and are not looking for a new gig, anybody that comes to mind, don't filter too much, just send me an email at Steli@Close.com with a name and a little bit of a backstory and I'll try to connect, make a new friend. Worse case, if it doesn't work out you helped them make a new connection and I made a new friend and I'll repay you and I'll find ways to appreciate that connection. Best case, you could be the person that connects me with the perfect candidate and hel...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why your biggest strength is your biggest weakness.


Sometimes we think we’re really good at something but then, after some evaluation, we realize that we’re not as good in that thing as we thought we were. This could be a bad thing as our belief in our capability at something can turn out to be a huge weakness for us


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why our biggest strength is your biggest weakness, how Steli misses certain things about people, the importance of always trying to improve oneself and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


01:25 Steli realizing something about himself.


02:01 How Steli misses certain things about people.


03:22 How Hiten had similar experiences with Steli


03:36 One thing that Hiten is trying to change about himself.


04:34 How we are the stories we tell ourselves.


04:58 How Hiten is not great at understanding people.


05:58 The importance of always trying to improve oneself.


05:51 A question we should always ask yourself.


3 Key Points:


The biggest leaps I've made are probably because I keep studying myself.I think the big problem is that I thought about it as a strengthWe are the stories we tell ourselves.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:03]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we want to talk about your strengths being your potential weaknesses. So, here's why I want to talk to about this.


[0:00:12]


Hiten Shah: This is very relevant by the way.


[0:00:13]


Steli Efti: Oh really?


[0:00:14]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:00:14]


Steli Efti: Beautiful, beautiful. So, here's why I wanted to talk to about this. I knew that you would enjoy, and I knew I would enjoy this conversation with you and our listeners probably too. A few weeks back I was, I had this super strong flu; I was like out, cold for two weeks, high fever, shivers, and slightly delusional. Right, slightly in the state where you're dreaming, not fully there where you like have these kind of delusional states. Kind of fun but, not that much fun. And, one interesting thing that happened like, one night where I was sweating, and fever, and cold, and like having these weird dreams and weird thoughts; was that I had a thought, I don't know how it happened but, I had this realization, more than a thought that you know one of the things that I've always thought is particular strength of mine is actually something that I am not that good at, after all. And that is, my people skills and my intuition about people. And it was very, a very original thought, something that I had never thought about before in this way. And, a realization I never had before about it and I thought "you know what its been part of your identity that you know people so well, you have, your intuition about people is so incredible and you know how to deal with people. And, there is all this shit you're getting wrong about people. And there's all these things where you're not flexible about how you'd interact with people. And there's all these things that you miss about people." Maybe, maybe because when I was young at 18/19 there were a few years where I really studied the subject. I read all the psychology book, I study hypnosis, Neuro Linguistic Programming, went to all these workshops, seminars and that. I accumulated all this knowledge; I did have some, I think, natural skills when it came to dealing with people. And those natural skills, with a little bit of study, gave me a little bit of success and that instantly made me think "I'm great at this so, let me move on trying to learn something else." And became part of my identity.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about 4 lessons for podcasters after 400+ podcasting episodes.


Today’s episode is a special one. After over 400 episodes of hosting the Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten share the biggest lessons they’ve learned from the experience.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why it’s important to do your research on guests on your show, the importance of making your podcast conversational, why consistency is king when it comes to podcasting and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:50 Why this topic was chosen.


02:14 The first tip for podcasters.


02:41 Why it’s important to do your research on guests on your show.


03:07 The second tip for podcasters.


03:30 The importance of making your podcast conversational.


04:28 The third tip for podcasters.


05:06 Why consistency is king.


05:35 The fourth tip for podcasters.


06:00 The importance of finding your value proposition.


06:31 The final tip for podcasters.


3 Key Points:


Do your research.Don’t just make it an interview.Consistency is king.


[0:00:01]

Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.

[0:00:04]

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.

[0:00:06]

Steli Efti: Hiten is like, "What are we gonna talk today? I don't know." I told him that this is gonna be a fun one, so, he was like,-

[0:00:13]

Hiten Shah: No, no, no, no, no, no. Wait.

[0:00:14]

Steli Efti: What?

[0:00:14]

Hiten Shah: You said I'm gonna love it. No, no. Don't get it twisted.

[0:00:16]

Steli Efti: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Fair. That's fair.

[0:00:18]

Hiten Shah: And so now, I'm completely scared.

[0:00:20]

Steli Efti: Alright. So, here's the setup.

[0:00:22]

Hiten Shah: Thanks for scaring me, bro.

[0:00:23]

Steli Efti: Alright. It doesn't happen that often, so I enjoy when I'm able to do that.

[0:00:27]

Hiten Shah: I'm like, "What? What?" I'm like, "What?"

[0:00:30]

Steli Efti: You're like, "Wait a second." Your "Hey, this is Heten," was really slow, because you're, What is he talking about? What is this gonna be?

[0:00:36]

Hiten Shah: If anyone tells me I'm gonna love something, it doesn't matter who it is, right away I'm, "Alright. Let's-"

[0:00:43]

Steli Efti: I hate this. Let's see. Let's see.

[0:00:44]

Hiten Shah: Oh, no, no. I don't know. Not "I'm gonna hate it," but-

[0:00:46]

Steli Efti: Okay, okay.


[0:00:46]


Hiten Shah: ...I trust you.


[0:00:48]


Steli Efti: Alright.


[0:00:49]


Hiten Shah: Let's go. What you got?


[0:00:49]


Steli Efti: Let's go. So, here is what we wanna talk about today, or what I want to talk about today. I want to do a four-minute episode, so were gonna-


[0:00:56]


Hiten Shah: Wow!

[0:00:56]


Steli Efti: ...After this intro. We've done 400 episodes of the Startup Chat. Big milestone.


[0:01:02]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:01:03]


Steli Efti: Over 400 now, and what I'd love to do is, turn it around a little bit. There's an episode ... We'll link to it. I'll need to search for it. Where we talked about everything we've learned. Having a podcast and doing a podcast.


[0:01:14]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:01:14]


Steli Efti: So, what I'd like to do, is a quick, four tips to people who are doing a podcast or starting a podcast, based on everything we've learned, or based on all the interviews we've done. You have done thousands of podcasts.


[0:01:26]


Hiten Shah: Same with you.


[0:01:27]


Steli Efti: Other people's podcasts.


[0:01:27]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:01:28]


Steli Efti: Same with me. So let's talk to people-

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about personal finances for founders.


One of the biggest mistakes founders make without realizing it, is neglecting to manage their own personal finances while they focus on starting, building and scaling their startups. This can be disastrous if it goes wrong as not paying attention to your own finances, ultimately slow down the development of your startup


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about common monetary situations founders find themselves in, recommendations on when to take a salary, the importance of having savings and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:50 Why this topic was chosen.


02:35 Common monetary situations founders find themselves in.


02:19 Hiten’s recommendations on if a founder should take a salary.


04:02 Why survival is your game if you haven’t raised money.


05:03 Steli’s advice on how to manage your finances.


06:37 When you can expect to see ROI.


06:58 The importance of having savings.


07:52 Why you should live one level below your income level.


08:55 Hiten’s experience with founders who struggle financially.


09:31 How Hiten started his business initially.


3 Key Points:


As a founder, if you weren’t doing your work, you’d have to work for your money.

If you raise money, you should definitely take a salary.

If you haven’t raised money, survival is your game.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: All right. Hey, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today we're gonna talk about Hiten Shah's favorite topic, money. Right?


[0:00:10]


Hiten Shah: It was a joke.


[0:00:11]


Steli Efti: Particularly.


[0:00:12]


Hiten Shah: It's the topic I never talk about, so it's great.


[0:00:15]


Steli Efti: Yes, yes. Personal finances for founders, we wanted to chat about that.


[0:00:18]


Hiten Shah: Let's do it.


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: So here's the reason why I wanted to chat about this with you, Hiten Shah. I had a little bit of a back and forth email chain with a founder that basically, I'll summarize his situation. There's a lot more going on, but I'll summarize it to successful quote unquote founder, raised a good amount of money, had a strong salary, so was thinking about himself as wealthy? Started to immediately do a lot of angel investments. Started to live a pretty great lifestyle. And startup is has been going through troubles, cannot raise more money. Had to let a lot of people go. Had to decrease salary and now has started to be having growing personal financial issues. Credit card is piling up, bills are piling up. Personal debt has to, had to lend money from a few people. Is now worrying what to do about all of this. And basically there's a whole other component that we could do an episode on on like him, I feel like there was a big, big part of his trouble is him mourning how rich he thought he was and then how poor he thinks he is right now. I think a lot of that is bullshit, but I thought that this prompted to me particularly the idea of like talking a little bit about how to, maybe some basic advice that we have to give to founders on how to manage their personal finances as they are starting a startup. What's your immediate reaction to this?


[0:02:08]


Hiten Shah: There's been a few blog posts about how much founders should get paid and things like that, early on or later on and things like that. I think the number one thing I learned if you're a founder is you're in one of two situations, basically. You're in a situation where, if you weren't doing your startup, you would have to work for money. There's another situation which is regardless of you doing your startup, you wouldn't have to work for money.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to work successfully with designers.


Working with a designer can be quite challenging, especially when you’re not a designer. From choosing one to giving them feedback on their work, to actually getting feedback from them. Managing your interaction with a designer requires some sort of skill.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into how to work with a designer when you’re not a designer, the importance of interviewing designers you want to work with, how to give feedback to a creative person and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:43 Why this topic was chosen.


03:03 How to work with creative people.


03:17 The helpfulness of a portfolio.


03:52 The importance of interviewing designers.


04:13 One of the biggest challenges of working with designers.


04:54 How to give feedback to a creative person.


05:41 How to treat designers at work.


06:00 How Hiten works with designers.


07:53 How to approach getting feedback from a designer.


3 Key Points:


The good news is that designers tend to have portfolios.

With creative people, you need to figure out what their requirements are in order for them to do their job.

What do they need from you to produce good work?


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah:  And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat we're going to talk about how to work successfully with designers. Heaton when I just proposed this topic to you about 11 seconds ago, you were like, ooh, this is a fun one, yes, let's do it. There was a lot of enthusiasm there. So this obviously is focused on founders that maybe haven't had a lot of chances to work with designers and that aren't designers themselves. We've done some episodes prior, that makes you look it up real quick. Boom, there you go. So we talked about how to work with like a technical co-founder when you're not technical yourself or how to work with an engineer when you're not an engineer yourself in episode 277. So we thought today might be fun to talk about how to work with a designer when you're not a designer, kind of do's, don'ts and all that. So what comes to your mind at first when it comes to avoiding mistakes? The way to think about this? If you're not a designer, you're starting a startup, let's say it's something technical, how do I choose who is a good designer? Who isn't? Then how do I work with somebody that is a designer when I myself don't have experience designing things?


[0:01:21]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. So the good news is designers tend to have portfolios. The other good news, unlike a developer is like far relatively inexpensive, like $500, $1000 dollars, sometimes less, you can get them to do some work with you. Well, engineering is a lot different and it takes usually lot more money than that to figure out whether you like working with the person or not. That means that even if you're looking to hire a designer or even like, let's just talk about the entryway. Like you're hiring a designer, you're looking for one, you can try this with three or four different designers and see who you like and assess them in appropriate manners around like quality of their work, timeliness of their feedback, how much input they need. Because I think what we forget is that, when working with creative people, they have their own requirements of what they need in order to do their work, and we need to be able to provide that as people who are wanting something done. I think it's a lot more straightforward than hiring and working with developers except that creative people, you need to figure out what are their requirements in order to do their job, and how can you get them what they need. Do they need wire frames?

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about identifying & focusing on growth customers.


In the startup world, it’s common to want to prioritize customers that pay higher for your products, however focusing on these customers might not be the best way to optimize your business, as this customers might not necessarily be growing.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what a growth customer is, the 2 types of money that come into any business, what is negative churn and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


01:00 Why this topic was chosen.


01:15 Who is a growth customer?


03:45 What is negative churn.


03:54 The 2 types of money that come into any business.


04:09 Why you need to identify your growth customers.


04:40 Why growth is a really crucial criterion to measure.


06:45 How identifying a growth customer can help you prioritize.


07:43 What companies are truly trying to do with their business.


3 Key Points:


When most startups look at a customer, they just identify today’s needs

Negative churn is the amount of revenue that’s being lost that is made up for by the amount that comes in.

There are 2 kinds of customers that’s coming in - new money, and existing customers paying you more money.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti.: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we wanna talk about identifying and focusing on growth customers. Here's the deal, in episode 399 we talked about how to create an ideal customer profile. The ICP, Ideal Customer. Today what I wanna briefly talk to you about and share with our listeners is the concept of a growth customer. And here's what prompted this. So I've heard and thought about this in the past multiple times and we went through a transition in our company of starting to think and focus and identify growth customers a lot more. But recently I was talking to a company, I can't quite discuss who they are, but their VP of sales had a much stronger focus on this than I've ever seen before and I felt that that was fascinating and interesting to dissect. What they're doing, they're building the sales organization. They're focusing on only selling to a specific type of customer. And one criteria that an Account Executive has to check off to even be allowed to sell to somebody is that they're going to be a growth, what they call a growth account. What that means is that whatever the needs is of the customer today is going to significantly grow within next 12 to 18 months. A simple example of this is today they have ... Whatever, let's say three people that work in their marketing team, would need seats or access to this product, but their hiring plans are so that the marketing team is gonna grow from three people to 11 people in the next 12 months, so they're gonna need 11 seats and they are a growing marketing organization. So, their criteria of selling, being able to close a contract and close a deal is that the customer, it doesn't matter how big the customer is. It can't stay still. It has to be a growth account. It has to be a customer that's gonna grow significantly over the next 12 months. I thought that that was very interesting, but I thought also that it related interestingly or usefully to our ideal customer profile episode of the, I think, this mindset that a lot of times, when startups look at a prospect or at a customer, they just identify today's needs, right? How big is the customer today? What is their use case today? What are the requirements today? One thing that a lot of startups don't do a good enough job is to identify how are these needs, these use cases and the potential revenue we can make with this customer? How is this going to change over the next 12 to 18 months and is this going to sta...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create an ideal customer profile.


Creating an ideal customer profile for your business is super important. It can help you build a better product, market it better and ultimately help you serve your customers better. But how detailed should you be when creating one of these?


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what an ideal client profile is, why you should create one for your business, tips on how to create a good one and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:24 Why this topic was chosen.


01:18 what is an ideal customer profile?


01:58 The goal of identifying your ideal client.


02:58 If you should pick an ideal client.


04:36 How understanding your ideal client can help you serve them better.


05:10 How companies sometimes misuse this concept.


06:10 How companies can use a customer profile.


07:15 If you should ignore a customer that doesn’t fit your profile.


07:37 Tips to help you create an ideal client profile for your business.


3 Key Points:


Identify what segment of the market can get the most value out of your software.

The goal of identifying your ideal client is to help you do better marketing.

If you don’t know who your customer is, you won’t know what to build, sell or market.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we may or may not tell you to create an ideal customer profile or not to create an ideal customer profile, but-


[0:00:12]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, we don't know yet.


[0:00:14]


Steli Efti: But either way we are going to talk about the concept of an ICP, ideal customer profile. It's a very popular idea and it's one of those surprising topics that sometimes I can't believe that we haven't talked about something in almost 400 episodes. But we have not talked about this very specific topic, so I thought it would be fun to tackle this. Well, Hiten, maybe first we explain first to people what the concept is, like what is an ideal customer profile, why do companies do it? And then we might want to talk about why it's overused or misused and how we really feel about this topic in 2019.


[0:00:55]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, why don't you start. Why don't you define it, at least in the classic sense, because I think that will help.


[0:00:59]


Steli Efti: Yeah, so I think the broad idea is not that complicated. The broad idea is to ask yourself as a company ... There might be many, many different types of people or organizations that decided to purchase your software, but not all of them are created equal and I think the the idea with an ideal customer profile is to identify what type of customer, what segment of the market can get the most value out of our software? Who is the most ideal customer that exists out there, and what do they have in common? And the goal of defining and writing down an ideal customer profile is to help you do better marketing, do better segmentation, do better product development, because you're not taking on a broad group of people in terms of the feedback they give you, or a broad group of potential customers in terms of what channels would be most effective in terms of acquiring them. But you segment it down and you focus yourself and the entire company and team on the best 'customer,' the ideal 'customer.' You define it, you write it down so everybody in the company and the team understands it, and then you go after those customers above all others. Does that make sense? Is that a definition that you would agree with?


[0:02:23]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean if you don't know who your customer is, you won't know what to build.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to use documentation to get the right things done in a remote business.


For your startup to run smoothly with no hiccups, it is crucial to document all your processes and have them followed by your team members. The importance of documentation is even more crucial in fully remote companies, as a lot can go wrong when everyone is not physically present.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why documentation of your process is super important, best practices and things to avoid when running a remote business and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:26 What inspired Steli to come up with this topic.


02:24 Best practices and things to avoid when running a remote business.


03:22 How FYI is solving a huge problem for remote companies


03:36 Why becoming disciplined in your writing efforts is a good idea.


05:50 How companies sometimes make the mistakes of coming up with different versions of the same document.


07:54 The importance of having rules in your organization.


08:36 Why you should make your rules simple to follow.


10:14 The importance of having a philosophy in your business.


3 Key Points:


It’s very rarely the tool, but the humans and how they use those tools.

The more complex the rules are, the less likely people are going to follow them

In a remote company, you need to get really good at documentation.


[0:00:00]


Steli: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to manage process and documentation at a remote team inspired by the FYI twitter account 'cause that's what Steli said this is about.


[0:00:18]


Steli: Yeah.


[0:00:19]


Hiten: Which is one of my businesses. And the twitter account is @usefyi in case you want to follow along. And what we've been doing is we've been talking a lot about documents, document tools as well as productivity. And then I think one of people's favorite topics today which is remote work and how to do it well. So I think Steli and I have a lot of thoughts on this considering our businesses are remote as well as we have faced a lot of these kind of challenges in the past with doing this right, doing this wrong etc. So what's on your mind? What inspired you? I know what inspired you which was our Twitter account and all the sharing we've been doing. We're committed to sharing more and more now. But what really is on your mind about this that you think people need to hear?


[0:01:08]


Steli: Yeah, I get asked often, "What tools do I use? What tools does my team use to be productive and aligned as a fully remote company, fully distributed company?" And I often find myself going back to some of the basic principles that we share so often Hiten which are that yes, I have some tools I use, and I have tools that I can recommend, but it's very rarely the tools, right? It's always the humans and how they use those tools that really make a difference. And so I oftentimes find myself just sharing with people certain principles on how we communicate as a remote company and how we think about certain things. Now, one of the biggest problems that ... So I thought it will be fun for us to go back and forth, ping pong a little bit on this episode and just share some best practices or mistakes to avoid for people that are thinking about organizing and managing their remote company especially from a point of view in terms of how do we organize our different projects? How do we organize our work? How do we share information online? And since I've been following the FYI twitter account, you guys post all this kind of super neat insights in document sharing software and what comp...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of the Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about creating a new category as a startup.


Sometimes in order to stand out in a highly competitive niche, it may be necessary to create a new category for your product. This strategy is sometimes known as resegmenting and can be quite rewarding when done right, as you can then become a leader in the category you created.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what resegmenting is, if you should implement it for your startup, how Hubspot resegmented blogging, how Drift resegmented content marketing and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:47 Why this topic was chosen.


02:01 If you should create a new category for your product.


02:19 How it’s much easier to be number one in the category you created.


02:51 How Hubspot resegmented blogging.


03:50 How Drift resegmented content marketing.


05:07 If resegmenting is something you should do for your startup.


06:20 The important thing to consider if you’re thinking about resegmenting.


07:42 How resegmenting isn’t necessary if you’re competing with everybody.


08:29 How you need to describe what you do when you’re creating a new market.


09:42 How companies that are successful at resegmenting do it.


3 Key Points:


It’s much easier to be number one in the category you created.

Hubspot resegmented blogging.

If customers are drawn to your resegmented product then it’s worth it.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah and in a rare turn of events today we're going to talk about something that was inspired by a book. This book is called Play Bigger and the book is about what people are calling category design. This is the idea in business, in a company, in a startup, you can have the ablility to create a category.


[0:00:27]


Steli Efti: There's a lot of value in creating a category, in thinking about what you're building as like a new category that you can then own, right?


[0:00:34]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, that too. Exactly.


[0:00:38]


Steli Efti: I'm building a product, I have a startup, I have a few customers. I have a little bit of revenue. Usually I play in some space that broadly we can define in one way or another. The question now becomes, is it worth the exercise of trying to come up with a new positioning and branding and give this thing that our software does a category name? Maybe two recent examples I can think of HubSpot created the category ... Or named the category of inbound marketing and in content marketing. I think Drift is very recent example of the [inaudible] space where they ... Instead of just saying, "We're doing chat, live chat," which is something that other companies have done before drift. They started framing this as conversational marketing and calling this a big new emerging category and a big new trend. There are many, many other categories. [Gainsight] with Success software, and all that kind of stuff. How do you think about doing category design, does every company need to? And is it just a marketing and branding exercise or does your product really need to do something uniquely different that is its own category in order to be able to do that?


[0:01:57]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean the line in there is, and I have this saved ... I have this saved because I've been thinking about this a lot and the line I would use for that is basically like, "It's much easier to be number one in a category you created." I think that that's really this idea in the book, and this idea, category design, which is age old. I guess my response on this whole thing is most products are already in an existing category. Very few products create a new category, literally like they are already sitting in a new category when they start.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how secretive you should really be with your ideas as a founder.


The startup industry, it’s common for new founders to be super protective of their ideas. However, more experience founders understand that ideas are a dime a dozen, and execution is all that really matters.  


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into how secretive you should be with your ideas, wow the execution of an idea is what really matters, when to be protective of an idea and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:27 Why this topic was chosen.


01:33 How secretive you should be with your ideas.


01:46 How the execution of an idea is key.


02:33 The last time the guys worried about sharing an idea with anyone.


03:28 How being new to coming up with ideas tends to make you overprotect them.


03:51 How the value of execution has taken center stage in the startup world.


04:06 How valuable is an idea in today’s world.


04:17 When to be protective of an idea.


05:20 How executing an idea can change how you feel about it.


3 Key Points:


Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is all that really matters.

Ideas are more of a starting point and are almost never the end all.

The more experienced you become the less protective you are of your ideas.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how secretive should you really be about your ideas as a founder. And the reason we wanted to record an episode is that one of you, one of the listeners sent us an email and this is a founder that was wondering and worrying about how openly he should share his ideas with potential investors and potential co founders. And I think the heart of the issue was the fear that people could steal his ideas. I thought that, a, it's funny we've never talked about this, at least not in a full episode, but it felt like a prime time kind of a inexperienced founder worry or fear that you and I could quickly dissect and misspell. Let me ask you Hiten, how much should I protect my ideas? How secretive should I be? Should I worry about telling people my brilliant ideas and will they take them, run with them and crush me then.


 


[0:01:16]


Hiten Shah: I'm laughing 'cause people are really protective of their ideas, especially if they're new to having ideas and wanting to execute on those ideas. I think there's a lot of sayings about this, but ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is all that really matters. And that's where I will start. And if you're not worried about your execution, which you shouldn't be really, if it's an idea and you want to pursue it, then why would you worry about telling anyone your idea? It's this thing where it's almost like if you are new to what I'm going to call turning ideas into execution, then you will totally be very, you're very likely to be hesitant to share your idea. If you're not new to it, you just don't care. You're just like, "Yeah, it's an idea and I'm executing towards it and I want the whole world to know.


 


[0:02:16]


Steli Efti: Yeah, I was wondering if the episode just started with a question like, when was the last time, because I don't remember the last time I worried about sharing an idea with anyone with the thought in the back of my mind of, "Oh, if I tell this person this brilliant idea, maybe they take it and run with it and I'll be lost." I don't think, can you remember the last time you worried about sharing an idea from that kind of protective point of view?


 


[0:02:40]


Hiten Shah: I can't.


 


[0:02:41]


Steli Efti: I can't. Yeah, I do believe that,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about your level of incompetence.


Sometimes, situations arise when you are unable to handle a situation properly. This could be because you don’t have the skill sets to handle that situation or you’re unable to figure out how to handle said situation.


In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what being incompetent means, why it’s important to figure out what’s causing you to be incompetent at managing a situation, how to deal with situations you feel incompetent about and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:29 Why this topic was chosen.


02:53 The definition of incompetence.


03:30 How you can be incompetent at one thing but competent at other things.


04:30 Why it’s important to figure out what to do when feeling incompetent at something.


06:00 An example of what incompetence can lead to.


07:31 How to deal with situations you feel incompetent about.


08:31 How not knowing how to manage people is a huge level of incompetence.


09:06 Sometimes, what’s causing you to be incompetent at something is not so obvious.


09:32 How to get better at realizing hidden incompetencies.


3 Key Points:


I'm not incompetent at reading code, I’m incompetent at writing code

A lot of us have strategies of what to do when we hit that level of incompetence.

The key is to figure out what’s causing you to be incompetent


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And, this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: On today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about your level of incompetence. Here's why I want to talk about this. The framing of this is really what I want to talk about, which I thought was super interesting. Just recently, I was in a conversation about getting COs on the phone, cold calling, selling to really kind of high-end demand professionals and how difficult that is. One person said something that stood out to me, which was that when you talk to, when you reach ... He was saying the people that he's trying to reach and sell to, he usually does not have a hard time once he gets them on the phone to get their attention and to get time from them. Because he was like, the people that he's talking to, they're operating at a level of competence where they have time. He's like, "If I ever talk to somebody that doesn't have a few minutes to talk because they're so quote unquote busy, to me that just means they're now operating at a level of incompetence that creates busyness for them. Right? That creates stress busyness." That framing was really interesting. That's something that I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, which is the idea that whenever things are getting overwhelming, whenever things are getting incredibly stressful, whenever you are quote unquote busy. "I'm so busy right now" or "Things are so busy, I'm so under pressure, have so much stress, there's so much overwhelming, there's just too many projects, too much stuff going on." When things become really, really difficult and friction-full, maybe you just now hit a level of your incompetence. Now you're operating at a level that's much higher than what your competence level is, so things are not quite simple and easy for you to do. Now things are overwhelming, difficult, stressful for you to do. Thinking about stressful and busy times as times where you hit a level of incompetence was a way of thinking about it or framing it, especially the incompetence part that I was thought was interesting. I don't know quite what it is, but there's something in that topic. There was something in that framing, in that word, that made me go, huh, I want to bring this up to Hiten and see if we can dissect this word and see where it leads us to.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how not to make dumb mistakes under pressure.


It’s common in business to find ourselves in situations where we have to make our most important decisions under pressure. And this pressure could be as a result of a lack of time, emotional stress, or desperation. Most times, when we make decisions under pressure, it ends up being a bad decision.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why you shouldn’t make very important decisions under pressure, how to handle these kinds of situations why they arise and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


03:01 Why you should never refer a client that thinking of switching to one that's successfully switched.


08:10 Why you shouldn’t give references when you don’t control the message.


08:30 Why you should never ever think or say the words “I’m gonna roll the dice”.


09:33 How to handle decision making under pressure.


10:25 How we all make mistakes.


11:30 Hiten’s opinion about why Steli’s friend made this particular mistake.


12:15 A big irony in this situation.


12:49 How not listening to an adviser could be a relationship killer.


3 Key Points:


You can’t stop people from doing stupid things.

Don't give references when you don’t control the message.

Never ever think or say the words “I’m gonna roll the dice”.


 

[0:00:00]Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah..


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat, a little Steli Efti rant on how not to negotiate and how not to give references to prospects. All right-


 


[0:00:14]


Hiten Shah: Let's do it.


 


[0:00:14]


Steli Efti: So heres the deal Hiten, over the last two, three weeks, I've been helping a friend in a negotiation with a large customer that his company had, that was just going through the motions of currently considering to switch to a competitor right, so these guys were customers for them for a year, their renewal is coming up and so they are now thinking about switching to a larger competitor. My friend has tried to talk to them, visit them and kind of try to negotiate with them and figure out a way to keep them as customers and to convince them that his product at his company, his service is gonna be serving them much better than the competitor. Now, the competitor has gone through a lot of efforts to sway them and send over a huge team, rolled out the red carpet, you know, steaks, dinners at expensive restaurants, everything you could think of. My friend was not used to having to compete on that kind of very enterprise sales level, so he was surprised by that and he was also surprised that the customer was really appreciating the attention and time and care that that competitor was funneling their way and channeling their way. So throughout the entire time I've tried to give advice and give tips on how to help with the negotiation to keep the customer around. One really big thing was that switching to the competitor would take a long time in the transition, using the competitor would take a lot of money to integrate and customize and utilize that product. There were a lot of hidden cost that the competitor wasn't highlighting that I wanted my friend to make them aware of. In the final hour, one thing that happened a few days ago is, it looked really good, it looked like they came around and they wanted to stay with him, they did a bit of research, they listened to his pitch or his argument, they appreciated his increased effort and showing them that he really cared and his company cared about keeping him as a customer as much as the competitor cared about winning them. It started to look really,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why Steli is always looking to understand the person behind the message.


Sometimes when we receive a message, it difficult for us to understand the true meaning of that message. And one of the reasons why we don’t is because we lack context around who the messenger is and why they are saying what they are saying.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why it’s important to understand the person behind a message, how doing so can help you understand the message better and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:27 Why this topic was chosen.


03:41 Something Hiten and Steli have in common.


04:36 How Hiten researches new people.


05:01 Why Steli researches the people behind a message.


06:37 How Steli can’t respond to a message without context.


07:23 How finding something negative about a person could affect our ability to receive the message.


08:14 Why Hiten likes to understand the person behind the message.


09:20 How understanding the context could help you understand the message better.


10:25 How there are a lot of messages out there in today's world.


10:42 What understanding a message boils down to.


3 Key Points:


We are careful about who we bring into our lives.

I’m trying to understand who the person is.

I’m much more curious about people than I am about things.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hello, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:04]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today, at the start of the chat, I'm about to be surprised.


 


[0:00:08]


Steli Efti: Yeah, Hiten doesn't know what we're going to talk about. The reason for that is that just as we wrapped up the last episode, the recording of it, I remembered a conversation I had and I was like, "Oh, my God. I need to record an episode based on this with Hiten right now." I think you all will enjoy it. Here's the topic: Recently, I had a friend visiting me in New York for a few days over the weekend. One thing that happened three times during those three days and then led to a discussion we had, was that, at different points in time, he was telling me about somebody's content that he enjoyed. So he would say something like, "Oh, do you know so and so?" And I would go, "No, never heard of them." "Wow, they have amazing YouTube videos about this topic and I've watched a few of them and I learned a lot." So, they would pull up the videos and try to show me those videos or he would try to show me these videos, and my instinctive reaction to that was to go, "All right. Who are these people? What are their backgrounds?" You know, would ask a bunch of questions, not about the content of the video or the person was presenting it, but about the person. Like, "Who is this person? What is their background? Where do they live? What are they working on? Why are they qualified to talk about this? What's the context behind this?" And he didn't know, so I would start doing some research on my phone. Very quickly, I'd be like, "Oh, interesting. This person actually, who is giving now these sales negotiation videos on YouTube that are really well-made, but he actually started in the online dating how-to-pickup-artist world." You know, I did a bit of research. Ah, interesting. A lot of these guys started in the kind of pickup-world and then they learned all about body language and all about influence and manipulation. Then they'd branch off to other stuff. It's interesting. They always use "charm" in their brand names. It's like the "charm on demand," "the art of the charm," "the charm of this." Charm is always a key word for people coming from the pickup world. And I kept [inaudible], "Oh, he lives there," and "He's done two little things that didn't work." "Oh, a startup that didn't work at all." And, "Oh, this,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to create comparison pages to highlight the differences between you and your competitors.


The startup industry can be super competitive, and buyers are continually looking for better solutions to their problems. One way to show potential customers that your product is better than your competitors is by creating a comparison page on your site.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into what a comparison page is, who it should be targeted at, the right time to create one and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:50 Why this topic was chosen.


01:36 Who to target your comparison pages at.


02:02 How these pages are for search engines.


03:45 Another target for your comparison pages.


04:40 One thing that puzzles Steli.


06:04 How to create a compelling comparison page.


07:53 What makes a comparison page compelling.


08:00 Why comparing features is a good thing.


09:49 When to create a comparison page.


3 Key Points:


These pages are for search engines.

You could be doing it for a visitor that’s already on your site.

Act like you’re unbiased and write your best possible content that you can.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Everybody, this is Steli Efti


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on the Startup Chat we're gonna talk about how to create comparison pages to basically highlight you versus your competitor. So your business, your product versus a competitor.


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: Right? So, you know, oftentimes ... Well, first of all, I think the definition that you've already given is super useful. It's usually a landing page that compares your product or company with a direct competitor or multiple competitors, right? The thing that you see ... And so maybe we'll break it down to this episode in terms of who ... When should you use this kind of tactic? When is it effective? When isn't it? Is this something that you ... When should you utilize it? Is this a pure SEO play where you try to drive traffic when people are searching for you versus a competitor or should you send these kind of or use these kinds of pages in the sales process, etc. And then also the kind of style. I've seen a ton of these comparison pages. Usually I'm not very impressed so I'd love to do a little bit of a back and forth between you and how, like what are the different templates that are out there that companies use and how potentially to improve on those kind of standard boilerplate templates of comparison pages.


[0:01:25]


Hiten Shah: Yep.


[0:01:26]


Steli Efti: Alright. So let's start with the ...


[0:01:30]


Hiten Shah: Well go ahead.


[0:01:31]


Steli Efti: Let's start with the when ... Who are these pages typically for? Who do we ... If I have a SAS product in my company and I am a startup and I'm thinking and I have competitors, let's say that, I have competitors, when is it worth my time even thinking about building a comparison page?


[0:01:54]


Hiten Shah: Steli, you're going to love this. These pages are for search engines.


[0:02:01]


Steli Efti: I thought that you would say that. Alright.


[0:02:03]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:02:03]


Steli Efti: Give me more.


[0:02:04]


Hiten Shah: I mean think about it, this is the thing, okay, let me go through the one on one and then we can get into the good stuff. Right?


[0:02:13]


Steli Efti: Boom.


[0:02:14]


Hiten Shah: So like, look, these pages are for search engines because people are typing in things like, let's say Zendesk alternative. In fact, Zendesk was so good at this that they created a whole alternative band. I just somehow retweeted something about it.


[0:02:26]

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how not to get ahead of yourself.


Sometimes we tend to get ahead of ourselves when things are going well in our business, and this can be a bad thing as we tend to lose focus on what’s working and get distracted by what we could be doing.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to contain your ambition when things are going very well in your business, they share specific examples of how we can get ahead of ourselves and talk about why it’s a good idea to chill out sometimes and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic


00:31 Why this topic was chosen.


03:00 An example of how we can get ahead of ourselves sometimes.


04:05 Why it’s a good idea to chill out sometimes.


06:24 Why you shouldn’t worry about scaling at the early stages.


07:17 Why being small is ok in the beginning.


08:19 Issues you’ll have once you start scaling.


09:12 The importance of thinking about how to make things work.


10:36 A specific example of how one can get ahead of themselves.


3 Key Points:


Don’t let short term success turn into long term losses.

When you find something that you can work on and make money on, just make more money first.

Keep it simple! Small is ok in the beginning.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah : And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, I don't know what we're talking about, maybe managing your ambition, managing your greed, taking it slower when things go well. I'm not quite sure how to frame this episode. I'm sure by the end of the episode, Hiten, you're going to have like a killer title to use, but here's what I want to talk to you about and what I want to share with the listeners. Last night a good friend of mine is visiting somebody that used to work for me and now he's doing something on his own quite successfully and we had a long really exciting and great conversation about life and everything that's going on. And at the very end he was like, you know, one thing, he had a question for me. Basically, you know, he did something entrepreneurial himself, put that on pause and then started doing coaching and consulting to founders, right, as a means to make money. He quickly realized that his skill set is really, really valuable and he's able to make a ton of fucking money, right? More money than has ever made in his life being an entrepreneur or working for different startups. Right? And so he had now a few months of like really successfully kind of growing this coaching consulting thing that he's doing. He has a bunch of clients that pay him every month. He makes, he paid down all his debt, he put up some savings. He made some investments and he is feeling fucking great. Right? The year's ending, he was like, this shit is awesome. It's fairly easy to do. I'm creating tons of value. I'm making all this money. I've paid all my debt. Like I feel amazing. Right? And now he was asking me, Steli, give me some advice. I'm struggling with this at the end of this year. I could keep doing this and I think if I make X, Y, Z improvements and additions, next year, he would make an insane amount of money. Right? That's his kind of his assumption based on what he's learned so far and I think he could do that fairly in a fairly straightforward fashion. But he said, but it's limited. I could only make X amount of insane money and not even more, right? And now I'm thinking should I potentially instead of just doing this myself, should I start trying to build more of a business around this and hire a bunch of other consultants and coaches and kind of make this a much more scalable thing? And I looked at him and I said, if you, are you truly passionate about being a coach and a consultant and ...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the dangers and the downsides of being overprepared.


Sometimes we tend to overprepare for a meeting that we screw it, meaning we research the other party a lot, and go into that meeting trying to impress them. This can be a bad thing, and can be as bad as being underprepared.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to overpreparing is a bad thing, why you need to chill out a little bit, they share some tips that can help you prepare for a meeting and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic


00:34 Why this topic was chosen.


01:33 Why you need to chill out a little bit.


03:27 How we don't like people that need to be liked.


04:21 An example of being over-prepared.


05:20 How VCs are good at evaluating people.


06:00 How you can be overprepared.


06:40 How most people are either over prepared or underprepared.


07:40 The cons of being underprepared.


3 Key Points:


You need to chill the fuck out a little bit!

We don't like people that need to be liked.

Be honest about your flaws.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, I want to talk about the dangers or the downsides of over prepared. Right? Yeah, here's the reason why I want to talk to you about this. I had a friend recently who is applying for kind of a high level VP of sales position at some really amazing companies in the Bay Area. He has gone very far with one specific company that's kind of the company that he's now incredibly excited about. There's so much alignment. There's so much opportunity. It seems to be an amazing fit, so he's super enthusiastic about the whole process. And he's just about to take kind of the final step in the whole process, which is to meet with one of their board members, who's a big, famous venture capitalist. Meet with him for coffee and have him kind of be the last person to evaluate the candidate before they say they'd make an offer, right? And so he called me to talk about that interview, that coffee meeting. And he wanted to get my feedback and advice and he was telling me about all the research he has done about that VC and his portfolio and his background and history and he's watched videos and talks and really tried to like analyze and get a perfect sense for who this person is and how to win this person over. Right? How to make sure that basically the offer is not going to be taken back because this famous legendary venture capitalist doesn't like him or doesn't approve of him. And at some point listening to him and at some point I had to interrupt him and I just told him, "Listen dude, I love the research that you have done. I do think it's a good idea to prepare well for these conversations, but you have to now get to a point where you relax, right? You do chill the fuck out a little bit." And you need to be aware that this is not just a contest of you winning the other person over. This should be a mutual exchange, right? You are also trying to evaluate the company and you should see this as an opportunity to understand the company, the challenges, the founders, the investors. You should see this as an opportunity of learning for yourself as well and not just selling right? Not just trying to sell yourself to this person, but also try to learn, try to gain more insights. What are the things that this person could help you understand better about the company or understand a bit about how to do the job well and also don't go in that conversation with an expectation to win this person over and make this person love you or like you. You're setting yourself up for failure. One of the main things that we humans can spot from a mile away is when somebody ...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to define your identity.


Trying to define who you truly are is one of life’s biggest struggles. Often, when we define ourselves, we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our identity or how we compare to other people around us.


In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how to define yourself, why Hiten tweet about this topic in the first place, they share some tips that can help you define yourself and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:27 About today’s topic


00:37 Why this topic was chosen.


01:26 What made Hiten tweet about this topic in the first place.


02:45 Things that shape your identity.


04:05 Why a lot of our titles are mostly just labels.


04:45 How to define yourself.


05:50 A core part of Steli’s identity.


06:53 How Hiten defines his identity.


08:15 How social media makes defining your identity much more difficult.


3 Key Points:


Don’t try to find yourself, just define your self.

There are certain parts of who I am and how I live my life that are core to me.

The core part of my identity is that I am somebody that loves to teach.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to define your identity. Oh man. Identity, what's that? Who are you? Stel who are you?


 


[0:00:13]


Steli Efti: Well, who the fuck are you? That's a good question. It's not easy to answer. I don't know. It depends. It depends on who I'm talking to, right?


 


[0:00:22]


Hiten Shah: Oh man, you opened a can of worms.


 


[0:00:26]


Steli Efti: Well, you tweeted about this, so it's your fault, right?


 


[0:00:30]


Hiten Shah: Crap, I opened a can of worms. And you just opened, you just put another one next to it and said, "Let's open this one too."


 


[0:00:36]


Steli Efti: Of course. You tweeted how do you find your identity? And I observed that tweet for a little while and there were all kinds of interesting replies to that. And then I was like, all right, I need to double click on this and we need to go deeper and figure out why did you think about tweeting it? What did you learn from the responses? And what is our answer to this fucking question? Which is obviously a big, can be as big and ambiguous and philosophical as we want it to be or more practical. And I don't know where we're going to go with this. So let's rock and roll, but what made you tweet this in the first place?


 


[0:01:08]


Hiten Shah: I like really hard questions. This is a hard question. What defines you? How do you define your identity? Who are you? What are you? And is it defined by the people in your life or is it defined by you and what you feel about yourself? Or is it different in every moment? So who do your kids think you are? A father, right? I mean that's the construct they have.


 


[0:01:42]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


 


[0:01:43]


Hiten Shah: Right? You're my father, okay. Now, when I think about that, I'm like, "Okay, well how do I identify with my father?" He's my father, but I am his son. And what's the difference between those two? That kind of philosophical question gets really interesting when you think about your relationships and how you're identifying yourself in them and how the other person's identifying you in them. And what dynamic does that create? So that's one aspect of it. Another one is just much simpler, which is who am I and what do I want to be? What do I want to put out in the world? How do I want to carry myself? I mean, all these things shape your identity. Even the most fantastic thing. And I'm going into, I'm basically dropping a bunch of nuggets for you j...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to make increasingly better choices in your life and your business.


Decision making is one of the most difficult things that a human can do. People often say that they find it hard to make decisions.


Unfortunately, we all have to make decisions all the time, and this could range from trivial issues like what to have for breakfast, right up to make or break decisions like who to hire in your business and so on.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thought on how to get better at decision making, why it’s important to figure out what you're basing your decisions on, how to choices that make you feel happy about and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:06 A bit of background into how this topic came up.


01:43 How a lot of our choices are made out of the fear of missing out on something.


03:03 Why it’s important to figure out what you're basing your decisions on.


03:47 How to make a choice that you feel happy about.


04:23 Why making decisions based on our emotions is really difficult.


05:06 A really inconvenient decision Steli made this year.


07:46 How to get better at decision making.


08:48 Why it’s a good idea to thinking about any decision you make.


3 Key Points:


When you make a choice or a decision, you should ask yourself if it’s coming out of fear or trust.

When you’re trying to make a decision, figure out why you’re leaning to that decision and make sure it’s not fear.

People tend to make poor decisions when they make them out of fear.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat we're gonna talk about how to make increasingly better choices. This is another episode brought to you by a Twitter storm from Hiten, right? Hiten, your Twitter's been on fire in the last few days. At least I really appreciate it. You ask this, you had a few tweets about making increasingly better choices in life and kind of a little bit of a framework. You got a lot of responses. I want to just unpack this topic of making good choices or better choices on the podcast. Kind of share how you think about this, add my two cents, and hopefully help people to improve when it comes to their choice making abilities.


 


[0:00:46]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, sounds good. It was yesterday at like six p.m., so it was like recently from when we were recording this, not when the podcast release and I wrote, "Our choices dictate our reality. Find ways to make increasingly better choices each day." And it got me thinking and the reason is I went on to talk about basically the idea that when you make a choice, you're really making a decision and when you do that you should ask yourself is it coming out of fear or trust. And an example I gave is the idea of the fear of missing out and how a lot of choices that we make and decision we make are out of missing out on something. So, we just go with a decision, because we think if we don't we're going to miss out on something. You know, that was it. It wasn't a long one or anything. Then I came to basically the point of saying you know, I felt like to needed to answer the question, "Well, okay. You're saying I shouldn't do it out of fear, then you're saying trust is a better method. How do I make a decision coming from trust versus coming from fear?" And basically my answer to that is just when you make a decision or are considering making a decision, whatever the decision is that you're leaning towards or wanting to make, figure out why. Make sure it's not fear. And a lot of it has to do with trusting yourself. There is a thing. Like,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of sleep and rest.


As a founder, a good night's sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, the work and our environment can interfere with our natural sleep patterns and this can affect a founders performance.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on the importance of sleep and rest, their pre-sleep routines, why drinking water before going to bed is a good idea and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


03:01 How many hours of sleep Hiten gets on average.


04:40 Why you should do what works for your body.


04:54 How many hours of sleep Steli gets on average.


06:00 Hiten’s habits when it comes to going to sleep.


07:07 Hiten’s best pre-sleep routine.


07:38 Some things Hiten does before he goes to bed.


08:00 Why drinking water before going to bed is a good idea.


08:45 Steli’s pre-sleep routine.


3 Key Points:


Depending on the day, I get anywhere between 5 to 7 hours of sleep.

I have a thing where most of the apps on my phone shut down at 11 pm.

In my ideal world, I’d rather not use the phone before I go to bed.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about sleep and rest.


 


[0:00:08]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


 


[0:00:08]


Hiten Shah: Where I'm at, it's 6:17 am. I actually have to drive somewhere and I'm doing this from my car, but don't worry, I'm not driving, otherwise you'd head my driving, for sure. Because I woke up at 5:20 and so I've already been up for an hour, and I drove to where my next meeting's going to be, that way Steli and I can do our podcast here. So here I am in Palo Alto parked, looking at some weird clock on some building, wondering why it's 6:18 am. So, sleep and rest. What have you got?


 


[0:00:48]


Steli Efti: Sleep and rest. Well, what I got is I had a glorious moment last night where it's 7:40 pm. I was debating if I should go to the gym or if I should do more work or what I should do. And then I blinked and I looked at the time and it was like 30 minutes later, and I was like, "What have I been doing the last 30 minutes?" It's just like, wasting life in front of my laptop, just clicking gon things, being undecided and indecisive. And then I decided something that I rarely do at that early time. I don't know why, but it was just like ... You know what, you're tired. Just go to fucking sleep. Just see if you can do it right now. And you know, I went and brushed my teeth, jumped into bed, no laptop, no phone or nothing. And I was like, let's see if I can actually go to sleep this early. And boom! I am proud to announce I was able to do that. It's a big accomplishment. So I slept 12 hours: eight to eight. For me, I'm in New York right now, so it's 9:18, so it's 9 am. So I slept for 12 full hours. I don't remember when the last time I did this. But it was glorious and it was the inspiration for saying, you know what, there is a lot that has been talked about when it comes to sleep, right? How many hours should you sleep per night, what kind of sleep do you need. Sleep habits with the modern way that we live where we bring our laptops or our tablets or our phones with us to bed and use them and how that affects sleep. And all that stuff. You know, sleep really impacts and influences rest, which is another interesting concept. Like, how should you think about resting as a founder, as an entrepreneur? I thought that would be really cool for us to just kind of go after this topic and see if there's some best practices, lessons learned,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about holding on to people who aren’t working out too long.


One of the biggest mistakes founders make is holding on to a non-performing team member for too long. Doing so can be bad for the business, the team and for the non-performing team member as well. So it’s important to let people go if it’s not working out and do it at the right time.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why hanging on to a non-performing team member is a bad idea, when the right time is to let them go, consequences of hanging on to a non-performing team member and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:39 Why this topic was chosen.


02:36 What made Hiten tweet about this topic.


02:46 Why it’s bad to wait too long to let go of a team member.


03:04 How Hiten started the tweetstorm.


03:17 Consequences of hanging on to a non performing team member.


04:48 Why you should speak to team members about issues.


05:07 Why it’s bad for the non-performing team member.


06:34 About giving people second chances.


07:36 How to handle non-performing team members.


08:00 Why it’s important that the non-performing team members knows the situation.


3 Key Points:


Sometimes we keep hoping that someone who’s not working out is gonna work out

Your company sucks more for it.

If you’re basically talking shit about a team member and they’re not in the room, get them in the room.


 


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about a tweetstorm that I did, I guess, right?


 


[0:00:10]


Steli Efti: Yes, yes, a tweetstorm that I think every entrepreneur, every founder should read, every person that works in a startup. I retweeted it telling everybody to fucking read it, but I'm like, not everybody's following us on Twitter. This is such an important topic, I thought we needed to touch on this on the podcast. It's the topic of one of the biggest mistakes companies make are holding on to people that aren't working out too long, which means you have made the determination or you're seeing that this person isn't working out. They're not successful within the company. They're not performing the way that you expected them to. The moment you realize that, you're not taking action instantly. You do what I would say almost every founder and every person that has hiring and firing power does. You postpone that. You try to rationalize things. You kick the can down the road, think, "Well, maybe if we give this one more month, maybe if I help them with more training, maybe I change my management style, maybe with this new campaign, it's a fresh start and they can show themselves now." Your just keep postponing, trying to rationalize, trying to give people more and more chances. Then once you make the decision, there's all kinds of other reasons for not firing them. "Oh, it's the Christmas season. It's New Years. We have this big project. This would be bad news and would be bad for morale." There's all these reasons why to keep postponing that. I just ran through a shit ton of them really quickly. Now I want to pass on the ball to you, Hiten, which is why is it so bad to do this? Why giving people a bit more chances is bad. Why maybe waiting for the perfect time to part ways or fire somebody is that bad. Why is postponing letting go of somebody that isn't' working out, why is that such a bad thing? What triggered you to even tweet about this in a little tweetstorm?


 


[0:02:19]


Hiten Shah: I don't know. I think it's just one of the things that people keep doing over, and over, and over, and over again. They keep basically hoping that someone who's not working out is going to work o...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how founders can avoid customer development mistakes.


Customer development is a four-step framework for discovering and validating the right market for your idea. It is used by founders to build the right product features that solve customers’ needs and much more. Customer development is crucial to the success of a product, therefore it has to be done the right way.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into what  Customer development is, why it’s important, some common mistakes founders make when they do it and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:27 The biggest common mistake founders make.


02:56 Another common mistake founders make.


04:47 Why there are different types of product validation.


06:04 Why giving you money is a much stronger form of validation.


07:22 Another big mistakes founders make.


10:05 Why not being able to reach enough people is not an excuse.


10:44 Why you should never stop doing customer development.


10:59 Why product-market fit is not a static status.


3 Key Points:


Customer development has nothing to do with your product.

Founders will use different lingo to make their business look bigger than it is.

Customer development never ends.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti ...


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: ... And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat we want to talk about customer development mistakes to avoid for founders. So here's the deal, like Hiten, you and myself, we talk to founders all the time, a lot of them are kind of early stage founders and they're in the “customer development” phase, and they come to us to tell us that they've done customer development and they think they have product market fit in now they're worrying about all the other stages that are, that are about to happen for them. And when we talk to them and ask exactly what they did in customer development, who they talk, what they found out, we realized sooner or later that they've made big mistakes in the way they think about customer development or the way they executed on it. So I thought it would be useful for us to share some of those kinds of biggest reoccurring themes and mistakes to avoid. So when kind of young founders or new founders are going out to do customer development, they avoid these mistakes and they don't waste time, right? So, right of the bat Hiten. If you had to think about the biggest common mistake that most founders make when it comes to customer development, what comes to mind?


 


[0:01:17]


Hiten Shah: It always, it always starts for me with their speaking to the potential customers and people the wrong way. So they're introducing bias in what they're saying. And so then when, when I talk to them what ends up happening is I just can feel the bias. I can just feel it so that they ask questions like, would you use my product instead of asking what's the biggest challenge you have? And I think that's a very distinct difference that many founders, despite all the material about customer development and how to talk to the customers before they are your customers and all that kind of stuff, people just gloss over and they miss and they think talking to customers or prospects or early, you know, talking to people early about your business has to do with your product. And in my opinion and the way that I learned customer development, it has nothing to do with your product it has everything to do with that person, their problems and their stories and everything you can learn about them with no information about what you're doing or your product. And I think that's like the biggest mistake people make,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what makes you truly come alive at work and why are you working.


This episodes is a special episode of the show. Today Hiten and Steli ask what brings you alive at your workplace. They share with us what it is that brings them alive at theirs.


Listen to the full episode to hear what brings Steli and Hiten alive at work, why it’s important to share this insight with the world and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:27 About today’s topic


00:39 Why this topic was chosen.


02:14 What makes Steli come alive at work.


03:07 Another thing that makes Steli come alive.


03:55 What makes Hiten come alive at work.


05:53 The Hiten loves seeing things grow at work.


06:25 Thinking about what makes you come alive at work.


06:43 How to contact the hosts with your answer.


06:53 Why it’s useful to share these insights with the world.


3 Key Points:


The bigger the change at work the more alive I become.

The second best day is if I help somebody else change their mind.

The ability to create an organization where team members are happy and working together is what makes me happy.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah today we're going to talk about a story that Steli experienced and that we're both going to share more about. So go at it.


 


[0:00:15]


Steli Efti: I think it's an essential question, which is the question of like, what makes you truly come to life at work and why are you working? And I was at a dinner recently, somebody at that dinner there were a bunch of very successful entrepreneurs and one person at that dinner asked that question to the entire table. And at first people started answering that question in I think kind of surface level way. Well, I really enjoyed my coworkers. I love my customers, I really like doing new things. It's kind of very surface level. And the guy that asked that question interrupted the first person that answered the question and said, no, no, no, no. Just think about last year, think about one or two times that you were most passion, most excited, most alive at work. What were those moments and what do they have in common? What's the essence of what's driving you to work? What's making you come alive at work, not all the surface things the really deep rooted essence of what really drives you. And that changed the answers quite dramatically. Like people started becoming ... First people started getting introverted and like really starting to reflect a lot more before answering like just knee jerk. People started going huh. They started being much more thoughtful and taking a lot more time thinking carefully through this before answering it. When it came to me, and what I want to do is I want to share my answer. I'm dying to hear your answer Heaton. And then what I'd love is to hand the mic to our audience, our listeners and have them share their, like take a moment and have them think about this and then share it with us. So here's my answer, right? I had to think about this a little bit and I think what I discovered, what the essences of what drives me to work, what makes me really come alive is change. And change in twofold. The best moments at work to me are moments where I change, I change my mind, right? Or I change the way I do something. So if I have always had an opinion of how something has to be done or what the right strategies about something or just overall a principal that I had, the bigger it is, the bigger the change, the more alive I come, when I change my mind. If something happens that fundamentally changes my mind about a big topic or a big belief. Those are the days that I'll remember. Those are the moments I feel most alive because I feel like I'm growing. I feel like holy shit,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to hire people that are much more senior than you are.


Sometimes when it’s time to hire new staff for your startup, you may be in a situation where you’re hiring people who are much more senior than you, both in terms of age and experience. It can feel intimidating when this happens, but it really shouldn’t be.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thought on how to hire people that are much more senior than you are, how to manage this situation, how this could be an opportunity for learning and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:30 Why this topic was chosen.


01:44 Hiten’s first response to the question.


02:43 How being a founder is management.


04:00 Why a big part of this struggle is a mindset thing.


06:01 Why hiring is no different than any other function of a business.


06:50 Why you shouldn’t put unnecessary pressure when it comes to managing this situation.


07:21 How unnecessary pressure can lead to bad outcomes.


08:01 How you can learn from senior people.


08:50 Why you consider every time you work with senior people as a learning opportunity.


3 Key Points:


One thing to realize is that this is part of learning.

Being a founder is management.

A big part of the struggle is a mindset thing.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat we're going to talk about how to hire people that are much more senior than you are. Right. So the reason why I wanted to talk about this is that a listener has emailed me a few days ago and asked this exact question. He was basically describing that he has never worked in a large company. He has never been an executive in a larger startup. He had a bit of solid experience as an intern and then he worked there as an individual contributor and now he's started his own startup. They raised some money. They have I think a five to 10 person team. And he is not out there trying to hire and recruit some senior people. And he was saying that it was really hard for him to talk to people that had 10, 20 years of experience. That had been VPs and CXOs and in bigger teams than he is built himself. And he's like, "How do you hire somebody that's a lot older than you? That's a lot more experienced than you. How do you A, deal with the intimidation and also the self doubt." It sounded to me like he was doubting his own abilities to judge these people. So I thought that will be a perfect topic to unpack on the startup chat. And so thank you for the question for the listener and now throwing the ball to you Hiten. What's your first response to this question?


 


[0:01:31]


Hiten Shah: Yeah. Wow. Well, yeah, thank you to that person, thank you. I mean this is a topic that you don't really see a talked about much in this way with a lot of honesty. And so I think this is a huge opportunity for us to share our thoughts on it. I've had to do this over and over again. And it's not challenging. I think that I would first want to tell this person and whoever's listening about hiring people more senior than you. So more experienced, older, and have done things you haven't done yet. Oftentimes the one thing you've done, they haven't done which is start a company. Oftentimes not all the time. So that's something to remember and to realize. Another thing is this is part of the learning. So one thing I would say that has actually been in my mind a little bit is being a founder is management and management period. Manage Yourself, manage your family, you know, with your partner, manage your team and that means everybody on your team. And so that's your responsibility. Even if you're like,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to do sales when you’re a self-service product.


When done right, the self-service model can be a great way to sell saas products. Leads come through your funnel, sign up for a trial and upgrade to a higher tier without you lifting a finger or hiring an expensive sales team.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what exactly the self-service model is, how to optimize your website for it, mistake that saas entrepreneurs make when it comes to optimizing for sales and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


02:22 How sales is approached at FYI.


02:50 Optimizing for sales at FYI.


03:27 An example of how to optimize for sales.


05:50 A mistake that saas entrepreneurs make when it comes to optimising for sales.


06:41 Why treating a free trial like a freemium product is a good idea.


07:41 Best places to optimise for sales.


07:55 Why you should invest in copywriting.


08:39 The importance of having great copy on your website.


3 Key Points:


You wanna find the opportunities of getting people to pay by pushing some buttons.

The more incentivized they are in using the product, the more incentivized they are in buying it.

Are there things you can provide people to accelerate the timeline of them paying you.


 


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on the startup chat we're gonna talk about how to do sales when you're a self service product. So we had somebody ask you that, is that it?


 


[0:00:15]


Steli Efti: Yeah, somebody sent me an email and basically said that they're a huge fan of the podcast. We love you back. Thanks for listening. And that he's been reading a ton of my content and has been enjoying it. But asked basically, hey, can the two of us talk about how to think about selling and sales and how to optimize for sales, where you don't have a sales team and you don't want to reach out to customers. He has a self service SAS product that is very inexpensive, that's kind of very focused on consumers let's say. And he was saying, how does he use some of these tactics of sales in a way that's more automated, that's more self serving? And I thought A, it's a great question B, I don't have a lot of experience in this when it comes to the self service world but you do. So I have some because a fair chunk of close customers are self served, not all of them do we reach out to and have a sales conversation with, but I thought it'd be a fun topic to unpack and hopefully useful to him. So when you are building products Hiten and you I've never asked you, but FYI, is that a product that you envisioned at some point having a sales team or is this a full self service product? That's what I would assume, right?


 


[0:01:38]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, it will be self service for awhile for sure.


 


[0:01:40]


Steli Efti: And so, yeah. What are some of the top level of thoughts that you have when you're trying to optimize for sales when it's full self service?


 


[0:01:49]


Hiten Shah: While your interface is selling. So you want to find the opportunities to get people to pay by pushing some buttons essentially. And you want to do that in a way that's super natural to them, not just upgrade button. So in the past you could have an upgrade button somewhere in the interface, usually like in the top right of the navigation next to your face and people would click it and upgrade, and you get a decent amount of upgrades from that. These days people are pretty numb to buttons that say upgrade. And so what you really want to do is think through how can you contextually give them more ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about copywriting and writing good copy for startups.


When it comes to marketing your startup, your copywriting is one of the most critical elements that could make or break your campaign. But what is copywriting? It consists of all the content that marketers use to try to get people to take an action after reading or hearing them.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what copywriting is, why it’s important, tips that can help you write better copy and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:47 Why this topic was chosen.


01:46 Why copy is important.


03:10 Why the copy you write is key to pulling people in.


04:43 Tips for improving your copy.


05:29 Why you should write copy with the customer in mind.


06:00 What makes good copy.


07:37 Examples of bad copy.


08:36 Another example of bad copy.


09:29 Why you should read your copy out loud.


09:23 One tip that can help you to write better copy.


3 Key Points:


To me, copy is everything.

You should write copy that a 5-year-old can read and understand.

We are in a world were click bait, headlines still work.


[0:00:00]


Steli: Hey everybody.


[0:00:01]


Hiten: Sure.


[0:00:01]


Steli: This is Steli Efti and in today's episode of the Startup Chat we want to talk about copywriting and good copy for startups. We just recorded an episode that was published before this one about how to optimize for sales when you're a self-serviced product. We did touch a little bit on learning and mastering copy and copywriting there. I wanted to talk to you about this Hiten because I feel like copywriting has fallen from grace a little bit or maybe it's just not as cool or hot of a topic, especially in SaaS and in startups. I feel like a lot of other topics in marketing have become much more popular, but I don't see a lot of tips shared and oftentimes when I go and visit SaaS websites, I can just tell that this website, their whole focus was on beautiful design of the website, a lot of focus was ... The copy was kind of like a secondary thing. It's more the visual design and workflow of how a website or how landing pages are created that have become a lot more important, and the words themselves are not always as strong and as good as they could be. First of all I wanted to ask you if you have the same observation and then I wanted to just unpack the topic. What is even copywriting? What is good copy and how can people learn it and why it's important for your startup.


[0:01:32]


Hiten: Copy is everything and copy is everywhere. I think all marketing starts with content and copy. The same with even if you're doing video, there's content there, there's copy there that you write, the script or whatever. So I think words are everywhere. The majority of humans know how to read words. So to me, copy is everything. I would say I'm a student of copy myself and writing and communication. Copy is communication is another way to think about it. I really prescribe to the philosophy that you should write content and copy that a five year old could read and understand. That rule is like, you could say, "But my product is really advanced," or "My product sells to developers," or something. Yeah, I get it. I totally get it, but can a five year old understand it? I would still ask you that because we are in a place in the world where clickbait headlines still work which are really pithy, right? And just pull you in. We are in a world where our attention is drawn to many different places so I'm sure if we looked at the stats, the amount of seconds you have on your website to pull someone in and capture their attention is probably getting less and less or has gotten less and less over time. So because of these reasons,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to design and write effective Calls-To-Actions (CTA).


In the marketing world, a call to action is a prompt on a website, email or social media that tells the user to take some specified action. Call to actions generally takes the form of a button or hyperlink and are typically written as a command, such as “Book my call” or “Buy It Now” and so on.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten dive into what  Call-To-Action are, why they are so important in business, common mistake people make when designing CTAs and they share some tips that can help you design more effective Calls-To-Action for your Startup.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


01:02 One common mistake people make when they design CTAs.


02:16 Another common mistake people make when they design CTAs.


03:32 Why Hiten dislikes generic call to actions.


04:19 Why using disconnected CTAs is a bad idea.


05:49 How to determine what type of copy to use for your CTA.


06:25 The importance of telling the prospect what they are going to get with your CTA.


11:44 Why you should make your copy all about them.


09:17 The Startup Chat’s Call-to-action.


3 Key Points:


I see companies using way too many calls to action.

I don’t want to mind-read what you want me to do.

Don’t be overly generic with your CTAs.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat we're going to talk about CTAs, calls to action. How to design and write effective and killer CTAs. I can't believe we've never had a dedicated episode to these, such an important topic, maybe it's so all encompassing. We've touched on a lot of it, so we're probably going to give today in many other ways, in many other episodes, but I thought it'd be fun to do a quick episode and bang it out on call to actions. So let's go maybe through some of the mistakes people make, and then maybe we end the episode on some tips on how to do really killer call to actions. I'll step in and give the first and biggest mistake on CTAs that drives me nuts. It's actually two mistakes, and this is true both on websites, it's true in emails, it's true in many different form factors. It doesn't really matter what the form factor is that you are communicating to a prospective customer to. It's either, I see either companies have way too many call to actions, just like seven different things they want me to do, and I always go "Whoa, whoa. We don't know each other that well and it's not reasonable of you to ask me to do this much work." Taking so much action means I can't do anything else for the next two, three hours. I don't have that kind of time and we don't have that kind of relationship for you to ask me to watch this video, download this white paper, sign up for a newsletter, sign up for a free trial, and read these latest three blog post scripts. It's just too much stuff you're asking me to do, and they're all not differentiated and not prioritized. And the exact opposite problem is when you have almost no call to action whatsoever. This is something I see more in emails than I see, in emails and in conversations in meetings I see this more often than I see this on websites, but it drives me crazy. It's like somebody sends me an email, they write all this stuff about their company, the value they can create for me, all the things they could do, why this would be a great partnership, and then they just end this entire fucking email with "Thanks, Bob." I read all this and I go, "What am I supposed to do now with all this information? What, specifically, do you want me to do?" Now, I can assume you want me to respond to you,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about if it’s necessary to sacrifice your life and your health in the early days of building your startup.


In the startup world, creating a healthy balance between work and play is absolutely essential when it comes to leading a happy and productive lifestyle. But achieving this is not always easy – especially if you’re at the early stages of your startup.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on the importance of having a healthy work-life balance, why you should do whatever you can to make your business successful, the importance of knowing when to take a step back from hustling and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:32 About today’s topic


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


03:01 Hiten’s thoughts on this topic.


05:14 Why you should do whatever you can to make your business successful.


06:40 Why it should be called work-life harmony


07:43 The importance of knowing when to take a step back from hustling


09:17 Why there’s no such thing as the right way to be successful.


12:16 Steli’s take on the idea of hustle porn.


14:44 Hiten’s take on the idea of hustle porn


3 Key Points:


There are so many founders out there that can’t handle the stress of being a founder.

You should do whatever you can to make your business successful.

If you’re emotionally and spiritually burned out, maybe this isn’t for you.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hi everybody this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: And today on the StartUp Chat I want to talk about, do you really have to sacrifice your life and health in the early days as a founder or is that bullshit. So, here's the reason why I want to talk to you about this, I think throughout the episodes we've always aired on the side of working smarter not harder, people don't have to sacrifice their health, and their family, and their emotions to be successful as entrepreneurs. We're always attacking this myth that you have to burn yourself out to succeed. But then recently, I saw a discussion online that I thought, this is actually interesting and probably thought provoking and an interesting topic for us to digest where one specific founder, I'm not going to call him out by name, that has done a successful company and is now in a later stage in his life with wife, and kids and an investor and is advocating a lot doing a lot of press around this hustle culture is toxic, and working too many hours is toxic, and not working out, and not eating healthy is toxic, and entrepreneurs really need to have good work life balance. And so working too much and focusing only on work isn't the right way. And I thought at first glance when I was just seeing the headlines of these podcast interviews and articles, I was like, sure. And then I started seeing a really strong counter reaction, and I started reading those comments and tweets and basically, I'll summarize it, basically a bunch of founders, younger founders, but also some older ones are calling bullshit on this. And were basically saying, "Yeah, motherfucker when you started, your first startup, I mean you were nobody, and you had no resources, you had no success, you want to tell us that you were doing eight hours a day off, six hours a day, and weekends off, and going to the gym every day, and eating super healthy, and having friends, and traveling, and taking vacations? No you didn't. You were working all day seven days a week hustling your ass off to make that first company succeed and now that you have the momentum of success, and recognition, and money, and fame in your much later stage in your life and a different stage in your life, now you're all about eating healthy, and working out, and spending time with your kids, but young or early founders they can't afford that work life ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about early morning routines and the act of waking up early in the morning as a founder.


It is common knowledge that how well you sleep and the state of mind you create at the beginning of the day have a lot to do with how much you'll accomplish in that day. It’s a good idea to develop a morning routine that makes you be more productive.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thought on morning routines, waking up early in the morning as a founder and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


01:21 About Hiten’s morning routine.


01:49 How having a reason can help you wake up early.


02:57 Steli’s morning history.


04:39 The magic of waking up at 5 a.m.


06:42 Why waking up super early is not for everybody.


07:31 Why you should do what works for you.


08:04 The importance of observing times of the day when you could be doing more.


09:31 Why you need to adjust your routine.


3 Key Points:


Do what works for you.

For me, I wake up early because I don’t want to hit traffic.

There’s not just one formula that works for everybody.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hi everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]


Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about waking up early in the morning as a founder. Maybe we'll expand to like early morning routines but it's 6:00 AM in San Francisco. Thankfully, I'm in New York so it's just 9:00 AM for me. But I've heard and read a lot about morning routines, being a super early kind of morning person. For I think about five or six months, I had actually established a morning routine where I was waking up at 5:00 AM every morning. I really, really thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, it's in the past distance, this year I don't even know what time I wake in the morning. I've been traveling so much, I'm all over the place, but I've noticed consistency over the past years that you are a super early morning person, right?


[0:00:52]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, these days I am.


[0:00:55]


Steli Efti: These days, all right, certainly. Is that something that ... Would you say it's not a natural thing, it's like a learned thing or? Tell us more about it.


[0:01:03]


Hiten Shah: Totally a learned thing. I think-


[0:01:05]


Steli Efti: A learned thing?


[0:01:06]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


[0:01:06]


Steli Efti: Yeah.


[0:01:07]


Hiten Shah: I think for me, truthfully, I can go either way very easily, I think maybe just like you. I don't travel much so I guess like people are different and some people really prefer or think, I think, that they think that they're night people, right?


[0:01:30]


Steli Efti: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


[0:01:30]


Hiten Shah: Or they're morning people. I've been both in my life. Right now I'm a morning person and for me, the way I do it is I just have a reason. So I have reason to get up and do something. So today my reason was getting on the podcast and recording a few podcasts with you, so that's my reason. I live about 20 to 30 minutes south of San Francisco in a city called Redwood Shore. I call it the city that Larry Ellison built because it's right behind essentially his main office, like the big buildings and stuff. It's like suburbia and so I live here. If I get up early, that means get up right around 6:00-ish, I can make it to the city by 7:00. I wake up, shower, and what not, get ready, and I can make to the city by 7:00. If I get up any later, then I end up making it to the city by like 8:00 and it takes me like 45 minutes. So it's a difference between like 25, 35 minutes, and like 45 minutes to an hour, and hour and 10 minutes.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about learning to ask for help in business.


Many founders are not used to asking for help and this can be a disadvantage for themselves and their businesses. It’s common to see founders who are great at helping others solve their problems to be horrible at asking for help when they need it.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why it’s important to ask for help when you need it, why you should figure out how to ask somebody for something, tips for figuring out how to ask for help and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:33 Why this topic was chosen.


02:22 How Many founders are not used to asking for help and this can be a disadvantage for themselves and their businesses.


04:00 Why you should figure out how to ask somebody for something.


04:27 A major reason why some people are terrible at asking for help.


04:50 How Steli is working on his ability to ask for help.


05:29 One moment in time that made Steli more aware of his struggles with asking for help.


06:44 Another moment in time that made Steli more aware of his struggles with asking for help.


10:25 Tips for figuring out how to ask for help.


11:33 How to reach out to Steli and Hiten if you need help.


3 Key Points:


Many founders are not used to asking for help and this can be a disadvantage for themselves and their businesses.

I needed such a good reason to reach out that I was actually helping them when I asked for help.

Figure out how to ask somebody for something.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. And this is Hiten Shah . And today in this sort of chat, we want to talk about learning to ask for help, asking people for help. And here's why I wanted to talk to you about this. Just recently at a conference, I was talking to a founder and when she was describing to me what she was going through, some of her challenges and problems, I think after 30 or 40 minutes of talking, eventually we arrived at this point where it was clear that one of her biggest challenges is that she just doesn't ask enough for help. She has this huge network of people that could help her; help her find customers and clients, help her find people to hire, help her with good advice, but she's not tapping into that network because she's the type of person ... And I think that that's something that applies to a lot of founders, that has been so accustomed to being asked for help and being the person that's just offering solutions, that her solution muscle is awesome and her advice muscle is awesome, but her asking for help and asking for advice muscle is terribly weak. She just always cooks her own little soup and when she's challenged by something or when she has a problem, she just tries to figure it out on her own versus tapping into the amazing ecosystem and network that she has developed and the good will she's developed by helping so many people. And she was like, "Yeah, I'm just not comfortable asking people for help. I never realized that." And I tapped into that, giving her some advice and talking to her about how important it is to ask for help as a founder and entrepreneur. I thought that would be useful and valuable to other people to hear us talk about this. First of all, right off the bat, let me ask you: Would you agree with a problem statement that I'm making that many founders are not used to asking for help, that that is a disadvantage for themselves and their businesses.


 


[0:02:01]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, I think that ... I want to say I used to have this problem, but I'm actually going to say I still have this problem. It's similar to what you described because for me, there are clearly enough people I've helped and it's disproportionate in terms of the amount of times I ask for hel...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what they call “the second time around”.


“The second time around”, also known as second time syndrome, is basically starting a new business after a previous success or failure at another business. It is common for second-time founders to believe that they will be successful at a second business and most of the time this is no the case.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what “the second time around” is, how your first attempt affects your second attempt, why being successful the first time does not guarantee future successes, and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.


00:45 What is the second time around?


01:00 Should the second time around be easier?


01:15 How your first attempt affects your second attempt.


01:43 A big factor that determines your success in business.


01:53 Why your ability to make good decisions is all that really matters.


03:34 Why it’s important to take the lessons from past experiences.


04:37 Why being successful the first time is not a guarantee for future successes.


05:49 An example of a successful entrepreneur struggling with future ventures.


09:29 A lot of people fail at starting a business and never do it again.


09:23 One tip that can help you be successful in your second attempt.


3 Key Points:


There’s so much that can be different the second time around.

People don’t realise that you’re literally building a business from scratch.

Your own ability to make good decisions is all that really matters.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat that we're gonna talk about what we call "The Second Time Around" which is basically when you have a startup and it either fails of succeeds and then you do another one.


 


[0:00:16]


Steli: Yeah. The thing that most people think ... I'll start us off with a premise that I want to dissect with you which is the one that's like the second time around should be easier, shouldn't it be, Hiten?


 


[0:00:31]


Hiten: No.


 


[0:00:33]


Steli: Why? Well, you have all of this experience, you've done it before. Well okay, maybe it's ... Is there a different between having failed the first time around or having succeeded the first time around in terms of what the second time around looks like?


 


[0:00:51]


Hiten: I think people would lead you to believe it's that just because they want you to believe it's either easier or harder or failure helps you or success helps you, but honestly it doesn't matter. There's so much that can be different the second time around. There are a bunch of patterns and things you learned, no doubt. But it's not ... I feel like people don't realize you're literally building a business from scratch and there are a lot of factors that determine whether your business works or not. One big factor that you learn the hard way oftentimes is that your own ability to make really good decisions is all that really matters, and your ability to do that decisively and fast. The reason I'm picking on that specific one thing out of the millions of things that you could consider is because the first time founder either lost or won, whatever that means, because of their ability to make the right decision at the right time. That could be a fast decision and then undo it later, whatever. Whatever that means. There's a lot to that. So by the time you're at the second, whether you won or lost, you've made up your mind about a bunch of different things that you might not even realize you've made up your mind about. For example, if you tried sales for four years and it didn't work for you, you might be like, I can't do sales. Well,

Key points in this episode

This is an encore episode.


In today’s Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about big picture thinking, its importance and some ways through which you can develop this skill. Oftentimes, we find that people are so caught up in day to day tasks that they fail to stop and prioritize. Steli and Hiten talk about being mindful in order to develop good prioritization skills. Tune-in and discover how you can cultivate mindfulness and build your prioritization skills which can help you execute tasks of greater value.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:03 – Today we are going to talk about big picture thinking

01:14 – Most people struggle with big picture thinking


01:28 – Steli is great at prioritizing and showing the bigger picture to his team


02:34 – Prioritizing is a skill that anyone can pick up by cultivating mindfulness


03:31 – Go-getters continue to attack what is in front of them

04:23 – Yet, there are some people who get bogged down by intense work activity and have yet to develop those prioritization skills

05:16 – Keep your to-do list short in order to develop your prioritization skills


06:20 – Important to touch every area of the business and be aware of what is going on


07:58 – Someone who is involved in day to day operations will find it much more difficult to see the big picture view

09:10 – Easier for someone not involved in day to day tasks to be MINDFUL; mindfulness is the driver of good prioritization skills


09:42 – Step back physically, spiritually and mentally every once in awhile to develop mindfulness

10:27 – If you don’t stop to ask BIG questions, you will never be good at prioritizing

11:17 – If you wish to create VALUE, you need to be in control of your time and mind

12:20 – Mindfulness enables you to take a step back and look at everything with a more clear mind

13:47 – Have an inner discussion with yourself or someone else who can help you see the big picture

15:05 – A CEO or a manager has a high level viewpoint that others simply don’t

15:34 – Take a step back every morning to reflect upon what you did or what you are going to do

16:57 – Look at the smallest items on your to-do list and think about what will happen if you do not do them

18:08 – Oftentimes, it is easier to keep doing things than to stop doing them; do not replace an inconsequential activity with another one


19:58 – Replace a mindless activity with a productive, high quality one


3 Key Points:


Prioritizing is a skill that anyone can pick-up by cultivating mindfulness.

Step back physically, spiritually and mentally every once in awhile to develop mindfulness.

Oftentimes, it is easier to keep doing things than to stop doing them; do not replace an inconsequential activity with another one.


Steli Efti:


Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah:


And this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti:


And today in the Startup Chat we want to talk about big picture thinking, and  how to prioritize better for your startup. So here's the reason I want to talk  about this, Hiten. Ramin, big shout-out to Ramin, who is an invisible man behind this  podcast and is helping and organizing a lot and is working on the marketing team.  Ramin has been asking me about, or suggesting this topic to me for a really  long time now. And he keeps coming back, and any time I ask him, "Hey,  do you have anything you think Hiten and I should discuss on the podcast?" whenever I run out of ideas, he goes ... Well, he offers a few topics, but  this is the one that's been most consistently shared. And he always goes "You know,  you are amazing at prioritizing and keeping the big picture in mind". And Hiten seems  to really, really amazing at this. And it's something that most people struggle with,

Key points in this episode

This is an encore episode.


In this first ever podcast of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten chat about why they are starting the podcast and they unsuccessfully try to come up with a name for it. This ones all entertainment so get ready to laugh.


The post 373: Encore Episode: How It All Began appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Key points in this episode

This is an encore episode.


When a business grows and scales up, it’s very easy to lose touch with the lifeline of your business—the customers. Many people begin to outsource their customer support and the gap between the CEO or founder with the customer grows wider and wider. Steli and Hiten warn against the tendency to forget about the importance of retrieving those customer insights. Since customers ultimately drive our success and inform us of how we can improve, Steli and Hiten talk about the different ways we can keep the connection going strong.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:27 – Today’s topic: tips on how to stay close to your customer

00:38 – Customer intimacy is what Steli and his team discussed on their team retreat in Dublin

01:28 – Hiten’s tip if you’re in sales: consider getting a sales call

02:06 – “Sales calls give you one type of insight”

02:32 – Doing customer support is also useful

03:27 – For Hiten, customer support is key

04:00 – In Close.io’s first year, Steli’s team answered customer tickets the whole time

05:15 – Outsourcing your support is one thing Steli will never understand

05:46 – Visit and spend time with your customers in person

07:11 – Steli has been doing customer meetups this year and the results are powerful  

07:42 – Now, Steli and his team are thinking about having customer dinners in small groups

08:41 – Think about how many customers you want to connect with during the week

10:01 – As Close.io grew, they fell into the trap of talking to managers and high-level decision makers instead of talking to their users

11:46 – Stay in-touch with the end users

12:16 – Have parts of your company talk to end users to get feedback

13:56 – When your company grows, you get so busy internally that you forget about external factors, including your customers

14:55 – Fight forgetfulness

15:40 – Without customers, you don’t have a business!


3 Key Points:


Staying close to your customers is one way to check the pulse of your business.

Handling customer support yourself is the best way to connect with your customers.

Never forget that without your customers, you don’t have a business.


Steli Efti:


Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah:


This is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti:


In today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're going to do a tips episode on  how to stay close to your customer as your business grows. We've talked about this  many times with Heaton. Whoever understands that customer best ultimately will own that relationship and  will get those customers. This was a big topic recently in our team. We just  did a team retreat in Dublin Heaton and ...


Hiten Shah:


Cool.


Steli Efti:


A big topic was customer intimacy. How can we stay close and close into our  customers to serve them better, to understand them better, to get more insights. So why  don't we just go back and forth on the tips and share ways that people  can stay close to their customers and cultivate customer intimacy as they're building, launching, and growing their business?


Hiten Shah:


Okay, I'm going to start by asking you a question.


Steli Efti:


Boom. Let's go.


Hiten Shah:


This is kind of a tip, but it's like, when's the last time you got  on a sales call yourself for Close.io?


Steli Efti:


That probably was four or five weeks ago.


Hiten Shah:


Cool, great. I think one tip I have is if you're doing sales and you  have a sales team, as executives under CEOs, even the marketer on the team, whatever,  should just consider getting on a sales call. Whether it's to listen in or actually  do the sale. That's my crazy idea to kick it off. I'm glad you said  four or five weeks ago and not a year ago.

Key points in this episode

Today we're re-publishing our most popular episode of 2018, which is all about finding product-market fit.


The post 371: Encore Episode: How to Find Product Market Fit appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about changing a teams culture versus firing and hiring a new team.


There comes a time in every startup's life that fundamental changes need to be made in the way things are currently done. This could be as in order to solve a crucial challenge, prepare for growth or adjust to the current business environment. How you approach this as a founder is crucial as if it’s handled the wrong way, can lead to negative consequences for your startup.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about changing a teams culture, why you may want to do this, how to do this the right way, examples of some companies that have had to do this and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:38 Why this topic was chosen.


03:15 How Hiten approaches this challenge.


04:25 Why great leadership can help prevent this situation in the first place.


06:41 An example of a real-life situation of this challenge.


08:17 How you may want to approach this issue if it arrises.


10:28 Why changing the culture of a team is hard but not impossible.


11:00 How you should approach this as the leader of the team.


11:44 How founders burn their team sometimes.


12:39 Why you need to convince your team that your idea is the solution.


3 Key Points:


My evaluation is first of the leadership.

At the end of the day, that leader needs to lead.

It’s hard to change the culture of a team but it’s not impossible.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat, I want to talk, Hiten, about changing a team's culture versus firing and hiring a new team. Here's the deal, I just got off the phone with a founder and CEO of a company that has raised a shit-ton of money. That has accomplished a good amount of scale and success. That is now going through a rough patch and the founder wanted to reach out to talk to me, specifically, about the sales team, but I'll give you the greater context. I'll tell you about his challenge. Then I thought it would be fun for us, for the audience, and everybody listening, to go back and forth on what somebody should do in this situation, because I think it will apply in many different scenarios. Basically, they had a good amount of success up until this point, and now a lot of things are starting to not work anymore. They used to have a lot of success with inbound leads. They've become market leader in their markets and all of that good stuff. They accomplished a certain amount of scale, but now the market is changing. Number one, they're getting a lot more competition. Number two, the product they're offering is not as unique, or compelling, anymore. There's so much competition. There's also new technologies, so it's not the newest, coolest thing anymore that all customers want. The paid advertising channels that it used to use, the prices have gone up, so they're not working as well anymore. For a variety of reasons, they're not able to grow as well as they used to. Which means, specifically, for the sales team that they have developed, established, that the sales team is now getting less leads. These leads are less qualified. This means the sales team has to work a lot harder and is making a lot less money than they used to. All of a sudden, there's all this tension, these issues, sales team is really unhappy, people are cranky. There's all these problems and the founder reached out to me, specifically, with their sales team saying, “Steli, what do I do now? Do I try to pay the sales team more money? That's going to ruin ... I have slim margins, it's going to ruin my margins and it's going to be a problem. Do I try to just hire a lot more new people in the sales team?

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about mental health and how to stay mentally healthy while you are building a startup.


When you’re building a startup, staying mentally healthy is really important. Way too many entrepreneurs try to be strong and save face when circumstances are bad and this can lead to depression or worse.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten on the importance of mental health, best practices to stay mentally healthy in a startup, what you need to do, what to avoid doing and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:49 About today’s topic.


01:20 Why this topic was chosen.


01:51 Why you should seek help if things are looking really bad.


02:04 Best practices to stay mentally healthy in a startup.


02:39 How things change constantly in the startup world.


03:29 Why having awareness of your emotions, your mood, and your feelings is the goal.


04:10 The importance of self-awareness.


04:48 The need for self-improvement.


05:59 An example of being self-aware.


06:54 One of the hardest things for founders to do.


3 Key Points:


If you’re in a really terrible place emotionally seek help.

Having awareness of your emotions, your mood and your feelings is the goal.

In the startup world, things can change constantly.


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is-


 


[0:00:01]


Hiten Shah: Shit.


 


[0:00:02]


Steli Efti: Steli Efti . I love that I recorded this.


 


[0:00:06]


Hiten Shah: K.


 


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: Because, what is said before I hit recording was, "All right. Let's record the next episode, Hiten, mental health," and I hit the record button. As I was introing Hiten is like, "Shit." I love that raw moment. All right. So, today we're going to talk about mental health, and how to stay mentally healthy while you are starting a startup. Hiten, bless us with your genius and your wisdom. What is everything I need to do-


 


[0:00:35]


Hiten Shah: This is the startup chat.


 


[0:00:36]


Steli Efti: There you go. This is-


 


[0:00:36]


Hiten Shah: This is the startup chat. We don't know anything about this. Aw, man.


 


[0:00:38]


Steli Efti: How do I stay sane in a startup? What do I have to do? What do I have to avoid. I mean, I feel like we've recorded a lot of episodes that relate to this. Right? The emotional side, the mental side of things, but I wanted to do a quick episode on this. I'm not sure if you want to talk about the more serious cases of mental health. I surely don't. I mean, I'm interested in it, but I don't feel like I have an authority or confidence and experience to talk about real depression, clinical mental health, other than, if you're in a terrible place emotionally, seek help, and seek professional help. I think way too many of us, especially entrepreneurs, are trying to be strong, save face, and it becomes a very lonely place. I don't want to talk about the most severe cases of this, but staying mentally healthy is I think a real priority and a real threat in a startup. I know that you and I have a lot of experience personally, and with a lot of our friends, and people that we work with. What are some things that come to your mind in terms of best practices to stay mentally healthy in a startup?


 


[0:01:53]


Hiten Shah: Oh, man. I don't think you get the luxury of always feeling sane if you're going to do a startup or run a business. The one reason I'll say is because most of us, I think all of us don't really grow up being built for it. As a kid, you're there to have fun, you're going to get educated, you're going to go to school, people tell you what time to show up. You're not dealing with change. Literally, in a startup or a business,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the concept of company builders or company studios.


But what is a company studio? According to Steli, a company studio is a corporate structure that brings together talent and people, develops ideas and prototypes with those people and once those ideas or prototypes become something viable, they infuse capital into that project and incorporate it into a new business. It’s basically something in between starting your own company and being part of an accelerator like Y-combinator.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what company studios are, the benefits of joining them, the challenges of running one and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:35 What is a company studio.


01:51 Benefits of joining a company studio.


02:20 Why this idea is appealing to entrepreneurs and first-time founders.


03:19 The different ways of learning how to run a business.


03:57 How company studios function.


04:47 Another key benefit of joining a company studio.


05:06 How these companies differ from Y-combinator.


06:03 The challenges of running a company studio.


06:27 Examples of successful company studios.


3 Key Points:


A company studio is a good match for all parties involved, but it’s very difficult to pull off.

There are different ways to learn how to run a business.

One of the benefits of company studios is that you get to work with people who have done it before.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat we want to talk a little bit about this concept of company builders or company studios. What is it? How does it work? Is it good? It is bad? Who should participate in that or think about that? First let me give a definition on a company builder or a company studio. This is the concept, it's kind of something in between starting your own company and being part of an accelerator, like Y Combinator where there's a bunch of companies that are started in the very early stages that go through a three month period of pivoting, developing, launching, changing and then raising money to go off on the races. A company builder or a company studio is one corporate structure that brings together talent and people, develops with those people ideas and kind of rapid prototypes these ideas and NVPs them. Once that NVP or prototype of a very early stage of an idea has some legs, the company builder basically infuses some capital, puts together the team and incorporates it as a separate entity and kind of like bursts a new company that is being pushed out of the existing corporate structure. It's this idea of having one company that's launching off companies, that's starting off new companies. As a team member when you join a company builder or a company studio, the idea is that you're an entrepreneur but you're in a much more supportive environment where there's going to be money and infrastructure and expertise to come up with the idea. To name the company, to infuse it with money. Only if the early test work out and you have a promising opportunity that's tested and proven, then you get to take the team and the idea, whatever was accomplished internally in the company builder studio and run with it and become a real entrepreneur in kind of a safer bet or higher chance for success bet. This idea I think has been around for a very long time. It's very appealing especially for entrepreneurs. A lot of entrepreneurs like the idea of starting a company builder because they want to start so many different companies. It's also an appealing idea for first time founders probably that are like, "I want to be an entrepreneur but I have such a lack of experi...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about affiliate how to rebrand your company the right way.


Sometimes, some founders might decide to change the name of their company. This could be because they don’t like the name, the name is not resonating with their customers or they need a new name that reflects the current state of the company. While it may be a good idea to change the name, doing so a lot comes with a lot of risks and the rewards might not be that great.


Listen to Steli and Hiten talk about when the is the right time to rebrand your company, how to pull of a successful rebrand, examples of companies that rebranded the right way and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


01:00 Why this topic was chosen?


01:39 How you know that rebranding is a good idea.


01:50 The two main types of rebrand that companies do .


02:53 Why you should think carefully about a name change.


03:12 Reasons to rebrand.


04:00 A major reason why companies change their names.


04:54 Another common reason companies change their names.


05:03 How changing your names is changing the perception of your brand.


06:45 How there’s a lot of risk when changing the name of your company.


07:23 How thinking through whether to change your name helps you come up with a better name.


3 Key Points:


You really want to think about why am I changing the name.

One of the key reasons companies rebrand is because they are running into a big issue.

Changing the name for selfish reasons can work out but there’s a lot of risk involved .


 


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and on today's episode of the Start Up Chat, we're going to talk about how to rebrand your company. How to change the name, how to change the branding. All right, Steli. What do ya got?


 


[0:00:15]


Steli Efti: I don't know, I mean this is an interesting one, right? In a prior episode we talked about how to brand your company or start up, how to give your product a name. In this one we wanted to talk about what do you do when you ... A. How do you know that you should really change the name if you're not happy with it or the results aren't good? And then how do you pull that off? I think just recently, for whatever reason, I saw two examples. We're not going to name names, but two examples of a company that tried to rebrand and it didn't quite work as well as they wanted. In one example they even had to backtrack and change the decision again, which I assume was incredibly painful and very costly, very distracting doing so much work to do a new website, a new logo, and announce it to the world and to the company, and then having to a few weeks later take all that back, and go back to the old name. I thought it would be useful to talk, a. When do you know that you should rename or rebrand? How do you make that decision rationally? And then if you do it, how do you do it well so it doesn't create a massive amount of friction or problems, and you pull it off in a successful way. So let's start off with the first question. The fundamental one is how do you know that rebranding is a good idea, and renaming is a good idea? I have a sense of how we're going to start this conversation off, but I always love to throw that ball to you, and see if you're going to surprise me.


 


[0:01:41]


Hiten Shah: I want to say, there's two types of rebranding. There's the kind like Intercom has done, where they went from Intercom.ia to Intercom.com. That's easy.


 


[0:01:53]


Steli Efti: I didn't even know, I don't even remember that, but that makes sense.


 


[0:01:57]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, they were, for the longest time. Yeah. That's one kind of rebranding,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to come up with a name for your startup.


Finding the right name for your startup can be challenging, and it’s important you come up with a great name because it can have a significant impact on your success. For example, if you choose the wrong name for your startup, it could fail to connect with customers or worse.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how to come up with a great name for your startup, how they came up with the names of their companies, they share some tips that can help you come up with a name for your own startup and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:40 Why this topic was chosen.


01:43 Why you should choose a name that makes sense to your customer.


03:00 How thinking about the customer can help you come up with a better name.


03:37 How Hiten and his team came up with the name FYI.


04:17 How to come up with a name that doesn’t take you a lot of time.


05:07 Why it’s a not a good idea to come up with a name and rebrand it.


05:36 Steli wasn’t involved in naming close.io.


06:23 How they came up with Elastic Inc.


07:34 A different approach to coming up with a name.


3 Key Points:


I don’t think anyone is exceptional at naming.

The best names are the ones that make sense to your customer.

I was not involved in naming close.io


 


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: Today on this followup chat, we're going to talk about something I can not believe we've not touched on in almost 400 episodes, which is how to come up with a damn name for your startup. This is probably focused on early days. You have an idea and you now need to give that idea a name, or the company a name, or the product a name; and obviously there's considerations. You know, domain names, competition. What's easy to spell? Should I spend a lot of time on this and try to get it perfect and really think long term branding? Or should I just MVP it? it doesn't fucking matter, I can rename it later. Let's touch on some of these most obvious and big questions on how to help in the early days and how to come up with a name. How do I come up with a name for my idea, Hiten? How do I do that in 2019?


 


[0:00:54]


Hiten Shah: Oh man. I think that on one hand, the people put a lot of weight on a name and make it almost too hard on themselves to come up with a name. The most common thing I hear is I'm not good at naming. I'll be the first to tell you, I don't think anyone's exceptional at naming or anything. I don't think it's this big thing you got to be great at. It's something you don't really do that many times, to be honest. To me, the best names are the ones that make sense to your customer. Let's just throw down and just say that because I know you agree with that. Right?


 


[0:01:36]


Steli Efti: Yes. Yes, and it's the one thing nobody was ex- ... It's one of those things nobody was expecting you to say this at this moment, but nobody's surprised you said this at this moment.


 


[0:01:47]


Hiten Shah: There you go.


 


[0:01:48]


Steli Efti: Those are the best things because almost every episode right now, we find a way to go back to like, "What does your customer think about this?" Right?


 


[0:01:55]


Hiten Shah: There you go.


 


[0:01:56]


Steli Efti: Or how is this for your customers? But when people come up with names for their startup, the last thing they think about ... Honestly, I don't know if we thought about our customers when we came up with the name of the company, but I don't think ... I've never heard somebody go,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about replacing yourself as CEO or the founder of your startup.


One of the hardest decision a founder can ever make is deciding when it is time to hand the wheel to someone else. Why it may seem like something that needs to be done, it’s also something that Hiten recommends you don’t do as it can limit the success of the company amongst other things.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why you shouldn’t replace yourself at your company,  how to do this the right way if it’s something that has to be done and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:32 About today’s topic


00:47 Why you should replace yourself as the founder of your company.


01:36 Another reason why you shouldn’t do this.


01:55 How replacing yourself reduces the chances of your company succeeding.


04:16 An example of an exception when it comes to replacing yourself.


04:43 The best way to do this.


05:38 Why it is better to promote someone in the company.


06:06 How your customer feels about changes to the CEO position.


07:30 Why a founder might want to do this.


3 Key Points:


Your chances of success once you replace yourself go down tremendously

You don’t replace yourself as a founder, you are a founder for life.

Your business still has to run.


 


 


[0:00:00]


Steli: ... Boom. Hey, everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. Today we're going to talk about one of my favorite topics. I'm just kidding. I've been through it and it sucks. The topic is replacing yourself as CEO or founder. First thing I'll say is you don't replace yourself as founder. You're a founder for life. Sorry.


 


[0:00:19]


Steli: Fair.


 


[0:00:20]


Hiten: But I want to say it because you might not be the CEO and you might try to replace yourself. So my reaction to this was very personal, and my reaction to this was, “Don't do it.” And I'm going to say why real quick and then, Steli I'm sure you'll have some thoughts. So I went through this at my company, KISSmetrics. We had just gotten through a major lawsuit after a couple of years. We had an independent board member who was in the company and we were basically considering making him CEO and we decided to do it. And, honestly, it was the worst decision I every made about a company. I was actually amicable about it. I think there were things about, ironically, sales, that I wanted to learn, and I thought this gentleman running the company as CEO would be able to help me learn those things. I was dead wrong. Nothing wrong with him. It just wasn't a good fit for our company, and I think people wanted a change. And the thing is, I never got to run the company and grow the company. I had to watch someone else try to do it. That's why I'm bringing baggage to this conversation. I rarely do, but in this case I am. The other baggage I'm bringing is when I went through this I asked many people. I asked probably like a dozen different CEOs and founders who have done this themselves and replaced themselves, and they all said, “Don't do it.”


 


[0:01:48]


Steli: Interesting.


 


[0:01:49]


Hiten: So ...


 


[0:01:50]


Steli: Go ahead, go ahead.


 


[0:01:52]


Hiten: No, no. Go ahead.


 


[0:01:53]


Steli: No I was like, first of all I love your honesty about this and it's great to find a topic once in a while that gets you riled up, right? Some kind of a personal experience that gets your blood boiling.


 


[0:02:05]


Hiten: It's worse. Steli, it's worse. I went in there again, for six months after, I don't know, two years. I was still at the company but ... Actually, I don't remember if I was still at the company.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to help your customers through change.


When you’re building a product, it is common to make changes to it. This could be a UI change, a pricing change, a Logo change and so on. These changes will affect the customer so it is important to consider them before making any changes.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thoughts on how to properly make changes to your product, how to communicate those changes to your customers and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:23 Why this topic was chosen.


00:51 Why it’s important to consider the customer before making any changes to your product.


01:54 Examples of how not to make changes.


05:13 How even lowering the prices can create friction with your customers.


05:51 Why you have to think through why you’re doing the change.


06:52 How to be more thoughtful about communicating a change.


08:40 Why the changes you make should be relevant to the customer.


09:25 How to use FAQs to address customers concerns.


10:20 How to make changes the right way.


3 Key Points:


Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

You have to think through why you’re making a change to your product.

Even lowering the prices will create friction with your customers.


 


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey, this is Steli Efti .


 


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, we're going to talk about a very important topic. The topic is how to help your customers through change. I think any kind of change is what we're referring to. It could be a pricing change. It could be a branding logo change. It could be a UIUX change. It's something that when you're building a product, you tend to do, right? You tend to make changes.


 


[0:00:28]


Steli Efti: Yep.


 


[0:00:29]


Hiten Shah: And some of them you might think are more severe than others in terms of the impact on the customer. So I'm going to throw the first thing out on this one and just say that before you make the change, when you're thinking about making the change, I would think first, "Is this good for the customer or not?" Because that totally would change the way that I would communicate it.


 


[0:00:52]


Steli Efti: Well, this is something that's recurring a theme on our episodes, which is like take ... Ask yourself, put yourself in the shoes of your customers and prospects and ask yourself, "Does this make sense? What questions do they have and is this good for me or not?" Which is a tough perspective to take because most companies, the way they think about things is very much from their own perspective, right? Which is the easiest one to have.


 


[0:01:15]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


 


[0:01:15]


Steli Efti: Which goes, "We need more growth. What could be an issue with our current growth? Although, our branding sucks. Let's just have a totally new name and new website and that's going to help us with growth. So we just change everything and then ta-da we're going to announce with some kind of PR or blog post, we have a new name now. We're awesome. And we're never going to ask ourselves the question, what about our existing customers? How will this make sense to them? Will this confuse any of them? What if they type in our old URL and they pop in a new one? Like, how do we communicate this with the greater world and what do they need? How do they feel? Is this really good for them or not?" Most companies will just never ask that question. That fundamental question that really changes everything that comes after that.


 


[0:02:00]


Hiten Shah: They won't. They really won't. So, yeah ... Go ahead.


 


[0:02:04]


Steli Efti: No, I was just about to say ...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about a new pricing trend in the startup world.


There’s a new trend in the startup world when it comes to pricing. Some companies are beginning to offer custom prices to customers who meet certain criteria. This is in particularly common with larger companies like HubSpot or Intercom.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on these new pricing trends, why some companies started offering them if you should implement it in your startup and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:46 Why this topic was chosen.


01:49 Some examples of these new pricing trend being used today.


02:34 For the longest time, startups and servicing other startups wasn’t really a markets


02:43 Why this trend started.


03:22 Examples of why this trend started.


05:29 How larger startups started this trend.


05:50 If smaller startups copy this trend.


06:32 Why you should should go directly after the type of customer you want.


05:23 Why you should ask yourself why companies do something before implementing the same for your company.


3 Key Points:


Some of these companies I think are trying to attract the smaller customers without cannibalizing their core business.

I think you should think through whether or not you want a customer and what pricing structure will work for them right now.

If you want that type of customer, just go get them directly.


 


[0:00:01]Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about a new trend that Steli mentioned and I've noticed as well when it comes to pricing. You want to break it down, Steli?


 


[0:00:15]


Steli Efti: Yeah, I don't even know what to call this. Let's just call it, you know, let's maybe say customized packages or startup packages. So in pricing tiers there's been this idea for a long time that's been around, which was like kind of a startup plan or a super low entry plan, either a very cheap plan, or very limited plan for people that are individual users maybe. Or very, very early on, so very small budget, but you want to kind of get them into using your product in the early days. That's been around for a long time, but something that I've seen trending up, especially in SAS lately, has been these kind of startup packages or startup packages where a company will create a specific landing page for this. Sometimes it's not even on their pricing page. Sometimes it's kind of hidden, but they'll have a full fledged kind of landing page around that and as a good example, they'll have like the startup package and it's like this massive discount for a number of seeds, maybe five seeds, you know, 60 percent discounted, but they'll have a bunch of kind of criteria to qualify for it. You'll have to apply, which is a new thing, right? You'll have to like fill out a form and full fledge apply to qualify for the starter or the startup package. And some of them will have criteria like you have to be part of an incubator or you have to raise VC funding. You'll have to have revenue less than a million. You have to have less than 20 employees. And then if you hit all these criteria, we'll give you this massive discounted package, but you have to prepay for a whole year. So you have to pay like whatever, $400 bucks and you get like five seeds for a whole year that would have cost you whatever, two k or something. And I found this super interesting, like this is kind of a very customized package that customers or prospects have to fill out a form and apply for and qualify for.


 


[0:02:13]


Hiten Shah: They have to earn it.


 


[0:02:14]


Steli Efti: They have to earn it and it's very manual, it seems like,

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about becoming cynical or jaded as a founder.


One of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur for the first time is that you have this youthful and blissful mind. You feel like everything is possible and everything you learn is mind blowing to you. But, this state of bliss wears off as time goes by and you get more experienced.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why new founders are less cynical than experienced founders, how to approach new ideas and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic


00:36 The beautiful thing about being a first-time entrepreneur.


01:15 When new entrepreneurs typically start to become jaded.


01:55 How Hiten views cynicism in entrepreneurs.


02:16 How ideas can be fragile.


02:58 How Hiten reacts to new ideas.


04:20 Why you need to think through ideas versus shutting them down.


05:36 A quote from Jeff Bezos.


06:03 A hack that Steli has helped Steli in his entrepreneurial journey.


3 Key Points:


The more experienced the founder, the more cynical they are to new ideas.

People start leaning towards “why this CAN’T be done” versus “why this CAN be done”.

Ideas are fragile.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Boom. Hey.


 


[0:00:02]


Hiten Shah: Cool.


 


[0:00:02]


Steli Efti: This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: In today's episode of The Startup Chat, here's a quick episode I wanna ... A topic I want to discuss with you Hiten and that is the topic of becoming cynical or jaded as a founder. Right? In the beginning, one of the most beautiful things about being a founder and entrepreneur, especially when it's your first time is that you have this ... The bliss of ignorance, right? You have this youthful beginner's mind. Everything is possible. Everything you learn is like a mind blown new fact and it's an exciting thing to start a company from scratch, you come up with a name, a logo, a landing page, the first birth of your product, you start talking to people. It's super exciting. But if you've been doing startups and you've been a founder and entrepreneur for a minute, for years and you've done as many companies as you and I have done, right? As time goes by-


 


[0:00:59]


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


 


[0:00:59]


Steli Efti: We have more and more entrepreneurs that have been around the block and have done a few things already. It is hard not to become a little jaded, a little cynical. The more experienced the founders are that I talked to, the more I detect in them, and I've detected this in me as well, I'm not above this, a certain cynicism when new ideas are being discussed, new things are being discussed. People start leaning more towards why can't this be done than on the why could this be done. I wanted to talk to you about this. How do you think about cynicism in startups and entrepreneurship and being jaded? Is this a good thing? Is this a problem? Is it not a problem? How do you think about it in general? What have you observed? Let's just unpack this a little bit for the two of us.


 


[0:01:44]


Hiten Shah: I know you like quotes.


 


[0:01:47]


Steli Efti: Yes, I do.


 


[0:01:49]


Hiten Shah: I do too. It's not necessarily a quote but it's a line that somehow I picked up and apparently Steve Jobs said and it's just this idea that ideas are fragile. I have this with some people around me. Not a lot, where their first impulse of an idea is to think through risk. I call it just thinking through risk. They're not trying to shoot it down. They're just like, why would this not work. Their, basically, way of processing the idea has to do with an immediate impulse of assessing r...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about take-home assignments for job applicants.


This topic was chosen as a result of mistakes that were made at recent hirings at Close.io and as take-home assignments is an integral part of the hiring process.


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what take-home assignments are, how to approach them, mistakes to avoid when handing them out and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:39 Why this topic was chosen.


01:34 A take-home assignment for a recent job posting at Close.


02:17 Hiten’s view on take-home assignments.


02:37 The only way to understand what a person can do.


02:49 An example of a contract to hire approach.


03:10 Why it’s a good idea to have every candidate carry out the same.


04:01 Why you don’t want to give them work that relates too close to your company.


05:10 How to give out take-home assignments.


05:34 Why you should give assignments that are limited in scope.


3 Key Points:


I’m a huge fan of understanding what a person can do.

Typically, I like every candidate having the same assignment.

If it’s an unpaid job, you don’t want to give them work that relates too close to your company.


[0:00:01] 


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: In today's episode of the Startup Chat, we want to talk about take-home assignments for job applicants. Here's the setting. Here's why I wanted to talk to you about this, and I thought it would be very valuable to people, Hiten. We are hiring tons of people at Close. If you're looking for an awesome remote company to work for, a little plug here, check out Close.io/jobs. All of our jobs ... There's not a single position that is open that we would not have a take-home assignment as part of the interviewing process, right? Typically, you have to fill out an application. It goes through some internal reviews. If you check off on all of the main marks, we'll have somebody on the team have a first conversation with you. If that goes well, typically the very next step in almost all positions will be us giving you a little "homework assignment," a take-home, so that you can show us how you work. You can create something for us, and we can give you feedback and critique, and you can see ... Where both sides can see how we work together versus just talking about working together. These take-homes have always been a kind of key part of our interviewing process, and recently, there's been a role that we hired for where ... It's just been interesting where ... The way we designed the take-home was not very thoughtful, so it created all kinds of weird take-home assignments that then made us realize, oh, we've never talked about how to design the take-home. This hiring manager thought about it very differently from how we used to think about it, and he created all these kind of like aha moments that I thought might be useful to people, might save them a lot of time. Before I go into some of my tips, I'm just curious. Is that part of how you've been hiring people as well? Have you always been doing take-homes? Are you doing them sometimes for certain positions but wouldn't use them for others? What's your kind of overall take on take-homes?


 


[0:02:12]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, it's either a take-home or some form of assignment. Sometimes we'll even go as far as making it a paid assignment and putting some constraints around it. Yeah. I'm a huge fan of understanding what the person can do, and the only way to do that is by making them do it. A take-home assignment is definitely one key way. Another one would be, like, spend some time with us and do something with us.

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to consume opposing opinions.


Whether we know it or not, we are all stuck in our own little bubble. While this can be a good thing, to live a more balanced business and work life, it is a good idea to be open to views that are different from our own.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thoughts on how opposing views can be valuable, how you can be more welcoming to opposing views and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:30 About today’s topic.


00:47 One of Hiten’s favorite books.


01:25 One huge value of opposing views.


01:54 How we are all, to an extent, living in our own bubble.


02:30 Why being aware is really valuable.


03:40 How thinking differently can help you understand others and their worldviews better.


04:27 How it can be very easy to get stuck in your bubble.


05:03 How listening to opposing views can help you get out of a sticky situation.


05:45 Some things you can do to help you consume opposing views.


06:50 How having an opposing viewpoint can be instrumental in living a good life.


3 Key Points:


Whatever you think, think the opposite.

Opposing views opens you up to possibilities and ideas you were not thinking off.

I think it’s arrogant to assume that one does not live in a certain version of reality that is not shared by everybody on this planet.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: This is Hiten Shah, and today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about a longstanding topic. We don't have many of those, but it's a longstanding one which is I think, Steli, you said it as how to consume opposing opinions. Is that about right?


 


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: Yeah. Even more specifically the value of consuming opposing opinions, or breaking through your echo chamber or whatever you want to call it.


 


[0:00:31]


Hiten Shah: I know we love books. One of my favorite books is actually The Five Elements of Effective Thinking. One of the tips they have in it, one of the five is actually whatever you think, think the opposite, and just play that exercise out. I think that I read that book probably once every nine to twelve months, nine to eighteen months depending on how I'm feeling. It's always got all those reminders I need to just think differently, all those reminders I need to have more effective thinking. One of them is this, so I think that there's a tremendous amount of value. One of the things I'll say first about it is the value of thinking about opposing views is highly based on what it does to your mind, and how it opens you up to possibilities and ideas that you are closed off to if you are not thinking about an opposing viewpoint or an opposing idea, or the opposite of whatever you're thinking.


 


[0:01:32]


Steli Efti: I love that. I think we all to a certain extent live in some kind of a ...


 


[0:01:40]


Hiten Shah: Bubble.


 


[0:01:40]


Steli Efti: Whatever you want to call it. A bubble. Some bubbles are bigger than others. Some of them are more solid than others, but we all do. I think it's arrogant to assume that one does not live in a certain version of reality that is not shared by everybody on this planet. The cultures we live in, the communities we live in, the people we surround ourselves with do shield us, do make us part of certain tribes and certain groupthinks, and certain ways of consuming information and certain leanings in terms of our thinking, and maybe instinctual make us reject other groups, other tribes, other ways of thinking about certain topics. I think that, A, being aware that that is happening is really valuable and that we're all to a certain extent "victims" of that. Then,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to act, move and execute faster.


In the startup world, speed is everything. If you don’t execute fast, you’re very likely to fail. However, moving at such a fast pace can be scary to some founders and employees. Which is why it’s important to put in place processes that allow you to execute at a fast pace, otherwise your competition will.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on why speed is important for startups to succeed, they give examples of big companies that are excellent at executing and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:32 Why this topic was chosen.


01:10 Why startups are special.


02:02 What makes a startup move fast.


02:34 Why you may want to move fast.


03:38 Why you need a sense of urgency.


06:49 Why you need to be hyper-focused and prioritize.


07:03 Why it’s important that your team understands what needs to be prioritized.


07:54 Steli’s thoughts on why moving faster is so important.


08:34 Other factors that could slow down your startup.


3 Key Points:


Speed is everything.

It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eats the slow.

It’s important to figure out what you need to do in your startup to win.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:04]


Steli Efti: In today episode of the Startup Chat, we want to talk about how to act, move, and execute faster in your startup. The reason why I want to talk about speed with you Hiten is that recently I saw on your Twitter stream, you had posted out kind of a picture of a frame that had a quote in it that said, "It's not the big that eat the small, it's the fast that eats the slow." I thought, oh, this is a good topic to talk about, speed.


 


[0:00:31]


Hiten Shah: Speed's everything. I think that I'm excited to talk to you about this too because this is like the [inaudible] in startup's that I rarely see spoken about. I see everything sort of talking about the execution, what you need to do, and we even talk about how you get from this to that, right? Zero to ten customers, ten to 100, 100 to a million, I don't know. And like, the people don't talk about why startups are special. What makes them even like exist? Why do they exist? What makes it so that they need to exist? There's these big companies out there that should be solving problems for our customers, not startup's. Like these big companies are designed around, they solve a problem for customers, they have a lot of capital, they have a lot of people, but yet, startup's still exist and startups come in and they kick the butt of big companies. Not all of them, obviously, but like that's how they win. It's important to figure out what you need to do in your startup to win. And win means, win the market, win the customer, et cetera. I think that speed is all you got.


 


[0:01:50]


Steli Efti: How, so okay. Let's talk about speed, right? What makes a startup move fast? What does, you know, if you think about some of the companies in team startup's, teams that you've seen that move the fastest, what stood out as kind of key indicators, or key cultural things that they had that made they move faster than other startup's? When you see startup's slow down or move to slow, what's the main reason? I mean, the one thing ... I have a lot of thoughts, but I actually want to hear your thoughts before I throw in my two cents. What do you think make startup's fast, versus what makes them slow?


 


[0:02:29]


Hiten Shah: Sure. Well, let's define why you want to go fast. Let's just start there, right?


 


[0:02:41]


Steli Efti: Okay.


 


[0:02:41]

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about whether being an entrepreneur really the right way to gain more freedom in life.


It’s common for some people to think that being an entrepreneur is the right way to gain more freedom in life. However, this is not often the case, as sometimes, entrepreneurship can rob you of as many freedoms as it gives to you.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten address this belief by many that entrepreneurship grants you all freedoms in life, they stress the importance of defining what freedom means to you and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:34 About today’s topic.


01:38 Isn’t freedom the main motivator for people becoming an entrepreneur?


02:09 Why you should do what whatever you need to do.


03:06 Why other people telling you what to do is easy.


03:53 How there’s a value in being told what to do.


05:31 Why you’re gonna need to have to work with people to be successful at something.


06:16 How entrepreneurship can rob you of many freedoms.


07:20 How you can design a life of freedom.


07:53 Why it’s important to define what freedom means to you.


08:22 How you can have a boss and still not feel like you’re being told what to do.


08:48 The biggest problem with the word “freedom”.


3 Key Points:


If you want the freedom to do whatever you want, then go on and do it.

Other people telling you what to do is easy.

The way everyone defines freedom might not be the same.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Alright everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And, this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: And in today's episode of The Startup Chat, I accomplished one of my favorite things to accomplish when I talk to Hiten, which is when I suggest a topic, and his reaction is, "oh God" or some version of that. That is usually, that means we are on to something interesting here. So, here's what I want to talk to you about today, Hiten, to share this with the listeners. Which is, somebody recently asked me, two days ago to be precise, is being an entrepreneur and is running a start up really the right way to gain more freedom in life?


 


[0:00:42]


Hiten Shah: No


 


[0:00:44]


Steli Efti: Nice, alright so, this is it from us for this episode of The Startup Chat.


 


[0:00:48]


Hiten Shah: Yeah, we're done. No.


 


[0:00:49]


Steli Efti: No [crosstalk]


 


[0:00:50]


Hiten Shah: You want special, go away, go do something else. Please do something else, do yourself a favor. Right now, don't do this, stop.


 


[0:00:57]


Steli Efti: Alright, so, let me challenge you now. I will play the devil's advocate, you know I really agree with you, but just for the fun of it. Aren't most people or aren't many people becoming entrepreneurs because they want to be their own boss, they want to have more freedom and do whatever they want, they want to achieve financial freedom and get so wealthy that they can do anything they want in life. Isn't freedom the main motivator why people become entrepreneurs?


 


[0:01:24]


Hiten Shah: If you want freedom to do one thing, one specific thing, yes you should become a founder, entrepreneur, start your own business. That one thing is simple, if you want freedom to do whatever you want, whatever you want, you should do that, yes. Whatever you want doesn't mean go on vacation. Whatever you want doesn't mean go traveling, but it is whatever you want with your professional life, whatever you want. Meaning, whatever decisions you want, buck stops at you. Nobody is going to really give you any guidance, tell you what to do, sometimes even your co-founders. Yeah. That freedom of space to do what you want, that freedom of not relying on anyone to tell you or hand y...

Key points in this episode

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the main things that are killing your growth in your startup.


Growing a startup can seem complex but it doesn’t have to be. There are several things that a you can do that could kill the growth of your startup and knowing what these things are will help you grow your startup to new heights .


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share some address some of the most common factors and thing founders do that kills or slows down the growth of their startup.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic


00:43 The reason this topic was chosen.


02:51 One of the big reasons startups grow slowly.


03:52 Another big reason that kills startup growth.


05:01 A story about Grammarly.


06:11 Why you shouldn’t be afraid to do the things that are right.


08:04 How Hiten and his team did user testing on Grammarly website.


09:36 Hiten’s thoughts on the simplicity of homepages.


11:38 How to go from non-data driven to data driven.


3 Key Points:


If you can’t measure it, are you really doing it?

Your homepage should have a double digit conversion rate.

If your product can be valuable to a user within minutes of them signing up, you have an obligation to get them to that value as fast as possible.


[0:00:01]


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


[0:00:05]


Steli: In today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the main things that are killing your growth in your start up. The reason why we want to talk about this Hiten is that you just recently were moderating a panel on this very topic with some really amazing growth marketers, right?


 


[0:00:24]


Hiten: Yeah, I had three growth marketers on a panel at Drift's HYPERGROWTH West conference, and the people I had on the panel were a gentleman named Yuriy from Grammarly. He's been there six and a half years and he's the head of growth. Then I had Emily who's from Carta which used to be called eShares, or eShare, I don't remember, but it's called Carta. She's [inaudible] marketing there. Then I had guy named Kamo, who runs a company called Primer. It's goprimer.com. They do a bunch of work with a whole bunch of companies to help them with growth. Specifically around paid acquisition in Facebook and Google, etc. I chose those three people mainly because I think they all give a different perspective. So Grammarly is a B to C company, Carta is a B to B company for the most part, and then with Primer, Kamo sees all kinds of thing around, from B to B to B to C, to market places, he's worked with Lift and Uber and many other different companies. That's the panel of the panelist and the title, like you said is "What's Killing Your Growth?"


 


[0:01:46]


Steli: The reason why wanted to talk about this on The Startup Chat was that I came to the conference a little bit after the panel, so I missed the panel, was super bumped about it, but I saw an insane amount of responses. People really were sharing the three things I learned that is killing your start up right now. People were enjoying it, and getting a ton of value, and the audience was primarily marketers. A lot of marketers. I felt like, let's just take the best tid bits and the biggest ah ha moments and share it with our audience as well.


 


[0:02:17]


Hiten: Yeah, and I had some interesting questions like, tell us a story of when the business or the product was not growing. What did you do? I asked them what the number one that kills growth, that they told other people is for them. And the number one trend that these folks have seen around growth. Ill just lay out some of the conclusions or thoughts or whatever that came out of it. I think one of the big ones was, Emily mentioned when she joined Carta,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about two parts of the business trifecta, the vision and mission statements.


As a founder, you should have a clear mission and vision for your company. Mission and vision statements are similar and knowing the difference between both can go a long way in moving your company in the right direction.  


In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what a company’s vision should be, how it differs from its mission, how to create early versions of these statements and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:43 Why this topic was chosen.


01:34 What’s a mission statement.


02:28 What’s a vision statement.


03:41 Why you might not need both statements at the same time.


04:04 You can also have a product vision.


05:10 The right time to have a mission statement.


05:43 Why both statements are tools to help you run your company.


06:51 One of the main goals of these statements.


07:19 How these statements can help you make better decisions.


09:20 How to create an early version of your statements.


3 Key Points:


It’s not about if it’s trendy, it’s all about if it’s useful to you.

If you don’t know where you’re going you’re not going to get there.

Mission and vision statements are tools to help you run your company.


[0:00:00]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about two parts of a trifecta for a company that we haven't talked about. We've talked about values before, so company values. I don't think you and I have talked about company vision, so the vision for your company, your business, or company mission, which is a mission for your company. I think there are just really really interesting, just like values, in that they can actually, you know, cause people on your team, because this is really about the people on your team, to be motivated toward a common, sort of set of beliefs, set of goals, if you want to go there.


 


[0:00:51]


Steli Efti: Yeah. The episode on how to define your company values, is episode 336, 336, for people who want to check that out. Let's talk a little bit, first, maybe let's define what is the company ... What is a company vision and what is a company mission, and how is this different? I see there's a little confusing between vision and mission statements, often times.


 


[0:01:13]


Hiten Shah: Take a crack at is, Steli.


 


[0:01:16]


Steli Efti: All right. I'll do my best. For me, vision is really all about super long-term, the north star of the company, you know, kind of where potentially even an unattainable future, where you want your company to be. Ideally, the vision statement is something that gives people direction without being hyper-specific about all the specific steps, right? As my example, I always love to bring up Google's original vision statement that was like, take all the world's information and make it universally accessible to people. That's both, very specific, but also so broad that there's a lot of different things a company or people in your company could do that would potentially help the company move closer to that vision. A mission statement, in my definition, the way that I would think about it and talk about, is a bit more on the tactile side, in terms of trying to answer the question on how are we going to get to our vision? Like, how do we deliver this? You know, adding a bit more specifics on like, what are we going to have to do in the kind of more immediate future? Maybe, you know, a vision statement could be like a 100 year thing, verses, a mission statement could be a five year thing, or a three year thing of like, here's the part of the world,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about what it takes to grow your company from one million to ten million in revenue.


Hitting the million dollar revenue mark is a great achievement and something to congratulate yourself on. However, once you do, the new challenge now becomes growing your revenue to newer heights and this can be quite a challenge.


Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thoughts on surpassing the one million revenue mark and much more.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About today’s topic.


00:35 Why this topic was chosen.


01:50 How long it takes you to get to the ten million milestone.


02:31 Why the growth rate is really what’s important when you're trying to scale to $10 million.


02:43 What happens when you try to scale pass one million.


03:15 Things that break as you try to scale.


03:47 What it takes to get you to one million.


04:08 The big difference between leadership and management.


05:25 Why your goal should be to hit ten million with 3 or 4 years.


06:50 How to find team members that can scale to ten million when you’re still growing.


3 Key Points:


There’s a big difference between leadership and management

As you try to go from one to ten, everything breaks.

What got you to one doesn’t get you to ten.


 


[0:00:01]

Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


[0:00:03]

Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.


[0:00:05]

Steli: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat, we're going to talk a little bit about what it takes to grow from one million in revenue to 10 million in revenue, right? So, we have a prior episode of the Startup Chat, where we talk about how to get to your first million in revenue. And, we talked a little bit on that episode about this concept that today, it seems easier and faster for many companies to get to that one million mark than ever before. Especially if we focus it on kind of the software space. And then particularly on the SAS space, getting to kind of a one million run rate, or a R rate, is easier than ever before, and many, many companies are breaking that milestone, they're breaking it faster and faster. So, you know, what we thought would be cool is to take that next morsel and say, alright, so once a company surpasses the one million mark, the next kind of stepping stones and milestones that usually are on the five million market and surpassing the ten. And that's also the areas where there's like resistant lines, right, where companies have to, have usually a tough time breaking through, or where some company just like, getting stuck and they're many years in the four or five million mark. Or many years close to the ten but can't quite go through. So, I thought it'd be cool to just talk a little bit about our observations, our own experiences, what it takes for somebody to take a business that's running around the one million mark and pushing it beyond the ten.


[0:01:36]

Hiten: Yeah, let's do some math, so if you're doubling every year at one million, it will take you about three and a half years, roughly speaking, it will take you three to get to eight. If you're tripling every year, it'll take you, what was it? Almost, just two to get to nine.


[0:01:54]

Steli: Right.


[0:01:55]

Hiten: And so, you know, I think my first piece of advice on anybody that's like trying to go from one to ten, is what's your growth rate? How fast can you get the business to grow, because it's really about how fast can you get to ten? And the reason is, like, one to ten is, I mean, zero to one is obviously very difficult. One to ten is not necessarily much easier, it's just different. And, the growth rate is really what's important in terms of how fast are you growing every month, every year in your revenue, in order to go from one to ten? And,

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about speaking at conferences.


As you become more experienced and successful in business, you may get invited to speak at conferences. This could be for small acceptance of an award, to join a panel with your peers, or to keynote a major conference.


One great thing about speaking at events and conferences is that it provides you with a huge opportunity to get your personal brand and company out in the limelight while, at the same time, entertaining and educating those who attend.


In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on what it takes to speak at conferences and they share some tips that can help you do so effectively.


Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:00 About the topic of today’s episode


00:33 Why Hiten prefers speaking at panels.


02:09 The number of times Steli speaks in a year.


03:18 Why Steli chooses to speak at conferences.


04:08 Steli breaks down how he decides what conference to speak at.


05:19 How to maximize your speaking gigs.


16:15 How not to prepare for a conference.


07:01 How Steli prepares for keynotes.


09:04 How Hiten prepares for his speaking gigs.


10:42 One tip that can help you prepare for your keynote.


3 Key Points:


Speaking at conferences helps acquire new customers.

I say no to a lot of conferences.

I do a lot of speaking because it’s a good fit for me as a founder and my skill set.


[0:00:01]


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti


 


[0:00:03]


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today. Oh, go ahead Steli.


 


[0:00:06]


Steli Efti: No, you do it, you do it.


 


[0:00:09]


Hiten Shah: And today on the startup chat we are gonna talk about conferences and speaking at conferences. I'm going to start right now by saying that I used to speak at a lot of conferences like Steli still does.


 


[0:00:19]


Steli Efti: Yep.


 


[0:00:20]


Hiten Shah: And I definitely ramped that down quite a bit. I do speak at smaller events sometimes and I do, do some other things where I speak, but recently we both spoke at Hypergrowth, which is Hypergrowth West, which is Drift.com's conference. I didn't actually speak, I actually had a panel which is something I have been doing more because most people think panels suck and I think I want to learn how to make them awesome, so I've done probably over a dozen panels now I think. I did a panel on stage and the title of the panel was "What's Killing Your Growth" and that was fun! I like to make them entertaining and I like to be a good moderator, so I have a whole process for doing it. It's pretty simple, where I talk to the folks early and just get an idea of how they think about the topic and then I come up with questions, I create a document with an overview and questions, and I send it over to them. They have time to think about it, they might ask a couple questions back or comments on the questions I laid out, and then it's just go time on that day, so it's about fifteen to thirty minutes of prep, fifteen for them, another fifteen for me to write the document, and I've sent it off to them. That's how I do panel's. That's kinda my new thing when it comes to conferences, what I like to do is moderate a panel with a bunch of folks on it. That's my spiel about speaking and since I haven't done it in a while, with like a deck and a presentation and all that, I think Steli, off to you. I probably have a bunch of questions for you, but how many times do you speak a year?


 


[0:02:00]


Steli Efti: That's a good question. If we strictly focus on big conferences, it's about twelve to fifteen big conferences a year.


 


[0:02:11]


Hiten Shah: Oh, wow, okay.


 


[0:02:12]


Steli Efti: There's probably a bunch more small wo...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of having scripts and templates in your sales process. While it may not be needed during the early days of a startup, documents and scripts are crucial in helping your salespeople communicate your value. Listen as Steli shares how he learned the value of scripts from his own experience in sales and crucial tips that will help you make the most of your own templates.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:05 – Today’s episode is about using scripts and templates in your sales process

00:50 – Steli talks about his early experience in sales


01:42 – Steli did sales training when he was just 19 years old and realized the trainees were struggling with their work

02:28 – Steli remembered a workshop he attended

03:06 – Another participant in the workshop used a workbook and Steli thought it was a bad presentation

04:20 – The participant told Steli that the workbook he used was for his employees so they can replicate what he does

05:22 – Steli had an “ah-ha moment” where he realized that his employees could not replicate what he was doing because what he was doing worked for his personality and not their own


06:15 – In the startup world, there is a resistance to documentation and scripts

07:15 – Hiten says the lesson is to help other people know what you know

08:31 – Sales ends up as an afterthought because the founders think they can do it themselves

09:25 – The way you think as a founder is very different and you should embrace that

10:07 – As a founder, you must accept that other people may think differently than you

11:02 – In documentation, what you are aiming for is the middle ground

11:17 – You should create a script that is flexible and for different circumstances

12:15 – Make it in a way that people can still use their own language and allow space for creativity

12:54 – Scripts should be updated and developed regularly

13:29 – Salespeople will have bad days and the script can help them still have good conversations that will convert and have value

14:40 – In sales, repeatability is critical

15:04 – It is crucial for startups to be able to repeat everything – revenue, marketing, sales, product development and even fundraising

15:32 – Whatever NEEDS to be repeated should be documented

16:00 – The Ultimate Sales Bundle has 20 different sales templates for free

16:40 – End of today’s episode


3 Key Points:


While it might be boring, scripts and templates is a valuable resource that can function as a guide for salespeople.

Make your scripts and documentation in a way that allows creativity and flexibility for those who use it.

Repeatability is crucial to the growth of your business—especially in regards to the information that NEEDS to be communicated to future clients.


Steli: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.


 


Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah.


 


Steli: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat, we wanted to talk about why you need to use scripts and templates in your sales process. But even in general, I think why too many startups try to avoid documentation in any form and want to embrace creativity and individuality and why that is counterproductive, especially as you scale, right. So let me set the scene here with a quick story that I learned really, really early on.


 


Hiten: Sounds good.


 


Steli: One of the main reasons why I've always struggled ... For most of my career, I struggled being a good sales manager, right. When I started in sales, one of the things that I figured out fairly early on was that I was ... I had some natural gifts when it came to selling but I also was fairly creative in the interaction with my prospects. And I thrived on that creativity that made the job fun for me and it made...

Key points in this episode

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the idea of figuring out the answer to the question “who am I?”.


This is a question that we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives. However, in order for you to find yourself, you need to learn about yourself first. And this is no small feat. Figuring out who you are and what you want out of life can be challenging, and affects the kind of founder you will become.


In this e