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.

Learn from podcasts in a minute or less. Startups, tech, stories and more. Editor's choice, delivered every morning. It's free!

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about an unusual event that happened to Steli, but spoke volumes about making that first impression—that is his experience learning how to fly a fighter jet. Steli shares how he ended up flying a fighter jet in Serbia as a way to connect with a conference participant. Steli and Hiten extract the value of this unique experience by discussing the importance of those first impressions while not being too quick to judge.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:05 – Today’s episode is about how to fly a fighter jet

00:48 – Steli flew a military fighter jet  

01:13 – Steli was in Serbia to speak at a startup conference

01:35 – One participant wanted feedback on his YC application

02:05 – Steli was grabbed by the guy who wanted feedback and the man was quite aggressive

03:16 – During the morning of the conference, the organizer told Steli that the guy was waiting for them to fly

03:45 – Steli thought that it would just be a small normal plane

04:01 – When they arrived at the airport, Steli saw a military plane and was surprised

04:22 – Steli admits he misjudged the guy and found out he had big businesses in Serbia, and is actually an interesting and caring person

05:56 – The man really wanted Steli to enjoy the ride

06:53 – He let Steli fly the plane while he took pictures of him

08:20 – Steli felt exhausted by the experience, but was high with adrenaline

08:37 – The man then asked Steli about his YC application

09:03 – Ever since then, Steli has been trying to get back to Serbia to fly the plane again

09:31 – Steli says this particular man took the right approach in getting Steli’s attention by stepping OUT of the box

10:10 – Steli thinks he was the first person that this man took on his fighter jet

11:16 – Steli thinks he is fairly accurate when it comes to judging people, but when he turns out to be wrong, it gives him the chance to get better at it

12:08 – Hiten says he also likes to be pleasantly surprised when judging somebody

12:45 – Hiten says to also be open to seeing the person on the inside

13:21 – Steli says the pitch in the end was pretty bad, but because they had opportunity to talk, Steli was able to discern that the idea was good but the presentation just needed tweaking

14:08 – You won’t always get an hour of somebody’s time, so you have to communicate your pitch properly

15:34 – In real life, you only have a snap shot moment to make an impression

16:08 – Strive to make the first impression accurate

16:27 – Steli advises people to try flying a jet, if they can

16:45 – Leave a review and rating on iTunes and recommend the podcast to your friends

17:13 – End of today’s episode

3 Key Points:

If you want something, work hard for it—there’s no other way around hard work.

You can easily misjudge a person, so choose to be open to those that you meet.

First impressions do matter when it comes to making that pitch, so be prepared and as clear as you can be when it comes to communicating what you do.

Steli Efti:

Hey everyone, this is Steli Efti.

Hiten Shah:

And this is Hiten Shah.

Steli Efti:

And in today's episode of The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about something unusual:  how to fly a fighter jet. I have a weird story to share, I can't  wait to share it with you, and maybe we'll find some lessons learned here, and  some nuggets of wisdom to share with others. At least I can guarantee that it's  going to be curiously interesting along the way. Here's what happened just a few days  ago, Hiten. I actually flew a fighter jet. A real military level, kind of Top  Gun shit.

Hiten Shah:


Steli Efti:

No kidding. I did not know that I would end up flying a jet that  day...

Key points in this episode

In this episode

Learn instantly from the Smash Notes weekly ->

Podcast summaries for the best in startups, technology, and personal health. Read it in a minute or less. delivered every morning. It's free!

download episode

Suggested Episodes