The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

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.



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In this episode, Steli and Hiten share how they choose the people they surround themselves with. They discuss the difference between being a maker and a manager as it relates to either starting a company vs. scaling a company. Hiten considers himself a manager and has found that he works best with people who are makers. Steli likes to lead in his professional life, but considers himself more of a follower in his personal life. Tune in as Steli and Hiten explain the importance of self-awareness and self-acceptance when it comes to pursuing the right people who can complement you.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:07 – Today’s episode is about the strategies Hiten and Steli use to choose the people they surround themselves with

01:31 – Hiten says the people you surround yourself with depends on what kind of person you are, what you believe you need, and/or what you actually need


02:22 – Hiten’s co-founder Neil has his own mindset in that he can accomplish what he has set his mind to, but he does not like managing people

03:03 – Other people do not give Neil energy

03:18 – On the other hand, Hiten is motivated by having people around him

04:04 – Hiten gets energy by knowing that other people are involved in his work


04:40 – Steli has two switches: one where he is completely surrounded by people and one where he just wants to be alone

05:35 – Steli likes to surround himself with people who are fairly different from who himself—in a way that compliments him

06:55 – Steli’s friends are adventurous and he gets the benefit of being able to join the trips that his friends organize because he can’t do it himself


08:35 – Steli did not consciously choose his friends, but found that they represent the things that he wants to be


09:44 – On the professional side, Hiten says there few people who can get things done on their own


10:47 – Organizations that start from just one person grow into something big

11:38 – Single people that have been driven to manage a large group can only do it successfully because they found one person that can do it well

12:01 – The skill set needed to start something is different from the skillset needed to scale

12:52 – It is important to realize what you are good at

12:55 – In the case of Neil and Hiten, Neil does not want to manage people but Hiten wants to, so they complement each other


13:21 – It comes back to self-awareness and self-acceptance

14:02 – When you realize your weakness, you can find somebody who has that strength

15:24 – Most people’s strategies are random or based on similarities

16:15 – Hiten says to know whether you are a maker or a manager, you should ask yourself if you are naturally thinking about how you can help others around you to be better at their job


16:59 – If you are thinking that you want to do their job, you are a maker


17:48 – Steli says ask yourself to think of someone you want to spend your time with and how you can make time for that person

18:35 – End of today’s episode


3 Key Points:


It is important to find people who can complement your weaknesses and strengths.

Self-awareness is key to knowing who you are and with whom you want to surround yourself.

Make time for the people that give you energy and make you happy.


Steli Efti:


Hi 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 how the two  of us, the strategies we use to choose the people we surround ourselves with. So,  if you've been a longtime listener of the Startup Chat , you know that both Hiten and  I have talked about how we choose the people in our lives and how we  build kind of our network and how we hand-picked our friends.

Key points in this episode

Key Highlights

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