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213: The Value Of Good Design In An Early Stage Startup

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the importance of design, especially in the early stages of your startup. Hiten shares how easy it was to stand apart from the crowd just 12 years ago. Now, a good design is so easily and conveniently made and copied. So, just how much attention should we put towards having a creative and beautiful design? According to Steli and Hiten, that depends. Tune to find out the importance of taking cues from your target market and how your ability to solve a problem should always come before a pretty design.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:09 – Today’s episode is about why design is important in the early stages of your startup

01:22 – Steli is curious about design and its importance and how to be competitive when everything else is so easily copied

01:52 – Hiten says that 12 years ago, it was easier to stand out by having a better design than other people as it was also harder to create a good design

02:12 – It is currently easier to have a good design, but startups don’t think about it as much

02:33 – If you’re building an engineering-focused tool, it is much more important that your APIs work and that it’s user-friendly rather than having a fantastic design


02:47 – On the other hand, if you are building a product for designers, you have to consider that there is a level of design you need


03:06 – The context of who your customer is matters

03:40 – It is still more important to have something that is usable, well-researched and feels good to use rather than something that is just super pretty

04:21 – Design will have different weight according to who your customers are

05:03 – You can differentiate whether a company is focused on the branding and marketing rather than on the actual product itself

05:37 – Steli says he did not focus on the logo or branding as much

06:12 – The quality of design in software has gotten much better

07:29 – Hiten thinks designing has gotten easier because there are more designers and certain patterns that have emerged which you can imitate

08:29 – Uniqueness in design is not as important as being able to solve a problem

09:28 – The more products that are in the market, the worse the user experience has become


09:36 – People tend to copy popular products


10:16 – Base Camp keeps on changing their design

11:03 – If your team does not have the skill set to innovate design, then do NOT do it

12:01 – You can copy but you must have your own customers—tune your product and design to cater to them


12:16 – Get closer to your customer and gain insight from them; make them the source of your inspiration

13:09 – Steli says he and Hiten should write a book that would be about staying focused on the customer


14:25 – Facebook was focused on “un-designing” and wanted to have as little design as possible—the clean format worked for them

15:07 – They had self-awareness about themselves

15:34 – Join the email list and give us a rating on iTunes

15:50 – End of today’s episode


3 Key Points:


The design of your product should be dependent on your target market—therefore, draw your inspiration from your customers.

Do not focus so much on the design that you end up forgetting about your product.

It is MORE important to solve a problem than it is to have a nice design.


The post 213: The Value of Good Design in an Early Stage Startup appeared first on The Startup Chat with Steli & Hiten.

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