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In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about the value of learning about your competitors. Hiten used to ignore his competition, but has learned that he needed to change his attitude about this. In order to be able to provide the best product to the customer, one MUST evaluate one’s competitors. Hiten shares the simple strategies he has used to learn more about his competitors and WHY it’s important to dig, even if you do not have a product yet.

Time Stamped Show Notes:


00:05 – Today’s episode is about how to learn about competitors before and after you create a product

00:35 – Hiten sent out an email he has been working on for 10 days and that has 34,000 words


01:06 – The email is what sparked today’s topic


01:44 – Check out producthabits.com to subscribe to Hiten’s emails


02:12 – Hiten sends a main email once a week that includes 10 links about business

02:35 – Hiten also sends one to two other emails a week about product development


02:50 – Steli does not read the email newsletters he is subscribed to

03:14 – Hiten’s newsletter is the only one Steli reads

04:06 – Steli was not excited to read the email because it was about surveys


04:37 – In the middle of reading the email, he realized it had good content

05:31 – Steli wanted to talk about the email in the podcast because he wanted to learn more about it and share it to listeners


06:34 – Hiten used to have a problem with competitors


06:41 – Hiten did not want to look at what his competitors were doing

07:12 – After some time, Hiten realized he could learn from his competitors to understand his customers better

08:07 – Hiten used to think that looking at competitors would change his own opinions and affect his creativity

08:25 – More than anything else, Hiten cares about his customers and maximizing his time  


09:22 – Up until this conversation, Steli thought looking at competitors was distracting him from looking at his customers


09:47 – Steli never thought he could  understand his customers better by learning from his competitors


10:41 – Hiten says to look at everything about the competitor


10:45 – Hiten uses G2 Crowd to read about customer reviews

11:05 – The customers talk about the competitor publicly

11:24 – What they are talking about is an alternative to your product

11:58 – Hiten found out people don’t like Dropbox, because it sucks for teams

12:03 – People also hate the storage limit in Dropbox


12:31 – Hiten says they will not build a Dropbox, Google Docs or Microsoft Word but these are tools that companies relate to


12:44 – Hiten wants to understand the usage of the tools because they will build something in the document space


12:54 – You can build a product just by looking at the customer insights


13:01 – Look at their most important gaps that customers mention


13:22 – Hiten says to look at every single website of your competitor


13:25 – Look at their home page and the words they are using


13:35 – Hiten learned that every document sharing tool are targeting salespeople

13:56 – Hiten uses archive.org to look at the first website copy of competitors and to see how they evolved

14:40 – Hiten says people have been taught to ignore competitors

15:11 – Hiten signs up for competitor’s demos and acts like a customer


15:22 – His competitors also do that to him

15:24 – Level the playing field by doing that to your competitors to learn about their messaging


16:02 – Hiten realized you can survey your competitor’s customers

16:14 – Hiten asks his email list to fill-out an NPS (net promoter score) survey


16:35 – You can see WHO cares about the product, HOW MANY people care about the product and their LEVEL OF SATISFACTION with the produc...

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