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275: How To Create An Ecosystem Around Your Startup

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten are in DreamForce and they talk about how to create a business ecosystem and shed some light on how to do this.

Thanks to Jorge Soto and the team at First Cut for recording and editing the video!

The startup world has changed remarkably in the past decade, and new advances in technology are paving the way for more revolution. Perhaps, one way technology has changed business the most is in the way we operate on a day to day basis, and tools like Zapier and IFTTT have been at the forefront of that.

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how you can build an ecosystem around your startup, how to make the right decisions when it comes to building ecosystems and things you should consider before building or joining an existing ecosystem.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:35 – About today’s topic.

00:56 – How to build an ecosystem around your startup.

03:08 – What role APIs (Application Program Interface) play in today’s ecosystem.

03:53 – Steli shares how Close wants to win in the ecosystem game.

04:29 – An alternative to a reseller partnership.

05:27 – Hiten shares his thoughts about Airtable’s ecosystem.

06:40 – Steli talks about Zapier, and why it has been so successful.

08:52 – How to make decisions on what ecosystem to build.

10:44 – Thinking broad vs thinking deep.

13:01 – What startups want to think about before becoming part of an ecosystem.


Ecosystems are built on business development relationships.

Today’s ecosystems don’t rely on reseller partnerships anymore.

Becoming part of an ecosystem requires commitment and iterations.


Hiten Shah: Here we like talking about more than just sales and marketing.



Steli Efti: We just want to bullshit and chat about business and life and hopefully while we're doing that provide a lot of value to people.



Hiten Shah: The world's best business podcast. Oh shit. For people trying to get shit done.



Steli Efti: We don't want to give you feedback that's bullshit.



Hiten Shah: We want you to do your best.



Steli Efti: Welcome to .



Hiten Shah: That's right. We're here at Dreamforce in the sales hacker booth. And first cut is recording a video for those of you that are not able to see us on video.



Steli Efti: What are we going to talk about in today's episode?



Hiten Shah: Something about Dreamforce.



Steli Efti: Something about ecosystems.



Hiten Shah: Yes, so we're going to talk about how to create a business ecosystem and our thoughts on that. We thought that'd be a great idea considering we're at Dreamforce and they have a small ecosystem, right.



Steli Efti: Yeah, tiny, but it's ...



Hiten Shah: Spread over half the city.



Steli Efti: It's gaining speed, but it took them a while.



Hiten Shah: Took them a while, right.



Steli Efti: The theme is really how do you build an ecosystem around your startup and around your business, and like thinking about that. Now, this is a topic that need a little bit of a fine balance, because if a startup in the very early days, most startups in the very early days when they over think the ecosystem thing it actually concerns, but if you don't think about it at all it's also a problem long term, so what's the right way to think about ecosystem in the early days especially.



Hiten Shah: I mean, let's go back to how it starting,


Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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