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339: How To Build Add Ons, Extensions, Or Apps

In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about add-ons, extensions, and apps.

One way to launch a saas application is by creating a chrome add-on or extension that users can use as a gateway to your main product. While this is a great strategy for launching a saas application, it also has some downsides as well.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts on the right way to launch a saas application using this strategy, the benefits of doing this and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About the topic of today’s episode

00:47 Why this topic was chosen.

01:59 The benefits of using this strategy.

02:23 Why you should start with the product first.

03:10 How FYI was launched using this strategy.

03:30 What Hiten and his team learn about user behavior before launching FYI.

04:20 A fallacy about building a chrome extension.

04:54 Why you need to be in your user’s workflow to be successful.

06:19 The right way to approach this strategy.

07:03 The benefit of building on someone’s platform.

3 Key Points:

What we learned was that people are looking for these documents on their browser.

Where is the behavior happening that you are looking to get into?

If you’re not in their workflow in one way or another, you're not gonna achieve any level of success.


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.



Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.



Steli Efti: And in today's episode of the Startup Chat, we want to talk about add-ons, extensions and apps. Right? So we're talking a lot about how to start a startup, how to do or how to build a SAS business. We've talked about building services and consulting businesses in the past. What we haven't digged into a lot I want to just touch on a few of your experiences particularly on this, [inaudible] is kind of the downsized version of a full fledged SAS application, which is the typical let's take the Chrome extension or the WordPress plugin or add-on or a Facebook app or whatever else. Just building a smaller sized applications that sits on top of somebody else's platform, right? The do's and the don'ts. Is this still a Bible strategy today? Why should somebody considered it, I'd love to dissect this. And you have recently launched a Chrome extension. So you have a lot of really recent experience in this. My last experience with building an add-on, or an extension, we did a Chrome extension a long time ago, when we first launched like, five, six years ago for But we really didn't pour a lot of thought or love into that. And it's before that, when Facebook, the Facebook platform was a big thing. And everybody was building apps on Facebook. I build a bunch of apps on Facebook, but my experience is not as recent. So let's jump into the first and main question which is what you know, why should you do that anyways? Like what's the main benefit? And what's the main downside? And then we can break it down to, how to approach this and how to win on any of these platforms or how to win when you do this and do it right.



Hiten Shah: Yeah, so I think it has a lot to do with your service and your product and how you need to be thinking about that product. And a lot of that has to do with when are people going to use your product and Where are they? What places are they in? So for me, it doesn't start with, oh, we need to go build something or anything like that. It starts with the product you're building, the category you're in, and what you believe about it. So in our case, are the way we think about it is the product called FYI, it's And we did launch a Chrome extension a few months ago at the end of May. And then a couple months after that, we launched a desktop app. And so we have a Chrome extension,


Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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