The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten on Smash Notes

The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten podcast.

December 31, 2019

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 today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about knowing who you are as an entrepreneur.

As a founder, it’s important to be aware of your strengths and your weaknesses - self-awareness. Not being aware of your weaknesses, can lead to a situation when your team loses respect for you. And this can ultimately lead to the demise of your startup in extreme cases.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten share their thoughts what self-awareness is, why it’s important to develop this attribute, understanding who you are and how to build a business that works for you and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:33 Why this topic was chosen.

02:06 Why you need to do what works for you.

02:57 What kind of founder you need to be.

03:56 Why you should run your business like somebody else.

04:09 Understanding who you are.

04:22 The difference between understanding who you are and what you need to do to be successful.

06:40 Why you should approach sales with some level of self-awareness.

07:28 Why they're not just one thing that the customer cares about.

07:53 Why you need to understand what your customer wants.

08:10 The importance of understanding who you are.

3 Key Points:

Some companies are going to be great at sales and marketing and others are going to be great at a product.

There are many ways to create value for your customer.

The interface might not matter that much as long as it solves their problem.


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.



Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.



Steli Efti: Today on the Startup Chat, we want to talk about knowing who you are as an entrepreneur. Let me set this up for you, Hiten, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say about this. We've talked often about self-awareness, right, and how useful and important that is as a founder, as a human being. How important is this as a criteria for a team? How self-aware is your startup team overall over their strengths, weaknesses? What's really going on out there? The reason why I wanted to talk about, I don't know, self-awareness, self-acceptance, knowing what kind of an entrepreneur you want to be or you are, is that I was just doing a podcast interview, and the person that was interviewing me was a SaaS founder. One of his questions really kind of inspired this thought, which was basically ... He was basically setting up the question by telling me, "Listen, Steli, as we all know, today in SaaS, you need to be a product-focused company to succeed. You need to be a product-focused CEO and founder to succeed. Today, products need to sell themselves to a certain degree, so you need to build products that kind of grow organically. Look at Slack," and he brought up a bunch of other examples. "There's a lot of content, so what do you do every day to become a better and better product manager and product person as a SaaS founder?" I was like, "Nothing." Basically, my response was that I do agree that the standards for how good your product needs to be today are much higher than they used to be, and I do agree that a lot of amazing product-focused CEOs and founders are generating really incredible companies and creating really incredible companies. But I disagree with the main premise that everybody needs to be a product-first team or product-focused team, especially in SaaS. I brought the example of the biggest SaaS company in the world, which is an amazing marketing and sales company but not that great of a product company, right, Salesforce, and said that in the future, I still believe that there's many ways to create value in the world and create a brand and to have a reason for existence. I think that some companies have to be great at sales and marketing. Some companies are going to be amazing products.

Key points in this episode

In this episode

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