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411: Hiten’s Billion Dollar Mistake

Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Hiten's Billion Dollar Mistake.

This episode comes after a blog post that Hiten wrote a couple weeks ago that blew up on the internet. It’s about a billion dollar mistake he made at his company KISSmetrics.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the reaction to the blog post, the big revelation he made, lessons he learned from it and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:55 Why this topic was chosen.

02:15 One reason why his blog post blew up.

02:34 The second reason why it blew up.

03:31 Some statements about the Hiten bomb.

05:16 The reason Hiten believes this post resonated with people.

05:32 An experience you’ve probably had at your team.

06:56 The reaction to the blog post.

08:00 Why Hiten is no longer feels bad about the situation.

3 Key Points:

We were ahead of the market by 3 years.Product development and building products is hard.If you are a team member in a company, you’ve had this experience.


Steli Efti: Hello everybody. This is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, drum roll, the billion-dollar ...


Hiten Shah: Mistake.


Steli Efti: Boom. Whose billion-dollar mistake, Hiten?


Hiten Shah: I guess it was mine because I wrote about it.


Steli Efti: It was your billion-dollar mistake. Now, before I let you talk, because this is going to be mainly a Hiten Shah-


Hiten Shah: No, I don't think so. I'm going to make you talk. What do you mean?


Steli Efti: What? No, don't do that. Don't do that with me. Let me set it up first for the audience that don't know what we're talking about. It's hard for me to believe that if you're listening to this podcast that you don't know what we're already talking about, but just in case. A couple of weeks ago, Hiten wrote a pretty impactful blog post about his billion-dollar mistake, and it blew up like a bomb. My Twitter feed and my Facebook feed was full of people sharing that article and sharing it not just like ... They didn't just click the To Tweet This button or something. People would write really, really long responses about why this was impactful to them, how vulnerable and powerful this blog post was. People were praising you. People felt ... They felt something. It really had an impact with them, and so this thing blew up. It's been everywhere. Everybody responded to it. It's been a really, really big thing. I think that you shared some incredible lessons that you learned with Kissmetrics, which was your billion-dollar mistake. So, I wanted us to talk about this a little bit on the podcast as well as make people aware of the fantastic blog post that they should read that's going very in-depth and in detail. You'll give people the URL in a second, and we'll have it in the show notes as well. But let's talk about ... Maybe summarize it in a sentence or two. What was the big mistake that you made? What was the big revelation that you shared with the SaaS world, and why do you think people responded so strongly to it?


Hiten Shah: Yeah. Well, first of all, a lot of people know the Kissmetrics brand because we hit about a million page views a month on our blog. So, even if you don't use the product or didn't even know what it was, you knew the brand. That's one reason. What I talked about was how we had two product failures early on. Then, we had a product success, which was our original version of Kissmetrics, and we really nailed it in a few key areas. I'll save the technicals for the blog post because I want to give more than what's on the blog post on this because you all are listening.


Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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