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Product Hunt Radio

Updated 9 days ago

Business
Technology
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Product Hunt Radio is a a weekly podcast with the people creating and exploring the future. Tune in every week with Ryan Hoover and Abadesi Osunsade as they're joined by founders, investors, journalists, and makers to discuss the latest in tech.

Read more

Product Hunt Radio is a a weekly podcast with the people creating and exploring the future. Tune in every week with Ryan Hoover and Abadesi Osunsade as they're joined by founders, investors, journalists, and makers to discuss the latest in tech.

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
48
4
8
3
1

Definitely recommend!

By LinLinAppnile - Jan 31 2019
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Love to hear some insights from other founders and investors. Learned a lot!

Love listening to these

By Gmav - Aug 03 2015
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Really interesting to listen too! 👍🏼

iTunes Ratings

64 Ratings
Average Ratings
48
4
8
3
1

Definitely recommend!

By LinLinAppnile - Jan 31 2019
Read more
Love to hear some insights from other founders and investors. Learned a lot!

Love listening to these

By Gmav - Aug 03 2015
Read more
Really interesting to listen too! 👍🏼
Cover image of Product Hunt Radio

Product Hunt Radio

Latest release on Jan 22, 2020

Read more

Product Hunt Radio is a a weekly podcast with the people creating and exploring the future. Tune in every week with Ryan Hoover and Abadesi Osunsade as they're joined by founders, investors, journalists, and makers to discuss the latest in tech.

Rank #1: Episode 48: Chris Sacca

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Chris Sacca is one of the most successful angel investors of all time. He's invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and Kickstarter, among many others. Before that he led special projects at Google and worked as a lawyer at Fenwick. He shares what it was like working with Larry & Sergey at Google, working with Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey as one of the first investors in twitter, becoming a guest shark on Shark Tank, interviewing Edward Snowden, and asking President Obama the tough questions while working with him in his two campaigns. edited by Alex Kontis praise to @sacca criticism to @eriktorenberg

Dec 17 2015

1hr 10mins

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Rank #2: Episode 73: Jason Fried

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Jason is the founder and CEO of Basecamp. In this episode we talk about building a company that lasts 40 years, what it’s like to build a remote team, how he thinks of the professional year in terms of seasons, daily rituals, and how he defines success. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Jasonfried Constructive Criticism to @ErikTorenberg

Mar 04 2016

56mins

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Rank #3: Maker Stories: Episode 1 w/ Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber, Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt

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We're thrilled to announce the launch of Maker Stories -- one-on-one conversations with makers about their products and the stories behind them We’re going to discover what inspires these makers, how they perceive the world, what they grapple with - I want to get deep with this: What Marc Maron did for comedians and actors I want to do for entrepreneurs and investors and doers and thinkers creators and makers etc. and this isn’t gonna be just people in tech - it’s gonna be people in books, games, music, movies, a vast array of types of creators. Like all Product Hunt projects, it's going to be community driven. If you have recommendations for guests, let me know. Appropriately, the first episode features none other than podcast legends Alex Blumberg and Gimlet Media. We discuss the future of Gimlet Media + Startup Podcast, what it’s like behind the scenes at Gimlet, and we get deep into the craft of podcasting. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman

Mar 17 2015

46mins

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Rank #4: The future of direct-to-consumer and e-commerce

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Web Smith has a long history working in direct-to-consumer and e-commerce. He managed marketing spend for Rogue, a leading sports goods manufacturer back in 2011 before co-founding Mizzen + Main and later joining Gear Patrol. In 2015 he founded 2PM, a B2B media company for the commerce industry and advises leading executives in the space. Through 2PM Web also invests in early-stage DTC brands and platforms that support the consumer ecosystem.

If you've ever thought about starting your own DTC brand or online shop, you'll want to heed Web's advice.

In this episode Ryan and Web talk about...

The state of direct-to-consumer today

“It’s going to become a battle to discern which companies have sticking power and what a possible exit will look like. Casper’s potential IPO will set a standard for other brands looking to exit. We’re also looking at a lot of companies developing holding companies for these types of brands.”

Web points out that only 12% of transactions are e-commerce today — the remaining 88% comes via physical retail.

Trends in the industry and how it has evolved over the years

“The industry’s filling up pretty quickly. It’s a really dense area for people who want to become founders. They’re highly educated, from great schools, and funding is easy to come by in the DTC space for the time being. So they’re coming out of the gates from Wharton or wherever with millions of dollars in the bank and they’re probably going to get to the next milestone because they have the right founders, the right teams, and the right money. That’s the story of tens if not hundreds of consumer brands in the last two years.”

Direct-to-consumer has for several years been a hot area for founders and investors. He talks about some of the trends he's seen in the space, including which growth strategies have been effective and how companies will need to evolve in the coming years as the landscape shifts. They also discuss companies like Casper and Warby Parker getting into brick-and-mortar sales, even as they are the poster children for the disruption of brick-and-mortar.

What Web would do if he was creating a direct-to-consumer brand today

“If I was starting a DTC brand today, I would actually start with a media company. I would launch a newsletter or blog a year or two before. It’s worth your while to develop an organic base of people that are interested in the product that they have. I know that sounds counterintuitive but you’re seeing a premium on the brands that have that type of organic acquisition”

He says that paid acquisition is a commonly used strategy by DTC CMOs but that it is quickly becoming cost-prohibitive. He predicts that companies will need to adapt to different models in the future.

How to think about defensibility for direct-to-consumer companies

“[Ask yourself] Who are the people defending their purchases? How are they talking about their purchases to their friends and loved ones? How loyal are they? Will they come back to buy the next thing that you sell? That’s an element of defensibility that goes a bit unconsidered.”

Web points out that there are plenty of informal brand ambassadors for companies with strong brands. He says that the word-of-mouth spread of brand affinities is an underrated aspect of defensibility.

How direct-to-consumer companies can create a community around their brand

“When Nike released the ad with Colin Kaepernick, Nike knew what it was doing. It was going to polarize the customer base and the folks that were on their side would spend a lot of time and energy defending Nike’s decision and that would amplify the brand for those defenders.”

He says that companies need to think about their consumers in terms of one-to-many relationships instead of the one-to-one model that has been the primary model to date. Web talks about some of the communities that are forming around certain brands and how companies can encourage the creation of those communities.

They also discuss some of their favorite e-commerce or direct-to-consumer brands and companies, and Web breaks down why those companies have been successful.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot for their support. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

AdoreMe — The new face of lingerie.

Away — Beautiful, direct-to-consumer luggage.

Chubbies — Radical shorts for your weekend.

Lacroix — Naturally essenced sparkling water.

Loop Fitness Tracker — Activity band with heart rate variance and smart guidance.

Philz — Ryan's favorite coffee.

Recess — Sparkling water infused with hemp extract and adaptogens.

ThirdLove — Better bra sizing through a self-measuring iPhone app.

May 15 2019

27mins

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Rank #5: Maker Stories: Episode 10 w/ Eric Ries

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Eric Ries is the author of Lean Startup, which has since become almost gospel in the startup world. We have a great chat about writing, career strategy, lean startup philosophy, and much more. Eric’s book, The Leader's Guide, was also a first selection for the product hunt book club. Stay tuned for more about Product Hunt Books. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman

May 20 2015

45mins

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Rank #6: Why it doesn’t have to be crazy at work with David Heinemeier Hansson

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On this episode Abadesi talks to David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder and CTO of Basecamp, and creator of Ruby on Rails. He is also the author of several bestselling books, including It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, co-authored with his co-founder at Basecamp, Jason Fried.

In this episode they talk about...

Why you should think about your company as a product

“This idea that the company itself is changeable — the policies of the company, the values of the companies — are things you can tweak and you can iterate on in much the same way as you would iterate on a product. The process is quite similar to when you put a product into the market and you get feedback from customers.”

He tells the story of building Basecamp outside traditional tech hubs and how that influenced the culture at the company. He says that it’s important to build from first principles and to have control over the company you’re building. He talks about their values at Basecamp and how to think about and get feedback from employees on how the company needs to change and evolve. He also points out that you always need to be thinking about improving not just your product, but also your entire philosophy and way of doing business.

Why we need new role models in tech

“We've gone from everyone thinking the greatest thing in the world would be to be Mark Zuckerberg and to have Facebook to far more people now thinking, actually I don't want Facebook, I don't want Facebook's problems, I don't want to be Mark Zuckerberg. I think if we can start by having a takedown of the past idols, we can start building up some healthier models of what we should try to emulate instead.”

David says that we need a new vocabulary in the tech industry. He lists a number of different words, from unicorn to angel to battlefield, that inaccurately describe the actual function or intent of that entity. He says that it’s easy to excuse unethical actions if we believe that we are actually at war in a startup. He also talks about why “small is not a stepping stone” for your company and breaks down why the obsession with growth has led people astray.

How to break the cycle of overwork

“We can live such better fuller, richer lives if we just stopped believing that the most worthy thing we can do is to give every waking hour and moment to the business. That's actually not good for business. If you were just trying to create the most efficient business, you would not come up with this regime of chaining people to the office.”

He explains why you shouldn’t think about your co-workers as your family, and examines some of the current scourges of modern workplaces, like the open-plan setup. He also points out that Henry Ford realized a long time ago that people cannot work for more than forty hours a week without seeing a huge drop-off in efficiency, so it would make sense not to not push employees harder than that today.

A new way of working

“It doesn't work to constantly puncture and slice up the day [with meetings and standups]. So you should be extremely cautious about when you put things on many people's calendar. When we do instead is we encourage people to share where they are at [on a project] in an asynchronous way where someone can choose to digest that and respond to that on their time.”

David talks about the current practices prevalent at most workplaces that result in people not getting things done, and how they can be improved on. He talks about the unique approach to meetings, standups, deadlines, and presentations that they have at Basecamp and how they have increased retention. He says that it’s a misconception that people are born superstars and says that high-quality talent is more akin to a tree, that you cultivate, rather than a “diamond” that you find.

Of course, they also talk about some of his favorite products as well.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies, Books, and Products Mentioned In This Episode

BreatheSmart Air Purifier — Stylish and effective air purifier.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Oura Ring — Advanced sleep and fitness tracker.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Oct 30 2019

59mins

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Rank #7: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 5 w/ Semil Shah

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In this episode Semil Shah (Product at Swell, writer, and investor) joins me, Ryan Hoover, to chat about one of my favorite topics, home screen apps. We also talk about Swell, Semil’s approach to investing, and washing vegetables in the shower. Enjoy. Products mentioned: - Swell - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/swell - Stitcher - http://stitcher.com/ - Soundcloud - http://soundcloud.com/ - Sunrise - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/sunrise - Circa - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/circa - Pocket - http://getpocket.com - Medium for iOS - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/medium-for-iOS - Clear - http://realmacsoftware.com/clear - Asana - http://asana.com/ - Last - http://last.co - Slack - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/slack - MessageMe - http://messageme.com - Quibb - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/quibb - Refresh - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/refresh-1-6 - Instacarthttp://instacart.com Subscribe on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/product-hunt/id862714883

May 12 2014

39mins

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Rank #8: Episode 65: Terry Gross

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Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air on NPR for over 40 years. She's done over 13,000 interviews, and is, in many people's opinion, the best interviewer alive. We talk about how Terry got her start, how she met her husband, her experience in therapy, the craft of interviewing, and much more. As a student of the craft, it was an absolute honor to have Terry on the podcast. If you like this epiode, tweet @NPRfreshair and let them know. If you haven’t listened to Fresh Air, I recommend starting with the interviews of Maurice Sendack, Louis CK, Marc Maron, or any other guests that interest you. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman Lavish Praise (& Money) to @NPRFreshair Constructive Criticism to @erikorenberg

Feb 11 2016

52mins

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Rank #9: Episode 78: Matt Mazzeo

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Matt is managing partner at Lower Case Capital with Chris Sacca. We talk about how Matt transitioned from 8 years at CAA to the world of VC, the future of Lowercase and VC in general, advice for breaking into startups/VC, difference between LA and SF, and much more. Matt is one of the best investors in the game and also one of the kindest. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Mazzeo Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg

Mar 27 2016

1hr 17mins

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Rank #10: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 38 w/ Justin Kan

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In this episode Justin Kan, partner at Y Combinator and founder of Justin.tv, Twitch, Exec, and Socialcam joins us. Justin shares tips for hopeful YC applicants, the motivation behind his new EDM music discovery site, and impressions of this renewed interest in livestreaming video. Listen in. P.S. Here's a pic of the original Justin.tv broadcasting machine, as taken from our "recording studio" at Twitch: https://instagram.com/p/0B2Gs9D9Z1/

Mar 24 2015

38mins

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Rank #11: Bootstrapping nine businesses to millions in revenue with Marcus Taylor

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Marcus Taylor, founder of Venture Harbour, a digital product company based in the UK. They’ve launched nine companies in the last few years and have grown them to millions in revenue. He is also the youngest patron of The Prince’s Trust youth charity and has committed £100,000 to support young entrepreneurs across the UK.

In this episode they talk about...

The business philosophy at Venture Harbour

“We built a WYSIWYG form editor for ourselves initially and put it out there to see if other people found it useful. This is how a lot of our ventures happen. We’re working on one venture and we discover a problem and solve that problem and it’s like, okay, new venture!”

Marcus explains how he got started with Venture Harbour. He was working at a digital marketing agency out of school and was building side projects. Those side projects started earning him more in revenue than he earned from his salary, so those projects became Venture Harbour. He explains how they approach building an audience for their products, and why they don’t “buy audiences.” He explains the power of content marketing and why they invest so many hours in creating the very best content for a particular topic, as well as the tools and strategies they use to find the most impactful pieces of content to create.

How the team works together

“Often we will build these hacked versions of ventures keeping the team very small, and then it over time as that venture matures, we start assigning more people and building teams around those ventures.”

He explains the in-the-weeds details of how they actually get things done at Venture Harbour, and how he thinks about his role of head of product at the company. He explains how he tries to facilitate and coach to get the most out of the team, and why nailing their vision and values has been so important for them — something that you may not necessarily think of as pragmatic but has really helped with the day-to-day at Venture Harbour.

Some of the unconventional views Marcus holds

“I started Venture Harbour with 500 quid in my bank and a broken laptop. We've never raised any money for any of the ventures. I find so many friends in the startup world spend so much time messing around with cap tables and pitch decks and high-fiving each other when they raise money. I believe so strongly that if you had spent that time listening to the customers and letting your customers be your investors, you'd be in a far better position.“

Marcus explains why bootstrapping is his preferred way to build companies, and says that it is in fact a more sustainable way to build a business than raising venture capital. He also talks about his leadership style and how he uses coaches to get the most out of his work. He also explains why he likes to read books slowly, why he doesn’t have social media, and more.

How he thinks about personal development

“You’ve got primary books, where the book should have been 2,000 pages but it had to be condensed down to 300 pages. Then you’ve got secondary books — most business books fall into this. They are extrapolating stuff and applying it to a concept. And then you’ve got tertiary books, which are more storytelling and anecdotal.”

He runs through the strategies he uses to make sure he is always getting better as a maker and manager. He explains his method of categorizing books and how he decides which to read and which to only read the summary. He also talks about overnight conferences and why he seems to get the most out of those types of gatherings. Marcus also talks about how he used the tips from the book *Getting To Yes *by Robert Cialdini as part of his wedding planning.

Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Leadformly — Capture 3X more leads with high converting Leadforms.

LessPhone — The app that won’t let you use your phone.

Light Phone— Phone designed to be used as little as possible.

Serene — The macOS app to get your focus back.

Status Hero — Automated stand-ups, reports, and insights.

Nov 06 2019

41mins

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Rank #12: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 23 w/ Roy Bahat & Dan Strickland

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This week's PHR comes from the beautiful Bloomberg Beta HQ on the Embarcadero with Roy Bahat (Head of Bloomberg Beta) and Dan Strickland (Operations at Bloomberg Beta). Roy shares his secrets to get to inbox 0, keyboards, we discuss invisible apps, and a preview of what’s to come at Product Hunt. - Keyboardio (http://www.keyboard.io/) - Making keyboards better - Nudgemail (http://www.nudgemail.com/) - The easiest way to send yourself reminders - Zapier + Product Hunt (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/zapier-product-hunt) - Create your own Product Hunt notifications - Jarvis (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/jarvis) - A personal assistant for $100/mo - Digit (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/digit) - SMS bot that monitors your bank account & saves you money - RubCam (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/rubcam) - Minimal iOS camera for taking pictures by rubbing the screen - Frontback (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/frontback) - Tell stories with photos - Checkr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/checkr) - An API to Do Background Checks - SaviOne (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/savione) - A revolutionary delivery robot for the services industry - Jobr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/jobr) - Tinder for job hunting - Two Margins (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/two-margins) - Annotate financial documents (ex. SEC filings) w/ the crowd

Sep 14 2014

41mins

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Rank #13: Empowering the next generation of makers with no-code tools

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AJ is mysterious. He's a maker who goes by his initials only and is the creator of Carrd, an awesome tool for creating one-page websites without any code.

AJ lives in Nashville and built Carrd entirely himself. He's a bootstrapped, solo entrepreneur and maker who's been able to make a great living building a product people love and pay for.

Luckily, he agreed to be recorded without voice masking, as Startup L Jackson requested, when Park— er, Startup L Jackson came on in the first incarnation of Product Hunt Radio.

In this episode Ryan and AJ talk about...

How AJ started Carrd as a side project which morphed into a full-blown business...

“It started out as trying to make my life easier but ended up making users’ lives easier as well. A one-page site builder sounds innocuous, but you’d be surprised at the directions something like this can go.”

He explains how he started Carrd and why he decided not to take on the large, multi-page site builders of the world.

... and how Carrd's users transformed it into something new entirely as an outlet for their creativity.

“Trends in web design means everything moves together and kind of starts to all look the same. It’s nice to see people using Card to build websites that look unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

Among many other applications of the platform that AJ says he couldn't have foreseen, there has also been an unexpected takeover of Carrd by K-Pop fans who use it to create customized fan sites that look very... unique.

AJ explains how he thinks about the direction of the platform and how he handles feature requests...

“I try to take most new feature requests and figure out whether this is something that really only service one niche, and if so, is it a big enough niche to justify implementing that feature? But I prefer to implement things that would work for multiple groups of people. I try to look at them and think, ‘how can I distill this down to something that’s a bit more general-purpose that others can get use out of?’”

... and how inspiring it is to see the next generation of makers creating their own projects based on the platform.

“It tells you that you can do this, you don’t have to just consume, you can create, you can get out there just like everyone else and make something. It doesn’t have to just be a one-way thing. I’m glad that Card is included in this even though I didn’t intend it to be included in the sphere of no-code tools. That’s probably the coolest part of this entire thing to me.”

Some of the sites that users have created are in Ryan's words, “so internet in the best way” and are a great way for people to get into creating things on the web, which is reminiscent of the way that people creating amazing apps today got their start hacking their MySpace pages.

They also discuss what it's like to work at a single-person startup...

“The day-to-day is fundamentally just me in front of a computer, just hacking away at this thing. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get lonely. Remote work has only been a thing people have done recently. I don’t think we’ve fully realized the implications of what it means to spend your day working alone away from human interaction.”

AJ recently brought in someone to help with content moderation, but otherwise he's created, built, and scaled Carrd himself. He opens up about some of the “mistakes” he's made along the way and what he would do differently next time. He also talks about the tools he uses to build the platform.

... and why the discussion around whether a company should take venture capital or not is flawed.

He talks about whether he would want to take on venture capital and points out that people get caught up in a false dichotomy. He says that we need a more nuanced discussion of what the right type of funding is for a company that takes into account the company's age and stage.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot for their support. 😸

May 08 2019

34mins

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Rank #14: Maker Stories: Episode 6 w/ Dan Ariely

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Dan Ariely is worth listening to pretty much on any topic. In this interview we touch upon college, lying, alzheimers, relationships, online-dating, and much more. This is Part II of my interview with Dan. in Part I, we chatted about products, tech, academia and more: https://soundcloud.com/product-hunt/dan-ariely-pt-1

Apr 24 2015

44mins

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Rank #15: Maker Stories: Episode 13 w/ Tony Robbins

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@eriktorenberg chats with Tony Robbins about his book, Money: Master the game, tech investments, family, relationships, sex, coaching, and service, and a lot more. http://www.amazon.com/MONEY-Master-Game-Financial-Freedom-ebook/dp/B00MZAIU4G Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman.

Jul 09 2015

1hr 4mins

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Rank #16: Episode 32: Robert Greene

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Robert Greene is the author of books such as Mastery, 33 Strategies of War, Art of Seduction, the 48 Laws of Power, and the 50th Law (w/ 50 cent). including mastery, strategies of war, art of seduction, laws of power, one of which is with rapper 50 cent This episode we talk about the ideas in his books (power, mastery, seduction) what in his personal life has inspired the books, but we also talk meditation, writing, not having kids, and bunch more. Edited by Alex Kontis For any feedback, tweet me at @eriktorenberg

Sep 06 2015

1hr 5mins

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Rank #17: Building Family-Friendly Products and Companies with Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall

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Today I'm visiting San Francisco's Mission district to chat with Winnie co-founders, Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall. They have a unique background working at large tech companies like Google, Twitter, Quora, and Postmates, where they worked together before starting Winnie, “the companion app for parents.”

As someone who's built and admires community-driven businesses, it was a pleasure to dive into how Winnie is creating community and a platform for parents. As mothers, Sara and Anne exemplify founder/market fit and are uniquely qualified to build a product for parents.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How Anne and Sara found founder/market fit and how their personal experience — Sara and Anne both have two children — informs not only how they built Winnie the product, but also how they built Winnie the company.
  • How Winnie combats fake parenting news, and why it was important for them to take a stance on certain issues and actively moderate out certain topics.
  • The power of communities aligned around a single vertical. We compare custom-built communities to generalized community-building tools like Facebook and Reddit.

Of course, we also talk about some of their favorite products, including a way to continuously share your location with other members of your family, an app to share photos with family members, and another that captures one second every day and over time turns it into a highlight reel for your life.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸

Quotes from This Episode

“Anne and I were very explicit from the beginning that we wanted to build the most family-friendly startup. We decided that we are not going to work long hours, our employees are not going to work long hours, and they’re not going to work on the weekends. We’re going to give employees flexibility and have them go on vacations. It’s a huge competitive advantage to be family-friendly.” — Sara

[On including the option to post anonymously on Winnie] “Sometimes parenting questions are tough — tough, real stuff that you don’t want to put on your Facebook profile, where you can’t help but use your real name. You may not even feel comfortable talking to your mother’s group about some of the problems that you are having. So, we felt really motivated to make it work from the beginning.” — Anne

“Having children has helped me a ton in putting the highs and lows of a startup in perspective. It’s just not that serious. It’s helped me build that resilience because the lows aren’t really that low. The stakes just don’t seem that high, and its actually enabled me to persevere through things where other people would have quit.” — Sara

“We have other special features tailored to our audience, such as the ability to mask photos. We have these cute little stickers (that are adorable) and there’s a face-detection feature that will put little animals masks over the faces of any children that are in the photos that you’re posting. We make it super-easy and even fun to anonymize that photo.” — Anne

Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode

1 Second Everyday — Turn your favorite moments into meaningful movies.

Google Photos — Free storage and automatic organization for all your memories.

Life360 — Your new family circle.

Dec 12 2018

45mins

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Rank #18: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 3 w/ Abram Dawson & Greg Koberger

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This week Abram Dawson (http://twitter.com/abramdawson) (Associate at SV Angel) and Greg Koberger (http://twitter.com/gkoberger) (Founder of ReadMe.io) join me, Ryan Hoover, on the third episode of Product Hunt Radio. In our dimly lit basement, us three dudes geek out about products, from selfie apps to new innovative healthcare solutions. Products mentioned: - Taptalk - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/taptalk - Emissary - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/emissary - Holidogs - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/holidogs - Mindie - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/mindie - Context - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/context - Facefeed - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/facefeed - Shots of Me - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/shots-of-me - Developer Agents - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/developer-agents

Apr 26 2014

29mins

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Rank #19: Episode 27: Ben Casnocha

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Ben is the co-author of The Start-up of You and The Alliance with Reid Hoffman, served for two years as Reid's chief of staff at LinkedIn, and has founded many different companies in Silicon Valley. In this podcast we chat about career strategy, what it means to live in "permanent beta", loneliness in San Francisco, and much more. Ben's blog: http://casnocha.com/blog The Alliance: http://www.amazon.com/The-Alliance-Managing-Talent-Networked/dp/1625275773 Edited by Alex Kontis Any feedback please let me know at @eriktorenberg

Aug 18 2015

52mins

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Rank #20: Episode 84: Brad Feld

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Brad is an incredibly successful investor, having founded the Techstars accelerator and Foundry group, and he's also also known as one of the kindest guys in the business. In this episode, we talk about how Brad rejects the term career, his principles of time management, why he doesn’t have kids, mental health and startups, romantic relationships, ego management, and much more. As one listener remarked, this episode is basically a how-to on life. Edited by @alexkontis

Apr 29 2016

1hr

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How to access the best tech talent around the world with Sylvain Kalache

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton School, a project-based alternative to college where you can become a software engineer in two years. They have campuses in the United States and Colombia. Sylvain formerly worked at Slideshare and LinkedIn.

In this episode they talk about...

The story of founding Holberton and why a new type of school is needed

“Some companies are tech and the ones who are not, are either becoming a tech company or they are going to die. Even a non-tech company, like healthcare, retail, media, transportation, you name it, they all need software engineers.”

Sylvain talks about how they came up with the idea for Holberton and the experiences he had that convinced him of the need for the school. He explains how he and his co-founder decided to set out to fix those issues with Holberton. He says that many people he interviewed when he was working as an engineer had spent a ton of money on an education but didn’t have the right skills for the job they were applying for.

How they designed their software engineering curriculum

“It’s really hard in the first place to find a good software engineer, so it’s exceptionally hard to find a good software engineer who’s also a good teacher.”

He talks about the hectic first year of working on the school and what it was like getting everything ready for the first cohort of students in January 2016. They needed to create a curriculum for their school and says that they relied on the community to help them figure out what to include in their education. He also points out that the world of software engineering moves at a really fast pace, so it’s important to have a curriculum that can be flexible and always up-to-date.

How to find motivated and passionate people

“Most of the people I would interview were right out of college and spent a fortune or took out huge student loans to take this training. They were not prepared to take on the job. They knew things, but not the type of skills that we would need from these people.”

Sylvain talks about how to find motivated people in general, which is useful for both admissions at Holberton — when it comes to figuring out who to accept or not, as well as hiring at Holberton — because in the early days of the company it is difficult to match the perks that huge companies offer, so you have to find people who believe in the product or vision and have a lot of motivation and passion. He says that looking at someone’s side projects, blog, and GitHub can give you a good indication of how self-motivated they are.

How they are working to increase representation in the tech industry

“We gave a lot, as much as we could, not expecting something in return. The power of community is something that we find in Holberton in the learning methodology itself, where students are pushed to work in groups and where helping is not cheating, but helping is collaboration.”

He says that admissions at Holberton are completely blind and that the system for admissions that they’ve developed is automated. He says that there is talent everywhere, but that a lot of that talent is missing the education, which is where Holberton comes in. He says that their program is comprised of half people of color and nearly half of their students are women. He says that they baked in inclusiveness into their philosophy and operations from the very first days of the company.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸

Jan 22 2020

48mins

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How to pivot your tech career and live a multi-hyphen life

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a mechanical engineer, social advocate, writer, and broadcaster. She is the author of multiple books and is the founder of Youth Without Borders.

In this episode they talk about...

Her aspirations to work in Formula 1

“I remember it was the best half-day of my life. I walk past two McLaren F1s on my way into the office and I’m working with all these people with English accents and then I get a call from the admin lady at lunch and she’s like ‘hey, do you have your work visa?’ I didn’t, so they escort me off the premises.”

Yassmin grew up in Brisbane where as a young girl she wanted to be a Formula 1 driver. At nineteen years old she managed to find a job with an F1 team in England. She flew across the world for the job only to find out on the first day that she didn’t have the appropriate visa to work at the firm. While staying in the UK for a few weeks afterwards, she honed her hustling skills.

How she hustled her way into jobs

“I wallowed about for a bit and then I started cold-emailing people in the motorsport industry to ask if I could meet them. So I started catching trains to meet all these heads of different motorsport teams. I got offered a place in a really exclusive program but it cost 50,000 pounds, so I decided to work in oil and gas, which is really where my engineering career started.”

Yassmin’s career is a clinic in hustling. From humble beginnings she worked her way to a potential job at an F1 team, and when that didn’t work out as expected, she hustled her way into another job at an oil and gas firm. While working in the industry, she managed to complete a program that normally takes five years in just eighteen months and was poised to take over her own drilling rig.

Navigating engineering culture

“I did mechanical engineering which was super male-dominated then I went into like motorsport and the drilling industry. Throughout I was surrounded by a very strong culture which said women were just less valuable. You internalize that and you think the way for you to be valuable is to be as close to a man as possible and to really minimize your womanhood. So I for a long time was also like, ‘yeah women probably aren't really good engineers, I'm just the exception.‘

She talks about the pernicious culture in male-dominated industries such as engineering and how it affected her mindset and how it held back her career. She explains how she had to fight for credibility and how certain people supported her on her journey.

How she has successfully pivoted her career multiple times

Yassmin no longer works in motorsport or oil and gas. She wrote a book about her experiences as a person of color and what it was like working on the rigs. The company she worked for did not take kindly to the publication of her first book, so she pivoted her career to becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster. She talks about realizing that the company you work for is not a family and that the company will always put the company first. She has also since pivoted from Australia to London.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸

Jan 15 2020

55mins

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How to futureproof your tech career with Ruben Harris

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Ruben Harris, founder and CEO of Career Karma. They help match you to the best coding bootcamp for you and publish a directory of over 450 bootcamps.

In this episode they talk about...

How he broke into tech and how Career Karma is helping people get into the industry

“There are currently about 50,000 people graduating from four year universities every year [in software engineering] and about 40,000 people graduating from bootcamps. There are about half a million open jobs for software engineers. In the next five years there will be about 400,000 people graduating from four year universities and 1.4 million open jobs — so about a million people have to get jobs outside of college.”

Ruben talked about his hustler’s approach to getting into investment banking after having graduated from a small school. He applied the same approach to getting into tech and talks about what he wishes others knew about the industry knowing what he knows now. He explains what Career Karma is doing to help more people get into the industry and talks about the transparency they are providing in the bootcamp landscape. He also talks about some of the benefits of downloading their app, like coaching, mentorship, and motivation.

How to level up your career

“As a software engineer and really anybody in general, you really want to think of time as your most precious commodity. Whether you’re exploring college or online courses or bootcamps, you want to factor in the time that it takes you to complete the program, so that whatever time you’re investing now creates more time for you in the future.”

Ruben says that most people who are in software engineering now are actually self-taught. He talks about how software engineering is analogous to the music industry in that most musicians are not classically trained either, yet the music industry is accepting of most people, regardless of what their background is like, if they can do the work. He explains how people who are already working can increase their earning power by enrolling in a program that provides them with a credential, without having to go back to school.

What makes a good software engineer

“The ability to communicate is underrated — being able to communicate what you want, what you need help with, what your value is, the way that you talk to yourself, the way that you talk in a corporate environment, the way that you communicate with others, the way that you express your emotions, the way that you express how you feel.

He breaks down what makes people in the Career Karma community successful, talks about the importance of passion, and why it’s important to treat your work like play. He also talks about the perception of hiring managers and why presenting yourself in the best possible light is an important piece of the puzzle.

The importance of humility

“Humility matters. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I think confidence is extremely important, but you can be humble and confident at the same time.”

Ruben talks about confidence and humility, and why it’s important to get the balance between them right. He says that it’s like playing the cello, where a good musician can move a room to applause even while playing very quietly, while beginner musicians want to play as loud as they can all the time. He also talks about authenticity and one of his favorite books of all time: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance.

“If you think about most people who go to work, they have masks on. If they go home and are a different person, they were pretending to be a different person to get the job. What would the workplace feel like if everybody came to work with their mask off?”

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Jan 08 2020

47mins

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The best advice from founders in 2019

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In today's episode we have collected the very best from the interviews we've done with founders in 2019.

  • Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front, shared lessons on building a strong company culture and talked about the questions she asks when hiring.
  • Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, told the story of founding the company and explained some of the challenges that come with taking venture capital.
  • Sharmadean Reid, founder of Beautystack, talked about the unique way she ran her fundraising process, the power of storytelling, and had some great tips for entrepreneurs raising capital.
  • Delane Parnell, founder and CEO of PlayVS, talked about failure and how facing adversity early in his career helped him build PlayVS.
  • David Heinemeier Hansson,co-founder and CTO of Basecamp, talked about how to build a sustainable company and why “small is not a stepping stone.”

We'll be back with Season 3 in January!

Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Dec 18 2019

46mins

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The future of proptech with Thomas Kutzman

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Thomas Kutzman, co-founder and co-CEO of Prevu. Prevu is a real estate technology platform that saves homebuyers money.

In this episode they talk about...

How he decided to leave his finance job to start Prevu

“I think we got to the point where we were talking about the idea too much and you hit a moment as an entrepreneur and you think to yourself, if i don’t do this, will I kick myself if someone else does, and we hit that point.”

Thomas and his co-founder worked in the finance industry and Thomas worked in Geneva as an equities trader for a US hedge fund before he left the firm to start Prevu. He talks about how his finance background helped him with starting the company. He says that it gave him a greater understanding of the real estate market but more importantly, working with risk all day made him more comfortable with taking the risk to start the company.

Advice on starting a tech company as a non-technical founder

“I had no intention of being the person who was going to code our application, but I wanted to be able to understand it, so I could properly communicate. If you’re a non-technical co-founder you should at least invest time in learning the language so you can be more productive in your conversations with your product team.”

Prevu uses a ton of technology in their platform, but neither Thomas nor his co-founder were technical. This can be a daunting challenge for many founders but Thomas talks about how they found the right people to do the work for them in the early days. He also says that he took courses on Ruby on Rails so that he could communicate effectively with the people who were doing the work for them and so that he had a better understanding of how everything was going to work.

Why they bootstrapped the company and how doing so helped them

“By being bootstrapped and by being disciplined with how we used capital, we were able to last far longer and prove out the concept in a much more attractive way from a data perspective, from the amount of traction we had, and the actual learnings on our customer acquisition, our technology, and where we wanted to go to company. I think if you have the luxury to try to bootstrap, bootstrap as long as possible, so you have data and a story to tell investors.”

Some founders view bootstrapping as something that is forced upon makers when they are unable to secure funding, but we’ve had plenty of people on the podcast who say that it is instead a more desirable path to growth. Thomas believes this is the case, and explains why it is a better option than raising venture funding. He says that it forced them to have operational discipline and to make sure that they knew exactly where every dollar they were spending was going. All of thiss also helped them when they later went on to raise funds from venture investors.

Lessons on leadership and how he invests in personal growth

“For leadership, it comes down to if you show you’re going to learn something that you don’t know, others around you will go and learn something they don’t know and you’ll find your passions that way.”

Thomas talks about his leadership style and how they manage being co-CEOs. He talks about how he’s trying to grow personally and as a leader, and gives out some of his book recommendations. He also tells us which podcasts he’s always listening to and says that he actually hosted a real estate podcast himself. He explains that doing so helped him learn a ton from the people he invited on the show.

He also talks about some of his (and his wife’s!) favorite products.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Allbirds — Silicon Valley’s favorite shoe.

Rent The Runway— Rent four items of clothing every month, for $89.

Dec 11 2019

43mins

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What not do to when marketing your product

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing at Constant Contact. He’s here to walk us through all the common mistakes that makers make when marketing their products, and how you can avoid them.

In this episode they talk about...

How to contribute to an online community as a marketer

“Don’t approach it as an opportunity to get your message in front of people, approach it as an opportunity to participate. You can go there and say, ‘hey, check out our stuff,” or you can go there and ask questions and be part of that community. That’s the big difference.”

Dave and Aba talk a bit about the different types of marketing approaches that exist and the fact that marketing can sometimes get technical. He talks about why he says “if you’re thinking about starting with content marketing, then yes you should start with content marketing.” He breaks down how to be a good online citizen when you’re approaching a community on behalf of your product, and how to make sure you add value to the discussion, rather than only viewing it from the perspective of how to get the most out of the community that you can.

Top tips for developers, designers, and others who are first-time marketers

“One of the downfalls of social media is often we don’t see the months, potentially years, of work that went into getting the ten thousand or ten million followers. There’s that saying about overnight success: ‘it took me years to become an overnight success.’”

Dave gives his advice for people who are designers, developers, and other makers who usually do not dabble in the marketing space. He says that you need to have a long-term orientation and ensure your plans stretch to twelve to eighteen months, which is when you would expect to start seeing some benefit back to the company or product from your efforts.

Which marketing channels to focus on

Dave points out that the big social media platforms each have their own unique personalities, and that the people that you are trying to reach probably have a personality that meshes with one of the platforms more than the others. That is likely where you are going to find the audience members that you want to reach. He says that it’s also important to think about which channel matches your own personality and interests, so that there’s a good fit between you and the platform, since you are going to be spending a lot of time on it.

Common mistakes people make in email marketing

“When you're thinking about writing an email, think about answering three questions: What are you offering? Why should the reader care? And what do you want them to do next? If you can answer those three questions, you're actually going to write a pretty persuasive email because you're saying hey, this is what I have for you here today, this is why I think you'll find this thing valuable, and here's what I want you to do next to get it or do it.”

Dave talks about why email marketing is so powerful as well as the pitfalls that first-timers encounter and how you can avoid them. He says that it’s important to remember that email lists should always be opt-in, meaning you shouldn’t even think about adding all those emails that you’ve gathered over time without getting permission first. He also talks about the importance of being succinct, making sure that your emails are responsive for mobile, and why perhaps “the original vanity metrics were opens and clicks on emails.”

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Dec 04 2019

45mins

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The future of seed stage VC with Tige Savage

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Tige Savage, co-founder with Steve Case of Revolution, and managing partner of Revolution Ventures. He was formerly VP of Time Warner Ventures and got his start at age fourteen working at a computer store, where he helped create a community for customers before there was a commercially available internet.

In this episode they talk about...

How to think about whether to raise capital

“Work on product-market fit, identity what you’re good at, be willing to back away from what you’re bad at, and continue to iterate over time. Don’t over-capitalize yourself until you believe you have something that works. Then make the decision on whether to take on other people’s capital.”

Tige talks about why they intentionally focus on markets and companies outside of Silicon Valley, and how this has benefitted them. He says that it’s been fifteen years to their “overnight success” at Revolution and talks about how he got into the venture capital game in the first place. He also talks about why the thought process when raising capital from LPs for a venture firm is similar to the process of thinking about raising money from investors for your company.

The future of direct-to-consumer and Tige’s breakdown of a number of companies and industries

“If my kids were to go back thirty years and see how things were purchased back then, they would be astounded at the friction that’s in the system. The companies that understand ways to deliver to consumers what they want when they want with the least amount of friction are finding the most success and the incumbents that don’t do that have been or will be threatened.”

Tige says that it’s “never been a better time to be a consumer.” They’ve invested in a number of different DTC companies and Tige breaks down the market opportunity and why the founder and the idea were a great fit for each of them. He gives his analysis of why DTC is flourishing, including why the millennial generation has fuelled the DTC boom. He talks about some of the unique ways that these startups are taking what have traditionally been online sales techniques and applying them to offline products. He also explains what he wants to see in the future in the space, and what will end up being disrupted.

How to scale a startup

“Companies have political environments, so my advice always is call it like you see it and don't play the game. There are people who are very political and play the game and indeed have succeeded simply by dint of that capability. My advice is not to be that person, to be as authentic as you can, and to call it out when it's time to call it out. If you do that, you've got to be awfully confident in what you're bringing to the equation, because if you're not playing the game, you better be delivering the goods.

He explains how running a seed-stage company as CEO is different from running a larger enterprise as CEO. He talks about the ways that a leader needs to grow along with the company, as “you go from pure hustle to a larger business.” Tige gives out some of his unorthodox leadership tips and talks about why it’s important to also upgrade the management around you when you’re CEO of a fast-growing organization. He also explains why it’s okay if a company’s management doesn’t necessarily have the answer to every question that’s asked of them, even if it feels as though they need to.

Tige also talks about some of his favorite products.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

AirPods Pro — New AirPods with active noise cancellation

Apple News + — An immersive news experience.

Bloomscape — Living room ready plants delivered to your door.

Bright Cellars — The monthly wine club with the best wine for you.

Framebridge — Online custom framing.

Garmin InReach — Explore anywhere, communicate globally.

Policygenius — Compare and buy insurance online.

PowerCube — The smallest multi-functional power distributor

Nov 27 2019

46mins

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The future of podcasting with Andrew Mason

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Descript. He was formerly founder of Detour, which Descript emerged within before it was spun out into its own company when Bose bought the technology behind Detour. Andrew was also founder of Groupon.

In this episode they talk about...

Descript’s origin as part of Detour, and how to know when it’s the right time to pivot from your original idea

“We would have been over-investing in Descript if all we were using it for was for Detour, but we knew there was a potential business there and were treating it like a kind of a backup plan when you’re pre-product-market fit, like we were. You’re staying open to different paths.”

Descript actually emerged as a part of Detour, the company Andrew founded to create local audio tours. The team built themselves a better workflow for editing audio and realized that the internal product they had created could be much larger than Detour itself. They also recognized that a confluence of factors in tech were going to allow them to create the next generation of audio editing tools. Andrew explains how he went through the process of figuring out when to “cut bait” on Detour. He previously had pivoted The Point into Groupon, so he has some insightful things to say about when and how to pivot.

“We tried every last possible approach that we could think of and eventually it was like, it’s not supposed to be this hard. Having been through this before, it felt like we were doing the most elaborate things to market the product and reach customers, and at some point it just clicked that it’s not supposed to be this hard and we should move on.”

Andrew’s advice on managing people and scaling a company

“In a lot of companies the way that people get into management is they'll be individual contributors who have great ideas and nobody wants to listen to their ideas because it's the people in management that get to have those conversations. So people say 'okay, I guess I'll become a manager' and then they become a manager for completely the wrong reasons — not because they care about people or unlocking the best possible incarnation of their teams, but because they care about having their ideas listened to.”

He gives a rundown of the history of the company and where they are at now, after having raised a large Series A round and made the acquisition of Lyrebird. He talks about what the next stage of growth will hold for them, and how he is managing the scaling process by putting into place processes and protocols that will provide structure for the company as it grows. He also talks about the importance of delegating the work that the founder has been doing in a growing company.

Personal development as a leader and helping your team grow

Andrew explains what a typical day looks like for the team at Descript. He explains how they manage internal tools and how he tries to create an environment where feedback can flow freely among the team members. He talks about some of the best ways to grow as a leader, including some of the events that he attends and why he reads a lot. He also says that they have created an internal podcast for the team, a cool idea which you might expect from the company given what Descript is typically used for!

Andrew also tells us about one of his favorite products that he uses to build tools for the team.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Retool — Customized internal tools in minutes.

Nov 20 2019

30mins

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Early days at Facebook and advice for pitching VCs with Mike Vernal

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Mike Vernal, partner at Sequoia, the legendary venture capital firm. They are celebrating their scout program turning a decade old. Mike shares stories about the early days at Facebook, transitioning to VC, and advice for founders seeking funding.

In this episode they talk about...

Why the culture at Facebook in the early days was so special

“People self-consciously avoided ever saying they managed someone else at Facebook. It was frowned upon for people to try to assert authority in that way. It was actually far more common for people to say that they ‘support’ teams within an org.”

Mike gives a rundown of his career in tech, including working at Microsoft and Facebook. He says that he started as an engineer instead of a product manager, but eventually would work as a product manager despite being labelled an engineer. He talks about what it was like working at Facebook in the early days and how he worked on some of the key products that he worked on at that time that you probably use today.

“For people earlier in their careers, you probably have to pick one function to start with, but being able to move between functions fluidly is incredibly valuable.”

Going from product manager to VC

“It’s surprising just how similar life as a product manager at Facebook is to being a board member at an early stage company.”

He says that when he started at Facebook, the aim was for every new hire to have deployed at least one line of code to the live site in their first week. This was a significant departure from how software was typically developed and was definitely a stark contrast from his time at Microsoft, where a piece of software would be worked on for years before being sold in a box in stores. He says that he did deploy his line of code in the first week at Facebook, but it took the site down, so he had to come back early from lunch to fix the site to get it back up. He gives his advice for people who want to advance their careers in tech, talks about how he was introduced to Sequoia through partner Bryan Schreier, and explains why being a product manager is similar to the work he does today at Sequoia.

What founders need to know about pitching VCs

“I don’t think you should do anything because investors ask for it. That is probably a waste of time, but you should try to figure out why people are asking these questions and what is the kernel of truth or insight that they are trying to get to.”

Mike talks about some of the common mistakes that people make when they pitch VCs, including why so many people find a random market size number on the internet and put it in their pitch deck. He talks about why investors ask the questions that they do and what the difference between a good product and a good business is. He also explains why he prefers that monetization be baked into the product, not bolted on as an afterthought once a company or product achieves a critical mass.

Trends Mike is excited about, including the no-code revolution

“When we talk about the community of professional software developers in the world, it’s stark just how small it is. It’s somewhere on the order of 20-30 million people around the world. When I think about Excel, it and its brethren probably have a billion users around the world and really Excel is a programming environment.”

He talks about the scout program at Sequoia, why founders should consider a scout as an investor, and some of the benefits that scouts bring. Mike talks about the importance of the no-code movement that has come about in the last few years, and how it is opening up the high-leverage tools formerly reserved for developers to a wider range of people.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Nov 13 2019

45mins

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Bootstrapping nine businesses to millions in revenue with Marcus Taylor

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Marcus Taylor, founder of Venture Harbour, a digital product company based in the UK. They’ve launched nine companies in the last few years and have grown them to millions in revenue. He is also the youngest patron of The Prince’s Trust youth charity and has committed £100,000 to support young entrepreneurs across the UK.

In this episode they talk about...

The business philosophy at Venture Harbour

“We built a WYSIWYG form editor for ourselves initially and put it out there to see if other people found it useful. This is how a lot of our ventures happen. We’re working on one venture and we discover a problem and solve that problem and it’s like, okay, new venture!”

Marcus explains how he got started with Venture Harbour. He was working at a digital marketing agency out of school and was building side projects. Those side projects started earning him more in revenue than he earned from his salary, so those projects became Venture Harbour. He explains how they approach building an audience for their products, and why they don’t “buy audiences.” He explains the power of content marketing and why they invest so many hours in creating the very best content for a particular topic, as well as the tools and strategies they use to find the most impactful pieces of content to create.

How the team works together

“Often we will build these hacked versions of ventures keeping the team very small, and then it over time as that venture matures, we start assigning more people and building teams around those ventures.”

He explains the in-the-weeds details of how they actually get things done at Venture Harbour, and how he thinks about his role of head of product at the company. He explains how he tries to facilitate and coach to get the most out of the team, and why nailing their vision and values has been so important for them — something that you may not necessarily think of as pragmatic but has really helped with the day-to-day at Venture Harbour.

Some of the unconventional views Marcus holds

“I started Venture Harbour with 500 quid in my bank and a broken laptop. We've never raised any money for any of the ventures. I find so many friends in the startup world spend so much time messing around with cap tables and pitch decks and high-fiving each other when they raise money. I believe so strongly that if you had spent that time listening to the customers and letting your customers be your investors, you'd be in a far better position.“

Marcus explains why bootstrapping is his preferred way to build companies, and says that it is in fact a more sustainable way to build a business than raising venture capital. He also talks about his leadership style and how he uses coaches to get the most out of his work. He also explains why he likes to read books slowly, why he doesn’t have social media, and more.

How he thinks about personal development

“You’ve got primary books, where the book should have been 2,000 pages but it had to be condensed down to 300 pages. Then you’ve got secondary books — most business books fall into this. They are extrapolating stuff and applying it to a concept. And then you’ve got tertiary books, which are more storytelling and anecdotal.”

He runs through the strategies he uses to make sure he is always getting better as a maker and manager. He explains his method of categorizing books and how he decides which to read and which to only read the summary. He also talks about overnight conferences and why he seems to get the most out of those types of gatherings. Marcus also talks about how he used the tips from the book *Getting To Yes *by Robert Cialdini as part of his wedding planning.

Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Leadformly — Capture 3X more leads with high converting Leadforms.

LessPhone — The app that won’t let you use your phone.

Light Phone— Phone designed to be used as little as possible.

Serene — The macOS app to get your focus back.

Status Hero — Automated stand-ups, reports, and insights.

Nov 06 2019

41mins

Play

Why it doesn’t have to be crazy at work with David Heinemeier Hansson

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On this episode Abadesi talks to David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder and CTO of Basecamp, and creator of Ruby on Rails. He is also the author of several bestselling books, including It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, co-authored with his co-founder at Basecamp, Jason Fried.

In this episode they talk about...

Why you should think about your company as a product

“This idea that the company itself is changeable — the policies of the company, the values of the companies — are things you can tweak and you can iterate on in much the same way as you would iterate on a product. The process is quite similar to when you put a product into the market and you get feedback from customers.”

He tells the story of building Basecamp outside traditional tech hubs and how that influenced the culture at the company. He says that it’s important to build from first principles and to have control over the company you’re building. He talks about their values at Basecamp and how to think about and get feedback from employees on how the company needs to change and evolve. He also points out that you always need to be thinking about improving not just your product, but also your entire philosophy and way of doing business.

Why we need new role models in tech

“We've gone from everyone thinking the greatest thing in the world would be to be Mark Zuckerberg and to have Facebook to far more people now thinking, actually I don't want Facebook, I don't want Facebook's problems, I don't want to be Mark Zuckerberg. I think if we can start by having a takedown of the past idols, we can start building up some healthier models of what we should try to emulate instead.”

David says that we need a new vocabulary in the tech industry. He lists a number of different words, from unicorn to angel to battlefield, that inaccurately describe the actual function or intent of that entity. He says that it’s easy to excuse unethical actions if we believe that we are actually at war in a startup. He also talks about why “small is not a stepping stone” for your company and breaks down why the obsession with growth has led people astray.

How to break the cycle of overwork

“We can live such better fuller, richer lives if we just stopped believing that the most worthy thing we can do is to give every waking hour and moment to the business. That's actually not good for business. If you were just trying to create the most efficient business, you would not come up with this regime of chaining people to the office.”

He explains why you shouldn’t think about your co-workers as your family, and examines some of the current scourges of modern workplaces, like the open-plan setup. He also points out that Henry Ford realized a long time ago that people cannot work for more than forty hours a week without seeing a huge drop-off in efficiency, so it would make sense not to not push employees harder than that today.

A new way of working

“It doesn't work to constantly puncture and slice up the day [with meetings and standups]. So you should be extremely cautious about when you put things on many people's calendar. When we do instead is we encourage people to share where they are at [on a project] in an asynchronous way where someone can choose to digest that and respond to that on their time.”

David talks about the current practices prevalent at most workplaces that result in people not getting things done, and how they can be improved on. He talks about the unique approach to meetings, standups, deadlines, and presentations that they have at Basecamp and how they have increased retention. He says that it’s a misconception that people are born superstars and says that high-quality talent is more akin to a tree, that you cultivate, rather than a “diamond” that you find.

Of course, they also talk about some of his favorite products as well.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies, Books, and Products Mentioned In This Episode

BreatheSmart Air Purifier — Stylish and effective air purifier.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Oura Ring — Advanced sleep and fitness tracker.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Oct 30 2019

59mins

Play

Growing revenue from zero to eight figures in 24 months with Drift’s Elias Torres

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Elias Torres, co-founder and CTO of Drift. He co-founded the company with David Cancel, a longtime collaborator. They have achieved smashing success so far, and Elias’s personal story of moving to the United States from Nicaragua and working at McDonald’s while simultaneously finishing high school and learning English is one you don’t want to miss.

In this episode they talk about...

Elias’s longtime partnership with David Cancel

“He [David Cancel, co-founder of Drift] knew a lot more than I did and that was another good thing. If you look at Paul Allen and Bill Gates, Paul was older than Bill. That experience drew Bill to Paul and that’s something I like about David. He’s built many more companies than me. He’s always been in startups.”

David Cancel is Elias’s co-founder at Drift and this is definitely not their first venture together. Elias talks about how they have been able to work so well across several different companies and how their partnership mirrors that of Paul Allen and Bill Gates. He also talks about the scary moments when he left his job to start a company in 2008 while the stock market was tanking during the financial crisis.

What it was like growing up in Nicaragua and moving to the United States

“It’s people. People have helped me. I look back and in high school I had a teacher who asked me to join math club. That exposed me to kids who were applying to places I heard called Dartmouth and Princeton, but I didn’t know what that is.”

Elias grew up in Nicaragua and moved to the US as a teenager. He suddenly found himself in high school in the United States with a very different set of possibilities open to him. He also talks about how he ended up with his first computer and how that led to him getting into programming. It’s safe to say that when he was young, he didn’t see himself in the position that he is in now. He talks about some of the people who helped get him there and how Drift is giving back to help underprivileged people.

A CTO’s tips on hiring and why he spends an hour a month fielding support queries

“The recruiting process has to be personal. It has to be about conversations. Engineers are the most sough-out profession in the world. So you’re never going to hire someone that applies. You should not be spending your time there. You have to go and find the people you want.“

Elias has a unique perspective on hiring engineers from his perch as CTO at Drift, so he explains how they think about hiring, why diversity is an integral part of their company, and why he looks for engineers who are also extroverted like he is. They are also not afraid to get into the weeds at Drift, with their engineers putting in time talking to customers to get a feel for what the end-user truly needs.

Growing revenue from zero to eight figures in under twenty-four months

“I went into Boston and asked founder friends of mine: ‘do you want to use my product?’ When I was a kid I went out there and sold mangoes from a tree carrying a basket with my mangoes. I went the same way door-to-door asking for twenty dollars. I got my first five to ten customers like that.”

Drift grew from nothing in revenue to eight figures (!) in under twenty-four months. Aba asks how they managed to create such explosive growth and Elias talks about why SaaS businesses are so special and why they are a great way to grow revenue. He shares his best tips for makers looking to earn from their product, including not being afraid to charge, making sure you increase prices, and why to bring in salespeople early.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Oct 23 2019

47mins

Play

Overcoming adversity and setting your sights high with Delane Parnell

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Delane Parnell, founder and CEO of PlayVS. PlayVS is the community for amateur high school esports. He was previously the youngest black venture capitalist in the US and built and sold his own esports team prior to founding PlayVS. He also has an incredible story of overcoming adversity to get to where he is today.

In this episode they discuss...

His incredible “origin story”

“It wasn’t support in the sense that they were able to help me financially, but even encouraging words like ‘I believe in you. You can do this.’ You can’t put a monetary value on the impact that that can have on a kid.”

Delane grew up in a tough neighborhood in Detroit. He says that he had to avoid a lot of gang activity growing up and got his first job at a very young age as a sign twirler at a cell phone store. It was at the cell phone store where he got his first taste for entrepreneurship. There, Delane realized that he needed to be an owner in a business to earn significant money from it. At age sixteen, he set out to be a partner in other cell phone stores around town.

How he learned to set his sights high

“I was never interested in small-time business. I think that's because I had the exposure super early on from working with Sam to how much a person who owns a dozen cell phone shops made. I wasn't really interested in that. I was dreaming about vacations in the south of France.”

Delane had an aunt who was an executive at an auto company and she helped Delane by giving him business magazines, which helped form his life aspirations . He says that the individuals in his neighborhood typically didn’t have aspirations to make it big in business and that he was lucky to have family members who encouraged him to aim higher. He says that Jay-Z was his number one inspiration and explains why he is a “role model and icon” for Delane.

How he became comfortable with risk-taking and his advice about giving advice

“I try not to give people quote-unquote expert advice. People look at me as an expert because of the amount of money we raised or what we’ve accomplished. But I’m not an expert. People don’t realize the effect that expert advice has on entrepreneurs on young people finding their way.”

Having been exposed to business at a young age, he became comfortable with the mindset needed to take risks and be an entrepreneur. He built a few companies that didn’t end up working out and explains how certain pieces of advice that he heard from certain people who he considered to be mentors left him very deflated. Delane explains why he remembers that experience so vividly and why it means he avoids giving advice to young people.

What he learned from failure and why founder life is less glamorous than you think

“People think it’s very glamorous, but it’s not as glamorous as people think. There’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of responsibility. You’ve got to be prepared for it, otherwise you’ll really struggle.”

Delane explains what he learned from failure, including why he was so inspired by Groupon, the story of the subscription-based competitor he came up with, and why it didn’t end up working out. He says that there is always the possibility for redemption and recalls that even Steve Jobs was written off as a failure at one time. He also talks about the day-to-day of his work at PlayVS, why it’s not quite living up to the high hopes that magazines and television held for his imagined future, and why it’s nevertheless rewarding in other non-material ways

Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Albert — Actionable financial advice on your phone.

Discord — Find people who share your interests.

Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.

Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made.

Oct 16 2019

54mins

Play

Environmentally-friendly entrepreneurship and the future of direct-to-consumer with Sarah Paiji Yoo

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Abadesi is joined on this episode by Sarah Paiji Yoo. She is the founder of Blueland, a direct-to-consumer company that sells environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. She formerly founded and sold Snapette, a mobile platform for local platform shopping.

In this episode they talk about...

Her extensive entrepreneurial journey

“We ended up launching one business per year for the next four years, which was crazy.”

Sarah was a successful founder before she started Blueland. When she first switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone, she realized the power of the platform and launched a company called Snapette, which she later sold. Later, she started a startup studio and churned out a number of different direct-to-consumer businesses in a variety of spaces: luxury footwear, beauty, fashion, and even coffee.

How she convinced investors of the promise of Blueland

“At first our deck opened with the environmental story. It led with our mission to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. We realized for a subset of investors that didn’t really resonate. We changed our deck to emphasize the business case but I realized that I wasn’t finding investors whose values aligned with ours, so I ended up switching the format back.”

Sarah recounts her fundraising journey for Blueland and why she went with a deck that didn’t necessarily resonate with all investors. Since “you can divorce your husband, but you can’t divorce your investors,” she wanted to make sure that her investors and board members were aligned with the values-driven approach to business that Sarah was taking. She also points out that their environmentally-friendly business model also has real financial benefits, with tablets that are about thirty times lighter than traditional cleaners and thus are much less costly to ship.

The future of sustainable direct-to-consumer products and companies

Sarah talks about the importance of transparency in direct-to-consumer, and particularly in companies that are working in sustainability. She points out that Millennials and Gen Z are eager to support companies that have similar values to them. According to her research, there are many more people than you might think who derive great satisfaction from buying environmentally-friendly products, even if it means more time and effort investment by the end consumer.

Managing a fast-growing team at a scaling company

She says that hiring always has to be the top priority as a founder and that she reminds herself of that every single day. She explains who she hired first when she was starting the company and what qualities she looked for in them. Sarah says that it’s always a risk hiring someone at a startup who has come from a big company because of the risk of a culture clash.

She also talks about the importance of making sure that your employees unplug to prevent burnout, because the high-performing Type A personalities that are naturally drawn to a startup have a propensity to work themselves exceptionally hard, even if there is no pressure for them to do so.

What’s in her “resiliency toolkit”

“Becoming a mom has become an incredible forcing mechanism for work-life balance. It’s really helped me carve out really dedicated pieces of time where I can be 100% present with my family.”

Sarah gives a rundown of what a typical day looks like at her company and explains how the birth of her son was an important turning point in her thinking about work-life balance. She says that it’s important to be disconnected from work for family time and how she makes sure that all her team members are on the same page about when she will or won’t be online.

Of course, she also tells us what some of her favorite products are and why she loves them.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Instapaper — Save articles to read later.

Pinterest — Discover recipes, home ideas, style inspiration and other ideas to try.

Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.

Oct 09 2019

38mins

Play

The future of beauty with Sharmadean Reid

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Sharmadean Reid, founder of Beautystack. She’s one of Aba’s favorite people of all time, and is an inspiration to women and people of color everywhere. She recently raised a whopping seed round to grow and scale Beautystack.

In this episode they talk about...

How she’s helping women start businesses

“People always say that the information is out there, but sometimes you don’t know what to Google.”

Sharma talks about the importance of networks of women who can help and support each other in their founder journeys. She explains what it was like for her when she was just getting started, and how she was helped by others who were further along than she was. She has been giving back through a couple of different initiatives and talks about the self-sustaining community they have created.

“The proudest thing for me is the tens of thousands of connections between women that we’ve created.”

What fashion means to her

“My personal style to me is the reason I like fashion. Fashion and beauty is essentially how we as homo sapiens show our tribes, it’s the way we say this is what I am, this is what I stand for and what I believe in. For me, being a bit ‘extra’ with my look is a testament to how my mind works.”

She explains how fashion can make a powerful statement and her philosophy behind how she chooses her looks, saying that it’s part of “living in the future.” She explains how she got into the fashion industry in the first place, takes us behind-the-scenes of fashion shoots, and talks about why they are excellent vehicles for virality.

Her fundraising journey

“We often sit there and have a business idea and do a pitch deck and do market research. But market research is not the same as writing your own thesis of how the future is going to look.”

Sharma explains how she approached the fundraising for Beautystack, and talks about why, once you’ve done the important work in advance and have conviction in your ideas, it can be quite effortless to put everything together. She talks about fleshing out all of her thoughts around the company in a personal password-protected blog, and how she researched her investors ahead of time to know what kinds of objections they might bring up in order to anticipate them. She also points out that it’s important to find the right investors for your company, so you should be just as discerning as your investors are.

The founder mindset and personal development

“I think that good investors want missionary founders and cultivating my personal mission keeps me on the straight and narrow and gives me that north star that regardless of how the business pans out, I own that personal mission.”

She is one of the hardest-working people that Aba knows, and invests in herself as much as in everything else that she does. She explains the importance of cultivating a personal mission and how to define success for yourself. She also talks about some of the mental models she uses, why she reads from a broad variety of sources, and explains what she means when she says “everything is cyclical.”

The future of work and scaling a team

“I learned this from the guys at Basecamp. Think of the company as your product. Your users are your employees — are you giving them the best user experience possible?”

Sharma explains how she’s cultivated Beautystack’s unique culture. She takes us through some of the initiatives they’ve started, including increasing the level of gratitude in the workplace and why each person at the company creates and presents their own “guide to working with me.” She also talks about how she plans for the future growth of her company and why she loves the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer.

Of course, she also lets us know what some of her favorite products on her home screen are.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Co - Star Astrology — Hyper-personalized astrology.

Ferly — Your audio guide to mindful sex.

Moody Month — Track your moods, hormone cycle, and life.

Notion — Increase your team intelligence.

Sanctuary — Daily personalized astrology readings and horoscopes.

Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made.

The Pattern — Personalized astrology readings based on your astrological chart.

Oct 02 2019

1hr 8mins

Play

Special Community Edition: What’s on your home screen?

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In this special edition of Product Hunt Radio, the community is the guest. Ryan chats with the members of the Product Hunt community about the apps that they love and why they’re so great. People from all around the world called in to let us know what’s on their home screens.

This was an experiment, so let us know what you think! If you want to be part of the next session and potentially be featured in the podcast, make sure to follow us on social media.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Some of the Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

Apollo — A beautiful Reddit app built for power and speed.

Argent — A radically better crypto wallet.

Chess.com — Play chess online.

Crunchyroll — The official source of anime and drama.

OURA Ring — Advanced sleep and fitness tracker.

Pillow — Automatic sleep tracker.

Reelgood — Streaming TV and movie tracker.

Telegram — The best messenger for every platform.

TickTick — A simple and effective to-do list and task manager.

TikTok — A creative music video clip maker.

Zoom — Cloud videoconferencing and simple online meetings.

Sep 25 2019

42mins

Play

How To Ship Work That Matters with Basecamp’s Ryan Singer

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Ryan Singer, head of Product Strategy at Basecamp, where he’s worked for 16 years, ever since 2003. He is the author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work That Matters. You can read the book for free online.

In this episode they talk about...

How Basecamp cultivates their unique company culture

“If you think something is going to work, then go make it and let’s look at what you made in two or three days or a week. If you can’t make anything yet that works, maybe it’s not real and not ready yet. Don’t make me a big document about how it’s going to work — let’s make a prototype and click on it and see if it’s going to work.”

Ryan says that he was initially a UI designer and got into programming after joining Basecamp. He was at what was then called 37signals when Ruby on Rails was being created. He talks about the culture of shipping at Basecamp and how the learnings from his sixteen years at the company have made it into the book.

Why wireframes and documents are overrated

“If we over-specify the design up front with a lot of wireframes, we make the most decisions when we have the least information.”

Ryan says that at Basecamp, they use breadboards and fat marker sketches to mock up potential products, rather than detailed documents or pixel-perfect wireframes. He explains why it’s important to allow for improvisation by the designers and developers of products, and why you shouldn’t make the key trade-offs in the design phase, but instead after you’ve seen and used a prototype. He says that you “need to find the right level of abstraction” in your designs.

Why betting is better than planning

“We acknowledge the reality, which is that we don’t know what’s going to happen, we don’t know how this is going to work out, we’re probably going to be wrong about some things, so we want to use the language of risk instead of the language of certainty.”

At Basecamp, instead of making plans, they make bets. Ryan explains why this provides a better framework for the work that they do. He points out that when you make bets, you bet a fixed amount. They do the same at Basecamp, “betting” a certain amount of time on a project to see if it will work. If at the end of that time, it didn’t work out, they don’t spend more time than they originally “bet” on it chasing sunk costs.

How to find balance at work, and why Basecamp doesn’t think about “maximizing capacity”

Ryan says that they don’t think about “maximizing capacity” from their employees. Instead, they want to make sure that their workers have a meaningful goal with good odds for success. He says that managing how many hours someone worked the day before or today means very little. His advice is to stop micromanaging employee time and to experiment with a more flexible approach at your company. He also points out that they try to think about strategy at a more macro level than in terms of days or hours.

How to separate strategic failure from execution failure

“I would much rather have a healthy team that’s good at shipping stuff and occasionally make a strategic mistake. Because our bets have a limited downside, we’re setting out how much it is worth at the beginning. We only lose however much time we set out initially.”

As part of their unique approach to strategy, they are able to manage their downside by setting out the amount of time they’re willing to spend on something in the beginning. They trust their teams to figure out the details of the work on their own, without prescribing every detail of the product in the beginning. He explains how this is important to morale and what the difference between “imagined work” and “discovered work” is.

Ryan also talks about his love for the Apple Pencil and the iPad, and how he uses them to get his work done.

Bonus Content: Aba and the community on personal branding

We have more bonus content for you this week! Aba recently hosted a Periscope session where she invited all of you in the community to call in and explain what sites you use for personal branding and why. They covered LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, personal sites, mailing lists, and more. If you want to be part of the next session (and maybe even be part of the podcast!) be sure to follow us on social media.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

iPad + Apple Pencil

The Economist’s Mobile App

Sep 18 2019

1hr 9mins

Play

How to be “indistractable” with Nir Eyal

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On this episode Ryan is joined by a friend, writer, and student of human psychology, Nir Eyal. I’ve learned so much from his writing over the years. He has an incredible ability to synthesize complex ideas and studies into actionable steps people can use to build more engaging products and a healthier life. Ryan actually helped him with his first bestselling book,* Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products*, back in 2012, before Product Hunt started.

This week he published his second book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. The timing of its release is more relevant than ever as people are increasingly seeking a healthier relationship with their smartphones, wearables, and tech in general.

In this episode they talk about...

The change in attitude towards tech over the past several years

“Back then people thought Zuckerberg and the Twitter guys and the Google guys just got lucky and stumbled onto something. We had to convince people that they knew what makes you click and what makes you tick better than you do yourself. Now, that’s a foregone conclusion. In fact, I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.”

Nir explains the shift in the perception of tech in general since he wrote his first book, Hooked, to now. He says that there has always been a level of skepticism in Silicon Valley, which is generally a good thing, but that he fears people are heading towards being too cynical and having a fixed mindset towards the tech industry and its products.

How to make sure your product development process is ethical

““I think it’s important that product designers have a way to tap the brakes and ask, ‘is what we’re doing okay? Does this cross an ethical line?’”

He talks about searching for an ethical framework that ensures that the products one creates are not causing harm to the user. He says that he went from the (former) Google motto “don’t be evil” to the Golden Rule to what the lawyers recommended to get to his formulation of the “regret test.” He explains exactly how you can use it at your company.

A regret test asks ‘would the user do the thing we have designed for them to do, if they knew everything we do?’”

Whether the government should or should not get involved in regulating tech

They talk about some of the proposed regulations that are floating around the news these days, and Nir explains why they are well-intentioned but unlikely to make a real difference. He points out that the problem is the “fear-industrial complex” that accompanies any new tech or media. He says that to say that people lack any agency to pull themselves away from tech is insulting and points out that over fifty years ago, people were using the exact same words to describe the effects of comic books.

The true impact of tech on your brain

“Why is scrolling on Twitter somehow morally inferior to watching Fox News? To me they are equally divisive, equally potentially toxic, and can equally be abused by people who go overboard. Why do we only apply the standard to new technology? Because it’s an easy target.”

Nir says that it’s important not to get fixated on the tech, but rather the end result of using that tech. He points out that both Snapchat and Duolingo use streaks, but to very different ends. He says that he is neither a proponent of nor apologist for tech and that not all distractions are created equal."

The strategies he uses to ensure he doesn’t get distracted

“The antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. We have to plan ahead and take steps in advance to make sure you do whatever it is you want to do in life.”

He explains what his nightly routine is, how it has enabled him to live a better life, and how he uses certain pieces of tech to keep himself away from other, less useful tech. He tells the story of buying a twelve dollar flip phone from Alibaba and why, like crash diets, digital detoxes don’t end up working.

Bonus Content: Aba’s Community Podcast

Abadesi recently hosted a Periscope session where she asked the community to chime in on what their favorite products are and why. Make sure to follow us on social to participate in the next session, and you could make it into the podcast!

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Sep 11 2019

54mins

Play

The future of venture capital and how mindfulness can help founders with Nic Brisbourne

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Nic Brisbourne, managing partner at Forward Partners, and creator of the popular email newsletter, The Equity Kicker.

In this episode they talk about...

The future of venture capital and the concept of “applied venture”

“Why stop at having a few people on payroll to help your portfolio companies succeed? Why not find a way to have as many as possible? That allows you to help your portfolio companies with many more things, offer better service, and that should see the companies go on to achieve greater results.”

Nic gives us a history of the waves of venture capital since the early 2000s and explains how firms have evolved over time to better serve founders. He talks about the new trend in the industry — what they call “applied venture.” He explains what it is and how it is having an impact on founders and companies.

The culture at Forward Partners

“When we think about our culture, on the one hand we’re trying to reflect what we have currently so that it feels authentic and on the other, we’re trying to stretch ourselves to what we want to be tomorrow.”

Nic says that at Forward Partners they look up to characters who inspire and inform their work. He explains why they chose Indiana Jones, Yoda, and Leonardo Da Vinci as the three individuals who capture what they want to be at Forward.

Nic’s introduction to mindfulness

“It was totally the wrong time of year to go to India. I arrived at the New Dehli airport and there was a sign up in the airport with the temperature, 44 degrees centigrade at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

Nic explains how he became an advocate for mindfulness after having a hesitant start and shares the funny story of going to India during the hottest months to meditate at an ashram.

The benefits of mindfulness for founders

“There was a biotech company that ran an 8-week mindfulness course for their employees. After eight weeks they did MRI scans and the happiness centres in the people who had been on the mindfulness course were noticeably more active.”

After Nic became a mindfulness convert, he didn’t stop at how it could help him in his work, he looked also to how it could have a positive impact on the founders he works with as well. He explains some of the benefits to the practice and talks about some of the programs they have been putting on for founders to help them get in the habit.

What he’s most excited about in the tech ecosystem

“Really what’s most exciting for me is the way that the startup ecosystem is growing and growing. The world is changing faster and faster and we have bigger and bigger problems to solve and it’s entrepreneurs who are going to be solving those problems for us on a global level.“

He talks about some of the tech trends happening now that he loathes and loves, and explains what they look for when they’re evaluating a potential investment for the impact it would have on the world.

Nic also shares some of his favorite products and explains why he was initially an Apple skeptic but has since become a fan.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode

7Geese — Social performance management tool.

Apple Watch — The most personal device Apple has ever created.

Simple Habit — Meditation for people who never have time.

Small Improvements — Help your employees grow and succeed.

Wager — Bet against your friends.

Sep 04 2019

45mins

Play

How building a community can supercharge your business with Gina Bianchini

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On this episode Abadesi talks to Gina Bianchini, a serial entrepreneur and an investor. She is founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, a platform for building communities. She also co-founded Ning and has been an entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz.

In this episode they talk about...

The emerging trend of community-powered businesses

“They’ve taken their personal experience and their personal story, combined it with expertise, and now there are people who are really excited to master or learn that topic together with other people in their community.”

Gina says that the next big trend in business is experiential commerce. She says that it’s a myth that building a community is hard and talks about some of the non-traditional ways to build one. She also explains the many benefits of creating a community around your business.

Why it’s important to stay laser-focused on the results your customers want

“How am I enabling the people using my product to have results they cannot otherwise achieve? If you have that, you can charge money for your community, you can charge more money for your product or service. It’s understanding how you are enabling your users to go from point A to point B.”

Gina talks about some of the different approaches a maker can take to community-building but says the most important one is to notice what your customers’ needs are, what they’re looking to get out of the community, and how that intersects with what you can provide.

How a community helps build your brand

“A brand is how people talk about you when you’re not in the room. Here’s the amazing thing about investing in a community early on. You’re not just talking to your customer but you’re a part of a conversation where your customers are talking to other customers. You will understand so much more clearly what the people you serve need from your brand.”

She says there’s no substitute for watching your customers talk to each other and listen to the specific words they’re using and exactly how they’re describing what they need. Observing your customers is made much easier when you are hosting the community. She also says that building a community off of the social media platforms is a better approach than trying to build on a monolithic platform like Facebook.

Why it’s okay (and preferred!) to start small

“There is no niche that is too small in 2019. There are 22 million people and brands that have over a million followers on Instagram. There are 147 million accounts with over 10,000 followers.”

She talks about some of the lessons she learned from Ning, and explains why there was a “moment in 2007” where you could build a community for a broad swath of people but that moment has long passed. She says that not only is it easier to start small, it’s the only route to success.

Gina also talks about some of her favorite products, why Instagram Stories has replaced TV for her, and some of her favorite accounts to follow on Instagram.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸

Aug 28 2019

43mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

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Definitely recommend!

By LinLinAppnile - Jan 31 2019
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Love to hear some insights from other founders and investors. Learned a lot!

Love listening to these

By Gmav - Aug 03 2015
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Really interesting to listen too! 👍🏼