Rank #1: Episode 48: Chris Sacca
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
Rank #2: Episode 89: Jason Calacanis
Jason Calacanis is a long time founder and investor, having invested in Uber, Thumbtack, and many more. We talk about Jason’s Launch Incubator, investment strategy, legacy, and much more. As always, Jason tells it straight and does not hold back any punches. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Jason Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
Jul 09 2016
Rank #3: Maker Stories: Episode 1 w/ Alex Blumberg, Matt Lieber, Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt
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
Rank #4: Maker Stories: Episode 10 w/ Eric Ries
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
Rank #5: Episode 73: Jason Fried
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
Rank #6: Episode 90: Donald Rumsfeld
This week’s episode is with Donald Rumsfeld. Donald is the former Secretary of Defense for the US and, at the tender age of 83, released an app - a solitaire game inspired by Winston Churchill. We talk about the app, lessons learned over his career, thoughts about succeeding in politics, in business, how he thinks about the future and much more. Edited by @jennaweissberman Lavish Praise to @Rumsfeldoffice Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
Jul 21 2016
Rank #7: Why it doesn’t have to be crazy at work with David Heinemeier Hansson
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.
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
Rank #8: The future of direct-to-consumer and e-commerce
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
Rank #9: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 11 w/ Kevin Rose & Brenden Mulligan
This week Kevin Rose (Partner at Google Ventures) and Brenden Mulligan (Co-founder of Cluster) join me, Ryan Hoover, in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. We chat about the Fire Phone, Facebook's highly criticized new app, Slingshot, and a stupid simple app called, Yo. Listen, yo. Products mentioned: - Fire Phone (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fire-phone) - Amazon's Smartphone - Word Lens (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/word-lense) - See the world in your language - Slingshot (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slingshot-3) - Facebook's new ephemeral photo/video app - Taptalk (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/taptalk) - Personal video and photo messaging - Headspace (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/headspace) - web and mobile Meditation platform - PSTMRK (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/pstmrk) - Meet people from around the world (Frontback w/ penpals) - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Shortwave (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shortwave-2) - Short-range anonymous messaging (Secret meets Firechat) - Screenshotter (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/screenshotter) - The simplest way to organize and manage mobile screenshots - Cluster 2.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cluster-2-0) - Private spaces for you and your friends - Glose (https://glose.com/) - Get inspired by what you read
Jun 20 2014
Rank #10: Episode 87: Josh Elman
Josh is one of the most respected product managers in the game, having built products at Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Now he has made an name for himself at Greylock as a top vc We talk about his journey working at those companies, what it was like to work with some of the best founders of all time, his transition to investing, advice for people starting a company, and much more. Josh has been a friend and supporter and If you ever get a chance to work with Josh I highly recommend it. One of the best at what he does and he’s one of the good guys.
Jun 09 2016
Rank #11: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 5 w/ Semil Shah
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
Rank #12: Maker Stories: Episode 13 w/ Tony Robbins
@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
Rank #13: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 3 w/ Abram Dawson & Greg Koberger
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
Rank #14: Episode 78: Matt Mazzeo
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
Rank #15: Episode 65: Terry Gross
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
Rank #16: Episode 32: Robert Greene
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
Rank #17: Product Hunt Radio: Episode 23 w/ Roy Bahat & Dan Strickland
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
Rank #18: Episode 27: Ben Casnocha
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
Rank #19: Maker Stories: Episode 6 w/ Dan Ariely
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
Rank #20: Why it's easier than ever to build an app but harder than ever to make it successful
Two active makers in the Product Hunt community join Ryan at AngelList in San Francisco for this week's episode of Product Hunt Radio.
Hiten Shah was recently awarded Product Hunt Community Member of the year. While that's the honor of a lifetime, he's also accomplished much more than that. He co-founded a few SaaS companies over the years, including KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg (which is still going strong after 13 years). He's now working on FYI, a tool that makes it super easy to find your documents in a few clicks.
Marie Prokopets is also a co-founder at FYI. Prior to jumping into the tech scene she was Director at Diageo, a spirit and wine company, and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In this episode we talk about:
- How Marie and Hiten built FYI. They talk about the challenges they faced in their product development process and how they've learned from them.
- Marie's transition from working in a big company (where she occasionally rode on private jets) to founder of a startup.
- The story of the MVP they built in just five days, and the tools they use to gather feedback from users.
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 AngelList, FreshBooks and Bubble for their support. 😸
Quotes from This Episode
“If you want to get a few users using your product, that’s easy. Getting tons of usage or high retention takes a lot of work. Nail your product and then scale it is my new mantra these days.” — Hiten
“We discovered we were solving the wrong problem and there was a completely different problem that we had the opportunity to solve. Sometimes you make mistakes but the really important thing is what did you learn from that?” — Marie
“When I started, it was much easier to build something, launch it and get a whole bunch of users. Now it’s easier than ever to put something out — it’s harder than ever to make it work.” — Hiten
Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode
Airtable — Realtime spreadsheet-database hybrid.
Bear — A beautiful, flexible writing app for notes and prose.
Coda — It's a new day for docs.
Confluence — An open and shared workspace for teams.
FYI — Find your documents, like magic.
Glide — Create mobile apps from Google Sheets.
Meadow — On-demand medical marijuana delivery.
Notion — Increase your team intelligence.
OneTab — Save memory by converting all your open tabs into a list.
Periscope — 150X faster data analysis.
Quip — Beautiful documents on any device.
Vesper (RIP) — An elegant way to record your thoughts.
Zapier — Connect and automate 500+ web apps.
Mar 27 2019