Product Habits - Operating lessons learned at Stripe

 Hiten's Pick 

Your Most Important Job as a Founder

One of the most significant differences between founder-led and founder-less companies is that the former group tends to take more risks. As a founder, it's your job to take chances while the company focuses on managing day-to-day risk. Focus on the more considerable step function changes because if you don't take risks yourself, no one else at your company will. 


Can Great Founders Be Created?

Pear VC Managing Partner Mar Hershenson recently gave a talk at a conference about whether great founders are born or made. This is an age-old debate, but I thought he had some interesting insights. One of my favorite parts was listening to Mar talk about why he believes the PayPal Mafia has created more unicorn companies than early Google employees. 

Operating Lessons Learned at Stripe

Sam Gerstenzang led a 75-person payment UI group at Stripe and learned a great deal during his time there about how to be a great operator. He shares some key lessons, and it's well worth the read. I thought his take on how to operate large systems was fascinating. Check out the complete list here


The Original iPhone Didn't Have This Important Feature

Ken Kocienda spent 15 years working at Apple and invented the iPhone autocorrect feature. This past week, he shared an interesting tweet thread about the original iPhone—it didn't have cut/copy/paste capabilities. Here's the story about how his team eventually implemented that feature

The World's Most Satisfying Checkbox

It's easy to overlook a standard feature like a swipe or a checkbox, but innovation starts by looking at the obvious way of doing things and redesigning it completely. Reading through this article reminded me how a small change to a design element can completely change how a product feels to the end consumer. It'll inspire you to reflect on your product more granularly. 

 Marketing & Sales 

Great Content Marketing Doesn't Depend on Luck

Most businesses understand the importance of content marketing, but few incorporate it with clear direction and consistency. I continue to be bullish on the value of content marketing, but if you try it, you should have a thoughtful strategy and prepare for it to be a long-term time, money, and energy investment. Here are some mistakes to avoid.

Introducing: Twitter Notes

Twitter just released a new feature they are testing called Notes, which will enable users to write and share longer-form content on the platform. Here's a video of how it'll work. Is this something you would use? 

Growth Engineering at Airtable

I enjoyed this interview with Airtable's Head of Growth Engineering, Wendy Lu. There are a handful of powerful takeaways, but I thought this was one of the unique things: Airtable organizes its growth teams by stages of the user funnel. Check out the entire conversation here.

How To Find the "Aha" Moment

A successful user regularly uses your product over alternatives to solve problems in their life. But to enter this state, the user must experience an "aha" moment, where the user first feels the added value of having the product. This is a worthwhile read with examples of user activation paths in different products

A Silent Meeting Is Worth a Thousand Words

The Square team uses a modified version of silent meetings, where the group of participants reads a document quietly, then asks and answers questions via Google Doc comments. The result is more inclusion, transparency, scalability, and speed. Could you see a process like this working at your company?

The Art of Using Design Docs

Design docs are a typical tool engineering teams use to build software faster by clarifying assumptions and circulating plans in advance. These documents are specific to individual companies, but it's not uncommon for engineers to bring the structures and processes that worked for them at their previous job. Check out this list of openly available templates and examples you can use.

 Insight of the Week 
Writing One Sentence Per Line

Here's a fun experiment: Try writing one sentence per line if you're a writer. Derek Sivers says he's been doing this for two years, drastically improving his writing more than anything else. Here's the explanation for why he thinks it's so valuable

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