5 things that kill startups

 Hiten's Pick 

5 Things That Kill Startups

Y Combinator Partner and CEO Michael Seibel has seen his fair share of early-stage startup trajectories. Many companies raise money coming out of YC, but the vast majority of them die. About 70% of them never find product-market fit. He shares five of the main reasons in this talk, which is worth watching the whole way through. One that stuck with me: Don't build your company before you build your product. 

 Business 

Single Decisive Reasoning (SDR) at Superhuman

If you're having trouble making decisions, try single decisive reasoning. The idea is simple: It's better to have a single great reason for doing something than a handful of (likely disconnected) good reasons. Making decisions with multiple justifications means you're trying to convince yourself to do something. Here's an example of how Superhuman uses SDR

A Framework for Planning

In the early 1960s, an advertising executive named Stephen King (not the famous writer) developed something called the T-Plan (Target Plan), which revolutionized advertising as we know it. He believed that what ultimately makes companies succeed is brands, not products. King's theory permeates almost all of the advertisements we see and many of the product choices consumers make today. 

 Product 

Building Products at Slack

Last week, Slack announced a new set of features to help teams stay connected, including Huddles, an audio-first way to communicate inside a channel or direct message. I'm fascinated by Slack's product culture, so I enjoyed this peek into how product development works at the company

Managing Feature Creep

Feature creep inevitably catches up to companies as they scale. Some of the main causes are poor product management and leadership, but perfectionism is also a root cause. While it often doesn't seem like a big deal at first, it leads to a slow and confusing product down the road. This is a helpful list of ways you can manage feature creep at your company

 Marketing & Sales 

How ConvertKit Used Email Marketing To Get to $2.3M+ MRR

While email marketing certainly wasn't the only strategy ConvertKit used to grow to $2.3 million MRR, it played a meaningful role. This is a helpful breakdown of how the company leveraged lead magnets and its initial community to build a better onboarding sequence, turn subscribers into fans, and encourage product upgrades. 

Your Complete Guide to SaaS Pricing Models

There are so many ways to think about pricing SaaS products—how do you choose the best strategy and price point? Each model comes with its own set of pros and cons, but I've always found it helpful to ask: How do we make it as low-risk as possible for potential customers to give our product a try? If you believe in your product, create a low pricing barrier to entry and make sure you nail your onboarding and upsell flows. 

 Growth 
What a Growth Hacker Actually Does

Even though the term has been around for years, people still misunderstand what it means. All marketers are ultimately responsible for growth, but growth hackers focus more specifically on using data to iteratively drive key business metrics. This look at a day-in-the-life of a growth hacker solidifies the differentiation. 

An Inside Look at How YouTube Scaled

Before he was the CEO of Coda, Shishir Mehrotra was the VP of Product and Engineering at YouTube for six years during the company's hypergrowth stage. He joined when the team was only a couple hundred employees big. This is an excellent recap of what it was like to work there at the time—from the company culture challenges to the product planning cadence. 

 Management 
How To Think About Job Change Decisions

Like me, Shreyas Doshi has had more than 500 conversations with talented tech people in the past decade. Many of them wrestle with big job change decisions. There's a lot to take away from this tweet thread about some of the things he shares with them. It may just point you in the right direction the next time you're making a career leap. 

Software Estimation Is Hard. Do It Anyway.

It's no surprise to anyone: estimating software projects is a challenge. But it's still important to do them. One of the most important parts of building a successful technical career is learning how to give accurate estimates. It's a skill that can be learned and honed over time, and the people you report to will be grateful you have it. No doubt, estimation is hard. Do it anyway.

 Insight of the Week 
Rules That Simplify Decisions

One of my favorite tweet threads from the week features 20 "razors" that help you simplify decisions and cut through life's noise. A few of my favorites: The ELI5 Razr ("If you can't explain it to a five-year-old, you don't really understand it") and The Boaster's Razor ("Truly successful people rarely feel the need to boast about their success"). Which one resonates the most with you?


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