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    How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more)

    enSeptember 17, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Embrace the Opportunity: Be a Creator, Entrepreneur, or Marketer in Today's World.Seize the moment to make a difference and create value. Embrace category design to stand out and challenge conventional thinking. Make your mark as a creator in this unique time.

      Now is the greatest time in history to be a creator, an entrepreneur, or a marketer. Christopher Lochhead emphasizes that there is immense opportunity to make an exponential difference and create new value in today's world. He encourages individuals to seize this moment and be a part of shaping the future. Lochhead also highlights the importance of category design in building a legendary business. Rather than trying to become the best in an existing category, he advocates for creating your own category. This approach allows for differentiation and sets the stage for success. Lochhead's unconventional testimonial wall, featuring negative reviews, showcases his humor and willingness to challenge conventional thinking. Overall, Lochhead's message is to embrace this unique time and make your mark as a creator.

    • Embracing Negative Feedback: A Key to Innovation and ImpactCriticism is a common experience for pioneers and innovators. Embrace negative feedback, avoid superiority, and prioritize authenticity and helping others to succeed in the digital world.

      Criticism and negative feedback are inevitable for anyone trying to make a significant impact or innovate in their field. The fear of being criticized and ridiculed often holds entrepreneurs and creators back from fully expressing themselves and putting their work out into the world. However, as Christopher Lochhead emphasizes, it's important to embrace and display the negative feedback, recognizing that it's a common experience for all pioneers and innovators throughout history. Additionally, it's essential to not take oneself too seriously and avoid the trap of creating a perception of superiority. Instead, authenticity and a genuine desire to help others are powerful qualities that can set someone apart in the digital world.

    • Creating Your Own Category: A Path to Success and ImpactRather than competing in a saturated market, individuals and businesses should aim to establish their own unique category to achieve success and make a lasting impact.

      Creating your own category is more effective and impactful than trying to compete in an existing one. Most businesses and individuals make the mistake of assuming that they can succeed by simply offering a better product or service in a market with existing demand. However, legendary and highly influential figures in various fields have all shared one common characteristic—they broke new ground and created their own category. Whether it's Bob Marley in reggae music or Pablo Picasso in art, it's the category itself that defines and elevates their work. A study of venture-backed tech companies revealed that those who established their own category had a higher chance of success. Therefore, instead of aiming to be the best in a crowded market, consider creating your own unique category to truly make an impact and stand out.

    • The Importance of Category Design in the Tech MarketInstead of competing for a small share in an existing market, entrepreneurs should focus on category design to become the dominant player and capture a significant portion of the market's value.

      In tech market categories, one company earns the majority of the total value created. This value is measured by market cap and valuation, not just market share. This means that when companies choose to compete in an existing market, they are essentially fighting for only a small portion of the market's value. The key here is to focus on category design rather than simply creating products with certain features. By designing a new market category and getting a significant percentage of people to accept their definition of a problem and solution, companies can become the dominant player and capture two-thirds of the economics. This decision of whether to compete for a small share or create a new market is crucial for entrepreneurs and creators to consider.

    • Differentiating and Defining Market Categories for Lasting SuccessCompanies must strive to create a unique market category, providing so much value that customers are reluctant to switch. To ensure long-term growth, companies should expand and lead the broader category rather than staying confined to a niche.

      Category design is about differentiating oneself from competitors and establishing a unique position in the market. Many companies seek comparison by showcasing more features than their rivals, but true innovators break new ground and aim to be irreplaceable in the minds of customers. By creating a distinct category, companies can provide so much value that customers find it difficult to switch to alternatives. However, it's crucial for companies to expand and set the agenda for the broader category over time, rather than staying confined to a micro niche. This allows for continued growth and avoids being limited by the current category. Ultimately, a company's success relies on its ability to redefine and shape its market category.

    • Expanding Your Vision for SuccessTo stand out and succeed, it's important to constantly expand your vision and create a unique category for your product. Additionally, focus on building a valuable product that meets customer needs.

      Staying in your niche and trying to be the better solution in an existing category can lead to diminishing returns over time. This is exemplified by the struggles faced by companies like Clari and others in the space. If you want to thrive and avoid being seen as a copycat, you need to constantly expand your vision for the category and aim for the whole enchilada. It's crucial to understand the importance of category design and positioning yourself as the category king. Additionally, having brand and distribution advantages, even from a powerful company like Facebook, doesn't guarantee success if the product itself doesn't deliver value. It's essential to focus on building a product that meets customer needs and provides real solutions.

    • Thinking beyond product improvement for successIdentifying new problems or reframing existing ones is essential for success. The problem creates the need for a solution, not the other way around. Disrupting the market requires offering a new perspective on the problem.

      Simply creating a better version of an existing product or solution is not enough for success. The key is to identify a new problem to solve or to reframe, name, and claim an existing problem in a different way. This allows people to see the problem differently and be open to a new solution. Focusing solely on the product and believing that the best product always wins is a mistake. Examples like Jeff Bezos' Amazon Fire phone, Red Bull's failed cola, and Microsoft's unsuccessful stores demonstrate the importance of understanding that the problem creates the need for a solution, not the other way around. By targeting an incumbent category queen, it is crucial to offer a new perspective on the problem to effectively disrupt the market.

    • The Power of Reflective Thinking in Category DesignReflective thinking is essential in category design as it allows us to question our beliefs, seek different perspectives, and break free from conventional patterns to create innovative solutions.

      When it comes to category design, thinking about thinking is crucial. Reflective thinking, which most people mistake for reflexive thinking, is the key. Reflexive thinking is like a knee-jerk reaction, involuntary and immediate. It helps us navigate simple tasks or react to situations on the spot. On the other hand, reflective thinking is intentional and deliberate. It involves questioning our own beliefs, seeking differing perspectives, and challenging our own thoughts. Most people don't engage in reflective thinking, preferring to rely on their reflexive thoughts without questioning them. However, category designers understand the importance of reflective thinking, allowing them to break free from conventional patterns and create innovative solutions that truly add value to people's lives.

    • The Power of Legendary Entrepreneurs and CreatorsLegendary entrepreneurs and creators have the ability to shape the future by challenging the status quo, designing new products, and creating demand where there was none, ultimately making a significant impact on the world.

      Legendary entrepreneurs and creators have the ability to shape the future by designing and creating different futures. They are visitors from the future, showing us how things will be and driving them to madness when the present does not align with their vision. These entrepreneurs, like RJ (or JR) of Rivian and Elon Musk of Tesla, are obsessed with solving a problem that matters to them deeply. They challenge the status quo and refuse to accept that the future will be a continuation of the past. By designing new products, companies, and market categories, they create demand where there was none and make a significant impact on the world. An example is Lomi, the smart home composter, which not only addresses environmental issues but also offers a highly profitable business model.

    • Strategic language in category designEffective use of language can shape thinking and drive the adoption of new ideas in category design, finding a balance between old and new language is crucial.

      The strategic use of language is crucial in category design. Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of using old language to describe their new ideas, which can hinder understanding and adoption. However, using entirely new language can also confuse people. The key is to meet the category where it currently is and bring it forward while creating new language. An example is the story of Otis Elevator, where Elisha Otis faced the challenge of introducing the elevator despite there being no known problem for it to solve. Through effective languaging, he framed, claimed, and named the problem as the need for a "vertical railway." This new language created new mental scaffolding and paved the way for innovation in skyscrapers and vertical transportation. By carefully considering the words we use, we can shape thinking and drive the adoption of new ideas.

    • The Power of Language in Differentiating and Adding ValueBy creating new language and teaching consumers new terms, companies can transform perceptions and differentiate themselves in the market, ultimately leading to success.

      Changing the language used in a particular industry or category can lead to radical differentiation and perceived value. Christopher Lochhead provides the example of Starbucks, which was able to charge three dollars for a coffee that was previously sold for a quarter by creating new languaging. They taught consumers new terms and created a unique experience, leading to their success as a milk company, not just a coffee company. The same concept applies to the technology industry, where the company that creates the languaging for a category wins. Lochhead mentions the example of OpenAI and the term "large language model" becoming widely used. New languaging creates new thinking and can shape perceptions of value, ultimately leading to success.

    • The importance of focusing on the problem and using backcasting in entrepreneurshipUnderstanding the problem and planning backwards to reach a goal are crucial in entrepreneurship, as it helps in developing the best solution and avoiding potential pitfalls.

      Entrepreneurs should spend more time focusing on the problem rather than the solution. Too often, founders jump straight into developing their product or service without truly understanding the problem they are trying to solve. By becoming obsessed with the problem, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insights and perspectives from their customers, helping them identify the best solution. Additionally, the concept of backcasting, as opposed to forecasting, is another crucial aspect. Just like planning a backcountry hike, entrepreneurs should start with their desired outcome in mind and work backward to determine the necessary steps to reach that goal. This strategic approach ensures that entrepreneurs are adequately prepared and avoids potential pitfalls along the way.

    • Building a Startup: Rejecting the Premise and Embracing InnovationTo build a successful startup, we need to think beyond conventional boundaries, challenge norms, and create our own unique path towards innovation and success.

      When it comes to building a successful startup, we need to reject the premise and think in unconstrained ways about a radically different future. By letting go of existing references and opening up the aperture for new thinking, we can design innovative solutions that go beyond incremental improvements. This approach may seem difficult and time-consuming, but the reality is that any worthwhile endeavor requires effort and perseverance. Building a legendary culture and business model takes time, just like developing a stable product. And while many believe that only big companies can achieve true innovation, the truth is that the majority of innovation actually comes from startups. So, if we want to build a large and meaningful business, we must be willing to challenge the status quo and design our own category.

    • The Danger of Product Market Fit and the Power of Creating a New Market CategoryFocusing solely on fitting a product into an existing market can limit success; creating a new market category to address customer needs is more effective for achieving significant success.

      Product market fit is a dangerous idea and focusing solely on it can limit the success of a product. While it is commonly believed that fitting a product into a market is the key to success, the truth is that creating a new market category for a product is more effective. Many in the tech industry mistakenly believe that the best product always wins, but what customers actually buy is a new solution to a problem or opportunity. Sharing the founder's journey or creating a story brand may not be as impactful as understanding and addressing the needs of customers. By designing a market category for a product, rather than fitting it into an existing market, companies have a higher chance of achieving significant success.

    • Creating a New Market Category for Successful Marketing and Positioning.Positioning against competitors limits growth, while creating a new market category allows for dominance and differentiation. Focus on competing against the status quo and crafting a compelling narrative.

      When it comes to marketing and positioning, it's not about competing against other products or brands. Instead, it's about creating a new market category that stands on its own. Personal growth and personal finance are the top categories that people are interested in, showing that customers prioritize their own needs, wants, problems, and opportunities. Positioning against competitors only means fighting for a small percentage of the market, while one company usually dominates the economics. Differentiation is important, but in category design, the focus is on competing against the status quo, not against other brands or products. Ultimately, it's about creating a unique and compelling narrative around your offerings.

    • Creating New Categories: The Key to SuccessInstead of competing directly with existing brands, successful companies focus on creating new categories and offering unique solutions to change customer preferences and achieve growth.

      Successful companies focus on creating and dominating new categories rather than competing directly with existing brands. This strategy, known as damming the demand, involves interrupting and changing customer preferences by reframing the problem and offering a unique solution. For example, Spinning introduced indoor biking classes, positioning it as a safer alternative to outdoor biking. Peloton then dammed the demand for Spinning by offering home workout options. Competing against the status quo, not other products, is key. The goal is to lead the market from the way things are to a new and different way. By effectively damning the demand and creating net new demand, companies can achieve significant growth and success.

    • The Importance of Category Design in Achieving SuccessStrategic positioning within a category, along with relevant and memorable marketing tactics, can help businesses stand out and become industry leaders in today's saturated market.

      Category design is essential for the success of products and companies. Despite what some may think, category design isn't dismissive of the importance of products; rather, it recognizes that products fail when they aren't strategically positioned within a category. The magic triangle of product, company, and category holds equal importance in achieving success. Traditional marketing approaches that rely on reach and frequency no longer work in today's saturated market. Instead, the concept of a lightning strike, inspired by Hollywood's movie launches, emphasizes the need to stand out and make an impact in a short period. It's about being relevant and memorable to your ideal customers at the right time. Additionally, word of mouth remains the most influential form of marketing, and in the digital world, its potential for exponential growth is unmatched. By combining lightning strikes and category point of view, businesses can establish themselves as leaders in their respective industries.

    • Understanding and Targeting Super Consumers for Business GrowthBy identifying and appealing to super consumers, businesses can tap into their influence and networks, driving word-of-mouth marketing and achieving significant growth with minimal investment. Focus on educating, participating, and reframing problems from the customer's perspective.

      Understanding and targeting super consumers, or ideal customers, can be a highly effective growth engine for businesses. These super consumers not only contribute to a majority of profits but also hold influence and are seen as thought leaders in their industry. By crafting a radically compelling point of view that resonates with these super consumers, businesses can tap into their networks and drive word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. This WOM, especially in the native digital world, can have a powerful viral effect and generate significant growth with minimal investment. By focusing on educating, participating, and reframing problems from the customer's perspective, businesses can leverage category design and WOM as their primary marketing strategies for success.

    • Embracing the Opportunities of the FutureThe future holds immense opportunities for creators, entrepreneurs, and marketers. By embracing innovation and taking advantage of new technologies, individuals can become the driving force behind exponential growth and change in the world.

      Now is the greatest time in history for creators, entrepreneurs, and marketers. The amount of innovation set to happen in the next five years will surpass that of the last 20 years. Despite the concerns and dangers of AI, it presents immense opportunities for exponential differences. The future needs innovative and entrepreneurial individuals to step up and take advantage of these technologies. While some may criticize the younger generations, they are actually inspiring and will likely be our greatest generation of entrepreneurs. Don't let negativity or doubt hold you back from designing and dominating new categories of innovation. Embrace this incredible time and go for it because the future needs you.

    • The Power of the Question "Is there anything else?Asking "Is there anything else?" can uncover important insights and information that may have been overlooked. Open-ended questions are valuable tools in interviews and conversations.

      Asking the question "Is there anything else?" can reveal the most important information or insights that may have been missed in a conversation or interview. This simple yet powerful open question has the ability to elicit valuable responses, even after discussing crucial topics for hours. Christopher Lochhead, an interviewer and podcaster, believes that this question can be used not only in job interviews but also in medical situations and everyday conversations. Additionally, Lochhead's favorite interview question, "So, are you legendary?", aims to provoke thought and gauge a person's response to a daring question about themselves. Overall, these interview techniques emphasize the significance of open-ended queries in extracting meaningful information.

    • Embrace your uniqueness and create your own place.Don't conform to the norm, be different and make a unique mark. Your courage to break away from the predetermined path can deliver massive value to others.

      Being different and making a unique place for yourself in the world is what leads to making the biggest difference. While many people strive to fit in and follow a predetermined path, it's those who have the courage to break away from the norm and create their own place that truly stand out. Category design is about making your mark and creating a distinct space for yourself, your product, and your company. So, if you've already found your place, congratulations! But for those who haven't, it's important to realize that you don't have to conform. You have the power to make your place and deliver massive value to others by embracing your uniqueness.

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    • Logan Green on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/logangreen/

    • John Zimmer on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnzimmer11/

    • Storytelling with Nancy Duarte: How to craft compelling presentations and tell a story that sticks: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/storytelling-with-nancy-duarte-how

    • Steve Jobs Introducing the iPhone at MacWorld 2007: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7qPAY9JqE4

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull: https://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Livingston-Seagull-Richard-Bach/dp/0743278909

    • The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (author of 7 Rules of Power, professor at Stanford GSB): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-paths-to-power-jeffrey-pfeffer

    • Robin Roberts on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-roberts-393a934b/

    • Skunkworks: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/who-we-are/business-areas/aeronautics/skunkworks.html

    • Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/vision-conviction-hype-mihika-kapoor

    • Hard-won lessons building 0 to 1 inside Atlassian | Tanguy Crusson (Head of Jira Product Discovery): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/building-0-to-1-inside-atlassian-tanguy-crusson

    • Figma: https://www.figma.com/

    • Atlassian: https://www.atlassian.com/

    • Vinod Khosla: https://www.khoslaventures.com/team/vinod-khosla/

    • Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing: https://www.amazon.com/Top-Five-Regrets-Dying-Transformed-ebook/dp/B07KNRLY1L

    Chase, Chance, and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty: https://www.amazon.com/Chase-Chance-Creativity-Lucky-Novelty/dp/0262511355

    • Clay Christensen’s books: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Clayton-M.-Christensen/author/B000APPD3Y

    Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform: https://www.amazon.com/Resonate-Present-Stories-Transform-Audiences/dp/0470632011

    Ferrari on Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Ferrari-Adam-Driver/dp/B0CNDBN672

    • Montblanc fountain pens: https://www.montblanc.com/en-us

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    Dylan Field live at Config: Intuition, simplicity, and the future of design

    Dylan Field live at Config: Intuition, simplicity, and the future of design

    Dylan Field is the co-founder and CEO of Figma, the collaborative design platform that has revolutionized how product teams work. In my first-ever live podcast, recorded at Figma Config, Dylan and I dig into:

    • How intuition and product taste drive Dylan’s decision-making

    • The challenge of keeping things simple

    • Dylan’s thoughts on the future of product management

    • Lessons from Figma’s early days

    • How Figma built their initial user base

    • Dylan’s journey from intern to CEO of a 1,000+-person company

    • The future of design tools and AI

    Brought to you by:

    WorkOS—Modern identity platform for B2B SaaS, free up to 1 million MAUs

    Anvil—The fastest way to build software for documents

    User Testing—Human understanding. Human experiences.

    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/dylan-field-live-at-config

    Where to find Dylan Field:

    • X: https://x.com/zoink?lang=en

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dylanfield/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Introduction

    (01:11) Welcoming Dylan Field

    (02:36) Highlights and surprises from Config

    (06:58) The philosophy of design

    (08:01) Raccoon feet and muffin hands

    (09:57) Building and refining intuition and product taste

    (12:50) How to influence leadership

    (16:14) The role of product managers

    (21:12) The future of product management

    (22:20) The importance of simplicity in design

    (26:10) The long road to Figma’s launch

    (27:44) Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

    (29:07) Knowing when it’s time to ship

    (30:39) Early user acquisition strategies

    (35:50) Spotting trends and future innovations

    (39:20) Reflections on leadership and growth

    (43:16) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Mihika Kapoor on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mihikakapoor/

    • Rick Rubin on the Creative Act—60 Minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE1teB5bN-w

    • Figma pages: https://help.figma.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038511293-Create-and-manage-pages

    • Leading through uncertainty: A design-led company—Brian Chesky (Config 2023): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkfijg7s76o

    • An inside look at how Figma builds product | Yuhki Yamashita (CPO of Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/an-inside-look-at-how-figma-builds

    • Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/vision-conviction-hype-mihika-kapoor

    • An inside look at Figma’s unique GTM motion | Claire Butler (first GTM hire): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/an-inside-look-at-figmas-unique-bottom

    • Zigging vs. zagging: How HubSpot built a $30B company | Dharmesh Shah (co-founder/CTO): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-30-years-of-building

    • Nadia Singer on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadiasinger/

    • Sho Kuwamoto on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shokuwamoto/

    • FigJam: https://www.figma.com/figjam/

    • Tim Van Damme on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-van-damme-maxvoltar/

    • Coda: https://coda.io/

    • Shishir Mehrotra on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shishirmehrotra/

    • Websim: https://websim.ai/

    • eToys.com commercial (from Dylan’s childhood acting career): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Y92aCmmbU

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    The social radar: Y Combinator’s secret weapon | Jessica Livingston (co-founder of Y Combinator, author, podcast host)

    The social radar: Y Combinator’s secret weapon | Jessica Livingston (co-founder of Y Combinator, author, podcast host)

    Jessica Livingston is a co-founder of Y Combinator, the first and most successful startup accelerator. Y Combinator has funded over 5,000 companies, 200 of which are now unicorns, including Airbnb, Dropbox, DoorDash, Stripe, Coinbase, and Reddit. Jessica played a crucial role in YC’s early success, when she was nicknamed the “social radar” because of her uncanny ability to quickly evaluate people—an essential skill when investing in early-stage startups. She’s also the host of the popular podcast The Social Radars, where she interviews billion-dollar-startup founders, and the author of the acclaimed book Founders at Work, which captures the origin stories of some of today’s most interesting companies. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • How Jessica gained the affectionate title of the “social radar”

    • Why defensive founders are a red flag

    • How to develop your social radar

    • What she looks for in founders during YC interviews

    • How YC’s early inexperience in angel investing led to the batch model

    • Her favorite stories from interviews with Airbnb, Rippling, and more

    • Lessons learned from hosting her own podcast

    • Much more

    Brought to you by:

    Enterpret—Transform customer feedback into product growth

    Anvil—The fastest way to build software for documents

    Vanta—Automate compliance. Simplify security

    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-social-radar-jessica-livingston

    Where to find Jessica Livingston:

    • X: https://x.com/jesslivingston

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicalivingston1/

    • Podcast: https://www.thesocialradars.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Jessica’s background

    (02:42) Thoughts on being under-recognized

    (07:52) Jessica’s superpower: the social radar

    (15:11) Evaluating founders: key traits and red flags

    (21:00) The Airbnb story: a lesson in hustle and determination

    (25:57) A YC success story

    (28:26) The importance of earnestness

    (32:45) Confidence vs. defensiveness

    (34:43) Commitment and co-founder disputes

    (37:46) Relentless resourcefulness

    (40:00) Jessica’s social radar: origins and insights

    (43:24) Honing her social radar skills

    (45:44) Conviction and scams: a Y Combinator story

    (46:50) The interview process: challenges and insights

    (48:20) Operationalizing founder evaluation

    (49:38) Advice for building social radar skills

    (52:08) The “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” quiz

    (55:19) Jessica’s podcast: The Social Radars

    (01:00:34) Lessons from podcasting and interviewing

    (01:09:58) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Paul Graham’s post about Jessica: https://paulgraham.com/jessica.html

    • Paul Graham on X: https://x.com/paulg

    • Robert Tappan Morris: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Tappan_Morris

    • Trevor Blackwell on X: https://x.com/tlbtlbtlb

    • Y Combinator: https://www.ycombinator.com/

    • “The Founders” examines the rise and legend of PayPal: https://www.economist.com/culture/2022/02/19/the-founders-examines-the-rise-and-legend-of-paypal

    • Patrick Collison on X: https://x.com/patrickc

    • John Collison on X: https://x.com/collision

    • Brian Chesky on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianchesky/

    • Nate Blecharczyk on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blecharczyk/

    • Joe Gebbia on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jgebbia/

    • Airbnb’s CEO says a $40 cereal box changed the course of the multibillion-dollar company: https://fortune.com/2023/04/19/airbnb-ceo-cereal-box-investors-changed-everything-billion-dollar-company/

    • Parker Conrad on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/parkerconrad/

    • Zenefits: https://connect.trinet.com/hr-platform

    • Goat: https://www.goat.com/

    • Eddy Lu on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eddylu/

    • Drew Houston on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drewhouston/

    • Arash Ferdowsi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arashferdowsi/

    • Lessons from 1,000+ YC startups: Resilience, tar pit ideas, pivoting, more | Dalton Caldwell (Y Combinator, Managing Director): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-1000-yc-startups

    •Bitcoin launderer pleads guilty, admits to massive Bitfinex hack: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/03/new-york-man-admits-being-original-bitfinex-hacker-during-guilty-plea-in-dc-to-bitcoin-money-laundering.html

    • Paul Graham’s tweet with the facial recognition test: https://x.com/paulg/status/1782875262855663691

    • SmartLess podcast: https://www.smartless.com

    • Jason Bateman on X: https://x.com/batemanjason

    • Will Arnett on X: https://x.com/arnettwill

    • Sean Hayes on X: https://x.com/seanhayes

    • The Social Radars with Tony Xu, Co-Founder & CEO of DoorDash: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/Ja-tony-xu-co-founder-ceo-of-doordash

    • The Social Radars with Brian Chesky: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/JW-brian-chesky-co-founder-ceo-of-airbnb

    • The Social Radars with Patrick and John Collison: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/Kx-patrick-john-collison-co-founders-of-stripe

    • The Social Radars with Brian Armstrong: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/K3-brian-armstrong-co-founder-and-ceo-of-coinbase

    • The Social Radars with Emmett Shear: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/KM-emmett-shear-co-founder-of-twitch

    • The Social Radars with Paul Graham: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/JV-paul-graham-co-founder-of-y-combinator-and-viaweb

    • The Social Radars with Adora Cheung: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/L0-adora-cheung-co-founder-of-homejoy-instalab

    Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days: https://www.amazon.com/Founders-Work-Stories-Startups-Early/dp/1430210788

    • Startup School: https://www.startupschool.org/

    • The Social Radars with Parker Conrad: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/Ky-parker-conrad-founder-of-zenefits-rippling

    • Rippling: https://www.rippling.com/

    Carry on, Jeeves: https://www.amazon.com/Carry-Jeeves-Dover-Thrift-Editions/dp/0486848957

    Very Good, Jeeves: https://www.amazon.com/Very-Good-Jeeves-Wooster-Book-ebook/dp/B0051GST06

    Right Ho, Jeeves: https://www.amazon.com/Right-Ho-Jeeves-P-Wodehouse-ebook/dp/B083FFDNHN/

    Life: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Keith-Richards-ebook/dp/B003UBTX72/

    My Name Is Barbra: https://www.amazon.com/My-Name-Barbra-Streisand/dp/0525429522

    Clarkson’s Farm on Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Clarksons-Farm-Season-1/dp/B095RHJ52R

    Schitt’s Creek on Hulu: https://www.hulu.com/series/schitts-creek-a2e7a946-9652-48a8-884b-3ea7ea4de273

    Yellowstone on Peacock: https://www.peacocktv.com/stream-tv/yellowstone

    • Sam Altman on X: https://x.com/sama

    • Justin Kan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justinkan/

    • Alexis Ohanian on X: https://x.com/alexisohanian

    • Steve Huffman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shuffman56/

    • Breaking News: Condé Nast/Wired Acquires Reddit: https://techcrunch.com/2006/10/31/breaking-news-conde-nastwired-acquires-reddit/

    • Charles River Venture: https://www.crv.com/

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    Making an impact through authenticity and curiosity | Ami Vora (CPO at Faire, ex-WhatsApp, FB, IG)

    Making an impact through authenticity and curiosity | Ami Vora (CPO at Faire, ex-WhatsApp, FB, IG)

    Ami Vora is the Chief Product Officer of Faire, which connects independent retailers and brands around the world. Before Faire, Ami spent over 15 years at Meta, including as VP of Product and Design for WhatsApp (2B+ users), VP of Product for Facebook’s ads system (now $130B of annual revenue), and director at Instagram. She began her career working on developer tools at Microsoft. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Why execution eats strategy for breakfast

    • Using metaphor to rally teams around one shared goal

    • How to build cross-functional relationships

    • “Dinosaur brain,” “Toddler soccer,” and the “hill climbing” metaphors

    • A tactic for handling disagreement

    • Tips for working well with product-minded founders as a product leader

    • The story of Ami’s incredible 15-year journey from temp to VP at Meta

    • Much more

    Brought to you by:

    Sidebar—Accelerate your career by surrounding yourself with extraordinary peers.

    Anvil—The fastest way to build software for documents.

    User Testing—Human understanding. Human experiences.

    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/authenticity-and-curiosity-ami-vora

    Where to find Ami Vora:

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amvora/

    • Substack: https://amivora.substack.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Ami’s background

    (02:00) The myth of perfection in success

    (07:55) Emotionally connecting with the job

    (09:55) Embracing curiosity in moments of challenge

    (13:16) Thinking in feedback loops

    (17:17) The “dinosaur brain” metaphor in product reviews

    (20:20) Strategies for conducting effective product reviews

    (26:33) Using metaphors and imagery to communicate your vision

    (29:35) The power of having a shared narrative

    (31:55) WhatsApp: an example of metaphor in action

    (34:44) Emulating people that inspire you

    (36:19) WhatsApp video calling

    (37:35) Why execution is greater than strategy

    (41:36) Time allotment for strategy vs. execution

    (45:10) How to become a better strategic thinker

    (47:59) The intricacies of implementing feedback

    (51:53) Being a female leader in tech

    (55:13) Advice for young women in tech

    (56:07) Setting goals and aligning incentives

    (01:01:40) Acknowledging hard truths

    (01:05:46) Lessons from transitioning to Faire

    (01:08:40) The importance of a good CPO/CEO relationship

    (01:11:17) Vetting heads of product and maintaining customer focus

    (01:12:40) How Ami went from intern to leading major products at Meta

    (01:14:53) The one thing you should do to be successful in product

    (01:17:25) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Faire: https://www.faire.com/

    • Making Meta | Andrew “Boz” Bosworth (CTO): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/making-meta-andrew-boz-bosworth-cto

    •  Community Wisdom: AMA with Dan Hockenmaier + Facilitating a roadmap session, structuring product teams, navigating an acquisition, companies not needing PMs anymore, and much more: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/making-meta-andrew-boz-bosworth-cto

    • Developing a growth model + marketplace growth strategy | Dan Hockenmaier (Faire, Thumbtack, Reforge): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/developing-a-growth-model-marketplace

    • Dan Hockenmaier’s website: https://www.danhock.com/

    • On Reviews: https://boz.com/articles/reviews

    • Finding a global optimum always feels like a hill climb: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/amvora_finding-a-global-optimum-always-feels-like-activity-7074776143882588161-jhyy/

    • Dolores Park: https://sfrecpark.org/892/Mission-Dolores-Park

    • Rob Goldman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robgoldman/

    • Execution eats strategy for breakfast, but execution without strategy leads to burnout: https://rationalpm.substack.com/p/execution-eats-strategy-for-breakfast

    • The goal of a “strategy” is to change our own team’s behavior: https://amivora.substack.com/p/the-goal-of-a-strategy-is-to-change

    • The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (author of 7 Rules of Power, professor at Stanford GSB): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-paths-to-power-jeffrey-pfeffer

    • Path to Power course outline: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Pfeffer-OB377-Course-Outline-2018.pdf

    • Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?: https://hbr.org/1999/11/management-time-whos-got-the-monkey

    • Max Rhodes on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/max-rhodes/

    • Coupa Coffee: https://www.coupacafe.com/

    • Brandee Barker on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandeedbarker/

    Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Yes-Dance-Stand-Person/dp/1476777128 

    • How to tell better stories | Matthew Dicks (Storyworthy): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-tell-better-stories-matthew-dicks-storyworthy/

    • A life of yes: Matthew Dicks at TEDxSomerville: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3TaQFcaMk4

    The Office on Peacock: https://www.peacocktv.com/stream-tv/the-office

    30 Rock on Peacock: https://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/tv/30-rock/6240863759978157112

    • Dall-E-2: https://openai.com/index/dall-e-2/

    • ChatGPT: https://chatgpt.com

    • Fellow kettles: https://fellowproducts.com/products/stagg-ekg-electric-pour-over-kettle

    • TikTok’s “Roman Empire” Meme, Explained: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danidiplacido/2023/09/21/tiktoks-roman-empire-meme-explained/

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    Hard-won lessons building 0 to 1 inside Atlassian | Tanguy Crusson (Head of Jira Product Discovery)

    Hard-won lessons building 0 to 1 inside Atlassian | Tanguy Crusson (Head of Jira Product Discovery)

    Tanguy Crusson is the product lead for Jira Product Discovery at Atlassian. In his more than 10 years at the company, he has been instrumental in taking several new products from zero to one, including HipChat, Statuspage, and Jira Product Discovery. In this episode, we dive deep into the struggles of innovating and building new products inside a large company. Tanguy shares candid stories about what worked, what didn’t, and his many hard-won lessons learned about how to successfully build 0 to 1. We cover:

    • Why large companies with so many advantages still fail at creating new products

    • Lessons learned from building HipChat

    • How to avoid common pitfalls like competitive myopia and premature scaling

    • Lessons learned from the acquisition and integration of Statuspage

    • Insights from the success of Jira Product Discovery

    • Tactics for protecting your “ugly babies”

    • The power of “lighthouse users”

    • The importance of having a “why now”

    • Much more

    Brought to you by:

    Vanta—Automate compliance. Simplify security

    WorkOS—Modern identity platform for B2B SaaS, free up to 1 million MAUs

    Coda—The all-in-one collaborative workspace

    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/building-0-to-1-inside-atlassian-tanguy-crusson

    Where to find Tanguy Crusson:

    • X: https://x.com/tanguycrusson

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanguy-crusson-99832a

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Tanguy’s background

    (02:30) Tanguy’s journey at Atlassian

    (07:03) The challenges of innovating in large companies

    (10:42) Atlassian's high bar for excellence 

    (12:58) The HipChat story: successes, failures, and lessons learned

    (20:47) Lessons learned from building HipChat

    (33:49) Statuspage: a journey of perseverance

    (39:48) Acquisition challenges and lessons

    (47:22) Strategic decisions: build, buy, or partner?

    (48:17) Learning to articulate "why now"

    (54:08) A quick summary of lessons in this episode

    (55:40) The success and pain of launching Jira Product Discovery 

    (58:10) Incubating new products: the Point A program

    (01:00:13) Failure is the most likely outcome

    (01:04:15) Atlassian's four-phase approach to launching new products

    (01:09:20) Breaking rules without breaking trust

    (01:16:16) Early success and team autonomy

    (01:17:22) Innovating without disrupting existing customers

    (01:23:17) The Lighthouse Users program

    (01:30:00) Protecting and nurturing new ideas

    (01:36:14) Balancing innovation with personal well-being

    (01:38:17) A reminder to look after yourself

    (01:42:06) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Atlassian: https://www.atlassian.com/

    • HipChat: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Hipchat/ct-p/hipchat

    • Stride: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Stride/ct-p/stride

    • Statuspage: https://www.atlassian.com/software/statuspage

    • Opsgenie: https://www.atlassian.com/software/opsgenie

    • Jira Product Discovery: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/product-discovery

    • HipChat billboard: https://x.com/HubSpot/status/654696998126272512

    • Announcing our new partnership with Slack: https://www.atlassian.com/blog/announcements/new-atlassian-slack-partnership

    • Slack shows it’s worried about Microsoft Teams with a full-page newspaper ad: https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/2/13497766/slack-microsoft-teams-new-york-times-ad

    • What Is ‘Dogfooding’?: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/14/business/dogfooding.html

    • Jira: https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira

    • Confluence: https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence

    • PagerDuty: https://www.pagerduty.com/

    • New Relic: https://newrelic.com/

    • BigPanda: https://www.bigpanda.io/

    • Transparent Uptime: http://www.transparentuptime.com/

    • Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/vision-conviction-hype-mihika-kapoor

    • Figma: https://www.figma.com/

    • Lessons from Atlassian: Launching new products, getting buy-in, and staying ahead of the competition | Megan Cook (head of product, Jira): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-atlassian-launching

    • Noah Weiss on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/noahw/

    • Tanguy’s LinkedIn post about “lighthouse users”: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tanguy-crusson-99832a_lighthouse-users-one-of-the-pm-techniques-activity-7176654510801502210-hWNi/

    • Pixar Chief: Protect Your ‘Ugly Babies’ (Your Unsightly Ideas): https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyboynton/2014/03/17/pixar-chief-protect-your-ugly-babies-your-unsightly-ideas/

    • Atlas: https://www.atlassian.com/software/atlas

    • Point A: https://www.atlassian.com/point-a

    • Scott Farquhar on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottfarquhar

    Who: A Method for Hiring: https://www.amazon.com/Who-Method-Hiring-HC-2008/dp/B004C79SRS/

    Hakim’s Odyssey: Book 1: From Syria to Turkey: https://www.amazon.com/Hakims-Odyssey-Book-Syria-Turkey/dp/1637790007

    Living with the Earth, Volume 1: Permaculture, Ecoculture: Inspired by Nature: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Earth-Gardeners-Permaculture-Ecoculture/dp/1856232603/

    • INRIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Institute_for_Research_in_Computer_Science_and_Automation

    • How a Hydrofoil Works: https://web.mit.edu/2.972/www/reports/hydrofoil/hydrofoil.html

    • What Is Kitefoil or Foilboarding?: https://www.whenitswindy.com/wp/?page_id=534

    • Freediving: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freediving

    • Tanguy’s freediving stats: https://www.aidainternational.org/Athletes/Profile-00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000a45

    • Perplexity: https://www.perplexity.com/

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (author of 7 Rules of Power, professor at Stanford GSB)

    The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (author of 7 Rules of Power, professor at Stanford GSB)

    Jeffrey Pfeffer teaches the single most popular (and somewhat controversial) class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business: The Paths to Power. He’s also the author of 16 books, including 7 Rules of Power: Surprising—But True—Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career. He has taught at Harvard, the London Business School, and IESE and has written for publications like Fortune and the Washington Post. Recognized by the Academy of Management and listed in the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame, Jeffrey also serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards, bringing his expertise to global audiences through seminars and executive education. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Jeffrey’s seven rules of power

    • How individuals can acquire and use power in business

    • Networking, and how to do it effectively

    • How to build a non-cringe personal brand

    • How to increase your influence to amplify your impact

    • Examples and stories of people building power

    • Tradeoffs and challenges that come with power

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-paths-to-power-jeffrey-pfeffer

    Where to find Jeffrey Pfeffer:

    • X: https://x.com/JeffreyPfeffer

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffrey-pfeffer-57a01b6/

    • Website: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/

    • Podcast: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/pfeffer-on-power/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Jeffrey’s background 

    (02:54) Understanding discomfort with power

    (04:56) Power skills for underrepresented groups

    (07:51) The popularity and challenges of Jeffrey’s class at Stanford

    (12:21) The seven rules of power

    (13:03) Success stories from his course

    (15:43) Building a personal brand

    (21:11) Getting out of your own way

    (26:04) Breaking the rules to gain power

    (30:34) Networking relentlessly

    (40:10) Why Jeffrey says to “pursue weak ties”

    (42:00) Using your power to build more power

    (44:34) The importance of appearance and body language

    (47:15) Mastering the art of presentation

    (55:12) Examples of homework assignments that Jeffrey gives students

    (59:11) People will forget how you acquired power

    (01:03:58) More good people need to have power

    (01:10:49) The price of power and autonomy

    (01:17:13) A homework assignment for you

    Referenced:

    • Gerald Ferris on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerald-r-ferris-5816b1b5/

    • Political Skill at Work: https://tarjomefa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/4173-engilish.pdf

    • Laura Esserman, MD: https://cancer.ucsf.edu/people/esserman.laura

    • Taylor Swift’s website: https://www.taylorswift.com/

    • Matthew 7: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%207&version=NIV

    • Mother Teresa quote: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2887-if-you-judge-people-you-have-no-time-to-love

    • Paths to Power course description: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Pfeffer-OB377-Course-Outline-2018.pdf

    7 Rules of Power: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/books/7-rules-of-power/

    The Knowing-Doing Gap: https://jeffreypfeffer.com/books/the-knowing-doing-gap/

    • Derek Kan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derekkan/

    • Mitt Romney on X: https://x.com/mittromney

    • Elaine Chao’s website: https://www.elainechao.com/

    • Tony Hsieh: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Hsieh

    • Zappos: https://www.zappos.com/

    • How I Did It: Zappos’s CEO on Going to Extremes for Customers: https://hbr.org/2010/07/how-i-did-it-zapposs-ceo-on-going-to-extremes-for-customers

    • McKinsey & Company: https://www.mckinsey.com/

    • Bain & Company: https://www.bain.com/

    • BCG: https://www.bcg.com/

    • Keith Ferrazzi’s website: https://www.keithferrazzi.com/

    • Deloitte: https://www2.deloitte.com/

    • Tristan Walker: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tristanwalker/

    • Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/

    • Laura Chau on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-chau/

    • Canaan Partners: https://www.canaan.com/

    • Andreessen Horowitz: https://a16z.com/

    • Sequoia Capital: https://www.sequoiacap.com/

    • Greylock: https://greylock.com/

    The Women Who Venture (WoVen) Podcast: https://www.canaan.com/woven/podcasts

    • Imposter syndrome: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/imposter-syndrome

    • Gary Loveman and Harrah’s Entertainment: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/case-studies/gary-loveman-harrahs-entertainment

    • “If you need help, just ask”: Underestimating compliance with direct requests for help: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/publications/if-you-need-help-just-ask-underestimating-compliance-direct-requests

    • Life story of Kathleen Frances Fowler: https://www.forevermissed.com/kathleenfowler/lifestory

    • Jason Calacanis on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasoncalacanis/

    • Jason Calacanis: A Case Study in Creating Resources: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/case-studies/jason-calacanis-case-study-creating-resources

    You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Connection, Trust, and Belonging: https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Invited-Science-Cultivating-Influence/dp/0063030977

    • View from the Top: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/experience/learning/guest-speakers/view-top

    • Omid Kordestani on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/omid-kordestani-46515151/

    • Netscape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape

    •  Esther Wojcicki on LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/estherwojcicki/

    • Leanne Williams: https://med.stanford.edu/profiles/leanne-williams

    Precision Psychiatry: Using Neuroscience Insights to Inform Personally Tailored, Measurement-Based Care: https://www.amazon.com/Precision-Psychiatry-Neuroscience-Personally-Measurement-Based/dp/1615371583

    • Mark Granovetter on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-granovetter-8161704/

    • The Strength of Weak Ties: https://snap.stanford.edu/class/cs224w-readings/granovetter73weakties.pdf

    Getting a Jobhttps://www.amazon.com/Getting-Job-Study-Contacts-Careers/dp/0226305813

    Acting with Power: https://www.amazon.com/Acting-Power-More-Powerful-Believe/dp/110190397X

    • Articles by Herminia Ibarra: https://herminiaibarra.com/articles/

    Kingdom of the Planet of the Ape: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11389872/

    • Jim Collins’s website: https://www.jimcollins.com/

    • Dana Carney on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danarosecarney/

    • Baba Shiv: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/baba-shiv

    • Tony Hayward: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Hayward

    • Lloyd Blankfein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Blankfein

    • Regis McKenna: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regis_McKenna

    • Jack Valenti: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Valenti

    • Salman Rushdie quote: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/434175220328596286/

    • How to build deeper, more robust relationships | Carole Robin (Stanford GSB professor, “Touchy Feely”): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/build-robust-relationships-carole-robin

    • Carole Robin’s 15% rule: https://pen-name.notion.site/Carole-Robin-on-Lenny-s-Podcast-dc7159208e4242428f4b11ebc92285eb

    • Karlie Kloss on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karliekloss

    • Lindsey Graham’s website: https://www.lindseygraham.com/

    • Was Microsoft’s Empire Built on Stolen Code? We May Never Know: https://www.wired.com/2012/08/ms-dos-examined-for-thef/

    • Who’s who of Jeffrey Epstein’s powerful friends, associates and possible co-conspirators: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/12/us/jeffrey-epstein-associates-possible-accomplices/index.html

    • Why Did Martha Stewart Go to Prison? A Look Back at Her 2004 Fraud Case: https://people.com/martha-stewart-fraud-case-prison-sentence-look-back-8550277

    • Dianne Feinstein: https://www.congress.gov/member/dianne-feinstein/F000062

    • Richard Blum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_C._Blum

    • Athena Care Network: https://www.athenacarenetwork.org

    • James G. March: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_G._March

    • Satya Nadella on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/satyanadella/

    • Trump Organization fined $1.6 million for tax fraud: https://apnews.com/article/politics-legal-proceedings-new-york-city-donald-trump-manhattan-e2f1d01525dafb64be8738c8b4f32085

    • Rudy Giuliani: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Giuliani

    • Harvard president resigns amid claims of plagiarism and antisemitism backlash: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2024/jan/02/harvard-president-claudine-gay-resigns

    • Stanford president resigns after fallout from falsified data in his research: https://www.npr.org/2023/07/19/1188828810/stanford-university-president-resigns

    • Rudy Crew: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Crew

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    Lessons from a two-time unicorn builder, 50-time startup advisor, and 20-time company board member | Uri Levine (co-founder of Waze)

    Lessons from a two-time unicorn builder, 50-time startup advisor, and 20-time company board member | Uri Levine (co-founder of Waze)

    Uri Levine is the co-founder of Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, acquired by Google for over $1 billion. He’s also founded nine other companies, been on the board of 20 companies, and advised more than 50 companies. He’s most recently the author of Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs, hailed by Steve Wozniak as the “Bible for entrepreneurs.” Uri is dedicated to creating impactful startups that solve real-world problems and has seen everything from failure to moderate success to big success. In our conversation, we dig into:

    • Why falling in love with the problem is key to startup success

    • The phases of the startup journey and how to navigate them

    • Why firing is more important than hiring

    • How Waze iterated to achieve product-market fit

    • Tactics for telling a compelling story when fundraising

    • Much more

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-uri-levine

    Where to find Uri Levine:

    • X: https://twitter.com/urilevine1

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/uri-levine

    • Website: https://urilevine.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Uri’s background

    (02:50) Falling in love with the problem

    (09:03) Signs this is a big enough problem

    (10:54) The importance of passion

    (12:06) A pivot example

    (14:01) Where to find startup ideas

    (21:57) Finding product-market fit at Waze

    (29:45) The different phases of a startup journey

    (36:47) What investors don’t want to hear

    (39:53) Fundraising tips

    (48:02) How to make your presentations stronger

    (50:32) A wild fundraising story

    (53:46) Firing and hiring

    (59:50) The 30-day test

    (01:04:12) Understanding users

    (01:12:10) Talking to the right users

    (01:15:36) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs: https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Love-Problem-Solution-Entrepreneurs/dp/1637741987

    • Waze: https://www.waze.com/

    • Ben Horowitz on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/behorowitz/

    • Ben Horowitz quote: https://quotefancy.com/quote/1635284/Ben-Horowitz-As-a-startup-CEO-I-slept-like-a-baby-I-woke-up-every-2-hours-and-cried

    • Michael Jordan quote: https://www.forbes.com/quotes/11194/#:~:text=I've%20lost%20almost%20300,that%20is%20why%20I%20succeed.

    • Steph Curry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Curry

    • How Airbnb Used Word of Mouth to Change the Travel Industry Forever: https://truested.com/story/airbnb

    • Space Mountain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Mountain_(Disneyland)

    • How Netflix builds a culture of excellence | Elizabeth Stone (CTO): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-netflix-builds-a-culture-of-excellence

    • Steve Wozniak on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wozniaksteve/

    • Uri’s post about the conference in Guatemala with Steve Wozniak: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/uri-levine_jewishnewyear-speakers-book-activity-6980089544079486976-0ADa/

    • Leonardo da Vinci quote: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9010638-simplicity-is-the-ultimate-sophistication-when-once-you-have-tasted

    • Geoffrey Moore on finding your beachhead, crossing the chasm, and dominating a market: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/geoffrey-moore-on-finding-your-beachhead

    • Nana Korobi Ya Oki: https://ikigaitribe.com/vlog/nana-korobi-ya-oki/

    That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea: https://www.amazon.com/That-Will-Never-Work-Netflix/dp/0316530204

    Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones: https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-Proven-Build-Break/dp/0735211299

    • 8 Great Chess Apps for Beginners and Grand Masters: https://www.wired.com/story/best-chess-apps/

    • Pontera: https://pontera.com/

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    Inside Canva: Coaches not managers, giving away your Legos, and running profitably | Cameron Adams (co-founder and CPO)

    Inside Canva: Coaches not managers, giving away your Legos, and running profitably | Cameron Adams (co-founder and CPO)

    Cameron Adams is the co-founder and chief product officer of Canva. Canva is one of the world’s most valuable private software companies, used by 95% of Fortune 500 companies. Since its launch in 2013, Canva has grown to over 150 million monthly users in more than 190 countries, generating $2.3 billion in annual revenue. Prior to Canva, Cameron ran a design consultancy, worked at Google on Google Wave, and founded the email startup Fluent. He is also an author of five web design books and a regular speaker at global conferences. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Why they spent a year building their minimum viable product (MVP) before launch

    • Why Canva has no managers, and their unique approach to coaching and performance reviews

    • Why they encourage employees to “give away their Legos”

    • Insights into Canva’s SEO growth strategy

    • Their three-pillar framework for integrating AI into their product

    • Stories from the early days

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/inside-canva-with-cameron-adams

    Where to find Cameron Adams:

    • X: https://twitter.com/themaninblue

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/themaninblue

    • Website: https://themaninblue.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Cameron’s background

    (02:00) Reflecting on the success of Canva

    (04:50) Reflecting on hard times

    (10:01) Canva’s product-obsessed culture

    (12:02) Why they prioritize internal promotions and hires

    (13:56) What makes Canva unique

    (16:31) The concept of giving away your Legos

    (21:44) Why Canva has no managers

    (24:29) Product management at Canva

    (27:56) Reflections on working with a married couple

    (30:37) Why they spent a year building their MVP before launch

    (33:49) Advice for building an MVP

    (41:23) Canva’s onboarding transformation

    (44:25) Canva’s SEO strategy

    (50:37) The success of Canva’s freemium strategy

    (54:24) Integrating AI into Canva’s product

    (01:01:50) Where to find Cameron

    Referenced:

    • Canva: https://www.canva.com/

    • Melanie Perkins on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melanieperkins

    • Cliff Obrecht on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliff-obrecht-79ba9920

    • Jennie Rogerson, Head of People, LinkedIn post about “season opener” events: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jennierogerson_season-opener-is-one-of-my-favourite-events-activity-7006815614556135424-73bD/

    Game of Thrones on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones

    • Woodstock: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodstock

    • ‘Give Away Your Legos’ and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups: https://review.firstround.com/give-away-your-legos-and-other-commandments-for-scaling-startups/

    • Minimum viable product (MVP): https://www.productboard.com/glossary/minimum-viable-product-mvp

    • Canva’s SEO Strategy Is Elite: https://thegrowthplaybook.substack.com/p/canvas-seo-strategy-is-elite

    • The SEO Strategy That Led Canva to a $40 Billion Valuation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INyGKt6LAqM

    • Andrianes Pinantoan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrianes/

    • Canva Create: https://www.canva.com/canva-create/

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



    Get full access to Lenny's Newsletter at www.lennysnewsletter.com/subscribe

    The surprising truth about what closes deals: Insights from 2.5m sales conversations | Matt Dixon (author of The Challenger Sale and The JOLT Effect)

    The surprising truth about what closes deals: Insights from 2.5m sales conversations | Matt Dixon (author of The Challenger Sale and The JOLT Effect)

    Matt Dixon is one of the world’s foremost experts in sales and the author of The Challenger Sale, which sold over a million copies worldwide and was a #1 Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller. His most recent book, The JOLT Effect, focuses on overcoming customer indecision—one of the biggest challenges to closing deals. Outside of writing, Matt co-founded DCM Insights, a boutique consultancy helping organizations understand customer behavior, and is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, with more than 20 print and online articles to his credit. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Why 40% to 60% of qualified sales opportunities are lost due to customer indecision

    • Why dialing up FOMO doesn’t work, and what to do instead

    • The “pings and echoes” technique to catch issues early

    • The JOLT method for overcoming indecision

    • Key lessons from The Challenger Sale

    • Practical examples of how to apply these principles to close more deals

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/close-more-deals-matt-dixon

    Where to find Matt Dixon:

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewxdixon

    • Website: https://www.jolteffect.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

    • Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Matt’s background

    (01:57) The research behind Matt’s books

    (06:08) Insights from The JOLT Effect

    (10:15) FOMO vs. FOMU

    (18:18) An example of selling software

    (26:04) The JOLT method Step 1: Judge their level of indecision

    (29:41) The “pings and echoes” technique

    (34:49) Step 2: Offer a recommendation

    (38:36) Step 3: Limit the exploration

    (41:43) Step 4: Take risk off the table

    (45:58) When to hit the pause button with a customer

    (47:27) Insights from The Challenger Sale

    (49:07) An example of a challenger sale

    (55:23) Where to find Matt

    Referenced:

    • A step-by-step guide to crafting a sales pitch that wins | April Dunford (author of Obviously Awesome and Sales Pitch): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/a-step-by-step-guide-to-crafting

    The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/0670922854

    The JOLT Effect: How High Performers Overcome Customer Indecision: https://www.amazon.com/JOLT-Effect-Performers-Overcome-Indecision/dp/0593538102

    • Gartner acquires CEB: https://www.gartner.com/en/about/acquisitions/history/ceb-acquisition

    Tiger King on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81115994

    • Why sourdough went viral: https://www.economist.com/1843/2020/08/04/why-sourdough-went-viral

    • Neil Rackham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Rackham

    • Status quo bias in decision-making: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_quo_bias

    • Omission bias: https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/omission-bias

    • Gartner Magic Quadrant & Critical Capabilities: https://www.gartner.com/en/research/magic-quadrant

    • Dunning-Kruger effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    • Stop Losing Sales to Customer Indecision: https://hbr.org/2022/06/stop-losing-sales-to-customer-indecision

    • Dentsply Sirona: https://www.dentsplysirona.com/

    • “We happy?” Briefcase scene from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGchDuOpbhE

    • Nupro Freedom Cordless Prophy System: https://www.dentsplysirona.com/en-us/discover/discover-by-category/preventive/hygiene-handpieces.html

    Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



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    (07:39) Unfollowing to find focus.

    (08:23) Focusing on the right people, your people.

    (10:55) Paying attention to your wins!

    (12:08) Having the difficult conversations with yourself about success.

    (13:59) Question: Do you even want to run your business the way they are?!

    (15:00) Taking your trigger as an invitation to reach out and celebrate the other.