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    How to drive word of mouth | Nilan Peiris (CPO of Wise)

    Balancing data-driven decision-making with intuition and belief in ideas can lead to successful product decisions, while focusing on meeting customer demands and constantly improving can create superior products.

    enSeptember 24, 2023

    About this Episode

    Brought to you by Pendo—The all-in-one platform for product-led companies building breakthrough digital experiences | Wix Studio—The web creation platform built for agencies | Masterworks—Invest in blue-chip art

    Nilan Peiris is Chief Product Officer at Wise, one of the fastest-growing (and profitable) tech companies in the world. Wise allows anyone to send money in more than 60 currencies to over 160 countries at low cost, and throughout its history has grown primarily through word of mouth. In today’s episode, we discuss:

    • Tactical advice on driving word of mouth (WOM)

    • Strategies for measuring WOM

    • How NPS surveys helped Wise determine their growth and product strategy

    • How Wise incentivizes teams to do the hard things

    • The small change that generated a 3x increase in referrals

    • How Wise structures its product and growth teams

    Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-drive-word-of-mouth-nilan-peiris-cpo-of-wise/#transcript

    Where to find Nilan Peiris:

    • Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/nilanp

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

    Where to find Lenny:

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

    • Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

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

    In this episode, we cover:

    (00:00) Nilan’s background

    (03:27) A brief overview of Wise

    (06:11) How word of mouth is measured

    (07:56) Why Wise leaned into WOM

    (10:21) Why Wise built their WOM motion using the NPS method

    (16:13) How WOM solves trust problems

    (18:55) How to get to 9 or 10 on the NPS scale

    (20:51) Determining what will wow users

    (21:31) Common missteps companies make when trying to drive WOM

    (23:24) Using the “working backward” method at Airbnb

    (25:45) How Wise is able to offer drastically lower money transfer fees

    (27:51) The three costs associated with moving money

    (32:02) Rational vs. irrational reasons behind recommendations

    (34:11) Prioritizing customer happiness

    (38:14) How Wise approaches experimentation

    (46:11) Thoughts on performance reviews and general analysis

    (48:06) How Wise provides a 10x better banking experience

    (51:57) Advice on how to approach word-of-mouth marketing

    (53:47) Building a culture of doing hard things

    (55:59) The macrostructure of international banking and where Wise fits in

    (57:54) How Wise solves for local regulations in their onboarding flow

    (1:01:49) How Wise structures teams

    (1:03:26) The small change that generated a 3x increase in referrals

    (1:08:01) Nilan’s philanthropic endeavors

    (1:09:13) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Wise: https://wise.com/us/

    • Henry Chen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/henry-h-chen/

    • About NPS: https://www.productboard.com/blog/the-power-of-nps-in-your-product-strategy/

    • How Snow White helped Airbnb prove that storytelling is the most important skill in design: https://uxdesign.cc/how-airbnb-proved-that-storytelling-is-the-most-important-skill-in-design-15d04ac71039

    • Seth Godin: This Is How You Create a Remarkable Product: https://www.businessinsider.com/seth-godin-this-is-how-you-create-a-remarkable-product-2012-10

    • Discover the Spotify model: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/agile-at-scale/spotify

    • Beam: https://beam.org/

    • Affinity: https://affinityghana.com/

    Crime and Punishment: https://www.amazon.com/Crime-Punishment-Volokhonsky-Translation-Classics/dp/0679734503

    Midnight’s Children: https://www.amazon.com/Midnights-Children-Modern-Library-Novels/dp/0812976533

    Barbie: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517268/

    • Arc browser: https://arc.net/

    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

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Prioritizing exceptional user experiences and leveraging word of mouth has allowed Wise to acquire millions of new users and sustain profitability for over four years, showcasing the effectiveness of this growth strategy.
    • By harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing, Wise has achieved remarkable growth while keeping marketing costs low. They measure customer satisfaction through NPS and use a referral program to drive further growth.
    • Focusing on improving NPS can lead to higher customer recommendations, resulting in increased business growth. Moreover, NPS surveys offer valuable insights for product enhancement.
    • Building trust by delivering a good customer experience and encouraging recommendations from friends can help overcome trust issues and drive business success.
    • To achieve exponential growth, businesses must go beyond functionality and strive to create a unique and innovative user experience that exceeds expectations and solves systemic issues.
    • Airbnb and Wise have successfully improved their services by focusing on user needs, such as implementing instant bookings and reducing transfer fees, respectively.
    • Wise prioritizes providing a 10x better customer experience through cost reduction, automation, regulatory advancements, and a dedication to their mission.
    • Wise's success can be attributed to their authentic messaging, diverse workforce, and mission-driven approach. This has resulted in a word-of-mouth engine that generates customer acquisition, lowers prices, and creates shareholder value.
    • Wise believes in systematically reducing costs, conducting split tests, and prioritizing speed and quality to build confidence in their pricing strategy and solidify their market position.
    • Investing in contemporary art has shown remarkable growth, outperforming the S&P 500 by 136% in the last 27 years. With platforms like Masterworks, investing in renowned artists' works is now accessible to almost anyone.
    • Balancing data-driven decision-making with intuition and belief in ideas can lead to successful product decisions, while focusing on meeting customer demands and constantly improving can create superior products.
    • Wise simplifies currency conversions and banking processes, providing local bank accounts in different countries for businesses and serving as a primary bank account for consumers managing transactions in different currencies.
    • Wise's focus on tackling hard problems, prioritizing customer satisfaction, and challenging traditional banking norms has led to their impressive growth and product superiority.
    • Wise successfully operates in diverse markets by establishing global KPIs while allowing local teams to handle market-specific requirements, resulting in a competitive position in the international account space.
    • Wise's success stems from focusing on customer needs, embracing autonomy and accountability, and leveraging word-of-mouth marketing to optimize their referral program.
    • Effective product marketing closes the gap between customer perception and action, leading to increased sharing and referral rates, emphasizing the need to help customers realize the value they receive from a product.
    • Books offer a window into the human condition, interviews reveal motivations, and tailored user experiences are crucial for success. Resilience and learning from setbacks are keys to personal growth.
    • Embrace setbacks and focus on progress, minimizing time spent dwelling on failures. Additionally, explore passions outside of work to showcase the multifaceted nature of individuals.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth for Growth

    A key driver of Wise's growth is their emphasis on word of mouth. They have successfully leveraged this channel, with 70% of their new users discovering Wise through recommendations from friends. To achieve this, Wise focuses on providing users with an exceptional experience that goes beyond their expectations. They aim to blow their users' socks off by offering a service that is not only efficient and affordable but also transforms their perception of what is possible in cross-border money movement. By prioritizing word of mouth growth, Wise has been able to acquire millions of new users each quarter and sustain profitability for over four years with impressive EBITDA margins. Overall, their success highlights the power of positive user experiences and the importance of leveraging word of mouth as a growth strategy.

    Wise's Word-of-Mouth Strategy for Growth

    Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) has recognized the importance of word-of-mouth marketing in their growth strategy. They have strategically focused on developing a strong brand and leveraging low-cost distribution channels to reach their entire audience. Due to their lower prices and superior product, they have limited margins to spend on marketing. To measure word-of-mouth, Wise began by asking customers the simple question of whether they would recommend their service to a friend, using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system. This helped them identify promoters, detractors, and those who were neutral. By overlaying the NPS data with their referral program, Wise was able to understand the impact of word-of-mouth on their growth.

    Leveraging NPS to Drive Customer Referrals

    Focusing on increasing NPS (Net Promoter Score) can significantly boost the viral coefficient of a customer base. By analyzing referral data alongside NPS survey data, it was discovered that customers who rated the product higher on NPS were more likely to recommend it to others. When customers went from a rating of six to seven, the number of people they told about the product doubled, and this trend continued as the rating increased. This means that optimizing for NPS, which measures customer satisfaction and loyalty, can have a much larger impact on business growth compared to simply improving conversion rates. Additionally, paying attention to customer comments in NPS surveys can provide valuable insights into the specific areas where the product can be improved, such as price, speed, and ease of use.

    Prioritizing the key factors for business success

    Building a successful business requires focusing on the core factors that truly matter. Initially, there may be chaos and uncertainty, with various ideas about what is important. However, over time, it becomes clear that certain factors, such as price, speed, and ease of use, consistently impact business success. While everything may seem important, it is crucial to prioritize and identify the key elements that drive customer satisfaction and trust. Trust, for example, is vital in marketing, and it was found that the strongest trust signal comes from recommendations by friends. By delivering a good customer experience and ensuring that customers are willing to recommend the product or service, many difficult trust problems can be overcome.

    Creating an Unforgettable User Experience for Growth

    To truly drive word of mouth and achieve growth, you need to blow your users' socks off. Simply making a product that works is not enough. It's about giving your users an experience they didn't even know was possible. This means going above and beyond, solving systemic infrastructure issues, and pushing the boundaries of what has been done before. It involves figuring out how to move money instantly and drastically reducing prices. The key is to constantly strive for a 10x better product, one that doesn't already exist in the market. Instead of incremental improvements, it's about working backwards from the ideal experience and finding innovative solutions. This approach can lead to significant returns and exponential growth.

    Addressing User Pain Points Through Improved Experiences

    Both Airbnb and Wise (formerly Moneytrans) have focused on improving their user experiences by addressing key pain points. Airbnb aimed to create a seamless and instant booking process, transitioning from hosts manually accepting or rejecting guests to implementing instant bookings where users can book without waiting for approval. This change was driven by the question of how Airbnb would look if it were to start fresh today. Similarly, Wise tackled the issue of high transfer fees by carefully analyzing costs and allocating them back to the customers generating them. They then adjusted prices accordingly, charging heavier users more and reducing costs for others. By prioritizing user needs and continuously optimizing their processes, both companies have successfully improved their services.

    Wise's Approach: Efficiency, Innovation, and Customer Satisfaction

    Wise prioritizes providing a 10x better customer experience by tackling various challenges. Firstly, they have reduced the cost of FX risk by improving their rate-locking system and minimizing potential losses. Secondly, they have focused on reducing people costs, such as customer support teams, through automation and continuous improvement, resulting in a 20% annual enhancement. Moreover, their dedication to their mission of instant and low-cost money transfers led them to overcome a regulatory obstacle in Singapore, where they had to physically meet every customer. By lobbying for change and obtaining the world's first EKYC license, Wise demonstrated their commitment to offering a superior experience and building customer advocacy through word-of-mouth referrals. Overall, Wise's approach emphasizes efficiency, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

    Authenticity and Mission-Driven Approach Drive Wise's Customer-Led Growth

    Wise's success in customer-led growth is rooted in authenticity and a strong mission. Despite breaking the rules of traditional marketing, Wise's email resonated with a proportion of their customer base because it conveyed their genuine efforts to solve a common problem and bring down costs. The company's authenticity is evident not only in their messaging but also in their diverse workforce, comprised of individuals who have personally experienced and struggled with the same problem Wise aims to solve. This authenticity and mission-driven approach have created a powerful word-of-mouth engine that drives customer acquisition and lowers prices, creating a self-sustaining flywheel effect. By prioritizing the customer list over the money-making list, Wise focuses on delivering impactful solutions that generate customer satisfaction, growth, and shareholder value.

    Building Confidence and Prioritizing All Fronts: Wise's Approach to Pricing and Product Management

    Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, believes in the power of conviction when it comes to pricing and product management. They have systematically reduced costs but instead of immediately passing the savings onto customers, they conduct split tests to determine the impact on revenue and growth. This approach allows Wise to build confidence in their pricing strategy. They understand that simply reducing the price is not enough to drive success. Wise also focuses on speed and high-quality service to attract customers. Additionally, when it comes to product management, Wise emphasizes the importance of building conviction and understanding customer needs through quantitative insights rather than solely relying on A/B testing. This approach enables them to make impactful changes and solve problems effectively. Ultimately, Wise prioritizes making gains on all fronts – cost, speed, and quality – in order to solidify their position in the market.

    Contemporary Art: A Lucrative Investment Strategy

    Investing in contemporary art has proven to be a successful strategy over the years. Reports from Citibank and Deloitte show that contemporary art has outperformed the S&P 500 by 136% in the last 27 years. This investment has also acted as an inflation hedge and has shown little correlation to other financial markets. Even industry experts like the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink, have acknowledged the value of contemporary art as a store of wealth. Historically, investing in art required significant capital, making it inaccessible to most people. However, platforms like Masterworks now offer opportunities for almost anyone to invest in renowned artists' works. While past performance doesn't guarantee future results, investing in art can provide potential returns and diversification for investors.

    Trusting Your Gut and Meeting Customer Demands for Successful Product Decisions

    Trusting your gut as a founder can lead to successful product decisions, even without running experiments. While data-driven decision-making is important, there are times when intuition and belief in an idea can pay off. This is evident in Wise's example of building a currency converter despite initial doubts from the founder. This decision turned out to be a huge success in terms of generating traffic and discovering new users. Additionally, it is essential to focus on delivering what customers always want in a product. Just as Amazon prioritized cheaper prices and faster shipping, Wise identified the need for low-cost international transfers and expanded their offerings to meet customer demands. By constantly improving and innovating in these areas, companies can create products that are 10 times better than competitors.

    Revolutionizing international money transfers for businesses and consumers.

    Wise has revolutionized international money transfers for businesses and consumers alike. They have tackled the friction points that hinder seamless transactions, such as currency conversion and complicated banking processes. By offering local bank accounts in different countries, businesses can now invoice and receive payments in the currency of their choice, eliminating the need for complex procedures and multiple banks. For consumers, Wise serves as a primary bank account for managing transactions in different currencies, especially for individuals living in one country and getting paid in another. This customer-centric approach has resulted in a significant increase in cross-border volume for Wise. The key to driving word of mouth and creating a 10x better product is to continuously listen to customers' needs and find innovative solutions, even if they may seem impossible at first.

    Ambitious goals, customer-centric mindset, and a unique structure drive Wise's remarkable success.

    Wise's success lies in setting ambitious goals and tackling hard problems. The founders believe in doing something hard and new, which permeates the company culture. They prioritize solving customers' problems completely and striving for the best possible solution. This mindset has enabled Wise to create a 10x better product and generate word-of-mouth. Wise also values patience and long-term growth over short-term goals, allowing them to focus on tackling difficult challenges. Additionally, Wise's unique structure challenges the status quo in the banking industry. Unlike traditional international banks with local tech stacks, Wise aims for seamless integration across different countries, avoiding cumbersome international transfers. By thinking differently and incentivizing their teams accordingly, Wise has achieved remarkable success.

    Navigating global markets with a unified tech stack and collaborative teams.

    Wise, unlike traditional banks and other fintechs, has successfully navigated the challenges of operating in multiple markets while maintaining a single global tech stack. This is a non-trivial task, especially when dealing with diverse regulations and requirements across different jurisdictions. Designing a seamless onboarding flow that complies with each country's unique regulations is a complex undertaking. Wise has overcome this challenge by implementing a global product team that establishes overall key performance indicators (KPIs), while local regional teams handle market-specific conversion rates and know-your-customer (KYC) costs. This collaborative structure allows for continuous feedback and evolution of the product vision, enabling Wise to create a global model that meets the needs of each market. Additionally, Wise's international presence sets it apart from other fintechs, positioning it as a competitive player in the international account space.

    Success through hard work, customer satisfaction, and innovative marketing at Wise.

    Wise has found success by prioritizing doing the hard things and consistently exceeding customer expectations. They have implemented a structure based on autonomous squads, each focused on specific products or regions, with accountability and guidance provided by a tribe. Additionally, Wise has discovered the power of word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. Through continuous experimentation and customer feedback, they have optimized their referral program, finding that highlighting the amount of money saved in a transfer significantly increases its effectiveness. By listening to their customers, being creative in finding solutions, and continuously iterating their approaches, Wise has achieved impressive results in their industry.

    The Power of Product Marketing: Driving Growth and Referral Rates

    In short, one big takeaway from this conversation is the power of product marketing within a product. By effectively closing the gap between what the customer has done and what they perceive to have done, companies can drive significant growth and referral rates. This was exemplified by Wise, who saw a 3x increase in sharing rate when they included a graph showing how much money customers had saved through their platform. Similarly, highlighting the instant transfer feature with a wizzy animation led to a jump in referral rates. This insight highlights the importance of helping customers understand and appreciate the remarkable value they receive from a product, ultimately driving word-of-mouth growth.

    The power of books, meaningful interviews, and tailored user experiences: Insights on human nature, historical analysis, and personal growth.

    Reading can offer both escapism and profound insights into the human condition. The interview highlighted how authors have the power to create realistic characters with words, allowing readers to learn something about what it means to be human. Books like Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky can provide a deep examination of the effects of guilt, while works like Midnight's Children by Rushdie can use metaphor to explore complex historical events. Furthermore, the discussion touched on the importance of asking meaningful interview questions to understand a candidate's motivations and limitations. Additionally, the conversation revealed that the onboarding process of Arc Browser was impressively designed, emphasizing the significance of tailored user experiences. Lastly, the motto "The thing that defines success is the speed at which you pick yourself up" was shared, highlighting the resilience and ability to learn from setbacks as a key factor in achieving personal growth and success.

    Resilience and Adaptability: Keys to Success in a High-Growth Company

    Resilience and the ability to adapt quickly are vital for success in a high-growth company. Nilan Peiris emphasizes the importance of not getting too weighed down by setbacks and instead focusing on moving forward. Learning to minimize the time spent dwelling on failures or challenges can greatly contribute to progress. Moreover, he shares an interesting cultural tradition at Wise where the team gathers from around the world in Estonia twice a year to enjoy the summer. The fun aspect of this tradition is Nilan's side hustle as a DJ, which brings excitement and entertainment to the event. This lighthearted passion outside of work showcases the multifaceted nature of individuals within the company.

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    • Threads: https://www.threads.net/@kberger

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

    • Website: https://kberger.com/

    Where to find Lenny:

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

    • X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

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

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    Referenced:

    • Joining as the first product manager: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/joining-as-the-first-product-manager

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

    • Leaders in Tech: https://leadersintech.org/

    • The Three Realities Framework | The 15% Rule | Feedback Guidelines: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/build-robust-relationships-carole-robin

    • T-group weekends at Stanford: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/experience/learning/leadership/interpersonal-dynamics/facilitation-training-program/intro-tgroup

    • DBT skill DEAR MAN: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/dbt-dear-man

    • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/22838-dialectical-behavior-therapy-dbt

    • 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

    • Stewart Butterfield on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/butterfield/

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    Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity: https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Candor-Kick-Ass-Without-Humanity/dp/1250103509

    • Radical Candor: From theory to practice with author Kim Scott: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/radical-candor-from-theory-to-practice

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    The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success: https://www.amazon.com/15-Commitments-Conscious-Leadership-Sustainable-ebook/dp/B00R3MHWUE

    Break Point on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81569920

    Living on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81582076

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    Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.



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    • Coinbase: https://www.coinbase.com/

    • Robinhood: https://www.robinhood.com/

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    • Affirm: https://www.affirm.com/

    • Lemonade: https://www.lemfi.com/

    • Bank of America: https://www.bankofamerica.com/

    • Nubank achieves a world record with more than 7 million people participating in NuBolão in one month: https://building.nubank.com.br/nubank-achieves-world-record-with-nubolao

    • Nu México carries out first financial transaction 20 meters under the depth of the sea: https://www.bnamericas.com/en/news/nu-mexico-carries-out-first-financial-transaction-20-meters-under-the-depth-of-the-sea

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    • Cristina Junqueira on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crisjunqueira

    • Edward Wible on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamedwardwible

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

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

    • Nubank’s real foundation: our culture and values: https://building.nubank.com.br/nubank-culture-and-values/

    • Working Backwards Press Release Template and Example: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/working-backwards-press-release-template-example-ian-mcallister/

    • Sean Ellis test: https://productcoalition.com/using-sean-ellis-test-for-measuring-your-product-market-fit-c8ac98053c2c

    • How to know if you’ve got product-market fit: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-know-if-youve-got-productmarket

    • Reid Hoffman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/reidhoffman/

    • Ultravioleta: Nubank expands its premium card offer and adds new features on the product’s first anniversary: https://international.nubank.com.br/company/ultravioleta-nubank-expands-its-premium-card-offer-and-adds-new-features-on-the-products-first-anniversary/

    • Jeff Bezos: Amazon and Blue Origin | Lex Fridman Podcast #405: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcWqzZ3I2cY

    • The Innovation Method Behind Swiffer Madness: https://www.fastcompany.com/3006797/innovation-method-behind-swiffer-madness

    • Kevin Systrom on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinsystrom/

    • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy | Richard Rumelt: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/good-strategy-bad-strategy-richard

    Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Strategy-Bad-Difference-Matters/dp/0307886239

    The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists: https://www.amazon.com/Crux-How-Leaders-Become-Strategists/dp/1541701240/

    • How to become a category pirate | Christopher Lochhead (author of Play Bigger, Niche Down, Category Pirates, more): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-become-a-category-pirate-christopher

    Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets: https://www.amazon.com/Play-Bigger-Dreamers-Innovators-Dominate/dp/0062407619

    Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works: https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Win-Strategy-Really-Works/dp/142218739X

    • A framework for finding product-market fit | Todd Jackson (First Round Capital): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/a-framework-for-finding-product-market

    • Citi: https://www.citi.com/

    • Santander Bank: https://www.santanderbank.com/

    • Fidji Sumo on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fidjisimo/

    • Harvard Kennedy School: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/

    • Susan Wojcicki on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-wojcicki-b136a99/

    • Coldplay—“Lost+” ft. Jay-Z: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkCDRm_YRFg

    • Google Buys DoubleClick for $3.1 Billion: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/14/technology/14DoubleClick.html

    • Real-time bidding: https://support.google.com/authorizedbuyers/answer/6136272

    From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000: https://www.amazon.com/Third-World-First-Singapore-1965-2000/dp/0060197765/

    The Gilded Age on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-gilded-age

    • Lomi: https://lomi.com/

    • Nubank careers: https://international.nubank.com.br/careers/

    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

    A framework for PM skill development | Vikrama Dhiman (Gojek)

    A framework for PM skill development | Vikrama Dhiman (Gojek)

    Vikrama Dhiman heads all things product at Gojek, including product management, design, program management, and research, across Indonesia, Singapore and India. He has over 16 years of experience building internet products, consults with Fortune 500 companies, and is among the most well-known and respected product leaders in all of Asia. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • The most common traits among successful product managers

    • The 3 W’s framework for PM career growth

    • The Four A’s of leveling up in product management

    • The right way to push back as a PM

    • Common pitfalls that stall PM careers

    • Vikrama’s advice for transitioning into product management

    • Why intent alone is not enough

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/a-framework-for-pm-skill-development

    Where to find Vikrama Dhiman:

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

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

    • Website: https://www.vikramadhiman.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) Vikrama’s background

    (03:56) Three common traits among great PMs

    (07:09) The first W: What you produce

    (15:40) The second W: What you bring to the table

    (18:58) The third W: What’s your operating model?

    (20:36) Three traits that make you a great PM to work with

    (21:49) How to improve the quality and quantity of your outputs

    (23:26) The art of the pushback

    (26:55) Common factors that impede career growth

    (33:39) Vikrama’s personal reflections

    (39:33) Choosing which skill(s) to focus on developing

    (46:28) The ambiguity of the PM role

    (51:47) The 8 axis for PM growth

    (56:57) Contrarian corner: Why intent alone is not enough

    (59:30) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Taxi mafias, cash vaults, and 100% MoM growth: The story behind Southeast Asia’s biggest startup | Kevin Aluwi (Gojek): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/taxi-mafias-cash-vaults-and-100-mom

    • How to scrappily hire for, measure, and unlock growth | Crystal Widjaja, Gojek and Kumu: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-hire-for-measure-and-unlock

    • Gojek: https://www.gojek.com/en-id

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

    • Oracle: https://www.oracle.com/

    • Crystal Widjaja on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/crystalwidjaja

    • Raditya Wibowo: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raditya-wibowo-a0845436/?originalSubdomain=id

    • Sidu Ponnappa on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sidup

    • Leveraging mentors to uplevel your career | Jules Walter (YouTube, Slack): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/leveraging-mentors-to-uplevel-your

    • Kevin Aluwi on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaluwi/

    • Workday: https://www.workday.com/

    • Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/

    Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Data-Clues-Uncover-Trends/dp/1250080681

    Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World: https://www.amazon.com/Originals-How-Non-Conformists-Move-World/dp/014312885X

    Thinking, Fast and Slow: https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0374533555

    Miss Congeniality on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Miss-Congeniality-Sandra-Bullock/dp/B002R5HQDK

    Schitt’s Creek on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Schitts-Creek/dp/B083LDRW9F

    • DramaBox: https://www.dramaboxapp.com/

    Am I Overthinking This?: Over-Answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts: https://www.amazon.com/Am-Overthinking-This-Over-answering-questions/dp/1452175861/

    Crazy Rich Asians on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Rich-Asians-Constance-Wu/dp/B07JGJFXBF

    • 9 Best Hawker Centers in Singapore—and What to Eat There: https://www.afar.com/magazine/best-hawker-centers-in-singapore-and-what-to-eat-there

    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

    Business strategy with Hamilton Helmer (author of 7 Powers)

    Business strategy with Hamilton Helmer (author of 7 Powers)

    Hamilton Helmer is one of the world’s leading experts on business strategy and the author of the seminal book 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy, which provides a comprehensive framework for understanding what it really takes to achieve and sustain a competitive advantage. With more than three decades of experience in the strategic consulting industry, Hamilton has advised over 200 companies—from burgeoning startups to Fortune 100 giants—on how to identify, build, and leverage their unique strategic powers. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Potential sources of power that startups should develop from an early stage

    • Common misconceptions among companies about the types of power they possess

    • How power relates to strategy

    • The difference between a moat and a power

    • Practical strategies for non-leaders to leverage insights about power and strategy in their work

    • AI’s impact on competitive advantages and barriers to entry

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    Find the transcript and references at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/business-strategy-with-hamilton-helmer

    Where to find Hamilton Helmer:

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

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hamilton-helmer-42983/

    • Website: https://7powers.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) Hamilton’s background

    (04:08) When power becomes important

    (08:24) How strategy relates to power

    (12:09) How power informs strategy

    (14:46) The sequence of powers

    (21:13) Common misconceptions

    (24:39) Network effects vs. network economies

    (26:58) Uber’s success

    (29:16) Moats vs. powers

    (31:12) Strategies for non-leaders to leverage power and strategy

    (37:51) Advice on how to become a strategic thinker

    (39:27) AI’s impact on the seven powers

    (45:43) Why moving fast is not a power

    (50:24) Three things that create value in a company

    (51:16) The debt trajectory of the U.S.

    (56:35) Optimism for the future

    (59:25) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy: https://www.amazon.com/7-Powers-Foundations-Business-Strategy/dp/0998116319

    • John von Neumann: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann

    • Pearl Harbor: https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/pearl-harbor

    • Where the Japanese Went Wrong at Pearl Harbor: https://pearlharbor.org/blog/where-japanese-went-wrong-pearl-harbor/

    • The ‘7 Powers’ of business success—from one of Netflix’s early investors: https://www.qualitycompounders.com.au/post/the-7-powers-of-business-success-from-one-of-netflix-s-early-investors

    • 7 Powers: Foundations of Business Strategy (Key Takeaways): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-powers-foundations-business-strategy-key-takeaways-nikita-maloo/

    • Strategy Capital: https://strategycapital.com/

    • Warren Buffett: https://www.forbes.com/profile/warren-buffett/

    • Charlie Munger: https://www.forbes.com/profile/charles-munger/

    • Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger: https://www.stripe.press/poor-charlies-almanack

    • Bill Gates reveals why Warren Buffett was an invaluable source of support during the stormiest period of his career: https://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-interview-warren-buffett-support-microsoft-antitrust-lawsuit-2019-6

    •  Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Secret Love Affair With Castles, Revealed: https://www.thestreet.com/opinion/billionaire-warren-buffett-s-secret-love-affair-with-castles-revealed-14290973

    • Netflix didn’t kill Blockbuster—how Netflix almost lost the movie rental wars: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/22/how-netflix-almost-lost-the-movie-rental-wars-to-blockbuster.html

    • Michael Porter on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/professorporter/

    • What Is Strategy?: https://hbr.org/1996/11/what-is-strategy

    • TSMC: https://www.tsmc.com/english

    • Toyota Production System: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Production_System

    • America will be left with ‘severe, irreversible scars’ if national debt goes unchecked. Now, a blockbuster report warns the bill is higher than believed, hitting $141T by 2054: https://fortune.com/2024/04/01/america-social-economic-scars-us-debt-gomes-price/

    • Ben S. Bernanke: https://www.federalreservehistory.org/people/ben-s-bernanke

    • Forty-four of 50 U.S. states worsen inequality with ‘upside-down’ taxes: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/jan/10/states-wealth-inequality-taxes

    • Joseph A. Schumpeter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Schumpeter

    Theory of Economic Development: https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Economic-Development-Science-Classics/dp/0878556982

    The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe: https://www.amazon.com/Road-Reality-Complete-Guide-Universe/dp/0679776311

    The Gene: An Intimate History: https://www.amazon.com/Gene-Intimate-History-Siddhartha-Mukherjee/dp/147673352X

    American Fiction on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/American-Fiction-Jeffrey-Wright/dp/B0CQKR72NX

    • Farahan Sarouk rugs: https://nazmiyalantiquerugs.com/persian-sarouk-farahan-rugs/

    • Rory Sutherland on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rorysutherland

    • Ogilvy: https://www.ogilvy.com/

    • Clint Eastwood quote: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/clint_eastwood_168005

    • Winston Churchill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill

    Michelangelo, God’s Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece: https://www.amazon.com/Michelangelo-Gods-Architect-Greatest-Masterpiece/dp/0691195498

    The Last Judgment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Judgment_(Michelangelo)

    • Theodore Roosevelt: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/theodore-roosevelt/

    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

    This will make you a better decision maker | Annie Duke (author of “Thinking in Bets” and “Quit”, former pro poker player)

    This will make you a better decision maker | Annie Duke (author of “Thinking in Bets” and “Quit”, former pro poker player)

    Annie Duke is a former professional poker player, a decision-making expert, and a special partner at First Round Capital. She is the author of Thinking in Bets (a national bestseller) and Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away and the co-founder of the Alliance for Decision Education, a nonprofit whose mission is to improve lives by empowering students through decision skills education. In our conversation, we cover:

    • What Annie learned from the late Daniel Kahneman

    • The power of pre-mortems and “kill criteria”

    • The relationship between money and happiness

    • The power of “mental time travel”

    • The nominal group technique for better decision quality

    • How First Round Capital improved their decision-making process

    • Many tactical decision-making frameworks

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/making-better-decisions-annie-duke

    Where to find Annie Duke:

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

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annie-duke/

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

    • Substack: https://www.annieduke.com/substack/

    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) Annie’s background

    (03:53) Lessons from Daniel Kahneman: humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness

    (09:15) The importance of unconditional love in parenting

    (15:15) Mental time travel and “nevertheless”

    (20:06) The extent of improvement possible in decision-making 

    (24:54) Independent brainstorming for better decisions

    (35:36) Making sure people feel heard

    (42:41) The “3Ds” framework to make better decisions

    (44:49) Decision quality

    (55:46) Improving decision-making at First Round Capital

    (01:05:05) Using pre-mortems and kill criteria

    (01:10:15) Making explicit what’s implicit

    (01:10:55) The challenges of quitting and knowing when to walk away

    (01:19:23) Where to find Annie

    Referenced:

    • Daniel Kahneman, Who Plumbed the Psychology of Economics, Dies at 90: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/27/business/daniel-kahneman-dead.html

    • Adversarial collaboration: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adversarial_collaboration

    • Does more money correlate with greater happiness?: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/does-more-money-correlate-greater-happiness-Penn-Princeton-research#

    • Income and emotional well-being: A conflict resolved: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36857342/

    • Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?: https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/strategic-decisions-when-can-you-trust-your-gut

    • Cass Sunstein on X: https://twitter.com/CassSunstein

    • Dr. Becky on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drbeckyatgoodinside

    • A framework for finding product-market fit | Todd Jackson (First Round Capital): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/a-framework-for-finding-product-market

    • First Round Capital: https://firstround.com/

    • Brett Berson on X: https://twitter.com/brettberson

    • Renegade Partners: https://www.renegadepartners.com/

    • Renata Quintini on X: https://twitter.com/rquintini

    • Roseanne Wincek on X: https://twitter.com/imthemusic

    • Josh Kopelman on X: https://twitter.com/joshk

    • Bill Trenchard on X: https://twitter.com/btrenchard

    • Linnea Gandhi on X: https://twitter.com/linneagandhi

    • Maurice Schweitzer on X: https://twitter.com/me_schweitzer

    • Problems with premortems: https://sjdm.org/presentations/2021-Poster-Gandhi-Linnea-debiasing-premortem-selfserving~.pdf

    • Create a Solid Plan on How to Fail Big This Year: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2020/02/07/create-a-solid-plan-on-how-to-fail-big-this-year/

    Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away: https://www.amazon.com/Quit-Power-Knowing-When-Walk/dp/0593422996/

    • Richard Thaler on X: https://twitter.com/R_Thaler

    • Stewart Butterfield on X: https://twitter.com/stewart

    • Glitch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glitch_(video_game)

    • How the Founder of Slack & Flickr Turned Colossal Failures into Billion-Dollar Companies: https://medium.com/swlh/how-the-founder-of-slack-flickr-turned-failures-into-million-and-billion-dollar-companies-7bcaf0d35d66

    • The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup: https://www.wired.com/2014/08/the-most-fascinating-profile-youll-ever-read-about-a-guy-and-his-boring-startup/

    • The Alliance for Decision Education: https://alliancefordecisioneducation.org/

    • Make Better Decisions course on Maven: https://maven.com/annie-duke/make-better-decisions

    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

    Twitter’s former Head of Product opens up: being fired, meeting Elon, changing stagnant culture, building consumer product, more | Kayvon Beykpour

    Twitter’s former Head of Product opens up: being fired, meeting Elon, changing stagnant culture, building consumer product, more | Kayvon Beykpour

    Kayvon Beykpour was the longest-serving head of product at Twitter and was GM of Twitter’s consumer division until the platform was acquired by Elon Musk. He originally joined Twitter in 2015 through the acquisition of his company, Periscope, the largest live video streaming platform at the time. Periscope pioneered technology that inspired Instagram Live, TikTok Live, Facebook Live, and other social networks’ expansion into video streaming. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • The story of being let go from Twitter after Elon’s acquisition

    • How he turned Twitter’s stagnant culture around

    • Kayvon’s thoughts on the limitations of frameworks like Jobs to Be Done

    • Why Periscope failed

    • Advice for building consumer products

    • When to copy, when to innovate

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/twitters-former-head-of-product-kayvon-beykpour

    Where to find Kayvon Beykpour:

    • X: https://twitter.com/kayvz

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

    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) Kayvon’s background

    (04:31) Getting Elon up to speed at Twitter

    (11:34) The story of being let go from Twitter after Elon’s acquisition

    (21:09) Changing the product culture at Twitter

    (29:44) Building the “hide replies” feature

    (32:02) Sacred crows, taking bold bets, and reigniting growth

    (34:28) Aquihires and their impact

    (42:40) Tips for successful acquisitions and staffing

    (47:00) The limitations of frameworks like JTBD

    (53:20) Signs you’ve gone too far with a framework

    (57:44) Lessons from building Periscope

    (01:00:41) Reasons why Periscope failed

    (01:07:24) The challenges of implementing video at Twitter

    (01:12:05) Copying ideas in good taste

    (01:17:58) How to get better at building consumer products

    (01:19:51) What Kayvon is building

    (01:20:31) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Lessons on building product sense, navigating AI, optimizing the first mile, and making it through the messy middle | Scott Belsky (Adobe, Behance): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/lessons-on-building-product-sense-navigating-ai-optimizing-the-first-mile-and-making-it-through-t/

    • What it’s like to sell your startup for ~$120 million before it’s even launched: Meet Twitter’s new prized possession, Periscope: https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-periscope-and-why-twitter-bought-it-2015-3

    • Walter Isaacson on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/walter-isaacson-b8b81520/

    • Elon Musk on X: https://twitter.com/elonmusk

    • Parag Agrawal on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/parag-agrawal-5a14742a/

    • Jack Dorsey on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jack-dorsey-a43b07242/

    • Blackboard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackboard_Inc.

    • Keith Coleman on X: https://twitter.com/kcoleman

    • Esther Crawford on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/esthercrawford/

    • Twitter acquires Chroma Labs: https://tech.hindustantimes.com/tech/news/twitter-acquires-chroma-labs-story-aqvcRPAoYXqXJuAbefA6cN.html

    • John Barnett on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbarnettt/

    • Jobs to Be Done framework: https://jobs-to-be-done.com/jobs-to-be-done-a-framework-for-customer-needs-c883cbf61c90

    • Hot takes and techno-optimism from tech’s top power couple: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/hot-takes-and-techno-optimism-from-techs-top-power-couple-sriram-and-aarthi/

    • Nike Is Unveiling the Kobe 11 Tomorrow Using Periscope: https://sneakernews.com/2015/12/13/nike-is-unveiling-the-kobe-11-tomorrow-using-periscope/

    • Chris Sacca’s website: https://chrissacca.com/

    • Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/formedia/tools/facebook-live

    • Kevin Hart on X: https://twitter.com/KevinHart4real

    • Clubhouse: https://www.clubhouse.com/

    • Vine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vine_(service)

    • Paul Davison on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davison/

    • Rohan Seth on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohanseth/

    Cryptonomicon: https://www.amazon.com/Cryptonomicon-Neal-Stephenson/dp/0380788624

    Reamde: https://www.amazon.com/Reamde-Novel-Neal-Stephenson-ebook/dp/B004XVN0WW

    The Name of the Wind: https://www.amazon.com/Name-Wind-Kingkiller-Chronicle-Book-ebook/dp/B0010SKUYM

    Star Trek official site: https://www.startrek.com/

    Dune: part 2: https://www.dunemovie.com/

    Oppenheimer on Peacock: https://www.peacocktv.com/stream-movies/oppenheimer

    • Tokyo Vice on Max: https://www.max.com/shows/tokyo-vice/e7d93204-7f98-4e62-ab52-6c1da053f942

    Devs on Hulu: https://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/devs

    • Nick Offerman on X: https://twitter.com/nick_offerman

    3 Body Problem on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81024821

    • Perplexity AI: https://www.perplexity.ai/

    • Particle: https://www.particle.news/

    • Crokinole board game: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/521/crokinole

    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

    How to build deeper, more robust relationships | Carole Robin (Stanford GSB professor, “Touchy Feely”)

    How to build deeper, more robust relationships | Carole Robin (Stanford GSB professor, “Touchy Feely”)

    Carole Robin spent over 20 years teaching the Stanford Graduate School of Business course Interpersonal Dynamics, affectionately known as “Touchy Feely.” After leaving Stanford, she founded a nonprofit called Leaders in Tech, which applies the Touchy Feely principles to help Silicon Valley executives build their leadership and interpersonal skills. Carole co-authored the popular book Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues, which shares key insights from her decades of teaching these courses. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • The benefits of building robust relationships, in life and work

    • The 15% rule, and how it will help you build better relationships

    • The power of vulnerability

    • Examples of how to practice vulnerability

    • Why mental models you build early in life hold you back later

    • The “three realities” and “the net”

    • The art of inquiry

    • Practical tips for avoiding defensiveness when getting feedback

    • The impact of long Covid on Carole’s life

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/build-robust-relationships-carole-robin

    Where to find Carole Robin:

    • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carole-robin/

    • Email: carolerobinllc@gmail.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) Carole’s background

    (05:17) The importance of building robust relationships

    (10:20) The “Touchy Feely” course at Stanford

    (13:29) An example of the in-class experience

    (17:19) Leaders in Tech: developing interpersonal competence

    (21:36) Progressive disclosure and the 15% rule

    (24:28) Appropriate disclosure

    (26:52) The power of vulnerability

    (34:57) Admitting mistakes and sharing feelings

    (37:08) Understanding mental models

    (42:57) The “three realities” framework

    (53:52) The power of feedback and personal change

    (58:47) The art of inquiry

    (01:03:27) How to get better at giving feedback

    (01:07:47) Exercises and continued learning

    (01:10:49) “Advice hinders relationships”

    (01:16:49) Failure corner: AFOG

    (01:20:30) Takeaways

    (01:21:51) Lessons from long Covid

    Referenced:

    • How to Build Better Relationships: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/how-build-better-relationships

    Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues: https://www.amazon.com/Connect-Building-Exceptional-Relationships-Colleagues-ebook/dp/B0894279WZ

    • Leaders in Tech: https://leadersintech.org/

    • Leaders in Tech Fellows: https://leadersintech.org/learnaboutfellows

    • Steve Jobs: https://www.forbes.com/profile/steve-jobs/

    • Sheryl Sandberg on X: https://twitter.com/sherylsandberg

    • Ursula Burns: https://www.forbes.com/profile/ursula-burns/

    • Application for Leaders in Tech: https://leadersintech.org/programs-and-applications

    • Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding Theory: https://www.simplypsychology.org/zone-of-proximal-development.html

    • The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Be Vulnerable: https://hbr.org/2022/07/the-best-leaders-arent-afraid-of-being-vulnerable

    • The Surprising Benefits of Admitting Mistakes: 5 Ways to Build Intellectual Humility: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2021/12/29/the-surprising-benefits-of-admitting-mistakes-5-ways-to-build-intellectual-humility/

    • How to Build Conflict Skills—The Pinch/Crunch Model: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahart/2023/12/15/how-to-build-conflict-skills-the-pinchcrunch-model/

    • Slides mentioned (The Three Realities Framework | The 15% Rule | Feedback Guidelines): https://pen-name.notion.site/Carole-Robin-4-25-5d47d38a620e4636966d31f4bf3c7d00?pvs=4

    Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: https://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Carol-S-Dweck/dp/0345472322

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

    • Long COVID: major findings, mechanisms and recommendations: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2

    • Leadership, acceptance, and self-management: my journey with long COVID: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-acceptance-self-management-my-journey-long-carole-robin/

    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

    Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma)

    Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma)

    Mihika Kapoor is a design-engineer-PM hybrid at Figma, where she was an early PM on FigJam and is now spearheading development on a new product at the company that’s coming out this June. She’s known as the go-to person at Figma for leading new 0-to-1 products, and, as you’ll hear in our conversation, beloved by everyone she works with. Her background includes founding Design Nation, a national nonprofit focused on democratizing design education for undergraduates; spearheading product launches at Meta; and community building within the NYC AI startup scene. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • How to effectively take ideas from 0 to 1 at larger companies

    • How to craft a compelling vision

    • The importance of vulnerability and feedback

    • The role of intuition and product sense in making decisions

    • How to practically communicate your vision

    • How to balance collaboration and strong opinions

    • Advice for building a strong team culture

    • Pivoting with grace and enthusiasm

    • The current AI revolution and its impact on PM

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/vision-conviction-hype-mihika-kapoor

    Where to find Mihika Kapoor:

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

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

    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) Mihika’s background

    (04:29) Core attributes of great product managers

    (07:34) Crafting a compelling vision

    (12:12) The vision behind FigJam 

    (18:25) Delivering a vision without design or engineering skills

    (21:52) Creating momentum

    (26:36) The importance of strong conviction

    (27:45) Direct communication

    (32:48) Building hype

    (42:20) Immersing yourself in user insights

    (47:16) Operationalizing user insights  

    (50:33) Caring deeply about what you build

    (54:01) Finding passion in your work

    (57:00) Building a strong culture

    (01:07:07) Pivoting with grace and enthusiasm

    (01:11:48) Design Nation

    (01:13:15) Mihika’s weaknesses

    (01:16:07) Building new products at larger companies

    (01:20:50) Coming up with a great idea

    (01:22:49) The key to going from 0 to 1

    (01:26:47) Spreading the idea across the company

    (01:29:15) Closing thoughts

    (01:32:11) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • Figma: https://www.figma.com/

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

    The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation: https://www.amazon.com/Medici-Effect-Preface-Discussion-Guide/dp/1633692949

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

    • Cognition: https://www.cognition-labs.com/

    • Devin: https://www.cognition-labs.com/introducing-devin

    • David Hoang on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dhoang2/

    • Replit: https://replit.com/

    • The Making of Maker Week at Figma: https://www.figma.com/blog/the-making-of-maker-week/

    • Yuhki Yamashita on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yuhki/

    • Jeff Bezos’ Simple Decision-Making Framework Will Give You Clarity, Conviction, and Courage: https://medium.com/illumination/jeff-bezos-simple-decision-making-framework-will-give-you-clarity-conviction-and-courage-adf8d0183625

    • Alice Ching on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliceching/

    • Karl Jiang on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karl-jiang-4a07424/

    • Kris Rasmussen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristopherrasmussen/

    • Config: https://config.figma.com/

    • Dev Mode: https://www.figma.com/dev-mode/

    • Asana: https://asana.com/

    • Julie Zhuo on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-zhuo/

    • StrengthsFinder test: https://www.gyfted.me/personality-quiz/strengthsfinder-test-free

    • Dylan Field on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dylanfield/

    • Vishal Shah on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vishalnshah/

    Design Disruptors: https://www.invisionapp.com/films/design-disruptors

    • Daniel Burka on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dburka/

    • Jamie Myrold on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamiemyrold/

    • Design Nation: https://dn.businesstoday.org/

    • Stuart Weitzman on X: https://twitter.com/StuartWeitzman

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

    • Building a long and meaningful career | Nikhyl Singhal (Meta, Google): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/building-a-long-and-meaningful-career-nikhyl-singhal-meta-google/

    • Jambot: https://www.figma.com/community/widget/1274481464484630971/jambot

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

    Harry Potter series: https://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Paperback-Box-Books/dp/0545162076

    Pachinko: https://www.amazon.com/Pachinko-National-Book-Award-Finalist/dp/1455563927/

    Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration: https://www.amazon.com/Creativity-Inc-Expanded-Overcoming-Inspiration/dp/0593594649

    The Overstory: https://www.amazon.com/Overstory-Novel-Richard-Powers/dp/039335668X

    Severance on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/severance/umc.cmc.1srk2goyh2q2zdxcx605w8vtx

    Dune on Max: https://www.max.com/movies/dune/e7dc7b3a-a494-4ef1-8107-f4308aa6bbf7

    Dune: Part 2: https://www.dunemovie.com/

    • Arc browser: https://arc.net/

    • Pika: https://pika.art/home

    • The power of recognition: Why you should celebrate your employees | Josh Miller: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/videos/the-power-of-recognition-why-you-should-celebrate-your-employees-josh-miller/

    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 1,000+ YC startups: Resilience, tar pit ideas, pivoting, more | Dalton Caldwell (Y Combinator, Managing Director)

    Lessons from 1,000+ YC startups: Resilience, tar pit ideas, pivoting, more | Dalton Caldwell (Y Combinator, Managing Director)

    Dalton Caldwell is Managing Director and Group Partner at Y Combinator. Prior to YC, he was the co-founder and CEO of imeem (acquired by MySpace in 2009) and the co-founder and CEO of App.net. During his time at YC, he’s advised more than 35 YC unicorns, including DoorDash, Amplitude, Webflow, and Retool, and has worked across 21 different YC batches. He’s also racked up more than 6,500 office hours with founders. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • Why founders need to adopt the mindset “Just don’t die”

    • The most common reason startups fail

    • When to pivot, and characteristics of a good pivot

    • The concept of “tar pit ideas” and examples of bad startup ideas

    • Why investors say no to startups

    • The importance of market size in investment decisions

    • The pitfalls of founders over-delegating

    • Effective ways to talk to customers

    • 20 ideas Dalton is looking to fund

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-1000-yc-startups

    Where to find Dalton Caldwell:

    • X: https://twitter.com/daltonc

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

    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) Dalton’s background

    (04:41) The value of simple advice

    (07:04) Dalton’s advice: “Just don’t die”

    (08:39) Knowing when to stop

    (11:45) Deciding to pivot

    (14:26) Characteristics of a good pivot

    (17:53) Knowing when to pivot

    (19:03) Zip’s journey and finding a market

    (21:22) Why Dalton says to “Move towards the mountains and the desert”

    (23:45) Tar pit ideas

    (26:49) Understanding why investors say no

    (29:14) The importance of market size

    (32:16) Avoiding over-delegation and hiring senior people too early

    (36:43) Why startups fail

    (40:30) Effectively talking to customers

    (45:17) Examples of startups hustling to talk to customers

    (48:01) Patterns of successful startups

    (52:05) YC’s Request for Startups

    (55:37) Early days of Silicon Valley

    (01:05:33) Contrarian corner: growth hacking for early startups

    (01:09:28) Failure corner

    (01:11:15) Closing thoughts

    (01:12:22) Lightning round

    Referenced:

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

    • Tiger Woods’s website: https://tigerwoods.com/

    • Co-Founder Mistakes That Kill Companies & How to Avoid Them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlfjs_eEEzs

    • Daniel Alberson’s LinkedIn post about Y Combinator: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/alberson_i-left-my-dream-job-as-a-product-manager-activity-7089677882431533056-jJ9H

    • Companies in Y Combinator W17 Batch: https://www.ycdb.co/batch/w17

    • Brex: https://www.brex.com/

    • Retool: https://retool.com/

    • Segment: https://segment.com/

    • Mixpanel: https://mixpanel.com/

    • Whatnot: https://www.whatnot.com/

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

    • 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/

    • Rujul Zaparde on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rujulz/

    • Zip: https://ziphq.com/

    • Lu Cheng on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lu-cheng-973b7830/

    • Avoid these tempting startup tar pit ideas: https://www.ycombinator.com/library/Ij-avoid-these-tempting-startup-tarpit-ideas

    • Airbnb acquires Localmind to create crowdsourced advice about neighborhoods: https://skift.com/2012/12/13/airbnb-acquires-localmind-to-create-crowdsourced-advice-about-neighborhoods/

    • Foursquare: https://foursquare.com/

    • Razorpay: https://razorpay.com/

    • Total Addressable Market: https://www.productplan.com/glossary/total-addressable-market/

    • Lenny Bogdonoff on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rememberlenny/

    • Milk Video: https://milkvideo.com/

    • Lessons from working with 600+ YC startups | Gustaf Alströmer (Y Combinator, Airbnb): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/lessons-from-working-with-600-yc-startups-gustaf-alstromer-y-combinator-airbnb/

    • How the most successful B2B startups came up with their original idea: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-the-most-successful-b2b-startups

    • Collison installation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18400504

    • Stripe: https://stripe.com/

    • Patrick Collison on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickcollison/

    • John Collison on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbcollison/

    • Tony Xu on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/xutony/

    • Grant LaFontaine on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/grantlafontaine/

    • Ryan Petersen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rpetersen/

    • Lessons on building product sense, navigating AI, optimizing the first mile, and making it through the messy middle | Scott Belsky (Adobe, Behance): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/lessons-on-building-product-sense-navigating-ai-optimizing-the-first-mile-and-making-it-through-t/

    • YC’s latest Request for Startups: https://www.ycombinator.com/blog/ycs-latest-request-for-startups

    • ERPs: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#new-enterprise-resource-planning-software

    • Commercial open source companies: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#commercial-open-source-companies

    • New space companies: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#new-space-companies

    • A way to end cancer: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#a-way-to-end-cancer

    • Spatial computing: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#spatial-computing

    • New defense technology: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#new-defense-technology

    • Bringing manufacturing back to America: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#bring-manufacturing-back-to-america

    • Better enterprise glue: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#better-enterprise-glue

    • Small fine-tuned models, as an alternative to giant generic ones: https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs#small-finetuned-models-as-an-alternative-to-giant-generic-ones

    • Reid Hoffman on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/reidhoffman/

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

    • Sean Parker on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/parkersean/

    • Owen Van Natta on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/owen-van-natta-444a7/

    • Marc Andreessen on X: https://twitter.com/pmarca

    • Picplz 1, Instagram 0 as VC firm Andreessen Horowitz chooses photo app rival: https://www.reuters.com/article/idUS2587232395/

    • Gustaf Alstromer—How to Get Users and Grow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9ikpoF2GH0

    Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In: https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Without/dp/0143118757

    Founding Sales: The Early Stage Go-to-Market Handbook: https://www.amazon.com/Founding-Sales-Go-Market-Handbook-ebook/dp/B08PMK17Z1

    • Founder-led sales | Pete Kazanjy (Founding Sales, Atrium): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/founder-led-sales-pete-kazanjy-founding-sales-atrium/

    The Sopranos on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-sopranos

    The Wire on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-wire

    Columbo on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Columbo-Season-1/dp/B008SA89HA

    • Oura ring: https://ouraring.com/

    • Apple watch: https://www.apple.com/watch/

    • SiPhox: https://siphoxhealth.com/

    • Dalton & Michael on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQ-uHSnFig5Nd98Sc9I-kkc0ZWe8peRMC

    • How Future Billionaires Get Sh*t Done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ephzgxgOjR0

    • The Student’s Guide to Becoming a Successful Startup Founder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5KCB2p6SB8

    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 GitLab way: Kindness, transparency, and short toes | David DeSanto (CPO)

    The GitLab way: Kindness, transparency, and short toes | David DeSanto (CPO)

    David DeSanto is the chief product officer of GitLab, which is the largest remote-only company in the world. They share many of their team meetings on YouTube, and they’ve grown from being an open-source code management product competing with GitHub to a multi-product platform that covers security, compliance, continuous integration, project management, and deployment tools, many of which are infused with AI magic. In our conversation, we discuss:

    • How GitLab operationalizes transparency

    • The philosophy behind recording and sharing team meetings on YouTube

    • Their extensive public employee handbook

    • GitLab’s core value of having “short toes”

    • Challenges and advice for doing remote work well

    • Strategies for ensuring effective communication in a remote work environment

    • GitLab’s breadth-over-depth strategy

    • The company’s unique approach to AI

    • The value of using humor in high-stakes conversations

    Brought to you by:

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    Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-gitlab-way

    Where to find David DeSanto:

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

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

    • Threads: https://www.threads.net/@david.the.beard

    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) David’s background

    (04:20) Maintaining an epic beard

    (05:29) Why GitLab publicly shares team meetings

    (09:49) The GitLab Handbook

    (11:30) GitLab’s issue tracker

    (14:29) How to successfully build a culture of transparency

    (18:11) Benefits of operating with transparency

    (19:55) The value of building in public

    (21:53) How GitLab implements their core value of kindness

    (25:16) What it means to have “short toes”

    (27:41) Other core values

    (32:16) Common reasons for not fitting in at GitLab

    (34:42) Advice for remote teams

    (42:04) Advice for getting into product

    (43:52) Advice for PMs who are struggling in a remote world

    (48:25) Specific tools that help with remote work

    (53:13) Time zones and remote work

    (57:18) Breadth-over-depth strategy

    (01:04:14) AI at GitLab

    (01:13:11) GitLab’s products and solutions

    (01:14:54) Lightning round

    Referenced:

    • GitLab: https://about.gitlab.com/

    • UX Showcase—David DeSanto introduction to UX team and AMA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEdsmnVKNj4

    • The GitLab Handbook: https://handbook.gitlab.com/

    • Sid Sijbrandij on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sijbrandij/

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

    • GitLab issues: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/issues/

    • Salesforce: https://www.salesforce.com/

    • GitLab values: https://handbook.gitlab.com/handbook/values

    • GitLab organizational structure: https://handbook.gitlab.com/handbook/company/structure

    • GitLab direction: https://about.gitlab.com/direction/

    • Dogfooding: A simple practice to help you build better products: https://medium.com/agileinsider/dogfooding-a-simple-practice-to-help-you-build-better-products-b5954af4d5f7

    • The ultimate guide to adding a PLG motion | Hila Qu (Reforge, GitLab): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/the-ultimate-guide-to-adding-a-plg

    • 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

    • HubSpot: https://www.hubspot.com/

    Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers: https://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Chasm-3rd-Disruptive-Mainstream/dp/0062292986

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

    • Open-core model: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-core_model

    • GitLab Duo: https://about.gitlab.com/gitlab-duo/

    • GitLab Docs: https://docs.gitlab.com/

    • Anthropic: https://www.anthropic.com/

    • GitLab Acquires UnReview to Expand Its DevOps Platform with Machine Learning Capabilities: https://about.gitlab.com/press/releases/2021-06-02-gitlab-acquires-unreview-machine-learning-capabilities/

    Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less: https://www.amazon.com/Essentialism-Disciplined-Pursuit-Greg-McKeown/dp/0804137382

    • The Mission Critical Core/Context Model for Product Managers: https://secretpmhandbook.com/the-mission-critical-corecontext-model-for-product-managers/

    The Devil’s Hour on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/the-devils-hour/umc.cmc.3zw4tyzd4lvor5mwhujms63x3

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81458416

    • Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/TAYLOR-SWIFT-ERAS-EXTENDED-VERSION/dp/B0CP99SN2B

    • The STAR method: https://capd.mit.edu/resources/the-star-method-for-behavioral-interviews/

    • Artifact News: https://artifact.news/

    • Superhuman: https://superhuman.com/

    • Arc browser: https://arc.net/

    • An inside look at how The Browser Company builds product: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/competing-with-giants-an-inside-look

    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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