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Steli Efti & Hiten Shah: Serial Entrepreneurs, Sales & Marketing Experts, Startup Investors & Advisors, CEOs running multi million dollar SaaS Startups presents
The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten
Unfiltered insights and actionable advice straight from the trenches of startup and business life.
December 15, 2020
530: Inbox Insanity? Archive All Your Emails Now!
In today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why you should archive all your emails now. Email is one of the most common ways of communication in the startup world, and a lot of founders receive thousands of messages in their inbox. It goes without saying that managing your email is a crucial part of running a successful business and your life. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why your inbox is not a prison, how responding to all emails can be counterproductive, Hiten’s relationship with email and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:37 Why this topic was chosen. 03:23 Why your inbox is not a prison. 04:48 Why you don’t have to respond to every email. 05:15 How responding to all emails can be counterproductive. 06:16 How there are better ways to manage your life than through email. 06:40 How email is still very commonly used. 07:12 Hiten’s relationship with email. 07:40 Tips to help you manage your email. 08:41 Why email shouldn’t stress you out. 3 Key Points: Your inbox is not a prison.This idea that you have to respond to every email is ridiculous.There are better ways to manage your life than through email. Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Steli Efti: And today on the startup chat, we're going to talk about a piece of advice that I gave to somebody recently, which is, archive all your emails right now, you don't have to respond to a single one of them. So I want to frame this and share the story, and then I'm really curious, Hiten, what your response and comment is going to be on this. Here's the deal, here's the story. Recently, I was talking to somebody and he was super stressed out. He was telling me, "Listen Steli, I just took a vacation, just came back, my inbox is a mess, there's all these emails in my inbox, I have the super important priorities that I need to tackle, and then there's all these other projects, it's just too much right now. I feel my anxiety is on 20 from a scale of 1 to 10. I'm trying to manage this, it's been a week since I've been back and I'm struggling. What should I do?" And there's a lot of nuance in this conversation, a lot of things that I'll put to the side, but one of the pieces of advice that I gave him was, I talked to him a little bit about his inbox. And I asked him, "How many times do you check your inbox right now?" And he was like, "To be honest, every couple of minutes." I'm like, "Do you always respond to an email when you check your inbox?" He was like, "No, right now it's just so bad. I look at my inbox and I feel terrible and I leave again. But then I have to check it again to see if there's something new in there or if I find the focus and the flow and the energy to start tackling some of them." I was like, "All right. How many emails did you get your vacation?" He's like, "You know, it's not," and that was the interesting part, "It's not that many. Maybe I have 50 emails or so." I'm like, "Okay, cool. How many emails in your inbox do you have that are older than a month?" And he was like, "I don't know, a couple of hundred." I'm like, "All right, try this. Just go to everything that's older than two weeks ago and just archive all of it. Just archive it." And he was like, "What if there's something important in there?" And I told him, "If it's that important, you should know about it and remember it, or it will pop up again because somebody is going to follow up or somebody is going to respond to some kind of a threat. More likely than not, especially with emails that are older than a month, if you have not responded in a month, you're not going to respond in three months. I'm sure there's emails in your inbox that are six months old. What are they doing there other than stressing you? You're not going to respond and it doesn't matter anymore. Just archive all of it. Don't worry, the world will not end.
December 1, 2020
529: Self-Management Is the Best Management
Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk how self-management is the best management. Managing yourself is one of the most important skills a person can develop, especially if you want to be a successful leader and manage other people. In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten what self-management means, the importance of self-management, some principles of good management and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic 00:39 Why this topic was chosen. 01:21 Why knowing what you control is super important. 02:25 Why self-managed people are some of the best people to work with. 02:39 What self-management means. 03:38 Why you should start with you. 04:27 Why you should live a truly good life in front of your children. 05:35 How it’s so much easier to tell people what to do. 08:40 The importance of self-management. 09:07 The principles of management. 3 Key Points: A lot of it has to do with knowing what you control.Self-managed people are some of the best people to work with.Self-management is figuring out what to do and not ask other people what you should be doing. Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how self-management is the best management, because I tweeted that and I think Steli liked it. Steli Efti: Yeah. Hiten Shah: And I tweeted it because it just came in my head. I had no rhyme or reason. Steli Efti: How the fuck do you do this? You're just like, you're just walking down the street and you see birds chirping, and you're like, "Ah, wait a second, before I continue watching these birds. Self-management is the best management." How did it just pop up in your head? Hiten Shah: I don't know. I just thought about it. I don't know. I just thought about it. I just thought about something and it just popped in my head, and I was like, "Oh, yeah, this is a good one. Let me go share this today." I strongly believe that. And a lot of it has to do with knowing what you control. And you just control yourself and how you manage yourself. And I think that can extend to many different areas. We can talk about it in many different ways, but at the end of the day, I really truly believe self management is really the best management. And one thing, one way, if you are a manager of any kind that you can kind of resonate with this or maybe have some familiarity with the concept, is when you have somebody who you're managing, you're responsible for, and their ability to manage themselves is just incredible. So, the management you have to do is very light because they're bringing what their needs to the table for you. They're documenting things. They're basically managing themselves, which makes it so that you don't have to manage them. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't manage them. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be involved. This isn't even a management style thing. This is literally, self-managed people are some of the best people to work with. Self-managed people are sort of some of the people that have the most ... That appear to be more put together because they're just managing themselves. Even if everything's going to hell in a hand basket or whatever they call it, they're still sitting there capable of basically figuring out what to do. So, a lot of self-management to me is more about figuring out what to do and not having to ask other people what you should be doing. And this applies to so many different scenarios. It's kind of hilarious because it's kind of like this thing where you're taking control of what you can control, and you're not worried about things that are outside of your control. If you think of self-management and think of it as self-management, you could put yourself in that mindset even if you don't have a lot of experience with management or managing people and things, or feel like you're not good at to-do lists,
November 17, 2020
528: Pro Tip: Share Your Work
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about why you should share your work. While a lot of startups conduct their business in secret, some are now beginning to share what they are working on with the public, and like everything in life, sharing your work has it’s pros and cons. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what cross-promoting is, why you shouldn’t feel forced to share your work, what type of things you could share with the public, the benefits of sharing and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About the topic of today’s episode 01:37 Why this topic was chosen. 02:58 Why you shouldn’t feel forced into sharing. 04:53 Things to consider before sharing your work. 05:17 What most startups share about their work. 05:58 How not to share your work. 06:34 Why sharing your work in real-time is riskier. 06:54 How sharing your work shows vulnerability. 07:26 How sharing your work sparks curiosity. 07:38 When to share your work. 3 Key Points: Don’t feel forced into sharingThere’s beauty and power in sharing your workMost people don’t share their work Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti. Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Today, on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about one of my pro tips that I tweeted about recently. It just said, "Pro tip, share your work." Here, we like talking about more than just sales and marketing. Steli Efti: We just want to bullshit and chat about business and life, and hopefully, while we're doing that, provide a lot of value to people. Hiten Shah: The world's best business podcast. Steli Efti: Oh. Hiten Shah: Shit. Steli Efti: Shit, we got it. Hiten Shah: For people trying to get shit done. Steli Efti: Done. Yeah. We don't want to give you feedback that's bullshit. Hiten Shah: We want you to do your best. I think it caught Steli's eye, which I'm not surprised about. What did it spur for you? Steli Efti: Well, first of all, the tweet popped up in my timeline. I have to look it up again. It was not just you, but it was you with a tweet and a reply. You'll know from whom. It was your tweet that said, "Pro tip, share your work." And then below it, it showed the reply of somebody saying, "I love you." Which was- Hiten Shah: Yeah, Julian Shapiro. Steli Efti: Julian Shapiro, who's a badass. [crosstalk 00:00:58]. Hiten Shah: It was great. Steli Efti: And a great follow. I had to laugh, both because I love what you tweeted, but also loved his response, just, "I love you." It's just classic. As always, when your tweets are inspiring or at least slow me down on my tweets, scroll, track. Wait a second. Hiten Shah: Yeah, that's fun, all that. Steli Efti: This seems right. Hold on. I'm always curious, what prompted this? What happened in Hiten's life? What thought, what conversation did he have? What happened just before he picked up his phone and was like, "All right, let me share this with the world. Pro tip, share your work." Tell us. Hiten Shah: Yeah, one of the most secretive people I know is David Cancel from Drift. I was looking up something he shared on LinkedIn. Over at Drift, they created yet another new category. They created a category called Conversational Marketing over the last few years. They recently, a few weeks ago, maybe a couple months ago, threw it out and said basically, "We're creating a new category now again, and it's called Revenue Acceleration." Then, when they announced it, a bunch of folks, Dave Gerhardt, who used to work at Drift, had some commentary, a few other folks had some commentary about it, and then David decided to share some slides, I'm going to call them ugly because they are, and that's a compliment in this case, share some slides that he worked on internally. And he had a nice little note about it basically saying that there's no point keeping these secrets because we have to build with the customer kind of thing. He didn't quite say it like that, but that's what he said.
November 3, 2020
527: Should Founders Be Doing Sales? Will Prospects Take Their Startups Serious?
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about if founders should be doing sales. Sales can be tricky for experienced and new founders, and it’s very common for some founders to want to delegate sales to someone else as they worry that customer will judge them or see their company as a small company and not want to do business with them. However, the opposite is the case most of the time and in practice, people love talking to founders. In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how some founders are concerned about doing sales themselves, why it’s better for founders to do sales themselves, how some founders’ let their insecurities get in the way of their success and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:45 Why this topic was chosen. 01:55 How some founders are concerned about doing sales themselves. 02:25 Why it’s better for founders to do sales themselves. 04:06 How Hiten does sales for his own startup. 04:54 How some founders’ let their insecurities get in the way of their success. 05:30 How the customer wants you to solve their problem. 06:07 How the customer matters. 06:35 How people are thrilled to talk to founders. 07:50 How Hiten and his cofounder get on sales calls together 3 Key Points: I think it’s better if the founder sells.Insecurities can stand in the way of success.The customer wants you to solve their problem. Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. Hetin Shah: And this is Hetin Shah. Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, how do we want to frame this, should founders sell themselves, or is that projecting a weird or weak message to the world? So, this is going to be a short rent episode, but I feel like, maybe especially our audience or some people in the audience, will benefit from hearing this. I was on a mentor call recently, and there were a bunch of self-funded founders and self-funded SAS entrepreneurs on that call. And there were a lot of questions around selling. And then one founder asked a question. It's one of those rare ones where I've heard it many times over the years, but I've never addressed it afterwards, in kind of a one piece of content to share that, my opinion about this, with the world. It kind of clicked and I was like, "I can't believe I've never talked about this on the podcast. I've never talked about this on a video or something like that." So I wanted to chat with you about this real quick, the basic premise being... And I'll ask you first, see what you think and what you would have told this founder and then I'll tell everybody what I told them. But here's a founder that has built a SAS product that is in the early days. And he asked me, he said basically, "Listen, I'm a bit concerned that if I'm starting to reach out to people by email and cold calling and all that, and I'm like, 'Hey, I want to sell you this product.' And then they're like, 'Oh what's your position in the company?' And I have to say, 'I'm the founder.' Then it will obviously communicate that I am tiny, there's nobody else working at this company, and I'm probably desperate because why otherwise would the founder involve themselves in cold emailing people, and ask them for appointments, and giving them demos, and trying to close them on a deal?'" And he was like, "Wouldn't it be better if it just hired somebody to do this? So, we maintain the appearance of being a successful, maybe bigger company." That question was directed to you, Hetin. If somebody was like, "Hetin, should I sell myself? Or will they create kind of a bad impression in the market because I'm the founder? Should I rather just hire somebody to do that, so people don't think I'm desperate and small?" What's your general response to that? Hetin Shah: I think it's better if the founder sells. And I think there's some level of imposter syndrome happening when these folks are like making up reasons why they sho...
October 27, 2020
526: Is There Too Much SAAS?
In today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about if there’s too much SaaS. In the startup world, there are a lot of SaaS solutions for different industries and niches. One of the reasons is that it’s become so easy to build a SaaS product and founders are doing just that. Unfortunately, this leads to oversaturation and standing out is a challenge. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how people are building a lot of software right now, bottlenecks that affect selling a SaaS product today, advice for founders looking to start a saas company and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 01:15 Why this topic was chosen. 01:37 How people are building a lot of software right now. 02:04 How bottlenecks affect selling SaaS today. 03:07 The current state of the SaaS industry. 04:16 How it’s easier than ever to build a SaaS product. 05:31 What customers think about the current state of SaaS. 05:59 How the market might go in the coming years. 07:36 If founders should be worried about competition. 08:01 Advice for founders looking to start a saas company. 3 Key Points: People are building a lot of software right now.I think there are all kinds of bottleneck today in selling SaaSIt’s easier than ever to build a SaaS product. Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to answer the question, isn't it too much SaaS? So this is another infamous episode that's based on a tweet that you made, and that tweet was based on a ton of work and exposure that you've had in this area, I assume. But you recently tweeted something that stood out to me and it kind of stirred the pot a little bit, a lot of people that, a lot of friends, a lot of people that are respected, the SaaS space responded to it in one way or another. So I felt like that's the perfect material to unpack for our listeners. So let me ask you, maybe you tell people a little bit about that tweet and what proceeded there. What made you write about that? And then let's just unpack this question of there's too much SaaS and what does that mean for founders out there that are currently building their first SaaS product or running a small SaaS product? Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean, there is a lot of SaaS, so what I tweeted was this idea that nobody you don't talk to people and they're all like, "Hey, I want more software." You know? Steli Efti: Yeah. Hiten Shah: And the reason I tweeted that is because people are building a lot of software right now. There are new sort of products coming into the market all the time in almost every category and there's people making very good living building the software too. So the comment was more like, I see a lot of software that's being built and then whether it's no code or things that people are just building really quickly and then kind of considering it a project, and then they end up moving on. And so that's one scenario. Another scenario is I think there's all kinds of bottlenecks in selling today that selling SaaS that just didn't exist before, because there was less SaaS. So we're seeing things like if you're in certain markets, you need a number of features that are parody for the market, which basically means it takes you more effort, more time to build the product you need to build, and you might take it to market and people might have expectations that you were not even expecting until you actually built it and gave it to them. So, yeah, there's just a lot going on in the world when it comes to software and SaaS and kind of all aspects of it. So that's kind of where it came from. I've interviewed a ton of people about all the different tools they use and all kinds of different sort of configurations in terms of the interviews from understanding why people switch different document apps, all the way to general customer development on things like how many app...
August 25, 2020
525: A Founders Guide to Feeling Feelings
Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about a founders guide to feeling feelings. Running a business is difficult and comes witha lot of stress that if not managed properly can lead to a lot of problems for a founder. Problems that could affect your personally or worse, the health of your business. In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten what it means to suppress your emotions, why doing so might not be a good thing, how to get in control of your emotions and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic 00:32 Why this topic was chosen. 01:38 How Steli deals with his emotions. 03:25 One factor that determines how you deal with your feelings. 05:02 Another factor that determines how you deal with your feelings. 06:16 One way to get in control of your emotions. 08:35 The importance of recognizing your emotions. 09:05 A real-world example of dealing with emotions. 10:34 How Steli reacted to an emergency situation. 11:41 Why you can pay a big price if you suppress your emotions. 3 Key Points: I can’t quite fully trust my emotions.Think things through before you act.Personality has a lot to do with how you express yourself to the outside world. [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:04] Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to figure out if founders know how to feel their feelings or they're just thinking them. So, here's why I wanted to quickly talk to you about this. Anybody that's been listening to the Startup Chat for a long time knows we have talked a lot about the inner game of being a founder. We've talked a lot about it, we have a good amount of episodes around managing your emotions, managing your states, managing other people's emotions, because it's an emotional game. And if you don't control your feelings, they might lead you astray and into problematic situations. One thing that I recently discovered about myself, and I wanted to quickly unpack with you for founders, because I thought this might be useful to people that listened to us, is this realization that I had about myself that I think at some point at a young age, I started realizing that I can't quite fully trust my feelings, and if I just act on my emotions, I wreak havoc, and I create all kinds of problems. So, I started focusing more on controlling my feelings through my mind, and through thinking things through, and not acting immediately, and slowing it down, and de-intensifying my feelings, analyzing them first. Over a long period of time, very subconsciously over decades, I think that I mastered... I overdid this to the point where over the last many, many years, I think I thought most of my feelings, especially the negative ones, right? So, I could tell you here's a situation that I think I was hesitant in and probably was driven by some kind of a fear, I didn't feel fear or I didn't feel hesitant, but I didn't feel nervous. I just thought, "I'm probably nervous in this situation," but it didn't have a physical sensation. And for many, many reasons, I think that that's not a good idea. It's not a good idea to just think your feelings. I think it's a much better idea to actually feel them, be present for them, not let them overwhelm you or runaway with you, but not run away from them either, but actually being fully present for the feeling. And then, you can still decide to think things through at times before you act. But, as I was thinking about all my friends that were CEOs and founders and entrepreneurs, I was wondering if this is maybe not so unique of a case. And what the downside, let's just talk about that, the potential downside could be for founders who have lost touch with their feelings, who've lost the ability to feel their feelings and are just so cognitively focused, that all they do is all their internal experience is always just in their head,
August 19, 2020
524: How to Acquire and Cross-Promo SAAS Apps
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to acquire and cross-promo saas apps. Acquiring and cross-promo saas apps is a common strategy stirrups use to grow. However, it can get very messy when not done right. There specific questions that need to be answered before you commit to making a purtcahse so that you avoin problems or regret. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what cross-promoting is, how companies use it to grow, why it isn’t as simple as people think and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About the topic of today’s episode 00:32 Why this topic was chosen. 02:45 Why cross-promoting isn’t as simple as people think. 03:29 Why you should be conservative with your expectations. 04:05 Things to consider before using this strategy. 05:22 How to introduce the new app to customers. 06:37 Why you should be clear about buying an app. 07:38 Why you should be cautious about buying an app. 07:41 Questions to ask before buying an app. 10:03 About Basecamp’s marketing strategy. 3 Key Points: Cross-promoting typically failsBe conservative with your expectations.Over time, most companies rebrand. [0:00:01] Steli: Hello everybody. This is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:04] Steli: And today on this [hollow chat 00:00:05], we're going to talk about buying and cross-promoting apps in SAS, or products in SAS. So here's the deal. As the world of SAS products has matured and grown and scaled and exploded, and there is a ton of different SAS products out there. There's SAS extensions, mobile apps, web apps, whatever, desktop apps. Now we're getting to the stage where we don't just see kind of one type of company or startup that is building a SAS product, to be kind of a venture funded Silicon Valley based company or something like that. But you have single founders, you have people that build these SAS apps as side projects. Some of them are big. Some of them are small. And so now we're starting to see kind of this trend of more acquisition happening in the space where companies buy smaller products to promote them, or to use them as lead gen for their main product. And I thought it'd be fun to unpack this a little bit for somebody that's already a founder running a startup, or a SAS product, is it a viable strategy to buy other apps that have maybe similar customer base and cross promote? You've done this a good amount, you're probably one of the more experienced people in SAS in buying apps or launching different products and doing the cross promotion. And so I wanted to unpack the strategy and kind of maybe highlight some of the unintuitive truths to this. Here's the shit that everybody thinks would work easily, but it doesn't. Or here's the stuff that you think would be profitable, but most people don't do X, Y, and Z when they do the math. So let me ask you, with kind of all the experience that you've had trying this, first of all, just throwing out there the big question in my mind which is, what's not simple about the strategy of saying let's buy an app or a SAS product that has a similar customer base that then we'll be able to promote our main product to, and kind of do cross selling or cross promotion? What about that basic idea is what people miss? Because if it was that simple, everybody would do it and would do it incredibly successfully, and I'm not sure that that's really the case. So what's some stuff that we don't know about this strategy or this idea? [0:02:44] Hiten: What you probably don't know is it typically fails. And it's not that you don't know that, it's just that when you're in it and you see an opportunity, you're thinking about all the things that could go right. And I think that that ends up getting people to be very optimistic about something that they should actually be very conservative about. So when you're acquiring these things, my advice would be,
August 11, 2020
523: Creating Opportunities in a Time of Crisis
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about creating opportunities in a time of crisis. During these difficult times, a lot of business are going to struggling to stay alive, and even more, are going to fail. It’s tempting for some founders to give in to the challenging times which ultimately results in the collapse of their businesses. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so, with a little creativity and some innovation, founders can adapt and still keep their businesses afloat in these times. In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about reinvention versus destruction, how this pandemic is negatively affecting some businesses, examples of example of entrepreneurs taking advantage of the current situation and examples of business that are innovating in this crisis much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:37 Why this topic was chosen. 02:17 An example of an entrepreneur taking advantage of the current situation. 06:19 How some restaurants are really innovating right now. 07:53 Another way some restaurants are innovating. 09:19 One other way some restaurants are innovating in this crisis. 12:02 How a startup in the fitness industry is innovating. 06:01 How being successful in a time of crisis is all about getting creative. 3 Key Points: Tailors are very risk-averse.Don’t let things that get in the way of others get in your way.I’ve been most impressed by the number of restaurants that are really iterating right now [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And I think in true Steli and, I guess, Hiten form, Steli and me form, we're going to talk about something positive today and something that Steli came up with. I don't know when he came up with it, but I heard about it right now. And what it is is, I think, something much needed right now, which is a discussion about what we're seeing that's actually working in business right now, considering shelter in place, COVID out of control, I think somebody called this Armageddon or something like that to me five minutes ago, before I got on this. [0:00:40] Steli Efti: Oh, really? [0:00:41] Hiten Shah: Yeah. They called it Armageddon. They're like, "Yeah, how are you doing with the current Armageddon, blah, blah, blah?" I'm like, "I'm doing as fine as I can. And definitely better than a lot of people." So I can't can't really complain about anything. And so, yeah, let's talk about it. I think the big thing was, what approaches are working right now for people that we can kind of talk about, right? [0:01:03] Steli Efti: Yeah. I felt that it would be a good idea to just share some examples in our network, or within our friends, or anywhere that we've observed, that we've seen, over the last couple of months that we thought, "Wow, this is inspiring," or, "This is cool," that somebody is creating, or innovating, or adapting and changing, and succeeding in some way, finding opportunity, even in these difficult times, just to give people inspiration, to simulate them, and just because we have enough of the critical things that we read and hear about every single day. So how do we want to do this? You can go first, I can go first, with examples, and we'll go back and forth, and I'm sure we'll come up with and be able to share a bunch of good stuff with people. [0:01:47] Hiten Shah: Yeah, that's fine. Yeah. Yeah, go ahead. Yeah. [0:01:48] Steli Efti: So the first thing that I'll bring up is... Actually I want to go outside of tech, alright? So, at the very beginning of COVID being a bigger thing in Europe, I remember that, in the first few weeks, there was this shortage of masks. It's not a problem anymore. This is a past problem. But while it was a big surging demand and problem, I remember that people were trying to research and figure out where locally can I buy some masks, because nobody could order anything online and get it.
August 4, 2020
522: How to Improve Cashflow During a Crisis
in today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to improve cash flow during a crisis. One of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that a lot of businesses are going to have problems with their cash flow. This could be as a result of customer cancellations or non-payments, and how you manage your cashflow in this crisis could make or break your business. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about what cash flow management is, some things you could do to improve your cash flow, how to manage your cash flow during the crisis and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:31 Why this topic was chosen. 01:35 Some things you could do to improve your cashflow. 03:54 Why you should talk to a finance expert if you want to learn how to read your P&L statement. 04:17 Why you should look at your P&L statement on regularly. 05:38 Why it’s important to know how much money your company is burning and how much is in the bank. 07:00 The number one thing to understand about cash flow. 07:50 How to manage your cash flow during the crisis. 09:26 How prepayments can help you with your cash flow. 12:08 How cash flow management is a never-ending process. 3 Key Points: Learn how to read a profit and loss statement.Talk to a finance person.Understanding how to read a profit and loss statement is something founders need to know. [0:00:00] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And I'm going to let you say it, Steli. [0:00:06] Steli Efti: Cash is King. [0:00:08] Hiten Shah: Yes. So, that's what we're going to talk about on the startup chat today. And yeah. Wow. That statement is more true than ever. [0:00:20] Steli Efti: Never is cash more king during a crisis, right? I mean, it's always king, but during difficult times, even more so. So, we thought it might be useful for us to just share a couple of things that we have either done ourselves with our businesses or have seen others do successful during these times in order to improve their cash positions, to improve their cashflow, to just strengthen their companies and their startups to financially be able to make it through whatever rough waters we still have ahead of us, right? So for you, if I come to you Hiten and I'm like, "Hey, I have a startup. We have revenue, we have customers, we have costs. We need to improve our cashflow position." What are the go-to tips that you would give? I know that this is, every case is different, but in general, what's some of the things that you've seen people do, or you've done yourselves with your companies that can make a big difference during these times on improving cashflow. [0:01:21] Hiten Shah: Yeah. I mean, Oh God. The reason I say that is, sorry God, but is... Wow. There are founders and business people out there that have said they get confused when they look at a P&L, a profit and loss statement. [0:01:48] Steli Efti: Mm-hmm (affirmative). [0:01:50] Hiten Shah: So, step one, stop saying that. It's not a tool you need, you just need to go spend the time, get your P&L for dummies book or whatever, and learn how to read a P&L. It is not hard. Full stop. Period. I could teach my ten-year-old how to read a P&L if I needed to. And so, I know I'm getting a little serious about this shit, but man, I get so frustrated when I hear someone tell me that they're a business person, they're responsible for cash, and they say that the P&L or whatever accounting statements or whatever confuses them. It's like, okay, well, it's your responsibility. This is your job. Managing cash is your job. Even if you have a finance person or whatever, you happen to be lucky enough to have that scale or whatever- [0:03:00] Steli Efti: Hey, Hiten? [0:03:15] Hiten Shah: Like recently, she was reviewing something with me because usually I don't have to review those things. And we were just reviewing and she literally said,
July 28, 2020
521: The Power of Encouragement
Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the power of encouragement. Running a business is difficult. Every entrepreneur knows this. Difficult times are going to arise and sometimes, all we need is a bit of encouragement to get over these difficult times. In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the concept of encouraging others, why it’s so powerful, why some people are better at it than others and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic 00:39 Why this topic was chosen. 02:03 An example of a fascinating Muay Thai trainer. 04:36 Hiten’s thoughts around encouragement. 05:07 How humans can be really insecure beings. 06:05 How humans are terrible at recognising when someone needs encouragement. 07:17 How talking things out can give us encouragement. 08:15 How encouragement is an interesting concept. 08:50 Why it’s important to become aware when someone needs encouragement. 09:32 The importance of encouraging each other. 3 Key Points: Sometimes I can be quite critical with people and with myself.I think anyone can use encouragement, in both ways.Become aware when someone needs encouragement, and when you need it as well. [0:00:00] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:02] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:04] Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the power of encouragement. And here's the reason why I want to talk to you about this, Hiten. Well, there's many reasons I want to talk to you about this. I think recently, I just saw something on social media that talked about, it doesn't cost you a lot to be encouraging, but you could change somebody's entire life. And there was some story attached to that that was beautiful, inspiring. And it made me think, how powerful encouraging others can be and how that's still something that, in some ways I do a lot of in my life, but in other ways, I always feel like I'm not doing enough of, right? And sometimes I even have a difficult time because I can be quite critical with people as I'm with myself. So, just wanted to talk about this concept of encouraging others. Why is it so powerful? How do you do it and how do some people do it so well? I'll give one other example that kind of has been lingering in the back of my mind. I think that plus seeing that story connected the dots in a way that made me think, I want to talk to Hiten about this. I'm sure he has something incredible to say and we'll have a great discussion and I'll learn a ton of things. So, people know that I'm crazy about martial arts. I'm a huge fan of Muay Thai, which is kind of the Thai-style Kickboxing. And so, there's this guy, there's many old legends of Muay Thai in Thailand, these older gentleman that used to be in the sixties, kind of the Muhammad Alis and kind of the superstars of the sport. There's one of those guys, his name is Dieselnoi, who was a legend, unbeaten, this crazy legendary figure, but then sort of became forgotten, right? Because it's not like with boxing, where it's a worldwide audience and if you're a superstar, everybody in the world knows you. And so in Thailand just kind of became forgotten and eventually a Westerner that I'm friends with, she kind of discovered him and started training with him, bringing him into gyms, promoting him heavily, creating video content around him, sharing kind of who he is with the world and kind of helped him rise up again in status in Thailand. And all these Westerners come now to train with him and he's making a ton of money and he's getting recognition and he's living a much happier life. The one thing that I found really fascinating about this guy is that when you see him train people, and this is something that people also shared about and talked about that had trained with him multiple times, they would describe him as the type of coach and trainer that is incredibly intense, very, very demanding,
July 21, 2020
520: Encore episode – How to Worry in Business
Today on The Startup Chat we talk about worry. We get lots of questions about things that are rooted in worry. Worry is a useless emotion that just paralyzes action and problem solving. There are 2 different problems people worry about. The problem you can’t do anything about. The problem that you will never have. Worry can be helpful in business because it tells you there is an issue that needs to be addressed. A worry should be short term and dealt with in a matter of hours not days or weeks. Here are some observations we had about worry: What exactly is a worry The 2 questions to ask yourself Problems you will never have The difference a little experience makes Hiten’s helpful hack for worrying The productive way to worry vs. the unproductive way to worry Learning how to worry is key to keeping your business running smoothly. Problems should be dealt with quickly, when a worry creeps up, be proactive. We invite you to join our Facebook group. It’s great to have such an incredible group of entrepreneurs out there making it happen every day. We’d love to hear from you; please feel free to join our and share your experiences, challenges, and motivation with us and the rest of Startup Chat community. We appreciate having your email address at because we’ll be sharing some special podcast episodes and other things exclusively with the people on our email list. Click the link above and fill out the email address box to become part of the community today! As always, you can hit us up on Twitter or,.
July 14, 2020
519: The HEY launch: Pick a fight to get attention
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about The HEY launch. Basecamp launched their new product, HEY, recently and have succeeded in creating a lot of buzz and a huge waiting list in the process. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how HEY was marketed before it launched, how the launch of HEY was a campaign, the unique position of Basecamp as a company and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About the topic of today’s episode 00:41 Why this topic was chosen. 02:04 One thing about Basecamp that a lot of people don’t realise. 02:48 About HEY. 03:47 How the launch of HEY was a campaign. 05:00 Another interesting thing about the HEY launch. 05:53 The unique position of Basecamp. 07:38 How Apple is a very principled company. 08:30 How Basecamp has found a middle ground. 10:03 About Basecamp’s marketing strategy. 3 Key Points: The team about basecamp is that they’re not as strategic as you might think. They just have principles that have worked for them for over 20 years.They don’t need to make privacy the enemy when they launch.Who starts a battle with Apple? [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:02] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:04] Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about something that we usually never do, which is a recent product launch, HEY, and maybe the concept of beef as marketing. I don't know. We'll see. But during the last couple of weeks, there've not been many really impactful business product launches, I think, or at least if there were any- [0:00:26] Hiten Shah: I mean we don't really talk about news on here. That's really what you're going after, right? [0:00:29] Steli Efti: We never do that. Yes. [0:00:30] Hiten Shah: We don't do that, but we're going to talk about news today. [0:00:33] Steli Efti: Yeah, we are, because it's sort of fun. To me, at least, it's been fun to observe the Basecamp folks launched a new email product. It's called HEY. They teased it for a long time, they had a waiting list, and then they launched it. And even before they launched it, actually, they spent a good amount of time, critiquing privacy in email, which was kind of curious, interesting. They always like to fight battles, especially when they have products in the battle in some way, but they always want to stand for some bigger idea, go after some big evil thing that needs killing, and make it a cause. And so at the beginning I thought it would be privacy. They would just shoot at all these email providers that don't respect your privacy. I thought that would be the big battle, but it turns out the big battle's with Apple, which is even more fun. [0:01:28] Hiten Shah: So here's what's interesting. So these folks at Basecamp launched hey.com, and part of their marketing campaign prelaunch was privacy. Post-launch, it's not even that it's a battle with Apple, because I really don't think they expected it, frankly speaking. I think a lot of people think they're that smart or strategic, but they've even come out and said, "We didn't expect this." I think one thing about this company that people don't realize is they're very straightforward, and not as strategic as you might think, because they just have principles that have worked for them for 20 plus years, and they follow those principles, and they've written all those principles. In their Getting Real book, they have a section called pick a fight or choose an enemy. I mean back in the day their enemy was Gantt charts. I don't know if you recall at all, but with Basecamp, original Basecamp, it was Gantt charts. And they're like, "The enemy's Gantt charts." I mean now, with HEY, here's what I'm thinking. They don't need to make privacy the enemy when they launch because it is identified in their product. Every time you get an email that has an open tracker or a click tracker, I think it's specifically around open, if I'm not mistaken,
July 7, 2020
518: Reinvention Causes Everything to Thrive
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how reinvention causes everything to thrive. People or companies might seek to reinvent themselves or change the way they do things, and most of the time, this can be a good thing. However, a lot of the times, people think that for you to reinvent yourself, something has to be destroyed. While this is true in some cases, it doesn’t always have to be. In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about reinvention versus destruction, one beautiful thing about the USA, how reinvention can cause hardship and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:31 Why this topic was chosen. 01:07 Reinvention versus destruction. 02:24 One beautiful thing about the USA. 04:01 How reinvention can cause hardship. 05:13 How more American companies go through reinvention. 05:47 Why Hiten wrote this tweet. 06:01 How America has always been about reinvention. 06:23 What destruction is about. 07:19 What causes things to survive and thrive. 3 Key Points: I don’t think destruction is always required for reinvention.Reinvention is such an interesting concept.It is not easy to reinvent yourself. [0:00:01] Steli Efti : Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about something I... Popped in my head and I tweeted. And the statement is, "Reinvention is what causes everything to thrive." And for me, just to lay it out real quick, this comes from the fact that many folks think about destruction, or destroying things, in order to build them up again, or start fresh. And I feel like that's a very... Has a lot of negative connotations and can probably bring up a lot of things that prevent people from thinking about how to change and adapt. I truly do believe that is how you thrive. And when I think about it like that, I think the right word is reinvention, versus destruction, or versus tearing things down. Because I don't think, that is always required for reinvention. Maybe it is sometimes, but our worldview, I believe, which is healthier, should be oriented around, at least my worldview, I prefer being oriented around reinventing the things I'm working on. My business, my product, my marketing, my sales, whatever. Myself. Over thinking of it as rebirth, which is what a lot of other folks sometimes call some of this stuff. So anyway, I know you wanted to talk about it Steli, because you saw it amongst the things I tweeted recently. [0:01:38] Steli Efti : This is one of the new format that we've established this year, which is, Hiten tweet episode, which is when I see a tweet of yours and I'm like, "I wonder why he tweeted that. This interesting thing. Let's talk about it." Which is what we would do if we met up for coffee today, I'd be like, "I saw this tweet of yours. What was up with that? That's an interesting thought." I think reinvention is just such an interesting concept. See, I thought about it very differently, because I didn't have the context. But to me, one thing that I've always been explaining to Europeans, about one of the greatest things about the US to me, and the US has a lot of bad things about it, and I talk about that as well with people, but the one beautiful thing that I find in the US to be more true than in any other place that I've ever lived or visited, is this belief in the individual, and the belief in the power of reinvention for the individual, right? [0:02:50] Hiten Shah: Yes. [0:02:51] Steli Efti : So you can be anything and everything you want to be. And there's no expiration date to that. [0:02:57] Hiten Shah: Right. [0:02:58] Steli Efti : There is none. You could be 60 years old, your whole life you were an accountant and you now want to be an actor. America is just going to go, Go for it, buddy. [0:03:09] Hiten Shah: Yeah why not? Go for it. [0:03:10] Steli Efti : Pack up your shit,
June 30, 2020
517: How to Plan in 2020?
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to make plans during 2020. With everything that has happened in 2020, you’d be forgiven if you chose to describe this year as the year of crisis. With this crisis comes uncertain and it can be quite challenging to make long-term plans in uncertain times like these. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about if you should make plans in 2020, how you should plan in this year, why your timelines have to be shorter during a crisis and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:42 Why this topic was chosen. 01:33 Should you make plans in 2020? 02:43 How you should plan in 2020. 04:19 Why your timelines have to be shorter during a crisis. 04:59 How Steli currently makes his plans. 06:04 The right way to approach crazy times like these. 08:00 How Hiten approached the crisis. 11:59 How teams could deal with high pressure. 12:12 How you can adapt to the uncertainty. 3 Key Points: You’re just planning, but not as far ahead as you normally would.2020 isn’t done with us.During a crisis, your timelines have to be shorter [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:05] Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about how to make plans during 2020. So, making good plans is always challenging, but I find 2020, I mean... 2020 is a particular, unique year, in that it probably is a more challenging year for companies and startups and founders to make any sort of plan that people might have real confidence in, especially if it's a longterm plan. So I've encountered this a couple of times this year already with friends that I thought it might be useful for the two of us to unpack this for our listeners, which is, "What the hell do you do?" If you run a startup, if you're a founder and you want to plan, should you, in 2020? Are plans completely useless? Are they totally useful? And how should you think about making plans kind of the way that we approach this and the things that we've seen work well? I thought might help founders keep their sanity and hopefully accomplish more of the things they want to accomplish, even during an outstandingly crazy year like 2020. So, first of all, let me ask you this question. 2020, should we still make plans or would you advise anybody to stop making plans because this year is too nuts? [0:01:29] Hiten Shah: So, the... The... I've had, like, two or three conversations specifically about this, and I've shared something that... By the time I have two or three and I get the same question, and it's a new question, I tend to like, have some kind of way to think about it or, like, you know, I'm driven crazy, you know? So I think that's a really good question. The way it worked for me, and the way I was approaching this, not too long ago is I... Hang on, I just need to fix my mic. So I basically... When the sort of pandemic came along, I was taking things in a sort of hour by hour adjustment period, so to speak. So everything to me was thrown out the door because now all of a sudden, there's this virus that we're all dealing with and we have to sort of figure out what that means for us. And so I was taking it hour by hour because new information was coming in. This is like all up to about Shelter in Place. And then after Shelter in Place, I think the first few days were very similar and our, by "our", meaning, like people were consumed with the news about it. Nobody knew what was going on obviously, and what was going to happen to us as a society like overall. Like what's next? And then basically I... I realized that I was then going day to day and after that I was going week to week and I barely got to like a month ahead. And then the protests started and the rioting and kind of... And then it got global. And then I got back to like almost an hour by hour, just making sure that like,
June 23, 2020
516: There’s No Mastery in Inner Work
Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the lack of mastery in inner work. As humans, we all are experiencing life differently, and these experiences shape who we are and mould us into what we are at any given time. Although some of us would love to master our shortcomings, it is an ongoing situation, and mastering inner work is the type of work that never ends. In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about how your strength can be your weakness, how inner work is the type of work that never ends, why you shouldn’t dehumanize your heroes and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic 00:48 Why this topic was chosen. 01:01 How your strength can be your weakness. 03:04 How inner work is the type of work that never ends. 04:05 How inner work can feel like a never-ending onion. 05:21 How what you are today will always keep changing. 06:22 Why you shouldn’t dehumanize your heroes. 07:12 How Jeff Bezos is a human. 08:47 Why there’s no mastery at the end of the tunnel. 09:51 How long it took for the Steli and Hiten to realise they were full of shit. 3 Key Points: There’s no mastery in inner work.Inner work is the type of work that never endsYour strength is your weakness. [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:02] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:04] Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat, we're going to talk about the lack of mastery in inner work. So, here's what I want to briefly chit-chat with you about and kind of unpack with you for the audience. Recently, I had a very intense kind of weekend session with a good friend of mine, where we did a lot of what I would call inner work, just very introspective work of what's going on in our lives and what are the challenges? What are the limitations? What are possible blind spots? We had some very deep, very, very intense, very good and honest conversations with each other. Then there was one moment where my friend looked at me and was like, "Wow," because I'd brought up something that I've just recently gotten to realize about myself and how surprising that was, because it didn't fit my self-image at all. I was like, "I'm so surprised that I am this way." It would have been- [crosstalk] [0:01:03] Hiten Shah: But I am. And I know. [0:01:04] Steli Efti: But I am. Now I know like, "Wow." And then it was like, "Wow, I'm mind blown," especially, I wouldn't have expected you having this kind of a surprise revelation because you have such a master of inner work. And I was like, in that moment, my response was like... [0:01:19] Hiten Shah: Feel like that but not really. [0:01:20] Steli Efti: No, I'm like... I think I said verbatim and then I thought, "Oh, I should tweet this someday." And then the world, it started exploding... [0:01:27] Hiten Shah: Wooh, yeah. [0:01:29] Steli Efti: So I'm just thinking about, I just kept it to myself. But he was like, "You're such a master of inner work." I'm like, "There's no mastery in inner work. This isn't mastery." [0:01:36] Hiten Shah: None. Sorry. That's good. That's good. [0:01:39] Steli Efti: "This doesn't exist. There's nobody that has a black belt. You don't remember how many books you read. I don't remember how much I've analyzed." [0:01:43] Hiten Shah: No. No. No. No. [0:01:44] Steli Efti: "You'll never figure the shit out." And I think that that's what I wanted to talk about a little bit, because I think... [0:01:53] Hiten Shah: That's great. Great topic. [0:01:54] Steli Efti: I see this with myself a lot, Hiten. I see this with some of my smartest, wisest, most successful friends. Your strength is your weakness. The thing that you spent a lot of time around... [0:02:13] Hiten Shah: Absolutely. [0:02:13] Steli Efti: Right? Is now cleaning a false sense of confidence. "Oh, I know this topic. Oh, I know myself in this way. Oh, I've done the work. I got the black belt. I've put in the years.
June 16, 2020
515: “Should Have Done This Earlier”
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about "Should Have Done This Earlier". Business comes with lots of challenges. Sometimes we figure out the solution to a challenge and, depending on how you look at it, might feel relieved about figuring it out or frustration about not doing so sooner. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things, the benefits of having a positive outlook on things why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About the topic of today’s episode 00:31 Why this topic was chosen. 01:07 Why Hiten tweeted about today topic. 02:32 How there are different ways to look at a lightbulb moment. 03:52 How what you focus on changes how you look at different situations. 04:56 Why how you feel whenever you figure out something challenging doesn’t matter. 05:15 Why you shouldn’t focus on the negative side of things. 06:54 Why you shouldn’t set conditions for yourself. 07:00 The benefits of having a positive outlook on things. 09:53 Why working on our attitudes towards ourselves can be a game-changer. 3 Key Points: If you feel that you were dumber a year ago, you’re growing.Not every day is going to be the same.What you focus on a situation, changes how you look at it. [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:05] Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat, we're going to talk about, this is another tweet episode. This is a new tradition we have, where Steli Efti reads Hiten's tweets and once in a while thinks, ha, this is both very wise and kind of curious, and there's something here that we should probably unpack for the audience on the Startup Chat. So I'm going to read the tweet that you posted recently Hiten, and then I'm going to ask you what prompted it, and we'll just see what unfolds. [0:00:34] Hiten Shah: Sounds good. [0:00:34] Steli Efti: So here's the tweet. "Should have done this earlier. I should have done this earlier. A statement full of frustration and relief at the same time." All right. So what made you tweet this? [0:00:51] Hiten Shah: Yeah, it's one of those things that's related to another thing that I really kind of have funny feelings about. And that thing is this idea that if you felt like you were dumber a year ago, you know you're growing. Or you felt dumb for some opinion you had, or thought you had or think you did a year ago or whatever, you're growing. So it's very similar to that where it's like, sometimes you just have those moments and this is very, it's personal life and work and business, but you have those moments where you're like, "Oh, should have done this earlier." And sometimes it's just an idea that you have, and you're like, "Crap, that's just the one." Or for like, let's say, a marketing channel or something like that, that you just didn't think of then all of a sudden you did, just to give a very simple example. Or it's something that you just did and you're like, "Oh, I should have done that earlier." So it's kind of like this feeling that I get sometimes. And I'm frustrated because I wish I would've figured it out earlier, but I'm also very relieved because I figured it out. I finally figured it out. I got it. All right, cool. So it was one of those moments where I felt that and felt like I had to share just to release it and get over myself. So that was it. It was just that. [0:02:20] Steli Efti: You know, what's funny is that, I should have done this earlier, there's many flavors of this, right? [0:02:26] Hiten Shah: Yeah. [0:02:26] Steli Efti: And there is one that is more regretful... [0:02:30] Hiten Shah: Yes. [0:02:31] Steli Efti: ... And then there is a version of this that's just more relieved. Like I should've done this earlier, but the underlying energy is, I'm happy I've done it now, right? I'm happy...
June 9, 2020
514: How to Keep Your Sanity in 2020
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to keep your sanity in 2020. With all that is going on in the world at the moment, the COVID-19 epidemic and the current police brutality protests going on around the world, it’s really difficult to stay composed and not let it all affect your mental health negatively. In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about things they are doing to stay sane at the moment, how nobody really knows how to feel right now, how information overload could be a problem right now and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:23 Why this topic was chosen. 01:58 How Hiten is keeping his sanity right now. 02:36 The difference between luck and gratitude. 03:00 How nobody really knows how to feel right now. 03:12 How information overload could be a problem right now. 04:06 One really unique thing about these times. 05:50 How Steli is keeping his sanity right now. 07:19 One reason why this current situation is so intense. 09:07 How this current situation is hitting a nerve with a lot of people. 3 Key Points: This year is something else!These are unusual timesI just feel really lucky.Nobody really knows how to feel. [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:05] Steli Efti: And today on the Startup Chat we're going to talk about how to keep your sanity in 2020, how to be a founder during these times, how to be a human these times. Man, this year is something else, and I'm sure we're not the only... Lots of people are going through a lot of things right now. I felt like typically we're known for super short, super sharp, very tactical and practical episodes, but these are unusual times so maybe they call for an unusual Startup Chat episode. I felt like it might make sense for us to just check, how do we deal with this? How do we think about all the insanity that's going on in the world? Maybe we do have a few things to share with our listeners that are going to be helpful or if not, maybe that in and of itself gives some comfort that not even the two of us know how to deal with this. [0:01:02] Hiten Shah: That's right. [0:01:03] Steli Efti: So let me ask you, the first big wave was obviously the global pandemic and COVID, now we're going through this wave of worldwide demonstrations and rights, peaceful protests kicked off by police brutality, but it's maybe even bigger than just that. There's a lot of different things that are in the mix that are going on right now. How have the last two, three weeks been for you, and for your team, and your company? Has it been different than the first COVID wave of craziness, and how do you cope? How do you keep your sanity during all of this right now? [0:01:50] Hiten Shah: Yeah. For me, I just feel really lucky and I think I have, at this point, an unlimited number of reasons why, and so I couldn't even cover them. I think that's how I deal with this, I just realize where I'm lucky and make sure that I don't lose sight of that regardless of what else is going on for other people because that's really helpful. I think we might've talked about this a little bit, but I've been really wrapping my head around for myself, the difference between luck and gratitude. I think we talked about that a little bit a couple of times at least, and for me, that's the thing that helps the most is this idea of just remembering how lucky I am. If I have to, reminding other people whether it's in my family or people around me, when they're feeling sad or feeling the collective situation in whatever ways that they might be feeling it because one of the things about this is nobody really knows how to feel. Nobody knows how to act. We just don't know. There's a lot of combined things going on, a lot of opinions, a lot of information. I think the biggest risk is information overload,
June 2, 2020
513: Online Meetings & Virtual Events During COVID-19
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about online meetings & virtual events during COVID-19. One thing that has been on the rise during the COVID 19 crisis has been online conferences, and there are a number of factors that are causing this. One of those is that people ar3e working from home and have more time to attend these conferences. In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how the number of invitations to online events conferences has revved up rapidly, Hiten’s experience with online events, how people have more time for online events right now and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic. 00:40 Why this topic was chosen. 01:28 How the number of invitations to online events and conferences has revved up rapidly. 02:02 Hiten’s experience with online events. 03:39 How things might gradually shift. 04:23 Why this explosion of online events fascinates Hiten. 04:54 How people have more time for online events right now. 06:00 How people are starving for new connections. 06:40 How online events are much easier to attend. 07:22 One thing that’s always going to be true about online events. 3 Key Points: The amount of invitations to online events and conferences has revved up rapidly.There’s been a lot of exuberance for online events, more than I’ve ever seen in my life.This explosion is fascinating to me. [0:00:00] Steli Efti: Hey everybody this is [Steli Efti]. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: This is [Hiten Shah]. [0:00:04] Steli Efti: Today on The Startup Chat we want to talk about online meetings, webinars, conferences during COVID-19, is it a good idea, is it a bad idea, is it going to, yeah what is happening in the world around the trying to bring physical events online, what are we experiencing, observing? We both felt like it's an interesting thing that's going on around the world, Zoom fatigue and other things pop to mind. We just wanted to chit chat and see what we're observing, what we think will happen next, how to think about these things. Let me ask you first, I have just, the amount of invitations to online events and conferences for me has just ramped up drastically. Obviously because this is conference summer time I guess and a lot of conference organizers decided to try to do their events completely online but also just the amount of webinars that companies give, the amount of meetings that you, I mean we always because we were remote, always had a lot of Zoom meetings. It's gotten even more because now I do Zoom meetings with friends, I do Zoom meetings, calls with family members. I just do a lot more of these virtual video conferencing calls. Yeah, I'm curious, are you also, I've done a few conferences, I've done a bunch of webinars and everything in between so far. I'm starting to try to figure out how I feel about all of this and if I want to do more or less and what's going to happen in the market. What about you? What's kind of been your experience of the last couple of weeks? [0:01:45] Hiten Shah: I think there's been a lot of exuberance for online events like more than I've ever seen in my life. I'll start that way because I still don't know what to think because of what I just said, there's been more than ever. For the moment, it feels like people are into it. Into it meaning there's enough people that are still into it where if you throw some online something or other and have some way to promote it people will show up because it's not that they don't have anything better to do, it's that they're seeking connection. They're seeking this. I led a few over the last two or three weeks. I wouldn't say an insane amount but definitely more than I would've normally and I probably have a few more to lead in terms of like topics like product management or remote work or whatever in partnership with different folks. I've done that too. I think you've done probably more than me. Then even today,
May 26, 2020
512: The Sales & Marketing Grind
Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about the Sales & Marketing Grind. This episode is inspired by a tweet from Hiten that pointed out how marketing is a grind, one that you need to get used to, as it requires you to do the same thing over and over again in order to be successful. In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about the tweet that inspired this episode, what prompted this tweet and why marketing is different from sales and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About today’s topic 00:34 Why this topic was chosen. 01:05 The tweet that inspired this episode. 01:40 What prompted Hiten’s tweet. 03:02 How marketing and sales is a grind. 04:09 How marketing and sales are like working out. 05:03 What makes Steli stay consistently on the sale grind. 08:22 A mindset that salespeople need to develop. 10:10 Why marketing is different from sales. 11:34 How Hiten gets through the grind. 3 Key Points: The most difficult part of marketing and sales is getting used to the grind.Just do more of what ended up working.It’s the same thing over and over again. [0:00:01] Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah, and today I'm going to start off the chat. Steli is prodding me to talk about a tweet, and this tweet was talking about how sales and marketing is a grind, and you have to do the same thing over and over and over again, and you might even quit before you hit gold. So what thoughts did it spur for you? [0:00:33] Steli Efti: Well, first let me actually read the tweet, right? [0:00:36] Hiten Shah: Yeah, go for it. I totally butchered it. [0:00:38] Steli Efti: So, "The most difficult part of sales and marketing is getting used to the grind, doing the same set of things over and over and over again, sometimes with such mediocre results that you think about giving up right before striking gold." I like that tweet, because I think there's a kernel of truth in there, but there are parts of me that instantly recognize the truth in this or my truth in this, but there's also a part of me that wants to disagree, and then there is a immediate question that I have once in a while when you tweet, which is what prompted this? I literally go, "Huh, I wonder what prompted this? Probably something interesting. I have to remember to ask him next time I talk to him." So let's start the episode with that. I'll tell you what I think about this, but first, what made you tweet this? What prompted this tweet, this thought? [0:01:34] Hiten Shah: Yeah, I think especially with sales and marketing, people look for the silver bullet, and the silver bullet is the one thing you can do and everything's all taken care of. What I've noticed for sales and marketing, it's not that. And so what prompted it, is nothing super in particular one event or anything like that, but I was just thinking why a lot of people have a hard time with sales and marketing, while let's say with engineering or design or even product, they might not have as hard of a time. One conclusion I came to is you're doing the same thing over and over again. When it comes to some of these other areas like engineering or product or design, the repetition is not the same. You're not necessarily doing the same thing over and over again and likely seeing mediocre results. You have a tangible feeling of progress and momentum that can happen in those scenarios. While with sales and marketing, I don't want to say it's hit or miss, but especially earlier on when you're trying to sell something or even marketing a product or service, the amount of grind is there. And then when something works, the next thing you have to do is just grind some more on the same thing. So even when it works, you're just doing more of the same, it just happened to work that time, and you think you could make it work more. Whether it's closing a deal because you changed your pitch all of a sudden,
May 19, 2020
511: Starting a Startup During COVID-19?
In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about starting a Startup during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID pandemic, there’s going to be a lot of people thinking about starting a new Startup. However, whether now is a good time or now to start is a question that needs to be answered. In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about if this is the right time to start a Startup, why there’s never a good or bad time to start, what to consider if you’re starting something right now and much more. Time Stamped Show Notes: 00:00 About the topic of today’s episode 00:23 Why this topic was chosen. 01:37 If this is the right time to start a Startup. 02:22 Why there’s never a good or bad time to start. 02:34 How the world is very different right now. 04:38 Why this is a good time to start. 07:44 What to do differently if you started now. 09:05 Why cash flow is more important right now. 10:16 Why “nice to haves” are off the table. 11:57 What to consider if you’re starting something right now. 3 Key Points: I don’t think there’s ever a good or bad time to start a Startup.The world is different.There’s more access to information right now than in 2008. [0:00:00] Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti. [0:00:03] Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. [0:00:05] Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about starting a startup during COVID-19. Basically the idea, if we have to start a new company or a startup right now, no co-founders yet, no money, no product. Would we do it? Would we think that, with what we know about entrepreneurship, would we think that this is a good time or would we want to wait until whenever the economy's better? And if we thought that now is a good time to start something, how would we go about it? How would we think about it? Is there anything different about starting a startup right now during this kind of special time in history around the world? Would we approach in any way differently than we usually would? I thought that it'd be a fun topic to talk about. It probably is going to have a few golden nuggets for people. So let's get the first question out of the way because I think that's going to be an easy one. You never know, especially with when you talk to Hiten Shah, but is this a good time to start a startup or a bad time to start a startup? What's your reaction to that if I asked you, "Hiten, I have entrepreneurial ambitions, but I wonder if this is the right time for me to start something." [0:01:16] Hiten Shah: Yeah, great question. It's just a great question because the circumstances, like this has happened before, right? So there's like the 2000s, and this is particularly in tech, so there's the 2000s and there's like the 2008 kind of housing bubble thing. And then I think the next one was right now. And these are all times when people are like, "Should I start something? Should I not?" People start talking about it. The one thing that like fascinating to me with this question as I think about it right now is, first I don't think there's ever a good time or a bad time. So I think it's false to think it's good or bad. But for some reason it comes to people's minds when the world is going to shit and they're like, "Oh, is this a good time?" It's never a good time. Is this a bad time? Well, it's never a bad time. I think it's like whatever time works for you. Meaning whatever it comes to mind or whatever circumstances dictate that you have to find other options in whatever you were doing, like you're laid off. So that's where I'll start. But I think there's a big thing that I haven't thought about till now that really hit me right now, which is, the world is different. Every one of those times, the world was different. You're talking about like 2000, then eight years later, and now 12 years later, and we're like 20 years from 2000, which many of us weren't actually working at the time.