On this episode Abadesi talks to Brianne Kimmel, founder of Work Life, an early stage venture firm in Silicon Valley that invests in tools and services for the modern workplace. She was formerly head of product and GTM strategy at Zendesk.
In this episode they talk about...
“There are a lot of non-traditional folks who are breaking into venture, many of which are solo GPs.”
Brianne started angel investing on the side when she was working at Zendesk. She enjoyed working with and meeting new entrepreneurs so decided to start her own fund to “do what she was doing on evenings and weekends full-time.”
She explains the focus of the fund and talks about the fundraising process for it. Initially, she says, she started with a “friends and family'” round before she became comfortable raising from other people. She started pitching to people outside her network and tried to run a “tight process.” She explains her strategy for follow-up and why her personal productivity regime was such a big part of her pitch. She also talks about why she created her own list of questions that were often asked by potential investors and how she continually weaved those back into her pitch deck.
“The list of FAQs kept getting smaller because the pitch was getting incrementally better every time I give it.”
“Only 0.5% of people can code, so for the 99.5% of us code is actually a real barrier.”
Brianne is passionate about no-code tools, especially those that can help employees be more productive in the workplace. She talks about the importance of growing “bottom-up” in the enterprise market and talks about some of the companies she’s investing in that are employing that strategy.
“Increasingly, startups will compete on culture and culture alone and having great tools and creating a very inclusive work environment is one great way to do that.”
She also talks about some of the tools that are enabling remote work and why more and more early-stage teams are going fully distributed. She says that people are traveling more, the world is getting smaller, and people who formerly didn’t have flexibility at work now have the flexibility to work from home or anywhere else in the world.
“The question is not, ‘can you find enough work?’ It’s, ‘can you find the right problems that you want to work on?’”
“People are a little bit tired of networking. They have to be the best version of themselves at all times and come in very confident but you end up leaving with something that doesn’t feel truly authentic.”
Brianne started building communities while at Zendesk. She also runs a program called SaaS School in San Francisco. She talks about how she built a community of fellow product managers who met regularly in an informal setting where they could be open, authentic, and vulnerable with each other. She says that she’s doing the same for her fund and explains why it’s important to build a community when investing. Brianne also gives tips for fellow community-builders.
She also talks about some of the products she’s loving right now.
Bunches — The easiest way to start a paid group chat about anything.
Canary — A complete security system in a single device.
Chroma Stories — Create stunning and engaging stories with easy-to-use tools.
Deep Sentinel — A robust, AI-powered home security system.
Muze — Messaging and social media platform.
On this episode Abadesi talks to Josh Howarth, co-founder of Exploding Topics. In this episode they talk about... His early days as a maker and what he would change if he could do things over again “It’s not the case that you build it and they will come. It took me two months to build and then I was like, now what? I hadn’t thought at all about marketing channels.” Josh talks about one of the projects that he created at the start of his journey to becoming a maker. He worked on a website plugin that he had seen other people implement where you spun a wheel to see what kind of discount code you would get for entering your email. He says that he didn’t realize how difficult getting distribution for the plugin would be and spent a lot of his time after releasing it reaching out to different people trying to get business to sign up. He achieved some revenue from it but it seemed to quickly fizzle out. “You can usually tell pretty quickly whether it will work or not if you’re putting it out there for people to see. I probably should have quit sooner, like after two months instead of six on my previous project.” He realized that he didn’t have any passion for the project and that it would have been better to work on something that he cared deeply about. In hindsight, he also realized that he spent too much time working on it when it was fairly clear that it would always be a slog to try to keep the revenue up. “If the goal is to run your own business, you should go for a space that you’re interested in because someone else who is passionate about it will beat you in the end.” The genesis and evolution of Exploding Topics and the lessons he’s learned through the process “It’s 100 times easier to bootstrap a profitable online business if you ride one of these big market trends. You will grow with the opportunity and the competition won’t be too fierce either. That’s when I started to build a project that would spot these trends, to scratch my own itch.” His experience with his previous project led him to research emerging trends that he could potentially build an online business out of. He did a lot of research and turned his research project into a web app when he realized that the results might be of use to other people as well. “I didn’t intend for it to become a product in itself but I decided I had solved this problem for me, I may as well turn it into a web app and see if other people are interested in it.” He started to post the project on the web with lists of the top trends that he was seeing at the time, which proved to be very interesting to people. One day his site was near the top of Hacker News when his database went down, leading him to scramble to upgrade to a paid solution before losing all the traffic that he was getting. He explains what he learned and what he would have done differently with Exploding Topics if he was starting over again. “You can feel it when you have something that people like and that is taking off. With the with the previous SaaS app it felt like I was pushing like a boulder uphill, but this thing was like snowball, everywhere I posted it people loved it and it just kept growing and growing.” How writing updates kept him accountable as a solo founder and his advice for finding a co-founder you can work well with “Make sure there’s a good co-founder fit, make sure that you know them and they’re going to bring a lot.” Josh says that it was very gratifying to see people use Exploding Topics to create their own sites based on emerging trends. This was what he had hoped to do with his original project with the web plugin. He says that it was important as a solo founder to write updates on Medium for his users. This encouraged him to make sure that he was making progress consistently on the site, because he needed to show his users and readers that he was always working on it. He also heard a lot of useful feedback from users who would use the site and sometimes even from people who were simply following his journey. He ended up taking on a co-founder for Exploding Topics via the sale of his site. He explains what the most important attributes in a co-founder are and why he and his co-founder work well together. “Writing updates and keeping people updated on your progress is fantastic as a sole founder because it keeps you accountable. It also helps to clarify your thoughts and direction. It helps to get support from other people who reach out to offer support, advice and guidance.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
22 April 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Matthew Paul, software product designer, researcher, and front-end engineer. He’s a former product designer at InVision, he’s worked on software and design systems at IBM, and has designed prototypes at Apple. In this episode they talk about... The open-source design project he’s working on, and how to make good design more accessible “As a designer you always have to bring the customer back to the conversation, and you have to invite the engineers, product directors, VPs, into your conversations with the customers, and let them hear what the customers have to say.” Matthew points out that type is being used on screens in more and more places these days, including in non-traditional places like in heads-up displays in vehicles and in VR headsets. He says that it’s important to make sure that good type is accessible to everyone, everywhere, and explains how the project he’s working on will enable that. Common design pitfalls to avoid and advice for working with designers “Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for help. At a decent company, at a decent place, no one’s gonna get dinged for asking for help. You’re going to get dinged, not right away, but you’re going to get dinged if you don’t. You just end up burning out or not doing a good job at any of the things.” He runs through a bunch of different common mistakes that people make when they’re designing a product or working with a design team. He walks through some projects in the past that he’s been a part of that didn’t work out as intended and what the key issues turned out to be on those teams. “Don’t run a design sprint unless you actually know what it is and how to do it and have a plan to make it successful.” He explains the right ratio of designers to software engineers, saying that you want to usually have one designer for every eight software engineers. He also talks about the pitfalls of running a design sprint without really knowing what you’re doing. He also talks about what it means to be “neuro-atypical” and why we need more inclusion of different thinking, learning, and communication styles in the workplace. “They expect them to be a certain person, to fit a certain mold, to have good executive functioning, to have a set of cognitive processes that allow you to work in a linear fashion. The fact is, our brains are not all built that way. That’s neurodiversity.” How he’s working on his personal development and where he learns the most “I try to meet new people. I literally have gotten every single job that I’ve ever had through Twitter, just through them reaching out to me, me reaching out to them, and introductions happening that way.” Matthew explains the evolution in his thinking over time on how best to keep up with the latest trends in design and says that he used to follow all the blogs very closely when he was younger but has moved away from that as he’s grown as a designer. He offers a book recommendation if you’re interested in getting into typography, and says that he learns the most from other people. He tries to travel often to be exposed to new people and talk to them in person about what they’re working on. “I think I just learn the most from meeting new people and hearing what they’re working on — taking a little spark of what they’re working on and seeing if I can include that in my work.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin Mobile for their support. 😸 Books and Products Recommended in This Episode 1Password — Save your passwords and logins with one click. AirPods Pro — New AirPods with active noise cancellation. Detail in Typography by Jost Hochuli Headspace Sleep — Sleep section of the popular meditation app. Magnet — Window manager for Mac. Simplenote — Simple, lighter alternative to Evernote.
15 April 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Pieter Levels, founder of Nomad List, a global community of international travellers working around the world, RemoteOK, a job board for remote jobs, and Hoodmaps, a unique neighborhood map app. In this episode they talk about... Bootstrapping versus VC, and why he doesn’t want to build a team around his products “I don’t want to lose my skills. If I stop making stuff and become a manger, I’m going to learn a new skills but I’m not a business guy. I’m a creative person. I get happy from making stuff that works and people use.” Pieter says that he originally thought about creating a venture-backed business, which was going to be a proto-Uber in Amsterdam, before he pivoted to bootstrapping businesses. They discuss the questionable ethics of big venture-backed businesses who have often had to compromise on their values to get really big, really fast. He says that he works with one other person on his products but otherwise works on them all on his own — and he likes it that way. He explains why he doesn’t want to become a manager and instead prefers to keep working on his current products and potential new ones on his own, instead of delegating them to someone else once they’ve become successful. The difference between creating a website and building a community, and how to think about charging for your product “It’s psychologically difficult to charge people money.” He talks about how Nomad List has evolved over time and the features he has added to the site. He explains how it transformed from a website to a community. He breaks down the benefits of a community in expanding the reach of a movement and the intangibles that a community brings with it. He talks about how he got over the psychological barriers to charging money for access to a community, and says that at one time he explained to a member that he was even somewhat embarrassed to be charging, though now he hears from people all the time about the value that it brings to their lives. He also talks about the difficulty of managing and moderating a community. What the future of remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle will look like “You start off as a nomad thinking that you are going to travel the world forever but you go insane if you travel too fast.” Pieter talks about the evolution of the digital nomad lifestyle from its infancy to now, and why it’s being talked about more than ever. He says that it was at one time a somewhat fringe movement and that he never expected it to expand like it has. He says that creating the community around the lifestyle has helped accelerate its acceptance in mainstream culture and has resulted in there being more resources than ever for digital nomads. He says that in time we won’t be calling it nomadism anymore, it will just be something that becomes a normal part of life as remote work gains more and more acceptance. He says that eventually “digital nomadism” will become a term like “netizens” (an early term for people who used the internet) that we don’t use anymore, because it is so pervasive, just like the internet has become. “I flew less than my Dutch friends last year. Travel’s really fun but it’s more about finding a place where you feel better than where you were born and grew up.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin Mobile for their support. 😸
8 April 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Waseem Daher, founder and CEO of Pilot. Pilot is bringing bookkeeping into the modern age. He has started (and sold!) two other companies prior to Pilot. In this episode they talk about... The story of starting Pilot and what Waseem learned from his two previous companies “The end-to-end solution is really what made the business work. We are going to be your bookkeeper, your finance team, rather than sell you software.” The story of Pilot goes back to his first company, where they tried to do their books themselves, but realized how tedious it was and how much could be automated. He explains why he tries to have a more focused approach to company-building now: “I try to have a better sense of what is actually important. We were so worried about all of the stuff that we thought represented an existential threat but in practice literally zero of those things mattered. Of all the things I remember agonizing about, none of them had any actual effect on the business.” He also says that he makes sure to take time to rest and recharge, rather than working all the time: “In the first company we worked all the time, 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. Despite having worked that long, there were Saturdays where I still felt behind so I worked then as well, and every time I did that, it was always a mistake.” When it makes sense to take venture capital versus bootstrap a business “There’s a very pervasive and harmful narrative in Silicon Valley that the VC way is the only way to do it. I actually think the VC way is the unnecessarily difficult or hard way.” Waseem explains how to think about starting a company and talks about the principles to keep in mind when you’re thinking about the risk and reward of different approaches: “If your objective is wealth creation, you should not start a startup, you should go work on Wall Street or something. The easiest way to make $10M is to own 100% of a company that’s worth $10M, not to own 1% of a company that’s worth $1B.” He says that “lifestyle is not a bad word” and that as a founder you don’t need to care about serving a massive market unless you’ve taken venture capital funding. “Venture capital is not right for 99% of businesses. You have to be building something that is targeting a gigantic market to have a company worth billions of dollars doing hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue.” How to think about a potential acquisition “By raising a bunch of institutional capital, you’re prevented from taking exits that are otherwise very good or very profitable.” Waseem shares what he’s learned from two previous exits, one to Oracle and the other to Dropbox. He says that it’s most important to think about how you and your company will mesh with the acquirer and choose the offer that provides the best fit rather than the highest dollar amount. He says that if the fit is good, you will create much more value through the relationship together than the value of the acquisition. “Look at the acquisition as the start of a new relationship, not the end of something.” How Waseem stays productive He explains that he keeps most of his apps on his phone in folders rather than on his home screen. This creates friction and ensures that he has to be intentional about what exactly he is doing when he takes out his phone. He also explains exactly how to write emails that get responses from busy people: “Craft something that is really short, that is to the point, and that has a very crisp and clear call-to-action at the end of the email. Ideally the call-to-action is as easy to respond to as possible.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin Mobile for their support. 😸
1 April 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Ethan Eismann, VP of Design at Slack. He has previously worked on flagship products at Google, Uber, and Airbnb, as well as at Adobe back when Flash was still a thing! In this episode they talk about... The consumerization of the enterprise and bringing personality to software “You need somebody who is really able to think of your customers first and who can translate your customers’ perspective into your own unique tone and personality.” Ethan talks about the trend of the “consumerization” of the enterprise, why workers are demanding better software, and how Slack has played a role in the trend. He talks about how they’ve brought some personality to software that is typically utilitarian, to the delight of millions of users. Ethan tells the story of the pivot that Slack made from being a gaming company called Glitch to a communication tool for the enterprise. He also talks about how one of the early employees helped to shape the unique personality that Slack has today. The design philosophy at Slack and how they use hypotheses in designing their products “It’s critically important to have a perspective on what your customers need. They will often tell you where to focus. They have these unsatisfied needs and deep wants and desires. They will tell you the path.” Ethan breaks down the design philosophy at Slack, explaining some of the unique processes that they use to develop software. He says that they iterate rapidly, and are constantly testing new features on their own live data from their internal Slack channels. He says that they encourage their engineering teams to contribute design ideas as well. “We try to keep a history of our prototypes and we document the learning that comes along with each prototype. We have a library of the past experiments that we’ve tried and what we’ve learned.” He explains their process for testing their hypotheses and how they determine what to do based on the results of their experiments. He says that sometimes they find unexpected results which change the direction of their efforts. “When you're thinking about your product, consider that people only have so many cognitive calories to spend at any given moment. If you have a complex product that could be okay, as long as you break it down into simple concepts that people can consume.” Customer-centric design and what it means to communicate energy as well as information “Fundamentally, the companies that have been most successful are the ones that have prioritized their customers. They’re always making time every week to get closer to customers. Having a customer-centric company means that everyone has a perspective because everyone in the company is spending time with them.” Ethan talks about the importance of listening closely to what your customers have to say. He says that at Slack they are constantly co-creating with their users. He breaks down exactly how they do this, including how they uses shared channels to interface with power users around the world who are always sharing feedback and helping them shape the direction of the product. He also breaks down why communication is not only about information, how they are using things like emojis to communicate energy in addition to information, and how this is allowing workers to express their unique voice. “Communication is information as well as energy. Software tools are often great at allowing you to create information but don’t always let you express energy. We try to design in a way that allows individual personalities to shine.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin, Safety Wing, and Trulioo for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Recommended on This Episode OP-Z Synthesizer — An advanced fully portable 16-track sequencer and synthesizer. OXO Spatulas — Designed to serve dishes with comfort, efficiency and style. Slack Shared Channels — Allows Slack teams in different organizations to use Slack to collaborate together as easily and productively as they do internally.
25 March 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Michelle Bacharach, founder and CEO of FINDMINE, a retail technology company that uses machine learning to scale the currently manual and tedious process of product curation. They are a fast-growing company with clients like Adidas, Perry Ellis, and Callaway. In this episode they talk about... What led Michelle to found FINDMINE, and how they’re changing the buying experience “We’re trying to close the information gap between the customer, who isn’t an expert on what they’re buying, and the brand, who is an expert at what they’re selling. The customer gets better information and spends more money and the brand is happier because they make more revenue and they save time." The inspiration for FINDMINE came from Michelle’s experiences as a shopper. She says that she struggled with buying things that might have looked intriguing at the point of purchase, but realized later that she didn’t have the use for it that she thought she did, or it didn’t work with the rest of her purchases, as with a couch that didn’t match. She says that she started the company to help the people at companies who know the most about products and their potential use cases transfer that information to the buyers of those products. She says that they are using machine learning to hone the marketing campaigns for products and in the process saving time for those selling products and increasing customer satisfaction on the buyer’s side. “Artificial intelligence and automation are very valuable when there’s a bottleneck of human effort, and we scale out creative human effort. The starting point is a human they set the vision for what this fashion brands stands for and how they define style.” Her advice for startups pitching big companies as potential clients “Pitch the companies that you’re trying to land as clients. Maybe one takes a chance on you and if nothing else, you’re going to learn a lot, like what features are important and what the product feedback is.” Michelle explains how, as a relatively young company, they have landed contracts with so many big-name brands. She explains the process that she used to pitch them, and talks about her key pieces of advice for smaller companies pitching bigger ones. She says that it makes sense to aim for clients that have fewer legal requirements for suppliers when you’re just getting started. “People don't necessarily always know they have a problem or the severity of the problem that they have or how to tackle it. You can get analysis paralysis from a customer sometimes. When they realize there's a problem, that's half the battle. They may realize we are the solution, but they don't know how to start using the tools.“ How to close enterprise customers “It’s so funny because our whole mission is to help the buyer understand how to be successful with the product that they’re buying and that’s exactly the same thing that we have to do for our customers. They have less information about how to be successful with our FINDMINE technology than we do and we have to close that gap for them. It’s so full circle.” She walks through the process of landing a client from the initial pitch to signing the contract. She says that it’s important to educate your customers on the true value of the product to them when they don’t know exactly what kind of problem they have or how to solve it, let alone with new technologies that they may be unfamiliar with. She talks about the value of case studies and why successfully landing just one client can lead to many more. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin, Safety Wing, and Trulioo for their support. 😸
18 March 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of Convene. They call themselves commercial real estate’s first workplace-as-a-service platform. He co-founded the company in 2009 and have raised $260M in funding to date. He is also an investor in and advisor to tech startups. In this episode they talk about... The story of founding Convene and his advice for finding a co-founder “Partnerships evolve over time. You have to be open-minded enough to go on that journey together.” Ryan grew up in an entrepreneurial household and worked in the finance and real estate industries in New York City where he saw an emerging need in the space. He says that they’ve seen lifestyle becoming a primary concern for people that they view their clients as users rather than as customers. He co-founded the company with his business partner and long-time friend Christopher Kelly, intending to disrupt the commercial real estate industry. He also explains his philosophy for finding a co-founder. “When thinking about choosing a co-founder, you have to know yourself first. You want to make sure that you are aligning yourself someone who is complementary.” How they have created a strong company culture and the importance of gratitude at Convene “We obsess over customer experience but we put that same energy and attention into team member experience.” Ryan explains how they have created a team that can deliver the consistently high standards expected by their members. He says that it starts with the right culture and philosophy, which means hiring the right people. He says that building the right culture begins even before someone is hired. It starts right at the initial interview process, where they eliminate candidates if they don’t meet the high standards that Convene has for culture. He also talks about the culture of gratitude that they have instilled in the workforce and says that their executives pass around handwritten notes about what they appreciate that other team members have done. Ryan’s predictions for the future of work in an increasingly distributed world “I think that there is a whole generation of companies today that are being born that will never sign a lease for their own office and will outsource to companies regardless of how big they ever get. It’s remote-first and experience-first.” He explains the three big trends that he says will define the future of work and explains the implications for his business of the remote-first companies that are being created around the world. “Even though the future of work will be more distributed… no matter what happens, place will continue to be really important in the future of work.” How he is investing in his personal development “Don't be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with people with more experience than you. Never be afraid to steal wisdom. I like to think of myself in the wisdom theft business — the more I can steal, the smarter I feel.” Ryan says that it is important to him to relax and de-stress, and that this is part of the key to his productivity. He also explains how he makes time to be present with his wife and children consistently. He also says that he was not afraid to “ask dumb questions” when he was a first-time founder starting Convene. He credits surrounding himself with mentors and coaches that he could ask for advice for his success thus far, and suggests that founders do the same. He also talks about some of his favorite products and a great book that he read that helped him as he scaled Convene. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin,Safety Wing, and Trulioo for their support. 😸 Companies, Products, and Books Mentioned in This Episode Blinkist — Key insights from 2,000+ non-fiction books. Headspace — Meditation made simple in just 10 minutes a day Peloton — World-class indoor cycling wherever you are. The Messy Middle by Scott Belsky
11 March 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Jill Salzman, founder of The Founding Moms, a “global collective of offline masterminds and online resources for mom entrepreneurs.” She was formerly the founder of a music management firm and was also the creator of a line of baby jewelry. In this episode they talk about... The story of the creation of The Founding Moms and how it’s helping mom entrepreneurs around the globe “No one wants to say that they’re a mom entrepreneur. They’re an entrepreneur. They don’t like to use the word mom. They don’t want people to know they’re distracted by kids. There are tons of moms who are making things but don’t want to say it because nobody else is.” Jill tells the story of the businesses she founded prior to this one, including her time managing bands and how it was akin to building communities, although in a very different manner than she does today with The Founding Moms. She says that the community and business grew out of an inauspicious beginning after she created an informal meetup in Chicago for moms with businesses. She was surprised at the number of people who showed up and also that there were people from outside her city who were requesting a chapter in their own cities. The Founding Moms has since grown to include countries around the world, with chapters in Singapore, Guatemala, and more. “I posted on Meetup and I said ‘if you’re a woman with a business and a baby, please come have coffee with me and tell me how you’re doing it because I think I’m going to lose my mind.” How she grew the community and her advice for those who are new to community-building “I think we need to eradicate the idea of networking being a dirty word.” Initially, Jill showed up to the meetups without a formal plan or agenda for what should take place. She realized that when she showed up with a piece of paper with handwritten notes, people commented on how organized she was. She then started showing up with a printed piece of paper, and has since created much more structure for the meetups. She says that in her case and for those new to community-building, it’s best to show up and listen and ask a lot of questions of your community members. If you listen to them, they’ll tell you what they need and lead you to the ways that you need to change to grow the community further. She explains why you shouldn’t feel the need to include absolutely everyone in your community and why in fact it’s actually best to set yourself a goal to make sure that the wrong types of people are not feeling a part of the community. She also gives her advice on branding, outreach, and content marketing. “I know in my heart of hearts ten years in there is nothing that trumps meeting up in real life at all.” How she approached the decision to charge for access and subsequently increase prices, as well as how she stays productive “If you learn to lean on the community and become a little more vulnerable than you’re used to, I can’t tell you how exponentially you’re going to grow.” Jill talks about the thought process that went into deciding whether to charge for access to the community and how she came up with the number that she would charge per month. She started at $10 and has since increased it to $35. She says that everything she does is “literally trial and error” and that she simply Googled what other communities were charging. She explains why you shouldn’t be afraid to charge for your community and how to overcome your fear that your members will leave if you do so. She also explains how she manages her schedule, why she uses three (!) virtual assistants and the work they each do, as well as how her team of contractors at The Founding Moms works together. “I have three virtual assistants. I am a huge VA proponent. I think you’re all missing out if you don’t have one because they’re extremely affordable and amazing at getting things done for you.” She also talks about some of the products she’s loving right now. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Headspin for their support. Companies and Products Mentioned on This Episode Loom — Seamless screen, mic, and camera recording for Chrome. Marco Polo — Find your phone by shouting MARCO! Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.
4 March 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to John Henry, venture partner at Harlem Capital and host of Hustle on VICELAND. In this episode they talk about... How he got into entrepreneurship and how the expectations for today’s entrepreneurs have changed “I think the world of business and entrepreneurship can seem pretty scary these days. There's so much at stake, you got to get it right, you got to raise money, you got to go public.“ John got his start as an entrepreneur through trying to help out his family when he was young, starting a dry cleaning service in New York. He says that he didn’t have big aspirations at the time and that he didn’t come to entrepreneurship with visions of a glamorous lifestyle in his future. He says that these days entrepreneurship can seem very daunting and that rather than feeling the weight of the expectations that people have you should instead take the approach of doing something creative and fun and then see if you can sell it to folks. “I have to be honest, if I were starting now versus a decade ago when I started I might feel like the weight of the the expectation might have crushed the seed of enthusiasm that I had to start.” Why he says getting a regular job is riskier than starting a company “There are a lot of macroeconomic changes and not only are older corporations cutting jobs but you also see it in new companies. For me taking a normal job felt riskier because your own income was not in your own hands.” When John started working he realized that it would be better for him to put his time and effort into building a company instead of putting it into working for someone else at a conventional job. He says that although it can take years to get off the ground, it’s nevertheless better to work at something that you own entirely. How he discovered financial literacy and how to be a “multi-dimensional earner” “I’ve discovered this entirely new way of earning that I never would have known about when I was a doorman ten years ago because back then my best understanding of how to earn income was clocking in.” John says that he is investing in assets rather than experiences these days. He says that through doing so he wants to “build something for your family that can’t be taken away.” He explains how he learned about how to effectively invest his money after coming from a disadvantaged background where he didn’t normally have much exposure to those types of concepts. He also talks about how to find a good business idea for aspiring entrepreneurs and how he has diversified his income streams so that he’s not reliant on any one of them. He explains that he is making sure to “circulate” the funds that he earns so that he’s always re-investing and putting them to work instead of just stashing them away in a savings account. “You have to meet the moment. For anyone who is listening who is curious for one reason or another what they can do to earn income, look around at the moment. There are a lot of changes that are specific to right now, to 2020.” The history of VC and how they’re changing the flow of capital to underrepresented founders at Harlem Capital John explains some of the ins-and-outs of venture capital and the history of the space including how it came to be that a “handful of zip codes and a handful of schools determine which companies go public.” He explains what kinds of barriers to entry exist for people who find themselves outside of the networks of privileged people with connections to the large institutions that normally contribute to venture capital funds (yes, venture capitalists have to fundraise too!). He also talks about how he invests in personal development and talks about some of the products he’s loving right now. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Companies and Products Mentioned on This Episode LED Ring Light — Beautifully lit photos and video calls. Nespresso — The connected espresso machine. Sodastream — Carbonated water, at home.
19 February 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Kathryn Duryea Wyndowe, founder and CEO of Year & Day. They make beautiful tableware that they sell direct-to-consumer online via their website. In this episode they talk about... How she came up with the idea for Year & Day “I felt very empowered by this idea of buying a new set of plates outside of this proposition of getting married and a wedding registry.” Kathryn graduated from Stanford GSB and started working at Tiffany & Co., helping to bring them online. She was inspired by the new direct-to-consumer brands and had always loved the ritual of setting the table. She decided she wanted to make “tableware fun again.” Through trying to buy a set of tableware for herself, she found that the experience was confusing and uninspiring. After going through that, she “turned on the other side of her brain” and dug into the market for tableware, which accounts for $7B in annual spend, which led her to start Year & Day. Her crazy year preparing to launch the brand “It took about 11 months, almost a year, to go from basically this is my full attention, full-time professional endeavor to now we are selling to customers.” Kathryn thought that she could launch in eight months, but it actually took almost a year. She talks about the wide range of tasks that she had to tackle, basically by herself, from design to manufacturing to fulfilment to arranging for web development. She talks about “fighting against the inertia of the world” to will the brand new company into existence. She says that her launch strategy was to email 500 of her friends about the company and that in the beginning she had her brother doing customer service. Since then they’ve grown to a team of 8 based in San Francisco. “All aspects of starting a business are both wildly thrilling with high highs and low lows and real challenges, but what's so exciting about those early months and days is that this idea that you formulated, now you're starting to bring it into shape into the real world.” The power of Instagram and the rise of direct-to-consumer “A lot of the product discovery these days happens on social media on platforms like Instagram. People are relying more and more on people that they follow there to help them discover products that they’ll love, that suit their lives.” The rules for marketing to the digital-native generation have changed with the advent of social media platforms and influencers. Kathryn explains why Instagram is such a powerful platform and why people are gravitating towards a different kind of shopping experience. She talks about the importance of curation when it comes to products like tableware. She also talks about some of her favorite productivity hacks, including why she meditates, works from home one morning a week, and why she still uses good old fashioned pen-and-paper for her to-do lists. “As an entrepreneur you could literally work 24 hours a day and still feel like your list is growing, so in order to have a healthy balance you need to actually set some boundaries.” She also discusses some of her favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned on This Episode Audm — The world’s best longform journalism, read aloud. Insight Timer — The best free meditation timer. Snagit — The best screen capture software.
12 February 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Bill Loundy and Jeff Camera, co-founders of Readup. Jeff is the sole developer on the team, and Bill handles everything else. Readup is a social reading platform designed to help you track and improve your online reading habits. In this episode they talk about... How they came up with the idea for Readup and how it has evolved over time “Pick a problem that’s personal for you, because otherwise how can you care and keep working on it?” Bill and Jeff are longtime collaborators and have actually been friends since preschool — when they’re not working on Readup, they also like to work on motorcycles together. They explain to Aba how the original spark of an idea for Readup evolved into what it is today. They were frustrated with social media and were lamenting the quality of the comments on online articles, so they got together to build a Chrome extension that would measure the amount of time that you spent on a page, in order to determine whether a person had actually read the article or not. It has since turned into a new take on community and led to the creation of a tool that is like “Fitbit for online reading.” They also discuss the design of the site and why they’ve taken a minimalist approach to it. How you can have a more peaceful existence on the web and the problems with the current state of social media “What we’re doing is measuring very precisely the amount of time and engagement that you have on an article and tying that to your reputation and experience, so in some ways we are actually a true attention economy.” They explain why social media is broken today and why we are perpetually distracted online. They say that social media has become like a slot machine, but that there is no reason that we should have to navigate a slot machine to find someone else’s baby pictures. They point out that we need tools to help us have a better relationship with the web, because we can’t exercise the immense amount of self-control that we would need to block out all the distraction out there on the web. They also talk about some of their favorite books about how the internet has evolved and the unhealthy trends that have sprung up from it. The challenges of being a maker and how they have overcome them “Sometimes things are really dark and like it doesn't feel like things are connecting and making sense. For me, the way to survive that experience is to always remember how big the need is for what we're building.” They talk about the immense effort that went into getting something out there — not just in building the site but also in overcoming the self-doubt they felt to finally release what they’d been working on into the world. “The extreme indifference that the rest of the world has to your ideas has kind of helped. The first time we put it out there it was crickets. When we posted it again, we would start to get more feedback and it was helpful. I don’t know what we were afraid of.” They talk about how they overcome the dark days that they sometimes encounter when working as indie makers, and why being reminded of the magnitude of the problem they’re solving helps them persevere through them. They also talk about why books are still their favorite products of all time. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸
5 February 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Cat Noone, CEO and designer at Stark, a suite of integrated accessibility compliance tools for teams. She is also co-founder of Iris, a modern-day emergency alert system. In this episode they talk about... The story behind Stark Cat was raised by her grandma and says that that experience ingrained in her the drive to create things for people who are otherwise “put aside.” She is a designer by trade and turned out to be an accidental founder. She explains how the project arose out of her earlier work on Iris, which involved creating experiences for older adults. Stark ended up being a product that they built for themselves when they were working on Iris and then evolved into its own standalone product that they now sell to other teams. Why accessible design matters “There may be only twenty thousand people on a product using it that have only one arm but what you don't realize is that there are more individuals that have a broken arm. There are also millions of people that are new parents for the first time and only have access to one arm. So now your 20,000 just skyrocketed to 2 million.” Cat talks about why designing for accessibility and inclusion is important and talks about some of the other initiatives underway in the tech industry to make the web a more inclusive place for everyone. She explains why it’s important from an ethics perspective, but also why it makes financial sense to do so given the risk of negative PR and potential lawsuits. She says that sometimes compliance can be daunting but they are working to make it easier to be compliant with accessibility regulations through their work at Stark. Why they are “investing in customers” at Stark “I’m a huge proponent of investing in customers and so I think a lot of people think about cost of acquisition but we should ask 'how do we build a community that give back and in turns fuels our mission to be the gold standard.'" Cat explains the company philosophy they have at Stark and discusses what it’s like to be a first-time CEO of a “company that’s going somewhere.” She talks about how they think about culture as they grow and the initiatives that they are working on to grow the company, including content marketing, newsletters, and community. She explains what it means to be investing in customers and why they don’t look at customers as an acquisition cost. She talks about why traditional sales don’t work in a company like Stark and why sometimes the best practices for big companies don’t translate well to smaller ones. How she uses time design to be productive “I was someone who spent a lot of time working for a long period of time. It’s hard for me to sit here and say you can’t do that, because that’s how I got to where I am now. If I could go back in time, I would probably still work those long hours — but I’d take care of myself.” Cat admits that she struggled with managing her time in the past but that with some help she’s been able to “design her time” more effectively which has allowed her to get a lot done in the time that she has as a new mom. She says that her entire workday is planned out and that she starts by reading for thirty minutes every day, which she says helps her approach her work with a calm mindset rather than being frantic about all the things she has to do that day. She also says that she works first on the three things that she needs to make sure she gets done in a given day and then starts tackling the rest. She also says that she still makes sure to take care of herself and says that she can be the best mom and businessperson by prioritizing herself. She also talks about some of her favorite products, including the classics like Twitter, Slack, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Airtable, as well as DuckDuckGo for search. She says that she uses a record player to listen to music and explains what it is about vinyl that makes the music sound so much different from electronic music formats. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸
29 January 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton School, a project-based alternative to college where you can become a software engineer in two years. They have campuses in the United States and Colombia. Sylvain formerly worked at Slideshare and LinkedIn. In this episode they talk about... The story of founding Holberton and why a new type of school is needed “Some companies are tech and the ones who are not, are either becoming a tech company or they are going to die. Even a non-tech company, like healthcare, retail, media, transportation, you name it, they all need software engineers.” Sylvain talks about how they came up with the idea for Holberton and the experiences he had that convinced him of the need for the school. He explains how he and his co-founder decided to set out to fix those issues with Holberton. He says that many people he interviewed when he was working as an engineer had spent a ton of money on an education but didn’t have the right skills for the job they were applying for. How they designed their software engineering curriculum “It’s really hard in the first place to find a good software engineer, so it’s exceptionally hard to find a good software engineer who’s also a good teacher.” He talks about the hectic first year of working on the school and what it was like getting everything ready for the first cohort of students in January 2016. They needed to create a curriculum for their school and says that they relied on the community to help them figure out what to include in their education. He also points out that the world of software engineering moves at a really fast pace, so it’s important to have a curriculum that can be flexible and always up-to-date. How to find motivated and passionate people “Most of the people I would interview were right out of college and spent a fortune or took out huge student loans to take this training. They were not prepared to take on the job. They knew things, but not the type of skills that we would need from these people.” Sylvain talks about how to find motivated people in general, which is useful for both admissions at Holberton — when it comes to figuring out who to accept or not, as well as hiring at Holberton — because in the early days of the company it is difficult to match the perks that huge companies offer, so you have to find people who believe in the product or vision and have a lot of motivation and passion. He says that looking at someone’s side projects, blog, and GitHub can give you a good indication of how self-motivated they are. How they are working to increase representation in the tech industry “We gave a lot, as much as we could, not expecting something in return. The power of community is something that we find in Holberton in the learning methodology itself, where students are pushed to work in groups and where helping is not cheating, but helping is collaboration.” He says that admissions at Holberton are completely blind and that the system for admissions that they’ve developed is automated. He says that there is talent everywhere, but that a lot of that talent is missing the education, which is where Holberton comes in. He says that their program is comprised of half people of color and nearly half of their students are women. He says that they baked in inclusiveness into their philosophy and operations from the very first days of the company. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸
22 January 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a mechanical engineer, social advocate, writer, and broadcaster. She is the author of multiple books and is the founder of Youth Without Borders. In this episode they talk about... Her aspirations to work in Formula 1 “I remember it was the best half-day of my life. I walk past two McLaren F1s on my way into the office and I’m working with all these people with English accents and then I get a call from the admin lady at lunch and she’s like ‘hey, do you have your work visa?’ I didn’t, so they escort me off the premises.” Yassmin grew up in Brisbane where as a young girl she wanted to be a Formula 1 driver. At nineteen years old she managed to find a job with an F1 team in England. She flew across the world for the job only to find out on the first day that she didn’t have the appropriate visa to work at the firm. While staying in the UK for a few weeks afterwards, she honed her hustling skills. How she hustled her way into jobs “I wallowed about for a bit and then I started cold-emailing people in the motorsport industry to ask if I could meet them. So I started catching trains to meet all these heads of different motorsport teams. I got offered a place in a really exclusive program but it cost 50,000 pounds, so I decided to work in oil and gas, which is really where my engineering career started.” Yassmin’s career is a clinic in hustling. From humble beginnings she worked her way to a potential job at an F1 team, and when that didn’t work out as expected, she hustled her way into another job at an oil and gas firm. While working in the industry, she managed to complete a program that normally takes five years in just eighteen months and was poised to take over her own drilling rig. Navigating engineering culture “I did mechanical engineering which was super male-dominated then I went into like motorsport and the drilling industry. Throughout I was surrounded by a very strong culture which said women were just less valuable. You internalize that and you think the way for you to be valuable is to be as close to a man as possible and to really minimize your womanhood. So I for a long time was also like, ‘yeah women probably aren't really good engineers, I'm just the exception.‘ She talks about the pernicious culture in male-dominated industries such as engineering and how it affected her mindset and how it held back her career. She explains how she had to fight for credibility and how certain people supported her on her journey. How she has successfully pivoted her career multiple times Yassmin no longer works in motorsport or oil and gas. She wrote a book about her experiences as a person of color and what it was like working on the rigs. The company she worked for did not take kindly to the publication of her first book, so she pivoted her career to becoming a full-time writer and broadcaster. She talks about realizing that the company you work for is not a family and that the company will always put the company first. She has also since pivoted from Australia to London. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Knowable and NetSuite for their support. 😸
15 January 2020 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Ruben Harris, founder and CEO of Career Karma. They help match you to the best coding bootcamp for you and publish a directory of over 450 bootcamps. In this episode they talk about... How he broke into tech and how Career Karma is helping people get into the industry “There are currently about 50,000 people graduating from four year universities every year [in software engineering] and about 40,000 people graduating from bootcamps. There are about half a million open jobs for software engineers. In the next five years there will be about 400,000 people graduating from four year universities and 1.4 million open jobs — so about a million people have to get jobs outside of college.” Ruben talked about his hustler’s approach to getting into investment banking after having graduated from a small school. He applied the same approach to getting into tech and talks about what he wishes others knew about the industry knowing what he knows now. He explains what Career Karma is doing to help more people get into the industry and talks about the transparency they are providing in the bootcamp landscape. He also talks about some of the benefits of downloading their app, like coaching, mentorship, and motivation. How to level up your career “As a software engineer and really anybody in general, you really want to think of time as your most precious commodity. Whether you’re exploring college or online courses or bootcamps, you want to factor in the time that it takes you to complete the program, so that whatever time you’re investing now creates more time for you in the future.” Ruben says that most people who are in software engineering now are actually self-taught. He talks about how software engineering is analogous to the music industry in that most musicians are not classically trained either, yet the music industry is accepting of most people, regardless of what their background is like, if they can do the work. He explains how people who are already working can increase their earning power by enrolling in a program that provides them with a credential, without having to go back to school. What makes a good software engineer “The ability to communicate is underrated — being able to communicate what you want, what you need help with, what your value is, the way that you talk to yourself, the way that you talk in a corporate environment, the way that you communicate with others, the way that you express your emotions, the way that you express how you feel. He breaks down what makes people in the Career Karma community successful, talks about the importance of passion, and why it’s important to treat your work like play. He also talks about the perception of hiring managers and why presenting yourself in the best possible light is an important piece of the puzzle. The importance of humility “Humility matters. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I think confidence is extremely important, but you can be humble and confident at the same time.” Ruben talks about confidence and humility, and why it’s important to get the balance between them right. He says that it’s like playing the cello, where a good musician can move a room to applause even while playing very quietly, while beginner musicians want to play as loud as they can all the time. He also talks about authenticity and one of his favorite books of all time: The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. “If you think about most people who go to work, they have masks on. If they go home and are a different person, they were pretending to be a different person to get the job. What would the workplace feel like if everybody came to work with their mask off?” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
8 January 2020 •
In today's episode we have collected the very best from the interviews we've done with founders in 2019. Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front, shared lessons on building a strong company culture and talked about the questions she asks when hiring. Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, told the story of founding the company and explained some of the challenges that come with taking venture capital. Sharmadean Reid, founder of Beautystack, talked about the unique way she ran her fundraising process, the power of storytelling, and had some great tips for entrepreneurs raising capital. Delane Parnell, founder and CEO of PlayVS, talked about failure and how facing adversity early in his career helped him build PlayVS. David Heinemeier Hansson,co-founder and CTO of Basecamp, talked about how to build a sustainable company and why “small is not a stepping stone.” We'll be back with Season 3 in January! Thanks for listening! Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
18 December 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Thomas Kutzman, co-founder and co-CEO of Prevu. Prevu is a real estate technology platform that saves homebuyers money. In this episode they talk about... How he decided to leave his finance job to start Prevu “I think we got to the point where we were talking about the idea too much and you hit a moment as an entrepreneur and you think to yourself, if i don’t do this, will I kick myself if someone else does, and we hit that point.” Thomas and his co-founder worked in the finance industry and Thomas worked in Geneva as an equities trader for a US hedge fund before he left the firm to start Prevu. He talks about how his finance background helped him with starting the company. He says that it gave him a greater understanding of the real estate market but more importantly, working with risk all day made him more comfortable with taking the risk to start the company. Advice on starting a tech company as a non-technical founder “I had no intention of being the person who was going to code our application, but I wanted to be able to understand it, so I could properly communicate. If you’re a non-technical co-founder you should at least invest time in learning the language so you can be more productive in your conversations with your product team.” Prevu uses a ton of technology in their platform, but neither Thomas nor his co-founder were technical. This can be a daunting challenge for many founders but Thomas talks about how they found the right people to do the work for them in the early days. He also says that he took courses on Ruby on Rails so that he could communicate effectively with the people who were doing the work for them and so that he had a better understanding of how everything was going to work. Why they bootstrapped the company and how doing so helped them “By being bootstrapped and by being disciplined with how we used capital, we were able to last far longer and prove out the concept in a much more attractive way from a data perspective, from the amount of traction we had, and the actual learnings on our customer acquisition, our technology, and where we wanted to go to company. I think if you have the luxury to try to bootstrap, bootstrap as long as possible, so you have data and a story to tell investors.” Some founders view bootstrapping as something that is forced upon makers when they are unable to secure funding, but we’ve had plenty of people on the podcast who say that it is instead a more desirable path to growth. Thomas believes this is the case, and explains why it is a better option than raising venture funding. He says that it forced them to have operational discipline and to make sure that they knew exactly where every dollar they were spending was going. All of thiss also helped them when they later went on to raise funds from venture investors. Lessons on leadership and how he invests in personal growth “For leadership, it comes down to if you show you’re going to learn something that you don’t know, others around you will go and learn something they don’t know and you’ll find your passions that way.” Thomas talks about his leadership style and how they manage being co-CEOs. He talks about how he’s trying to grow personally and as a leader, and gives out some of his book recommendations. He also tells us which podcasts he’s always listening to and says that he actually hosted a real estate podcast himself. He explains that doing so helped him learn a ton from the people he invited on the show. He also talks about some of his (and his wife’s!) favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Allbirds — Silicon Valley’s favorite shoe. Rent The Runway— Rent four items of clothing every month, for $89.
11 December 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Dave Charest, Director of Content Marketing at Constant Contact. He’s here to walk us through all the common mistakes that makers make when marketing their products, and how you can avoid them. In this episode they talk about... How to contribute to an online community as a marketer “Don’t approach it as an opportunity to get your message in front of people, approach it as an opportunity to participate. You can go there and say, ‘hey, check out our stuff,” or you can go there and ask questions and be part of that community. That’s the big difference.” Dave and Aba talk a bit about the different types of marketing approaches that exist and the fact that marketing can sometimes get technical. He talks about why he says “if you’re thinking about starting with content marketing, then yes you should start with content marketing.” He breaks down how to be a good online citizen when you’re approaching a community on behalf of your product, and how to make sure you add value to the discussion, rather than only viewing it from the perspective of how to get the most out of the community that you can. Top tips for developers, designers, and others who are first-time marketers “One of the downfalls of social media is often we don’t see the months, potentially years, of work that went into getting the ten thousand or ten million followers. There’s that saying about overnight success: ‘it took me years to become an overnight success.’” Dave gives his advice for people who are designers, developers, and other makers who usually do not dabble in the marketing space. He says that you need to have a long-term orientation and ensure your plans stretch to twelve to eighteen months, which is when you would expect to start seeing some benefit back to the company or product from your efforts. Which marketing channels to focus on Dave points out that the big social media platforms each have their own unique personalities, and that the people that you are trying to reach probably have a personality that meshes with one of the platforms more than the others. That is likely where you are going to find the audience members that you want to reach. He says that it’s also important to think about which channel matches your own personality and interests, so that there’s a good fit between you and the platform, since you are going to be spending a lot of time on it. Common mistakes people make in email marketing “When you're thinking about writing an email, think about answering three questions: What are you offering? Why should the reader care? And what do you want them to do next? If you can answer those three questions, you're actually going to write a pretty persuasive email because you're saying hey, this is what I have for you here today, this is why I think you'll find this thing valuable, and here's what I want you to do next to get it or do it.” Dave talks about why email marketing is so powerful as well as the pitfalls that first-timers encounter and how you can avoid them. He says that it’s important to remember that email lists should always be opt-in, meaning you shouldn’t even think about adding all those emails that you’ve gathered over time without getting permission first. He also talks about the importance of being succinct, making sure that your emails are responsive for mobile, and why perhaps “the original vanity metrics were opens and clicks on emails.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
4 December 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Tige Savage, co-founder with Steve Case of Revolution, and managing partner of Revolution Ventures. He was formerly VP of Time Warner Ventures and got his start at age fourteen working at a computer store, where he helped create a community for customers before there was a commercially available internet. In this episode they talk about... How to think about whether to raise capital “Work on product-market fit, identity what you’re good at, be willing to back away from what you’re bad at, and continue to iterate over time. Don’t over-capitalize yourself until you believe you have something that works. Then make the decision on whether to take on other people’s capital.” Tige talks about why they intentionally focus on markets and companies outside of Silicon Valley, and how this has benefitted them. He says that it’s been fifteen years to their “overnight success” at Revolution and talks about how he got into the venture capital game in the first place. He also talks about why the thought process when raising capital from LPs for a venture firm is similar to the process of thinking about raising money from investors for your company. The future of direct-to-consumer and Tige’s breakdown of a number of companies and industries “If my kids were to go back thirty years and see how things were purchased back then, they would be astounded at the friction that’s in the system. The companies that understand ways to deliver to consumers what they want when they want with the least amount of friction are finding the most success and the incumbents that don’t do that have been or will be threatened.” Tige says that it’s “never been a better time to be a consumer.” They’ve invested in a number of different DTC companies and Tige breaks down the market opportunity and why the founder and the idea were a great fit for each of them. He gives his analysis of why DTC is flourishing, including why the millennial generation has fuelled the DTC boom. He talks about some of the unique ways that these startups are taking what have traditionally been online sales techniques and applying them to offline products. He also explains what he wants to see in the future in the space, and what will end up being disrupted. How to scale a startup “Companies have political environments, so my advice always is call it like you see it and don't play the game. There are people who are very political and play the game and indeed have succeeded simply by dint of that capability. My advice is not to be that person, to be as authentic as you can, and to call it out when it's time to call it out. If you do that, you've got to be awfully confident in what you're bringing to the equation, because if you're not playing the game, you better be delivering the goods. He explains how running a seed-stage company as CEO is different from running a larger enterprise as CEO. He talks about the ways that a leader needs to grow along with the company, as “you go from pure hustle to a larger business.” Tige gives out some of his unorthodox leadership tips and talks about why it’s important to also upgrade the management around you when you’re CEO of a fast-growing organization. He also explains why it’s okay if a company’s management doesn’t necessarily have the answer to every question that’s asked of them, even if it feels as though they need to. Tige also talks about some of his favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode AirPods Pro — New AirPods with active noise cancellation Apple News + — An immersive news experience. Bloomscape — Living room ready plants delivered to your door. Bright Cellars — The monthly wine club with the best wine for you. Framebridge — Online custom framing. Garmin InReach — Explore anywhere, communicate globally. Policygenius — Compare and buy insurance online. PowerCube — The smallest multi-functional power distributor
27 November 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Descript. He was formerly founder of Detour, which Descript emerged within before it was spun out into its own company when Bose bought the technology behind Detour. Andrew was also founder of Groupon. In this episode they talk about... Descript’s origin as part of Detour, and how to know when it’s the right time to pivot from your original idea “We would have been over-investing in Descript if all we were using it for was for Detour, but we knew there was a potential business there and were treating it like a kind of a backup plan when you’re pre-product-market fit, like we were. You’re staying open to different paths.” Descript actually emerged as a part of Detour, the company Andrew founded to create local audio tours. The team built themselves a better workflow for editing audio and realized that the internal product they had created could be much larger than Detour itself. They also recognized that a confluence of factors in tech were going to allow them to create the next generation of audio editing tools. Andrew explains how he went through the process of figuring out when to “cut bait” on Detour. He previously had pivoted The Point into Groupon, so he has some insightful things to say about when and how to pivot. “We tried every last possible approach that we could think of and eventually it was like, it’s not supposed to be this hard. Having been through this before, it felt like we were doing the most elaborate things to market the product and reach customers, and at some point it just clicked that it’s not supposed to be this hard and we should move on.” Andrew’s advice on managing people and scaling a company “In a lot of companies the way that people get into management is they'll be individual contributors who have great ideas and nobody wants to listen to their ideas because it's the people in management that get to have those conversations. So people say 'okay, I guess I'll become a manager' and then they become a manager for completely the wrong reasons — not because they care about people or unlocking the best possible incarnation of their teams, but because they care about having their ideas listened to.” He gives a rundown of the history of the company and where they are at now, after having raised a large Series A round and made the acquisition of Lyrebird. He talks about what the next stage of growth will hold for them, and how he is managing the scaling process by putting into place processes and protocols that will provide structure for the company as it grows. He also talks about the importance of delegating the work that the founder has been doing in a growing company. Personal development as a leader and helping your team grow Andrew explains what a typical day looks like for the team at Descript. He explains how they manage internal tools and how he tries to create an environment where feedback can flow freely among the team members. He talks about some of the best ways to grow as a leader, including some of the events that he attends and why he reads a lot. He also says that they have created an internal podcast for the team, a cool idea which you might expect from the company given what Descript is typically used for! Andrew also tells us about one of his favorite products that he uses to build tools for the team. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Retool — Customized internal tools in minutes.
20 November 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Mike Vernal, partner at Sequoia, the legendary venture capital firm. They are celebrating their scout program turning a decade old. Mike shares stories about the early days at Facebook, transitioning to VC, and advice for founders seeking funding. In this episode they talk about... Why the culture at Facebook in the early days was so special “People self-consciously avoided ever saying they managed someone else at Facebook. It was frowned upon for people to try to assert authority in that way. It was actually far more common for people to say that they ‘support’ teams within an org.” Mike gives a rundown of his career in tech, including working at Microsoft and Facebook. He says that he started as an engineer instead of a product manager, but eventually would work as a product manager despite being labelled an engineer. He talks about what it was like working at Facebook in the early days and how he worked on some of the key products that he worked on at that time that you probably use today. “For people earlier in their careers, you probably have to pick one function to start with, but being able to move between functions fluidly is incredibly valuable.” Going from product manager to VC “It’s surprising just how similar life as a product manager at Facebook is to being a board member at an early stage company.” He says that when he started at Facebook, the aim was for every new hire to have deployed at least one line of code to the live site in their first week. This was a significant departure from how software was typically developed and was definitely a stark contrast from his time at Microsoft, where a piece of software would be worked on for years before being sold in a box in stores. He says that he did deploy his line of code in the first week at Facebook, but it took the site down, so he had to come back early from lunch to fix the site to get it back up. He gives his advice for people who want to advance their careers in tech, talks about how he was introduced to Sequoia through partner Bryan Schreier, and explains why being a product manager is similar to the work he does today at Sequoia. What founders need to know about pitching VCs “I don’t think you should do anything because investors ask for it. That is probably a waste of time, but you should try to figure out why people are asking these questions and what is the kernel of truth or insight that they are trying to get to.” Mike talks about some of the common mistakes that people make when they pitch VCs, including why so many people find a random market size number on the internet and put it in their pitch deck. He talks about why investors ask the questions that they do and what the difference between a good product and a good business is. He also explains why he prefers that monetization be baked into the product, not bolted on as an afterthought once a company or product achieves a critical mass. Trends Mike is excited about, including the no-code revolution “When we talk about the community of professional software developers in the world, it’s stark just how small it is. It’s somewhere on the order of 20-30 million people around the world. When I think about Excel, it and its brethren probably have a billion users around the world and really Excel is a programming environment.” He talks about the scout program at Sequoia, why founders should consider a scout as an investor, and some of the benefits that scouts bring. Mike talks about the importance of the no-code movement that has come about in the last few years, and how it is opening up the high-leverage tools formerly reserved for developers to a wider range of people. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
13 November 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Marcus Taylor, founder of Venture Harbour, a digital product company based in the UK. They’ve launched nine companies in the last few years and have grown them to millions in revenue. He is also the youngest patron of The Prince’s Trust youth charity and has committed £100,000 to support young entrepreneurs across the UK. In this episode they talk about... The business philosophy at Venture Harbour “We built a WYSIWYG form editor for ourselves initially and put it out there to see if other people found it useful. This is how a lot of our ventures happen. We’re working on one venture and we discover a problem and solve that problem and it’s like, okay, new venture!” Marcus explains how he got started with Venture Harbour. He was working at a digital marketing agency out of school and was building side projects. Those side projects started earning him more in revenue than he earned from his salary, so those projects became Venture Harbour. He explains how they approach building an audience for their products, and why they don’t “buy audiences.” He explains the power of content marketing and why they invest so many hours in creating the very best content for a particular topic, as well as the tools and strategies they use to find the most impactful pieces of content to create. How the team works together “Often we will build these hacked versions of ventures keeping the team very small, and then it over time as that venture matures, we start assigning more people and building teams around those ventures.” He explains the in-the-weeds details of how they actually get things done at Venture Harbour, and how he thinks about his role of head of product at the company. He explains how he tries to facilitate and coach to get the most out of the team, and why nailing their vision and values has been so important for them — something that you may not necessarily think of as pragmatic but has really helped with the day-to-day at Venture Harbour. Some of the unconventional views Marcus holds “I started Venture Harbour with 500 quid in my bank and a broken laptop. We've never raised any money for any of the ventures. I find so many friends in the startup world spend so much time messing around with cap tables and pitch decks and high-fiving each other when they raise money. I believe so strongly that if you had spent that time listening to the customers and letting your customers be your investors, you'd be in a far better position.“ Marcus explains why bootstrapping is his preferred way to build companies, and says that it is in fact a more sustainable way to build a business than raising venture capital. He also talks about his leadership style and how he uses coaches to get the most out of his work. He also explains why he likes to read books slowly, why he doesn’t have social media, and more. How he thinks about personal development “You’ve got primary books, where the book should have been 2,000 pages but it had to be condensed down to 300 pages. Then you’ve got secondary books — most business books fall into this. They are extrapolating stuff and applying it to a concept. And then you’ve got tertiary books, which are more storytelling and anecdotal.” He runs through the strategies he uses to make sure he is always getting better as a maker and manager. He explains his method of categorizing books and how he decides which to read and which to only read the summary. He also talks about overnight conferences and why he seems to get the most out of those types of gatherings. Marcus also talks about how he used the tips from the book *Getting To Yes *by Robert Cialdini as part of his wedding planning. Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Leadformly — Capture 3X more leads with high converting Leadforms. LessPhone — The app that won’t let you use your phone. Light Phone— Phone designed to be used as little as possible. Serene — The macOS app to get your focus back. Status Hero — Automated stand-ups, reports, and insights.
6 November 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder and CTO of Basecamp, and creator of Ruby on Rails. He is also the author of several bestselling books, including It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, co-authored with his co-founder at Basecamp, Jason Fried. In this episode they talk about... Why you should think about your company as a product “This idea that the company itself is changeable — the policies of the company, the values of the companies — are things you can tweak and you can iterate on in much the same way as you would iterate on a product. The process is quite similar to when you put a product into the market and you get feedback from customers.” He tells the story of building Basecamp outside traditional tech hubs and how that influenced the culture at the company. He says that it’s important to build from first principles and to have control over the company you’re building. He talks about their values at Basecamp and how to think about and get feedback from employees on how the company needs to change and evolve. He also points out that you always need to be thinking about improving not just your product, but also your entire philosophy and way of doing business. Why we need new role models in tech “We've gone from everyone thinking the greatest thing in the world would be to be Mark Zuckerberg and to have Facebook to far more people now thinking, actually I don't want Facebook, I don't want Facebook's problems, I don't want to be Mark Zuckerberg. I think if we can start by having a takedown of the past idols, we can start building up some healthier models of what we should try to emulate instead.” David says that we need a new vocabulary in the tech industry. He lists a number of different words, from unicorn to angel to battlefield, that inaccurately describe the actual function or intent of that entity. He says that it’s easy to excuse unethical actions if we believe that we are actually at war in a startup. He also talks about why “small is not a stepping stone” for your company and breaks down why the obsession with growth has led people astray. How to break the cycle of overwork “We can live such better fuller, richer lives if we just stopped believing that the most worthy thing we can do is to give every waking hour and moment to the business. That's actually not good for business. If you were just trying to create the most efficient business, you would not come up with this regime of chaining people to the office.” He explains why you shouldn’t think about your co-workers as your family, and examines some of the current scourges of modern workplaces, like the open-plan setup. He also points out that Henry Ford realized a long time ago that people cannot work for more than forty hours a week without seeing a huge drop-off in efficiency, so it would make sense not to not push employees harder than that today. A new way of working “It doesn't work to constantly puncture and slice up the day [with meetings and standups]. So you should be extremely cautious about when you put things on many people's calendar. When we do instead is we encourage people to share where they are at [on a project] in an asynchronous way where someone can choose to digest that and respond to that on their time.” David talks about the current practices prevalent at most workplaces that result in people not getting things done, and how they can be improved on. He talks about the unique approach to meetings, standups, deadlines, and presentations that they have at Basecamp and how they have increased retention. He says that it’s a misconception that people are born superstars and says that high-quality talent is more akin to a tree, that you cultivate, rather than a “diamond” that you find. Of course, they also talk about some of his favorite products as well. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies, Books, and Products Mentioned In This Episode BreatheSmart Air Purifier — Stylish and effective air purifier. It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson Oura Ring — Advanced sleep and fitness tracker. Why We Sleep: Unlocking The Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
30 October 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Elias Torres, co-founder and CTO of Drift. He co-founded the company with David Cancel, a longtime collaborator. They have achieved smashing success so far, and Elias’s personal story of moving to the United States from Nicaragua and working at McDonald’s while simultaneously finishing high school and learning English is one you don’t want to miss. In this episode they talk about... Elias’s longtime partnership with David Cancel “He [David Cancel, co-founder of Drift] knew a lot more than I did and that was another good thing. If you look at Paul Allen and Bill Gates, Paul was older than Bill. That experience drew Bill to Paul and that’s something I like about David. He’s built many more companies than me. He’s always been in startups.” David Cancel is Elias’s co-founder at Drift and this is definitely not their first venture together. Elias talks about how they have been able to work so well across several different companies and how their partnership mirrors that of Paul Allen and Bill Gates. He also talks about the scary moments when he left his job to start a company in 2008 while the stock market was tanking during the financial crisis. What it was like growing up in Nicaragua and moving to the United States “It’s people. People have helped me. I look back and in high school I had a teacher who asked me to join math club. That exposed me to kids who were applying to places I heard called Dartmouth and Princeton, but I didn’t know what that is.” Elias grew up in Nicaragua and moved to the US as a teenager. He suddenly found himself in high school in the United States with a very different set of possibilities open to him. He also talks about how he ended up with his first computer and how that led to him getting into programming. It’s safe to say that when he was young, he didn’t see himself in the position that he is in now. He talks about some of the people who helped get him there and how Drift is giving back to help underprivileged people. A CTO’s tips on hiring and why he spends an hour a month fielding support queries “The recruiting process has to be personal. It has to be about conversations. Engineers are the most sough-out profession in the world. So you’re never going to hire someone that applies. You should not be spending your time there. You have to go and find the people you want.“ Elias has a unique perspective on hiring engineers from his perch as CTO at Drift, so he explains how they think about hiring, why diversity is an integral part of their company, and why he looks for engineers who are also extroverted like he is. They are also not afraid to get into the weeds at Drift, with their engineers putting in time talking to customers to get a feel for what the end-user truly needs. Growing revenue from zero to eight figures in under twenty-four months “I went into Boston and asked founder friends of mine: ‘do you want to use my product?’ When I was a kid I went out there and sold mangoes from a tree carrying a basket with my mangoes. I went the same way door-to-door asking for twenty dollars. I got my first five to ten customers like that.” Drift grew from nothing in revenue to eight figures (!) in under twenty-four months. Aba asks how they managed to create such explosive growth and Elias talks about why SaaS businesses are so special and why they are a great way to grow revenue. He shares his best tips for makers looking to earn from their product, including not being afraid to charge, making sure you increase prices, and why to bring in salespeople early. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
23 October 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Delane Parnell, founder and CEO of PlayVS. PlayVS is the community for amateur high school esports. He was previously the youngest black venture capitalist in the US and built and sold his own esports team prior to founding PlayVS. He also has an incredible story of overcoming adversity to get to where he is today. In this episode they discuss... His incredible “origin story” “It wasn’t support in the sense that they were able to help me financially, but even encouraging words like ‘I believe in you. You can do this.’ You can’t put a monetary value on the impact that that can have on a kid.” Delane grew up in a tough neighborhood in Detroit. He says that he had to avoid a lot of gang activity growing up and got his first job at a very young age as a sign twirler at a cell phone store. It was at the cell phone store where he got his first taste for entrepreneurship. There, Delane realized that he needed to be an owner in a business to earn significant money from it. At age sixteen, he set out to be a partner in other cell phone stores around town. How he learned to set his sights high “I was never interested in small-time business. I think that's because I had the exposure super early on from working with Sam to how much a person who owns a dozen cell phone shops made. I wasn't really interested in that. I was dreaming about vacations in the south of France.” Delane had an aunt who was an executive at an auto company and she helped Delane by giving him business magazines, which helped form his life aspirations . He says that the individuals in his neighborhood typically didn’t have aspirations to make it big in business and that he was lucky to have family members who encouraged him to aim higher. He says that Jay-Z was his number one inspiration and explains why he is a “role model and icon” for Delane. How he became comfortable with risk-taking and his advice about giving advice “I try not to give people quote-unquote expert advice. People look at me as an expert because of the amount of money we raised or what we’ve accomplished. But I’m not an expert. People don’t realize the effect that expert advice has on entrepreneurs on young people finding their way.” Having been exposed to business at a young age, he became comfortable with the mindset needed to take risks and be an entrepreneur. He built a few companies that didn’t end up working out and explains how certain pieces of advice that he heard from certain people who he considered to be mentors left him very deflated. Delane explains why he remembers that experience so vividly and why it means he avoids giving advice to young people. What he learned from failure and why founder life is less glamorous than you think “People think it’s very glamorous, but it’s not as glamorous as people think. There’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of responsibility. You’ve got to be prepared for it, otherwise you’ll really struggle.” Delane explains what he learned from failure, including why he was so inspired by Groupon, the story of the subscription-based competitor he came up with, and why it didn’t end up working out. He says that there is always the possibility for redemption and recalls that even Steve Jobs was written off as a failure at one time. He also talks about the day-to-day of his work at PlayVS, why it’s not quite living up to the high hopes that magazines and television held for his imagined future, and why it’s nevertheless rewarding in other non-material ways Of course, he also talks about some of his favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Albert — Actionable financial advice on your phone. Discord — Find people who share your interests. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search. Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made.
16 October 2019 •
Abadesi is joined on this episode by Sarah Paiji Yoo. She is the founder of Blueland, a direct-to-consumer company that sells environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. She formerly founded and sold Snapette, a mobile platform for local platform shopping. In this episode they talk about... Her extensive entrepreneurial journey “We ended up launching one business per year for the next four years, which was crazy.” Sarah was a successful founder before she started Blueland. When she first switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone, she realized the power of the platform and launched a company called Snapette, which she later sold. Later, she started a startup studio and churned out a number of different direct-to-consumer businesses in a variety of spaces: luxury footwear, beauty, fashion, and even coffee. How she convinced investors of the promise of Blueland “At first our deck opened with the environmental story. It led with our mission to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. We realized for a subset of investors that didn’t really resonate. We changed our deck to emphasize the business case but I realized that I wasn’t finding investors whose values aligned with ours, so I ended up switching the format back.” Sarah recounts her fundraising journey for Blueland and why she went with a deck that didn’t necessarily resonate with all investors. Since “you can divorce your husband, but you can’t divorce your investors,” she wanted to make sure that her investors and board members were aligned with the values-driven approach to business that Sarah was taking. She also points out that their environmentally-friendly business model also has real financial benefits, with tablets that are about thirty times lighter than traditional cleaners and thus are much less costly to ship. The future of sustainable direct-to-consumer products and companies Sarah talks about the importance of transparency in direct-to-consumer, and particularly in companies that are working in sustainability. She points out that Millennials and Gen Z are eager to support companies that have similar values to them. According to her research, there are many more people than you might think who derive great satisfaction from buying environmentally-friendly products, even if it means more time and effort investment by the end consumer. Managing a fast-growing team at a scaling company She says that hiring always has to be the top priority as a founder and that she reminds herself of that every single day. She explains who she hired first when she was starting the company and what qualities she looked for in them. Sarah says that it’s always a risk hiring someone at a startup who has come from a big company because of the risk of a culture clash. She also talks about the importance of making sure that your employees unplug to prevent burnout, because the high-performing Type A personalities that are naturally drawn to a startup have a propensity to work themselves exceptionally hard, even if there is no pressure for them to do so. What’s in her “resiliency toolkit” “Becoming a mom has become an incredible forcing mechanism for work-life balance. It’s really helped me carve out really dedicated pieces of time where I can be 100% present with my family.” Sarah gives a rundown of what a typical day looks like at her company and explains how the birth of her son was an important turning point in her thinking about work-life balance. She says that it’s important to be disconnected from work for family time and how she makes sure that all her team members are on the same page about when she will or won’t be online. Of course, she also tells us what some of her favorite products are and why she loves them. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Instapaper — Save articles to read later. Pinterest — Discover recipes, home ideas, style inspiration and other ideas to try. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search.
9 October 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Sharmadean Reid, founder of Beautystack. She’s one of Aba’s favorite people of all time, and is an inspiration to women and people of color everywhere. She recently raised a whopping seed round to grow and scale Beautystack. In this episode they talk about... How she’s helping women start businesses “People always say that the information is out there, but sometimes you don’t know what to Google.” Sharma talks about the importance of networks of women who can help and support each other in their founder journeys. She explains what it was like for her when she was just getting started, and how she was helped by others who were further along than she was. She has been giving back through a couple of different initiatives and talks about the self-sustaining community they have created. “The proudest thing for me is the tens of thousands of connections between women that we’ve created.” What fashion means to her “My personal style to me is the reason I like fashion. Fashion and beauty is essentially how we as homo sapiens show our tribes, it’s the way we say this is what I am, this is what I stand for and what I believe in. For me, being a bit ‘extra’ with my look is a testament to how my mind works.” She explains how fashion can make a powerful statement and her philosophy behind how she chooses her looks, saying that it’s part of “living in the future.” She explains how she got into the fashion industry in the first place, takes us behind-the-scenes of fashion shoots, and talks about why they are excellent vehicles for virality. Her fundraising journey “We often sit there and have a business idea and do a pitch deck and do market research. But market research is not the same as writing your own thesis of how the future is going to look.” Sharma explains how she approached the fundraising for Beautystack, and talks about why, once you’ve done the important work in advance and have conviction in your ideas, it can be quite effortless to put everything together. She talks about fleshing out all of her thoughts around the company in a personal password-protected blog, and how she researched her investors ahead of time to know what kinds of objections they might bring up in order to anticipate them. She also points out that it’s important to find the right investors for your company, so you should be just as discerning as your investors are. The founder mindset and personal development “I think that good investors want missionary founders and cultivating my personal mission keeps me on the straight and narrow and gives me that north star that regardless of how the business pans out, I own that personal mission.” She is one of the hardest-working people that Aba knows, and invests in herself as much as in everything else that she does. She explains the importance of cultivating a personal mission and how to define success for yourself. She also talks about some of the mental models she uses, why she reads from a broad variety of sources, and explains what she means when she says “everything is cyclical.” The future of work and scaling a team “I learned this from the guys at Basecamp. Think of the company as your product. Your users are your employees — are you giving them the best user experience possible?” Sharma explains how she’s cultivated Beautystack’s unique culture. She takes us through some of the initiatives they’ve started, including increasing the level of gratitude in the workplace and why each person at the company creates and presents their own “guide to working with me.” She also talks about how she plans for the future growth of her company and why she loves the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Of course, she also lets us know what some of her favorite products on her home screen are. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Co - Star Astrology — Hyper-personalized astrology. Ferly — Your audio guide to mindful sex. Moody Month — Track your moods, hormone cycle, and life. Notion — Increase your team intelligence. Sanctuary — Daily personalized astrology readings and horoscopes. Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made. The Pattern — Personalized astrology readings based on your astrological chart.
2 October 2019 •
In this special edition of Product Hunt Radio, the community is the guest. Ryan chats with the members of the Product Hunt community about the apps that they love and why they’re so great. People from all around the world called in to let us know what’s on their home screens. This was an experiment, so let us know what you think! If you want to be part of the next session and potentially be featured in the podcast, make sure to follow us on social media. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Some of the Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Apollo — A beautiful Reddit app built for power and speed. Argent — A radically better crypto wallet. Chess.com — Play chess online. Crunchyroll — The official source of anime and drama. OURA Ring — Advanced sleep and fitness tracker. Pillow — Automatic sleep tracker. Reelgood — Streaming TV and movie tracker. Telegram — The best messenger for every platform. TickTick — A simple and effective to-do list and task manager. TikTok — A creative music video clip maker. Zoom — Cloud videoconferencing and simple online meetings.
25 September 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Ryan Singer, head of Product Strategy at Basecamp, where he’s worked for 16 years, ever since 2003. He is the author of Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work That Matters. You can read the book for free online. In this episode they talk about... How Basecamp cultivates their unique company culture “If you think something is going to work, then go make it and let’s look at what you made in two or three days or a week. If you can’t make anything yet that works, maybe it’s not real and not ready yet. Don’t make me a big document about how it’s going to work — let’s make a prototype and click on it and see if it’s going to work.” Ryan says that he was initially a UI designer and got into programming after joining Basecamp. He was at what was then called 37signals when Ruby on Rails was being created. He talks about the culture of shipping at Basecamp and how the learnings from his sixteen years at the company have made it into the book. Why wireframes and documents are overrated “If we over-specify the design up front with a lot of wireframes, we make the most decisions when we have the least information.” Ryan says that at Basecamp, they use breadboards and fat marker sketches to mock up potential products, rather than detailed documents or pixel-perfect wireframes. He explains why it’s important to allow for improvisation by the designers and developers of products, and why you shouldn’t make the key trade-offs in the design phase, but instead after you’ve seen and used a prototype. He says that you “need to find the right level of abstraction” in your designs. Why betting is better than planning “We acknowledge the reality, which is that we don’t know what’s going to happen, we don’t know how this is going to work out, we’re probably going to be wrong about some things, so we want to use the language of risk instead of the language of certainty.” At Basecamp, instead of making plans, they make bets. Ryan explains why this provides a better framework for the work that they do. He points out that when you make bets, you bet a fixed amount. They do the same at Basecamp, “betting” a certain amount of time on a project to see if it will work. If at the end of that time, it didn’t work out, they don’t spend more time than they originally “bet” on it chasing sunk costs. How to find balance at work, and why Basecamp doesn’t think about “maximizing capacity” Ryan says that they don’t think about “maximizing capacity” from their employees. Instead, they want to make sure that their workers have a meaningful goal with good odds for success. He says that managing how many hours someone worked the day before or today means very little. His advice is to stop micromanaging employee time and to experiment with a more flexible approach at your company. He also points out that they try to think about strategy at a more macro level than in terms of days or hours. How to separate strategic failure from execution failure “I would much rather have a healthy team that’s good at shipping stuff and occasionally make a strategic mistake. Because our bets have a limited downside, we’re setting out how much it is worth at the beginning. We only lose however much time we set out initially.” As part of their unique approach to strategy, they are able to manage their downside by setting out the amount of time they’re willing to spend on something in the beginning. They trust their teams to figure out the details of the work on their own, without prescribing every detail of the product in the beginning. He explains how this is important to morale and what the difference between “imagined work” and “discovered work” is. Ryan also talks about his love for the Apple Pencil and the iPad, and how he uses them to get his work done. Bonus Content: Aba and the community on personal branding We have more bonus content for you this week! Aba recently hosted a Periscope session where she invited all of you in the community to call in and explain what sites you use for personal branding and why. They covered LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, personal sites, mailing lists, and more. If you want to be part of the next session (and maybe even be part of the podcast!) be sure to follow us on social media. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode iPad + Apple Pencil The Economist’s Mobile App
18 September 2019 •
On this episode Ryan is joined by a friend, writer, and student of human psychology, Nir Eyal. I’ve learned so much from his writing over the years. He has an incredible ability to synthesize complex ideas and studies into actionable steps people can use to build more engaging products and a healthier life. Ryan actually helped him with his first bestselling book,* Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products*, back in 2012, before Product Hunt started. This week he published his second book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. The timing of its release is more relevant than ever as people are increasingly seeking a healthier relationship with their smartphones, wearables, and tech in general. In this episode they talk about... The change in attitude towards tech over the past several years “Back then people thought Zuckerberg and the Twitter guys and the Google guys just got lucky and stumbled onto something. We had to convince people that they knew what makes you click and what makes you tick better than you do yourself. Now, that’s a foregone conclusion. In fact, I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.” Nir explains the shift in the perception of tech in general since he wrote his first book, Hooked, to now. He says that there has always been a level of skepticism in Silicon Valley, which is generally a good thing, but that he fears people are heading towards being too cynical and having a fixed mindset towards the tech industry and its products. How to make sure your product development process is ethical ““I think it’s important that product designers have a way to tap the brakes and ask, ‘is what we’re doing okay? Does this cross an ethical line?’” He talks about searching for an ethical framework that ensures that the products one creates are not causing harm to the user. He says that he went from the (former) Google motto “don’t be evil” to the Golden Rule to what the lawyers recommended to get to his formulation of the “regret test.” He explains exactly how you can use it at your company. A regret test asks ‘would the user do the thing we have designed for them to do, if they knew everything we do?’” Whether the government should or should not get involved in regulating tech They talk about some of the proposed regulations that are floating around the news these days, and Nir explains why they are well-intentioned but unlikely to make a real difference. He points out that the problem is the “fear-industrial complex” that accompanies any new tech or media. He says that to say that people lack any agency to pull themselves away from tech is insulting and points out that over fifty years ago, people were using the exact same words to describe the effects of comic books. The true impact of tech on your brain “Why is scrolling on Twitter somehow morally inferior to watching Fox News? To me they are equally divisive, equally potentially toxic, and can equally be abused by people who go overboard. Why do we only apply the standard to new technology? Because it’s an easy target.” Nir says that it’s important not to get fixated on the tech, but rather the end result of using that tech. He points out that both Snapchat and Duolingo use streaks, but to very different ends. He says that he is neither a proponent of nor apologist for tech and that not all distractions are created equal." The strategies he uses to ensure he doesn’t get distracted “The antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. We have to plan ahead and take steps in advance to make sure you do whatever it is you want to do in life.” He explains what his nightly routine is, how it has enabled him to live a better life, and how he uses certain pieces of tech to keep himself away from other, less useful tech. He tells the story of buying a twelve dollar flip phone from Alibaba and why, like crash diets, digital detoxes don’t end up working. Bonus Content: Aba’s Community Podcast Abadesi recently hosted a Periscope session where she asked the community to chime in on what their favorite products are and why. Make sure to follow us on social to participate in the next session, and you could make it into the podcast! We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
11 September 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Nic Brisbourne, managing partner at Forward Partners, and creator of the popular email newsletter, The Equity Kicker. In this episode they talk about... The future of venture capital and the concept of “applied venture” “Why stop at having a few people on payroll to help your portfolio companies succeed? Why not find a way to have as many as possible? That allows you to help your portfolio companies with many more things, offer better service, and that should see the companies go on to achieve greater results.” Nic gives us a history of the waves of venture capital since the early 2000s and explains how firms have evolved over time to better serve founders. He talks about the new trend in the industry — what they call “applied venture.” He explains what it is and how it is having an impact on founders and companies. The culture at Forward Partners “When we think about our culture, on the one hand we’re trying to reflect what we have currently so that it feels authentic and on the other, we’re trying to stretch ourselves to what we want to be tomorrow.” Nic says that at Forward Partners they look up to characters who inspire and inform their work. He explains why they chose Indiana Jones, Yoda, and Leonardo Da Vinci as the three individuals who capture what they want to be at Forward. Nic’s introduction to mindfulness “It was totally the wrong time of year to go to India. I arrived at the New Dehli airport and there was a sign up in the airport with the temperature, 44 degrees centigrade at 1 o’clock in the morning.” Nic explains how he became an advocate for mindfulness after having a hesitant start and shares the funny story of going to India during the hottest months to meditate at an ashram. The benefits of mindfulness for founders “There was a biotech company that ran an 8-week mindfulness course for their employees. After eight weeks they did MRI scans and the happiness centres in the people who had been on the mindfulness course were noticeably more active.” After Nic became a mindfulness convert, he didn’t stop at how it could help him in his work, he looked also to how it could have a positive impact on the founders he works with as well. He explains some of the benefits to the practice and talks about some of the programs they have been putting on for founders to help them get in the habit. What he’s most excited about in the tech ecosystem “Really what’s most exciting for me is the way that the startup ecosystem is growing and growing. The world is changing faster and faster and we have bigger and bigger problems to solve and it’s entrepreneurs who are going to be solving those problems for us on a global level.“ He talks about some of the tech trends happening now that he loathes and loves, and explains what they look for when they’re evaluating a potential investment for the impact it would have on the world. Nic also shares some of his favorite products and explains why he was initially an Apple skeptic but has since become a fan. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode 7Geese — Social performance management tool. Apple Watch — The most personal device Apple has ever created. Simple Habit — Meditation for people who never have time. Small Improvements — Help your employees grow and succeed. Wager — Bet against your friends.
4 September 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Gina Bianchini, a serial entrepreneur and an investor. She is founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, a platform for building communities. She also co-founded Ning and has been an entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz. In this episode they talk about... The emerging trend of community-powered businesses “They’ve taken their personal experience and their personal story, combined it with expertise, and now there are people who are really excited to master or learn that topic together with other people in their community.” Gina says that the next big trend in business is experiential commerce. She says that it’s a myth that building a community is hard and talks about some of the non-traditional ways to build one. She also explains the many benefits of creating a community around your business. Why it’s important to stay laser-focused on the results your customers want “How am I enabling the people using my product to have results they cannot otherwise achieve? If you have that, you can charge money for your community, you can charge more money for your product or service. It’s understanding how you are enabling your users to go from point A to point B.” Gina talks about some of the different approaches a maker can take to community-building but says the most important one is to notice what your customers’ needs are, what they’re looking to get out of the community, and how that intersects with what you can provide. How a community helps build your brand “A brand is how people talk about you when you’re not in the room. Here’s the amazing thing about investing in a community early on. You’re not just talking to your customer but you’re a part of a conversation where your customers are talking to other customers. You will understand so much more clearly what the people you serve need from your brand.” She says there’s no substitute for watching your customers talk to each other and listen to the specific words they’re using and exactly how they’re describing what they need. Observing your customers is made much easier when you are hosting the community. She also says that building a community off of the social media platforms is a better approach than trying to build on a monolithic platform like Facebook. Why it’s okay (and preferred!) to start small “There is no niche that is too small in 2019. There are 22 million people and brands that have over a million followers on Instagram. There are 147 million accounts with over 10,000 followers.” She talks about some of the lessons she learned from Ning, and explains why there was a “moment in 2007” where you could build a community for a broad swath of people but that moment has long passed. She says that not only is it easier to start small, it’s the only route to success. Gina also talks about some of her favorite products, why Instagram Stories has replaced TV for her, and some of her favorite accounts to follow on Instagram. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. 😸
28 August 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Courtland Allen. He is a super talented designer and developer. In 2016 he founded Indie Hackers, an awesome community of bootstrappers and makers sharing their stories. Nine months later Stripe acquired the company. Courtland is also a Y Combinator alumnus and an MIT graduate with a degree in Computer Science. In this episode they talk about how to avoid making the most common maker mistakes. They discuss... How and why Courtland became an Indie Hacker “I spent a while following the traditional startup route. I started a startup, I got into Y Combinator, we raised money, but we never really had a business model. Eventually we did charge money for our product, and a couple hundred people signed up right off the bat. I was enchanted by this idea that I don't have to raise money from investors, I don't have to hope that there's some sort of exit opportunity in the future, I could build something and put a price tag on it and sell it to people directly and feasibly pay my rent.” Courtland explains his path to becoming a self-sufficient bootstrapper. He got his start in the very early days of indie hacking, even before Stripe had launched. He says that it was the Stripe beta that allowed him to go independent. How to figure out whether you have a good idea on your hands “A lot of people think a business is an invention. But an invention needs to be this entirely novel thing. A business is more of a process. It doesn’t need to be completely unique. A lot of people get frustrated and blocked by their inability to come up with something that’s completely novel. The number one thing you should do is not put that constraint on yourself.” He explains how to “sanity check” your idea and runs through the common mistakes he sees people making when they are validating their ideas. Finding beta testers for your product and what to avoid when bootstrapping “You’re trying to from no one using your app to five or ten people. You can easily do that. Talk to five relatives or five friends or coworkers. Go online and find people who you think would be good users of your product and send them a heartfelt personalized email. A lot of founders I have talked to have done this non-scalable approach at the beginning.” Courtland explains why, as a one-person operation, you shouldn’t be copying what big, successful companies are doing. He says that a landing page is not a good way to test your product and instead recommends that you go the old-fashioned route and talk to people about it. “These companies are doing things that you can’t do, and that you probably shouldn’t do. You’re much smaller. You wouldn’t go to the gym and try to bench press five hundred pounds because the biggest guy in the gym is doing that. One of the most troubling things for early Indie Hackers is the most obvious examples to copy are these big companies who are the worst people to copy.” How to know whether to go full-time on your idea once demand picks up “The barometer I use is: Do I like the customers I’m serving? Are the people who are paying for what I’m building people I would want to talk to and be friends with and hang out with? Because that’s what you’re probably going to be doing for the next few years, so you probably don’t want to quit your job and go full-time into something you don’t like working on.” He provides some excellent advice on launching, dealing with the ups-and-downs of being a maker, and once you’ve made it to a place where you’re getting some traction, how to figure out whether to quit your day job and go full-steam ahead on your side project. He says that he saved up a year’s rent before going full-time on his idea and points out that even when you are full-time on your project, there will always be more to do than you can manage. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Flippa — The #1 place to buy and sell websites, domains and apps. Notion — The all-in-one workspace - notes, tasks, wikis, & databases.
21 August 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Cassidy Williams. Cassidy is a great follow on social media and is a software engineer at CodePen. Prior to CodePen, she worked for Venmo, Amazon, Clarify and others. She is a true maker and a huge mechanical keyboard nerd (which you hear a bit about on the show). In this episode they discuss... How she got to where she is today, including lessons learned from working at big and small companies “It gets more political the more you go up the career ladder. At CodePen, we only have eight people, so you can’t really be promoted, and past Cassidy’s mind might be blown that she can’t be promoted and she’s okay with that.” Cassidy talks her personal career trajectory and how she learned “the hard way” that big money at big companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She talks a bit about working at Amazon and why it didn’t work out for her and explains why it’s just as valuable to know what you don’t want to do as knowing what you do want to do. She also talks about some of the differences between working at a big company and a small company. Her personal definition of success as a software engineer “My definition of success is having the flexibility to build whatever I want. Right now I’m building for CodePen but because my job is so flexible I’m able to build things outside of work. Someday I would love to be able to not have to work and build things for fun, whether for money or not. I love building things in general, whether it be keyboards, code, or Legos.” Cassidy says that she used to be obsessed with “climbing the career ladder” and explains why that’s no longer the case for her. She says that she would go into jobs with the intention of collecting titles and experience in order to make a case for a promotion. She’s realized now though that being at the top is less important to her than the freedom to be able to create and do the things she loves. The future of programming “When I first started using React, it seemed magical, but over time it has changed to be a lot more granular and less magical. That is a very interesting metaphor for a lot of things that are happening in the tech industry.“ She talks through some of the trends in software engineering, including how programming for the web has changed over the past few years. She explains how and why languages and the way that programmers use them have evolved over time. “People want to be more granular with their coding and engineering practices. A lot of people want to get to the core of adding more low-level and theoretical computer science practices to web development.” Why she loves mechanical keyboards so much “It’s so fun to be able to build something that is both pretty and functional. Typing on them is actually really fun. Typing on a mechanical keyboard feels like actually accomplishing something. When you feel that tactical feedback, it’s great.“ While doing the interview, Cassidy mentions that she had nine different mechanical keyboards sitting next to her. She waxes poetic on the virtues of using and building mechanical keyboards, including a breakdown of some of her favorite builds. She also talks about some of her other favorite non-keyboard products as well. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Bear — A beautiful, flexible, writing app for notes and prose. Sennheiser HD 6xx— Cassidy’s favorite headphones.
14 August 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Justin Jackson. Justin is a founder, author, and podcaster. He is co-founder of Transistor, a platform for podcasters, and runs his own podcast called Build your SaaS. He is also the creator of the MegaMaker community for developers. In this episode they discuss... Going from side hustle to full-time founder “The truth is that where I’m at now is that where I’m at now is the result of years and years and years of investigating things, being curious and being naturally passionate about radio and audio in particular.” Justin followed a circuitous route to becoming a founder. He grew up in rural Alberta, Canada, and didn’t get his first job in tech until he was 28 years old. He recently started working on Transistor full-time, and explains the progression from working a regular job, to working remotely, to starting a side hustle, and finally to becoming a “solopreneur.” His candid recounting of his experience with depression “I got hit hard, like I had never been hit before. I have to admit I had a bad perspective on mental illness. I thought that people who were depressed were weak. I remember that time — I felt like I had been punched down into the ground like the Incredible Hulk.” Justin opens up about what it was like to experience depression for the first time, how it impacted him and how it changed his perspective on work, life, and mental illness generally. How to take care of your mental health “If you think of our lives as an application, we’re really good at maintaining the front end code. The front end code is everything that people see — the house, the degree, the job — all the external stuff. It’s the stuff we post on Instagram, it’s the stuff we talk about when we’re with friends, it’s our public face we reveal to others. But we have this back end code that we are gradually writing things to but not refactoring or caring for it the way we should.” He explains how he got himself out of his depression with the help of a therapist, and talks about some of the important mental shifts he needed in his life. He also talks about the importance of separating your sense of self and your identity from your professional projects. The future of podcasting and “mindful technology” “Increasingly, people are looking for mindful technology, technology that’s not designed to keep you on the platform forever, that’s not designed to be addictive or maintain your attention forever. It’s difficult to track, it’s difficult to sell your data, and podcasting right now fits — it’s mindful.” Justin has been passionate about audio since he was a kid riding in the family pickup truck in Alberta. He talks about the changes he’s seen in the space over the last decade and what the future holds for podcasting. He also explains his theory of mindful technology, why people want their technology to be mindful, and why podcasts fit the category perfectly. And of course, they talk about some of his favorite products for desktop and mobile. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies, Books and Products Mentioned In This Episode Adobe Fireworks CS5 — Adobe’s bitmap and vector editor (from a long time ago). Daylio — Mood tracker and micro-diary. The Mom Test — How to talk to customers Visual Studio Code — Microsoft’s cross-platform text editor for developers.
7 August 2019 •
Abadesi is joined by Sarah Cooper on this episode. She’s an author and comedian from New York, and has published two books: 100 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings, and How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings. She was also an executive at Yahoo! and Google. In this episode they discuss: How she got started in comedy and her advice for following your passion “Observe yourself. Notice where your mind goes when you’re supposed to be doing something else. What do you obsess about? What can you not stop thinking about?“ It was a difficult decision to leave a job at Google to pursue comedy full-time, but Sarah walks through her decision-making process and what pushed her over the edge. She talks about how to find your passion, and why you might need to let go of those childhood dreams. “Be flexible in what you passion is. Don’t feel like you have to do something just because it was a childhood dream.“ The inside scoop on working at Google Sarah worked for several years at Google in NYC, working on the Google Docs product. She explains what the best (and worst) things were about her time at Google. She dishes on the amazing interior design, the perks, the nap pods, but also the hyper-competitive environment that knew no bounds. For example, she says that people would race to be the first one to congratulate a co-worker on a personal announcement in an email thread. Another time, a co-worker of hers grabbed her laptop out of her hands to type on it himself because she wasn’t typing fast enough. What she’s excited about and how tech can do better at helping the world “It’s kind of ironic because one of the big selling points of joining a tech company is the chance to change the world. That’s the problem with capitalism — the question is always ‘how are you going to make it into a million-dollar company,’ even if it is going to help a small group of people immensely.“ Aba asks Sarah which technologies she’s most excited about. Sarah talks about some of the problems inherent in capitalism and why a company that makes a huge difference to the lives of a small number of people will nevertheless have a hard time getting off the ground. Her advice for people who are trying to write more “Never set aside time to come up with ideas. Ideas come to you when you’re observing people or yourself or in the world, or in the shower. I keep a running list of ideas and when I sit down to write I’m not starting with a blank page.“ Sarah takes us behind the curtain to show us what her creative process looks like. She explains why improv comedy is a favorite activity for tech companies looking to do team building, and the best way to turbocharge your writing process. And of course, we also talk about some of her favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Google Docs — Write, edit, and collaborate wherever you are. For free. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time archiving, messaging and search. Twimmage — Turn tweets into beautiful images you can share on Instagram.
31 July 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to Alex Konrad, Senior Associate Editor at Forbes. He’s one of today’s top tech journalists and has interviewed some of the biggest tech titans around. He also plays a pivotal role in the lists that Forbes publishes, including The Midas List, The Cloud 100, and 30 Under 30. In this episode they discuss... Why The Financial Crisis Was a Flourishing Moment In Tech “If you look back, that post-2009 period was a really good one for new companies. Out of the chaos came all these great startups. People weren’t sure if the traditional industries were welcoming to them and they looked to do their own thing or join great tech companies.” Alex says that the current crop of companies going public can seem like overnight successes, but really they are “overnight successes ten years in the making.” He points out that many of them were started in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and explains what that was a “flourishing moment” in tech. “Emotionally, it was a hard time for all of us, but I do think that that uncertainty did create a lot of interesting ideas and risk-taking.“ How To Handle a Crisis as a Founder or CEO “The instinct can be to turtle and batten down the hatches and take an us-versus-the-world mentality when something goes wrong. You have to resist that inclination. CEOs and any founder who owns an issue and engages in conversation… I can’t think of a situation where that blew up in their face or it made the problem worse.“ Alex has covered plenty of scandals, breaches, and crises in his day. He explains how a founder or a CEO can make sure they handle a crisis in the best way they possibly can. He says that part of doing so means being human and approachable, instead of retreating into your company and denying responsibility. The Best Ways To Establish Rapport With Someone Important “I can connect really quickly or build a rapport with someone when I connect with them first as humans. Whether it’s small talk before or after a meeting or just asking a questions about hobbies or things unrelated to their company, its really important to see how people see the world and what they’re thinking about.” He talks about what it’s like to interview some of the biggest names in tech, including Satya Nadella, Marc Benioff and Eric Yuan. He explains how he builds a rapport with them in order to get the best interview possible, and gives us some tips on how to build rapport with anyone, as well as how you can communicate more effectively. “Hustle-Porn Culture” and How He Stays Productive “We idolize people who seem to be making crazy sacrifices and doing something outlandish in pursuit of their goal. We fall into the trap of thinking that just because that’s working for them it’s somehow better than what others are doing or something that we should all be doing.” Alex points out that the tech titans that he’s interviewed have drastically differing personal styles. Some are bookish while some are bombastic, yet they are all very successful. He points out that given the disparities, it’s hard to draw conclusions about the “best” way of doing something. He talks about the trend that’s currently in fashion to point to particular personal quirks and habits as the “key to success” and why we should be cautious about saying everyone should be waking at 4am or working seven days a week. And of course, we also talk about some of his favorite products. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Bear — A beautiful, flexible, writing app for your notes and prose. Canva — Amazingly simple graphic design. Duolingo — Learn languages completely free. Kanga — Find streams fast. Get alerts for your favorite streamers.
24 July 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi talks to April Wensel, founder of Compassionate Coding, and one of Aba’s favorite follows on Twitter. She’s a veteran software engineer who has worked in healthcare, entertainment, research and education. In this episode they discuss... How to make your interviews more inclusive “What you can do is discuss problem solving on a technical level, because I think that’s really one of the most important skills as a software engineer. It’s not memorizing syntax or being able to code something up really fast on the spot, instead you turn it into an evolving conversation where you talk about architecture, how to choose frameworks, or working through refactoring problems.” April recounts her first time hiring a team of engineers and says that it ended up being fifty percent women and people of color without making any special effort to do so. She explains how she approached the hiring process and why typical tech industry interviews, despite being used by some of the biggest companies in tech, exclude too many people from the process and don’t test for the right skills. Why we need to change the way we think about the tech industry “We don’t think a lot about the people who are involved in or affected by tech. We’re mostly focused on the hot new technology or whatever. That’s what inspired me to start something to change how we think about technology from the level of software engineers.” April explains how she came to the realization about the tech industry that spurred her to create Compassionate Coding. She says that too often we don’t think enough about the human side of technology and that we need a new approach. Why telling someone you’re non-technical is nonsensical, and why she says, "if you can use a fork, you’re technical" “I was always hearing this term non-technical. When people call themselves non-technical, that’s heartbreaking because they’re limiting their possibilities. It’s like when people say they’re not creative. It’s such a fixed way of looking at the world that’s just not true. Whatever skills they have, they’re technical. Anything where you go really deep is technical.” She says that in her experience in tech “non-technical” has been used as a codeword for a broad swath of unspoken reasons that someone wouldn’t fit in. She explains why we need a broader definition of technical that doesn’t just mean that someone has coding skills. The problem of “toxic elitism” in the tech industry “The culture that uses terms like RTFM implies that ‘I’m not going to help you, and you should be ashamed that you didn’t help yourself first.’ It assumes that this person is lazy and can’t figure things out.” April talks about some of the toxic attitudes and behaviors that pervade tech, and specifically software engineering. She says that people are too often reticent to help each other and that there is an unwarranted sense of superiority among engineers. How you can do your part to cultivate a positive culture at your company “Imagine the fear that we [women and minorities] have been living in forever. Now that we’re having conversations, yes it’s making men and people from the majority groups more mindful, but yes, your words are important and it’s worth being mindful about them. It’s about not being afraid to make a mistake but knowing you will make mistakes and being humble enough to admit that and then to handle it gracefully when someone points out that you made a mistake and commit to doing better.” Aba and April swap stories of some of the most egregious interactions they’ve had or heard about in the tech industry, and explain how we can all help to make tech more more inclusive. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Happy Cow — Find vegan and vegetarian options near you. Strava — The social network for runners and cyclists. Tara Brach — Weekly meditation classes.
17 July 2019 •
Ryan recently visited Grove HQ in SOMA in San Francisco to chat with two founders who know a ton about fintech. Chris Hutchins was our gracious host and is CEO of Grove, a startup that uses people and technology to help you with your financial goals. Ryan actually met Chris in the early days of Product Hunt when he was an investor at Google Ventures. Before that, he started a company called Milk that was acquired by Google. All his life he's been a self-acknowledged financial nerd, often sharing his money-saving tips with friends, which was a large inspiration for starting Grove. Jake Gibson is the co-founder of NerdWallet. The company started back in 2009 and helps consumers make smart financial decisions like “which credit card should I get?” or “what's the best savings account for me?” He left in 2014 and has since focused his time angel investing, primarily in fintech startups. In this episode they discuss... How fintech has evolved over the past decade — and why it’s so hot right now Jake and Chris both worked in finance before becoming entrepreneurs and they talk about how that informed the companies they founded. They talk about the big changes that have happened over the last ten years and why a space that very few founders would touch just a few years ago has become one of the hottest spaces for entrepreneurs and investors. “We all basically know the guidelines around how to be healthy, but we don’t do it, because eating broccoli sucks, and its complicated, and good food is expensive, so there are a lot of reasons why we aren’t going to do it and personal finance is the same way.” — Jake The top financial life hacks, including why Chris says he buys his groceries at OfficeMax People ask me, ‘where do you buy your groceries?’ and I’ll be like, ‘I buy my groceries at OfficeMax, because I buy Whole Foods gift cards at OfficeMax so that I can buy my groceries.’ You have to be kind of crazy to do that but I’m clearly there.” — Chris Chris talks about his obsessive quest for credit card points and why, once you take a lavish vacation using only the points you’ve accrued on your cards, it makes having twelve credit cards and an index card to tell you when to spend on which one all worth it. “I have all these credit cards and I’ve specifically gone in and said, ‘do I spend enough here to make it worth it?’ It might be that I’m the first person to volunteer to plan a trip for friends and they all think ‘wow, I’m getting this awesome benefit, my friend’s planning this trip for me, I don’t have to think about it.’ I’m like, totally, and I will do that for free, but I will put 100% of the flights and hotels on my credit card. I’ll earn the points, you get a free travel agent, and it works out really well for both of us.” — Chris What the future holds for fintech and their favorite companies in the space They talk about the problems they were trying to solve with the companies they co-founded, what remains to be done in the space, and some of their favorite apps for helping you get a handle on your finances. “How do you know if a term life policy is more relevant than investing in your 401k or saving more money or putting it towards your kids’ college? How do you figure all that out? The short answer is you could build a future cash flow model and the bankers in the room are like ‘oh, I already did that’ but 99 percent of people are like ‘I have no idea.’” — Chris The rise of crypto and how it might impact fintech “There are a lot of people in the crypto space who don’t know anything about finance and a lot of people who know a lot about finance getting into crypto who don’t know anything about crypto, so it’ll be interesting to see how that will all evolve.” — Jake It wouldn’t be a tech podcast without talking about crypto, right? They discuss the promise of crypto and which aspects of it are overhyped. “People talk about how tokenizing securities — stocks and bonds and things like that — should make the world better and more efficient. Sure, if you can cut out trading costs, I think that can be helpful, but you don’t necessarily need a blockchain to do that. Additionally, everyone says one of the benefits is it’s tradable 24/7. I don’t think that’s actually a benefit.” — Jake If you want to give Grove a try, check out hellogrove.com/producthunt to get $100 off. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Astra — Save money. Without thinking about it. Cushion — Your bank and credit card fees, refunded. Ease — Benefits administration and HR software. Lively — Zenefits for health savings accounts. Max My Interest— Intelligent cash management for intelligent investors. Mint — The classic automated budget tracker. Plaid — A REST API for your bank. Synapse — The banking platform. Visor — Taxes made simple. Yodlee — Access financial data through an API.
10 July 2019 •
On this episode Abadesi sits down with Reshma Sohoni, co-founder and managing partner of Seedcamp. She co-founded the firm in 2007 and works with the Seedcamp team and their portfolio companies to help push early stage companies from difficult times to household names. In this episode they discuss... How Seedcamp discovers, attracts (and retains!) hidden talent “We do recruit from odd places. Forty percent of our team are working mothers. On the accounting and legal side, it’s a job you can do remotely and can do with kids. We’ve recruited folks who are senior and could be doing other things, but we’ve given them flexibility and they’ve chosen to work with us.” Reshma talks about some of the unique ways they have been able to compete for talent that others in the industry miss. She also talks about why diversity is important to the team and how being authentic about their values has helped them find people who mesh well with the culture. How they’ve built a strong culture at Seedcamp Reshma explains why they have clearly articulated not just want they want their employees to do, but also what they want their employees not to do. They discuss the rule at Seedcamp that a meeting should never produce another meeting, and some of the other ways that they have differentiated their culture from other VC firms. “One of the things we say is that you’re CEO of Function X and you should run it like that. Obviously the negative is, how do you get them to work together and talk to each other? We’re conscious of that. We’ve built in online and offline systems to make sure all those pieces connect together. But that autonomy is a huge part of retention.” Her advice for people who want to work in VC “It helps to do jobs you don’t like early in your career. It’s huge. You really figure out what your weaknesses are and also therefore identify what your strengths are.” Reshma talks a bit about how she got into venture capital, how it has changed and how she would advise young people looking to get into the VC game today. “We don’t do interviews in a traditional style. It’s very much a multi-party dialog around how you’ll fit, what are your ambitions, and how do we help those?” Why founder mental health has been getting more attention and how VCs can help the cause Reshma talks about how they’ve taken a different approach to helping founders when it comes to some of the personal difficulties they face in building a company. She points out that some of these issues are not thing that they can discuss at for example, a board meeting. She says that they are investing in companies that can help alleviate some of these pressures generally, both for founders and others. Which spaces she’s most excited about investing in “We’ve made a number of investments in personalized health. We think that’s the biggest opportunity humanity has had. We believe a lot in that and we’re investing in it.” Reshma talks about some of the products she uses from their portfolio companies and why in addition to the healthcare space, why she’s also excited about FinTech. And of course, they talk about some of her favorite products and what the Seedcamp team uses to stay productive. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Airtable — Realtime spreadsheet-database hybrid. Curve — One place to spend, send, see and save your money. Pleo — A company card that does your expense reports. Revolut — Spend, exchange and send money globally with no fees. Streak — CRM in your inbox, for Gmail. Telegram — The best messenger for every platform. Thriva — Smart finger-prick blood tests you take at home. TransferWise — Send money abroad without hidden and excessive bank fees.
3 July 2019 •
Abadesi talks to Veni Kunche, who is founder and CEO of Code with Veni, a newsletter for women in tech, and Diversify Tech, an awesome online resource for underrepresented groups trying to break into the industry. In this episode they discuss... How she got into tech and her advice for people trying to break into the industry “The first programming class that I ever took was Intro To Java Programming and I got a C in it. That disqualified me from entering the computer science program. I was completely lost and had no idea what to do. I think one of the reasons that I struggled was that a lot of times university intro classes are not actually intro classes. I had no idea what code was but my classmates all seemed to know.” Veni was the first woman in her family to go to college and she describes what that was like as someone who was unfamiliar with all the “unwritten rules” about college and the job market. She also speaks about her father, who is also a software engineer and was the first person in his family to go to college, as her inspiration to get into the industry. She lists her advice for those trying to break into tech, including building a network before you need it, and remembering that everyone is on their own journey and their own path — so don’t sweat it if other people seem to be making more progress than you! How companies can make their recruiting process more suitable for women and underrepresented candidates “Research has shown that women apply only if they meet most of the requirements whereas men apply to a job even if they meet half the requirements. Sometimes people list nice-to-haves in the requirements list in a job description but they need to understand that that may be deterring people from applying.” Veni talks about the difference between the interview process when she was applying for jobs in 1999 and now, and how it has changed (not necessarily for the better). She points out that some candidates need more accommodations and can’t necessarily take an entire day off for an interview. She also shares some of the feedback she’s given CTOs via her job board at Diversify Tech. How she invests in her career capital and keeps up with new developments “I usually need a project to work on. I’m not someone who can learn something just by reading. So usually I make up a project and work on it. That’s how I keep up with the new developments in tech.” Veni describes feeling like she was behind her colleagues when coming back from maternity leave and how she got herself up to speed on new developments in the language they were working in. She talks about the challenges of landing a job when she was first starting out and how she volunteered in order to obtain work experience. Her advice on starting companies and fostering community “Starting a company is like a marathon. It’s not something that you do and just works. The launch is not going to determine if you’ve failed or not. You have to be continuously reflecting on what’s working, what’s not working, what changes you can make, and constantly talking to your customers.” She shares what she’s learned after trying and failing to build a number of different companies and why she found success with Code with Veni and Diversify Tech. She explains the most important factors in building a strong community and why she still runs office hours, the program which was the initial catalyst for her two companies. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Vettery and Copper for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Airtable — Real-time spreadsheet-database hybrid. Baby Connect — Track, log and share information daily about your baby. Self Control — Avoid distracting websites.
26 June 2019 •
Abadesi talks to Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, an online platform that enables creators to sell directly to their customers. Sahil is a very authentic founder who is not afraid to speak uncomfortable truths, as you’ll see in the interview. They talk about... His journey starting Gumroad and what happened when they realized the company wasn’t going to be as successful as they had hoped Sahil was very young when he started Gumroad (he’s only 26 now!) and had worked a couple big tech companies where he saw that “there’s a lot more duct tape in the industry than people realize.” He recounts the ups and downs of the company and what precipitated the events described in his now-famous article. “We raised over ten million dollars from a great list of investors and realized when we were trying to raise a series B that that was unlikely to happen and went from 20 to 5 employees to get to profitability. Then we went from 5 to 1 when I could run the company by myself but luckily we’ve been able to grow the team again. Even though we’ve processed over $200 million for creators, eight years later it still feels like we’re in the first inning, as people say.” He says that a lot of people think they can be the exception to the rule that most companies don’t succeed as much or as fast as they hope they will, and that you should remember that “you’re probably closer to the mean than you think.” Why relationships in Silicon Valley are so transactional Sahil talks about the difficulty of building deep relationships on a personal level in the Valley and how that changed when he moved to Provo, Utah, where he was able to find a support network. He says that people were eager to meet with him when he was perceived as successful but not so much when the company wasn’t doing well. “There’s this transitive property of trust, where if someone that someone trusts gives you an intro to them you’re sort of guaranteed to meet them. I think network-building is better in Silicon Valley than anywhere else but it’s difficult to meet with someone multiple times and build a deep relationship without a clear agenda that’s going to help [one or the other].” Dealing with the psychological ups-and-downs of having your identity as a founder so wrapped up in the fate of your company “On a personal level, you do suffer, because you realize how much you’ve invested in your company and how little in yourself.” He talks about the difficulty of admitting that your company isn’t doing as well as people think and how to find help as a founder: “The only way you can get support is to be open about the thing that you need help with, and when your identity is so wrapped up in something that isn’t working, it’s difficult to be open about that.” He comments on the trend of watching successful founders try to find themselves in public and in real-time on Twitter after their exits: “They have all this time and all this money and they feel anxious and don’t know how to spend their time and don’t know what’s next for them. You realize, that’s my future if I don’t figure this stuff out.” His philosophy of technology, both personally and at Gumroad “Pick a couple things that you really believe in strongly and do the boring, standard things for everything else. The things that you do differently, you really want to invest in doing them differently in the right way. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing things differently the wrong way.” Why he believes so strongly in in-person connection Even with the advent of technologies and tools that make it possible to connect over long distances, he points out that the physical world is much higher fidelity than the digital one: “Technology is great and getting better but nothing replaces being in the same place as another person and breathing the same air.” “Gumroad is great, but if it’s not making people’s lives physically better, it’s not worth it.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Embroker and Vettery for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode GitHub — The world’s leading software development platform. Notion — Increase your team intelligence. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search. Wikipedia — The free encyclopedia. YouTube — The video-sharing site. Zoom — Cloud videoconferencing and simple online meetings.
19 June 2019 •
Abadesi is back to host this episode with Saron Yitbarek, founder and CEO of CodeNewbie and the Codeland conference. Saron is a former journalist who started working in the tech industry and then pivoted to a technical role after learning to code from scratch. Aba and Saron talk about... What inspired her to get into tech, and the story of going from journalist to software engineer “Cold emailing will get you far in life.” Saron describes how reading the Walter Isaacson book about Steve Jobs showed her that tech can be about design and storytelling and that tech had a human side that fit with her liberal arts background. She explains how she got her first job at a tech company without any tech experience by cold emailing several founders in NYC. “Transitioning into a new career is hard. It’s a lot harder than we’ve been telling people that it is.” Her journey learning to code, including what she learned from the failed attempts “I said to myself I’m going to do this full-time, I’m going to give myself a month to see if I like it and I’m not allowed to quit until the month is over. This time I said to myself, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to suck but let’s give it a month and we’ll see if it sucks less at the end of the month. And it did — it sucked less, so I continued and went about my coding journey.” Saron talks about some of the resources she used and why having the right resources made a big difference in her eventual success. She also talks about starting the CodeNewbie community and why having a supportive community around you when learning to code is important. How to get the most out of coding bootcamps and how to find a great job “Your network is absolutely everything. When you’re hearing the success stories, what I’d like to know is how did that person actually get that job? Did they know a friend at the company? Do they live in San Francisco? Are they already working at a tech company in a non-technical role?” Saron points out that it's important to manage your expectations coming out of a coding bootcamp. “I think there is this expectation oftentimes that if I go through the bootcamp and graduate, I’m going to automatically get a job without having to go through the job search. If you go into it with that mindset, you’re going to be frustrated if it’s been a couple months and you still don’t have a job.” How the landscape for learning to code has changed She explains how bootcamps have evolved over time: “I think that there is a deeper understanding of what it really takes to learn how to code and what it takes to be job-ready. Some of the programs are a little bit longer and more in-depth. They’re not trying to cover all things but instead the fundamental things. There’s a maturity in the space where we have a better understanding of what companies are actually looking for.” She also talks about some of the communities and resources that have popped up since she was learning how to code. Her unique formula for staying organized and productive “Any time someone gives me a task I pull up my calendar and I will give myself a block of time to do a task. I end up with a timesheet for myself with everything I’ve been doing in a day. At the end of the month, I can tally it up in a spreadsheet and see exactly how I’m using my time.” She also talks about some of the apps her and her team uses to stay on top of their time and their work. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Monday.com and Embroker for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Codecademy — Learn to code for free. Dev.to — Where programmers share ideas and help each other grow. Equitable — Split the bill fairly. Flatiron School — Learn coding, data science and UX/UI design. Google Calendar — Spend less time managing your day. Google Drive — Free cloud storage for personal use. Grasshopper — The coding app for beginners by Google. Lambda School — A full computer science education — free until you get a job. New York Times Crossword — A smart way to fill the breaks in your day. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search. Treehouse — Learn to code, gain a new skill, get a new job. Trello — Organize anything, together.
12 June 2019 •
Scott Kupor joins Ryan on this episode to talk about his new book, Secrets of Sand Hill Road. Scott is Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz and has been at the firm since it was founded. He has a long history with Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, including working alongside them at Opsware in the early 2000s. Ryan and Scott talk about... How venture capital has changed over the past decade “The biggest shift has been the massive amount of seed funding growth that has happened. Something like five hundred new firms focusing on seed have been formed in the last ten years in the US alone.” Scott also points out that even though there has been an explosion in seed funding, it's still the case that less than 10% of all venture capital dollars are deployed at the seed stage. “You’ve got this interesting dichotomy, which massive new company formation happening at the seed stage but a winnowing down of the opportunities and increasingly more capital going to winners in particular ecosystems as they mature.” They also discuss the fact that companies are taking much longer to IPO now than they did in the past, and why that trend is here to stay. Advice for founders in the new investment landscape Scott talks about how founders need to adapt to the new investment landscape and walks through some of the biggest mistakes that founders make when they are trying to raise money. “It’s cheaper than ever to start a company today and we’ve got incredible amounts of seed funding but it’s also more expensive than ever to actually scale the businesses because the markets you can go after are much bigger and people realize they have to look at international markets in parallel.” The future of venture capital Ryan asks what the biggest potential disruptor to venture capital could be in the next five to ten years. “Capital is definitely no longer a scarce resource and therefore if you’re relying on capital to differentiate yourself in the market, that’s not a good place to be. Whether [the future] is ICOs or crowdfunding, I think we’ve permanently gone into a place where you have to provide something other than money to be competitive. I think we’re also going to see more blending between the private markets and the public markets.” How to think about the long-term relationship between your company and your investors “It turns out that most VC relationships will last longer than the average marriage in the US, which unfortunately only lasts about eight years. Sometimes you’ll be involved with VCs for ten to twelve years, so it really goes to this fundamental question of understanding the VC’s incentives but also being very clear as an entrepreneur what you expect from your VC.” “We think about these financing rounds as though they’re episodic because they are, but they’re a part of a continuum and anything you do that doesn’t play well for subsequent investors is probably the biggest mistake I see on both the investor side and the entrepreneur side.” How a VC thinks and how to understand their incentive structure Scott pulls back the curtain on VC to explain how an early-stage investor thinks about evaluating your company. “The question ultimately for an early stage VC is, imagine if this company worked — what could it become? And then the real question that follows from that is, why would I want to back this team versus any number of other teams that might have the same idea.” Ryan also tells the story of walking into Andreessen Horowitz in sneakers and a Product Hunt kitty t-shirt to pitch the company and finding himself speaking to nearly twenty people. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Monday.com and Embroker for their support. 😸
31 May 2019 •
Ryan and Wade Foster have known each other through the internet for years before recently meeting in person in Mountain View. Ryan learned so much from the coffee chat that he asked if Wade would join the podcast to share some of his stories scaling Zapier. Like Product Hunt, Zapier is a fully distributed team, although they're much bigger with 200 people in over 20 countries. They're helping makers create no-code apps and helping everyone get work done more efficiently. Ryan and Wade talk about... Learnings from scaling a distributed team and Zapier's “delocation package” “We went through YC in summer 2012, and for the summer all three founders worked and lived together. That was the only time period in our company’s history where everyone was in the same location.” Zapier is a very large distributed team, with over 200 people working completely remotely. They've only worked together one time in their history, when the founders were all at YC together in 2012. Wade talks about some of the benefits to working in a distributed team, including the fact that he has “effectively a teleportation machine” that can transport him from meeting to meeting in seconds by taking calls via Zoom, instead of having to find an open meeting room and switch between physical locations. Zapier came up with a unique “delocation package.” As a distributed team, they offer people living in the Bay Area $10,000 to move out of the Bay Area, which a few employees have taken them up on so far. Wade talks about how they make sure that everyone is on the same page in a fast-growing, distributed team: “A big task that you have to do as you get bigger, is alignment. Alignment is simpler when there are fewer people. When you get bigger, you can do a lot more, which is exciting, but good smart people can pick different paths to go down, which don't necessarily solve for the customer's needs. The last 18 months we’ve worked really hard to create an OKR system that creates alignment across all these different teams.” Managing team dynamics in a fast-growing organization Wade talks about how managing a big team is different than a small team, and why CEOs need to pay attention to how the team is working together and how everyone is feeling about their work. “The larger your org gets, the law of large numbers kicks in. If, say, 1% of your company is angry about something in a given day, you get to 200 people that means every day 2 people might be pretty angry about something. If you make a mistake, maybe 5-10 people are pretty angry about something. For someone who’s a natural people-pleaser, that can wear on you.” Wade explains why it can be difficult to hire from within in a company that is growing exponentially. “If the needs of the company outpace the needs of the individual, which is often common in these companies that are growing exponentially, there are very few people who can rise through the proverbial management ranks fast enough to match the growth of the company.” What it's like to be CEO and the “cheat code” that CEOs get to keep in their back pocket “CEOs get a cheat code, which I think is fair because CEOs have a crazy hard job in so many different ways. We get to hire people. If you feel like any function isn’t being successful, you get the opportunity y to go hire the best leader you can possibly find in the world. As a CEO, your job is to assemble the best team and so if you do your job right you should probably be the dumbest person in your executive team to a degree.” Wade also talks the system he adapted from Dharmesh Shah at HubSpot to denote how urgent his communications with the team are (or aren't). They have a set of hashtags that Wade uses alongside his emails and Slack messages to make clear whether urgent action is required or not. Sometimes employees feel that any email from the CEO means action needs to be taken right away but this system ensures everyone is on the same page. His thoughts on the no-code movement “If you’ve got an idea and you really aren’t an engineer, you can get something up and running that is pretty good in a couple hours. I think it’s just fantastic because it allows many more people to get their ideas out into the world.” Zapier is a big part of the no-code movement and Wade and Ryan talk about some of the coolest projects they've seen built by makers without writing code and some of the products being used alongside Zapier in the no-code movement. “I imagine we’ll find that more and more companies are built with off-the-shelf software, which feels pretty powerful for society to enable the 99% of us who are not engineers unleash our creativity on the world.” Joel also talks about some of this favorite products and the software the company uses to collaborate. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot, Monday.com, and Embroker for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Airtable — Real-time spreadsheet-database hybrid. Coda — It's a new day for docs. GitHub — The world's leading software development platform. Hubspot — Sales and marketing software. Jira — Issue and project-tracking software. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search. Typeform — Makes asking questions easy, human and beautiful. Webflow — All-in-one web design platform. Workona — Transform Chrome into a professional work tool for free. Zoom — Cloud video conferencing and simple online meetings.
29 May 2019 •
On this episode Ryan is joined by Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer, a simple tool manage all your social media accounts. We've been avid users, big fans, and paying customers for years. In this episode Ryan and Joel talk about... Joel's roundabout journey from the UK to the US via Hong Kong and Israel Joel started Buffer with his co-founder in the UK. They lived only thirty minutes away from one another but worked remotely most of the time, preferring Skype calls and chats. After moving to the Bay Area, they ended up having to leave the US because they weren't able to get visas. He tells the story of how they decided where to go next. “We were unable to get our visas, so we had to leave the US. I remember the three of us in an apartment in San Francisco looking at Google Maps, thinking ‘where should we go?’ We ended up going to Hong Kong for six months and then to Israel for three months.” What it's like to manage an 85-person completely distributed team “David Cancel, who’s at Drift now gave me really good advice. He said either go fully remote or have an office with everyone in the same place. He said it’s hard to make it work when you’re in between those two scenarios.” Joel talks about the advantages of a distributed team, including why distributed workers tend to have more loyalty and retention with a company than Bay Area employees. He also gives his advice for setting up and running a distributed team. “We actually went out of our way to hire the next few people outside the Bay Area just to makes sure we were really distributed and not ending up with people who felt like second-class citizens.” Buffer's extreme transparency and how that endears the company to its customers Joel is one of the most vulnerable and open CEOs you'll find. He talks about how he started writing on the company blog about all the highs and lows that Buffer was experiencing and how it benefitted the company in ways that you might not expect. Buffer also publicly shares their formula for determining salaries as well as the salaries of every individual in the company. Joel explains how this is empowering to employees. “It’s just fulfilling and liberating to open up and share. I feel like it keeps us honest and doing the right things.” He says that transparency made the company more human and that both customers and non-customers felt like they were “along for the ride” when they could learn about the interior workings of the company. [When facing scaling challenges and angry customers] “...we would try to be very responsive on social media and email. When you’re sharing things transparently, you’re building up that trust with customers and very quickly those situations turned around into overwhelming support from customers — and even non-customers, just people cheering us on as a company.” Why (in a very unorthodox move) Buffer bought out their investors last year Joel explains their unique approach to company-building. He talks about how they broached the topic with their investors that Buffer might not be seeking the typical VC exit — and how they found VCs willing to partner with them on those terms. “We shared in the negotiations that there was a good chance that we might never want to sell the company or go public.” Of course, Joel also talks about some of his favorite products as well. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot and Monday.com for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode Discourse — Civilized discussion for your community. Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made. Threads — Empower your team to discuss and make decisions at scale.
22 May 2019 •
Web Smith has a long history working in direct-to-consumer and e-commerce. He managed marketing spend for Rogue, a leading sports goods manufacturer back in 2011 before co-founding Mizzen + Main and later joining Gear Patrol. In 2015 he founded 2PM, a B2B media company for the commerce industry and advises leading executives in the space. Through 2PM Web also invests in early-stage DTC brands and platforms that support the consumer ecosystem. If you've ever thought about starting your own DTC brand or online shop, you'll want to heed Web's advice. In this episode Ryan and Web talk about... The state of direct-to-consumer today “It’s going to become a battle to discern which companies have sticking power and what a possible exit will look like. Casper’s potential IPO will set a standard for other brands looking to exit. We’re also looking at a lot of companies developing holding companies for these types of brands.” Web points out that only 12% of transactions are e-commerce today — the remaining 88% comes via physical retail. Trends in the industry and how it has evolved over the years “The industry’s filling up pretty quickly. It’s a really dense area for people who want to become founders. They’re highly educated, from great schools, and funding is easy to come by in the DTC space for the time being. So they’re coming out of the gates from Wharton or wherever with millions of dollars in the bank and they’re probably going to get to the next milestone because they have the right founders, the right teams, and the right money. That’s the story of tens if not hundreds of consumer brands in the last two years.” Direct-to-consumer has for several years been a hot area for founders and investors. He talks about some of the trends he's seen in the space, including which growth strategies have been effective and how companies will need to evolve in the coming years as the landscape shifts. They also discuss companies like Casper and Warby Parker getting into brick-and-mortar sales, even as they are the poster children for the disruption of brick-and-mortar. What Web would do if he was creating a direct-to-consumer brand today “If I was starting a DTC brand today, I would actually start with a media company. I would launch a newsletter or blog a year or two before. It’s worth your while to develop an organic base of people that are interested in the product that they have. I know that sounds counterintuitive but you’re seeing a premium on the brands that have that type of organic acquisition” He says that paid acquisition is a commonly used strategy by DTC CMOs but that it is quickly becoming cost-prohibitive. He predicts that companies will need to adapt to different models in the future. How to think about defensibility for direct-to-consumer companies “[Ask yourself] Who are the people defending their purchases? How are they talking about their purchases to their friends and loved ones? How loyal are they? Will they come back to buy the next thing that you sell? That’s an element of defensibility that goes a bit unconsidered.” Web points out that there are plenty of informal brand ambassadors for companies with strong brands. He says that the word-of-mouth spread of brand affinities is an underrated aspect of defensibility. How direct-to-consumer companies can create a community around their brand “When Nike released the ad with Colin Kaepernick, Nike knew what it was doing. It was going to polarize the customer base and the folks that were on their side would spend a lot of time and energy defending Nike’s decision and that would amplify the brand for those defenders.” He says that companies need to think about their consumers in terms of one-to-many relationships instead of the one-to-one model that has been the primary model to date. Web talks about some of the communities that are forming around certain brands and how companies can encourage the creation of those communities. They also discuss some of their favorite e-commerce or direct-to-consumer brands and companies, and Web breaks down why those companies have been successful. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot for their support. 😸 Companies and Products Mentioned In This Episode AdoreMe — The new face of lingerie. Away — Beautiful, direct-to-consumer luggage. Chubbies — Radical shorts for your weekend. Lacroix — Naturally essenced sparkling water. Loop Fitness Tracker — Activity band with heart rate variance and smart guidance. Philz — Ryan's favorite coffee. Recess — Sparkling water infused with hemp extract and adaptogens. ThirdLove — Better bra sizing through a self-measuring iPhone app.
15 May 2019 •
AJ is mysterious. He's a maker who goes by his initials only and is the creator of Carrd, an awesome tool for creating one-page websites without any code. AJ lives in Nashville and built Carrd entirely himself. He's a bootstrapped, solo entrepreneur and maker who's been able to make a great living building a product people love and pay for. Luckily, he agreed to be recorded without voice masking, as Startup L Jackson requested, when Park— er, Startup L Jackson came on in the first incarnation of Product Hunt Radio. In this episode Ryan and AJ talk about... How AJ started Carrd as a side project which morphed into a full-blown business... “It started out as trying to make my life easier but ended up making users’ lives easier as well. A one-page site builder sounds innocuous, but you’d be surprised at the directions something like this can go.” He explains how he started Carrd and why he decided not to take on the large, multi-page site builders of the world. ... and how Carrd's users transformed it into something new entirely as an outlet for their creativity. “Trends in web design means everything moves together and kind of starts to all look the same. It’s nice to see people using Card to build websites that look unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” Among many other applications of the platform that AJ says he couldn't have foreseen, there has also been an unexpected takeover of Carrd by K-Pop fans who use it to create customized fan sites that look very... unique. AJ explains how he thinks about the direction of the platform and how he handles feature requests... “I try to take most new feature requests and figure out whether this is something that really only service one niche, and if so, is it a big enough niche to justify implementing that feature? But I prefer to implement things that would work for multiple groups of people. I try to look at them and think, ‘how can I distill this down to something that’s a bit more general-purpose that others can get use out of?’” ... and how inspiring it is to see the next generation of makers creating their own projects based on the platform. “It tells you that you can do this, you don’t have to just consume, you can create, you can get out there just like everyone else and make something. It doesn’t have to just be a one-way thing. I’m glad that Card is included in this even though I didn’t intend it to be included in the sphere of no-code tools. That’s probably the coolest part of this entire thing to me.” Some of the sites that users have created are in Ryan's words, “so internet in the best way” and are a great way for people to get into creating things on the web, which is reminiscent of the way that people creating amazing apps today got their start hacking their MySpace pages. They also discuss what it's like to work at a single-person startup... “The day-to-day is fundamentally just me in front of a computer, just hacking away at this thing. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get lonely. Remote work has only been a thing people have done recently. I don’t think we’ve fully realized the implications of what it means to spend your day working alone away from human interaction.” AJ recently brought in someone to help with content moderation, but otherwise he's created, built, and scaled Carrd himself. He opens up about some of the “mistakes” he's made along the way and what he would do differently next time. He also talks about the tools he uses to build the platform. ... and why the discussion around whether a company should take venture capital or not is flawed. He talks about whether he would want to take on venture capital and points out that people get caught up in a false dichotomy. He says that we need a more nuanced discussion of what the right type of funding is for a company that takes into account the company's age and stage. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Pilot for their support. 😸
8 May 2019 •
In 2013, Danielle Morrill was just starting up her blog, and writing about startups from a unique, data-driven lens. The blog turned out to be an MVP for what would later become Mattermark, a company she co-founded with her husband, Kevin Morrill, and Andy Sparks. Danielle's blog was also unique in that she opened up publicly about some of the challenges she was facing at the time, such as feeling lonely as a founder. She also admits to being a “secret introvert” and how over time, even with the level of transparency she brought to her writing, blogging “came to feel a bit like performance art.” “There’s so much content online but a lot of it is very impersonal... Pain is a little easier too bear when you share it. Sometimes it’s easy to believe when we’re struggling we’re going through something no one else has been through. But it’s not true.” In 2017, Mattermark was acquired by FullContact and Danielle moved to Denver Colorado, where she now resides. Danielle recently joined devops platform GitLab as GM of Meltano, a developer workflow tool. In this episode Ryan and Danielle talk about... Her love of reading, the mind-expanding power of fiction, and her book recommendations. Danielle admits that until recently, when she was on sabbatical, she hadn't read many of the classic “startup books.” She's checked many of those off her list now, but she still loves fiction for its mind-expanding power. She says that she thought of herself as a fairly worldly person before she started reading fiction. “I understand a lot more about emotions like empathy and compassion after reading fiction. Each time you read a new book, you try on these new characters’ lives and you get new perspective.” You can follow Danielle on Goodreads, “one of the most underrated social networks.” She loves to give book recommendations. They also discuss... The tools and strategies Danielle uses to track her time and stay productive, and how she ensures she makes time for solitude and self-reflection. Danielle runs through the tools she uses to manage her time and how her routine of Sunday planning and reflection lets her make sure ahead of time she won't have regrets about how she spent her time that week. She talks about the importance of solitude and says that she blocks out time for it in her calendar. “The blog was a good outlet but in a way it became another form of performance art. There’s always more truth you don’t share. There’s the internal work of constantly working towards some kind of coherent story about your life. Journaling, working out, or other things that cause you to have to be in solitude are good for that.” She also talks about what it was like to move from Silicon Valley to Colorado and what it was like to have a co-founder who's also a spouse. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Spoka and Pilot for their support. 😸 Companies, Authors, Books and Products Mentioned in This Episode Goodreads — The social network for book lovers. Gyroscope — See the complete story of your life. Haruki Murakami Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides
1 May 2019 •
Lee Jacobs and Brian Balfour join Ryan at AngelList HQ for this week's episode. Back in the day, Lee was one of the first syndicate leads on AngelList and later went on to join as a Partner. He previously started an education marketplace startup called Campus Dock. Ryan got to know Lee at AngelList a few years ago, when Lee was kind enough to help him craft his deck as he went out to raise his first fund. Lee is now a full-time investor with his own fund, Edelweiss, which he started with Brian Balfour, Elaine Wherry, and Todd Masonis. Brian Balfour invests part-time at Edelweiss and spends the majority of his time as CEO of Reforge, a professional education program for experienced practitioners. We've had some of our teammates here at Product Hunt go through the program. Prior to Reforge, Brian was the VP of Growth at HubSpot, EIR at Trinity Ventures, and the founder of several startups including Boundless Learning, POPSignal, and Viximo. In this episode we talk about: What kinds of questions Lee and Brian ask founders when they first meet them Some of the mistakes that first-time fund managers make and how to avoid them How to think about fund strategy and why the style of your fund should match your personality The importance of cultivating resilience, both as a founder and as an investor Of course, we talk about some of their favorite products as well. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Bubble, Spoka, and Dipsea for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Investing is actually a very time consuming thing. For any operators out there who are also thinking about investing, I would highly encourage you to consider finding a partner who has a completely opposite superpower than you.” — Brian “The key is figuring out who you are, what your investor-strategy fit is, and designing a strategy and a way that you’re going to get deal flow and what the right check size is going to be, based on who you are uniquely.” — Lee “There are some investors out there who are very thesis-driven and others that are very people-driven. The more I do this, the more I realize that we are not the best at forming and finding the most interesting ideas and markets. With so much interesting stuff going on, I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know how it is going to play out. The entrepreneurs and people who have an organic connection are going to be the ones to find the interesting problems.” — Brian Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Dandelion Chocolate — A bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District in San Francisco. Five Minute Journal — The simplest, most effective way to be happier every day. Krisp — Mute background noise during calls. TweetDeck — Create a custom Twitter experience. Twttr — Twitter's new prototype app. YouTube TV— YouTube takes on the cable providers.
24 April 2019 •
Today I'm joined by Everette Taylor, a fellow entrepreneur and community builder that I got to know back when he was building GrowthHackers.com five years ago. But well before this, Everette began his founder journey starting (and then selling) an events business in his teenage years. He later went on to join a few startups to run marketing and growth, including Skurt (a company I regularly used prior to its acquisition) and StickerMule (a company that makes our awesome Product Hunt stickers). Today Everette runs ET Enterprises, a collection of businesses that include PopSocial, Hayver, Millisense, and his newest venture, ArtX. In this episode we talk about: Everette's path to entrepreneurship, including dropping out of school The importance of being authentic in everything you do Some of his favorite self-care apps We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to Bubble, Spoka, and Dipsea for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “We get so caught up in portraying an image that isn’t real or isn’t true and I think the best way to grow is just being genuine and true to who you are because people are going to see through it. What’s the point in building a huge brand and then getting exposed later for it not being true?” — Everette “Don’t get so caught up on the top layer of things, because at the end of the day if you’re able to build a skillset or provide value in some type of way, that’s where the magic really happens.” — Everette “Even though I started my own company I felt like I wasn’t really experienced in the startup space. I got offered an opportunity and I left literally a week later — dropped out of school and the rest was history.” — Everette Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Apple Music— All the ways you love music, all in one place. Cash App — Send money instantly. ChowNow — Online ordering built just for your restaurant. GOAT — The most trusted way to buy and sell sneakers on mobile. Headspace — Learn to meditate and live mindfully. Philz — Order your coffee ahead. PopSocial — Grow your social media brand. Roadtrip — A music listening app where you and your friends jam out together. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving and search. Soothe — Massage delivered to you. Spotify — Music for everyone. Stripe — Payment integration and management. Tidal — Lossless music streaming service, backed by JAY-Z. Venmo — Make and share payments with friends.
17 April 2019 •
In today's episode, Ryan interviews Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front. Front is a shared inbox for your team and the company is used by startups big and small. They raised a whopping $66 million from Sequoia last year. Mathilde and Ryan met at Y Combinator, when they were in the same batch in Summer 2014. It was at that time that Ryan recognized something special about Mathilde and her team: they build fast and embrace a very transparent culture, which has no doubt led to their success. In this episode we talk about: Why it's important as a founder to remain humble. Why, contrary to reports of its demise, email is *not *dying. How Mathilde manages company culture at a fast-growing startup with offices in both San Francisco and Paris. The products she uses to stay sane and productive. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to FreshBooks, Bubble, Spoka, and Dipsea for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “There are two types of people: there are people that join the company because it’s most likely going to be successful and there are people that join because they want to make it successful. You should try to understand if the person is joining because they want to be part of the adventure or because they want to build this adventure.” — Mathilde “People seem to be pretty happy at Front, so I try to understand why. I asked them, 'why are you happy?' The most frequent answer was the fact that they understand how their work relates to the bigger vision that we have.” — Mathilde “It’s super important to hire people who are confident enough that they won’t care if something doesn’t work because the biggest mistake you can make is not acknowledging something isn’t working and keeping doing it. Self-confidence is something that I’ve been looking for in most hires.” — Mathilde Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Five Minute Journal — The simplest, most effective way to be happier every day. Front — Efficient email for teams. Headspace — Learn to meditate and live mindfully.
10 April 2019 •
In today's episode we talk to two expert storytellers in startupland — who also happen to be Ryan's good friends. Carmel DeAmicis is an editor (aka word wiz) at Figma, a company that's reinventing how people design software and which recently announced a $40M round led by Sequoia. Prior to joining Figma, Ryan met Carmel when she was a reporter at Pando. She was the first journalist to write about Product Hunt and later went on to join GigaOM and Recode. Camille Ricketts is another friend and veteran storyteller. She recently joined Notion, a hot startup building an all-in-one workspace for your notes, docs, and to-dos. Prior to joining Notion she spent nearly five years at First Round, starting and leading their content and marketing efforts. You've likely read one or many of her First Round Review articles. Earlier in her career she was a reporter at Wall Street Journal and VentureBeat and also worked at Tesla, Kiva, and the White House. In this episode we talk about: How to tell the story of your startup. Both Camille and Carmel are former reporters and they share some of the secrets they've honed over the years on what to do and what not to do when it comes to crafting the narrative around your company. How Carmel and Camille ended up in their respective jobs at Figma and Notion, why it's important to take time between jobs to find the right role, and how to leverage your network to find out what a company is really like on the inside. The wild, weird, wonderful world of TikTok, and why the constraints it imposes generate such creativity. Carmel talks about opening up the app to check it out for the first time and ending up staying up until three in the morning watching TikToks. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Big thanks to FreshBooks, Bubble, and Dipsea for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “It’s easy to tell a story about a company that just comes out as a collection of features but the better way to tell the story is to emphasize the outcomes that your audience actually wants.” — Camille “At Notion, they have pictures of Engelbart. At Figma, they threw a party on a Sunday on the exact 50th anniversary of the famous 'Mother of All Demos.'” — Carmel [In thinking about which company to join next] “You go through this conversion funnel where you maximize activity at the top of the funnel by emailing anyone who might have an idea for you, and then you winnow it down.” — Camille Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Figma — Styles, prototyping and design at scale. Notion — Increase your team intelligence. Superhuman — The best email experience ever made. TikTok — A creative music video clip maker.
3 April 2019 •
Two active makers in the Product Hunt community join Ryan at AngelList in San Francisco for this week's episode of Product Hunt Radio. Hiten Shah was recently awarded Product Hunt Community Member of the year. While that's the honor of a lifetime, he's also accomplished much more than that. He co-founded a few SaaS companies over the years, including KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg (which is still going strong after 13 years). He's now working on FYI, a tool that makes it super easy to find your documents in a few clicks. Marie Prokopets is also a co-founder at FYI. Prior to jumping into the tech scene she was Director at Diageo, a spirit and wine company, and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers. In this episode we talk about: How Marie and Hiten built FYI. They talk about the challenges they faced in their product development process and how they've learned from them. Marie's transition from working in a big company (where she occasionally rode on private jets) to founder of a startup. The story of the MVP they built in just five days, and the tools they use to gather feedback from users. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList, FreshBooks and Bubble for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “If you want to get a few users using your product, that’s easy. Getting tons of usage or high retention takes a lot of work. Nail your product and then scale it is my new mantra these days.” — Hiten “We discovered we were solving the wrong problem and there was a completely different problem that we had the opportunity to solve. Sometimes you make mistakes but the really important thing is what did you learn from that?” — Marie “When I started, it was much easier to build something, launch it and get a whole bunch of users. Now it’s easier than ever to put something out — it’s harder than ever to make it work.” — Hiten Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Airtable — Realtime spreadsheet-database hybrid. Bear — A beautiful, flexible writing app for notes and prose. Coda — It's a new day for docs. Confluence — An open and shared workspace for teams. FYI — Find your documents, like magic. Glide — Create mobile apps from Google Sheets. Meadow — On-demand medical marijuana delivery. Notion — Increase your team intelligence. OneTab — Save memory by converting all your open tabs into a list. Periscope — 150X faster data analysis. Quip — Beautiful documents on any device. Vesper (RIP) — An elegant way to record your thoughts. Zapier — Connect and automate 500+ web apps.
27 March 2019 •
In this episode Ryan visits Shots Studios HQ in Los Angeles to chat with the company's CEO John Shahidi (aka @john on Twitter). John and the Shots Studios team have a unique background. Ryan met John and his brother, a co-founder of the company, nearly five years ago when they were building a social network for teens. The app had no likes, comments, follower counts, or other mechanics that often enable anxiety and bullying. Their mission was to create a more positive and healthy community. They've since pivoted and built a massive network of artists, comedians, and creators that includes Alesso, Anwar, Rudy Mancuso, Lele Pons, and Anitta. In this episode we talk about: How entertainment business models have changed with the evolution of streaming platforms. Why Vine had such a major influence on the current generation of content creators. The end of the 22-minute-long TV episode. We also talk about some of John's favorite products and podcasts. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList, FreshBooks and Bubble for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Vine changed entertainment… What Vine did that no one else did is it taught a very young audience how to create a story in six seconds — beginning, middle and end.” “The streaming platforms are in the business of minutes on platform. They care about time on platform and don’t care if it’s an hour-and-a-half movie or ten nine-minute episodes. They don’t care, as long as people open up the app and stay on platform.” “Now I open up YouTube and it takes me to home, which is not what I subscribe to, it’s not trending, it’s just what the machine knows that I want and they’re almost always right.” Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Shots Studios — Entertainment company, production studio, and talent management firm. Snap — A new way to share the world. Spotify Canvas — Full-screen vertical video artwork for albums. Vine (RIP) — A community for sharing six-second video clips. YouTube — The essential video hosting site.
20 March 2019 •
On this episode, Abadesi talks to Austen Allred, co-founder and CEO of Lambda School. Lambda School is a pioneer in the income-sharing agreement (ISA) space. They offer live online courses in software development, data science and design that are free until you get a job, at which point you re-pay a capped portion of your income to Lambda School. In this episode we talk about: Austen's adventures abroad prior to starting Lambda School, including what he learned through his travels as a missionary in Ukraine, and the time he booked a one-way ticket to Shanghai on a whim. The challenges inherent in the inflexibility of education and how Lambda School is hoping to change the traditional model of how people train for and find careers. Austen's leadership style at Lambda, why he took venture capital even though he had earlier said he would never do so, and how they work as a distributed team. We also talk about some of the tools that Austen and the team at Lambda School use to stay productive. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList, FreshBooks and Bubble for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Not much can influence somebody’s life and their outlook so much as their income. It’s crazy to me that there’s not a way of rapidly shifting people to where they should be in the economy.” — Austen “I crave that steep learning curve and the adventure of being extremely uncomfortable. You underestimate just how difficult day-to-day life can be when you’re trying to learn a second language.” — Austen “The problem that you want to solve is a problem that’s been around for a long time, it’s something that’s fundamental to humans — it’s not a side problem.” — Austen Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode AirPods — Wireless headphones from Apple. Amazon Echo — Smart speaker you control with your voice. Notion — The all-in-one workspace. Pocket — Save and read news, articles and videos that fuel your mind. Slack — Messaging for teams. Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made.
13 March 2019 •
On this episode, Ryan sits down with Eric Bahn from Hustle Fund in San Francisco. Hustle Fund invests in what they call “hilariously-early hustlers.” Prior to co-founding the fund, Eric worked in a number of operating roles, including as a product manager at Intuit, co-founder of a gaming company, founder of a startup to serve MBA students (that was later acquired), product manager at Facebook, co-founder of a media company called The Hustle, and EIR at 500 Startups (phew!). On this episode we take you behind the curtain to break down exactly how venture capital works. We talk about: Eric's advice on how to break into venture capital if you've never worked in the space before. Some of the common misconceptions about VC, including how much venture capitalists are actually paid (spoiler alert: unless you're at a big fund, it's not as much as you think). Hustle Fund's investing thesis, including their unique data-driven approach to investing in early stage companies. We also talk about the rise of “no code” and some of the best apps that are letting makers create amazing products without writing code. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Fundamentally our jobs are the most blessed in the world because we just surround ourselves with people who have a worldview, have a product, have an idea, that they wholeheartedly believe in. They’ve taken all the sacrifices to make that happen and you and I may not agree all the time with whether their vision is the correct one to be successful but it only leaves you with optimism.” — Eric “Our thesis is driven by the notion that the single best leading indicator of success for a team — that is discernible at the pre-seed stage, is this characteristic called hustle. Whatever the core metrics that are relevant for your business, the teams that are growing aggressively against those metrics tend to grind out the best results over time.” — Eric “These folks will look amazing on paper — maybe they worked at Facebook or Google or something previously, went to Stanford or MIT, checks all the boxes, and then you watch them work and you realize that person who was successful in the context of a larger company with more resources doesn’t necessarily have the skills that translate to cold-starting a business from scratch in a world of entropy where there’s no rules and no structure.” — Eric Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Bubble — Build a fully functional web app without any code. Retool — Build custom internal tools in minutes. Webflow — Build professional dynamic websites without any code. Articles Mentioned In This Episode Mark Suster, Both Sides: Invest in Lines, Not Dots Kate Clark, TechCrunch: This Is How Much VCs Are Paid
6 March 2019 •
On this episode, Abadesi talks to Matt Navarra, a social media consultant from the UK. He is a self-described “Facebook geek” who has worked in digital communications for the UK government and was previously social media director at The Next Web. In this episode: Matt analyzes current trends in the social media landscape, including whether the current craze around ephemeral content is here to stay. He lays out his predictions for the future of social media 10-20 years from now, talks about the potential benefits of regulation of social media, and why algorithms need to have ethics. Matt also provides a ton of tips for founders and makers to help grow their social media following. We of course also talk about some of his favorite products to help up your social media game, tools that social media managers can't live without, and the smart home devices he loves. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes From This Episode “If we were to spin forwards 10-20 years from now, I think that social media will look completely different. We’ve seen social media climb up the hill of ‘oh, this is amazing, we can share everything, we can touch everyone with everything we do in our lives…’ and now we’re on a downhill slide where people are saying actually this is not good. Having everyone able to talk to everyone openly with no censorship just doesn’t work.” — Matt “One of the big reasons that Facebook is pushing us towards Facebook Stories is to do with ad revenue growth. Within News Feed at the moment you probably see an ad every sixth or seventh post. If they try to increase that and you were getting an ad every third or fourth post, that really deteriorates the quality of the experience. So Stories is a whole new innovative format for brands to advertise on.” — Matt “Don’t worry about trying to be on every single platform. Think about who is your audience in terms of location, age, their interests. How does that marry up with the product or service that you’re selling? Use that to guide you towards the most appropriate platform.” — Matt Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Beam — Create video and slideshow posts for social media. Google Assistant — Your own personal Google, always ready to help. Kinzen — Refresh your news routine. NewsWhip — Check how viral your content is. Parse.ly Pulse — Understand audience attention. Philips Hue — Programmable internet-connected lightbulbs. Twitcher — Switch Twitter accounts without having to sign out/sign in.
27 February 2019 •
On this episode, Abadesi interviews Linda Xie, co-founder of Scalar Capital. Scalar Capital is a San Francisco-based hedge fund specializing in crypto assets. Linda is also an advisor to 0x and former product manager at Coinbase. In this episode: Her extraordinary story of hustling to get a job at Coinbase, what it was like growing with the company as it scaled from only a few employees to one of the best-known companies in crypto, then leaving the company to start a fund with a fellow employee. How she first became interested in crypto (back when Bitcoin was $200), the coolest projects she's come across in the space, and the most exciting (and world-changing) applications of cryptocurrencies. The investing thesis at Scalar Capital, what kinds of companies they're looking to invest in, and how they use the power of communities to source deals. Of course, we also talk about some of her favorite products and what she uses to become more productive, including a chatbot that can improve your emotional health, a way to simplify scheduling meetings, and an app that lets you save highlights from physical books by taking a picture with your phone. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I feel like people know a lot about crypto, they just feel like they don’t because they are very overwhelmed by information and news articles that people are posting.” “I wasn’t even positive that I wanted to do this yet, I was just floating the idea to him and he was like, 'yeah, that sounds awesome. Do you want to put in our two weeks today?' I was like, wow, okay, I’m not quite sure if I’m ready.” “It’s important to be able to ask dumb questions in a room. As a product manager, the worst things is if you’re totally missing something that someone’s telling you and you built the wrong product. You need to be comfortable asking someone to explain things to you.” Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Calendly — Simple, beautiful scheduling. Highlight — Save and share highlights from physical books. Superhuman — The fastest email experience ever made. Trello — Organize anything, together. Woebot — A chatbot to improve your mood using CBT.
20 February 2019 •
Abadesi is back to talk to Ben Halpern, creator, founder, and webmaster of DEV, an online community where developers share ideas and help each other grow. He is also behind @ThePracticalDev on Twitter and runs DEV alongside his two other co-founders, Jess Lee and Peter Frank. Fun fact: Ben is a Canadian who moved to NYC to join a startup and never left. He spoke to Aba from Brooklyn. In this episode we talk about: Why you need to lead by example when you're building an online community and how your behavior as a founder on the site can be more effective in setting a tone than complicated rules. How DEV manages their distributed team, the advantages of working from home, and being honest with yourself about when you need to take a break from your work as a founder, even if it's not easy to do. His love for open source, his predictions for future trends on the web and his very unique personal website, which is a throwback to the web of years past. We also talk about his love for Tiles, the surprising usefulness of Android's Measure app, and why Ben says if you're not using a password manager, you're “not living your digital life to the fullest.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “[On creating good communities] It didn’t just happen by accident, we really tried to foster this stuff by example. Anytime we try to create something new, some kind of new behavior or anything, we really try to do it by leading the way and being good ourselves and then rewarding those who get it, who share our understanding of what a good community needs to be.” “You can really do anything you can want on the web. It’s a really fascinating platform. Anything you can hear or visualize is possible, it’s just our imagination that limits it.” “[On remote work] I would say that it’s a good idea, but it’s not going to be something you get right at first, so you’re going to have to be accepting of it being a gradual thing that you don’t give up on but you also don’t just jump in and do without the expectation that anything’s going to go wrong.” Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Amazon Alexa — Get information, news, weather, and more using just your voice. LastPass — Essential password manager. Measure — Measure anything with your phone. Phillips Hue Smart Bulbs — Internet-connected color-changing lightbulbs that you can program yourself. Tile — Track your lost items.
13 February 2019 •
On this episode I'm visiting Benchmark Capital, one of the world's most renowned venture capital firms, at their offices in the heart of the Tenderloin in San Francisco to chat with two of its general partners, Sarah Tavel and Eric Vishria. Sarah Tavel has a unique background as an investor, then operator, and back to investor. In the mid-2000s she joined Silicon Valley-based Bessemer where she led an investment in Pinterest and others. She went on to join Pinterest back when they were only a few dozen people before returning to venture three and a half years later. She's now a GP at Benchmark and on the board of Hipcamp and Chainalysis. Eric Vishria started his career as an operator, working at Opsware and HP before founding Rockmelt, a social take on the web browser, back in 2008. Later the company was acquired by Yahoo where Eric joined as a VP before making a leap into venture at Benchmark. Over the past four-plus years he's lead investments in Confluent, Contentful, Amplitude, and others. In this episode we talk about: What it's like to go from operating to investing and the different skillsets involved in those jobs, and why Benchmark has bucked the trend of venture firms expanding both in headcount and fund size. What Sarah and Eric are looking for in an investment, which spaces they're most excited about (hint: they say that contrary to reports of its death, consumer is very much alive), and why each partner at the firm only does on average one or two investments in a year. The importance of starting a company in Silicon Valley (or not) and why we're seeing more startups build outside the Valley. We also discuss some of her favorite products, including a couple apps that are enabling new forms of communication on mobile, an “Airbnb for campsites,” and why Sarah has been playing Fortnite for “research purposes.” We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes From This Episode “When I meet with a company that's outside the Valley, I would get on a soapbox and talk about how they have to be here if they want to scale and I always kind of thought that from zero to a couple hundred million market cap, you can build that anywhere, but to be that multibillion-dollar company, you have to be here. I still believe that but not as a strongly as I used to and it's because you do see so many examples of companies that are getting started and are getting to some scale outside of the Valley.” — Sarah “As soon as you think it’s over, it’ll probably come from an unexpected place. It won’t be a direct competitor to Facebook, it won’t be Facebook reborn. That isn’t the way it’s going to happen, it will be something unexpected, orthogonal, that comes out of nowhere but that meets this need for people to connect. I think that it’ll happen — I don’t know where, I don’t know how.” — Eric “It's incredible to see how big many of the other venture firms are getting, and not just from a fund perspective, but from a people perspective. It's almost like they're vertically integrating. They've got seed investing, early stage investing, growth investing, some even have you know, public equity investing, debt, you know, as part of their platform. They've got talent teams and marketing teams and customer development teams and we've just decided to stay very very focused on what we do, which is being a close partner.” — Sarah “It's really about looking at a lot of stuff, falling in love with an opportunity and an entrepreneur and deeply engaging, whereas operating is mostly figuring out how to get stuff done and very little of figuring out what to do, in a lot of ways venture is like 90% or 95% figuring out what to do and like 5% getting it done.” — Eric Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode AutoSleep — Automatically track your sleep from your Apple Watch. Bitmoji — Turns your avatar into stickers and emoji. Breaker — The social podcast app. Chainalysis — Building trust in blockchains. Discord — Find people who share your interests. Hipcamp — Airbnb for campsites. Marco Polo — Keep in touch on the go. Nextdoor — Connect to your neighbors.
6 February 2019 •
Aba is back to host this episode with Jessica Lessin, journalist, founder, and editor-in-chief of The Information. Founded in 2013, The Information breaks exclusive stories and publishes deeply reported articles about tech and startups. In this episode we talk about: What attracted to her to journalism in the first place, how she got her start at the Wall Street Journal, and why the distortion of the news industry's business model by the internet led her to start The Information. What she's learned after five years running The Information, her insights on leadership, and the importance of resilience and self-awareness. And of course, her take on the big tech trends on the horizon, including the possibility of tokenizing everything and the future of Facebook. We also discuss some of her favorite products, including Google Maps, Google Photos, and Asana, which they use extensively at The Information. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I caught the reporting bug early. I thought being a reporter and never having to pick one job, but having license to learn about the world and ask smart people questions, is really just an awesome profession and also believe really passionately again that the news industry has in many ways been devastated by the internet and really needs to have a renaissance.” — Jessica “Not only was digital advertising not going to pay the bills for these newsrooms, but it was also distorting the content, and I felt that the subscription business — which is what we are at The Information — was the antidote to that. It was the business that only worked if you delivered a quality product and earned your real relationship with your user and that loyalty. And so, in seeing what I felt was the bad reaction of the new industry to the internet, I felt like there was an opportunity to do it differently and approach coverage differently.” — Jessica “You know, in studying and reporting on startups for so long, you see it’s never a smooth ride. What you see is only a fraction of what’s really going on.” — Jessica Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Asana — The task management tool, completely redesigned. Google Maps — Essential mapping app. Google Photos — Automatic backup and unlimited storage for all your photos.
30 January 2019 •
Bryce Roberts is co-founder and managing director of a different kind of VC firm, Indie.VC. He recently announced v3 of their fund model which is focused on backing revenue-generating companies that are seeking financial independence from the traditional VC rat race. Prior to starting the fund four years ago, Bryce invested in seed stage startups in the mid-2000's out of O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). Portfolio companies include Bitly, Chartbeat, Codecademy, Foursquare, Hipcamp, OpenX, and a bunch of others. He joins me all the way from his home base in Utah. In this episode: We talk all things venture capital, including how it's changed over the past decade and where it's going in the future. We've previously talked a bit about distributed teams on the startup side, but here we also talk about distributed teams when it comes to investing, including when Bryce moved from the Bay Area to Utah in the middle of a fund. How founders can be more honest with themselves about what they really want, and why so many want to quit chasing venture funding that they don't really want, and which leaves them in an escalating cycle of constantly reaching for the next funding milestone. We talk about which geographies in Bryce is most bullish on for startups, besides the Bay Area. We also get sidetracked talking about Bryce's membership in the “first name club” on Twitter (his username is @bryce) and whether we might be seeing any of the videos he's created on TikTok anytime soon (we won't). We also talk about some of Bryce's favorite products, including the Apple Watch, a headband that is supposed to help you sleep, and why TikTok is so addictive. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList and FreshBooks for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Part of the idea behind Indie.VC was, what kinds of companies, ideas, products and founders could exist in the world and could have their ideas and company cultures embodied in the world through technology? How would it be different or what would it look like if they didn’t have to keep asking investors for permission to exist or if they didn’t have to keep contorting and forcing themselves into the box that looks like it has a stamp on it that says 'fundable?'” — Bryce “If you look at where funding goes, if you look at the fact that 90% of it still goes to one gender, if you look at the fact that 75 to 80% of it still goes to essentially three cities, that starts to highlight the idea that if that next milestone isn’t necessarily funding, how could you invest differently? If you could support founders who had an aversion to raising venture money because they’ve been burned by it in the past or they wanted to do things that didn’t necessarily fit that mold or people in places or who don’t look like what VCs have traditionally funded, the best way to ensure those ideas exist in them world in the short term at least is to not necessarily rely on that next fundable milestone mindset that that I think is more prevalent in venture maybe than we’d like to admit.” — Bryce Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Apple Watch — The most powerful and advanced smartwatch yet. Bevel — A complete shaving system. Domo — A digitally connected business, right on your phone. Dreem — A solution that acts on your brain to enhance sleep. Freshly Picked — Quality mom and baby products. Pluralsight — World's largest tech and creative training library. Qualtrics — Leading research and experience software. TikTok — A creative music video clip maker. Walker and Company — Making health and beauty simple for people of color.
23 January 2019 •
Aba is back to host this fun episode with Taylor Lorenz. Aba is part of the team at Product Hunt and the author of Dream Big, Hustle Hard: The Millennial Woman's Guide to Success in Tech. Taylor Lorenz is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers technology and culture. We love the way she always finds a way to be entertaining while stirring up thought-provoking debate. She's also an all-around social media superstar. In this episode we talk about: The origins of her obsession with the web and social media, and why people always seem to be nostalgic for the internet as it was when they first discovered it. Why deeming tech either universally good or universally bad is a false dichotomy and the need for a more nuanced discussion around the topic. Her obsession with horror movies and the psychology of horror, and why she would never want to live on Mars. We also discuss some of Taylor's favorite products including “Netflix for horror movies,” one of her favorite mobile community apps, and how she uses Google Maps to discover some of the best places and events near her. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to AngelList for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I think the most important thing is to recognize that sometimes it can feel like the entire internet hates you or is ganging up on you or is angry at you and it’s really important to remember that that’s not true and that’s why you have to have a lot of good offline friendships too.” — Taylor “The founders have a responsibility to take into account the negative ways their platforms can be used. I think so many founders are delusional about how their own products are used and they want to think it’s used in some way but you are also letting Nazis on here.” — Taylor “It’s funny, everyone seems to be nostalgic for whenever they discovered the internet, like I have a lot of colleagues that were online in the 90s and we’re just like oh, early forums or Usenets. I think maybe just being young online is a different experience.” — Taylor Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Amino — Authentic mobile communities for whatever you're into. Google Maps — Essential mapping app, now with great discovery features. Shudder — Stream horror, thrillers and suspense. Tik Tok — A creative music video clip maker.
16 January 2019 •
We have a special guest host for this episode, my teammate at Product Hunt, Abadesi Osunsade. She is the author of Dream Big, Hustle Hard: The Millennial Woman's Guide to Success in Tech. She'll be hosting more episodes alongside me this year. Ann Miura-Ko is a founding partner at Floodgate, a seed-stage VC firm in Palo Alto. She has been called “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes and is an early investor in Lyft and TaskRabbit. She is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford's School of Engineering and a founding member of All Raise. In this episode we talk about: Ann recounts how she got to where she is today, including what it was like growing up with a NASA scientist for a dad. She talks about some of the formative moments in her career and explains why she says that a “career path” is a misnomer. The mentors that have helped Ann throughout her career, and why she never approaches a relationship with an expectation of mentorship, but instead always “begins with an act of service.” Why the tech industry should always take a step back to question whether everyone prospers from its work, the five values that drive her investments at Floodgate, and why they tell entrepreneurs “your life's work is our life's work.” How she manages her children's relationships with social media (“browsing Instagram feels like not being invited to every party everyone else is having”), how she is personally working to increase the number of underrepresented founders, and the business benefit of diversity. We also discuss some of their favorite products including an old-fashioned note-taking system for the digital age, a better way to organize your tabs in Chrome, and a built-in CRM for your Gmail inbox. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Rally Rd and AngelList, for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “My belief has always been that I never asked someone to be my mentor. I would start off with an act of service, and it wasn’t built on a belief that that act of service would then lead to mentorship.” — Ann “In ten years, I’ve seen huge changes in the funding landscape. The opportunity for someone to access capital is so much greater than when I first got started. The playing field is not level at all but it is so much more accessible than it was ten years ago.” — Ann “When we think about economic opportunity for the masses, when we think of better education for the masses, I believe that people envision technology playing a critical role in that. To separate out prosperity from technology advances, I think is crazy. We need to have a way of creating a better future that’s characterized by optimism and hope rather than insecurity and fear.” — Ann Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Bullet Journal — An analog note-taking system for the digital age. Streak — CRM in your inbox, for Gmail. Trello — Organize anything, together. Workona — Transform Chrome into a professional work tool for free.
9 January 2019 •
On this episode I'm visiting Atrium's headquarters in SoMA in San Francisco to chat with two serial entrepreneurs, Justin Kan and Ranidu. Justin Kan's career blew up in the mid-2000s when he started livestreaming himself 24/7 on Justin.tv, a Y Combinator backed startup that he co-founded. Justin.tv eventually turned into Twitch and sold to Amazon for nearly a billion dollars. He has gone on to found multiple startups since then, including Exec, Whale, and now Atrium. Ranidu has a unique background. Before jumping into tech, he rose to fame as an R&B and hip-hop artist (check him out here). He went on to join Google before founding the first of many startups, many of which have been centered around his passion for music. We talk about a few of them including The Drop, The Artist Union, and Audius, a decentralized audio distribution platform he started earlier this year. In this episode we talk about: What they've learned from building products and startups, what lessons they would give to entrepreneurs starting out today, and how the startup and investing landscape has changed. Justin explains why he says that 2010-2013 was the “sweet spot” for building and scaling a company in the Bay Area. We talk about whether distributed teams make sense due to the escalating cost of living and the battle for talent in San Francisco. Whether an Apple Watch can replace your smartphone. Justin talks about how he survives in Silicon Valley without a phone, how going phone-free has changed how he works and lives and why he compares compulsive smartphone use to an addiction. He says a smartphone is a “Juul for your mind.” We're all big music fans, so we also talk about artists we've been loving recently, why the lines between music genres are being blurred, and the economics of creating music for artists. We also discuss some of their favorite products including a gratitude journal app that will improve your mental health, a “social network for athletes,” and a tool to help organize your tasks at work. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Rally Rd and AngelList, for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “We [at Atrium] have some resources, [we] have expanded, but measuring your company’s success in headcount is like measuring an airplane in weight, so it's not exactly the right measure of success.” — Justin “As an independent artist today, it takes between three months and eighteen months between the time you stream my music to get paid, and we [at his new company Audius] think that’s wrong in 2018.” — Ranidu “I think the sweet spot [to build a company in the Bay Area] was in 2010 through 2013 or so, where the costs were relatively much lower on the startup salary side. Now your million dollars is good for hiring two machine learning engineers.” — Justin “A lot of days [in my gratitude journal] I write about how awesome it is to live in San Francisco and have all these resources and friends. Life here is great and I think we get caught up in the little bit that is bad and think that everything is bad. To hate on San Francisco is very fashionable.” — Ranidu Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Airtable — Real-time spreadsheet-database hybrid. Apple Watch — The most powerful and advanced smart watch yet. The Artist Union — Discover and support the next generation of artists. Atrium — Legal services for startups, powered by machine learning. Audius — The future of music streaming on the blockchain. Five Minute Journal — The simplest, most effective way to be happier every day. Headspace — Learn to meditate and live mindfully. Insight Timer — The best free meditation timer, redesigned. Monday — Simplify the way your team works. Pacemaker — DJ with artificial intelligence from your Spotify. Strava — Run and cycling tracking on the social network for athletes. The Drop (RIP) — EDM discovery community.
2 January 2019 •
Today I'm at Kleiner Perkins in San Francisco's South Park neighborhood to talk to Eugene Wei and Eric Feng. Eugene Wei has worked at Oculus, Flipboard, Amazon and Hulu. He actually left Amazon in the mid-2000s to attend film school before jumping back into tech. He’s also a prolific writer on his blog, Remains of the Day. Eric Feng is co-founder of Packagd and General Partner at Kleiner Perkins. He has previously worked at Microsoft, Flipboard and Hulu, where he and Eugene worked together. Fun fact: Eugene actually married Eric! (Eugene was the officiant at his wedding). In this episode we talk about: The uniqueness of video as a medium of communication and the future of how video will be created and consumed. Eric and Eugene worked together at Hulu and they talk about the background to the recent trend of tech moving in on Hollywood's turf. Creating tighter feedback loops when you're trying to learn something new or change your behavior. Eugene tells the story of adding after-market sensors to his golf clubs that give him all kinds of information on the speed and length of his swing. He calls it a swing coach on your phone and talks about how the trend of sensors and immediate feedback could be used to improve peoples' overall health, not just their short game. As some of the most plugged-in individuals in tech these days, they also discuss some of the trends they've been seeing in the tech industry and make some predictions about what they expect to see in the future. They discuss changes in how young people communicate these days, how the Chinese tech industry is different from the West's and why they expect to see the shift to e-commerce from advertising continue. We also discuss some of their favorite products including sensors you can stick on your golf clubs to give you pro-level stats, a tech-enabled meat smoker, and a way to solve the perennial 'baby with a stuffy nose' problem. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Post-Google and post-Facebook there was this huge shift to ad-supported monetization for everything. The entire world had moved to ads and that was the only way that you could build a company… but that pendulum has swung really far back over, because of this new paradigm shift of people being comfortable with e-commerce and now mobile facilitating that more. Commerce is now a much more interesting monetization model for startups than advertising.” — Eric “VR/AR, if you lump it in with self-driving cars, cryptocurrency, generalized artificial intelligence, all of these things are going to take longer than people expect, and that’s fine. They’re going to require a lot of big hardware advances, finding the right use cases, all of that is just going to be slower. But they’re all going to change the world in huge ways.” — Eugene “Take for example the shirt I’m wearing. It got made in some textile factory, the distribution was through a retail store, I paid in cash in-person and then I put it on. But in the era of technology two of those things have really fundamentally changed — the way it’s distributed and the way I purchase it. Now I buy it online and it’s sent to my home. But the way it’s created and the way it’s used are still the same, I’m still wearing it one sleeve at a time.” — Eric “The history of Hollywood is one where the studios went from really being vertically integrated to just being financiers and marketers. The thing about SV vs Hollywood is that SV tech companies have a lot more cash than all the studios put together. They’re a lot more profitable because of all their other businesses.” — Eugene Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Blast — Sensors for sport. Hulu — Live and on-demand TV. Mindie (RIP) – 7-second music videos Nosefrida — Stuffy nose solution for babies. Reflect — AI-powered face swap. Sandbox VR — In-person, social VR experiences. Tik Tok — Creative music video clip maker. Traeger — Tech-enabled smokers.
26 December 2018 •
Today I'm visiting Garry Tan at Initialized HQ, a multi-stage fund that he started with Alexis Ohanian, one of the co-founders of reddit. The fund has grown tremendously over the past six years with nearly $1B under management, a team of more than 10, and investments in a few companies you might be a customer of, including Coinbase, Instacart, Algolia, GOAT, Opendoor, and a bunch of others. They were also investors in Product Hunt. In this episode we talk about: Garry's early years working as a software engineer in tech, including some major missed opportunities (in hindsight). He recounts the story of Peter Thiel trying to hire him away from Microsoft to join what became the multi-billion dollar company, Palantir. Initialized's decision-making framework for figuring out which companies to pass on and which companies to invest in, as well as their honey badger mascot. Why an often overlooked skill for founders is managing conflict, even when the team is still small. Garry explains why he backed a company that aims to help create harmonious startup teams founded by his former therapist. We also discuss some of the Initialized portfolio companies that Garry is most excited about and the “megatrends” that are creating opportunities for investors and founders in tech today. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “The hard part about being a founder is you have this fog of war: you have no idea why you’re growing and a lot of times you also have no idea why you’ve stopped growing.” — Garry “Peter looked at me and said, 'you’re a great engineer, why are you doing that?' Come join us, we are going to change the world. How much do you make at Microsoft? He got out his check book and started writing and said, 'here’s a personal check from me to you; you can cash this and this is a risk-free opportunity for you...' So I said, 'thank you very much Mr. Thiel, but I might get promoted next year at Microsoft' and I didn’t take the check. Opportunity knocked and I said no, and that company turned out to be Palantir.” — Garry “Basically everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face, and as a startup you're going to get your face punched in. The important thing is 'what do you do next?'” — Garry Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode LogDNA — Instantly collect and analyze logs real-time on any platform. Standard Cognition— AI-powered checkout. Torch.io — Leadership growth driven by data, powered by people. Check out www.initialized.com for a shot of Initialized's honey badger mascot.
19 December 2018 •
Today I'm visiting San Francisco's Mission district to chat with Winnie co-founders, Sara Mauskopf and Anne Halsall. They have a unique background working at large tech companies like Google, Twitter, Quora, and Postmates, where they worked together before starting Winnie, “the companion app for parents.” As someone who's built and admires community-driven businesses, it was a pleasure to dive into how Winnie is creating community and a platform for parents. As mothers, Sara and Anne exemplify founder/market fit and are uniquely qualified to build a product for parents. In this episode we talk about: How Anne and Sara found founder/market fit and how their personal experience — Sara and Anne both have two children — informs not only how they built Winnie the product, but also how they built Winnie the company. How Winnie combats fake parenting news, and why it was important for them to take a stance on certain issues and actively moderate out certain topics. The power of communities aligned around a single vertical. We compare custom-built communities to generalized community-building tools like Facebook and Reddit. Of course, we also talk about some of their favorite products, including a way to continuously share your location with other members of your family, an app to share photos with family members, and another that captures one second every day and over time turns it into a highlight reel for your life. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Anne and I were very explicit from the beginning that we wanted to build the most family-friendly startup. We decided that we are not going to work long hours, our employees are not going to work long hours, and they’re not going to work on the weekends. We’re going to give employees flexibility and have them go on vacations. It’s a huge competitive advantage to be family-friendly.” — Sara [On including the option to post anonymously on Winnie] “Sometimes parenting questions are tough — tough, real stuff that you don’t want to put on your Facebook profile, where you can’t help but use your real name. You may not even feel comfortable talking to your mother’s group about some of the problems that you are having. So, we felt really motivated to make it work from the beginning.” — Anne “Having children has helped me a ton in putting the highs and lows of a startup in perspective. It’s just not that serious. It’s helped me build that resilience because the lows aren’t really that low. The stakes just don’t seem that high, and its actually enabled me to persevere through things where other people would have quit.” — Sara “We have other special features tailored to our audience, such as the ability to mask photos. We have these cute little stickers (that are adorable) and there’s a face-detection feature that will put little animals masks over the faces of any children that are in the photos that you’re posting. We make it super-easy and even fun to anonymize that photo.” — Anne Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode 1 Second Everyday — Turn your favorite moments into meaningful movies. Google Photos — Free storage and automatic organization for all your memories. Life360 — Your new family circle.
12 December 2018 •
Today I'm at the headquarters of High Fidelity in San Francisco talking with co-founder and CEO, Philip Rosedale. Philip and the team at High Fidelity are creating free and open source software that enables real-time, social virtual reality. Some of you may also know Philip as the creator of Second Life, the iconic “internet-scale virtual world.” In fact, this episode was actually recorded entirely in virtual reality. Philip and I were both wearing headsets in different rooms. You can actually watch a video capture of our 3D VR chat, featuring a slightly awkward-looking avatar of myself. In this episode we talk about: The most advanced uses of VR today, like school kids being able to take a virtual field trip into an Egyptian tomb, and where VR is headed in the future. We discuss what VR might look like 5, 10, and 20 years in the future and which companies are best positioned to take advantage of the shift to VR. How widespread adoption of VR will transform our lives, especially when it comes to how we work and go to school. Philip gives the example of kids being able to go to school together with others from the other side of the world and how that will change for the better how we relate to one another. We also get into some of the philosophical questions around VR, including how to deal with identity and anonymity in a virtual world and why VR can enable better privacy online. We also talk about some of Philip's favorite VR applications as well as some of his requests for products in the space. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, GE Ventures, Rally Rd, and AngelList for their support. 😸 Quotes From This Episode “If I can go to school on a virtual planet where there are kids from all over the whole world, look at the human impact of that versus me going to school with only the kids that are within ten blocks of my house. There’s a homogeneity to local places that is going to get completely turned off with VR.” — Philip “[In Second Life] people were surprisingly vocal with one identity. I think maybe we only have a certain amount of ability to imagine ourselves as different things and I think there’s a fatigue with really being out there far away from how you imagine yourself.” — Philip “Virtual worlds are very interesting in that they put a big spotlight on these issues around privacy, anonymity, and freedom of speech. We’re not going to have our real names floating around our heads in VR.” — Philip Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Facemoji — Emoji your face. HTC Vive — Discover virtual reality beyond imagination. Magic Leap — Lightweight wearable that brings dreams to life. Ubiquity6 — Edit reality together.
5 December 2018 •
Today I'm at AngelList HQ in San Francisco for a bit of a reunion with two friends and investors: Parker Thompson and Erik Torenberg. Parker Thompson is a partner at AngelList and early stage investor. Prior to joining the family here (Product Hunt is an AngelList company), he was a partner at 500 Startups where he invested in Erik's first company, among many others. Before that, Parker spent six years at Pivotal Labs. As you'll hear, he's also behind the popular Twitter account @StartupLJackson. Erik Torenberg is co-founder and partner at Village Global, a network-driven venture firm. He is also co-founder and chairman of crypto company TokenDaily and On Deck, a community of top talent looking to start or join their next company. Erik was actually the first full-time teammate to join me at Product Hunt and prior to that, he co-founded rapt.fm, an app for participating in live online rap battles. In this episode we talk about: How investors choose which companies to bet on, including how investors think about investing in companies with distributed teams. We also run through the lessons learned from the early stage investing Parker, Erik and I have done and discuss the strategies founders should use when pricing their initial fundraising rounds. The emergence of crypto and whether it will pose a threat to Facebook as well as the challenges Facebook faces in trying to regulate what can and can't be said on their platform. We also talk about when decentralization makes sense and why some of the benefits of centralization might be overlooked in the rush to decentralize. How new business opportunities emerge through platform shifts, including whether voice as a platform is finally seeing its often-forecasted and much-anticipated shift to the mainstream. Erik and Parker also run through some of their requests for products. Of course, we also talk about some of their favorite products, including a social network for books, an app to help freestyle rappers, and a device that lets you cook food to perfection by vacuum-sealing it and submerging it in hot water. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Every time there's a platform shift you sort of have two different types of companies built on the new platform: new-old things — you take legacy products and add internet to it, like Casper, bed plus internet, or Coursera, education plus internet. Then you have the new-new thing — things that could only be created on the new platform, which for the internet is something like eBay or PayPal or Napster.” — Erik “I think just as a macro point, often we're too quick to extrapolate patterns like the new-new versus the new-old and with respect to crypto, I’m old enough to remember the lesson coming out of the 90s that open was always going to win. That’s how we built web 2.0… but then Facebook and Twitter came along… but now open/decentralized is coming back we're and saying actually we were right before and open is the future.” — Parker “You make choices in defaults — these algorithms are choices, and even when you try not to pick winners, you’re still picking winners.” — Parker “A lot of people criticize these incumbents, like Facebook or Amazon, saying these are the rent-seekers taking way too much and that we are going to build a decentralized version of them and pass on all the value to consumers. But what they don’t give enough credit to is that these products already pass along a lot of value to consumers... What I’m excited about with crypto networks is the ability to incentivize a lot more stakeholders, like the early users that contribute a lot to the platform. You have the ability to give upside to a lot more people than just early employees.” — Erik “A puzzle to me is, why is there not a billion dollar exercise video company? It just seems like something that should exist, and the way I think about investing is: you're just wandering through the world and encountering these puzzles and the answers are not obvious but then someone walks in the door with the answer because they’ve figured it out. That's when you get excited and do the deal.” — Parker Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Anova — Connected temperature-controlled cooking device. Goodreads — Popular social network for book lovers. Rhymeo — Freestyle app that provides material for your shareable raps. STEEZY — Online dance classes at your own pace. Udemy — Learn anything, on your schedule.
28 November 2018 •
Today's episode of Product Hunt Radio is the largest gathering yet, featuring Arlan, Christie, Bryan, and Amiah from the Backstage Capital team. Arlan Hamilton isn't your typical VC. She went from being homeless not long ago to founding and scaling Backstage Capital, a fund dedicated to investing in underrepresented (or underestimated, as she coined) founders. Since 2015, they have invested millions of dollars into over 80 companies. Prior to starting the fund, she worked in the music industry, where she was a tour manager and founder and publisher of INTERLUDE, an internationally distributed indie magazine. Christie Pitts is the co-founder of Backstage Studio, their recently announced venture studio. Prior to teaming up with Arlan and team, she worked with Verizon Ventures portfolio and following emerging technology trends. Bryan Landers is Backstage's recently promoted COO and producer of two of Backstage's podcasts. Previously he worked as a designer and product manager at Zapier and as a consultant. Amiah Sheppard is an operations associate and analyst working on the deal flow team at Backstage. She has a particular focus on beauty and wellness startups. Arlan's mission to find underrepresented and underestimated founders and the importance, even as adults, of being able to look up to role models who look like you. Arlan hopes to be a role model to a new generation of people of color that want to build companies. The crew, as they call the team at Backstage, walk through some of their requests for products, including waterproof headgear, online book clubs, and a way to bring the shared experience of live music online. Aspiring founders, take note! Also mullets make another appearance (see last week's episode for more chatter about mullet). Except this time it's not about a mullet strategy or mullet businesses, it's about the actual, for-real hockey hair. We also talk about some of their favorite products, like an app that lets you experience live music in virtual reality, a service that lets you search live audio, and a way to add pictures, maps or quotes to your favorite podcasts. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I cried when I saw this cover [Fast Company October 2018] because I was looking back a few years to see who I wanted to see [on a magazine cover.]” — Arlan “We’re about to have another mobile revolution [with 5G]. There are companies working on the technology, but I think there will be a whole new wave of companies that change the way we interact with each other.” — Christie “You have thousands and thousands of people who are finally getting their shot at starting a company.” — Arlan “As long as you can’t download a t-shirt, live music will always win. They said that a few years ago, but now you can download a t-shirt.” — Arlan Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode CEEK — Explore, share and live the moment in VR. Entale — Add pictures, maps and quotes to your favorite podcasts. Nēdl — Find what's playing or saying now on live audio broadcasts. Turntable.fm (RIP) — Music-streaming, chat rooms and voting. Also explore this collection of Backstage Capital's headliners (aka portfolio companies) on Product Hunt.
21 November 2018 •
Today on Product Hunt Radio, I make the trek from San Francisco down to Sandhill Road to talk to Andrew Chen and Ada Chen at Andreessen Horowitz. Their matching last name is not a coincidence — yes, they are siblings. Andrew Chen is a relatively recent addition to Andreessen Horowitz team, where he's a General Partner focused on consumer and SaaS. Prior to joining the illustrious firm, he led growth teams at Uber. He's also a prolific writer with more than 650 essays over the past decade covering startups, growth, and more. Fun fact: he coined the term “mullet business” which we touch on during the podcast. (Where's a mullet emoji when you need it!?) Ada Chen has a unique background, operating at companies with massive scale, including Mochi Media, LinkedIn, and SurveyMonkey, as well as startups at the earliest stage. Today she advises several startups and is the COO of Notejoy, a collaborative notes app for teams, which she co-founded with her husband. In this episode we talk about: The uniqueness of the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem, how network effects conspire to create a “rich get richer” situation for cities, and why new communication tools enabling distributed teams to work together across continents could mean that there will be no “next Silicon Valley.” Ada shares her insights on the contrasting skill sets needed when working at a big company versus a small startup, after having herself gone from a small startup to a huge organization like LinkedIn back to a two-person startup with her husband. How to port the concept of OKRs — objectives and key results, a personnel management framework originated by legendary Intel CEO Andy Grove — to your personal life from your business (and why you would want to). We talk about you can use them to help manage your exercise, social life and relationship with your SO. Of course, we also chat about some of their favorite products, including an app that lets you pop in to a luxury hotel for a few hours to shower or have a nap, a super cool way to greet visitors to your office, and a new app for emailing yourself. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “When you’re executing at a small startup, or a small team, or just by yourself, it really comes down to ideating, picking and prioritizing, and then rolling up your sleeves and just getting things done as quickly as possible. It's a night and day difference from a big company.” — Ada “If you graph cities, there's a power law: the biggest cities are really big and there's this long tail of all these little tiny cities, and the reason for that is that there's a network effect within cities. These ecosystems emerge because the designers are here, because the engineers are here, because the capital is here, because the marketing people are here, and on and on and on.” — Andrew “When it comes to working at a large company, it's much more cerebral and much more about the heart. You’re thinking about how to collaborate and communicate across a cross-functional team to get the initiative done: can you communicate what it's about; can you motivate people to get it done; can you manage all the working pieces?” — Ada “Either these network effects will continue to hold and the Bay Area will continue to be strong, or we make big structural shifts in how we organize teams and workforces and the network effects become less strong. But that doesn’t mean some other city becomes the next Silicon Valley, there won’t actually be a “next” Silicon Valley — it either continues or will just be distributed.” — Andrew “The irony of it is that sometimes when you are working on projects with such large scale, because the skill set is so different, it actually feels like you're not doing anything at all — you’re merely managing the appendages of the other groups and trying to make sure everyone is staying on track and executing.” — Ada On joining a venture capital firm: “The idea that I would do the thing I want to do for fun as my full-time job feels like I’ve won an ice cream eating competition, and the prize is more ice cream.” — Andrew Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Bose — Noise-cancelling earbuds. Breather — Peace and quiet, on-demand. Reserve a private space on the go. Captio — Email yourself with one tap. Envoy — Elegantly greet visitors to your office. HabitShare — The only habit-tracking app that is social to its core. NotaBene — Shortcuts for quickly emailing notes to yourself and others. Notejoy — Collaborative notes for your entire team. Recharge — Take a nap or shower in a luxury hotel. Reddit — r/InternetIsBeautiful, r/bestof and r/firstworldanarchists Spacious — Flexible, drop-in workspace. VIPKID — Teach Chinese children from your home. We Are The Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
14 November 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm in the sunny hills of Los Angeles at the home of Sophia Amoruso with Suzy Ryoo. Sophia Amoruso is an incredible entrepreneur who I've gotten to know over the past year. She got her start very young, when at 22 she founded NastyGal, selling vintage clothing on eBay. It turned into a massive company with hundreds of employees, until a decade later the company filed for bankruptcy. She's the author of the New York Times bestseller #GIRLBOSS and more recently founded Girlboss, a company focused on bringing together and helping women professionals. They put on community events, publish a daily newsletter and host a wildly popular podcast. Suzy Ryoo is a very special person to me (full disclosure: She's my SO). We met at Coachella in 2015 just before she transitioned her career from entertainment and media to venture capital. At Atom Factory, she works with entrepreneur, artist manager, and investor, Troy Carter. They manage the Prince Estate and are investors in companies like Lyft, Uber, Warby Parker, Spotify, and Girlboss. She is also a partner at Cross Culture Ventures, a seed stage fund in Los Angeles. In this episode we talk about: The best tools and techniques we've used to build healthy habits, whether it's getting more exercise, meditating more frequently (even for five minutes at a time) or just having a calmer mind. We also talk about the ways that being part of a non-judgmental online community — yes, those do exist online — can help everybody involved reach their goals. Sophia talks about her journey as an entrepreneur, including building a huge company like Nasty Gal “by accident” and the lessons she's taking from her time at Nasty Gal as she starts Girlboss, which, as she likes to say, is the first company she's started “on purpose.” Why Suzy is still a power user of location-based check-in apps like Swarm and Foursquare. We also talk about some of the unappreciated merits of what sometimes seem like “creepy” products. The ups-and-downs of investing, and why sometimes you can make a sound decision at the time that you later come to regret. Of course, we also chat about some of their favorite products, including a $40 (!) astrology app, apps that promise “a vacation for your mind,” as well as startups that deliver the best vitamins and probiotics. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “Platforms can become really huge, but when you have a community and there's a sense of context around what they’re talking about and what they’re there to do, ultimately if they help one another, then that's as good as the internet gets.” — Sophia “Twitter can be like a dialog with yourself, especially if you don’t have a following. I promised myself that I would tweet every time I run, and little known to me, during 2017 I ran 200 miles. I think that feedback loop really helped me.” — Suzy “I like to say that I’ve started two brands on accident but this is my first business I've started on purpose.” — Sophia “Like my dad says, 'health is wealth!'” — Suzy “You don’t really count the places you go in real life, but then you do it digitally [via check-in apps like Foursquare] and you’re like wow, I do a lot of stuff!” — Sophia Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Bird — Enjoy the ride — quick scooter hires for city commutes. Complete — A community-based to-do app. Help each other GTD. Co-Star — Hyper-personalized astrology. Evernote — Note taking gets even simpler. Fair — Get a car right on your phone and return it whenever you want. 1st Dibs — It's like Fab for the 1%. Foursquare — Find the best places everywhere. Girlboss — A new media site for women. Headspace — Meditation made simple in just 10 minutes a day. Highlight (RIP) — Find friends and new people nearby. Hi Hello — Exchange contacts, seamlessly. Lime — Rent bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters. Nike+ Running — Track your runs. Polymail — A simple, beautiful, and powerful email client for Mac. Ritual — Reinventing the vitamin, delivered monthly. Sanctuary— Free daily horoscopes for the cosmically curious. Seed — Your daily probiotics + prebiotics for systemic health. Simple Habit— Meditation for people who never have time. Swarm — Keep up and meet up with your friends. Tesla — The mass market electric car. TimePassages — Astrology tools at your fingertips. Trello — Organize anything, together. Uber — Get a ride in minutes. Universe — The easiest way to make an awesome website. From your phone. Wonderschool — Airbnb for preschools and child care.
7 November 2018 •
Today I'm visiting Stripe's office in San Francisco to chat with Patrick Collison and Courtland Allen, shortly after they announced their latest round of funding, valuing the company at a whopping $20B. Patrick Collison is the CEO and co-founder of Stripe, an ambitious company aiming to increase the GDP of the internet. The now 1,300 person company was started in 2010 by Patrick and his brother, John Collison, at the age of 23 and 21, respectively. While young, this isn't their first startup. Prior to founding Stripe, Patrick and his brother started and sold Auctomatic for $5M in 2008. Courtland Allen is a super talented designer and developer. In 2016 he founded Indie Hackers, an awesome community of bootstrappers and makers sharing their stories. Nine months later Stripe acquired the company. Courtland is also a Y Combinator alumnus and an MIT graduate with a degree in Computer Science. In this episode we talk about: Who Patrick and Courtland's role models were when they were building their businesses, and how the right role models today can help build a more inclusive tech ecosystem. The influence of Indie Hackers on Stripe and why even with the great tech for online communication today, some of the best interactions between its community members happen at meetups. If there's too much or too little funding in tech and how the investor-founder dynamic changes when you move outside of Silicon Valley. Why Stripe started a book publishing business (in 2018) and the reading habits of Patrick, Courtland, and others at Stripe. We of course also talk about some of their favorite products including a product to tell you how you sleep, helpful tools for building your next app, and some “oldies-but-goodies” that you might have forgotten about. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “How do we help increase the number of successful companies that get started in the world? The number of companies that get started is not some sort of cosmological constant, and if it can be increased then I think it's incredibly valuable to go and do that.” — Patrick “Indie Hackers the movement wouldn’t have been as possible ten years ago, because there's so much more knowledge being exchanged now and so many more tools to help you build things — it's just easier to do with a small team than it ever has been.” — Courtland “People are subject to extremely strong Girardian herd effects, so I don’t think investors are unique in this regard — they index on this popular conception of things. I think startups outside of the popular hubs are less popular than they ought to be and that people update too slowly based on changing trends.” — Patrick “There should be more funding in the world, but more spread out and distributed more evenly.” — Courtland “It all comes back to this idea of, 'how do we grow the GDP of the internet?'” — Patrick Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Airtable — Realtime spreadsheet-database hybrid. Firebase — App success made simple by Google. JUMP — Electrified, dockless bike rentals. Emfit — Contactless sleep sensing solutions. Pocket — Save and read news, articles and videos that fuel your mind. Retool — Build custom internal tools in minutes. Uber — Get a ride in minutes. WhatsApp — Fast, cross-platform messenger. Yelp — Crowd-sourced reviews for local businesses.
31 October 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm visiting TechCrunch HQ to hang out with two journalists that see more startups in a month than most people in a lifetime. Josh Constine is the Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch where he specializes his analysis on social products, including everything Facebook. Two fun facts: He's a Stanford graduate with a Master's degree in cybersociology and (like myself) a big fan of live music. Sarah Buhr is a new mother and, as she announces on the show, is taking a break from reporting at TechCrunch to raise her child. I've known Sarah since she joined TechCrunch in 2014 and more recently she's focused her writing on the wild world of biotechnology. We also have one more special guest: Sarah's beautiful six month old baby boy, Hayes. If you hear crying and clapping in the background, it's probably him. In this episode we talk about: The baby boom in Silicon Valley, including some of the coolest tech-enabled baby products helping tired moms and dads, as well as the ways that tech company cultures have changed since their founders and employees started having children. Why it might be possible to beat unhealthiness with convenience. We talk about a number of startups that are trying to get you fit by making the healthy option the easier option, similar to how Spotify beat piracy by making streaming easier than pirating. The future of work and education and how it will affect the world baby Hayes grows up in. We talk about why Sarah and her husband have been debating whether they should be saving for Hayes to go to college, how AR and VR will transform education and how automation will affect the workplace. All things Facebook – whether new startups can compete with the massive social network and some quick thoughts on their first hardware product, Portal. We of course also talk about some of their favorite products including a robot that makes burgers, a time-sucking app for meme lovers, and a virtual assistant that can do things for you when you run out of time (because you were browsing memes). We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “It's not just about transferring the work from humans to robots, because I think that gives us all that empty dystopic feeling. The idea is that rather than removing the humans from the equation, you instead want to remove the robotic elements of the humans’ jobs so that the humans can actually focus on the most personable, human, empathic part of the job.” — Josh “Harvard came out with a study that said that lots of screen time isn’t bad for your child — what's critical is that you’re there present watching the screen with your child.” — Sarah “You can’t just take peoples' livelihood away and give them the money instead, because they’re not going to feel like they have any purpose anymore.” — Josh “I think what we’ve seen is that even if you make $19 billion off your startup, like WhatsApp, and you sell it to someone else, that means that you are no longer the captain of that ship and you may never get such a beautiful ship again.” — Josh Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Creator — Robot-made burgers. Fin — Virtual assistant service. Imgur — The most viral images on the internet. Libby — Borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free instantly through your local library. Mirror — The mirror that's also an interactive home gym. O.school — Original videos and GIFs to learn sex, pleasure, and dating. Snoo — The world's most technologically advanced bassinet. TBH — The only anonymous app with positive vibes. Thistle — Healthy meal subscription service. Tonal — Machine learning digital gym + personal training built in.
24 October 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm recording from my home in San Francisco to talk to two young entrepreneurs. Tiffany Zhong interned at Product Hunt while she was still in high school. After she finished school, she worked in venture capital before starting Zebra Intelligence, a startup helping brands and old people like myself better understand Gen Z. She's also an investor with her fund, Pineapple Capital. Drake Rehfeld is CEO of Splish, a Y Combinator-backed company that's building social apps to make the internet more fun. He formerly worked at Snap, where he was one of the youngest hires, as well as at Team 10. Drake's been a tech entrepreneur since high school when he created a product for school events that made real money. In this episode we talk about: “What the kids are using these days” and all things Generation Z, including what they're looking for in products and some of the common misconceptions about this younger demographic. The projects that Tiffany, Drake and I started while still in high school, including the story of a OperationLaugh.com, a site I created with the goal of earning $100,000 that netted $70 before I shut it down. (Tiffany and Drake had more success with their high school ventures). “Digital influencers” on Instagram, what Gen Z thinks of them, and why you would start your own. Also — why any of this has anything to do with fake plants. The phenomenon of a “finsta,” the ways that “the kids these days” are reshaping how identity works on the web, and some of the experimental social apps that don't have any of the typical social features like comments, followers or likes. We of course also talk about some of their favorite products, including the HQ Trivia of music, a tool for creating your very own “digital influencer” and an anonymous app that (surprisingly) brings positive vibes. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I like calling this [Gen Z] the side hustle generation, because nothing can stop us from building a company, given the internet.” — Tiffany “I think [online identity] is less about real name versus fake name and more about the persistence of identity.” — Drake “The future is going to be digital celebrities selling digital merchandise and digital collectibles.” — Tiffany “You see someone who is 13 or 14 across the world shipping things and you see that and think, I could do that too.” — Tiffany “You make what you use and there's this wave of products feeling more like toys than full-on utilities. People want toys not tools.” — Drake Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Facemoji — Emoji your face (via webcam). IGTV — Long-form vertical videos from Instagram. IRL — Hang out with friends in real life. TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) — A creative music video clip maker. Out of Tune — The HQ trivia of music. Shots (RIP) — An online selfie-sharing app. Splish — Live photo filters and animated effects. Suprize — “Win sick sh*t.” TBH — The only anonymous app with positive vibes. Zebra Intelligence — Gen Z, Gen Z, Gen Z.
17 October 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm in Los Angeles talking to Brian Norgard and Jeff Morris Jr., both of whom may be indirectly responsible for a generation of “Tinder babies”. Brian Norgard is an entrepreneur, investor, and Chief Product Officer at Tinder. He has worked on a number of other products and was Tinder's first acquisition. He collaborated with Sean Rad on an earlier app called Chill, which we discuss on the podcast. Brian is also an investor in Lyft, SpaceX and AngelList. Jeff Morris Jr. is the Director of Product for Tinder's revenue initiatives. He previously worked at Zaarly and has created a number of products, including one stretch over three months where he built and launched three products, reaching the top of Product Hunt. He is also an investor in Lyft, CryptoKitties, Particle, Brat and others. In this episode: The joy of turning online connections into real-world connections. Jeff is great at this. He once went biking with Lance Armstrong in Hawaii after reaching out to Armstrong on Twitter. How seemingly minor design decisions, like adding a subtle animation to a play button, can “nudge” users into a new pattern of behavior and make products more enjoyable to use. Brian and Jeff discuss the design of Tinder Places, including the thoughtfulness that went into the privacy features of the product, and how they took inspiration from Foursquare. We get nostalgic and discuss some of our favorite products from the past, like Chill and Highlight. They leveraged location on mobile in an attempt to merge the online and offline world. Jeff tells the story of the time he reached out on Twitter about a job opportunity and less than 48 hours later had moved from San Francisco to Kansas City. Why Product Hunt has gained a reputation as a positive, fun, and upbeat community and how subtle, very intentional design decisions — like our ridiculous Google Glass-sporting cat — contribute to the community and brand. Of course, we also chat about some of their favorite products, including messaging apps, trivia games as well as a couple of now-obsolete apps that were onto something at the time but didn't end up taking off. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “I like to respond to people who I shouldn't be taking to. I'll email people I shouldn't email. I don't care if they email me back. One in one hundred responses could change your life.” — Jeff “Tinder's really a serendipity engine... It's one of the few experiences where you're actually leaning forward to meet someone you don't know.” — Brian “[After he hired me via Twitter and a Skype interview] he said 'I'm in Kansas City, will you move here?' I packed my bags, got on a plane, moved to Kansas City and didn't go back to San Francisco for nine months. That was all from Twitter, within 48 hours.” — Jeff “[When building products and communities ] follow the traffic anywhere. Things happen, a bunch of people aggregate, you find ways to give them unique value, and you reduce the friction because people are already there.” — Brian “No one wants another copycat product in any category.” — Brian Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Chill (RIP) — A fast and fun way to communicate. Discord — Free voice and text chat for gamers. Highlight (RIP) — Find friends and new people nearby. HQ Trivia — Live trivia game show by the founder of Vine. Slack — Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving & search. Telegram — Fast, encrypted messaging app. Tinder Boost — Skip the line for 30 minutes to get more matches. Tinder Places — Discover new people who hang where you hang.
10 October 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm visiting Y Combinator's San Francisco headquarters to talk to two of the people who are integral to Y Combinator — Kat Manalac and Michael Seibel. Kat is a Partner at Y Combinator and one of the people that convinced us to apply to join the program back in 2014. She's been at YC for five years, focusing on founder outreach, company pitch perfection, and much much more.. Prior to joining YC, she was Chief of Staff to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and also worked on brand and strategy at WIRED. Michael is CEO of Y Combinator's accelerator program. He has been through YC himself a couple of times — first in 2007, as co-founder and CEO of Justin.tv — and again in 2012 as co-founder and CEO of Socialcam. Justin.tv later became Twitch and sold to Amazon, and Socialcam was sold to Autodesk. In this episode we talk about: The evolution of Y Combinator. It's changed a ton since Product Hunt went through the program four years ago. They've been working on several programs for founders — things that Michael wishes existed when he went through the program. Michael and Kat's advice for founders, including counterintuitive tips they've learned after working with literally *thousands *of startups. A key mistake that trips up new founders when pitching their company, as well as advice for founders seeking a technical co-founder. How YC has scaled the organization as a 50-person company with its 4,000 (and growing) alumni. Of course, we also chat about some of their favorite products, including a virtual assistant that will do anything, a $1,500 smart mirror that will get you fit, and a beverage that will get you high. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode "80% of the pitch is to tell me what you do and 20% is to tell me why it's good." — Michael "[When pitching] it is always best to start [by answering] one line: 'what do you actually do'?" — Kat “The goal is always to make sure that people who are smart and want to build things have the opportunity to get funding and startup advice no matter who they know or where they come from." — Michael "I think that a lot of people try to hustle around having a technical co-founder, which is possible, but I don’t think they realize how hard it is to hustle around that, [and if they did] I think they would just hustle to get a technical co-founder." — Michael "Instead of pitching your tech friends on whatever your solution to that problem is, instead pitch your friends on how important that problem is." — Michael "I recommend talking to as many people as possible about your idea because you never know who is going to be excited about it, or who might be interested in being an early investor, or who might want to join the team." — Kat "You’ve got to get it out and into the hands of users, otherwise how do you know that they actually want what you’re building." — Michael "It takes a special personality I think [to be a startup founder] — that you wouldn’t want to do anything else — that you couldn’t maybe. A lot of startup founders I know would be terrible employees." — Michael Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Bitwise — The world's first cryptocurrency index fund. California Dreamin' — Cannabis infused sodas. DearBrightly— Personalized prescription skincare products. Fin — Virtual assistant service. Gixo — Live fitness classes wherever you are. JUMP — Electrified, dockless bike rentals. Magic — Get whatever you want on demand with no hassle, through SMS. Mirror — The mirror that's also an interactive home gym. Nanit Baby Monitor — Smart baby monitor that tracks sleep using computer vision. Peloton — World class indoor cycling experience wherever you are. Remix — The platform for designing your city’s transportation future. Robinhood — $0 commission stock brokerage. Station.io — One app to rule them all. STEEZY — Online dance classes with the world's best instructors. Titan — Built like a hedge fund. Tonal — Machine learning digital gym + personal training built in. Twindog — Find other dogs and their owners around you.
3 October 2018 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio I'm joined by two incredible people, Laura Deming and Daniel Gross, who have accomplished more before the age of 30 than most people have realized in a lifetime. Laura grew up in New Zealand and came to San Francisco when she was only 12 years old to join a lab studying aging. She was accepted to MIT at 14 before leaving to form Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm investing in companies aimed to help us all live longer and healthier lives. Daniel came to the Bay Area from Israel, accepted into Y Combinator in 2010, the youngest founder to go through the program at that time. His startup, Cue, was later acquired by Apple which led him to a leadership position across a number of AI and machine learning teams at the company. He left Apple to work at Y Combinator and recently launched Pioneer, a program to identify and support brilliant people in the world. In this episode we talk about: What it was like for Laura and Daniel to move to the Bay Area from overseas. How Pioneer is aimed to find the “world's lost Einsteins, Marie Curies and Elon Musks”. Why some animals don't age and how humans might be able to learn from creatures such as the tortoise or the naked mole rat. The challenges posed by living much longer than humans do now and how society might change as a result. Why you should sometimes call what you're creating on a project or experiment, rather than a startup. How to find your passion through experimentation. Advice Daniel and Laura have for founders and young people looking to start something big. Of course, we’ll also cover some of our favorite products that you might not know about. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “The benefit of the Ivy League is not the curriculum, I think Google's an awesome curriculum. The benefit of the Ivy League is the network and the branding.” — Daniel “There are a hundred versions of me that sent that same email and never got a response — and how many girls are out there who just never got the chance to explore science and grow in that way?” — Laura “The question is, 'can we build a digital Ivy League campus' — that's truly what we're going at here [at Pioneer].” — Daniel “Young people can do great work but I think it's really under-appreciated the extent to which that's a real phenomenon.” — Laura “I think the biggest thing we're fighting with Pioneer is this subtle enemy of self-editing.” — Daniel “We assume that the number of years we live today is the correct amount, but really it’s optimized for the savannah and different mortality conditions.” — Laura “All you have to do, if you want to become a Laura Deming or a Ryan Hoover, is you just have to take your passion seriously — no one needs to give you permission.” — Daniel “We should be able to choose when we die, and that could be later or earlier than it currently is... Everyone in the world should be able to choose how long they want to live, based on their particular circumstances.” — Laura “We want to bring the power of software to the problem of finding the lost Einsteins.” — Daniel Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode Anki— Learn more faster with better flashcards. Longevity Fund — Investing in companies that will allow us to live longer, healthier, lives. Nanopore Sequencing — DNA sequencing on a portable device for under $1,000. Pioneer — An online tournament for productivity.
26 September 2018 •
In the second episode of the new Product Hunt Radio, I’m joined by two amazing community-builders based in New York, Anil Dash and Allison Esposito. Anil is the CEO of Glitch, a friendly community where developers build the app of their dreams. You'll find everything from AI-powered musical spinners to multiplayer drawing game created on the platform. He's also an advisor to Medium, DonorsChoose, Project Include, and Stack Overflow. Allison is formerly of Oyster, the Netflix for books, which was acquired by Google in 2015. Afterward she founded Tech Ladies, a community that connects women with the best jobs in tech. In this episode we talk about: The good ol' days of IRC, Friendster, AIM, and MySpace. A lot has changed since then, yet they continue to exhibit some of the same dynamics and challenges of today's massive social networks. The challenges of building a healthy community on the internet in a time when careers and reputations can be destroyed in an instant. How online communities mirror offline interactions. Opening up an app has many parallels to walking into a social gathering in real life. Some of the common misconceptions people have about creating communities online and what a founder’s goal should really be in starting a community. Of course, we’ll also cover some of our favorite products that you might not know about. We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸 Quotes from This Episode “There’s something about community that if you’re doing it right, it should feel like a mix of it just happened and it’s natural.” – Allison “It turns out the hosting of the video wasn’t the thing, the community is the thing and it has a value. Whether you create an environment that you feel people can express themselves in is a rare and special and delicate thing.” — Anil “You open up the app and you’re basically walking into an event. The design, language, people and the way they talk to each other [influence how people] adapt to this community.” — Ryan “Most companies throw up a community and it’s a ghost town and nobody goes. The worst case is that they throw up a community and there’s nobody moderating or managing and it does grow. That is a nightmare.” — Anil “I also have these theories that tech is a fashion industry — it goes in cycles. Instead of hemlines going up or down, we have centralized to decentralized, or this programming language is cool and now it’s not cool…” — Anil Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode AIM (RIP) – Instant messaging in the 90s Aloe Bud — Self-care pocket companion GeoCities (RIP) – Your home on the web Glitch — The community where you'll build the app of your dreams Hello Weather — All the weather info you need, and nothing you don't LastPass — All your passwords in one place MySpace – The social network with blinky tags and auto-playing music Tech Ladies — A job board and community for women in tech ThinkUp (RIP) – Personal analytics for social networks, delivered daily Trello — Organize anything, together Yapper — Stay connected to your community
17 September 2018 •
In our inaugural episode, we're joined by two notable investors, Alexia Bonatsos and Niko Bonatsos. Alexia is the former co-editor-in-chief of TechCrunch and founder of a new venture fund, Dream Machine, where she helps founders “turn science fiction into non-fiction.” Her husband, Niko is Managing Director at General Catalyst, a leading Silicon Valley venture firm with investments in companies like Airbnb, ClassPass, Snap, Gusto, Warby Parker and others. In this episode we talk about: The rise of voice. As Google Home, Amazon Echoes, AirPods, and other voice-enabled devices continue to proliferate, we’ll see user behavior shift – the same way touch screens have influenced young kids – and new opportunities arise for creative entrepreneurs. The corrosive nature of behavior online, in part influenced by today’s advertising model, and potential solutions. The evolution of venture capital, with the rise of micro VCs and accessibility of capital. Of course, we’ll also cover some of our favorite products that you might not know about, including an app to help end mobile phone addiction, a new anonymous social network (the next Secret done right?), and an app that reminds you that you're going to die. Products mentioned on the show: Arthena – Quantitative research in art assets Atrium – Legal services for startups, powered by ML Casper – Casper is changing the way the world sleeps Moment – Put down your phone and get back to your life Nuzzel – The super-easy way to see news from your friends October – A new social network built for anonymity Omni – On-demand itemized physical storage Rally Rd. – Invest in blue-chip classic cars like stocks SleepCycle – A bio-alarm clock that analyzes your sleep pattern Substack – Paid email newsletters made simple The Wing – Co-working and community for professional women Transit – Real-time transit data and a bot to help you commute Truebill – Find your paid subscriptions and cancel with one click WeCroak – An app to remind you of death Big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸
12 September 2018 •
Today, we're re-introducing Product Hunt Radio, a weekly show with the people building and shaping the future of tech and culture. Our goal is to recreate Product Hunt in audio form. We'll discuss the latest tech trends and awesome products you probably don't know about. But this time around, we're including you on the show with community call-ins. Each week we'll host a different prompt. Call (707) 785–6152 to chime in and we might include it on the show. The first episode will drop soon, so subscribe with your favorite podcast player. And big thanks to our partners, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. You'll hear more about them on the sh
28 August 2018 •
This week’s episode is with Donald Rumsfeld. Donald is the former Secretary of Defense for the US and, at the tender age of 83, released an app - a solitaire game inspired by Winston Churchill. We talk about the app, lessons learned over his career, thoughts about succeeding in politics, in business, how he thinks about the future and much more. Edited by @jennaweissberman Lavish Praise to @Rumsfeldoffice Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
21 July 2016 •
Jason Calacanis is a long time founder and investor, having invested in Uber, Thumbtack, and many more. We talk about Jason’s Launch Incubator, investment strategy, legacy, and much more. As always, Jason tells it straight and does not hold back any punches. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Jason Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
9 July 2016 •
Arianna is the founder of The Huffington Post, board member of Uber, and author of "The Sleep Revolution". Order the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011G3HC0U/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 We talk about all things sleep, (i.e why we glamorize burnout), what inspired her to write the book, and what she’s doing to spark a sleep revolution. We also we talk about the story behind her joining Uber, her background and how she got into tech, and her long-term ambitions and thoughts on legacy. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @ariannahuff Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
24 June 2016 •
Josh is one of the most respected product managers in the game, having built products at Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Now he has made an name for himself at Greylock as a top vc We talk about his journey working at those companies, what it was like to work with some of the best founders of all time, his transition to investing, advice for people starting a company, and much more. Josh has been a friend and supporter and If you ever get a chance to work with Josh I highly recommend it. One of the best at what he does and he’s one of the good guys.
9 June 2016 •
Tyler Willis is an angel investor and entrepreneur (former CMO of Hired). In this episode we talk about identity balancing the personal & professional self, goal setting, transparency, imposter syndrome, self-learning. the craft of angel investing, and much more. Do check out Tyler Willis' fantastic podcast about angel investing: https://soundcloud.com/angellist/episode-0-tyler-willis-intro-to-angellist-radio-s1 Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Tylerwillis Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
31 May 2016 •
Bret Taylor previously built Google Maps and served as CTO of Facebook. He is now founder of Quip. In this episode we talk about what it was like working at Facebook & Google, how he’s grown as a CEO and founder of Quip and various lessons learned along the way. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Btaylor Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
18 May 2016 •
Brad is an incredibly successful investor, having founded the Techstars accelerator and Foundry group, and he's also also known as one of the kindest guys in the business. In this episode, we talk about how Brad rejects the term career, his principles of time management, why he doesn’t have kids, mental health and startups, romantic relationships, ego management, and much more. As one listener remarked, this episode is basically a how-to on life. Edited by @alexkontis
29 April 2016 •
Esther Perel is the perhaps world’s foremost expert on relationships. In this episode we talk about why desire wanes in relationships, how she would devise her own sex-education curriculum, why a bit of jealousy is good, how couples make non-monogamy work, how childhood affects one’s relationships, and much more. Esther has just launched a course called Rekindling Desire, which gets into all this stuff and much more. http://rekindlingdesire.com/?ims=yrbbp&utm_campaign=Discovering+Desire+2016+04&utm_source=Influencer&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Product+Hunt Here are the perks: -- Grand Opening price of $297 (After the grand opening, the normal price immediately goes up to $497 - $200 value) -- Private Facebook Group Support Community -- Signed copy of Esther’s book Mating in Captivity -- The first 300 people to register will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a private two-hour individual or couple therapy session with Esther. Edited by @alexkontis Co-host is @clairecaveny Lavish Praise to @EstherPerel Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
19 April 2016 •
Elisa New is a Harvard professor of poetry and founder of the non-profit, Poetry in America. Involved in the project are people like Nas, Bill Clinton, and others who want to promote a love of poetry. We talk about the role of poetry in society, the forms its taken place (academia, spoken word, hip hop), the business of poetry, and much more. For more information on Elisa's class, here is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o051ZQ6OoDI And here is the link to register: https://www.edx.org/course/poetry-america-modernism-harvardx-ampox-6
13 April 2016 •
Adam Grant is the youngest professor ever to be tenured at wharton business school, and a best selling author of classics "Give and Take" and, most recently, "Originals" In this episode we talk about what separates Originals from their peers, what environments best nurture original thinking, how people can become more creative, why the effects of parenting are overrated, and much more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @adamgrant Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
4 April 2016 •
Note: Apologize for poor audio quality on my part - we've transcribed the full podcast for your pleasure: https://docs.google.com/document/d/143v8O5o609f68uoco4oXRF67mPNGyzpleCiqzJR7E04/edit Larry is the former Treasury Secretary, former Chief Economist for Barack Obama, former president of Harvard, and is currently a board member for companies like Square and Lending Club. In this episode we talk about his approach to government, academia and tech investing, the rise of Donald Trump, Barack Obama’s legacy, the future of higher education, and much more. if you enjoy this episode, check out Larry's blog at larrysummers.com. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @LHSummers Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg *My apologies for poor audio in first few min.
28 March 2016 •
Gary Vaynerchuk is a entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author with a new book called #AskGaryVee Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z71HW8A/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1 In this episode we talk about his new book, how he became an investor, what it’s like staring a company with his brother, the role ego plays in his life, his famous jam sessions with Chris Sacca, Travis Kalanick, Ashton Kutcher, and much more. Edited by @Alexkontis Lavish Praise to @garyvee Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
28 March 2016 •
Matt is managing partner at Lower Case Capital with Chris Sacca. We talk about how Matt transitioned from 8 years at CAA to the world of VC, the future of Lowercase and VC in general, advice for breaking into startups/VC, difference between LA and SF, and much more. Matt is one of the best investors in the game and also one of the kindest. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Mazzeo Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
27 March 2016 •
Ruben Harris runs partnerships at Honor and is on the front lines of the diversity in tech movement. in this episode we talk about how he broke into tech, how he moved from Atlanta to SF and built a network from scratch, how before that he taught himself to be an investment banker, how he built a personal board of advisors, and more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @RubenHarris Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
26 March 2016 •
Jesse Williams is an actor in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, and founder of Ebroji. this episode we talk about the launch of his app Ebroji, emojis and gifs as extension and evolution in language, the upsides and downsides of him being famous, the role social justice plays in his life and much more . Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @jessewilliams Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
26 March 2016 •
Dhani Jones is a former NFL player, book author and founder of Proclamation. In this episode we talk about life after the NFL, his transition into the business world, the NFL as an organization, misconceptions about football players, race in america, and much more. Edited by @Alexkontis Lavish Praise to @DhaniJones Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
26 March 2016 •
Charles Hudson is founder of Precursor Ventures and a partner at SoftTech VC. This episode is about startup investing We talk about what makes a great investor, how Charles evaluates founders, how he raised a fund, advice to aspiring investors and more. We also talk about his past experiences at the CIA, Google, diversity in tech, the events business, and much more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @chudson Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
15 March 2016 •
Jason is the founder and CEO of Basecamp. In this episode we talk about building a company that lasts 40 years, what it’s like to build a remote team, how he thinks of the professional year in terms of seasons, daily rituals, and how he defines success. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Jasonfried Constructive Criticism to @ErikTorenberg
4 March 2016 •
Sierra DeMulder is a renowned spoken word poet who’s just released her third book, Today Means Amen. In this episode we talk about what it means to be a poet today, how a poet makes a living, the craft of writing, editing, performing, and then themes in her work, which include relationships, mental health, shame, humor, and much more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Sierrademulder Constructive Criticism to @Eriktorenberg
2 March 2016 •
This week's episode is with Justin Boreta of the Glitchmob, an electronic music group from LA, and the team that helped him make the app Hyperspektiv We talk about what inspired him to make the app in the first place, how he balances art and business, how he defines and measures success, the impact meditation has had on him, and much more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @boreta Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
1 March 2016 •
We're trying something new. We asked the Product Hunt community on Anchor, a new platform for bite-sized audio conversations, "what's the first thing you built?" Here are some of the answers. Enjoy. :) P.S. Check out Anchor. It's fun. https://www.producthunt.com/tech/anchor-4
1 March 2016 •
This week’s episode is with Auren Hoffman. Auren is a prolific entrepreneur and investor, having started and sold Live Ramp and invested in Thumbtack, Brightroll and many more. In this episode we get into a lot - the concept of who you know vs what you know, preserving optionality regarding career, competing with computers, the future of college, how to pick life partner, how to hire good people, how to give valuable feedback, navigating acquisitions, and much more. Auren is a fascinating thinker and has a lot to say. if you like what you hear tweet @auren to let him know, and do read his fantastic answers on Quora.
29 February 2016 •
Mitch Kapor is a successful entrepreneur, perhaps best known for founding Lotus, and investor, having founded Kapor Capital which focuses on tech startups that have strong social impact This episode we talk about Mitch's come up story, the world of impact investing and how Kapor measures impact, the ed-tech space, the role of government in tech and much more. This interview was recorded last year at the Launch Festival. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @mkapor Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
25 February 2016 •
G-Eazy is a rapper from Oakland California. In this (short) episode we talk about his interest in tech, the intersection of tech and music, community building, brand building and much more. This interview took place last year as a part of the Launch Festival. Edited by @Alexkontis Lavish Praise to @G_Eazy Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
24 February 2016 •
Brad is the founder of General Assembly and now Common, which aims to do to co-living what WeWork has done for co-working. In this episode, we talk about his come-up story, lessons learned from General Assembly, what the real estate industry is like especially as it applies to tech, why he prefers being an operator to an investor, and much more.
22 February 2016 •
This week’s episode is with Sam Lessin. Sam is partner at slow ventures and founder of Fin, which aims to eclipse Siri by building something like the technology from the movie "Her". Sam has made a name for himself both as an operator and investor, having started and sold Drop to Facebook and invested in companies such as Venmo, Birchbox, and Makerbot. In this episode we discuss his philosophy behind angel investing, product management, his college friendship and connection with Mark Zuckerberg, and why, if he was to give a controversial TED Talk right now, it would be about the end of capitalism. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @lessin Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
19 February 2016 •
Terry Gross has been hosting Fresh Air on NPR for over 40 years. She's done over 13,000 interviews, and is, in many people's opinion, the best interviewer alive. We talk about how Terry got her start, how she met her husband, her experience in therapy, the craft of interviewing, and much more. As a student of the craft, it was an absolute honor to have Terry on the podcast. If you like this epiode, tweet @NPRfreshair and let them know. If you haven’t listened to Fresh Air, I recommend starting with the interviews of Maurice Sendack, Louis CK, Marc Maron, or any other guests that interest you. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman Lavish Praise (& Money) to @NPRFreshair Constructive Criticism to @erikorenberg
11 February 2016 •
This week’s episode is with Danielle Morill, co-founder and CEO of Mattermark. We dive into her Mattermark story — company building, fund-raising, scaling, etc -- and then we get into her own personal story — what it’s like to start a company with her husband, her personal/professional rituals, her intellectual heroes (Ayn Rand being one of them), and much more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @DanielleMorrill Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
9 February 2016 •
Ramit Sethi is the author and founder of IWT (Iwillteachyoutoberich.com) and GrowthLab (growthlab.com). Ramit applies behavioral psychology to help others lead a rich life, not only rich in finance but also in health, fitness, relationships, career & more. In this episode Ramit shares his come up story, how he’s built and scaled his business over time, how he changed his psychique, how he measures success, how being an immigrant shaped his perspective, his philosophy behind teaching, accountability. and much more.
5 February 2016 •
Bryan Johnson is the founder of Braintree and the OS fund, which invests in science and tech startups aiming to radically improve peoples quality of life. This episode we talk about the Braintree story, advice for entrepreneurs, how he grew up Mormon and then changed his belief system, becoming a father, the future of education, medecine, technology and more. Brian is both a fascinating thinker & a proven entrepreneur, and it was a pleasure having a very candid conversation with him about his life and where the world is headed. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @Bryan_johnson Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
3 February 2016 •
Jeff Raider is the co-founder of Warby Parker and Harry's. This episode goes deep in the weeds of building a company and building a brand . We talk about Jeff’s journey building 100 year brands at Warby Parker & Harry’s, mistakes and lessons learned from building and scaling those companies, his philosophy on hiring and firing, and much more. Edited by @AlexKontis Lavish Praise to @JeffreyRaider Constructive Criticism to @Eriktorenberg
29 January 2016 •
Josh is an entrepreneur, investor, and founder of First Round Capital. We talk about his come up story, starting half.com and selling it to ebay, how he started First Round, how he learned how to invest, advice to entrepreneurs, and much more. For anyone looking to learn how to invest, Josh is one of the best in the game and drops a bunch of gems in this episode.
27 January 2016 •
Sarah Tavel is a partner at Greylock, previously ran product at Pinterest, and is one of my favorite investors in the Valley. We talk about her story at Pinterest - why she joined, how it scaled, and how she transitioned from PM to VC. She shares career advice talk about career advice — when to join a company, when to move on, and how to identify a rocket ship. And then we discuss investing and how to get good at it. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @sarahtavel Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
25 January 2016 •
Patrick Collison, cofounder of Stripe, is one of the most impressive and interesting CEOs in tech today. We delve into Patrick's story - how he came from Ireland, pursued Stripe while on leave from College, and then built and and scaled his company internationally. Patrick shares advice for entrepreneurs, thoughts on education, immigration, and a whole host of other topics. If you enjoyed the Tyler Cowen or Ezra Klein episode, you’ll also enjoy this one. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @patrickc Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
21 January 2016 •
Ezra is a journalist and founder of one of the most interesting media platforms today, Vox. In this second episode with Ezra Klein, we discuss politics: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Obama's legacy. We talk entertainment: highbrow vs lowbrow, and then I ask him a set of broad questions--namely where he differs intellectually from thinkers like Peter Thiel, Tyler Cowen, Elon Musk, Marc Andreessen, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and more. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @ezraklein Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
20 January 2016 •
Ezra Klein is a journalist and founder of one of the most interesting media platforms today, Vox. Our talk was so good I had to break it down into two episodes. In this first episode, we cover Ezra’s start in journalism, how he transitioned from journalist to manager, and then we get into the future of news media platforms and what it will mean to be a journalist in 2020. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @ezraklein Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
18 January 2016 •
Des Traynor is the co-founder of Intercom. In this episode we get deep into the weeds of startup land. We discuss product market fit, advice to entrepreneurs, hiring, firing, productivity, and a lot more. Des is one of the best growth and product founders in the game, and drops gems in this episode. Edited by @alexkontis Lavish Praise to @destraynor Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
16 January 2016 •
Emmet Shear is the CEO and Co-Founder of Twitch.tv and a partner at YCombinator. We talk about the story of Twitch.tv -- and how it evolved from Justin.TV -- how he became a YC Partner, and then we have a broader talk about capitalism, social inequality, and how technology can reduce it. Edited by @AlexKontis Lavish Praise to @eshear Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
13 January 2016 •
Alysia Harris is a world renowned spoken word poet. This episode we talk about the the craft of poetry -- how Alysia writes poems, how she advises others who want to write poems -- We talk about the economics of poetry -- how Alysia merges art & business and the tensions therein -- we talk about the artist’s role in society, and then, for good measure, we sprinkle some talk about religion, metaphysics, diversity and much more. Edited by @Alexkontis Lavish Praise to @poppyinthewheat, @libashton Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
9 January 2016 •
Cal Newport is a computer scientist, professor, and author of five books. In this episode we explore his book "Get So Good They Can’t Ignore You" which talks about the importance of mastery, and the follies of blind pursuing your passion. We also talk about his new book. Deep Work, which comes out today, January 5th. His book explores the concept of deliberate practice and shares strategies for how to construct an environment where one can perform deliberate practice consistently. Edited by @AlexKontis Praise to Calnewport.com/blog Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg Check out Deep Work below. I highly recommend it. http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Work-Focused-Success-Distracted/dp/1455586692
6 January 2016 •
Jeff Atwood is a prominent entrepreneur and developer, having founded Stack Exchange and, more recently, Discourse. In this episode we get deep into the weeds on community building - Jeff's one of the best in the game. Edited by @Alexkontis Lavish Praise to @codinghorror Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
4 January 2016 •
Kanyi Maqbuela is a partner at Collaborative Fund. In this episode, we discuss Kanyi’s personal story going from Stanford drop out to VC, how he’s navigated failures, built mentor relationships, and we also go broad: We talk about tech and the intersection of education, academia, non-profit, government, culture, philosophy, and much more. Edited by @Alexkontis Praise to @Km Constructive Criticism to @eriktorenberg
26 December 2015 •
Arielle Zuckerberg is a former Product Manager at Humin and Wildfire, and a new partner at Kleiner Perkins. We talk about the transition from product manager to angel investor to working at Kleiner, how her life has changed due to her last name (Zuckerberg), her senior thesis on the morality of artificial intelligence, and much more
21 December 2015 •
Chris Sacca is one of the most successful angel investors of all time. He's invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and Kickstarter, among many others. Before that he led special projects at Google and worked as a lawyer at Fenwick. He shares what it was like working with Larry & Sergey at Google, working with Ev Williams and Jack Dorsey as one of the first investors in twitter, becoming a guest shark on Shark Tank, interviewing Edward Snowden, and asking President Obama the tough questions while working with him in his two campaigns. edited by Alex Kontis praise to @sacca criticism to @eriktorenberg
17 December 2015 •
Ryan Leslie is one of the most interesting rappers and artists in the music industry. He graduated from Harvard at age 20, has grammy nominated songs, including one with Kanye West, and recently created the Super Phone, which is backed by Ben Horowitz, Betaworks and others. We talk about Ryan's story coming up in the rap game and the tech game, the future of the music industry, how he thinks about building his audience, and much more. Edited by Alex Kontis Praise to @ryanleslie Criticism to @eriktorenberg
11 December 2015 •
Tracy Chou has been a super early employee at Pinterest and Quora and has become one of the most respected voices in the diversity in tech conversation, both in terms of gender and in terms of race, We talk about 1) her experiences being both a women in tech and asian in tech, 2) what’s it meant for Tracy to become a public figure, 3) how she evaluates who she spends her time with and why, 4) having a social impact beyond tech and more. Edited by @Alexkontis Praise to @triketora Criticism to @eriktorenberg
3 December 2015 •
Interview with Alexis Madrigal, long-time tech journalist and media entrepreneur. We discuss tech, media, writing process, mentorship, Grantland, legacy, and more. Lead interviewer: Jonah Bromwich Edited by Alex Kontis
18 November 2015 •
Matt Mullenweg is the Founder of Wordpress. In this episode we talk about daily rituals, how he started Wordpress, how being a successful CEO early on has affected his relationships, how he thinks about hiring, investing, and evaluating people. Edited by Alex Kontis Praise to @photomatt Criticism to @eriktorenberg
30 October 2015 •
Peter Diamandis is author of BOLD and co-founder of X-Prize, Singularity Institute, and many others. We chat about Peter’s story, lessons learned from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Larry Page, and what’s enabled him to succeed across industries, everything from space travel to human longevity to education of the future. Edited by Alex Kontis Feedback to @eriktorenberg
22 October 2015 •
Tucker Max is the founder of Book in a Box and the author of a new book on relationships, "Mate". http://bookinabox.com http://www.amazon.com/Mate-Become-Man-Women-Want/dp/0316375365
20 October 2015 •
Keith has been an early executive at startups such as Linkedin, Paypal, Square, and has been an early investor in companies such as Youtube, Airbnb, Palantir, Quora, Yelp, and much more. In this episode we discuss Keith’s story, his thoughts on career strategy, his philosophy on hiring and why its similar to drafting athletes, and much more. This was recorded during the LAUNCH conference earlier this year. Edited by Alex Kontis Feedback to @eriktorenberg Praise to @rabois
9 October 2015 •
We just launched our new podcast vertical! www.producthunt.com/podcasts The Product Hunt Team -- Ryan Hoover, Alex Carter, and Erik Torenberg -- sit down and discuss podcasts with Nick Quah, podcast connoisseur and writer of Hot Pod, the defining podcast industry newsletter. Edited by Alex Kontis.
8 October 2015 •
Mahbod Moghadam is a cofounder of (Rap) Genius who recently resigned last year. This episode is a bit like a therapy session: We discuss Mahbod's relationships, his perception of his actions, his thoughts on tech, hip-hop, and much more. Mahbod is currently a cofounder of Everipedia which is "Thug Wikipedia". We conducted the interview before he founded it. www.everipedia.com edited by Alex Kontis feedback to @eriktorenberg
2 October 2015 •
In this episode we have Mike Shinoda, star of popular Linkin Park and Fort Minor. Linkin Park has recently launched a Venture Capital firm. We talk about everything tech - how and why Mike got into tech, what he wants to achieve, what he invests, but we also talk about his art - how he thinks about making art vs making a business off his art, how he deals with success and still pushing it - and a lot more. But the one thing I’m curious when you’ve tried so hard, and got so far, in the end, does it really even matter? Does it?
30 September 2015 •
This episode I’m doing something a little different. It's with Mariquel and Gaston two entrepreneurs who run a business called Hickies, which is a shoelace replacement that allows you to to put on your shoes without tying them ,Bbt this episode has nothing to do with their business. It has nothing to do with tech. it has everything to do with relationships. We talk abut how they met, how Gaston courted Mariquel for 6 years, how, once they got together, they decided to build a business together and how that impacted the relationship, and how they’ve continued to build and strengthen their relationship . This is an experiment. I’ve wanted a more formal excuse to pry into peoples romantic and sex life and I’m curious if other people enjoy it. If you do, tweet me and let me know. If you think is this is lame, also tweet me. I’m just not gonna take silence anymore. I’m not gonna do it. Let me know what you think @eriktorenberg. Edited by Alex Kontis.
25 September 2015 •
Ann Friedman is a journalist who writes about gender, tech, politics, and social issues in her weekly column for New York magazine. She also co-hosts the podcast Call Your Girlfriend with her friend Aminatou Sow. In this episode we talk about how to be a journalist in 2015, how anne’s podcast with her best friend has effected their relationship, and what it means to be an ethical tech consumer. Edited by Alex Kontis For constructive criticism on the episode, message me @eriktorenberg For lavish praise, message @annfriedman
22 September 2015 •
Steven Johnson is the author of many books, some of which Future Perfect, Where Good Ideas Come from, Mind Wide Open, and How We Got To Now. This episode is all about innovation, where it occurs in our own lives, where it occurs in communities, and how he keeps finding it in his own life. Innovation is one of those terms like "authentic" that has essentially been co-opted. It’s been used so much to describe nearly everything that it’s almost lost its meaning. But Steven’s been writing about innovation for two decades and has interesting and defining things to say about it. Edited by Alex Kontis For any feedback, message me by @eriktorenberg See more Steven Johnson at www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/ and message him at @Stevenbjohnson.
21 September 2015 •
Jane McGonigal is an author and game designer who believes that playing games and adopting gameful mindset can help improve our health, relationships, and her new book, Superbetter, explains how. In this episode we talk about Superbetter and how it works, we talk about not judging games by their content but by how the game is played, co-operative games vs competitive games, the intersection of games & therapy and more. Check out her book here: http://www.amazon.com/SuperBetter-Revolutionary-Approach-Stronger-Resilient-Powered/dp/1594206368 Edited by Alex Kontis For feedback, message me @eriktorenberg
18 September 2015 •
Troy Carter is the founder of Atom Factory and Smashd Labs. Artists he's managed include Lady Gaga, John Legend, Miguel, and many others. Startups in his portfolio include Uber, Dropbox, Spotify, and many others. In this episode we talk about the convergence between entertainment and tech, the music industry, and how Troy wants to be for entrepreneurs what Nike was for athletes. Edited by Alex Kontis For feedback, message me at @eriktorenberg
14 September 2015 •
Chris Schroeder is a successful founder, investor, and now author of "Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution remaking the Middle East" which chronicles startup stories in Cairo, Gaza, Damascus, and other countries throughout the region. In this episode we discuss his book, the role governments play in innovation, the intersection between tech and politics (both in the Middle East and in Washington where Chris lives), the future of cities and much more.
9 September 2015 •
Robert Greene is the author of books such as Mastery, 33 Strategies of War, Art of Seduction, the 48 Laws of Power, and the 50th Law (w/ 50 cent). including mastery, strategies of war, art of seduction, laws of power, one of which is with rapper 50 cent This episode we talk about the ideas in his books (power, mastery, seduction) what in his personal life has inspired the books, but we also talk meditation, writing, not having kids, and bunch more. Edited by Alex Kontis For any feedback, tweet me at @eriktorenberg
6 September 2015 •
James Currier is a prominent entrepreneur and investor. He was one of the earliest to build social networks, starting Tickle in 1999 and then selling it in 2004 He’s since advised/invseted in a bunch of startups including Goodreads, Honeybook and Meerkat, among many others. and most recently started NFX Guild, which is an invite only accelerator program for networks effects businesses. In this episode we discuss what James looks for in founders, common advice he finds himself giving, the concept of personal brand, his involvement in Goodreads and Meerkat, and more. Edited by Alex Kontis For any feedback, tweet me at @eriktorenberg http://nfx.com/
2 September 2015 •
Felix Salmon is a senior editor at Fusion. He's of the rare writers who really understands both media and technology and the businesses and cultures behind both of them. In this episode we discuss media skepticism towards the tech industry, why there’s such an obsession with scale, why good things come from wasting time instead of optimizing it, the future of news delivery and brands, and much more. Edited by Alex Kontis Would love to hear feedback at @eriktorenberg
31 August 2015 •
Kevin Kelly is perhaps most known for being a founding team member of Wired Magazine and for starting the Long now Foundation, which aims to solve problems in a ten thousand year time frame. More than a few people refer to Kevin Kelly as the most interesting person in the world. In this podcast we talk about what happens then robots take our jobs, how success to Kevin means doing things that only you can uiquely do, How Kevin didn’t have his first job till he was 35, and his first drug experience at 50, and a ton of other things. Check out his graphic novel, the Silver Cord, here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Silver-Cord-Kevin-Kelly/dp/1940689015 Edited by Alex Kontis Feedback to @eriktorenberg
25 August 2015 •
Joe Greenstein founded Flixter, the popular movie discovery platform, for nearly a decade before selling it and since has founded Innerspace, a YC company that helps other companies build great companies + company cultures in addition to great products. Joe shares the struggles in his personal life building his company, the tension that comes with selling a company, him wanting to become a father, and much more. Check out Innerspace: http://www.helloinnerspace.org Edited by Alex Kontis Any feedback on the episode to @eriktorenberg
21 August 2015 •
Ben is the co-author of The Start-up of You and The Alliance with Reid Hoffman, served for two years as Reid's chief of staff at LinkedIn, and has founded many different companies in Silicon Valley. In this podcast we chat about career strategy, what it means to live in "permanent beta", loneliness in San Francisco, and much more. Ben's blog: http://casnocha.com/blog The Alliance: http://www.amazon.com/The-Alliance-Managing-Talent-Networked/dp/1625275773 Edited by Alex Kontis Any feedback please let me know at @eriktorenberg
18 August 2015 •
This week we talk with Brit Morin, CEO of Brit and Co. about the transition from working at Google to running her own company, about becoming a mother in the middle of running that company, and having a sense of privacy when she is literally the face and name of her company. https://www.brit.co/ Brit's book, Homemaker: http://www.amazon.com/Homemakers-Domestic-Handbook-Digital-Generation/dp/0062332503 Edited by Alex Kontis Let me know what you think @eriktorenberg
14 August 2015 •
Tyler Cowen and I discuss why he thinks Elon Musk is overrated, religion is underrated, happiness overrated, and much more. Tyler Cowen is one of my favorite economists and bloggers - check out his blog here: http://marginalrevolution.com
13 August 2015 •
This week we talk with Kevin Nguyen, editorial director of Oyster. We talk about Kevin’s role curating books for Amazon, his thoughts on the future of publishing, what books have influenced him the most, reading highbrow vs low brow, and much more. Edited by Alex Kontis Interview by @eriktorenberg
9 August 2015 •
This week I talk with Dayna Tortorici editor in chief of n+1 magazine. It’s my fundamental belief that you can be a huge fan of your industry while also critiquing it at the same time. So I found it N+1 magazine especially refreshing in that offers no humble bragging, no-ass kissing, and no click bait. Just dead on, beautifully-written, social commentary. If you want to read something that may challenge core fundamental beliefs, pick up a copy N+1 Magazine. I’m such a believer in its importance that I feel something of a moral responsibiltiy to encourage you to read it. Dayna and I talk about Women in Tech, the Lean In philosophy of Feminism, the difference between an artist and a businessperson, and much more. Check out N+1 here: https://nplusonemag.com Edited by Frances Harlow Interviewer: @eriktorenberg
5 August 2015 •
What does friendship mean in the era of social media? what should the ideal college experience look like? what’s the difference between an entrepreneur and an artist? William Deresiewicz and I, Erik Torenberg, talk about these topics as well as his new book, Excellent Sheep, the Miseducation of America’s Elite and the way to a meaningful life. Check out his great book here: http://www.amazon.com/Excellent-Sheep-Miseducation-American-Meaningful/dp/1476702721 Edited by Alex Kontis
4 August 2015 •
How do you write a book about your own story w/ the subtitle “How an ordinary person can make extraordinary change” and be humble at the same time? How do you write a book for yourself but also the reader and not sacrifice something? How do you evaluate whether you’re a founder, entrepreneur, or executive, and what’s the difference? I get into all of this with Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise, a non profit that builds schools all over the world, and best selling author of The Promise of a Pencil - how an ordinary person can make extraordinary change. Check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Promise-Pencil-Ordinary-Extraordinary/dp/1476730628 Edited by Alex Kontis Interviewer: @eriktorenberg
31 July 2015 •
Dan Ariely is a leading behaviorical economist, 3 time best-selling author, and he is the first guest to appear multiple times on Maker Stories. In this episode we talk about Dan’s new documentary on dishonesty and cheating and why people cheat in sports, politics, relationships. I also ask him about his favorite thinkers, the limits of behavioral economics, how he met his wife, and how he views the term ‘success’ If you liked this episode, check out these other episodes with Dan Ariely: https://soundcloud.com/product-hunt/maker-stories-episode-6-w-dan-ariely https://soundcloud.com/product-hunt/dan-ariely-pt-1
30 July 2015 •
Cindy Gallop is interested in building the YCombinator of Sex Tech. She’s an author, TED speaker, and is the founder of Make Love Not Porn, which aims to revolutionize the porn industry. Cindy's TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV8n_E_6Tpc http://makelovenotporn.com/pages/landing Edited By Alex Kontis
27 July 2015 •
Daniel Pink is a NYT best selling author who writes about how can we have more fulfilling work lives We talk about the tensions between journalists and academics, the term "pop science", and what TED’s effect on intellectual culture has been. We also discuss Dan’s writing process, the differences and overlaps in his personal + professional life, and his latest book "To Sell Is Human." Check out his book here: http://www.amazon.com/To-Sell-Is-Human-Surprising/dp/1594631905 He'll be giving a live AMA on Product hunt 7/28
24 July 2015 •
Seth Godin is the author of 18 bestsellers, a popular blogger and founder of the altMBA. We discuss marketing and distribution, how to build online communities, and what he’s learned from his various education experiments. His newest book is What To Do When It’s Your Turn http://www.yourturn.link
23 July 2015 •
Amanda Palmer is an accomplished musician, speaker, and writer, known for her passionate and dedicated fanbase. We talk about all that, we talk about her best friend passing, and we also discuss how she feels about becoming a mother. Check out her book "The Art of Asking", and look out for a Product Hunt AMA with her soon. http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Asking-Learned-Worrying/dp/1455581089 Edited by Alex Kontis.
21 July 2015 •
James Beshara went one from being a D1 basketball prospect, to an economist in South Africa, to founding and running Tilt, a crowdfunding startup which launches more campaigns than any other startup in the world. https://www.tilt.com/ Edited by Alex Kontis
17 July 2015 •
Ryan Holiday is an author of three books, including Growth Hacker Marketing, and he’s an Editor at Large at the New York Observer. He dropped out of college at 19 to become director of marketing of American Apparel, and has since advised writer and artist clients such as Robert Greene, Tucker Max, and Tim Ferriss and many more. In this chat, we discuss Ryan’s writing process, both for books and articles, and advice for aspiring writers. We also discuss the media space — Buzzfeed, Vice, the NYT — and the misaligned incentives in journalism today, as elaborated upon in his first book, Trust me I’m Lying. And then we discuss life stuff: why he lives in the south, why he loves the Stoics, why he dropped out of college, why he reads so much, and what's next for him in his career. Edited by Alex Kontis
15 July 2015 •
@eriktorenberg chats with Tony Robbins about his book, Money: Master the game, tech investments, family, relationships, sex, coaching, and service, and a lot more. http://www.amazon.com/MONEY-Master-Game-Financial-Freedom-ebook/dp/B00MZAIU4G Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman.
9 July 2015 •
I chat with Jessica Lessin, founder of The Information about the news industry, what makes a great journalist, the transition from reporter to entrepreneur, and much more. Jessica has a special deal for listeners, so tune in. Edited by Daniel Russel.
2 July 2015 •
Jared Fleisler, partner at Matrix and previously an executive at Google & Square, chatted with me about what success means to him, how he got to where he is, and how he views making an impact. Listen in, and let me know what you think.
11 June 2015 •
Eric Ries is the author of Lean Startup, which has since become almost gospel in the startup world. We have a great chat about writing, career strategy, lean startup philosophy, and much more. Eric’s book, The Leader's Guide, was also a first selection for the product hunt book club. Stay tuned for more about Product Hunt Books. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman
20 May 2015 •
Nick Adler, part of Snoops management team, talks about what it's been like to extend the Snoop brand into technology, and the details of his successes, failures, and learnings along the way.
12 May 2015 •
Matt Mazzeo is Managing Director of Lowercase Capital, partners w/ Chris Sacca, and one of the best guys in the biz. We interviewed him and many others at the LAUNCH festival last month. Edited by Daniel Russell
5 May 2015 •
Tim Ferriss is an author, entrepreneur, podcast host, and many other things. In this wide ranging episode, we discuss his new show, advice to his younger self, friendship & relationships, & much more. This is my favorite podcast episode thus far. Listen in and let us know what you think. Check out Tim’s Show here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/the-tim-ferriss-experiment/id984734983?ref=producthunt http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tim-ferriss-experiment You can find more info about Tim as well as his writings and podcasts here: fourhourworkweek.com. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman.
28 April 2015 •
Dan Ariely is worth listening to pretty much on any topic. In this interview we touch upon college, lying, alzheimers, relationships, online-dating, and much more. This is Part II of my interview with Dan. in Part I, we chatted about products, tech, academia and more: https://soundcloud.com/product-hunt/dan-ariely-pt-1
24 April 2015 •
Today Josh Elman and John Lilly from Greylock join us to talk about their recent investment in Meerkat, Facebook’s new Message platform, and the future of micropayment economy thanks to Square’s $Cashtags and others. Listen in.
21 April 2015 •
James Altucher is an author, investor, and overall fascinating person. We get deep. Tune in. For more James, see here: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/ Edited by Daniel Russel
14 April 2015 •
I chat with Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory, founder of Genius (formerly Rap Genius)in their Brooklyn office. Genius Beta has just launched on Product Hunt - more info here: http://blog.producthunt.com/post/115855892109/maker-stories-episode-4-w-genius-founders-tom Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman.
8 April 2015 •
Anthony Saleh is Nas's manager and a founding partner at Queensbridge Venture Partners. I interviewed him and many others at the LAUNCH festival last month. If you want to see more interviews from the festival, let me know and we'll release them here. As always, feedback, constructive criticism, and guest recommendations are always appreciated. Edited by Daniel Russell
5 April 2015 •
If you’re interested in books, journalism, content, tech & humanities, the tension between being an artist, pursuing a passion, and running a business, you’ll like this episode with Aaron Lammer. Thank you all for your great feedback on episode one with Alex Blumberg and Gimlet Media. Appreciate any constructive criticism for this and future episodes as well. Who should we have next on Maker Stories? Tweet me your suggestions @eriktorenberg Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman.
31 March 2015 •
In this episode Justin Kan, partner at Y Combinator and founder of Justin.tv, Twitch, Exec, and Socialcam joins us. Justin shares tips for hopeful YC applicants, the motivation behind his new EDM music discovery site, and impressions of this renewed interest in livestreaming video. Listen in. P.S. Here's a pic of the original Justin.tv broadcasting machine, as taken from our "recording studio" at Twitch: https://instagram.com/p/0B2Gs9D9Z1/
24 March 2015 •
We're thrilled to announce the launch of Maker Stories -- one-on-one conversations with makers about their products and the stories behind them We’re going to discover what inspires these makers, how they perceive the world, what they grapple with - I want to get deep with this: What Marc Maron did for comedians and actors I want to do for entrepreneurs and investors and doers and thinkers creators and makers etc. and this isn’t gonna be just people in tech - it’s gonna be people in books, games, music, movies, a vast array of types of creators. Like all Product Hunt projects, it's going to be community driven. If you have recommendations for guests, let me know. Appropriately, the first episode features none other than podcast legends Alex Blumberg and Gimlet Media. We discuss the future of Gimlet Media + Startup Podcast, what it’s like behind the scenes at Gimlet, and we get deep into the craft of podcasting. Edited by Jenna Weiss Berman
17 March 2015 •
This week Ben Rubin(CEO, Meerkat) and Josh Elman (Partner, Greylock) join us to discuss the backstory of Meerkat and the future of livestreaming. Of course, we broadcasted the episode live on Meerkat, sporting lovely yellow swag: https://twitter.com/joewardpr/status/575809780322811904. Listen in. P.S. Want a Meerkat shirt? There are a few more days left to buy one on Teespring: http://teespring.com/meerkatapp
12 March 2015 •
Ben Parr, former Mashable co-editor, investor, and now author, just released his first book, Captivology. We chat about how to drive awareness for your product, advice for those looking to break into the startup world, and magical apps that save time. Listen in.
28 February 2015 •
This week Jason Calacanis joins us on the show to chat about next week's LAUNCH Festival (http://www.launchfestival.com/) (including the Product Hunt AMA stage), technology's influence in building empathy, and qualities he looks for in founders he invests in. Listen in and we'll see many of you next week at the conference!
25 February 2015 •
This week, Secret's David Byttow (https://twitter.com/davidbyttow) and Sara Haider (https://twitter.com/pandemona) join us at Product Hunt HQ to chat about the big redesign of their anonymous communication app, why their co-founder left the company, and David reveals his deep, dark LARP'ing past. Listen in.
14 February 2015 •
Noah Lichtenstein from Cowboy Ventures and Kimono Labs co-founders, Pratap Ranade and Ryan Rowe, swung by Product Hunt HQ to chat about products. We discuss Twitter’s new Group DM’s, Snapchat’s media play with Discover, and halfway through the show we accidentally make an announcement. Listen in.
2 February 2015 •
This week we're joined by the infamous Startup L Jackson (http://twitter.com/startupljackson). For years he/she's tweeted their candid, often humorous take on the startup industry, behind a veil of mystery. In this episode, SLJ shares his opinions on diversity in the tech industry, apps he/she uses, and reveals who he/she is not. Listen in.
21 January 2015 •
Last week Cloe, Siri's smarter sister, launched on Product Hunt (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cloe). The unique, SMS-based Q&A service captured the attention of the community and the shortly afterward TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr, added to the conversation (http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/15/sms-based-recommendation-engine-cloe-aims-to-outsmart-siri/). One of the founders, Chase, was in town so we invited him over for a quick podcast at our new office in lovely San Francisco. Listen in.
20 January 2015 •
In this episode, Fast Company's Deputy Editor, David Lidsky, joins Ryan and Erik all the way from New York City. We chat about cord-cutting TV apps, fitness products, and the rise of notification-driven apps. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Pluto.tv (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/pluto-tv) - Curated video programming - Sworkit (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sworkit) - 5 minute "body weight" video workouts you can do anywhere - Power 20 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/power-20) - Badass workouts for busy people (iPhone) - Nudge (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/nudge) - Klout for Healthy Living - Fiticle (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fiticle) - Improve your workouts with animated GIFs - Reserve (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/reserve-2) - A better dining experience. Pay effortlessly. - Ping (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ping-2) - You're going to like me (new app by Secret) - Nuzzle (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/nuzzel) - The super-easy way to see news from your friends - Newsle (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/newsle) - News about your network - SwiftKey (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/swiftkey-for-ios-2) - The keyboard that learns from you. - Derp (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/derp) - Play sounds on your friends' phones
18 November 2014 •
This week Erik Torenberg and I, Ryan Hoover, visit Sherpa Ventures/Foundry HQ to chat with Tina Sharkey (CEO, Sherpa Foundry) and Jason Shah (CEO, Do). We discuss productivity hacks, characteristics of startups Sherpa invests in, and the magic of voice dictation. Listen in, smiley face. - Do (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/do) - Do helps people run productive meetings - Boomerang (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/boomerang-for-gmail) - The ultimate toolbox to control sending/receiving emails - Tinder (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tinder-4-0) - Tinder, now with #TinderMoments photos - Weave (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/weave) - Tinder for professionals nearby - Snapchat (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-chat) - Putting the Chat into Snapchat - Medium Embeds (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/medium-embeds) - Embed Medium stories, collections, & profiles on the web - Draft (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/draft-61) - Better writing software - Shyp (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shyp) - The easiest way to ship your stuff - Beepi (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/beepi) - Next gen used car marketplace - Munchery (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/munchery) - Wholesome meals in a snap
4 November 2014 •
Last weekend we hosted the first Product Hunt Hackathon at Y Combinator. While in Mountain View, we pulled a few awesome people into our makeshift studio (a garage in the back of YC) to chat about products and things they’re building. We're joined by Shrav Mehtaa (Developer Evangelist, Hired), Mark St Raymond (Unwind.me), Kyle Russell (Writer, TechCrunch), Erik Finman (Founder, Botangle and Intern for a Day) Dave Fontenot(The Hackathon Guy), and Aaron Landy (Engineer, Main Street Genome). Listen in. Check out the top hacks from the Product Hunt Hackathon: http://www.producthunt.com/e/product-hunt-hackathon-2014
28 October 2014 •
This week Camille Ricketts (Editor, First Round Review) and Rob Hayes (Partner, First Round Capital) join us from bustling 500 Startups HQ. We chat about new messaging apps like Snowball, products kids use, and a fun little site to troll your friends. Enjoy. Products mentioned: - Snowball (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snowball) - All your messages in one place (on Android) - Slack (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slack) - Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving & search. - Goji (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/goji) - The Keyboard for Fun - Swipe (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/swipe-2) - See the photos & videos your friends won't post on Facebook - Ringly (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ringly) - Fashionable wearables. Rings connected to your phone. - Sproutling (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sproutling) - Grow happy families - Signul (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/signul) - The world's first personal beacon system - BloomThat (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bloomthat) - Ridiculously fast flowers - Bacon Lover's Feast (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bacon-lover-s-feast) - Monthly bacon delivery - Luxe Valet (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/luxe-valet) - On-demand valet parking - Instagram (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/instagram-6-0) - Simple way to capture and share the world's moments - Remind (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/remind) - Teacher-student-parent communication - TD4W (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/td4w) - A party in your pants - Ethan (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ethan) - A messaging app for messaging Ethan - SHRTURL (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shrturl) - Edit any webpage. Get short URL. Troll your friends!
21 October 2014 •
This week, friends Andrew Chen (Entrepreneur, Investor. Ex-Adtech and VC) and Nir Eyal (Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Blogger at NirAndFar.com), join me, Ryan Hoover, to chat about products. We discuss an unusual app called Ethan, habit-forming products, and the rise of pet products. Enjoy. Products mentioned: - Ethan (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ethan) - A messaging app for messaging Ethan - TD4W (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/td4w) - A party in your pants - Ping (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ping-2) - You're going to like me (new app by Secret) - Weave (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/weave) - Tinder for professionals nearby - Path Talk (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/talk-by-path) - Smart, Private Messaging - Mailbox (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/mailbox-2-0) - Fly through your email. - SaneBox (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sanebox) - Prioritization for your inbox - Spritz (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sprintz) - Reading reimagined. Technology for faster communication. - Readtime (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/readtime) - Helps me get through my pocket - Quibb (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/quibb) - Professional network to share industry news and analysis - Link Bubble (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/link-bubble) - Mobile browsing done right - Kloof (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/klooff) - Show the world how much you love your pet - BarkBox (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bark-box) - - BarkShop (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/barkshop) - Find The Perfect Pawduct For Your Pooch, from Bark & Co - BarkCam (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/barkcam) - The first camera app designed to make your pup a star - Sesame (https://sincerely.com/sesame) - Themed gift sets delivered in a beautiful box
13 October 2014 •
This week we're joined by young makers, Ryan Orbuch (Founder, Finish), Gwen Brinsmead (Product, AppMesh), and Ari Weinstein (Co-founder, DeskConnect and Workflow) from a sunny rooftop in San Francisco's Tenderloin. We chat productivity tools, apps that create beautiful photos, and trends in teenage tech culture. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Finish (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/finish) - To do lists for procrastinators - Workflow (https://my.workflow.is/) - Powerful automation for iPhone & iPad - imoji (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/imoji) - Turn selfies or any photo into stickers you can text - Overcast (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/overcast-podcast-player) - The powerful, simple podcast app from Marco Arment - Hours (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hours) - Visual time tracking app - TiddlyWiki (http://tiddlywiki.com/) - A versatile note-taking web application - Sketch (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sketch-3) - Professional digital design for Mac - Avocado (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/avocado) - A new toolbox for interaction designers - Origami (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/origami) - A free design prototyping toolkit for Quartz Composer - Facebook Paper (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/facebook-paper) - Explore stories from friends and the world around you - Fyuse (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fyuse) - Build amazing spatial photos with your iPhone - Seene (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/seene-2-0) - Share life in 3D - Matter (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/matter-3) - Add Stunning 3D Objects To Your Photos - Fragment (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fragment) - Prismatic Photos - Hipstamatic (http://hipstamatic.com/classic/) - Digital photography never looked so analog - 1-Hour Photo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/1-hour-photo) - A camera app, where you wait an hour to see the photo - Snapchat (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-our-story) - Experience live, real-time events together - Instagram (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/instagram-6-0) - Simple way to capture and share the world's moments on your iPhone - to.be Camera (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/to-be-camera) - The Augmented Reality Camera - Mindie (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/mindie-2-0) - 10 second music videos
30 September 2014 •
In this week’s episode, John and Sam Shahidi, brothers and co-founders of Shots, join PHR from their new office in SOMA, San Francisco. We chat about online bullying, music discovery, and the thoughtful anti-patterns of Shots. - Shots (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shots-of-me) - Share what you are doing through selfies and photos. - CyberDust (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cyberdust-for-android) - Take back control of your messaging - Kindly - Chat with helpful strangers. Private, anonymous, & safe. - Snapchat (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-our-story) - Experience live, real-time events together - Secret (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/secret-3-0) - Share anonymously w/ friends (on Android & avail worldwide) - YikYak (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yik-yak) - The anonymous social wall for anything and everything - Vine (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/vine-messages) - Fun & easy video conversations with friends - Plug (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/plug) - Lightweight OSX player for Hype Machine - Product Hunt for iOS (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/product-hunt-for-ios) - The best new products, every day, in your pocket P.S. Apologies for the poor audio quality. It’ll get better. :)
23 September 2014 •
This week's PHR comes from the beautiful Bloomberg Beta HQ on the Embarcadero with Roy Bahat (Head of Bloomberg Beta) and Dan Strickland (Operations at Bloomberg Beta). Roy shares his secrets to get to inbox 0, keyboards, we discuss invisible apps, and a preview of what’s to come at Product Hunt. - Keyboardio (http://www.keyboard.io/) - Making keyboards better - Nudgemail (http://www.nudgemail.com/) - The easiest way to send yourself reminders - Zapier + Product Hunt (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/zapier-product-hunt) - Create your own Product Hunt notifications - Jarvis (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/jarvis) - A personal assistant for $100/mo - Digit (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/digit) - SMS bot that monitors your bank account & saves you money - RubCam (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/rubcam) - Minimal iOS camera for taking pictures by rubbing the screen - Frontback (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/frontback) - Tell stories with photos - Checkr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/checkr) - An API to Do Background Checks - SaviOne (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/savione) - A revolutionary delivery robot for the services industry - Jobr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/jobr) - Tinder for job hunting - Two Margins (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/two-margins) - Annotate financial documents (ex. SEC filings) w/ the crowd
14 September 2014 •
This week Matt Galligan (CEO & Co-founder, Circa) & Ryan Block (VP of Product, AOL) join me, Ryan Hoover, hours after the much-hyped Apple event. Of course, we geeked out about the Apple iPhone 6/6+, Pay, and the long-rumored Watch. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Apple Watch (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/apple-watch-2) - The most personal device Apple has ever created - iPhone 6 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/iphone-6-2) - Bigger, better iPhone - Apple Pay (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/applepay) - Integrated hardware, software, and services for payments - Circa (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/circa) - News app with high quality curated content
10 September 2014 •
This week, Poornima Vijayashanker (Founder of Femgineer/BizeeBee & EIR at 500 Startups) and Julia Grace (Head of Engineering at Tindie) join Product Hunt’s Erik Torenberg and Ryan Hoover at 500 Startups HQ. We chat about tools communicate with remote teams, our love of email, and products to help fight digital distractions. Listen in. - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Tindie (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tindie) - Shop directly from indie innovators - Slack (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slack) - Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving & search. - Screenhero (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/screenhero) - Collaborative Screen Sharing + Voice Chat - Pivotal Tracker (http://www.pivotaltracker.com/) - Build better software faster - Trello (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/trello-66) - Organize anything, together - Asana (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/asana) - Teamwork without email - Product Hunt for iOS (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/product-hunt-for-ios) - The best new products, every day, in your pocket - Edgar (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/edgar) - Stop letting your social media updates go to waste - Self Control (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/self-control-mac) - Avoid distracting websites - Boomerang (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/boomerang-for-gmail) - The ultimate toolbox to control sending/receiving emails - Mobile Flow (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/mobile-flow) - Eliminate digital distractions - “Hooked” Book (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hooked-book) - How to Build Habit-Forming Products - Tiny Habits (http://tinyhabits.com/) - BJ Fogg’s program to help build healthful habits - Streak (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/streak) - CRM in your inbox - for Gmail - imoji (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/imoji) - Turn selfies or any photo into stickers you can text - emoji.sexy (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/emoji-sexy) - The emoji URL shortener - Transform Your Ideas (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/transform-your-ideas) - 20 week e-mail course on building & launching software In case you missed it, check out batch 9 of 500 Startups (http://www.producthunt.com/e/500-startups-batch-9) and this lovely collection of Emoji Apps (http://www.producthunt.com/e/emoji-apps) on Product Hunt.
30 August 2014 •
This week Nick Chirls (Partner, Notation Capital), Will Peng (Partner, Red Swan Ventures), Jon Lax(Partner, teehan+lax), and Jake Levine (Founder, Electric Objects), join me, Ryan Hoover, in the attic of Electric Objects' popup shop in the lower east side of NYC. We geek out about Levine's latest artistic venture, the revival of the hardware startup, and robots that fight crime. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Electric Objects (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/electric-objects) - Digital artwork from the Internet on your wall (pre-launch) - The Little Printer (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/little-printer) - A delightful web-connected printer that lives in your home - Knightscope (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/knightscope) - Autonomous robots that predict and prevent crime - SafeTrek (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/safetrek) - Travel safely. An app that dials 911 in an emergency. - Chesstime (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chess-time-multiplayer-game/id455602152) - Free multiplier chess - Reverb(http://www.producthunt.com/posts/reverb-1467) - The Marketplace for Musicians - Domai.nr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/domai-nr) - Worldwide domain search - Honey (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/honey) - Chrome Extension that Automatically Finds Coupon Codes - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends. - LokLok (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/loklok) - Messenger app that works right on the lockscreen
24 August 2014 •
This week we have a double Ryan feature with myself, Ryan Hoover, and Ryan Sarver (Partner, Redpoint Ventures) along with siblings Jamie Davidson (Sr. Assoc., Redpoint Ventures) and Julie Logan (Founder, Nutmeg). In this episode we chat about a sound-making "Instagram for dogs," a fun app to make it rain $$$ on your friends, and everyone's favorite graphics file format: GIF. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Secret (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/secret) - Share anonymously with your friends. Speak freely. - Text (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/text) - Push notification messaging with friends (WUT w/o anonymity) - WUT (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/wut) - Anonymously chat with friends - Ultratext (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ultratext) - Type-to-create interface for GIF creation in seconds - Stacks (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/stacks) - Make it rain real money on your friends using Venmo - Nutmeg (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/nutmeg) - Making it ridiculously easy to text awesome gifs - BarkCam (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/barkcam) - The first camera app designed to make your pup a star - Homejoy (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/homejoy) - Get Your Place Cleaned - Beepi (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/beepi) - Next gen used car marketplace - Quibb (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/quibb) - Professional network to share industry news and analysis - IFTTT (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ifttt) - Put the internet to work for you - Discovr (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/discovr-discover-music/id412768094) - A creative way to discover new music Visit Product Hunt (http://producthunt.com), a curation of the best new products, every day.
9 August 2014 •
In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, Danielle Morrill (Co-founder & CEO, Mattermark), Andy Sparks (Co-founder & COO, Mattermark), and Angela Kingyens (VC, Version One Ventures) join me, Ryan Hoover, in San Francisco's sunny Potrero Hill. Danielle confesses her love for Secret, we chat about productivity services like Clara, and discuss the fears/opportunities in offering a public Product Hunt/Mattermark API. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Mattermark (http://mattermark.com) - Research, prospect, and track the fastest growing private companies with deal intelligence - Secret - Share anonymously with your friends. Speak freely. - Whisper (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/whisper-4-0-for-ios) - The best place to express yourself online - Kindly (http://kindlychat.com/) - Chat with helpful people who enjoy lending their ears - Anonyfish (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/anonyfish) - Chat anonymously with another Secret user - Sunrise (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sunrise) - Beautifully designed calendar app - Audible (http://www.audible.com/) - Great stories, beautifully told - Stitcher (http://www.stitcher.com/) - Radio that instantly connects you to any conversation - Clear (http://realmacsoftware.com/clear) - The simple to-do app - Anxiety (http://www.anxietyapp.com/) - Lightweight to-do management - Evernote (https://evernote.com/) - Remember everything - Hackpad (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hackpad) - The simplest way to organize and share knowledge - Clara (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/clara) - Virtual employee that schedules your meetings - Super.cc (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/super-cc-1231) - Quickly add events to your calendar from any email - Jarvis (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/jarvis) - A personal assistant for $100/mo - Facetune (http://www.facetuneapp.com/) - Powerful and easy to use portrait editing app - Insta3D (http://www.spe3d.co/product/) - Instantly create your 3D avatar - Front (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/front-now-mobile) - Take out the pain of shared email accounts - Buffer for Mac (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/buffer-for-mac) - Official Buffer app for Mac - HunterData (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hunterdata) - Product Hunt Leaderboard! - The News (iOS) - http://www.producthunt.com/posts/the-news-ios) - Designer News + Hacker News, now on iOS - Product Hunt Alert - http://www.producthunt.com/posts/product-hunt-alert) - Get a text when your domain is mentioned on Product Hunt As mentioned in the podcast, The Product Hunt Community Scares Me, In a Good Way: http://ryanhoover.me/post/93109569743/the-product-hunt-community-scares-me-in-a-good-way Visit Product Hunt (http://producthunt.com), a curation of the best new products, every day.
8 August 2014 •
In this episode, product hunting Robert Scoble, joins Erik Torenberg and myself, Ryan Hoover, to chat about startups and tech. We discussed content curation, Robert’s love for Facebook, and a bit about the future of Product Hunt in this increasingly fast-moving, noisy world. Listen in.
1 August 2014 •
During my trip to NYC I swung into betaworks HQ to meet a few distant product hunting Twitter friends in the flesh. Matt Hartman (Investments at betaworks), Maya Prohovnik (Community at betaworks), and Brian Donohue (Builder at Instapaper) join me to chat about emojis, GIFs, podcast apps, and also surprised me with a 3D printed Ryan. Looks just like me (http://instagram.com/p/qSOR2jD9f1/)! Listen in. Products mentioned: - Instapaper (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/instapaper) - Save articles to Read Later - Giphy Chrome Extension (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/giphy-chrome-extension) - Respond to emails, tweets & more w/ GIFs in a jiffy - Structure.io (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/structure) - 3D Sensor for iOS - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends. - Yo, Postcard (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/postcards-yo) - "Yo" your friends via snail mail - Get Shitter (http://www.getshitter.com/) - Tweets on toilet paper - Ultratext (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ultratext) - Type-to-create interface for GIF creation in seconds - Giphy Chrome Extension (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/giphy-chrome-extension) - Respond to emails, tweets & more w/ GIFs in a jiffy - Gif Yourself (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/gif-yourself) - Add your face to a gif - Emojili (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/emojili) - The emoji-only network (pre-launch) - Emoji Dick (http://www.emojidick.com/) - Moby Dick in emojis - Picturelife 3.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/picturelife-2) - The smart home for photos - Launch Center Pro (http://contrast.co/launch-center-pro/) - Speed dial for everyday tasks on iOS - Overcast (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/overcast-podcast-player) - The powerful, simple podcast app from Marco Arment - Quibb (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/quibb) - Professional network to share industry news and analysis - Knozen (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/knozen) - Rate & share personalities w/ co-workers anonymously - Pushbullet (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/pushbullet) - Send files, links, and more to your phone and back, fast! - LokLok (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/loklok) - Messenger app that works right on the lockscreen
26 July 2014 •
I recently visited the colorful, graffiti-filled TechCrunch headquarters to chat with the tech publication's Susan Hobbs, Sarah Buhr, and Kyle Russell. We chatted about a wearable smart ring, an app to command your friends, and a fun TapTalk meta game Susan and I play named #tapwhere. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Pressfarm (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/pressfarm) - Find journalists to write about your startup - TalkTo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/talkto) - Never Make Another Phone Call, Text Message Businesses - Taptalk (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/taptalk) - Personal video and photo messaging - 4 Snaps (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/4-snaps) - Snapchat + Draw Something, an all-new kind of word game. - Ding Dong (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ding-dong) - "What's up" in one tap - Swarm (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/swarm) - Keep up and meet up with your friends- by FourSquare - Snapchat Our Story (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-our-story) - Experience live, real-time events together - Vpeeker (http://www.vpeeker.com/) - Watch the world in real-time via Vine videos - TravelbyDrone (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/travelbydrone) - Collects travel videos taken by drones - IRIS Auto-pilot Drone] http://www.producthunt.com/posts/iris-auto-pilot-drone) - Android-controlled smart videography (incl auto-follow) - Android Wear (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/android-wear) - Google's smart watch technology - Ringly (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ringly) - Fashionable wearables. Rings connected to your phone - Cuddle Clones (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cuddle-clones) - Custom stuffed animals based on your pet! - Sup (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sup-2) - See what your friends see - Povio (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/povio-2) - Message friends from your POV - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Slingshot (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slingshot-3) - Facebook's new ephemeral photo/video app P.S. As announced on TechCrunch last week (http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/17/product-hunt-founder-ryan-hoover-to-speak-at-disrupt-sf/), I will be speaking at Disrupt in San Francisco this September. We'll probably talk about Product Hunt and products. :)
21 July 2014 •
On my trip to NYC last week, I swung into Brooklyn to record another episode of PHR with the awesome Alexis Ohanian (Co-founder of reddit, Partner at YC) and Amanda Peyton (Co-founder of Grand St.). We chatted about reddit's upcoming (and long-overdue) mobile app, crack for beards, and the future of Product Hunt over an eclectic sampling of scotch. Listen in! Products mentioned: - Grand St. (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/grand-st) - Marketplace for Indie Electronics - Question Block Lamp (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/question-block-lamp) - Mario-Inspired Touch Sensitive Lamp - Cloud (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cloud) - Interactive lamp and sound system - Flaviar (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/flaviar) - Discover Premium Spirits. From Craft to Big Brands - Fixed (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fixed) - The easiest way to fix a parking ticket - AirHelp (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/airhelp) - Get comped for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights - Kimd (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/kimd) - Use your smartphone camera without disturbing the crowd - Narwhal (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/narwhal-for-reddit) - A simple app for reddit designed for iOS 7 - iReddit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjxlEodOETU) - Video commercial for the reddit mobile app from 2009 - TapPainter (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tappainter) - Picture your room with new colors - Big Green Egg (http://www.biggreenegg.com/) - The ultimate cooking experience - Electric Objects (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/electric-objects) - Digital artwork from the Internet on your wall - Perfect Body Spell (https://www.etsy.com/listing/128737962/perfect-body-plastic-surgery-black) - Look amazing for only $49 P.S. Check out Alexis' epic alien knight. P.P.S. If you care about keeping the internet open, please support net neutrality by contacting your congressman or woman and send your thoughts to the FCC (http://www.fcc.gov/comments). To learn more about net neutrality, watch this video with Alexis: http://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/reddit-co-founder-on-net-neutrality-its-a-terrible-brand Intro/outro music by eldienneproductions - https://soundcloud.com/eldienneproductions/hip-hop-beat-instrumental
14 July 2014 •
Before Product Hunt, I occasionally browsed AngelList, hunting for new startups for fun. As a long-time fan, I'm honored to have Naval Ravikant (Co-founder, AngelList) and Joshua Slayton (Venture Hacker, AngelList) on the show. We chatted about what AngelList really is, time-saving apps, and a few crazy products you wouldn't believe exist. Products mentioned: - Yo PRODUCT HUNTED (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo-producthunted) - Get a Yo whenever there's a Product Hunt with > 100 upvotes - Notational Velocity (http://notational.net/) - Modeless, mouseless Mac OS X note-taking application - Clear (http://realmacsoftware.com/clear) - Simple, beautiful mobile to-do list - Timeful (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/timeful) - Intelligent Time Management - Secret (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/secret) - Share anonymously with your friends. Speak freely. - Dark Sky (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/dark-sky) - Weather app that predicts when it will rain or snow - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Inside 2.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/inside-2-0) - Curating the best journalism in real-time - Sprig (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sprig) - Hand-crafted dinners on demand - Spoonrocket (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/spoonrocket) - Most convenient meal ever. $6 delivered. - Order Ahead (https://www.orderaheadapp.com/) - Order pickup from great businesses nearby - HotelTonight (http://www.hoteltonight.com/) - Last-minute hotel deals. Tonight. - Homejoy (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/homejoy) - Get Your Place Cleaned - Flytenow (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/flytenow) - Go flying with local pilots - Hitch (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hitch) - An affordable way to get around SF by sharing your ride. - Sidecar Shared Rides (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sidecar-shared-rides) - Sidecar offers "Shared Rides" - Bandwagon (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bandwagon) - Share cabs. Save money. - Sweetch (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sweetch) - Park on-street instantly in SF - Faraday Bikes (http://www.faradaybikes.com/) - Lightweight, inconspicuous electric bicycles - Airpnp (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/airpnp) - Airbnb for toilets. Intro/outro music by eldienneproductions - https://soundcloud.com/eldienneproductions/hip-hop-beat-instrumental
5 July 2014 •
This week I, Ryan Hoover, visited the colorful Homebrew headquarters to catch up with Hunter Walk and Satya Patel. We chatted about their latest portfolio addition, the qualities they look for in a founder, and the awesomeness of "crazy" products like Vessyl and Yo. Products mentioned: - Nuzzle for iOS (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/nuzzel-for-ios) - See top news surfaced by your friends on Twitter & Facebook - theSkimm (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/theskimm) - Daily summary of current events in your inbox - Refresh (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/refresh-1-6) - Get Insights about the People You Meet - Slack (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slack) - Be less busy. Real-time messaging, archiving & search - Fancy Hands (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fancy-hands) - Assistants for Everyone - SHADOW (alpha) - Dream-based social network - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Outdoors - AirBnB for Outdoors Equipment - Vessyl (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/vessyl) - A cup that knows what you're drinking - TravelbyDrone (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/travelbydrone) - Collects travel videos taken by drones - Snapchat Our Story (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-our-story) - Experience live, real-time events together - shortwave (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shortwave-2) - Short-range anonymous messaging (Secret meets Firechat) - Leo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/leo-1154) - Ephemeral group photo chat with text that last 24 hours
29 June 2014 •
This week Kevin Rose (Partner at Google Ventures) and Brenden Mulligan (Co-founder of Cluster) join me, Ryan Hoover, in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. We chat about the Fire Phone, Facebook's highly criticized new app, Slingshot, and a stupid simple app called, Yo. Listen, yo. Products mentioned: - Fire Phone (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fire-phone) - Amazon's Smartphone - Word Lens (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/word-lense) - See the world in your language - Slingshot (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/slingshot-3) - Facebook's new ephemeral photo/video app - Taptalk (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/taptalk) - Personal video and photo messaging - Headspace (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/headspace) - web and mobile Meditation platform - PSTMRK (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/pstmrk) - Meet people from around the world (Frontback w/ penpals) - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - Shortwave (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shortwave-2) - Short-range anonymous messaging (Secret meets Firechat) - Screenshotter (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/screenshotter) - The simplest way to organize and manage mobile screenshots - Cluster 2.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cluster-2-0) - Private spaces for you and your friends - Glose (https://glose.com/) - Get inspired by what you read
20 June 2014 •
I know I say this all the time but this may be one of my favorite PHR episodes yet. Zack Shapiro (Co-Founded Luna, hacking on Product Hunt), Erik Torenberg (CEO of Rapt.fm, hustling on Product Hunt), and Connor Montgomery (Builder at Pinterest) join me, Ryan Hoover, on my windy rooftop. We chat about tinder for the elderly, our favorite easter eggs, and Erik raps about Product Hunt. No joke. Listen. Products mentioned: - Swift (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/swift) - Apple's innovative new programming language - Stitch (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/stitch) - Tinder for older adults - BarkBuddy (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/barkbuddy) - Tinder for dogs. Adopt cute pups that need a home - Kittyo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/kittyo) - Play With Your Cat. Even When You're Not Home via Phone - Electric Objects (http://www.electricobjects.com/) - Put the Internet on your wall - Domainr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/domainr) - Worldwide domain search - Oyster (https://www.oysterbooks.com/) - Netflix for books - EPIC! (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/epic) - Netflix for kids books - Pocket (https://getpocket.com/) - When you find something you want to view later, put it in Pocket - ClickHole by The Onion](http://www.producthunt.com/posts/clickhole-by-the-onion) - The most irresistibly shareable content on the internet - InstaNerd (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/instanerd) - Be smart, instantly - 5iler (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/5iler) - A notepad for the rhythm of your mind - OneTab (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/onetab) - Manage Your Tab-Hoarding - to.be Camera (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/to-be-camera) - The Augmented Reality Camera - "Hook" Product Hunt API](http://www.producthunt.com/posts/hook-producthunt-api) - Unofficial Product Hunt API for retrieving today's hunts - Notifyr (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/notifyr) - Receive iOS notifications on your Mac - Alfred (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/alfred) - Never use your mouse again - Shuddle (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shuddle) - Uber for Families - Rhymer's Block (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/rhymers-block) - In-line rhyming dictionary for hip hop & poetry lyrics - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends - bttn (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bttn) - Press the bttn & Magic Happens™ (internet connected button)
16 June 2014 •
This week I, Ryan Hoover, am joined by Carmel DeAmicis (Reporter, Pando) and Misha Chellam (Co-founder, Tradecraft). In this Maker's Mark-inspired episode we chat crazy apps that respond to "Marco!", the wonders of SF's on-demand food services, and the secrets of online dating (hint: emojis). Grab a drink and tune in. Products mentioned: - Twister (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/twister) - Panoramic video with a party trick hook - Bubbli (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bubbli) - Dynamic Spherical Photos - Marco Polo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/marco-polo) - Find Your Phone by Shouting MARCO! - Sprig (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/sprig) - Hand-crafted dinners on demand - Zesty (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/zesty) - Healthy food takeout and delivery app - Spoonrocket (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/spoonrocket) - Most convenient meal ever. $6 delivered. (SOMA & East Bay) - Munchery (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/munchery) - Wholesome meals in a snap - Coffee Meets Bagel (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/coffee-meets-bagel) - Meaningful connections with one quality match per day - Tinder (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/tinder-4-0) - It’s how people meet - Context (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/context) - Fast visual texting - Taptalk](http://www.producthunt.com/posts/taptalk) - Personal video and photo messaging - Cluster 2.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/cluster-2-0) - Private spaces for you and your friends - CoffeeMe (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/coffeeme) - Tinder for Professional Networking
9 June 2014 •
Don't tell the other guests but this may be my favorite episode of Product Hunt Radio yet. This week I (Ryan Hoover) am joined by 17-year-old 4 Snaps creator, Michael Sayman, and 19-year-old creator of Heartwood, Kyle Ryan, sharing their teenage perspective on technology and products. We chat about betaworks' beautiful new mobile game, anonymous social apps in schools, and a fun product to troll your friends. Products mentioned: - Heartwood (http://goheartwood.me/) - A fun and easy way to share what's happening with friends - 4 Snaps (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/4-snaps) - Snapchat + Draw Something, an all-new kind of word game - TwoDots (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/twodots) - A beautiful new puzzle game for iOS from the makers of Dots - Stay in the Line (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stay-in-the-line/id871434635) - Drag your finger to move your player. Stay in the line! - Secret (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/secret) - Share anonymously with your friends. Speak freely. - Whisper (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/whisper-4-0-for-ios) - The anonymous social network. - Ask.fm (http://ask.fm/) - Ask your friends questions, anonymously - Taptalk (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/taptalk) - Personal video and photo messaging - Snapchat Chat (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/snapchat-chat) - Putting the Chat into Snapchat - Fresco (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/fresco) - Instagram for news - Circa (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/circa) - News app with high quality curated content - bttn (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/bttn) - Press the bttn & Magic Happens™ (internet connected button) - Yo (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/yo) - A simple app to say "yo" to friends. - SHRTURL (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shrturl) - Edit any webpage. Get short URL. Troll your friends! - Ship and Dip (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/ship-and-dip) - Discover your next favorite dips (Birchbox for condiments) - Shaken Cocktails (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/shaken-cocktails) - A monthly pack of cocktail ingredients, delivered - Vinyl Me, Please (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/vinyl-me-please) - The best damn record club out there - Reeses Puffs (http://www.amazon.com/Reeses-Peanut-Butter-Cereal-13-Ounce/dp/B001EQ5D42) - The best cereal in the world - Tinder (http://www.tinder.com/) - Tinder is how people meet. It's like real life, but better. - Coffee Meets Bagel 2.0 (http://www.producthunt.com/posts/coffee-meets-bagel) - Meaningful connections with one quality match per day
3 June 2014 •
In this week's PHR, we're going coast to coast. Newly minted Manhattan resident, Nathan Bashaw (Product at General Assembly), uses the power of the internet to join Alex Baldwin (Designer at thoughtbot) and myself (Ryan Hoover) in San Francisco. We chat about music apps, location-sharing product, and reveal the best new thing to hit the internet since the GIF. Products mentioned: - Console.fm - http://console.fm - Soundcloud - http://soundcloud.com - Hype Machine - http://hypem.com - Swarm - http://producthunt.co/posts/swarm - Facebook Friends Nearby - http://producthunt.co/posts/fb-nearby-friends - Typehere - http://producthunt.co/posts/typehere - Yo - http://producthunt.co/posts/yo - SoundRad - http://soundrad.com - Doneliner - http://producthunt.co/posts/doneliner - Stamplay - http://producthunt.co/posts/stamplay - Snapchat Chat - http://producthunt.co/posts/snapchat-chat - Cards Against Humanity 90’s Nostalgia Pack - https://store.cardsagainsthumanity.com/ - Dash - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/dash
27 May 2014 •
This week Sandi MacPherson (Editor-in-Chief at Quibb) and Ash Bhoopathy (Entrepreneur at Sequoia) join me, Ryan Hoover, to chat about time-saving products, new startup funding options, and fertility apps (yes, the baby-making kind). Ash also surprises us with a big launch announcement. Listen in. Products mentioned: - Cover - https://www.coverscreen.com/ - Stamplay - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/stamplay - Easyfridge - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/easyfridge - import.io - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/import-io (see Matt Ellsworth’s Web Scraping for Sales & Growth Hackers - https://www.udemy.com/learn-web-scraping-in-minutes/) - Kimono - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/kimonify - Maily - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/maily - Glow - https://www.glowing.com/ - ArtCorgi - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/artcorgi - Washio - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/washio - Dogvacay - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/dogvacay - Sprig - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/sprig - Instacart - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/instacart - Getaround - http://www.getaround.com - Airenvy - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/airenvy - Alphaworks - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/alphaworks - Patreon - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/patreon
18 May 2014 •
In this episode Semil Shah (Product at Swell, writer, and investor) joins me, Ryan Hoover, to chat about one of my favorite topics, home screen apps. We also talk about Swell, Semil’s approach to investing, and washing vegetables in the shower. Enjoy. Products mentioned: - Swell - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/swell - Stitcher - http://stitcher.com/ - Soundcloud - http://soundcloud.com/ - Sunrise - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/sunrise - Circa - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/circa - Pocket - http://getpocket.com - Medium for iOS - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/medium-for-iOS - Clear - http://realmacsoftware.com/clear - Asana - http://asana.com/ - Last - http://last.co - Slack - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/slack - MessageMe - http://messageme.com - Quibb - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/quibb - Refresh - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/refresh-1-6 - Instacarthttp://instacart.com Subscribe on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/product-hunt/id862714883
12 May 2014 •
Last week Josh Miller (Product, Facebook & Partner, betaworks) and Ben Yoskovitz (VP, Product at GoInstant/Salesforce) joined me, Ryan Hoover, at the Everywhere Else Conference in Memphis, TN. We all happened to be speaking at the event so I thought it would be a great opportunity to pull away into a makeshift studio to chat about products. We talked about the awesome story of 17 year old 4 Snaps creator, Michael Sayman, Snapchat’s big Chat update, and (yes, again) anonymous social apps, Secret and WUT. Listen in. :)  Apologies for the embarrassing audio quality. It was the best we could pull together last minute! Products mentioned: - 4 Snaps - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/4-snaps, Michael Sayman's story: http://pando.com/2014/04/30/how-a-florida-kids-stupid-app-saved-his-familys-home-and-landed-him-on-the-main-stage-of-facebooks-f8/ - Snapchat Chat - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/snapchat-chat - Potluck - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/potluck - PhoneTag - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/phonetag - WUT - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/wut - Secret - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/secret - Rumr - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/rumr-app - Interlude - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/interlude - Monument Valley](http://www.producthunt.co/posts/monument-valley-2 - Codacy - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/codacy - Ouija - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/ouija Subscribe on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/product-hunt/id862714883.
6 May 2014 •
This week Abram Dawson (http://twitter.com/abramdawson) (Associate at SV Angel) and Greg Koberger (http://twitter.com/gkoberger) (Founder of ReadMe.io) join me, Ryan Hoover, on the third episode of Product Hunt Radio. In our dimly lit basement, us three dudes geek out about products, from selfie apps to new innovative healthcare solutions. Products mentioned: - Taptalk - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/taptalk - Emissary - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/emissary - Holidogs - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/holidogs - Mindie - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/mindie - Context - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/context - Facefeed - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/facefeed - Shots of Me - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/shots-of-me - Developer Agents - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/developer-agents
26 April 2014 •
This week Kat Manalac (Partner at Y Combinator), Nikhil Basu Trivedi (VC at Shasta Ventures), and Jack Altman (Growth at Teespring) join me (Ryan Hoover) in the second episode of PHR. We chat about online-to-offline apps, a product to fight those darn San Francisco parking tickets, and the trend toward anonymous communication. Products mentioned: Flock - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/flock Jukely - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/jukely design+code - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/design-code Cloak - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/cloak-ios Fixed - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/fixed Patreon - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/patreon Secret - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/secret Rando - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/rando Facebook Nearby Friends - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/fb-nearby-friends Intro/outro music by eldienneproductions -https://soundcloud.com/eldienneproductions/hip-hop-beat-instrumental --- Product Hunt is a daily leaderboard of brand new products. Visit producthunt.co.
22 April 2014 •
In the inaugural episode of Product Hunt Radio (PHR), Shaan Puri and Furqan Rydhan joined me (Ryan Hoover) to geek out about product. We chatted about the Bebo reacquisition, backstory behind Monkey Inferno's new video walkie talkie app, Blab, shared our favorite Product Hunt discoveries, and brainstormed epic product ideas. Overview: - 00:00 - Intro to Monkey Inferno, Shaan, and Furqan - 1:34 - Blabbing about Blab and Bebo - 23:00 - Favorite Product Hunt Finds - 34:02 - Billion $ Product Brainstorm Related links and products mentioned: - Blab on Product Hunt - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/blab - Momentum on Product Hunt - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/momentum - Tickle on Product Hunt - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/tickle - Homescreen 2014 on Product Hunt - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/homescreen2014 - #Homescreen2014 by John Borthwick - https://medium.com/on-startups/4d07472265c7 - Snappy Checkout on Product Hunt - http://www.producthunt.co/posts/snappy-checkout Intro/outro music by eldienneproductions -(https://soundcloud.com/eldienneproductions/hip-hop-beat-instrumental --- Product Hunt is a daily leaderboard of brand new products. Visit producthunt.co.
13 April 2014 •