@terns Lunch & Learn: Entrepreneurship

This is another note I took from one of the @terns Lunch & Learn Sessions at Twitter. This time the topic is about entrepreneurship given Jeff Seibert, Director of Product at Twitter. Previously Jeff co-founded Increo in 2007 (acquired by Box in 2009), and co-founded & served as CEO of Crashlytics (acquired by Twitter in 2013).

  1. Great resources: http://etl.stanford.edu/ (Entrepreneur Thought Leaders series at Stanford)
  2. There is no such thing as a bad idea, YouTube started as a dating app
  3. Ideas often come in the form of document, slides, etc
  4. Balance Your Team
  5. Do not underestimate the importance of skills you lack
  6. It’s easy to discount the skills you don’t have, don’t do that
  7. Distribution is KING, it’s useless to build cool thing nobody uses
  8. “Build it and they will come” is no longer true
  9. How are you getting distribution? Have a concrete plan before launching
  10. How do you get your product to spread virally?
  11. “There is no black magic to successfully attracting customers via the Web.” -Rand Fishkin
  12. Jeff ended up meeting 36 VC firms, painful process, none of them interested.
  13. How do you get profit, so that you can continue to run your business?
  14. Time your fundraising
  15. Be really intentional about what to pursue
  16. Investor category:
    1. vision-driven: looking long term, breakthrough idea, change the world
    2. momentum-driven: looking at the number, realistic
  17. Vision driven: align with your product (Okay, you want to change the world, but really, you built that thing?)
  18. What round are you raising? What type of investor are you pitching?
    1. Early, pitch to vision driven investors
    2. Later, pitch to momentum driven investors
  19. Investors don’t fund DOTs
  20. Dot means a point on a graph of growth (one dot, need only one meeting)
  21. Investors want to fund a line (two dots, need two meetings)
  22. Investors want to fund a curve (more extreme, three dots, minimum of three meetings)
  23. Always be raising
  24. Case with tiresome Facebook SDK installation experience
    1. How many steps of those can you remove?
  25. How do we create a tool that developers want to immediately tell their friends. Can be generalized into: How do we create a product that people want to immediately tell their friends?
  26. Maximize your FTE
  27. First time experience sets expectations for your product
  28. If it’s a terrible experience, low chance of them to try again
  29. Build to succeed, not to exit
  30. How do you measure success?
  31. Stay true to your mission
  32. Culture-fit is paramount
  33. Don’t look for cheap wins
  34. Should I start a company?
    1. Popular reasons: wanna be rich, everyone is doing it, it’s cool, flexible schedule
    2. Right reason should be: I am irrationally obsessed with solving a problem that many people have and I am willing to commit the next 5-10 years of my life to do so despite insane stress and extremely low odds of success
  35. Counterintuitive advice: You should hire a full time recruiter as number 3 employee
  36. CEO job: to fire themselves. As the company grow:
    1. CEO need to hire engineer (to stop coding)
    2. CEO need to hire recruiter (to stop recruiting)
    3. etc..
  37. What to do if you want to start something, but you have no idea?
    1. There’s no perfect idea
    2. But you don’t want want to jump directly into your first idea either
    3. Founder-market fit
      1. What’s your competitive advantage as a founder?
      2. What are important things you know that others don’t?
      3. Are you obsessed enough?
  38. Social network: started gaining users as a utility
    1. Facebook started as a utility to solve the problem of not knowing people in your class
    2. Twitter started as a utility to broadcast SMS message

Also check my previous note on Product Management.

@terns Lunch & Learn: Product Manager Panel

Every week or so, the university team at Twitter hold a panel for interns to learn during lunch. Here are some notes that I take during one of the sessions on Product Management. Four product managers across the company are giving informations & insights on being a product manager at Twitter.

  1. Being a product manager is like a CEO, but without real authority
  2. The success of a manager is measured by the overall output of the whole team
  3. Learn all the way through failures is an inefficient way to learn. Sure you will learn a lot by failing, but you will be in a much better position when you have successes
  4. Understanding deeply about technical things will help you to be a better product manager
  5. If you want to be a product manager, get to know what real product managers do
  6. A product manager must be ready to talk to people, and be in a more personal relationship with her team
  7. Talk to customers
  8. Don’t make me think: make the product extremely simple (case with Twitter)
  9. Make things that are extremely useful or emotionally appealing (make users feel good)
  10. Being a product manager is about decision making, analyzing tradeoffs, and measuring things both quantitively and qualitatively

Personally, I find those things thoughtful & worth contemplating. I hope you also find them useful. ?