Screening Job Applicants for Cultural Fit

San Francisco startup Weebly invites job candidates to work on site during a “trial week,” paid at fair market value. Why? Simple: it’s very hard to suppress values-incongruent behaviors when working closely with others for that long. As their CEO says: “Assholes can hide it in interviews, but for whatever reason, they cannot hide it for a whole week. I don’t know why, but it … [ Read more ]

Hiring Tips

Because you may have a long list of candidates, you should batch calls as often as possible. For example, set aside 15 minute segments in a 3 hour block daily. In a first-pass, I always ask:

  1. “Walk me through your resume”, to understand if the candidate is actually interested in a startup via a clear story, or just shotgunning their resume;
  2. “If you left a

[ Read more ]

Find Your Product’s Optimal Price

To determine the optimal price of FitBark, Davide Rossi put plugins on the FitBark website that asked customers two simple questions. These questions were: “At what price does this product become too expensive?” and “At what price does this product feel like a steal?” People who answered the questions got a $10 discount and FitBark got tons of valuable data that helped it choose the … [ Read more ]

Understanding Your Product-Market Fit

Interview Last 5–10 Lost Sales Prospects

Ask your sales reps to give you a list of customers that fit your target profile, but for some reason the deal was lost. Send a quick email and ask them to spend 15 min of their time to understand why they went the other way. If needed, give them a $20 Starbucks gift card. The goal here is to … [ Read more ]

How Effective Is Your Current Message?

Product-market fit is all about finding a product that solves a problem and a message that resonates with your target customers. Evaluate internally and externally whether your current message is consistent and effective.

Internal Evaluation: How consistent is your sales team in communicating product value?

The following exercise is a great way to get a quick understanding where your sales team stands. Send each of your sales … [ Read more ]

Develop a Feedback River and System of Record

One of the first things I always do when joining a product team is to setup a feedback river — an open channel for anyone who is interested to get direct access to primary feedback on the product from across various channels. This has typically taken the form of an internal company mailing list in Gmail or Outlook, but I’ve also seen it as a feedback channel … [ Read more ]

The Company that Eats Together, Stays Together

Food is a natural bridge builder. But company dinners, especially when you grow to a certain size, can get prohibitively expensive. Not to mention, when you’re stuck at a table it can be a challenge to mix and mingle, which kind of defeats the purpose. We overcame this early on with a pot-luck style strategy that brought together the joys of eating with the thrill … [ Read more ]

The Power of Random Coffees

One of the biggest challenges in fast-growing companies is silos. Imaginary walls spring up between departments. Before you know it, the sales team and the engineering team, for instance, feel like two totally different companies. They’re not meshing socially and — just as worrying — they’re not collaborating or exchanging information on projects. This lack of coordination inevitably hurts the final product and the customer’s experience.

This is a huge … [ Read more ]