Hiten Shah

Hiten Shah

Founder of Crazy Egg & KISSmetrics. Silicon Valley's most generous entrepreneur.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 02, 2015

Discussion

Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
Hi! I'm Hiten Shah and I've started and grown three SaaS companies. One of them is venture-backed and the other two are self-funded. I like chatting about startups, SaaS, spicy chili peppers, personal growth and business growth.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hiten! Thanks again for all the advice you've given me over the years. I remember our conversation vividly at Samovar Tea Lounge over a year ago when I asked you for guidance on what to do with Product Hunt -- continue working on it as a side project or turn it into a business. What's the best piece of advice someone's given to you?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@rrhoover there are a handful of people that know me well. Their advice has always been priceless. Most of the advice boils down to this quote that is attributed to Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Saurav Tomar
Saurav Tomar@sauravtom · Blockchain Developer
@hnshah I am currently bootstrapping my startup and my question is regarding growth channels. What according to you is the optimal time to start investing in paid channels like fb and google ads, rather than religiously pursuing organic growth through your product. What are some metric to look out for when making that move from organic to paid growth channels. thnx
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@sauravtom I like to call it "self-funding" not bootstrapping. Paid channels are very easily measurable from a ROI perspective. I don't know the market you are in but if there's opportunity to acquire via paid channels and measure ROI, I would do experiments with paid channels as soon as you can to understand whether they can be viable for you or not. For starters, just find out how much it costs you to get a sign up.
Andreas Klinger
Andreas Klinger@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
Hi @hnshah you meet a ton of early stage founders and give advice. if there is one: which advice is the one you have to give so often you feel like a broken record? Also what is your fav kind of matcha?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@andreasklinger I'll drink all kinds of matcha ;) (got any recommends?!) - ohhh, my advice on giving / getting advice is probably the one where I feel like a broken record. More on that: https://hitenism.com/giving-advice/ and http://thestartupchat.com/4-advi...
Andreas Klinger
Andreas Klinger@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
@hnshah thanks for the answer interesting to hear your pov on this. personally i stopped telling people straight forward what i think they should do either it comes up through my questions or if not i explain what i believe and try to come up w/ examples from my past that fit the situation to explain my reasoning. re matcha: http://www.amazon.com/DoMatcha-G... 😋 👍
Jack Dweck
Jack Dweck@jackdweck · Product Manager at Unroll.Me
Hi Hiten. You recently published your first open research report on what makes Slack so addictive. Which companies will you analyze next and why?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@jackdweck there's one more about Slack, research on food startups and another open research project I've partnered with UserTesting on. In the coming weeks, I'll be publishing one of those.
Eric Willis
Eric Willis@erictwillis · Working on something new
@hnshah Hello, Hiten. Is there any major difference in the way you run your venture-backed startup vs your other two self-funded companies?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@erictwillis yes... you can invest ahead of revenue to get growth in a venture funded business. In a self-funded business, your #1 job especially early on is managing cash-flow. More on that here: https://hitenism.com/self-fundin...
Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell@threedukes · Co-founder, head of product
@hnshah Startups are scrambling to find growth techniques, growth hacking, etc. In your experience, what are the tactics you feel every/any startup should just start with and "go from there"?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@threedukes in a business you need two things: 1. A great product 2. Great distribution I haven't seen two companies (even if they are in the same market targeting the same customers) approach these things in the same way. Thus, I don't really have simple generic advise around tactics. I'm also very contextual when it comes to advise and tactics so generalizing is something I try to avoid.
Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell@threedukes · Co-founder, head of product
@hnshah Makes perfect sense. Thank you!
AJ
AJ@alanaut24 · Engitrepresigner
@hnshah You are awesome! That is all. :)
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@alanaut24 thank you =)
Sio
Sio@sio_rah · Co-Founder LeadStern
Hi, what was the worst advice you ever gave someone? In hindsight of course ;)
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@sio_rah I used to give advice even more directly than I do today, it often came across as a "know-it-all" until the people emailed me 6 months later and said "you were right". This used to happen a lot a few years ago and I changed my approach to be direct but less "know-it-all" and the results have been fantastic, people actually take the advice faster and thus I end up being more helpful to them. I don't give generic advise and I always learn first before giving my thoughts, this helps me avoid giving people bad advice.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hiten has a unique, effective style when advising startups and people. He listens intently and from my own experience, he asks just the right questions to elicit new thoughts and solutions.
Badri
Badri@wormlocks · Co-Founder, Gathr
@rrhoover could you describe this further? perhaps with an example? :) would be cool to learn about what, retrospectively, seemed like the most important challenges of that time in PH's evolution.
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@hnshah according to you which metrics Are important for An app startup to show success
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@neeeharika retention.
Feyyaz Alingan
Feyyaz Alingan@freshfey · Focused. 🤖
@hnshah Hiten, you're a tea drinker right? :) Can I send you some of my tea to try out?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@freshfey absolutely. email me: hnshah@gmail.com
Tiffany Zhong
Tiffany Zhong@tzhongg · @ZebraIQ (gen z), ex Product Hunt
Hey Hiten! 👋 How do you track/quantify your personal growth?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@tzhongg I always try to be better than I was yesterday, last week, last month, last year, etc... I do a few simple things. Take lots of notes. Re-hash my meetings and experiences, sort of like a personal post-mortem of what sucked, what to keep doing and what to improve. Ask for feedback from people whose opinion I value or people who I think can give me feedback on myself in a way that helps me grow. Just by doing these things, I am able to track progress and quantify more clearly how I'm doing.
Swaathi Kakarla
Swaathi Kakarla@imswaathik · CTO at Skcript
What's your advice on being kind/generous to customers/clients? I've seen far too cases where people stomp on the nice kid on the lane. Do you think "Brutal honesty trumps hypocritical politeness." - Vinod Khosla is that way to go?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@imswaathik Just be human. Really try to remove your own feelings from a situation and step in the other person's "shoes" and also mind. Once you can do that, kindness and generousity aren't something you think about. You just try to be as human as you can in your relationships. I think brutal honesty is really important and at the same time the delivery of it can either have a negative impact or a positive impact on a person. I try my best to make it positive.
Alec Jones
Alec Jones@alec_joness · developing & high schooling
@hnshah What blogs and news sites do you visit daily and recommend to read daily?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@koolkoder what's described here hasn't changed much for me: http://blog.hubspot.com/opinion/...
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
What's something you used to believe that you no longer believe? What's something you used to be skeptical/uncertain about that now you have more certainty around?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@melissajoykong What's something you used to believe that you no longer believe? I grew up around a ton of selflessness so my world view was originally shaped by that sort of way of life. I would transfer that onto other people and expect them to be a certain way. Now I know that everyone is looking out for themselves first and foremost and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I used to think it was a bad quality in people until I realized how fundemental it is and is actually a big part of being human. What's something you used to be skeptical/uncertain about that now you have more certainty around? Before raising money, I had lots of uncertainty in my head about it, investors and how it would be. It's crystal clear now.
Vaibhav Mule
Vaibhav Mule@vaibhavmule
@hnshah How do you get Saas ideas?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@vaibhavmule There's a bunch of ways. One of my favorite ways is to talk to people who I think are my future customers and find out the things that they are doing manually, in excel or by stiching together multiple tools. These problems are often times the easiest to solve technically and offer a ton of value to customers.
Vaibhav Mule
Vaibhav Mule@vaibhavmule
@hnshah Thanks. It's means need to talk more people, understand their pain problem and make them your customer.
Jared The Dude
Jared The Dude@jaredepicpower · EVP & Co-founder @ Muxy.io
Do you think you would've been as motivated and successful anywhere outside of the SV area, say the Midwest USA? How important do you feel location is for starting SaaS companies?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@jaredepicpower yes, I started my first Internet companies in Southern California. It might as well be the Midwest.
Aurora
Aurora@aurorakb · Co-Founder megacool.co
Hi @hnshah: While developing tools for other developers (i.e. with Kiss Metrics), what's your best take away for startups doing the same?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@aurorakb I gave a whole talk on marketing to developers! The biggest thing I would say is to go find them where they are and add value there. My talk on marketing to developers: http://www.heavybit.com/library/...
Aurora
Aurora@aurorakb · Co-Founder megacool.co
@hnshah Thanks a lot!
Marcell Almeida
Marcell Almeida@almeidamarcell · Product Manager
@hnshah, do you receive small amount of equity to be advisor of any kind of startups? Or you guys usually cut a deal when the startup fundraise something?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@almeidamarcell I have advisory shares in companies and I have also helped companies of all sizes fundraise. I don't believe that people should "charge" either money or equity just for fundraising. A founder needs to be able to do that themselves and I also think it's pretty tacky to ask a startup for equity just to help them raise money. Feels very transactional to me and not how I do things.
Marcell Almeida
Marcell Almeida@almeidamarcell · Product Manager
@hnshah, how do you select the startups you are going to advise?
Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@almeidamarcell very carefully.