Hiten Shah

Founder of CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 25, 2016

Discussion

Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
Hi! I'm Hiten Shah, I co-founded three SaaS companies, Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and my latest is Quick Sprout. I've also invested in and advised over 80 companies including Automattic/WordPress, Buffer and SlideShare/LinkedIn. I've also helped and advised hundreds of startups, teams and founders so I've got an opinion on startups and entrepreneurship. Ask me any question you'd like, I'd love to help you with my answer so make it about what you're dealing with right now!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hiten! Thanks for joining. You're known for being very generous with your time, meeting with young (and more experienced) people in startups, including me ~4 years ago. 😊 Most successful/busy entrepreneurs don't do this, or at least help others infrequently in this way. Why do you do it?
Shivani Bhargava@shivzb · CEO and Founder of TheRightMargin
Hiten, big fan. KISSmetrics changed the game big time. I've been driving my team to move users across the pirate funnel. And we finally did it--we got our first batch of paid users! What's next? What's your advice to an early stage (first time) founder at this stage? Struggling to find the next big metric to have my team focus around..
Shivani Bhargava@shivzb · CEO and Founder of TheRightMargin
@rrhoover gah sorry, somehow my upvote made me reply to your post instead of asking a sep question. My bad!
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@rrhoover It has a lot to do with knowing what gives you energy and what doesn't. Many folks don't get energy by interacting with others, instead their focused on themselves and whatever they are doing - that's totally cool and I have many friends who are like that. I tend to be energized by helping other humans, any way that I can from a simple act of kindness for a stranger to helping founders grow their businesses. I also was exposed to this while growing up because of my father's generosity and habit of always giving his time / energy to others.
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@shivzb great question. Steli and I have talked about this quite a bit on our podcast, The Startup Chat. A few episodes you'll find useful: http://thestartupchat.com/ep030/ http://thestartupchat.com/ep048/
Shivani Bhargava@shivzb · CEO and Founder of TheRightMargin
@hnshah awesome thanks!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
What are the top things to consider before joining an early stage startup?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@andrewett The most important thing is the team / people you'll be working with. You should make sure that these are people who make you better every day and create a healthy atmosphere to work in.
Grant Mombach@gsmombach
Hey Hiten, would love some advice. I’m currently considering offers between a post-revenue company with ~750 employees that raised an F in ’14 and a startup (recently raised a seed, would be employee 20). Pay is similar, roles are similar, which do you think is a better opportunity for me and why?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@gsmombach If you want a faster learning curve and value that, the smaller company will give you more chaos and opportunities to learn, in most cases. Company culture does impact this and there are large(ish) companies that can also provide a similar atmosphere. Focus on figuring out where you'll have the most learnings and you won't go wrong.
Hong@quan · Mechanic, Karmic Bikes
.@hnshah @gsmombach Was hoping you'd say what an F-round stands for. ;)
Grant Mombach@gsmombach
@hnshah Thanks for the advice! Just wanted to let you know that I chose the smaller company. I'm excited for the chaos and learning opportunities!
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@gsmombach great to hear!
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Hiteh, and thank you for taking our questions today. 1. What kind of tools/websites do you use or consult to identify experts to help you with your ventures/investments? 2.Where do you look for startups in nascent industries (e.g. press/academic journals, events, websites, etc.)?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@candriopoulos 1. I like to use Angel List, Crunchbase, and Mattermark. Twitter is also useful because people have their expertise in their bios and you can search for what every one is tweeting as well as look through lists from investors, VC firms, etc... 2. I usually use Google extensively to find whatever I need.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
@hnshah Thank you Hiteh for your answer. I appreciate it.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Hiten thanks for being here! What's the number one piece of advice you often find yourself giving to new founders?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@ems_hodge "The only way to do more is do more."
Josh Barkin@joshbarkin · Co-founder @ Janis.ai
Hi Hiten - excluding your own products/companies, if you were to shortlist just 3 products on the market that are absolutely essential for the growth of an SaaS business what would they be?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@joshbarkin I tend to focus on frameworks and process instead of tools. The tools that have helped scale growth in my experience are: Trello http://trello.com Growth Hackers Projects https://growthhackers.com/start-... Your favorite documenting product, Quip, Google Docs, Notion, etc...
Stefan Ritter@stefanritter · building @ruumapp
@hnshah @joshbarkin which frameworks and processes do you use?
Josh Barkin@joshbarkin · Co-founder @ Janis.ai
@hnshah Thanks for this
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@stefanritter @joshbarkin You'll find a bunch from some things I've shared in the past: Every thing Brian Balfour writes about: http://coelevate.com http://www.slideshare.net/hiten1... http://www.slideshare.net/hiten1... https://hitenism.com/5-habits-be...
Vanessa Castañeda@ohmyafly · metaverse settler
Hi Hiten, When it comes to spreading the word about startups on social media channels, which platform do you think has the highest ROI? For example, if you were working with a b2b software company in the fintech space that is focused on acquiring new customers, where would you allocate your dollars?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@ohmyafly SEO beats most channels and also takes the most time. I'm also a fan of using content marketing + social to increase search traffic.
Vanessa Castañeda@ohmyafly · metaverse settler
@hnshah Right on. Thanks for validating my positions on content marketing & SEO. Sounds like social channels outside of walled gardens like Twitter & Insta are the best routes to take. Thoughts?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@ohmyafly I like to use social channels to get initial traffic and test ideas for content. I'm pretty open and really like to match social platforms with the potential they have for reaching the audience I'm trying to reach. The most interesting opportunities come from using non-obvious social platforms.
Jason Cavness@jason_cavness
Hiten, Thank you for answering our questions and letting us learn from you. I am really learning a lot from The Startup Chat. If you and Steli are ever in the Seattle are let me know and I will pick you up from the airport, buy you a beer, take you around or whatever else you need.
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@jasoncavnesshr Appreciate the offer! I'll take you up on it the next time I head to Seattle =)
Hugo Fauquenoi@hfauq · growth @todoist and @twistappteam
Hey Hiten, thank you for taking the time to share you experience today. Q: You're one of the entrepreneurs to look up to for advice, so I'm curious about what important stages in life led you to what you are today :)? Also, I'm working on a new app with Doist (creators of Todoist) and would love to share a preview with you!
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@hfauq feel free to tweet at me or email me (my email is very easy to find) and I'm happy to take a look at Doist. I spend time working on myself, my thoughts, my emotions and focus on personal growth so I can get better every day.
Hugo Fauquenoi@hfauq · growth @todoist and @twistappteam
@hnshah Very insightful, thanks for sharing. (will shoot you an email soon)
Amanda Tessier@amanda_tessier · Marketer at Altisource
Hey Hiten, what's the best mistake you've ever made? We often learn more from our failures than from our successes.
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@amanda_tessier not being open minded about the competition. Wrote more about it here: https://hitenism.com/copycat-com... My co-founder Neil and I have also lost a million dollars trying to start a hosting company but that wasn't as painful of a learning as the competition one ;)
Jack Smith@_jacksmith · Serial Entrepreneur & Startup Adviser
How did you get to know Steli Efti and why did you both partner to create a podcast?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@_jacksmith got to know him through a few events we did together and one coffee meeting. Chemistry is why we decided to partner up.
Andrew Bass@andrewdbass · Startup junkie and improving hacker
what was your experience with building your own audience? How did you start out and what did you learn along the way?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@andrewdbass I've always found content to be the best way to start and scale audiences for products I've created. There are many other ways I've experimented with too. I've learned that it's about matching your channels with your audience and making sure there is alignment between two so you aren't marketing to people who are irrelevant for what you are trying to do.
Andrew Bass@andrewdbass · Startup junkie and improving hacker
@hnshah Thanks Hiten!
Hannah Oldknow@mktginsf · Full Stack Marketer & Operations <3ER
Hiten, Thanks for doing live chat today! What are the key metrics you tend to look at on a daily basis for kissmetrics? How do you keep a pulse when you are so busy?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@mktginsf Customer growth, revenue growth and customer satisfaction are important in B2B and people on the team focus on those things. Knowing and choosing the few KPIs that are most important to a business and making sure those are simple enough to measure is key. Also having a forecast for each metric is also a key part of making sure you have a pulse on what's going on and there is accountability on your team.
Hannah Oldknow@mktginsf · Full Stack Marketer & Operations <3ER
@hnshah Thanks!
Silvan Jongerius@silvanjongerius · CEO @ twotwo.one | travel with friends
Hi Hiten, Thank you for taking the time to take questions. I'm currently working on a startup in travel technology (online service), and my current challenge is the team and skill/experience mix. What have your challenges been in getting the founding/early employee team right and how did you deal with it?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@silvanjongerius there are always challenging in the earliest stages of a business because of the high level of uncertainty. I would recommend not thinking that your team doesn't have the skills they need. The whole point of a startup is to learn as you go. Focus on learnings and getting to an initial product/market fit state instead of focusing on skills.
Silvan Jongerius@silvanjongerius · CEO @ twotwo.one | travel with friends
@hnshah Thanks!
Pablo Quiroga@pabloiquiroga · CEO, Fuelixir
Hello Hiten! What is the last book you read that consciously inspired you to change something in your daily life?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@pabloiquiroga On a daily basis, I subconsciously and consciously reference things I've learned from, "The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking": http://amzn.to/2bRXzum
Pablo Quiroga@pabloiquiroga · CEO, Fuelixir
@hnshah Thank you!
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Hiten! What are 3 things that you have found to skyrocket growth/engagement in companies?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@theo_dimarhos frameworks and rigorous process are what works best. Mentioned some tools here as well: https://www.producthunt.com/live...
sixDsixD@sixdsixd
You have a reputation for responding to most everyone who emails you. I know your intentions are pure, but what tangible ROI have you seen on this time investment?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@sixdsixd I don't focus on quantifying the ROI of human interactions that I enjoy ;) It's mostly surprising things that are not measurable and more serendipitous. I love making friends in business and otherwise and the benefits have been priceless. I really do live by these words that are in my email signature and twitter background: "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar
Vijith@vij2288
@hnshah loved this :)
Grant Hosford@codesparkceo · CEO, codeSpark
Hiten - we are a small team with a product that is already global (300k MAU in 172 countries). We have a huge opportunity in China but are worried about the opportunity cost (travel, focus, etc) of pursuing it. On the flip side, our market - teaching kids to code - is growing quickly so we are wary of moving too slowly there. What are your thoughts on pursuing multiple markets at once vs hunkering down with the US and making sure we succeed there?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@codesparkceo It's smart to make sure you can keep growing your market share, quantifiably in your first market before aggressively moving to another one. This also ensures you get closer to having repeatable processes and ideally a playbook before moving on to new territories.
Grant Hosford@codesparkceo · CEO, codeSpark
@hnshah thanks Hiten. Both for the thoughtful answer and your time spent helping entrepreneurs in general!
Paulo Braga@plobraga
Hi Hiten, thanks for joining us today for this Q&A! As an investor, what do you look for/what is your process to analyze companies? Also, what to you think about acceleration programs? Can you tell us what you like and dislike the most about it?
Hiten Shah@hnshah · Crazy Egg, Product Habits & FYI
@plobraga There really is no one size fits all for companies. I try to take a very business view on startups to really understand whether the team, idea, product, etc... can produce a great business. Focusing on business fundamentals even at the earliest stages has become more important than ever because of the amount of competition these days. I think accelerators can be good, but often times I don't see founders doing their diligence with folks who have been through the program already. The best piece of advice I can give is to do your diligence so you for yourself can make an objective decision on whether the program(s) are right for you or not.