Hack To Start
A podcast focused on interesting people and the innovative ways they achieve success.
Ben Jabbawy is the Founder of Privy, a suite of tools designed to help marketers and ecommerce businesses increase their marketing conversions. Ben has a background in Industrial Engineering, but moved into a few technical roles, before really diving into startups. Ben joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, his advice for raising capital, how Privy has approached growing to over 250,000 users, and much more.
21 min 12 sec
Kimberly Kalb is the Head of Marketing & Growth at Houseparty, an app that takes the group chat to the next level with group video chat. Kimberly has a background in entertainment media technology, having worked with brands like NBCUniversal, HBO, Tumblr Entertainment and now Houseparty. There her role has really grown from partnership, to leading more aspects of growth, marketing and customer support. The Houseparty brand and some of their early learning, have really catapulted their app into international fame. Kimberly joins us to share her story, how she got into startups, how she approaches partnerships, her approach to growth at Houseparty, and much more.
22 min 59 sec
Josh Brewer is the Co-founder & CEO of Abstract, a platform for modern design teams to work together. Josh’s career in design started off with teaching - but quickly lead to him diving into the emerging web and mobile product design industry. He eventually joined Twitter where he became a Principal Designer. Josh joins us to share his story, how he got into design, what it’s was like working as a Principal Designer at Twitter, what led him to starting Abstract, his advice on raising funding, how he thinks about the design industry, and much more.
33 min 55 sec
Ben Pines is the CMO of Elementor, the most advanced Drag & Drop page builder for WordPress. Design beautiful professional websites faster and without code. Ben shares what it’s been like building an open source, visual, drag & drop theme editor for Wordpress - and the challenges in scaling it to over 800,000 active installs worldwide - all in less than 2 years! Ben joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it’s been like growing Elementor from 0 to over 800,000 active installs, some challenges of marketing a product to users worldwide, and much more.
20 min 18 sec
Waqas Ali is the co-founder of Atoms, one & only shoe for every day. Waqas started building a startups and businesses after discovering the internet and realizing you could sell products online. While there were a ton of insurmountable challenges, Waqas and his co founder Sidra persevered - launching a custom dress shoe company called Markhor. They eventually made it to the US, ran a massive kickstarter campaign and got into YC on their second attempt. Today, Waqas & Sidra are at it again, working on an everyday shoe for the new creatives called Atoms. Waqas joins us to share his story, how he discovered the internet & startups in his home country of Pakistan, all the challenges they had to go through just to start a company, his advice for getting into YC, what really goes into creating a product and story, how they’ve approached launching Atoms, and much more.
32 min 34 sec
Vibhu Norby is the co-founder & CEO of B8ta, a new store designed for discovering, trying, & buying the latest tech products, as well as a new platform called “Built by B8ta”, which aims to power the future of physical retail experiences. Vibhu moved to silicon valley after college to join a startup. He was eventually fired from the job, but then joined another startup which was acquired by MySpace. From there, Vibhu joined YC with a social network startup of his own, raised some money, and was later acquired by Nest. It was there that Vibhu started to really get interested in the future of retail - especially for emerging hardware brands. Vibhu joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like running his own startups & working at Nest, why he started B8ta, how he thinks about the retail industry, what Built by B8ta is all about, what they’ve learnt scaling to 80 physical stores, what’s next for the startup, and much more.
19 min 50 sec
Sam Mallikarjunan is an Executive Strategist at HubSpot. He hustled his way into the organization with a landing page and ads - and ended up leading the Experimental Marketing team, the Ecommerce Marketing team, the South American internationalization team, Hubspot Labs and more. Today, Sam also teaches Digital Marketing at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education and the University of South Florida's Muma College of Business. He is also the co-author of the book "How To Sell Better Than Amazon". Sam joins us to share his story, how he got into marketing, what it’s been like leading a few of these teams at Hubspot, what some of the biggest challenges were, how he approaches solving problems, his mindset around growth and disruption, and much more.
35 min 52 sec
Asher Hunt is the Founder & CEO of Overnight, a platform to book homes from people you trust. Asher comes from a visual arts and music background, but got into tech through product design and is driven by a passion for learning. He was Product Designer at Chill, a viral video sharing platform, and then he launched a product of his own, Look.io, which was later acquired by LivePerson. Now he’s back at it as a founder, building a friend and community driven home-sharing platform called Overnight. Asher joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like taking one of his first startups, Look.io from startup weekend idea to acquisition in 8 months, what its been like working on Overnight, how he manages being a Product Designer & CEO, and much more.
30 min 52 sec
Sonja Jacob is the Content Strategy Team Lead at Drift. Sonja kicked off her career in marketing by blogging years back. She quickly realized the power of content and decided to launch her own business as a copywriter and marketing freelancer. Over the years, Sonja helped create or lead marketing and content efforts for companies like Hubspot, KISSmetrics, Zenefits, and DocSend - and now heads up Content Strategy at Drift. Sonja joins us to share her story, how she got into startups, her approach to creating valuable content, what conversational marketing is all about and how to get started, how B2B marketing is changing, and much more.
26 min 2 sec
Mari Sheibley is a Product Designer at Instagram. Mari has a background in fine arts, before she transition into graphic design. When she first moved to New York, she took a bunch of odd jobs to make ends meet. She eventually met Denis Crowley and Naveen, who were working on an idea that would become Foursquare. Mari was super passionate about the idea and started by designing all the badges for the app. Once Foursquare raised money, Mari became their first designer. Over several years there, she helped push the product and shape the brand into the platform we’re all familiar with today. Mari then became the Creative Director at Walker & Company brands, tackling all aspects of physical product design for the fast growing startup. Mari then took some time to consider her next steps as a designer and eventually joined Instagram. Mari joins us to share her story, how she got into design and startups, what it was like working on Foursquare, what it was like tackling physical products as the Creative Director at Walker & Company Brands, what motivated her to join a bigger company like Instagram, her career advice and insights for other creatives, and much more.
29 min 46 sec
Hannah Donovan is the CEO & Co-founder of Trash, a new startup that’s currently building a predictive video editing platform for creators. Hannah’s passion for media and design in all forms goes back to her early childhood. She eventually moved to New York before using the remainder of her savings to fly to the UK to interview with Last.fm where she was the first designer and woman hired on the team. Following the $280M acquisition of Last.fm by CBS, Hannah moved back to New York to push her product ideas and hypothesis on mixing AI and user recommendations in the audio space further with the launch of This Is My Jam, a cool and innovative platform for music lovers. After almost 4 years of working on that technology, Hannah continued to pursue her interests and passions for creating new forms of content & art, as well as the creative process of using a variety of tools. She joined Drip.com which was acquired by Kickstarter, and then the Twitter owned Vine platform, where she was faced with the unique challenge of shutting the platform down, shortly after joining. Hannah joins us to share her story, how she got into design and startups, what it was like working at Last.fm, what it was like launching and growing her first music startup This Is My Jam, how she created the opportunity to join Vine as the General Manager, what it was like facing the immense challenge of shutting the beloved platform down while simultaneously preserving the amazing content, how she managed to pursue her passions and curiosities, while establishing a career in consumer entertainment technology, what she’s currently up to with her new startup Trash, and much more!
40 min 18 sec
Matt Hollingshead is the CEO of Hifyre, a web & mobile app developer based on Hamilton, Canada. Back in 1999, Matt and some friends launched their first agency called factor[e] which ended up generation $1M in sales within its first 24 months. Today Matt is the CEO of Hifyre, a web & mobile development shop that’s working with Fortune 500 and fast growth startups. Matt joins us to share his story, how he got into business, what it was like building various consumer agencies over the last 19 years, why it’s important to work hard and talk about that work, how he sees the future of freelancing & studios evolving, and much more.
31 min 38 sec
Casey Winters is the Growth Advisor in Residence at Greylock Partners. Casey got interested in growth via his background in marketing and his holistic approach to helping Apartments.com achieve quick growth from 2005-2008. He then joined GrubHub around the 15 person mark, and helped the company scale from 40,000 users up to 3M when it went public. In 2013, Pinterest reached out and Casey ended up joining the team to help lead growth and later overcome challenges associated with international expansion and growth. Today, Casey advises several companies like Pocket, Canva, Reddit and works directly with a handful of portfolio companies as part of his role at Greylock Partners. Casey joins us to share his story, how he got into marketing and startups, what it was like growing a marketplace like GrubHub from 40,000 users to over 3M, what it was like helping Pinterest expand internationally, how to think about growth & innovation within a startup, and much more.
33 min 59 sec
Joei Chan is a Content Marketing Manager, at Mention, a platform for real-time media monitoring. Joei is originally from Hong Kong and moved to Paris, France for a summer to study French. She ended up staying and building a career as a Content Marketer. After starting her career in the agency world, Joei moved over to the startup side with Mention. She joined the team when they were about 30 people and beginning to transition from a small business to the enterprise market. Joei joins us to share her story, how she got into marketing and startups, how Mention’s content marketing strategy has evolved as the company has grown and shifted from a small business tool into an enterprise platform, her approach to creating content partnerships, why audience-fit is the most important factor with content, how content marketing fits into the sales funnel, and much more.
26 min 5 sec
Gessica Bicego is the Head of Performance Marketing, at Blinkist, the platform for bite-sized insights in audio or text. Gessica is originally from Italy and has a background in computer science, as well as a passion for marketing. She then wanted to accelerate her career and moved to Berlin to join Kayak as a Programmatic Marketing Manager. Over the last few years, Gessica has been building a Performance Marketing team at Blinkist, an app that enables busy people to listen or read bite-sized insights from books and more. Blinkist was recently featured as one of the Top Apps of 2017 by Apple - and with over 4 million users and 15M in funding - Blinkist is looking to double its growth in 2018. Gessica joins us to share her story, how she got into startups, how she’s built a career as a Performance Marketer, what it’s been like working at both Kayak and now Blinkist, what it’s like building a team, and much more.
26 min 13 sec
Jordan Scheltgen is the co-founder and Managing Partner at CaveSocial, a marketing agency that he started during University and that now spans across 3 major North American cities. Originally from Surrey, BC, Jordan moved to Toronto for school and football. Through that experience, Jordan started a blog which would later become Cave Social the agency. Jordan joins us to share his story, how he got into business and marketing, he shares his keys to a great story, as well as how brands should approach telling stories, what it’s been like growing an agency model business across 3 major cities, and much more.
26 min 12 sec
Jonah Lupton is the founder of SoundGuard, the world’s first sound proof paint. Jonah has spent the better part of the last 10 years launching several brands across completely different industries. From social media software, to non-profit funding platforms, to white labeled supplement companies, to industrial manufacturing with SoundGuard, Jonah has prototyped, built, and launched ideas he’s been passionate about and learnt a ton along the way. Jonah joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what he’s learnt from launching several brands, what it’s been like creating a physical, manufactured product, the challenges of bootstrapping, and much more.
28 min 9 sec
Jess Brown is the Director of UX at Vice Media. She’s spent the past couple of years building the team that’s lead the company’s efforts on re-designing Vice’s brand from the ground up - across the web and all mobile properties. But before joining Vice, Jess was based in San Francisco working on a fashion startup of her own called Threadflip, she was introduced to the team at Rent The Runway in New York. Jess ended up joining the team there for several years. There she helped create and deliver a better user experience through a mix of design and product thinking. Jess joins us to share her story, how she got into design & startups, how she approaches building products through user experience, what it was like completely redesigning the Vice brand from the ground up, and much more.
30 min 6 sec
Tom Levesque is the Co-founder at Rey.ai. Tom is a Software Developer turned Product Manager. After graduating and working with a local startup in Waterloo, Tom decided to move to the valley where he ended up joining Wildfire before it was acquired by Google. Before he’d even graduated as a Software Developer from the University of Waterloo, Tom had found an interest in Product Management. He then joined a series of startups in Canada, Silicon Valley and the UK, including Wildfire (which was acquired by Google), VigLink (where he helped raised a $20M Series B round) and more. Today, he’s the cofounder and developer of Rey.ai, an AI based email platform that’s redefining our conception of a “social network”. Tom joins us to share his story, how he got into tech & startups, how he approaches building products, what he’s currently working on with Rey.ai, and much more.
28 min 29 sec
Oscar Falmer is the Founder and developer behind the world’s first augmented reality Twitter client - TweetReality. Oscar is only a few months away from graduating from the University of Eastern-Paris Marne-La-Vallee with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. TweetReality is the 7th app he’s released to the Apple App Store - and it’s the biggest challenge he’s undertaken. TweetReality has gotten over 20,000 downloads, 500+ upvotes on Product Hunt, been featured in over 150+ articles in 20+ countries, including on The Verge, Fox News, CNN, The Next Web & more! Oscar joins us to share his story, what it’s been like working all over the world, what motivated him to launch TweetReality, what it been like putting this app out there, and much more.
20 min 14 sec
Amir Shevat is the Director of Developer Relations at Slack. Amir originally fell into Developer Relations by mistake, volunteering to work with a community of developers early on in his career. He’s since led Developer Groups at Microsoft & Google for many years before joining Slack to focus on driving growth around the Slack Developers Platform. Amir is particularly passionate about bots. He joined Slack before bots were as popular as they are today and has seen many of them launch on that platform and others. He’s even the author of “Designing Bots: Creating Conversational Experience through O'Reilly. Amir joins us to share his story, how he got into tech & startups, how he approaches building developer communities, why he’s so passionate about bots, what it was like joining Slack, and much more.
22 min 37 sec
Brian Balfour is the Founder & CEO of Reforge, an organization that offers selective growth-focused programs for experienced professionals in marketing, product, data, and engineering. Brian was previously the VP of Growth at Hubspot and an EIR at Trinity Ventures before that. Brian has raised over $30M in venture funding for various startups he launched or joined. Brian also has extensive experience building growth teams and strategies. He’s one of the leading experts on user acquisition and retention and frequently writes on Reforge and his personal blog. Brian joins us to share his story, how he got into tech & startups, how he’s approached developing a growth mindset, how to prioritize growth strategies, why he started Reforge, and much more.
35 min 54 sec
Lydia White is a Design Lead at Beme, an independent, and wildly ambitious technology+media company bringing a wider range of perspectives to the news that was cofounded by YouTuber Casey Neistat & Matt Hackett. Lydia started her design career with an academic background in fine art and photography, but growing up she had the chance to learn a lot from her dad. Later Lydia started her career as a developer at agencies, before moving into a dedicated design role. After moving to the East coast and freelancing for a few years, Lydia eventually joined the team at Tumblr where she had the chance to work on some big projects that had a big impact on the evolution of the platform and it’s community as Tumblr made the move to mobile. Lydia was later recruited to join the small team at Beme, where she’s helping to change the way news stories are told and delivered. Through new products like Panols, Beme is creating a unique and youthful blend of technology and storytelling. Lydia joins us to share her story, how she got into design & startups, how she created the opportunity to join the team at Tumblr, what it was like building a user research team there, some of the challenges they faced as they moved into mobile, what it was like joining the team at Beme, some of the early challenges in building an entirely new type of company, and much more.
26 min 19 sec
Michael Karnjanaprakorn is the Co-founder and Executive Chairman at Skillshare. Michael has always had a passion and love for education and learning. His career in tech began as an outsider looking to prove himself. And so he ended up taking a pay cut to move to New York and join Scott Belsky at Behance with two things in mind: do whatever the team needed and learn as much as he could. While product/market fit was already found at Behance, Michael later dove into product at Hot Potato, both deepening his skillset and knowledge in this area, and getting to experience the search for product market fit first hand. He then dove into launching a startup of his own - Skillshare - by following 3 simple rules. Michael joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, how he and his cofounder proved to themselves that Skillshare would work, what it was like building the platform in the early days, how they’ve approached raising close to $25M, what’s next for Skillshare, and much more.
28 min 37 sec
Stephanie Engle is a Product Designer at Cruise. Before joining the team there, Stephanie had a background in social products, starting her career off as an intern for the anonymous messaging app Secret, before joining Facebook to work on the Profile, and later joining the VR team. Stephanie recently joined Cruise as a Product Designer, helping to create and design solutions around the emerging self-driving cars industry. Stephanie joins us to share her story, how she got into design, how she created the opportunity to join the team at Facebook, what it was like tackling VR design challenges, how AR / VR and autonomous cars are a lot alike, what it’s like being part of the team at Cruise, and much more.
31 min 5 sec
Jason Stoff is a Principal Digital Product Designer at Starbucks. Before joining the team at Starbucks, Jason had built a career as an Art Director and Senior Designer with various agencies. One day he shared a rebound of a Starbucks logo design on Dribbble, that eventually caught the eye of Starbucks. One year later, he had the chance to interview for a design role and moved his family across the country to join the team in Seattle. He and his team have helped to create international design standards, launch new Starbucks apps and experiences like the Apple Watch, iMessage gifting and more! Jason joins us to share his story, how he got into design, how he created the opportunity to join the team at Starbucks, what it was like transitioning from the agency to product world, what it’s like designing digital products at Starbucks, and much more.
38 min 37 sec
Andy Carvell is the author of the Mobile Growth Stack and a Partner at Phiture, a mobile growth consultancy. Andy began his career as a mobile game developer with Nokia, where he created several games like Space Impact which was preloaded onto 150M+ devices. He then later led several different teams at Soundcloud as they transitioned from a web only application to mobile platforms. While leading growth and retention, Andy developed the Mobile Growth Stack as a framework for thinking about all the potential channel tactics and how they related back to high level business objectives or business verticals. The wide spread awareness gained around the presentation and sharing of the framework launched Andy and his co-founder Moritz Daan into the next phase of their careers with the launch of Phiture. Andy joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like leading several growth teams at Soundclound, what motivated him to create the Mobile Growth Stack, what it was like launching Phiture, some of the most common mistakes Andy sees others making when it comes to growth, and much more.
35 min 11 sec
Jordan Kretchmer is the Founder & CEO of LiveFyre, which was acquired by Adobe in 2016, where he is now a Senior Director continuing to scale the Livefyre solution within the Adobe Marketing Cloud. Before starting Livefyre, Jordan worked for a few agencies as a Creative Director. He then joined Current.TV - a media platform backed by Al Gore - and saw the coming rise of user generated content. In 2009, he left Current to start LiveFyre. As a designer, Jordan created highly realistic mockups of the product he envisioned, but it took several more months before the first version launched. Livefyre raised over $52M in funding and grew to over 150 employees by the time it was acquired by Adobe in 2016. Jordan joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, the challenges involved in building Livefyre, especially in the early days, how founders need to approach product development, what it’s now like being a part of Adobe, and much more.
25 min 18 sec
Leah Culver is the co-founder & CTO of Breaker - the best app for listening to podcasts. Leah has been building startups and products for over 10 years. She helped launch an early version and competitor to Twitter called Pownce with Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka in 2007. In 2011, she was working on a B2B chatting and instant messaging application that was accepted into Y Combinator, and has been also part of companies like Sincerely and Dropbox. Since 2016, she’s been focused on building Breaker, a new podcast app centred around discovery that was also part of Y Combinator earlier this year. Leah joins us to share her story, how she got into startups, what it’s been like building and working at startups in Silicon Valley for over 10 years, what it’s been like been like building Breaker, what it was like going through Y Combinator a second time, and much more.
26 min 39 sec
Ajay Yadav is the Founder & CEO of Roomie, the leading marketplace for shared housing and apartments. Ajay has built several companies before Roomi, which was bootstrapped for the first 2 years and has raised over $6M to date. Ajay shares how he approached building the platform in the early days, from a Tumblr + Google forms MVP to building the first version of the mobile app himself. Today, Roomi has acquired a few other startups in the same industry and has a remote team of over 40 people. Ajay joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like building companies in the early days of the web, how he approaches fundraising, what it’s been like building and scaling a marketplace, and much more.
22 min 49 sec
Paul Canetti is the Founder & CEO of MAZ, a platform that empowers leaders in media to become pioneers in OTT and mobile technology. Growing up, Paul was exposed to design and technology through his father’s work and hobbies. Paul taught himself digital design and although he studied philosophy in college, he continued to maintain an interest in technology. After working in corporate environments and then consulting, Paul started building websites and then iPhone apps with a high school friend. Their passion for building products led them to creating MAZ, raising $2M, and then continuing to build and scale the business in a sustainable way. Paul is also an Associate Professor at Columbia University in New York, where he teaches a class on user experience and product management for the MBA program. He is also a podcaster and the host of Wizardest, a podcast that features startup founders, VCs, and other interesting personalities to learn about their past experiences and views on the future. Paul joins us to share his story, how he got into startups, what it was like growing MAZ in the early days, how he approaches fundraising, why he got into podcasting, and much more.
48 min 26 sec
Rei Wang is the Director of First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, the largest student-run venture firm in the nation. They’ve invested in over 150 startups, who’ve gone on to raise more than $300 million from investors like: Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Y Combinator. Before joining First Round Capital, Rei help build products and community as a Product Manager and Global Community Lead at General Assembly. Rei joins us to share her story, how she got into startups, how she approaches building online and offline communities, what it’s like growing the Dorm Room Fund, and much more.
30 min 28 sec
Kevin Thau, a General Partner at Spark Capital, focusing on early-stage investments in companies like Lola, Medium, Haven, and Aura. Kevin has spent over 20 years building startups that defined new markets in graphical computing, messaging, mobile technology and social media. Before Spark, Kevin spent two decades building startups like Twitter, where he was the Director of Mobile Products, as well as VP of Business and Corporate Development. He was also then the COO of Jelly Industries, a search-engine Q+A platform created by Biz Stone. Kevin joins us to share his story, how he got into startups by cold calling his first job, what it was like building Twitter from 2008 through its IPO, what it was like building Jelly, how he transitioned to being a VC, and much more.
26 min 34 sec
Jesse Middleton is a startup founder and one of the early executives at WeWork who tackled a bunch of growth and operations challenges before launching WeWork Labs, their own global startup incubator, investment fund, business and digital product development lab. But before jumping into the world of venture capital, Jesse launched and sold a few companies of his own and then spent 5 years as part of the early team at WeWork, growing the company from a few buildings to a worldwide network and pioneer of the coworking and remote work industries. Jesse joins us to share his story, what it was like building WeWork and WeWork Labs, what it was like transitioning into venture capital, his two investment rules at Flybridge, and much more.
39 min 6 sec
Giuseppe Stuto is the co-founder and CEO of Fam, a group video chat app for iMessage that quickly grew to over 1 million users in just 10 days! But Fam almost didn’t happen. Fam is a pivot off another social app that Giuseppe and his team built - SmackHigh - which started off as a bit of a joke for high school students to exchange smack talk between sports teams. But it quickly showed some promise and Giuseppe and his team began to iterate. Houseparty and Facebook live had just launched, but the team at Fam wanted to put the product where teens would use it the most - iMessage. Giuseppe joins us to share his story, what it was like building a career in consumer tech, what it was like launching his first company, how they created Fam, what it’s been like growing this iMessage app, what it was like raising money, and much more.
38 min 18 sec
Drew Strojny is a retired NFL player turned tech entrepreneur. He is the founder of Memberful, super easy to use membership software. Growing up, Drew had a passion for tech and computers. During the NFL offseason, Drew continued to teach himself how to code and build websites. When his career in professional sports came to an end after a few years, Drew decided to launch his own company. But the original model never succeeded. After several years of building Wordpress sites and selling premium themes online, Drew noticed that there was no simple way of selling and managing online memberships. 4 years ago, he launched Memberful and has been growing the software ever since. Drew joins us to share his story, what it was like transitioning from a career in professional sports to tech startups, what it was like launching his first company, how he’s bootstrapped both Theme Foundry and Memberful, how he approaches building small teams, and much more.
27 min 9 sec
John Doherty is the founder of Credo, a platform for connecting great businesses with the best vetted digital marketing consultants and agencies. He took a side project that started as a spreadsheet from a $50 dollar referral commission to a SaaS marketplace that has tripled its annual run rate. Before diving into a startup of his own, John worked at Distilled in NYC, and later joined Zillow. There he focused on growing Hotpads into their #2 brand. Starting off with a team of 1 - John quickly grew his organization to 8 people in just 12 months, increasing their listings’ visibility by 200%. John joins us to share his story, what it was like running a nimble team inside a larger real estate company, some challenges to rapidly growing a team, how he took Credo from a spreadsheet to a full time company, some of the biggest challenges he had to face over the last 3 years as the business model evolved, and much more.
30 min 50 sec
Mike Williams is the founder of Thinkbox, a startup studio in Santa Monica, California, and the company that’s behind several successful startups including StudioTime and Yoroomie - an app which was built in less than 30 days and sold in less than 6 months, after getting a ton of press for being listed on eBay. While in high school, Mike was a pretty good wrestler. But he knew his sport had limits. So he decided to pursue his passion for flying instead. While in college, he was exposed to the world of cycling and that led him to becoming both a semi-pro in the sport, and an e-commerce entrepreneur, selling high quality bike parts to other cyclists in the early days of the web. Mike joins us to share his story, how he built and sold his first company Codeity, how he approaches building MVPs, what it was like launching Yoroomie and having it acquired in less than 6 months, how he built a chatbot in a weekend, the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make when building an MVP, and much more.
32 min 12 sec
Katie Zhu is an Engineer turned Product Manager at Medium. Medium is a social publishing platform that allows anyone to share ideas and perspectives that matter. Medium now reaches over 30M readers a month, has explored new formats like Series, audio posts, and more. After internships with both NPR and the New York Times, Katie decided to make a big decision and join Medium over other tech companies. At Medium, Katie’s had a chance to work on several parts of the platform and continue to help creators and storytellers push the limits of their craft. Katie joins us to share her story, how she optimized her career for learning, what it’s been like working on developing new tools for writers and storytellers on Medium, how she approaches product management, and more.
34 min 42 sec
Hunter Walk is a partner at Homebrew Ventures, a seed stage venture fund. Over a decade ago, while Hunter was a Product Manager at Google, working on the newly acquired YouTube platform, Apple had approached them before Steve Jobs had even announced the world's first iPhone. There was no public App Store at that time and no third party apps. Apple wanted to have complete control over the experience and built the first video app for the iPhone that would pull YouTube content. It was a risky move, but the alternative to working with Apple was - at that time - going directly to a carrier and paying them large sums of money to include you app on all their devices. It was an exciting but challenging time as Hunter recounts - because there were so many moving pieces and not everyone saw that smartphone were going to play such a huge role in our daily lives in just a few more years. So if you’re a Product Manager yourself, love YouTube, or are just curious about how a startup like YouTube sold to Google for $1.65B in 2006 (the largest consumer tech acquisition at the time) and then went on to work with Apple to ensure they’d make the jump to smartphones - get ready, cause Hunter is going to share his insights and experiences into all this and more.
28 min 30 sec
Kelly Nyland is the Director of Marketing for Spectacles - a pair of video-recording sunglasses created by Snap Inc. the parent company of the massively popular disappearing photo app, Snapchat. While this is the first hardware product from Snap Inc., Kelly’s personal history into architecting massive marketing campaigns for innovative & emerging consumer hardware products goes way back. Kelly worked with Parrot as well as Sphero, helping the latter company go global through a partnership with Apple; putting them in their stores in more than 70 countries in less than 14 months. Kelly was also involved in the launch of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ BB8 product. So if you’re a hardware aficionado, love marketing campaigns, or are just curious about how startups conceive, launch, and scale hardware products - get ready, cause Kelly is going to share insights into all this and more!
32 min 51 sec
Adii Pienaar is the Founder of Conversio, an all-in one marketing dashboard. Adii is based in Cape Town, South Africa and previously co-founded WooThemes - an e-commerce platform for Wordpress - which bootstrapped their way to over 150,000 customers. Today, Adii is continuing to help e-commerce entrepreneurs worldwide build stronger businesses through his latest startup Conversio, an all-in one marketing dashboard that helps you sell more. Adii joins us to share his story, how he started his career in entrepreneurship, what it was like transitioning wordpress templates into a full e-commerce platform, what it was like bootstrapping a company, how he’s approached building his latest company Conversio, and much more!
31 min 52 sec
Tom Emrich is a Partner at Super Ventures and a co-producer of Augmented World Expo. After the release of the first feature phone, Tom began to see how immersive new technologies would transform the world around us and began building his career in the space. He’s consulted on how these technologies can improve the workplace & covered the industry for media publications like CanadaAM, ReadWrite, Betakit and more. Tom has also created and helped to foster communities around emerging technologies all over the world through groups like: We Are Wearables, Augmented Reality Bay Meetup, and most recently Augmented World Expo. He’s also now investing with 3 other partners through Super Ventures, a $10 Million dollar fund that’s helping to back startups building AR/VR & wearable products worldwide. Tom joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, why he’s so passionate about emerging technologies like AR/VR & wearables, what motivated him to help launch Super Ventures, what he and his partners look for in their investments, how he approaches building communities around emerging technologies, and much more!
35 min 40 sec
Jeff Morris Jr. is the Director of Product Management & Revenue at Tinder. Jeff got into tech after seeing a tweet late one night for a position with Zaarly. The next day, he had to move from California to Kansas City, Missouri - if he wanted the job. Jeff quickly made a name for himself and became one of the first few city managers. Following his time building the marketplace, Jeff began consulting, before working on several of his own projects - like Slack Chats, a directory of popular slack channels that grew to over 80,000 users. Jeff then joined the team at Tinder to work on increasing retention and engagement through the product and marketing channels. Today, Jeff also works with the team of engineers, designers, and marketers to create, build and launch new, paid features for the platform. Jeff joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, what it was like growing a massive marketplace at Zaarly, what it was like joining the team at Tinder, how he approached Product Management, how he’s approaches working on monetization over the last year, and much more!
33 min 35 sec
Huda Idrees is the founder and CEO of Dot Health, a platform that enables secure and easy access to your personal health data. Huda began her career as a developer and designer by building websites as a teenager. She then attended the University of Toronto and studied Industrial Engineering before diving into startups. Huda has been a part of several successful Canadian consumer tech startups, including Wattpad where she joined as one of the first employees and really dove into product design. She also helped develop and grow several products at Wave. She then joined Wealthsimple as one of the earliest team members and served as the Chief Product Officer - scaling the company though a major brand shift and launching its mobile presence on both Android and iOS. Today, Huda is the founder of Dot Health, an innovative healthcare platform that makes personal health data accessible and actionable. Huda joins us to share her story, how she started her career in tech, some of the biggest lessons she’s learnt building consumer technology startups, what it’s been like building Dot Health, and much more!
33 min 25 sec
Mubashar Iqbal aka Mubs is the co-founder of Botlist - and several other startups and side projects. Mubs is originally from Pakistan, but spent most of his early years living in England before moving to the US. Mubs has created a successful career in technology, working in several different industries. He’s also built several side projects over the last few years, winning Product Hunt’s Maker of the year in 2016. Mubs joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, why he works on side projects, how he transitions side projects into independent startups, what it’s been like building Botlist, and much more!
25 min 55 sec
Nathaniel Harley, the Co-founder & CTO of Mantl. Nathaniel was previously an analyst with Goldman Sachs before jumping into tech with a Techstars backed startup called Spoon University. Nathaniel then got accepted into Techstars (again), this time as the CEO of his own Fintech startup. Nathaniel joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, what it was like going through Techstars - twice, what it’s been like build a fintech startup, why he’s so passionate about the future of FinTech, and much more!
35 min 7 sec
Nathan Bashaw is the Co-founder & CEO of Hardbound. After discovering the world of startups during college, and driven by the desire to build things and implement his own ideas, Nathan became a self-taught developer. He knew pretty early on, that he wanted to leverage technology to create new forms of education and storytelling that was native to new devices like smartphones. After joining Olark as an intern and then working in San Francisco as a full time developer, Nathan decided to pursue his own project - Scratchpad. It was later acquired by General Assembly, where Nathan worked as a Product Manager. While in San Francisco, Nathan met Ryan Hoover and helped him create the first version of what would become Product Hunt. Nathan then decided to focus on pursuing his vision for what would become Hardbound. He and the team recently completed the Techstars Boulder program, raised some funding, and have released a completely new version of the app. Nathan joins us to share his story, some of the biggest challenges he faced in becoming a Product Manager, why he’s so passionate about new forms of education and storytelling, what it’s been like building Hardbound, some of the biggest challenges they had to overcome, what it’s like raising money, what it was like going through Techstars in Boulder, and much more.
58 min 27 sec
David Heimann is the Co-founder & CTO of Purple. David is originally from Gothenburg, Sweden but came to the US for school. Having always been more technical, he focused on the business side of things. After graduation, he took on several sales roles to deepen his skills before joining a development studio called InfiniOne. There David really learnt the in-and-outs of product management and operating as a lean startup. David is now working on his own company, Purple, which he helped launch by working with Rebecca Harris. Originally a long content format website dedicated to political news and information, Rebecca and David noticed that people - especially their peers - didn’t seem to be connecting with the content they were creating. So they re-imagined the format and discovered that SMS and Messaging apps were a more popular way to share and engage with their audience. Purple was then accepted into the Techstars New York accelerator and continues to grow its reach as a platform. David joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, some of the most valuable startup lessons he learnt while building products for other people, what it was like going through Techstars, why Messaging is such an engaging medium, and much more!
31 min 1 sec
Sançar Şahin is the Director of Marketing at Typeform. With a background in radio and media, Sançar has become a self-taught marketer. Through several side projects and products built around content and education, Sançar has seen the shift towards new forms of online marketing and brand building. Currently based in Barcelona, Spain, Sançar is leading the Marketing team at Typeform, and leveraging these tactics to continue to build and develop the experience that visitors and users feel when using the product or engaging with their content. He and the team at Typeform are pushing the boundaries of what data collection means and redefining the traditional concept of a ‘form’. Sançar joins us to share his story, how he started his career in tech, how to create engaging content, what it’s like working at Typeform, what the startup scene is like in Barcelona, and much more!
39 min 24 sec