Every startup has their journey. From idea, to MVP, then hopefully to a product that has growth. Intercom over the years has done a great job not only taking us along on their journey, but also documenting it and giving us tips and tricks along the way. Now in book form, Intercom : On Starting Up collects highlights from their over 500 articles they’ve written over 6 years. They share not what they learned along the way but also a plethora of good advice and thought provoking ideas to try. Below are a few things that really stood out to us.
Something Intercom really understood is when a startup is still in it’s infancy it needs generalists. People who can wear multiple hats and tackle different areas on the project. As the product grows and the team needs to adapt. There needs to be a transition on the hiring side to more specialists. Generalists get the product up of the ground and Specialists help refine it.
"The fewer people you have, the more general each person's role ends up being; everyone has to wear many hats" - Eoghan McCabe
You can speculate all you want, but until some form of your product is out there you don’t really know. Ship it, then study how customers are using it and iterate quickly.
Pricing your product is hard. As a startup you need to understand what value your product provides. Put a price on it, one you’re uncomfortable with, and don’t be afraid to change it.
A happy customer is always better than a Facebook ad campaign. Happy customers who go to bat for you should be a priority focus. Listen to everyone and get to the core of their feedback.
"When it comes to customer feedback you've probably got a large group in the middle who think your product is "fine". These customers typically stay silent but they could have useful feedback for you. If you're smart, you'll find ways to tease it out.
Throughout the book Intercom identifies their product as still an infant. They’re always learning new things about it and their customers. This is a crucial way to think about your business. Complacency kills products and allows competitors to get the advantage.
Overall this book is stacked with great tips, insightful thoughts, and concepts to tackle with your startup. We couldn’t recommend it more. Get the book here.
If you want to join the book club to read and learn together, sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We meet once every month and discuss concepts in the chosen book, as well as how we can start applying key learnings to our process, startups, and life.
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