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As a newcomer in Silicon Valley, Chris was awed by the kindness shown to him by influential insiders and tech luminaries, people he had never met and for whom he could provide little in return. From mentoring, warm intros, couches to sleep on, and more, Chris built lifelong friendships by receiving—and then giving. The concept of “pay it forward” is profoundly ingrained in Silicon Valley culture. But what is it exactly? How did it take root so deeply in an individualistic culture full of immigrants and blow-ins? And why is it so fundamental to the success of the ecosystem? In this episode, Chris and Yaniv unpack the magic of pay it forward, by way of game theory and the marvellous Robert Scoble. ***Become a True Fan of The Startup Podcast and help build our audience! DM Yaniv on LinkedIn to find out more*** 👉 Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app
Chris and Yaniv talk with Christine Nguyen, founder of ReciMe. ReciMe is a social cooking app that is building a two-sided marketplace of inspirational recipe creators and dedicated home cooks. In this very first Office Hours episode, we dive deep on: How to think about solving the marketplace “cold start” problem. When and how to monetize. Focusing on user experience. Targeting a specific market niche. High profile angel investors and celebrity endorsements Being global from day one. This isn’t your typical interview: Office Hours is live-on-air consulting, where we dissect a startup and provide actionable advice and feedback that will help make it stronger. Listen as we take all the building blocks from previous episodes and apply them to a real, live startup. Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app***
Chris and Yaniv have seen the three key things that lead to success in startups: momentum, hustle, and an understanding of opportunity cost. In this episode, they’re diving deep into all three of them. Chris and Yaniv discuss why momentum, hustle and opportunity cost are the critical concepts to operationalise not just in your business but life in general. There are some long-awaited rants on bureaucracy in start-ups, and great practical advice for anyone working at a startup right now drawn straight from both of their early-career experiences. Timestamps: 1:45 Why momentum is critical to startup success 4:12 Defining momentum 7:00 Why it’s important to compare your momentum to the global benchmark 8:40 How to know if you have the momentum you need to succeed 9:23 Why you need to be both patient and impatient 9:42 What hustle really means 12:55 Why you need to understand opportunity cost 19:23 How to use opportunity cost and impatience to drive momentum 21:50 Why replicating big company processes at a start-up is bad business Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app***
Uber has been in the news recently thanks to a fresh trove of emails discussing some of the early practices at the company. Chris and Yaniv use this news as a jumping-off point to discuss the social obligations of tech companies, shifting public perceptions, the role of the media in framing issues around tech, and the way in which this fits into the broader political landscape---especially in the United States. This is a bit different to our usual material, but we really enjoyed recording it. We'd love it if you let us know what you think! 👉 Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app***
Founder-led companies are at a distinct advantage, as long as the founder is able to keep up with the radical change in their role as a startup grows. In this episode, Chris and Yaniv discuss the ways in which the role of a founder-CEO changes in quite revolutionary ways, what it looks like when a founder can't keep up with the pace of change, and how founders can work on themselves to make sure they don't become the limiting factor in their startup's success. 👉 Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app***
Software engineering is a discipline that is often deeply misunderstood, often leading to frustration and inefficiency. With over 15 years experience as an engineer, Yaniv will help straighten things out (with Chris's help). What even are software engineers? How are they different from IT? How do they work with product management? How do you keep your engineers accountable? Why is outsourcing problematic? Do no-code tools mean that software engineers are no longer necessary? Listen in to hear the answers to these questions and more. 🚨🚨🚨 Join our Office Hours Competition 🚨🚨🚨 Would you like to get free consulting from Chris and Yaniv and appear on an entire episode of The Startup Podcast? This is what you need to do: DM Yaniv on LinkedIn ( to get your unique link code to The Startup Podcast Promote us to your network and aim to reach as many interested people as possible If you get the most unique listens by 12:00PM AEST on Friday, July 15 then you are the winner We will contact you to arrange a topic and recording time 👉 Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app***
As a startup with ambitions of global disruption, the odds are already against you. Don't make things worse by launching in a geography that lengthens those odds, or that distort your company in a way that dooms international expansion. How to think about geography? Chris and Yaniv don't quite see eye to eye on this one, so join them for a thought-provoking and (mostly) respectful debate. After that, tell us what you think! (Ed: Yaniv is clearly correct) 👉 Join the discussion on LinkedIn: Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: ***Leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app*** **This episode is brought to you by**
You're building a complex product, so you need a lot of specialists to handle the complexity, right? BA, PM, UXR, UX, UI, PgM, PMM, Architect, TL, Scrum Master, FE dev, BE dev, DevOps, QA... Right? Wrong. Chris and Yaniv describe the misunderstandings that lead to the formation of oversized teams of over-specialised roles---and the very real problems and dysfunctions that follow. They then discuss the scalable and effective organisational design adopted by some of the best tech companies such as Google, Uber, Facebook, Spotify, and Amazon. Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: Please leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app! **This episode is brought to you by**
You ask questions, we give answers! In our first-ever Listener Q&A episode, Chris and Yaniv tackle the following questions asked by our wonderful listeners: -What are the biggest mistakes new founders make? -What are the pros and cons of taking money from a strategic investor? -Key operational metrics for engineering and product teams? -What should I do if I find out someone else is building the exact same product as me? -Should I wait until I find the perfect problem to solve before founding a startup, or dive right in? Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad People Engineering Newsletter: Startup Newsletter: Please leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app! **This episode is brought to you by**
In this week's episode, Chris and Yaniv are joined by legendary angel investor and CEO of Tractor Ventures, Matt Allen.  The three of them discuss other ways for startups to raise capital beyond the traditional venture equity route, including innovative forms of debt financing. Topics covered include: -Non-dilutive capital & revenue-based financing -How to decide what the right sort of capital is for your company -What sort of startup are you? Are you even talking to the right investors? -Getting sophisticated by using multiple forms of financing Check out Tractor Ventures at Follow us on Twitter @ybernstein @chrissaad Please leave us a rating and review in your favourite podcast app! **This episode is brought to you by**
Sentiment in the markets has turned sharply downward. What does this mean for venture-backed startups? Don't panic. In this special topical episode, Chris and Yaniv discuss: -Is this more like 2001 or 2008? -What should you be doing differently? -Should you extend your runway? Follow us on Twitter! @chrissaad and @ybernstein Leave us a rating and review in Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast app. It makes us so happy 🤗🤗🤗
What do you need to do to keep employees engaged and committed? What should your position be on remote work? Side hustles? Ping pong tables? Should you offer all employees equity? Chris and Yaniv discuss all this and more with Dan Brockwell, Founder and Chief Meme Officer of Earlywork, a vibrant community for early-career professionals. Topics include: Job risk vs. career risk What candidates are looking for in their career ESOP Remote vs. In office Diversity and inclusion Side hustles How young candidates are looking for jobs Check out Earlywork at This episode is brought to you by
Look at any great tech company, and there is an exceptionally talented team behind it. Great talent is always in short supply, so how do you make sure that you are able to secure incredible people for your startup? In this episode, Chris and Yaniv discuss: Hiring as marketing & sales Sourcing Employer branding What makes a good startup employee How to run a tight process Making a thoughtful decision Closing well Chris' "Tips for hiring like Uber" post:
The co-founder relationship is far and away the most important one in any startup. If you get the partnership right, you become an unstoppable team. If you get it wrong, the relationship will blow up -- most likely taking the startup with it. So how do you know what to look for in a co-founder? And how do you find Mr/Mrs/Mx Right? In this episode, Chris and Yaniv dive into: Getting unstuck at the beginning of the startup journey Do you need a co-founder? (spoiler alert: yes) The key skillsets in a founding team Co-founder relationship as a marriage, founder dating What makes someone a co-founder Finding vs. earning a co-founder
You’re a “tech” company, so you’re building technology, right? Wrong. Technology is merely the medium through which you are bringing a product to the world. In this episode, Chris and Yaniv talk about what it means to build a product, what that means for your relationship with customers, and the profound importance of learning how to say “no” to your customers.
Have you followed your heart when choosing the business model for your startup? Or are you making the choice out of fear? Yaniv and Chris examine when to go B2B and when to go B2C, and how too many startups are selling to the very industry they should actually be disrupting. Episode overview: [1:44] Chris explains how the Netflix and Uber b2c business models made them so truly disruptive [7.22] Why pursue a full-stack disruption over a traditional B2B model? [11:16] Case study examples: Uber and Instagram’s success with customers [13:51] The consequences of moving from B2B to B2C [16:21] Aggregation theory and power of aggregating demand [29:01] The mirage of playing it safe in life and in business [29:53] How to bring investors on board with your b2c, full-stack disruption business model References: Stratechery blog -
Chris and Yaniv have a discussion with Nick Crocker, General partner at Blackbird Ventures.  Together they discuss  The truth about "VC Value add" and how the wrong investor can be value destructive How founders and VCs partner over a multi-stage iterative game of growth Reference checking potential investors How founders imagine and build new products The importance of hiring operations and finance people The precious nature of a founder's attention and health And more!
Building compelling and clear fundraising narratives and pitch decks can be life and death for your startup.  In this episode, Yaniv and Chris discuss what a standard pitch deck narrative looks like and go deep on each slide and explain best practices and common mistakes when telling your story. They also talk about other important uses of the pitch deck that you might not have considered yet!
Knowing how to run a good fundraising process (and what to ask for) can make the difference between a glorious partnership that takes you to your next big milestone and serious resource constraint and a fractious relationship with investors. Getting this right is one of the highest leverage things and founder can do. In this episode, Chris and Yaniv discuss: Signaling: how to make yourself look credible How to run a fundraising process How to craft your ask (how much, for what valuation) How to pick your investors Article link: VCs Should Play Bridge
The symbiosis between founders and venture capitalists is at the core of what makes the startup business model possible. When it works well it can work very well indeed, but when it goes badly the result can be catastrophic. Get educated on how it all works, and how to dance the dance. In this episode, Chris and Yaniv discuss: Different stages, seed vs A etc. Aside: non-dilutive capital What investors look for Thinking about defensible moats Selling the big picture vs. existing traction
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