184. The Billion Dollar Mistake With Hiten Shah

184. The Billion Dollar Mistake With Hiten Shah

November 15th, 2019 By: Ash

The Billion Dollar Mistake With Hiten Shah

 

Ash Roy and Hiten Shah Video Transcript (This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still in the process of perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription):

Hiten Shah: 00:00

When we learned that people’s problems is about finding documents right away. We researched what was out there and we learned that everyone built a search box. Yeah. Most of the products in the market were a search box like, Oh, how fast can we build a search box? We actually built a search box that searched G suite, Dropbox, Onedrive and I think box in realtime. After you typed in a keyword. Once you’ve authenticated those services and we built that in five days, we shipped it. We just put a lot of constraints on it because most people would assume we need to find all their documents. No, we just need to find enough of them.

Ash Roy: 00:45

Welcome back to the productive insights podcast. Today’s episode is brought to you by the productive insights membership program, which helps you to grow your business profitably and fast using online and offline strategies that actually work. Head over to getmetodone.com to find out more about how to get started today. Today’s guest is Hiten Shah and he’s co-founded CrazyEgg, Kissmetrics and QuickSprout and he is no stranger to business growth. In fact, he’s an expert in growth hacking. He also specializes in software as a service which we spoke about in episode 44 when we had him on as a guest back then on this productive insights podcast. Today we are here to talk about a very important article that he wrote called my billion dollar mistake, which I was very moved by personally. I’m really looking forward to digging a bit deeper into some of the nuances of that article. He then shared the article in his blog called producthabits.com which actually sounds a little bit similar to productiveinsights.com so I feel pretty chuffed about that. So Hiten would you like to, just to kick off and tell us a little bit about this billion dollar mistake you made and give us a bit of context around the article for those who may not have read it.

Hiten Shah: 01:56

Yeah, I mean I really believe in reviewing the things that happened in your life. Yeah. And being honest about them. So an objective, truthful, factual take on what happened, including anything that you did or didn’t do to contribute to the situation and really focusing in on that. So one of my company’s Kissmetrics where we had raised a whole bunch of venture capital, I made my billion dollar mistake. Basically it was an analytics company. In the early days, we were really, as we add our third product attempt, we really figured out something about the market that was really impactful in terms of analytics because it’s a, it was, we were in the web analytics market and we were dealing with people using Google analytics for free. Yeah. And getting a lot of value from it. So we really needed to figure out what was wrong with the existing product, if anything, then what could we do about it?

Hiten Shah: 02:54

And the simple truth that we figured out was that Google analytics will only tell you what’s happening on your website. It won’t tell you who’s actually doing it. And that’s the sort of kernel of Kissmetrics. There was a bunch of other things we figured out that were related to that, such as making it so that it’s easy to track analytics events and see what happens in real time so you can debug the install you have given a very simple API that lets you pass in usernames of the people who are visiting your website signing up basically. Yeah. And any events that happen after that. So what we learned is that people really wanted to be able to tie data to individual people and who are actually their users. This insight and the product we built, which was first built in 30 days because we had gotten tired of building products and spending months on them, which we had done in the business prior.

Hiten Shah: 03:48

And so we built it after these learnings of exactly what problems people have. Yeah. And we ended up, in my estimation, even just objectively about three years ahead in the category, that’s kind of where things started taking another turn. And this was what I would call a turn for the worst. And basically what ended up happening is I was really not sure of what to do next. Now that we had figured this out. It wasn’t actually exactly clear on how to evolve the product, evolve the business, grow the sales team or whatever it was. And so I was almost having an idea every day and I was spending time with the team talking to them about these ideas, whether it’s giving them a call, walking by their desk or what have you. And we were a remote team primarily at the time. So it was a lot of not necessarily walking by desks, but that’s a good analogy.

Hiten Shah: 04:38

But really well we ended up calling. It was something that, this whole phenomenon was something that, after I wrote this a really resonated with a lot of people. Some people actually read this whole blog post out, in front of their all hands meeting. At least two companies told me they did that. And basically it was a memo written by a team member. And what he said about the memo was, hopefully, I can help everyone understand where are those things might seem like left field or coming from. And this was basically him explaining competing forces I was dealing with as a founder, CEO, existing customers, sales ourselves, our own internal needs and business board of directors, future investors and the competition. And he listed out even a few other things and he basically coined it heat and bomb and he basically said that that’s what I was doing.

Hiten Shah: 05:32

Yeah. And that’s basically what he, we basically figured out that was happening inside the company was I was doing this and it was distracting everybody and they didn’t know how to have a very focused view on what, what they should be doing in their jobs regardless of who it was. I would be doing this to them. And so you must have really felt well it hurt when I realized what I was doing when I didn’t realize what I was doing, I thought I was just doing the right thing.

Ash Roy: 05:56

But one thing I wanted to say, one thing I would just say here is I admire the courage with which you faced up to that. And you actually went out there and said, Hey, you know what? I messed up. There’s one other person that comes to mind that is this honest, at least from my interactions. And that’s Rand Fishkin who has been on this podcast three times. He’s so honest. So kudos to you for doing that. I really respect that.

Hiten Shah: 06:22

Thank you. Yeah, big fan of Rand we’re friends. And the thing I really look to do in these situations is figuring out what I did wrong and what I could have done differently. Yup. And use that to never make those mistakes again. Right. And, and not in a way like someone else did it to me. So I wouldn’t, I would say that if I said it was wrong to raise money, that would be not something that I would ever really say. I would say that it was my decision to raise money. Yes. And I could’ve made a better decision. Yep.

Ash Roy: 06:53

So you’re taking ownership. You’re not feeling like the victim, you’re positioning yourself as somebody who can learn from it and grow from it.

Hiten Shah: 07:01

That’s what we all do. I mean, whether it’s when we’re kids and learning to walk, we fall down and we’d get up again. Yep. Even if we fell down and we got up again and no one was watching, we would still get up. Right. If that experience happened, we would get up and it’s not like we interrupted. So I really appreciate your comments. A lot of people said that was transparent, took courage to, you know, and honesty and all that. And I have to share this because it’s really fascinating to me that that was the sort of thing that people said and responded. Part of the reason is I think we’re not able to appear genuine and be genuine. Not just appear. Cause like you don’t know if I’m genuine. I wrote it. You don’t really know. It’s just my words. And the words were great, obviously.

Hiten Shah: 07:43

Yeah. Other people said that. You were saying that, but the appearance of being genuine requires a level of honesty with yourself. Yes. And I could still call it appearance because nobody knows if I’m being genuine. Right. But my words ring true that way and I would just want to be honest about that too. I am being genuine, but it’s this appearance that I’m talking about and the reason I’m talking about that is that you can feel it in the words. You can feel it in the detail and you can show this to anyone that was there. You’d be like, yeah, he did this. Yeah. And it’s very factual. If that gentleman who was leading product and engineering did not write that memo, this story would be a lot different. Yes. And that was direct words from his memo it’s a 1,300-word memo that he wrote to the company after having discussions with me.

Hiten Shah: 08:27

Thankfully he still works with me, so I didn’t totally, I didn’t totally blow it. One of the reasons is because of this Bebo look, he’s willing to take a situation that he sees and observe it and then basically just put it on display for everybody. And you know, someone person did message me out of the hundreds that I heard from that said, Hey, that’s like subordination. And what’s, what’s interesting to me is yeah, one perspective is definitely that subordination, right? I won’t say that, but my, my reaction for a lot of reasons, I know where this person’s coming from. I don’t really feel like I really believe in servant leadership and concepts like that and I was not doing that here. Yeah. Right. So it really resonated on that level. So I actually feel like extremely grateful that he did this because I have completely changed my ways as a result.

Ash Roy: 09:14

Well, Hiten, something else that I found interesting that you just said was “fortunately he still works with me” as in you feel fortunate that he works with you. But I can think of a lot of founders and CEOs that would have been saying, well, he’s lucky he still has a job with me.

Hiten Shah: 09:31

Yeah. I mean I never really crystallized this almost rule for life for myself. Yeah. This is compassion, right. And I think compassion goes two ways. One, it goes for yourself. And you should have compassion for others. That’s what they say. So to me, like I empathize with him, his name is Steve. I empathize with him because he was a leader in the company. He was a manager. He managed one of the larger teams in the company. And he was wondering what was going on because people were asking him what was going on. Yeah. And he’s empathizing with them and just trying to figure all this out and be like, what’s going on? What’s this craziness. Yeah. And he had to hear about it and then he literally, we were talking and I was explaining myself around some of this stuff and he really, it really clicked for him.

Hiten Shah: 10:17

So he felt like doing this, I didn’t know he was going to write this. And so any leader who takes an act like this from a team member, personally, I think they should just step back and look at the experience and just think about what happened before they say anything or do anything or respond. Yup. And if they already respond, you know, that’s fine. And really think about if I were, if I were to take this at face value, if I were to not take this personally, what would this experience feel like? And that’s a great question and it’s all about experience and it’s all about understanding the difference in experience between what you’re actually experiencing versus literally the opposite experience and a lot of react to other people. And they trigger us and make us think about things we don’t want to think about. We don’t want to face about ourselves. Yeah. I didn’t want to face the fact that I was distracting the team. Yup. Otherwise I would’ve stopped.

Ash Roy: 11:10

Lot of this comes back to a practice called mindfulness, which I’ve been practicing on and off for quite a few years. And in episode 145, Amy Porterfield and I had a very open conversation about our anxieties about being on video and how we use mindfulness to, or how I use mindfulness. And we just talked about some of our various techniques on how to face our fears and move past them rather than be reactive and allow them to victimize us. So that was a useful episode. Rand Fishkin also shared some very honest truths on episode 159 where he talked about his book lost and founder and the most recent evolutions in his journey as the founder of Mozz. Now Kissmetrics was a business that you started with Neil Patel, is that right?

Hiten Shah: 11:58

That’s right, my brother-in-law.

Ash Roy: 11:59

Yeah, so that’s what I thought. I thought you were brothers in law. Neil was the very first guest on this podcast. It was an episode one, so that’s pretty cool. I noticed that he was, I noticed that he is actually working on some fantastic software called Uber suggest. I was just playing with it this morning and it’s pretty awesome and it’s free. Okay, so I want to just dig into one particular statement that you had in your article that really touched me. You said we had all the right inputs, we had the right intention. What we didn’t have was a process to prioritize what we worked on and why. Can you share a bit more about this with us? Hiten and give us a bit more context in terms of what was happening in the business at the time and how you came to this realization.

Hiten Shah: 12:43

Yeah, I mean we iterated our way into the initial success we had and there was success objectively when you look at the industry, where it was and how much we changed it by the time we came along and did the things we did. And that’s what people said our customers said that. So I think that’s the biggest proof. So when I think about this, I try to think about, okay, what did we get right? And most of the things I do now at producthabits to tell people how to build products, successful product development, has to do with learnings even from back then that are at the core. There are so many things we got right in that initial launchable version of Kissmetrics that I’m, all I’m looking to do is replicate what caused that. And I know that sounds weird because you can’t really replicate it, but at the end of the day we, I’m very diligent about learning what problems people had finding the most important ones.

Hiten Shah: 13:39

They were technical ones and ones related to user interface, found those, solve them in the best way we possibly could, built it out really fast and then shipped the product. And what we didn’t do is create a repeatable process to continue to do that. And one way I’ve learned to do that is by working with my new co-founder Marie who writes the product habits newsletters with me and we went through that process to actually discover the opportunity I’m working on right now called FYI and you can see it at usefyi.com and the reason I’m mentioning that is it is a new category. We’re calling it a document organization service and it’s based on countless, now probably in the range of hundreds of interviews and thousands of data points from customers and actual users of our product as well as other products. To understand the number one challenge people have with documents and the number one challenge they have is finding documents across all the apps that they use.

Hiten Shah: 14:39

Now we spent about 15 months at Kissmetrics before we spent the, about three months and 30 days of that was actually the build time for the actual product before we spent the three months to actually figure out and nail the value prop and the problems and all that that we had. At FYI when we learned that people’s problems is about finding documents right away we researched what was out there and we learned that everyone built a search box. Yup. Most of the products in the market were a search box like, Oh, how fast can we build a search box? We actually built a search box that searched G suite Dropbox, Onedrive and I think box in real-time after you typed in a keyword, once you’ve authenticated those services, and we built that in five days and we shipped it. We just put a lot of constraints on it because most people would assume we need to find all their documents.

Hiten Shah: 15:35

No, we just need to find enough of them to give them a search box they could use and figure out what the problems were and build an interface that showed search results.

Ash Roy: 15:44

So a minimum viable product, which then you were going to either wait on?

Hiten Shah: 15:48

No, which we didn’t know if we were going to iterate on. That’s where it gets really interesting. , these minimum viable products are not necessarily meant to be iterated on. Right. And I think that’s the, that’s the fallacy they’re meant to learn from. And what we wanted to learn is why those other products failed. And we wanted to learn that as fast as possible. So this five day MVP, what we learned is that people don’t want to use a certain search box to find their documents. Oh, that’s interesting though. Right? And that’s why we call it a document organization service.

Hiten Shah: 16:18

Now. That’s the category we’ve created and that we’re in.

Ash Roy: 16:21

You discover that you were trying to solve the wrong problem. People weren’t interested in the search box. They were interested in what document organization?

Hiten Shah: 16:29

No, we discovered that the right way to solve the problem is not a search box. People still want to find their documents. Yeah. But it’s not the wrong problem. It’s, it’s not the wrong problem. It’s the wrong solution. So the problem is still prevalent and the number one challenge people have. So what we did is we actually went back, looked at, did more research and looked at all of our research. And what we discovered is there are behaviors that people use when they find documents and all we needed to do, which wasn’t easy, is map to those behaviors in our interface. Okay. And so our interface on the left side shows you all of the apps that you’ve connected.

Hiten Shah: 17:07

You can click on one and see all the latest documents in those apps without leaving FYI.

Ash Roy: 17:12

I’m going to check this out.

Hiten Shah: 17:14

Yeah, please do. And then in the middle, you get an activity feed of all the recent activity of what’s been happening, commenting, sharing, editing. That’s been happening across all the, all the documents, all the document apps you use. So all the documents that you have. So that shows you recency. So people were looking at recency and things that were basically edited recently to find their documents. And on the right, we have a cane that shows a sidebar that shows all the different people you collaborate with sorted by the people you collaborate with the most. And when you click on them you can see everything that you have shared with them together. Like things you both have access to as well as you can filter it and see things that they’ve created only. Okay. And so all of those things I just mentioned are how people are using our product to find documents. So our tagline is actually found your documents in three clicks or less.

Ash Roy: 18:04

Wow. So what are some response been so far?

Hiten Shah: 18:09

It’s been great. We built a single player product and we did that on purpose. It’s been launched for a little over a year and we are, we have now been for the last few months building out what we call FYI for teams. And that’s really a product that we believe teams can use to find their documents in three clicks or less. Cause right now you don’t need to bring your team in in order to get value from the product. In the future, the way we’re going to iterate is that the product will get more valuable as you bring more team members in.

Ash Roy: 18:34

So this is a software as a service product?

Hiten Shah: 18:37

Software as a service. We have a Chrome extension that takes over your new tab to show you this interface so you can find them. Right. And find those docs right when you need them. We have a desktop app that helps you basically we even let you find documents in your browser from your desktop and then when you click that, it’ll be open.

Hiten Shah: 18:52

Yeah, there’s a free plan and there are paid plans and the pay plans are just there so that we can see how people upgrade and all that. But right now we’re working on the team features, which is really when the pay plan is really started kicking in. So the reason I mentioned that is I took the lessons we learned from Kissmetrics about building really fast, solving the right problem and iterating until you find the right way to solve the problem, which are all things I learned from back then and this was now 10 years ago. Wow. So it’s like, and most importantly not getting distracted by either shiny objects or any new ideas that are irrelevant to today’s execution.

Ash Roy: 19:28

Yeah, that is tough man. So let’s talk about that for a second. This, there are two or three points I want to touch on that you raised. One is data-driven decisions and speed of innovation and taking products to market. Now just to confirm, you and Neil don’t own Kissmetrics anymore, is that correct?

Hiten Shah: 19:47

No, no, we haven’t had any involvement in a number of years.

Ash Roy: 19:50

Yeah. Okay. But you still have some excellent lessons you’ve learned from that. So I remember in fact when I spoke to Neil episode 1, I’m pretty sure he said that both you and him tend to make decisions based on data. What sort of data have you used? Can you give us some sort of example on how you use data in using, FYI to drive your decisions around what to do next with the product and how data is driving your decisions and that business now?

Hiten Shah: 20:16

Absolutely. So we think of it as data informed, which is something that comes from Facebook and it, it’s not that the data drives the decisions, it’s that the data informs the decision making. What’s the difference between informing the difference? Yeah, the difference between informing and driving is that a lot of people can look at data and say, Oh, this is not working right. And then they’ll stop working on it. We will look at the data and say this is not working, but it’s really important. So we will keep going until it works. And the data is just informing our decision making. It’s not driving it. That’s the simplistic sort of way to think about it. And it’s about accurate enough. And so, well we think about when we build product now is what I call step one. And really like when you think about any product initiative, there’s one thing people need to do that sort of kicks off the process. So in FYI right now you cannot share your documents from FYI, and we have a whole different paradigm on how we think about that. That’s in our heads. And so what we built was we built a button that’s a plus button that shows up on any of the items when you hover over them, any of your documents when you hover over them. And we made it so people could click on the button and then we would just pop up a chat message that asks them what they expected to happen.

Ash Roy: 21:35

Okay.

Hiten Shah: 21:35

Cause that’s, believe it or not, that’s step one for what we’re going to do for FYI for teams.

Ash Roy: 21:40

Right.

Hiten Shah: 21:41

And that’s it. Like it’s not that simple in terms of how I think about being data informed because if we can focus on step one and make sure that people are doing step one then we’ll basically be able to know whether that idea that concept, that feature has legs or not and what to do about it.

Ash Roy: 21:58

Right. So this title’s on something very important that I’ve discovered on my journey on my membership program, which I launched a few months ago. And that is rather than trying to scale using something like say the ask method, nothing against the ask method, like a survey-based technique. What I found was really useful was just getting on a face to face call with my potential member, the person signing up to get my help to grow their business and talk to them and get the qualitative data. It’s not scalable, but it has enabled me to create some really valuable flagship content within my website and within my membership program that helps people get their business growth process kickstarted. So the point I’m trying to make that scalability isn’t necessarily the best thing to do upfront, which it sounds like what you’re doing as well. You’re just putting the question out there and seeing what comes back. You’re not trying to scale the process of discovery yet.

Hiten Shah: 22:56

Yeah, I do both. Okay. I do a lot of customer interviews. I do a lot of surveys, very similar to the ask method where it’s qualitative, but we ask more than one qualitative question and then we also do the interviews as you suggested, to get really contextual and understand what people think. So I look at all these things in a very simplistic way, which is they are increasing our ability to make data informed decisions. So I’ll take all the inputs I can in your business. That input you’re talking about is really valuable because it’s a human that needs to change their behavior and that’s what your product should do for them. Yes. In our case, we’re not really necessarily trying to change behavior. We’re trying to figure out behavior, learn the behavior, and there are many different ways to do that and also learn pain. Then again, many different ways to do that. So it really boils down to how do you think about your business and what you need to learn right now versus what’s important later. So surveys at some scale might be important to you. Yes. But today, yeah, that one on one with 10 people, one on one, you’ll learn more than you can with 10 people filling out a survey.

Ash Roy: 24:02

Absolutely. Yeah. I would argue for my purposes, potentially more than a hundred people filling out a survey.

Hiten Shah: 24:09

Okay. Yeah.

Ash Roy: 24:10

So the next question I have is, you mentioned in your article that the key to driving growth on the product is to create production processes that produce repeatable wins that go on for years, if not decades. I thought that was very profound. Can you talk to us about that?

Hiten Shah: 24:29

Yeah. So when you think about how businesses work and what really scales is the idea that something you figure out from an innovation standpoint, it’s so good that it lasts a long time with or without you. Right? So you’re just trying to capture that and keep as much of the value and attention on your business around that innovation to be just quite Frank because that’s what keeps you competitive. And so this is what I meant by like we could have figured some key things out in the market, but if we didn’t hold onto what we figured out, it doesn’t matter. Yeah. Everyone else got the benefit. And this is, this was a billion dollar mistake. Other companies have raised in total like three or $400 million in the space doing essentially some version of what we started doing. Right. We only ended up raising about 17 million before.

Hiten Shah: 25:19

I think the company was sold, shut down, whatever, whatever happened to it. I don’t even know the details cause I haven’t been involved in a long time. Yeah. And so I would say that like that’s really the key to what I meant, so if you think about even Apple, all the innovations that they’ve created with the iPhone had been adopted by the whole market. Yes. If you think about their computers, the same things happen. Yes. So many computers look exactly the same as this MacBook that I’m working on that silver or space gray or whatever. I think this one’s silver space gray. I don’t even know. Let me just check. Yeah, it’s like space gray or something. Who knows? And, and they look like this. I mean, I look at some commercials for like some of the Dells and things like that or like really like Dell was iconic at the time and now everything looks same, sees, you know, like Apple and it’s, it’s blowing my mind frankly at how pervasive one company’s innovation can become in a, in a market.

Ash Roy: 26:13

Yeah. I saw a non-Apple phone in a store the other day and it had that, that wage or whatever they call it, that that thing is a notch, yeah. And I was like, seriously? I mean, why, why would you copy the notch? I mean, really come on. But that is the degree to which the market just mimics what works. I guess that’s hardwired into our DNA. I guess that’s how we survived as a species. You know, when we were evolving in the stone age. But I’ve got to agree. I mean Apple seems to have either lost their way or made decisions about moving in a different direction. They seem to be headed more towards media. Maybe the thrown in the towel on hardware. That’s how it looks to me. And they seem to be doing infrastructure plays around, you know, the payment systems and healthcare systems and all that sort of jazz.

Ash Roy: 26:58

But they’re also very smartly trying to leverage their hardware that is now ubiquitous. Like the watch for example that can potentially take ECG and admittedly not great quality ECG is yet, but presumably you know, that will evolve over time. So Apple I think still has a few cards up their sleeve. Apple did come up with something exceptional when they reinvented their products. I don’t know if you know of this hit then, but I’m a bit of a Steve Jobs fan fascinated by how his thinking evolved. And I read quite a lot about him and he was actually quite obsessed with a guy called Edwin Land, who was the guy who created the Polaroid and interestingly, their lives followed a very similar path. Both of them always thought about how can I create something that is 10 levels beyond the market. I remember guy Kawasaki talking about this in one of his talks.

Ash Roy: 27:51

So I recently spoke at an event called digital marketer down under where I was honored to share the stage with Ryan Deiss and Ezra Firestone and all these people. And I was speaking on podcasting. So I asked myself a similar question, what can I do that is going to make this talk remembered for years to come? And what came up for me was I need to give people something that is actionable that will help them to kick off their podcast in the session there and then, so in addition to the slides that I presented to them, I created a two page checklist. It was 11 step-podcast-long checklist. And on the flip side of it was the first four steps where you named your podcast. You know, we have certain strategies to come up with that and people loved it. And Marcus Murphy from digital marketer saw it and he said, I have never seen anything like this before. I want to show it to Ryan Deiss. So, but asking the question, what can I do that will make this product something that people remember for years to come is a very powerful question. Would you agree?

Hiten Shah: 28:48

Yeah, absolutely.

Ash Roy: 28:49

And do you ask that some version of that question of yourself?

Hiten Shah: 28:53

I’m looking to find timeless problems. Okay. And I focus on that. I focus on finding timeless problems. So, you know, Jeff Bezos calls it to focus on things that don’t change.

Ash Roy: 29:04

Right?

Hiten Shah: 29:05

People, people are always going to want things better, faster, cheaper.

Ash Roy: 29:09

Right.

Hiten Shah: 29:10

So Amazon focuses on that. Gotcha. So I think, I think the response I have to what you’re saying is this sort of reframing of is the problem you’re solving timeless. And how timeless is that problem? So RPN, it’s not, it’s about like in your case, like are people always gonna want to create an audience around this medium that you’re helping them with? I don’t know if you can say that is yes. You can say the answer is yes. Yeah. I mean, we’re already in a world where we’re talking to each other basically asynchronously. That’s really what a podcast is.

Ash Roy: 29:40

I see what you gotcha. Yep. Well, communication for, it’s largely one way though. It’s asynchronous. Yes. But it’s not a two-way conversation. Usually, people don’t tend to respond, but you know what, it may evolve and, and I hear you, I mean asynchronous communication is really becoming a big thing. People don’t answer phones anymore. They’d rather let it go to voicemail and respond by SMS. So I hear you.

Hiten Shah: 30:03

Yeah. It’s like, you know, you could say podcasts are one too many. I agree with you, but it’s still some form of an asynchronous conversation. And so my point is like, you’re, you’re communicating with people through a podcast. You’re in their ears. It’s very intimate. Maybe you’re watching a video like some people are, but most people are probably going to watch this without or actually listen to this without watching it. Right. Putting it in their ears and doing it at the gym on their commute or on the weekend when they’re just trying to relax and want to hear you and I talk about the product. Right? And so when I think about it like that, it’s like timeless problems or what you should be trying to identify and then building solutions to these timeless problems so you don’t get basically out innovated and that also requires you to know that we need to figure out constantly what the right problems are to solve and how to focus on the right things in the business.

Ash Roy: 30:53

Okay. Speaking of the right problems and focusing on the right things in business, typically, how many projects do you work on at any given time?

Hiten Shah: 31:00

I don’t have a number.

Ash Roy: 31:02

Okay.

Hiten Shah: 31:03

I don’t really have a number? Not one though. I don’t. I don’t have a good answer. I think it has a lot to do with what gives you energy, how you think about leverage and I’m spending your efforts like what you want to spend them on and what gets you really excited. And so it’s all very individual. Some people really, really, really need to focus on one thing. Yeah. Then that’s the way that they maximize their time, energy, life. For me, that’s not generally the case.

Ash Roy: 31:32

Interesting response. It’s not what I expected, but that’s great. I like, I like your honesty. You don’t, you don’t have an answer for it. Okay. So I’m gonna just quickly wrap things up and then we’ll talk about action steps and then we’ll talk a bit more about product habits and hopefully use FYI as well. So the importance of being honest and not seeing yourself necessarily as a victim of a situation, but to ask yourself the very powerful question, which is if I wasn’t to take this situation personally, how would I respond? I touched on concepts like mindfulness, which I talked about in episode 145 with Amy Porterfield. You talked about some very interesting stuff around solving problems that are here to stay for a long time. People will always want things faster, cheaper, better focus on data and be data-informed rather than data-driven. The subtle difference is that data-driven tends to drive you towards a yes or no decision. Whereas data-informed decisions say, well, okay, this data is telling us that this is not working. That doesn’t mean we, it’s a no. It means we need to figure it out until we can get it to work. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Hiten Shah: 32:47

I think the most important thing in life is to be honest with yourself. Beautiful. That’s all I can add. If you need help doing that, let me know.

Ash Roy: 32:56

I will and I’m sure our audience will as well. If you need help getting honest with yourself, you must reach out to Hiten Shah at producthabits.com, now Hiten, how do people get in touch with you? How do they find out more about use fyi.com we obviously linked to all this in our show notes. Can you give us some more information about how people can get in touch with you? If they need to?
Hiten Shah: 33:19 Yeah, use fyi.com you can check out, FYI. It helps you find your documents in three clicks or less. And I’d love then try it. Free plan, pretty generous. And then I’m on Twitter @hnshah and my product newsletter with my cofounder, Marie is @producthabits.com.

Hiten Shah: 33:46

They can even DM me and I’m happy to respond to anything.

Ash Roy: 33:53

All right, well thanks so much for being on the show. You, you heard it here. That’s producthabits.com or if you want to tweet and hit then it’s @hnshah. This Twitter handle. And you can DM him as well. This will be published on our website. You’ll be able to access it at productiveinsights.com/growth hyphen hacking. So thanks very much again for being on the show and I look forward to talking to you again sometime soon.

Hiten Shah: 34:22

Would be great.

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About Productive Insights

Productive Insights (PI) offers valuable productivity related content to busy people who want to win back a few hours each week. It also discusses mindfulness in daily life which is aimed at creating a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in everyday activities.

If you are a looking to reduce your stress levels or create more free time in your day then you've come to the right place.

Latest Podcast Episodes

185. Content Strategy With Russ HenneberryNovember 29th, 2019 | no responses

184. The Billion Dollar Mistake With Hiten ShahNovember 15th, 2019 | no responses

183. Amazon Strategy With Greg CassarOctober 16th, 2019 | no responses

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  • ash@productiveinsights.com