Hiten Shah on Starting and Scaling Successful SaaS Companies (GMT063)

Since 2005, Hiten Shah has started multiple SaaS companies, including FYI, Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics. I’ve been a big fan of his tweets, articles and products. He’s built more than ten different products and has started companies like a marketing consultancy, a podcast advertising network, and a hosting company.

In episode 63, you’ll learn:

  1. Hiten’s billion dollar mistake with Kissmetrics and how you can avoid it
  2. Hiten’s mental models in helping him build successful products
  3. As a startup investor, advisor and serial entrepreneur, Hiten shares his one piece of advice for founders

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Our sponsor for this episode

Thank you for the sponsor of this episode 42+ Agency.

I’ve know the founder of that agency for sometime now – Kamil Rextin. Kamil and his team helps B2B SaaS businesses:

  • Streamline operations
  • Implement new tech stack
  • Design ABM & demand generation strategies
  • Create a predictable revenue pipeline

They’ve worked with some amazing companies like Onfleet, Hubdoc, Guestlogix, Flexday and more.

Book a free roadmapping session at https://fourtytwo.agency/

Tweet Some Quotes from This Episode
You have to really understand your customers to understand what's going to get them to sign up. That requires a lot of research and testing. – @hnshah from @GrowthToday podcast. Get the full podcast episode 👇 Click To Tweet We get MVPs so wrong. An MVP isn't something you continue with. It's the thing you create in order to learn. - @hnshah from @GrowthToday podcast. Get the full episode 👇 Click To Tweet Double down on what's working before you chase anything new. And then, when chase something new, make sure they're limited and smart experiments. – @hnshah from the @GrowthToday podcast. Get the full episode 👇 Click To Tweet When it comes to acquisiton, you need to quantify the cost, regardless of the channel even if it requires a lot of manual work. – @hnshah from the @GrowthToday podcast. Get the full episode 👇 Click To Tweet
My Takeaways from This Episode
  1. MVP is not about building a “minimum” product that you can build upon. Hiten said that we get MVPs so wrong. According to him, it’s the thing you create in order to learn about your customers and market. It’s what you need to do right now to validate or invalidate your riskiest assumptions.
  2. Double down on what’s working before you chase anything new. And then, when chase something new, make sure they’re limited and smart experiments. It’s so easy to get caught up with new and shiny things. Know what’s working and ask yourself, “How can I maximize this?”
  3. Quantify your costs for marketing, even if it’s time-consuming and requires a ton of manual work. How can you optimize what you can’t measure? I had someone ask me recently what should be the first thing their company should do to get the growth process going. They weren’t measure each step of their customer’s journey and funnel. I said that’s the first thing they need to focus on.
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About Hiten Shah
Hiten Shah has created several SaaS companies including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and FYI. One of his passion is creating products that people love to use. Hiten alos has a weekly email newsletter called Product Habits where he shares links every week and also focuses on teaching people how to create high growth products that people love. He has a podcast about startups, business and life called The Startup Chat that he does with his friend Steli.
Show Notes
  • 2:40 – Rapid fire questions for Hiten: Marvel vs. DC, Nintendo vs. Genesis, Dark mode vs. regular mode, coffee vs. tea
  • 4:04 – Hiten’s journey to cofounding Crazy Egg, Kiss Metrics and FYI
  • 8:34 – Why did Hiten’s dad tell him to become an entrepreneur and not a doctor
  • 10:22 – Does it get easier starting a second and third company?
  • 11:15 – Hiten’s mental models that’s helped him launch 10+ businesses
  • 10:22 – Does it get easier starting a second and third company?
  • 13:19 – In a freemium business model, which features should be free and which ones should be paid?
  • 14:52 – When building an MVP, what’s too “minimum” and what’s too extravagant?
  • 17:30 – How do you figure out who your best customers are?
  • 21:25 – How did Hiten figure out FYI’s pricing?
  • 24:10 – How does FYI onboard users?
  • 24:50 – How is Hiten acquiring their first 1,000 customers for FYI?
  • 27:26 – How should SaaS companies treat competitors?
  • 27:26 – What is Hiten’s billion dollar mistake and how can you avoid it?
  • 32:44 – What is Hiten’s one advice to founders?
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