How to bring a product to market / A very rare interview with Sean Ellis
Shared by jerico · 261d ago · 18 comments

First recorded interview with Sean Ellis, CEO of GrowthHackers and lead marketing for several companies through IPO. Pre-dates the infamous Rahul Vohra PMF article by years.

Particularly, one of the things that I’ve learned that’s been a little humbling through the experience is that if nobody wants the product, it doesn’t matter how effective the marketer is, you’re going to have a really hard time being successful. And if people want the product, you don’t have to be that great a marketer — the product is just so much easier to market.

Early PayPal:

PayPal [started with] a cryptography product where you would use a PDA to store access codes for servers... They blame marketing, they blame sales, but ultimately, it took a lot of guts, and just honesty, to say: You know what? We created something that nobody really needs. So they stepped back.

Sal · 261d ago

Does anyone else feel like they're offering a "Nice-to-have" to the world, as opposed to a "Need-to-have" as Sean describes it?

Atlas7 · 257d ago

Thank you ! will read this.

jerico · 257d ago

Cheers! It's quite good.

Atlas7 · 257d ago
michaeljelly · 258d ago

Is there audio for this still? Or just a transcript

jerico · 257d ago

I clicked both audio links and was led to 404. Might be out of luck? Lmk if you find.

coryz · 261d ago

Nice-to-have is kind of a scary thing, because you get enough success that you want to keep at it. But they were very fortunate in that they sort of stumbled into what ultimately became their market, which was, of course, the web-payment platform that PayPal is today.

Feel this... agony

coryz · 261d ago

Loving this article, thanks for sharing. Another great quote:

if you try to please everybody, you’re essentially going to have a very unfocused product. But if you use the feedback from your very-disappointed people to give you that focus...

... you'll achieve meaningful PMF that much quicker.

coryz · 261d ago

Another ...

if you really step back and ask a lot of entrepreneurs why startups fail, a lot of people rightly focus on lack of focus as being what causes a lot of startups to fail. But then the question is, OK, if it’s lack of focus, what should you be focused on? Obviously, lots of focus on the wrong thing is still going to cause you to fail, so then it’s a big question of what you should be focused on.

Sal · 261d ago

+1 to all this :)

Sal · 261d ago

They mention Founders at Work here. Hadn't read before but looks like it's part of the startup canon from reviews.

Was thinking yesterday, would be great if Pioneer had a "recommendations" page. Could include articles like this and good books like the above!

jerico · 261d ago

That'd be awesome, tbh. Think there's a third way it could be done, in addition to these two:

FirstSearch: https://search.firstround.com/
YC startup library: https://www.ycombinator.com/library

The FirstSearch UI is a bit wonky IMO. Chaotic. Startup Lib is good, but it's all YC material. Some equivalent for the whole of the Internet would be epic.

Sal · 257d ago

Completely agree! Hopefully they see this... !

NFT-gal · 261d ago

That obsession with need-based product development is the absolute key. A lot of people are deluded into thinking people need their product because they really like their product. As with most things, I suppose.

jerico · 261d ago

Agreed, this really resonates.

NFT-gal · 261d ago

Does anyone have other good resources / definitions for PMF? (besides the Rahul piece)

coryz · 261d ago

This one's good, although admittedly not exactly PMF-related as Sean would define it. More of a "before fit" article that will lead to PMF.

Just find your ten users: https://seths.blog/2009/04/first-ten/.

And this is the all-time pmarca classic: https://pmarchive.com/guide_to_startups_part4.html.

NFT-gal · 261d ago

Ooo fantastic. Thx!