The Makers Summit 2021: Fireside Chat between Bhavin Turakhia of Flock and Gaurav Munjal of Unacademy – my notes

Note: This blog post was a first draft. You can read my full article based on it at Inc42’s website: Key Takeaways From Gaurav Munjal And Bhavin Turakhia’s Fireside Chat At #TMS2021

My brief paraphrased notes on the Fireside chat between Gaurav Munjal and Bhavin Turakhia, at the end of Day 1 of The Makers Summit 2021.

G = Gaurav Munjal, B = Bhavin Turakhia

  • G: Briefly touched upon the imminent Product-led growth era in India vs past/ongoing High-Burn era.
  • B: What makes you tick? You’re always so hard working and driven.
  • G: Work-Life balance is overrated. Aim for Work-Life harmony.
    [Both agree that both are alike in this manner]

    Overcoming Execution Bias
    G: How to overcome execution bias? And spend time better planning?
    B: 30% time each for discovery and measurement, and rest for execution. Building is easy. Hard to figure out what to build – so build your muscle there, and your impact will be high. Usually 1-2 high impact features are what makes your product tick. But it’s not easy to discover what that one thing is. They do a lot of validation nowadays. 

    How do you decide upon an idea and validate?
    B: How do you decide upon an idea and validate?
    G: Does the idea have a Leadership-Market fit? As in, will your team enjoy building this? What are you more passionate about?
    G: Your speed of innovation is directly proportional to your ability to hire leaders.
    G: Tip: Experiment with products. Try out a lot of apps – maybe 10 every day. You’ll understand the game better than any book can teach you (do note that most of your structured learning will come from books – 10-20 are there which everyone should read).

    B2B SaaS
    G: To B: Why have you restricted yourself to B2B SaaS? And why not consumer Internet?
    B: If your solution is only 10/20/30% better than existing product, don’t bother. The improvements have to be multiples. I have all my knowledge and strengths in B2B SaaS. And this is where I can maximize impact. I’m supremely passionate about making other companies productive. And I feel like I’m compounding my impact by doing that.

    Product Market Fit (PMF)
    B: What is PMF according to you?
    G: My subjective feeling is that I understood it when the TestPrep subscription product clicked. Started seeing compounding growth for the same effort. People will really really like the product, and it will be significantly better than the alternates.

    Don’t try to build a product first. Try to build a social media traction channel. Put out content consistently. You’ll have to start tweaking the SEO also. Then you’ll understand the audience, and you’ll find a niche.

    Traditional definition is: For finding PMF (Book recos: 22 Immutable laws, Intercom for Product Marketing), for the same effort you’ll start seeing better results. 6-7 things will work: traction channel, brand, product experience etc. And you won’t have to spend lot of money to acquire customers. Also, users will tell you how much they love your product.

    B: The largest amount of wastage of initial capital is before PMF. And founder equity dilution also happens because of lack of PMF.
    Objective measures: High retention, High Net Promoter Score (ppl recommending it to others), people willing to pay, finding an audience who’d be disappointed if your product disappeared (read article by founder of Superhuman) (imagine if that %age is around 30%) (and this approach will also let you find product-persona fit),

    Coming up with Products that are 10x better
    G: How can you force yourself to think about products that can be 10x better? Tip: Do an idea vacation (go away somewhere, think, come up with crazy ideas)
    B: Template I have is: What is the target persona? What’s the problem? What is the product and why is it 10x better? What’s the GoToMarket strategy? (persona and problem can be figured out in either order). Talk to people who match that persona, get data to see if they truly have that problem or not. Find out how they’re solving that problem right now. Are people willing to put money where their mouth is? (They’ve put up a pitch page using Unbounce, run FB campaigns, *collect their credit card* and tell them it’s an early beta and we’ll get back to you). The discovery process of a 10x better solution: the problem should be something the person faces often and the pain should be high.
    G: Use a lot of products – esp those which did a 10x better in their sector, and see what improvement you can do in your sector. They even got inspired from Peloton.

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