Understanding users and scaling your startup
Understanding users and scaling your startup can be a scientific method only if you did it scientifically. An old dictum states that one should not boil the ocean. But what if you have built a product that the whole world can use. Think of Google or Whatsapp or Facebook or products which practically the whole connected uses in some form or fashion. How would you scale that product?
If you build a product that is for everyone and market it to everyone as a startup, you are going to fail. However, if you market it to a niche, you might eventually win.
How to build scalable startups?
As the famous Y Combinator credo goes, Build Something People Want. But we believe this violates Einstein’s quote – Everything must be made simple, not simpler. We should build something People Want – this has been made simpler but the real question is – what do people want? And how to find out what people want? As Larry – The Cable Guy quips in an advertisement, America is a land which creates products that people did not even know they wanted.
The answer lies in one of the world’s most frequent ways in which startups start – when an entrepreneur has a personal problem and he or she decides to solve it. As we can see in the infographic below, most startups were started when the founder had a problem and tried to solve for it. If you are one of those founders, question is how to scale your startup. The answer lies in understanding your users and scaling your startup thru reach outs, conversations, offers of value etc.,
Ashish Singhal is a lifelong problem solver. Most people consider working for a high powered Jeff Bezos team as their end game, a “dream scenario”. Not the case with Ashish. For him, Amazon was just his starting point.
Having cut his teeth with Bezos team at Amazon, he went on to found Urban Tailor and eventually CoinSwitch with a vision to make Crypto buying as simple as buying groceries. While discussing his story, he gives out a lot of secrets building user base of millions. If you know what secrets to look for, you will find them. DONT MISS THIS EPISODE.
Here are excerpts from the Episode:
What Ashish Learnt from Hackathons!
But I learned about startup being counterintuitive through hackathons. I lost seven hackathons, one after the another, which made me realize that probably I’m not as good as I think I am. But when I look back, I realized that hackathons were not about building things. They are about ideas.Ashish Singhal 6:16
But how would you succeed at a startup is by actually solving all those pieces together.Ashish Singal 19:29
Ashish Talks About Starting UrbanTailor
I started a company called UrbanTailor. We were trying to create fit and size, you know, creating custom clothing for people. And we always thought that, oh, if I give you have clothing in your size and fit, why would you go to a readymade outlet when I can give you at the same price, the same clothing?Ashish Singhal 25:28
And when I look back into that journey, that one thing that I realized was my relatability to the problem wasn’t there, I was still wearing readymade clothes.Ashish Singhal 25:28
Thought Behind Starting CoinSwitch
We wanted to build something like make my trip for ourselves where at any given point in time, we can see which exchange has the best rate, and quickly convert through the API, and have the extra edge, which other people don’t have in the market.Ashish Singhal 35:17
So the parameter that we kept for ourselves is that the day our parents can buy cryptocurrency is the day we will tell that we have simplified and we have simplified crypto and we have solved that use case.
But after RBI ban we couldn’t innovate in India anymore. So we had to go outside, we had to do this business in 160 plus countries and grow there, you know, keeping up with being a crypto company, another set of challenges hit with the Google banning crypto ads, Facebook, banning crypto ads, Twitter, banning crypto ads.Ashish Singhal 38:07
In 2018 and 17 when we launched, trust was the biggest factor, because crypto was just picking up, right? And people didn’t know what services to trust, because people could just take away your money. And you would never know, how would a person sitting in, say, Amsterdam trust a service built in India. Right?Ashish Singhal 45:52
Amazon taught me the biggest lesson of my life, you know, understand your users, empathize with your users, users are everything. Business is secondary, your product your users are first. And that is the lesson that we keep with us. Always fighting for the user. Always trying to help themAshish Singhal 57:39
Ashish Talks About Growth
I think when people think about growth, they think about flipping a switch. Today, they are nothing today, they will do something that tomorrow they will be everything. 99% of the companies and obviously, there are exceptions, which are out there. 99% of the companies don’t grow like this, right? Even if I take our example, we didn’t grow like thisAshish Singal 1:15:17
Ashish on Twitter: @ashish343
Ashish on LinkedIn: Ashish Singhal – Founder & CEO – CoinSwitch
Follow Maharajas of Scale on Twitter: @maharajasofscale
Here’s what the word cloud for this episode looks like