Building Product By Michael Siebel

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My notes on this video by Michael Siebel the CEO of Y Combinator.

General thoughts

Good introduction into what you have to think about when founding your startup.

Are you doing the right thing?

Should you keep doing it?

These pointers will help you out.

What’s the problem you are solving?

  1. Can you state the problem clearly?
  2. Have you experienced the problem yourself?
  3. Can you define the problem narrowly?
  4. Is the problem solvable?

Who is your ideal first customer

  1. It is not ❌EVERYONE.
  2. How often does your user has that problem?
  3. How intense is the problem?
  4. Are they willing to pay💵?
  5. How easy it is to find them?

Does your MVP actually solves the problem you are trying to solve?

  1. Which customers should you go after first? (the easy ones!)
  2. Which customers should you run away from? (the bad/hard ones!)
  3. Should you discount or start with a super low price (no!)

📈 How to setup Metrics

Google analytics + something else (event based analytics like Mixpanel, etc).

Pick 5–10 important tasks to measure at first. 🚨Everyone in your company must understand how to use Mixpanel and read it.

Make measurement a part of your product spec.

♻️ Product Development Cycle (v 1.0)

KPI Goal.

For revenue generating products you should almost ALWAYS track revenue.

For free products, track should be usage based.


Decide which idea impacts KPI the most.

Write specs.

Pivot vs iterate

Pivot = Changing customers or changing the problem (rare).

Iterate = Changing the solution (common).

Identifying the problem is the genius part.

Don’t try to find customers for your solution but change the solution to a good problem.

Fake Steve Jobs VS 🤓 Steve Jobs

Real Steve Jobs iterates and talks to customers.

Fake Steve Jobs just dreams and creates art.

❌ Don’t be fake Steve Jobs.

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