Tech debt metaphor maximalism: "I really like the "tech debt" metaphor. A lot of people don't, but I think that's because they either don't extend the metaphor far enough, or because they don't properly understand financial debt." Really good read on how to think about tech debt as a direct extension of financial debt.
Pour salt on the wound: No pain, no sale. People will only value your solution if they value their problem. If they don’t think their problem is that bad, they won’t pay you to solve it. When in doubt, emphasize the pain. Painkillers sell better than vitamins.
Use before-and-after: An effective before-and-after skips all the boring parts. It’s like a jump cut in a movie. It emphasizes contrast. This heightens drama and interest. The best before-and-afters make you say wow.
Don’t jump right to the solution: Instead, explain how much $ the problem costs and how it’s making your customer’s life hard. Then talk about your product & how you’ll make their problem go away.
Show, don’t tell: I came across AI-driven software that reduces background noise on Zoom calls. Their website has a toggle on/off button where you can hear a sound sample without vs with their tool. That demo was worth 10,000 words.
Increase desire, don’t just decrease friction: People jump through hoops for things they want. Did you pick your spouse because they were the most convenient option? Of course not. You picked them despite obstacles.
Explain "why now?": Most folks AGREE that your product is great--but they still don’t buy. What they’re really thinking: “Do I need this enough to pay $ right now? Or can I do this later?" Later often means never.
Be/Do/Have: This is a classic framework in leadership coaching but applies to marketing. What does your product let your customer be that they weren’t before? What can they do now that they couldn’t do before? What do they have now that they didn’t have before?
Aim for “no-brainer status": You need to aim for an instant yes. Not a yes after 100+ touchpoints of nurturing. Think about what would get that reaction. You likely won’t get an instant yes. But if you aim for it, it’ll speed up getting there.
Do what makes their eyes light up (ELU): You can tell when people listen to be polite. But there are moments when aliveness flashes in their eyes--you just said something they care about. Watch for ELU. It's data on what to do more of.
Avoid backstory scope creep: It's easy to get carried away sharing background info. Remove 90% of it. You need less backstory than you think.
Focus on what your customer wants to hear, not what you want to talk about: This is an easy way to trim from your pitch.
Consider overhauling: If you’re struggling to describe your product’s value, figure out if the problem is (A) the marketing or (B) the offer itself. If your underlying offer isn’t good, no amount of improving the marketing will help.
How was Fast able to hire hundreds of people of this caliber? Money, storytelling, and equity:
Fast paid very strong base salaries, told a great story, and offered lavish equity. Most engineers joining didn't know much about why the one-click checkout industry has the potential of billions. What they did know is Fast offered at or above base salaries of Big Tech, directors shared an enthusiastic story of the company being a rocketship, and they were granted equity which seemed like a golden ticket to retirement.
Fast base salaries were top of the market. For senior software engineers, Fast offered $200-240K/year in base salaries with full remote work. They offered this range not just in the US, but outside it, when hiring in Europe, converting the base salary to Euros (€180-€220K/year).
Large sign-on bonuses were common for engineers. Those who asked for it all received sign-on bonuses of $20-50K as a one-off payment. These types of sign-on bonuses are not uncommon at Big Tech but are much more rare at startups that are unprofitable. These large sign-on bonuses added to the feeling that Fast is doing well financially. Sign-on bonuses are typically repayable when the employee quits the company within 12 months. In some ways, the sign-on bonuses made the layoffs more bearable for those who joined recently, as they can keep the full amount.
Equity issued was lavish and presented as potentially life-changing. Senior software engineers received anywhere from 15,000 to 80,000 stock options, vesting over 4 years, with a 1-year cliff.
Visualizing the potential stock upside was a major reason many candidates chose Fast over Big Tech offers where the stock was liquid.
Exploding offers because of “the inevitability of the Series C closing” was used as a tactic to close candidates at the end of 2021.
Warning signs within the company:
Advice when joining startups
Last modified 29 June 2023