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10 Questions I Hope I Don't Get Asked During My Product Hunt AMA

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on February 22, 2016 in fun 13 Comments

I'm doing an "Ask Me Anything' (AMA) session on Product Hunt tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb 23rd, 2016 at 10 am PST, 1pm EST).  

Would love for you to sign-up early, because I'm insecure, egotistical and I want to impress Ryan Hoover.  Would love for a decent number of people to sign-up.  Or an indecent number would be even better.  350 have signed up already (before this blog post was published).  Here's the link again.  

As the name implies, folks are allowed to pretty much ask me anything, and short of something that will land me in jail (do not pass GO, do not collect $200) or harm someone else, I'm going to do my best to answer everything.

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Here are the questions I'm hoping I won't get asked...

1. How does it feel, personally, to have the HubSpot stock price drop so much in the past several weeks?

2. How much weight have you gained in the past 2 years?  Does it have anything to do with HubSpot being public?

3. What do you think about competitor [X] -- aren't they just awful?

4. Is there a diabolical, grand master plan behind inbound.org?  Why is HubSpot investing millions of dollars in this?

5. What do you and your wife talk about at the dinner table?

6. Should I buy HubSpot stock right now?  Would you buy stock if you were me?

7. Do you secretly covet Rand Fishkin's lovely beard/fashion-sense/wife?

8. How many actual computers are in your house right now?

9. What did you think of the latest Star Wars movie?

10. What's the super-secret thing you're working on at HubSpot right now that most people at HubSpot don't even know about?

11. Are you and Ryan Hoover (founder/CEO of Product Hunt) actually twins? If not, why does it seem that way?

On the other hand, there are a few questions that I think would be fun/relevant/legal:

1. I hear you really like the Amazon Echo.  What's the strangest thing you use it for on a regular basis?

2. Are you going to write another book -- if so, what's it going to be about?

3. How many domain names do you personally own?  What do you do with them?  What are your favorites?

4. Is it true that you had lunch with Seth Godin and asked him what he thought about the term "inbound marketing"?

5.  Were you and Scott Brinker (of Marketing Tech Landscape fame) classmates at MIT?  What's he like?

6. How many marketing strategists does it take to change a light bulb?

Remember, you can not ask questions by leaving a comment below.  You have to ask them at the Product Hunt LIVE AMA with Dharmesh Shah

Hope to see you there.  It should be fun!

 

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Zero to IPO: Lessons From The Unlikely Story of HubSpot

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on February 19, 2016 in saas,startups,strategy 8 Comments

HubSpot has had a pretty good run.  Went from zero to IPO.  What's not known is how unlikely the story of our success is.

II gave a talk at the 2016 SaaStr Conference hosted by Jason Lemkin.  The slides and full video from the talk are included below, with some quick notes on a few of the topics covered. 

Here's me presenting what turned out to be the most popular slide (more on this idea at the end of the article).

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 Here is the full deck from Slideshare.

And, here's the full video of the talk.
Note: There are some pre-roll videos, and my segment starts at about the 3 minute mark.
 
If you have trouble vieweing the embedded video, try this:  Dharmesh Shah at 2016 SaaStr Conference
A quick note on the "Tools are bought, transformations are sold."  This is one of the more important lessons I've learned through my professional career.  When you are improving things by offering a tool (which may or not be something that exists -- perhaps yours is just better), it is possible to put up a website, have people try out the tool, and start paying you if they like it or want to upgrade. 
But, if you're doing something radically new and trying to transform how people do things, it's unlikely that this approach will work.  Even some brilliantly written blog posts or videos are probably not going to get people to think:  "You know, she's right, I'm just going to start doing things the right way, and here's a platform to do it -- where do I sign up?".  It will likely require some "selling".  You'll need people to explain what's wrong with the world, how your company solves it, address objections, answer questions, and generally help people get over the hump.  Even then it is hard.  But if you try to transform the world with nothing but a website and a credit card form, chances are low that you'll succeed. It happens -- just not that often.
 
Would love to hear any comments or feedback you have.
 

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