Video: Notejoy on The Factor
Video: The Factor with Sonny Mayugba and Sachin Rekhi, Co-Founder & CEO, Notejoy
A few weeks ago I had a fun opportunity to be a guest on The Factor, a new show hosted by Sonny Mayugba highlighting entrepreneurs, their journey, and the factors driving their success.
In this episode, I got to share the journey of Notejoy. I start by telling the origin story of the idea and why I was convinced to leave my cushy leadership role at LinkedIn to start a collaborative notes app. I then share what we learned after launch and how we pivoted our target audience based on new audiences that we discovered were resonating strongly with our offering. We also discuss the growth channels that ended up being most effective for us. We cover a lot more ground in the discussion, including pricing strategy, M&A, and developing a compelling product culture.
Architecting an Intuitive and Powerful Offline Experience in Notejoy
Today I'm excited to announce the launch of offline support in Notejoy, our collaborative notes app for individuals and teams. You can now view, edit, and create notes while offline and have it all seamlessly sync whenever you come back online. More importantly, we've also made the overall Notejoy experience much faster by first loading notes from your local device before also checking Notejoy's servers for any changes. This is an important milestone for us, as offline support has become our #1 requested feature over the past year, so it's great to finally get this in the hands of our customers. For those interested, I wanted to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we thought about the requirements for offline support, the design principles we employed, and the ultimate architecture we settled on to develop a first-class offline experience in Notejoy.
A Primer on Business Strategy From Hamilton Helmer's 7 Powers
In Silicon Valley, we've become well-versed in the importance of finding product/market fit as the most important early pursuit for any new product or startup. We've continued to refine our understanding of the definition of product/market fit, developed customer discovery techniques that can help guide us to product/market fit, as well as established several benchmarks to assess whether we've achieved initial fit. While this obsession with product/market fit is warranted since it remains so elusive, it is necessary but ultimately not sufficient for building a significant and enduring business.
Beyond product/market fit, it turns out business strategy really does matter. A sound strategy can make the difference between our initial product/market fit being ephemeral versus the beginning of a meaningful and lasting business. The most successful businesses realize this and work hard to continually protect their strategic position. But the young upstart that has been laser-focused on clearing the initial hurdle of product/market fit may find itself less equipped for developing a winning strategy.
I recently read Hamilton Helmer's 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy and found it to be an excellent primer on business strategy. Hamilton published this work in 2016 after a career of working with over 200 clients as a strategy consultant, including Netflix, Spotify, and Adobe. He then further refined his concepts as a business strategy professor at Stanford University. I wanted to share his central framework for those looking to develop their strategy chops.
A Leader's Guide to Metrics Reviews
Ada and I both had the privilege of working at two data-driven companies, LinkedIn and SurveyMonkey, led by two analytically rigorous leaders, Jeff Weiner, and the late Dave Goldberg. Those experiences shaped the way that we both now think about building an effective data-driven product culture. One practice that both companies established was weekly executive-level metrics reviews. LinkedIn had two such meetings: the first was a member value meeting focused on the consumer experience, and the second was a monetization meeting covering each of the company's business lines. SurveyMonkey, on the other hand, had a single meeting called ACER, which stood for acquisition, conversion, engagement, retention, where they covered these funnels across all A/B tests happening in the company. I've come to believe that establishing such a metrics review meeting is critical for developing an effective data-driven culture and I wanted to share some of the best practices around doing so.
Midlife Career Exploration
Over the years Ada and I have both enjoyed being informal career mentors to countless of our friends and colleagues. We were recently reflecting on how dramatically those career conversations have changed as our friends and colleagues have aged from early in their career to mid-career.
In many ways, early career conversations were actually far simpler in nature. Like a video game, most individuals were focused on leveling up as quickly as possible and wanted to know how to acquire the hard and soft skills they needed to climb the career ladder laid out in front of them by their current employer. Or they were exploring a new role or company that might meaningfully accelerate their timeline for leveling up. When asked about their dream job, they often aspired to one of just three roles: a VP in their discipline, a CEO, or ultimately a startup founder.
In stark contrast, the midlife career conversations we've been having look entirely different. While to some it may initially feel a bit like a midlife crisis, the reality is that through the course of their careers many friends and colleagues have developed unique insights and a deeper self-awareness that enable them to now re-orient their career towards truer fulfillment.
I wanted to share some of the most common insights friends and colleagues have at this stage in their career that lead them to be more thoughtful about their next career move.