20VC: Why Being First Does Not Matter, Why Defensibility on Day 1 Does Not Exist, Three Core Elements To Move into Enterprise Effectively and What Makes Truly Great Product Marketing Today with Des Traynor, Co-Founder @ Intercom
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Des Traynor is a Co-founder and the Chief Strategy Officer of Intercom, the modern customer communications platform that unifies every aspect of the customer journey. To date, Intercom has raised over $238M from some of the best including Index, ICONIQ, Kleiner, GV, and Bessemer. As for Des, before co-founding Intercom, he was a UX consultant, a university lecturer in computer science, and also a Ph.D. researcher. Des is also a prolific angel investor with a portfolio including the likes of Stripe, Algolia, Notion, Miro, and many more.
In Today's Episode We Discuss:
1.) Origins of Intercom:
- How did Des make his way into the world of startups and come to co-found Intercom?
- When did they realize they really had something with Intercom and had to focus on it?
- What does Des know now that he wishes he had known at the start of Intercom?
2. Two of the Biggest Myths in Startups: Being First and Defensibility
- Why does Des believe that being the first does not matter? Why is it not an advantage?
- Why does Des believe that no company has defensibility on day 1? How does Des believe defensibility is built?
- What does Des mean when he says, when investing in companies he looks for a "long road to the starting line"?
3.) Product 101: A Masterclass on Product:
- How does Des answer the question of when to release a second product?
- How should the second product be resourced? MVP and lean or full budget and committed?
- What are the biggest mistakes people make when releasing a second product? What mistakes have Des and Intercom made when releasing new products?
- How does Des advise founders on when to stop working on a product? How do you know when it is not working?
- How does Des determine between a feature and a product both when building and when investing?
4.) Moving to Enterprise:
- What does Des believe are the three core things all companies need to scale into the enterprise effectively? Which should they do first? Which is most challenging?
- How does Des advise founders on when is the right time to move into the enterprise?
- How does the product need to change to meet enterprise needs and requirements?
5.) The Makings of Great Product Marketing:
- What does Des believe makes truly great product marketing? Who does it well today?
- How does your product marketing need to change as you scale from SMB to enterprise?
- If product marketing to both an end user and a separate buyer, which persona should one prioritise their messaging towards?
- How does Des advise founders on product marketing when they have a horizontal product with a very broad customer base?
6.) Angel Investing 101: From Stripe to Miro to Notion:
- Why does Des believe it is beneficial for operators to also be investing?
- What are the biggest lessons Des has learned from angel investing?
- How does Des approach both market sizing and outcome scenario planning today?
- How price sensitive is Des today? How has that changed over time?
Item's Mentioned in Today's Episode with Des Traynor:
Des' Favourite Book: How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen