Garry Tan

Garry Tan quotes on product

Founder Initialized. PM/designer/eng turned Forbes Midas List Top 100 VC in startups worth over $40B, before product-market fit.

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1

Good design is not picking colors and making it pretty Good design is removing steps, understanding motivations, making it clearer, more navigable, faster, easier... it is how it works not how it looks. Too many products (even at the largest firms in tech) forget this.

2

When choosing a startup idea, you must be able to check either of these boxes [ ] Truly novel (nobody else has tried) [ ] 10X better product The absolute best check both. 99% of startups check neither. A good pitch is sometimes a strong story explaining how to get the 1st ☑️

3

If you made something and you can’t get people to use it, you basically have two options: make it better or do something else. Ask trusted friends who have shipped good things for advice. Don’t listen to people who haven’t made anything: it’s the blind leading the blind.

4

I did an analysis of the dead startups I invested in the past 5 years and the two most common causes are: 1/ People didn’t want X (not a problem or not good enough solution) 2/ People wanted it but weren’t willing to pay Y (low gross margin) Both totally solvable before 💀

5

The key to a good online business: 1/ make a great product that solves the problem 2/ figure out how to get users cheaply and repeatably 3/ keep them around forever (high retention) Seems to be the answer to half the startup q’s I get on IG DM Simple to say, hard to do obvi

6

Quality assurance is the most underrated function for early stage startups. Yes your product works on the golden path. But what if you deviate by 1%? 5%? Your users will. And if you don't fix the "edge case" bugs then they'll never come back.

7

An uncharitable but very useful view of your potential users are ultimately that they are lazy, not very smart, and totally selfish. So if that's the case, the only way our product can see success is if it's easy, clear/understandable, and totally satisfies a fundamental need.

8

The world is all made up, and that’s a great thing Don’t forget, you get to make it up too. Don’t like something? Replace it. Make a better version and grow it from there. To overturn boulders, find a thin edge of a wedge and then apply force. It’s not easy but it is possible.

9

There’s a direct relationship between how deep your minimum viable product must be and how crowded your market is— Novel? Release what is new first. Iterate. Crowded? Focus on what is novel—you must be clearly better than some of the alternatives for some customers even if few.

10

Humility is necessary to build a great product. Arrogance believes the product is great and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.

11

Founders starting out usually have products, business models and go to markets that don’t work or barely work. In frustration some just pursue any startup-like activity as a short salve. Find long term fixes: Talk to users. Try to fix the product or go to market. Ship & Repeat

12

Middle managers write a 5 page email justifying why a bad product decision was made. Great builders fix it and send a one line email after, saying that issue is now fixed.

13

Trends are the ultimate red herring. Make things people want. There are lots of things nobody is talking about that are huge problems, totally solvable, just with the right smart people, the right product, with the right go-to-market. Follow first principles, not the crowd.

14

Customers are not your mama— they won't love you unconditionally. To get them to switch, you still have to be 10X better, not 10% better.

15

Do a few things really well. Apple spends $2B in R&D on a product line that could fit on top of one normal sized desk.

16

The hallmark of beginning designers is that they cheat at clean design by just reducing information density— while it succeeds at novelty, it is usually hostile to users, especially for frequent use systems.

17

Great products exist but are often undiscovered CAC is the classic reason why you don’t hear about it: hitting people at the right time and making the sale is hard Lower CAC and you help more great products thrive

18

When a founder claims machine learning is a key part of the startup and you dig and all they need are if statements: -1000 points

19

If you’re a startup and your main competitor is apathy, then you’re not solving a big enough problem.

20

The most important feature for every website that cares about retention of any kind: Stay logged in. Hardly anybody does it right.

21

Constraints are valuable and are often the key to building something that can make money. When the resources are there, restraint is needed, and often unfortunately is only learned through brushes with death.

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