Sahil Lavingia

Sahil Lavingia quotes on business insights

Founder Gumroad, funder @

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Work on a product you’d buy yourself, then go sell it to everyone like yourself.


It’s much easier to turn a customer into a repeat customer than a non-customer into a customer. And repeat customers are better at turning non-customers into customers than you are.


Most CEOs are CEOs because they started the businesses they run - not because they are abnormally smart or qualified. Often they’re the least qualified people in the company, since they’re the only ones who didn’t go through an interview process.


Falling sick reminds you that the largest competitive advantage you can have is being healthy.


Customers have more money than VCs do.


Things you don't need to launch your product: a great name, a one-word domain, a beautiful logo, an ever better website, brilliant copy, perfect code, custom illustrations, shiny buttons, optimized CSS… Things you do need: a product that solves a problem for someone. That's it.


Interesting how many smart people believe that advertising doesn’t work. Ads work, on everyone. It’s not a $600 billion/year industry by accident.


Your first 100 customers will come through cold emails and warm intros. The next 1,000 will come from their referrals. You’ll reach 10,000 as your product slowly becomes the default for a use case. And 100,000 when it’s the default for a whole industry.


You will discover the business you should build when you start to build the business you thought you should build.


You can launch yourself into the center of your favorite industry with a year's worth of deep research and a month spent writing one really great post.


Learn to negotiate. You negotiate to get a job, to get a raise, to prioritize a feature. You negotiate when raising money for your company, recruiting people to join your team, convincing customers to use your product. Learn to negotiate!


If you’re struggling to come up with a business idea, remember there are only four different types of utility: form utility, place utility, time utility, and possession utility.


Being a founder is great for personal growth, because if you don’t grow your business dies.


If you can't find what you're looking for, maybe you should create it.


The only game worth playing is the long one.


It takes building a business to learn how to build a business.


A well-written cold email can change your life.


It's not too late to start a software business. Today only 3% of commerce happens online. It will become 97%. That's an almost-guaranteed 30x growth over the coming decades, not counting second order effects. (Now hurry up, or you'll only get a guaranteed 20x growth!)


Great customer support will get you: - A cult following - A better product through customer feedback - A humbled team It might be more important than having a great product!


CMO will soon stand for Chief Meme Officer.


Don’t launch something too pretty. It may lead you to thinking you have product-market fit but you may actually just have design-designers fit.


It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a community to build a business.


It’s very unlikely that your first product will be any good. But it’s very likely that your tenth product will be, if you stick with it.


Figure out how your customers can share your product for you. No one can sell your product better than someone who has already paid for it.


You can tell how much money a startup has raised by how often they update their Terms of Service.


If you're a writer, you're the CEO of your own business. If you're a painter, you're the CEO of your own business. If you're a musician, you're the CEO of your own business. Today, being great at business will get you farther than being a great artist.


The best companies are built by the best teams.


How to be successful and happy in business: Find a way to earn interest on your interests.


Most investors want to invest in companies that would succeed without them. Most employees want to work on products and teams that would succeed without them. The best way to get help is to get yourself to a place where you don't need help.


It feels good to be praised by your peers. It feels better to be valued by the market. Rather run a packed restaurant than a Michelin-starred one. Rather design a product loved by customers than by other designers.


Ad spend is the new rent.


Every fundraise is a failure. An admission that you aren’t able to do what you want with the money you have. Every hire is a failure. An admission that you aren’t able to do what you want with the team you have.


Everyone talks about product-market fit but more essential is founder-customer fit.


If being true to yourself will alienate 99% of people, you will only have 70,000,000 potential supporters.


It’s not too late to get started. There are still a hundred times more problems than there are businesses solving them. And the best businesses have yet to be built.


The quality of a company’s employees is much more predictive of its success than the quality of its founders and investors.


If it was truly “direct to consumer” you wouldn’t have a customer acquisition cost greater than a customer’s lifetime value.


People have lifecycles. Products have lifecycles. Companies have lifecycles. Find the products and companies that fit what you want most out of your life at the moment, which will change over time.


Getting angry support tickets sucks, but it's also an incredible accomplishment. It means you've built something deeply important to people.


Building the perfect product is like drawing a perfect circle. Impossible, but still worth striving for.


What's the difference between a startup and a business? Nothing. Call your company whatever makes you more excited about building it.


There should be a fund that invests $1 for .0001% of your business so that everyone can be an accredited investor.


Businesses were invented to work for us, not the other way around.


Pre-seed rounds are just a new name for "friends and family" that obscures the connections/privilege required to raise money.


Compete with your own track record.


If a company is telling you something, it's marketing.


The more love people have for a craft, the more potential there is for exploitation within the respective industry. See this in publishing, video games, animation, and more.


The best complaints come in the form of solutions.


Simple heuristic for founders: If it doesn't show up somewhere on your PL, it's a vanity metric.


Shipments speak louder than words.

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