I’m a strong believer in operating marketing with a growth focused mindset, where all activities are measured against a common goal — typically revenue. But there’s more to growth than that, and when I met with Izzy to talk shop a few months ago I realized that he and Dan were building a company that is in near perfect alignment with my core belief that growth comes from delivering excellent experiences at every stage in the customer lifecycle.
The power of co-creation is real. In truth, until you put your product in front of potential customers and get real feedback you don’t know what you have. Being smart enough (and humble enough) to invite potential customers to help shape and guide the early stages of development not only increases the velocity of your product/market fit, it creates a community of loyal and dedicated partners that will advocate for you every chance they get.
It seems obvious to build your product around a core set of customers who are willing to provide feedback on early product releases, right? Well, it’s not. It’s not easy either.
Yet, this is exactly how we approach product development at mabl. This is one of the main things that stuck with me after the initial meeting I had with Dan and Izzy (mabl's co-founders). I remember talking about the pre-beta and how they’re focused on getting people using the product and providing feedback (often live), and from there quickly making changes and getting them back in front of the customer. I remember thinking “wow, that’s smart, they’re doing things right over there”.
So, on the surface what you see is a very early company with a great idea that is still in the pre-beta stage of product development…but a closer look reveals co-founders that are coming off a very successful exit (with Google), an incredibly talented core team of engineers, a product development strategy that is innovative and forward thinking, a market that is ripe, and a blank slate (for me) in terms of marketing and analytics infrastructure and programs.
I was pretty much “all-in” at this point.
Dan and Izzy know what it takes to win, and they’ve assembled a team of veterans that operate from experience, with competence. This is important, because when you’re early and rapidly iterating on the product, minimizing mistakes becomes incredibly important to maintaining velocity. Having a core team of engineers who respect each other, are mature enough to roll with constructive feedback, and can take concepts to the finish line is a huge part of why mabl has been able to move so quickly.
It’s difficult to continuously put your work out in front of customers to be judged (often work you know is not finished), process feedback, and then immediately fold the feedback into the product. Dan wrote a piece on maximizing your engineering velocity that goes into more detail around how the mabl engineering team operates. It’s worth a read if you’re building an engineering team, or just interested in learning about how mabl is able to move so quickly.
The opportunity to drive marketing for such an elite team made my decision to join mabl, well, easy.
We’re moving fast. Follow our progress on Twitter.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to work for an early stage startup, I highly recommend giving it a go at least once in your career — it’s an experience. It’s not for everyone, but I guarantee you’ll learn something new about yourself, and come out of the experience stronger and smarter in your field of expertise. Startups push you to get better, to move faster, to take more risks, and to figure out how to win. There are few other career situations where you are “all in” with your colleagues (soon to be friends) building a business around a core vision. It’s a beautiful thing.