Matin Movassate has raised almost $100M for his deep analytics startup to help entrepreneurs systemize building great products. His venture, Heap has successfully raised funding from top-tier investors like Maverick Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, SharePost Investment Management, and DTCP.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Your number one job as a CEO
- Building a megazord, and putting the team back in leadership
- How he interviews to recruit great executives
- Heap’s mission for empowering entrepreneurs
- Matin’s top advice when starting a business
- Product market fit versus scale
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Matin Movassate:
Matin Movassate is the CEO and Co-founder of Heap, a company that automates customer analytics for some of the largest online businesses in the world.
Within four years, Heap already boasts over 6,000 customers, including Lending Club, Zendesk, Twilio, and Liberty Mutual. Heap was born out of Matin’s experience with analytics as a Product Manager at Facebook and had access to the best analytics infrastructure in the world.
While at Facebook, Matin Movassate led the ideation, technical development, and launch of innovative products, established shared vision across the company by building consensus on priorities leading to product execution, drove product development with a team of world-class engineers and designers, and integrated usability studies, research and market analysis into product requirements to enhance user satisfaction.
Matin Movassate also, defined and analyzed metrics that inform the success of products and maximized efficiency in a constantly evolving environment where the process is fluid and creative solutions are the norm.
Matin Movassate began his career in Tech as a Software Engineer Intern at Mozilla, then after 4 months, became an Associate Product Manager Intern at Google, where he launched new products and features, tested their performance, iterate quickly, and developed innovative solutions to some of the world’s hardest problems by collaborating as needed across regions, product areas, and functions.
Matin Movassate educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Economics from Stanford University.
Connect with Matin Movassate:
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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:
Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. I’m very, very excited about the guest that we have today. He’s a guest that has been at it for quite a bit as an entrepreneur, and I think we’re going to be learning a lot from his journey on the ups and the downs because we know that building a company is not a straight line. So, without further ado, let’s welcome our guest today, Matin Movassate. Welcome to the show.
Matin Movassate: Thank you so much for having me, Alejandro.
Alejandro: Originally from the Bay Area. Your parents, I’m sure, had a great influence on you. They immigrated from Iran, so I’m sure starting over and building everything from scratch was an amazing inspiration for you.
Matin Movassate: It was, indeed. I definitely feel very spoiled. They had to go through quite a bit to make a transition to a new country, to a new culture, and I was the beneficiary of that.
Alejandro: Do you think that inspired that entrepreneurial bug for you to see them working hard and developing a life for all of you, and then, especially being in the Bay Area, which is this incredible ecosystem of innovation?
Matin Movassate: It definitely is. It’s hard to not get the bug if you’re in the Bay Area. My mom and dad actually are entrepreneurs themselves. They have a construction company. They build houses. That’s one way in which they influenced me. A second way is – I first got into software by doing a bunch of work for my dad. My dad enlisted me to do a bunch of menial tasks for him, like moving files around on his computer and organizing it. I was really lazy and didn’t want to do that work and wanted to get back to playing video games, so I learned software to automate a lot of that work for me. So, in more ways than one, they definitely influenced my entry into this area.
Alejandro: Software, so, solving problems – when it comes down to, for example, problem-solving. What would you say got you into software? What was that bug because that problem-solving, you’re applying it today as an entrepreneur, so what really hooked you on software, engineering, and on solving problems?
Matin Movassate: I would say it’s two things. One is laziness. As I previously mentioned, when you write software once, you can have it run infinity times on your behalf, and that’s a pretty cool and unique thing. The second thing I would say is, there’s something really gratifying – do you code, Alejandro?
Alejandro: No. Unfortunately, not.
Matin Movassate: What’s interesting and unique about it is there’s a really tight feedback loop. I would say there are very few things, as an entrepreneur, that have a tight feedback loop, which is to say, you make a change, and you see the results of that change immediately. In software, you can do that, which is really cool. It allows you to improve rapidly, and it’s super gratifying. I think those things got me interested early on.
Alejandro: Got it. After this, you did the route of going to Stanford and doing your degree there. You did computer science and economics. That’s quite an interesting combination.
Matin Movassate: It’s interesting. Actually, I always enjoyed computer science, and it’s funny. What made me want to explore economics was I took the computer science AP in high school and didn’t do as well as I wanted to. Back then, I was a dumb high schooler, so I could only think in terms of grades as the primary proxy for what I should pursue and what my passions are. That made me start with economics for a bit, and then I did all of those factors that I mentioned previously about just how gratifying it is to write software and learn about software and change your pace within that field. I found myself back in computer science. And, of course, I don’t know if you noticed in my background, I had to make sure to enter a Master’s program so I could drop out as the ultimate badge of honor in Silicon Valley. That, to me, is the most important part of my educational background.
Alejandro: Talking about that education, it’s interesting how you were part of some of the biggest corporations in the Bay Area before you actually went at it as an entrepreneur yourself. I’m sure that during that time, you really learned what works in some of those rocket ships. You were at Mozilla. You were also at Google. You were also at Facebook. I’m sure that you identified patterns during the time of working at these different corporations that you knew that one day you would apply for something of your own. So, what were some of the things that you learned from working, let’s say, at Google and then also from working at Facebook, two of the biggest companies?
Matin Movassate: The things I learned might not be what you think. I’ll caveat a little bit. Most of those experiences that you’re mentioning were internships, so I wasn’t at any of these companies for very long. I don’t want to pretend I understand their inner workings. I’ll tell you something I had to unlearn even though that’s not what you asked me, Alejandro. In places like Google and Facebook, I think a lot of the teams take for granted the massive stage that they can already take advantage of, like the brand name that they have that makes it easier to recruit, the existing infrastructure they have that makes it easy to scale, the existing user base they have that makes it easy to get distribution. I think what that can create if you’re not paying enough attention is laziness around finding product/market fit. You can just get away with not being quite as good at it at one of those companies. You can force it in a way that you can’t if you’re starting something from scratch where nobody knows who you are, nobody cares about what you’re doing, and you have to build value from nothing. So, the pattern of product ratio at those companies, I think, took a page from the stereotypical Steve Jobs model of I have a vision of how the world should work, and I want to force that upon people. I think that can be a very dangerous mindset to have as a startup founder because you need to be extremely good at listening to the market. You need to be extremely good at humility, and you don’t have many chances for failure. I had to unlearn a lot of those things and be super humble and super honest with myself and grounded in a way I really didn’t need to be at those companies.
Alejandro: You were talking about product/market fit, and product/market fit is, obviously, the Holy Grail for startups. What have you learned? We’re going to be talking about Heap, which is your baby, your own company, which Facebook was the segue for Heap. What did you learn during this time around product/market fit? Why is product/market fit so important, and what does it look like?
Matin Movassate: I think there’s been tons of literature and talks out there around how to find product/market fit initially. You’ll hear founders talk about it in terms of product/market fit is the market pulling for your product, people signing up that you never talked to, people using your product in ways that you didn’t anticipate, versus pushing a boulder up a hill is the rule of thumb. If you find yourself pushing through headwinds, you haven’t found product/market fit yet, so you should keep going. I think there’s a lot there. I think what’s more interesting to me is that once you find product/market fit, which we were lucky to do in the first couple of years at Heap, that is not the same as you are ready to start scaling your company. That became clear to me early on, at Heap, where we had product/ market fit in the sense that we had happy companies and retained customers using us in all of these different ways we didn’t imagine. But product/market fit is not a binary thing, and it’s not even a single product in a single market fitting together. You might have multiple markets and multiple use cases that you’re serving, and you cannot scale unless you have been really crisp with yourself in your team about the exact parameters of that product/market fit. I think the first step is you get product/market fit. The second step is to be really clear about what that product/market fit is to yourself and your team. Then, at that point, you can start scaling to the next step of growth for your company. I don’t think enough people talk about that.
Alejandro: Yeah, 100%. In your case, after the time at Facebook, it was time to go at it on your own. What was that process like because after being at Facebook in 2012, you started probably to incubate the idea to think what’s going to be next? That essentially ended up being Heap, so what was the incubation process like? How did you come up with the idea? How did you think about that team that you would recruit for it, and what was that journey like?
Matin Movassate: The experience that I had at Facebook that had informed our initial thesis at Heap was, I experienced just how difficult it was to use analytics in practice. As context, Heap is a product analytics platform that makes it easy to understand higher customer-user products so that you can build better products. One of the reasons I was excited about working at a place like Facebook was because it had this treasure-trove of data, really sophisticated analytics infrastructure, and all these fancy data scientists. So, it felt like a place where you could be a lot more intentional and grounded in the types of products you were building and whether they worked. That ideal and that vision were very exciting to me. What I found in practice, though, is that analytics is really difficult to use – like a big pain in the ass. If you have very simple questions about your product, questions like: how many users use this feature? What are the common flows they take after using this feature? Those types of things require literally months of time and me needing to loop-in three different people and engineer a set of implementations, a data analyst to make sense of the data once it’s been eventually collected in a single place. And if it takes three months to go from question to answer, guess what? You’re not going to use data to answer questions as much anymore. So, the realization that we had with that experience was, if it’s this difficult to make good use of data at a place like Facebook, then what hope does the rest of the world have to use data effectively and to achieve this glorious data-informed future that everybody heads up? We decided to rethink analytics from the ground-up pretty fundamentally when building Heap. In some ways, I’m thankful to have experienced that pain to recognize, “Wow. If this is the state-of-the-art, then maybe there’s a different way we can tackle this.”
Alejandro: What were those early days like – those early days when all of a sudden, you’re giving your notice in one of the biggest companies to work for? I’m sure that the conversation with your parents, too, was quite interesting?
Matin Movassate: Oh, yes, it was. Yeah, that’s actually a really good point. I left about a month or so before the IPO, and I didn’t wait for my one-year clip. I left within nine months, and I didn’t consult my parents on that decision because I knew if I consulted them, they’d try to talk me out of doing it and to stay a few more months in a world that I just fundamentally wasn’t excited about. So, I did not consult them. I decided to leave, and then when I did, I let them know, “I left Facebook.” They were confused, but at the end of the day, my parents had put a lot of trust in me to make the right decisions. They were confused, they were surprised, but they ultimately weren’t doubtful. In terms of the early days of Heap – it’s interesting,
Do you know the notion of memory time – the idea of when you recollect on things, it’s the number of memories you have that dictates how long it feels in your head. Most of my memories of Heap are very back-weighted in the sense that I have more memories from hiring people and growing the company when we were 50 people, 100, 200 people than when it was just my co-founder in my parents’ basement in a really clique Silicon Valley fashion. So, there weren’t a lot of memories from the early days, but that was because we were just cruising. We were in flow for those first couple of years because we had such crystal clarity in what we needed to do, which was to get those initial customers and make sure that they were happy and that we were solving their problems. Boy! In retrospect, it’s so hard as a company scales to have that type of clarity of focus and that type of alignment. It was just my co-founder and me sitting in the basement, emailing customers, calling up customers, writing code. It felt so smooth and so swift in a way that so few other parts of the company did. I don’t have many distinct memories from the early days, but I think that was because it was so straightforward and so fast-paced in a way that later for the company just fundamentally cannot be.
Alejandro: Got it. What ended up being the business model of Heap, so the people listening and watching can really understand what it is? How do you guys make money?
Matin Movassate: How do we make money? It’s a pretty traditional SaaS sales-driven revenue model. We have a few different pricing tiers. We have a free tier that thousands of people use today, and they can use for free forever, and that’s typically well-suited for small teams, startups, individual projects, individual developers. Once you start getting to a certain scale in terms of team size and traffic, then we’ll work with you to figure out a package and a contract that makes sense for you. That’s the bulk of how we make revenue, which is, you work with our sales team to figure out something that works for you and something that works for us.
Alejandro: In this case, for you guys, I know that it was very technical, and getting it right on the technical side was quite a beast. In fact, you even received calls at 2:00 am with stuff that was breaking down with users’ accounts and data being deleted and things like that. How do you deal with all of that stuff? I’m sure it was not easy stuff.
Matin Movassate: Yeah. Harrowing memories are flooding back to me. You mentioned 2:00 am. It wasn’t 2:00 am; it was actually 5:00 am because I’m extremely awake at 2:00 am writing code. That, actually, would be less of an issue. Just this context – Heap’s approach to analytics is quite unique in that rather than requiring you to have to manually specify upfront which events you want to track within your application. People automatically collect all of that user behavior out of the box. If you were to add Heap to the DealMakers Podcast website or to an application, we’ll automatically collect all of the user interactions like clicks, page views, and vacuum all of that up, and then make it easy for you to make sense of that after the fact. So, you can imagine all of the ways in which that is a pathologically difficult infrastructure problem. We’re dealing with an order of magnitude, more data volume than other solutions. We’re still allowing you to do real-time analysis on that, and the types of queries and analyses that we allow our customers to do are sophisticated analyses. It’s not just simple counts. It’s things like, give me the users – gone through this step in my sign-up flow, but haven’t completed the second step and have signed up within the past 30 days. That stuff gets really tricky really fast. Basically, the first big hurdle for the company was making it work at any reasonable scale. We had gotten some initial traction from other startups, other members of the YC batch we were in, but we knew that to really make money, we had to work with companies that had some scale and making Heap work initially at that scale was highly nontrivial. In fact, I remember early on, I was trying to get advice on how to approach this problem from somebody who had worked on the Google Analytics team. First, they told us, “You can’t do this. This is unsolvable. This won’t work. Give up now.” And, definitely so, because my co-founder and I weren’t analytic wizzes. We hadn’t built that type of scaled infrastructure before, so in many ways, we were trying to figure this stuff out on the fly. So, the early days, as you can imagine, there was a lot of infrastructure and stuff breaking. I remember I had a rare respite one Friday afternoon. We were working in Menlo Park at the time, and I was taking the evening off and hanging out with some of my friends in San Francisco, and I was watching a movie. I was in the middle of the movie, and I noticed my co-founder was calling me on my phone. I screened it. I dismissed the call because, obviously, I didn’t want to take the call in the middle of a movie. I noticed that he kept calling me 3, 4, 5 times, and at some point, I went, “Okay. Something’s wrong.” I duck out of the theater, and then he says in a really grave voice, “I don’t see any data on our database anymore. It’s all gone.” Obviously, I freak out and get in the car, and I race back to the Bay Area. It’s funny because, on the way back, I was thinking through what the possible problem could have been. I was going through all of the different parts of our codebase and how we built things. How could this have possibly happened? It was on the drive back as I was fuming and stressing out in the car ride that I was able to debug the issue, and then, ultimately, when I came back into our headquarters, I was able to fix it – fix it going forward, I should say. I wasn’t able to reclaim the lost data. What’s even funnier, actually, we had just made our first hire the week prior, and that first hire was taking the weekend off to go hiking. He’s now our CTO, but he didn’t have any internet access at all. He came back Monday morning with the news that we had accidentally lost data for a bunch of our early beta customers, about 10 to 15 people. This is a cold, hard reality for him. Week two of his job in a startup coming from Palantir, and I could tell he wasn’t quite sure what he was getting himself into working with us in a startup.
Alejandro: Wow! What a story. Obviously, it’s been quite a journey. How much capital have you guys raised to date?
Matin Movassate: We’ve raised $95 million to date.
Alejandro: That’s quite an amount, and it has been done in different trenches. I understand, as well, that it has gotten a little bit easier than in the early days. So, how is that progression, over time, when it comes to raising capital, Matin? What does it look like? Does it get easy when you go from early-stage to growth-stage?
Matin Movassate: I wouldn’t say it gets easier. It’s different. We raised our seed round of $2 million in 2013, and then we most recently raised our $55 million Series C in mid-2019. What I’ve learned since then is fundraising is a skill. I like to joke. I like to make myself feel better by saying that I’m pretty sure that I’m a better fundraiser than Mark Zuckerberg because he’s built a far more successful company than I have. And when you have, you don’t need to be good at fundraising. VCs will come to you. They’ll throw money at you, so I didn’t have that luxury, so I had to learn what good fundraising looks like in practice. There are a few tips and tricks. The most important thing that sometimes founders forget is that the easiest way to be good at fundraising is to have a good business.
Matin Movassate: I think we forget this sometimes. Have something that customers really want, and make sure that the business is doing well. There are some pretty tried and true metrics that everybody looks at now. If those metrics aren’t going well, you should focus on that before you try to raise money. That’s like rule #0. Another thing that helps, and I wish this weren’t true, but nothing gets an investor more excited than another investor being in the deal. So, to whatever extent you can get that first check, that first commitment, that is the thing that unlocks deal flow and excitement from everybody else to make your round come together. If you can get that first yes, you will get ten more yeses. I wish the world didn’t work that way. I wish you could conduct fundraising in a way where every investor was in a room, and they had to make their own independent decision. The downside there is that it makes that first yes harder, but once you get the first yes, the subsequent ones are really easy. Another thing I’ve learned is that fundraising is just very different. To your point, does it get easier? Not necessarily. When we raised our seed round, we raised our seed round with no product, no revenue, no customers, and so we were pitching investors on a vision. In many ways, it is easier to raise money on a vision. Visions are always great. You think about the upside. But once you start getting a product out there and getting real customers, then the narrative and the fundraise starts becoming about the numbers. The numbers are never going to look as good or as compelling, as your vision does. The seed round, in many ways, was easy. You’re just pitching a vision, and I felt like we had a very compelling ambitious version. As you start getting more mature – I was actually quite surprised at how different the Series A fundraising process was. When I set out to do that, I was not prepared. I thought that investors would value vision and the founders, but at that point, we had traction and growth. I didn’t do enough to both focus the pitch on that – and if I’m being honest with myself, as a CEO orient, my running of the business on those metrics that are so critical for you to go from Series A to Series B to Series C. I could go on for hours on this, Alejandro. There are lots of learnings for fundraising. If there’s one thing that makes it easy, it is building a business.
Alejandro: 100%. I like what you were alluding to. You have amazing investors. You have NEA and Menlo Ventures, too. You were alluding to it in terms of signaling. You were alluding to it like getting that first check, but I’m sure that also it’s getting the first check from someone that they know because typically, when they have the round open, they’re like, who else is investing? How would you suggest for the people that are listening and watching, how should they approach this signaling part to the market about their round?
Matin Movassate: I don’t think they should think about it that much. I don’t actually think it’s that important. I think the most important thing is getting a check, getting the money so your company can go to the next stage.
Matin Movassate: Like, you have to not die. You’re not dying. You’re doing better than 95% of the companies out there. The second thing is getting a partner that you really appreciate, that you trust, and that you feel can add to your company. I’ve definitely been guilty of this in overweighting the firm name as opposed to the specific partner that you’re working with. That partner will not only be the person in your board meeting, not only the person that you’re interfacing with but the person who is your advocate internally at that firm who dictates whether you have follow on money, that dictates your internal presence at that company, how excited that firm is, and all those other partners are about you, so weighing the partner. Then, if you get those things right, I think the signaling is a really distant factor, and if you have those things, you’re willing to have a partner who is willing to go to bat for you, those are the things that make a round come together and ultimately make your company get to the next step of growth.
Alejandro: How many employees do you guys have today at Heap?
Matin Movassate: We have 200 employees distributed around the world. We’re looking to get to 300 employees by the end of this year.
Alejandro: Very cool. I’m sure that for you, as well, building the leadership team was also full of lessons learned. I’m sure it was a new thing for you, so what were some of those things that were wow factors for you to really get and things that maybe you can share with the audience that are going to have to eventually grow in parallel with their business and think about how they’re placing the right people on the right seats of the bus?
Matin Movassate: That’s a really good question. If I look back on our growth since it was just my co-founder and me in a basement, I think the single biggest mistake I made and the thing that I would approach differently is how I built the leadership team. I underweighted a few things. One, the degree to which that was my job as a CEO, now, is to assemble and align an exceptional leadership team. Once you get to some scale, maybe it’s 20, 30, 40 people. It’s no longer the founders or the core decision-making unit of the company. It is the leadership team. So, I underestimated the degree to which that shift needed to happen and how quickly. As with many product-focused founders, I spent too much time in the weeds, spent too long on the product rather than figuring out how to scale out decision-making for the company. So, I underestimated that degree of change, how quickly that change needed to happen, and I didn’t fully internalize what it means to build a leadership team and what it means to be a good executive. Initially, when I thought about a good executive when I thought about a good leader, I thought about someone that my co-founder and I could work well with. That’s an important ingredient for that executive to succeed at your company, but it is far from the only requirement for them to be successful. A leadership team is really about building a team. You’re not just assembling a bunch of Power Rangers. You’re trying to build a Megazord. You have to think about the strengths and weaknesses and how different members of those leadership teams complement each other rather than just getting a bunch of great individuals. And there’s a difference between somebody who does good work and somebody who enables their team and the rest of the organization to do it for them. It is since hiring and being around some amazing executives at Heap that I’ve come to see just how much that function difference change that makes for the company when you hire a leader who is a multiplier rather than someone who just does great work themselves. If you’re hiring a leader who does great work themselves, you’re not actually leveraging your company. That isn’t the thing that takes you down to the next level. In short, I should have obsessed about building a best leadership team way earlier and internalized that as my job #1 as a CEO earlier in the lifecycle of the company.
Alejandro: When you’re recruiting those members of the leadership team, they’re critical roles. Especially at the beginning, they can make it or break it for the business. During that recruiting, during that dating phase, because I think it’s like a mutual thing. You need to convince them. They need to be convinced, as well, that it’s the right thing for them. If you had to pick two questions, what are the two biggest questions that you would typically ask them that you want to pay close attention to what kind of answer they give you to understand if they’re going to work or not?
Matin Movassate: I think there are two questions I go to, but I’ll preface this with a lot of how I learn about an executive is through deep-dive and random access to their brain as opposed to one question and one answer. You learn a lot from a leader by digging in and asking follow-up questions, asking for more specificity, asking for counterfactuals, and that gives you a sense of how they think. I think executives are especially good at bull-shitting you, so you have to be good in the Q&A to really follow-up, really dig deep, and get specificity when they say, “I’ve done X. I achieved Y. I’ve overcome this hurdle.” Rather as a question, I think of it as trains of discussion. One area that I really try to discuss with them is their learning as a leader. What were the mistakes they made? What could they have done better? And if they were to do it all again, what would they do differently? That reveals so much about a leader. It reveals the degree of growth mindset they have. It reveals the degree of ego that they have and how self-aware are they about what they’ve done well and what they’ve done poorly? You don’t want an executive who just does stuff when you build a team. You want an executive who can grow with the company. I find that line of questioning really helps me understand the degree of growth mindset that they have. Then the second line of questioning is around how they hired. How many people have they hired? How did they evolve their hiring processes as their team scaled? What is their notion of what a good hire looks like? Tell me about times you have closed a great candidate or failed to close a great candidate. Tell me about people you hired that you think could take your role. What you’re looking for there is somebody who can recruit well and can recruit people better than themselves. At the end of the day, if an executive cannot recruit and cannot hire exceptional talent, they’re not going to succeed. No matter how great they might be at managing a team or working with everybody else, they need to recruit exceptional people.
Alejandro: Very cool. Now, at this point, over 200 employees, close to $100 million in capital raised. You’ve been at it now for a while. We’re talking since 2013, really behind the trenches and in the daily fight. Let’s say you go to sleep tonight and have a tremendous snooze. You wake up five years later, and you wake up in a world where the mission of Heap is fully realized. What does that world look like?
Matin Movassate: I don’t know if we’ll realize that mission in five years, but the vision for Heap is to turn product management into more of a science. Today, the notion of building a great product is very much a part. What that means is building great products is relocated to just a few people. It depends way too much on the stroke of blind luck or catching lightning in a bottle. If we can make the process of building great products something that’s more systematic, more accessible to more people, that’s a really cool thing. That would be a really powerful thing for the world. I don’t know if we can achieve that in five years. I think we have a way to go. But if we can enter this world where building great products is more of a system and is more boring and less capricious than it is today, I think that is a very good thing, and that would be a signal that we have realized a chunk of our mission and vision here at Heap.
Alejandro: Very cool. One of the questions that I ask the guests that come on the show is if I put you in a time machine, Matin, and we’re going back to that moment where you were still in Facebook, and you were wondering about doing something in the world and maybe launching your own business or whatever that was, if you were able to have that ear of that younger self – and, obviously, when we’re younger, we never listen. But let’s say at that point, Matin was listening, and you were able to tell that younger Matin one piece of advice before launching a business, what would that be and why based on what you know now?
Matin Movassate: Be better at listening to customers. What I mean by that is, I think it’s a truism. At this point, you need to talk to your listeners. You need to listen to customers. But just talking to your customers is not the same as listening to them. At the end of the day, I think the degree at which you’re good at truly understanding your customer is the degree at which you understand your product/market fit and the degree to which you will succeed as a business and grow. I think there are many instances in which I had happy years as a founder where a customer was saying, “The thing you’re building sounds cool.” I, in my head, would interpret that as, “Awesome. They’re going to buy it, and they’re going to pay a bunch of money for it. This thing is going to go gangbusters. But saying something is interesting is not the same thing as them paying for it, or advocating for it or pushing it internally.
Matin Movassate: Since then, I’ve learned ways in which to actually be truth-oriented in terms of understanding: is there a demand, and is there pull for what we’re building? I would have sat down with my younger self and say, “Here’s how to not delude yourself to hear what you want to hear from your customers.”
Alejandro: Wow. Very, very profound. Matin, for the people who are listening and watching, what is the best way for them to get in touch and say hi?
Matin Movassate: We’re hiring a lot of people. Every role is open at Heap. If you go to our website at heap.io, we’re hiring. We’d love to talk to you. We’re always looking for ambitious, low-ego, intellectually curious people. If you are building a product, and you want to understand how it’s being used so that you can make it better, you see. If you want to get in touch with me, you can find me on Twitter, and you can find Heap on Twitter at @heap.
Alejandro: Amazing. Well, Matin, thank you so much for being on the DealMakers show today.
Matin Movassate: Thank you for having me, Alejandro. I enjoyed this.
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