I’m back writing as in the last month I’ve had more time to read! Switching up the format and just recommending some links this month.

Here are some things I liked this month:

Energy transitions are a lot slower than you think

The Principle of Normality: A normal person says what others say, but does what others do. - Being normal

The future of ideology - skip the first 30% of the video

This video creates a good picture of the current ideological state of most of the world. Predictions made taking the past as an example of how things will almost never work, but what the guy says about the present and past is interesting

Dedication to individual accomplishment: Teams were almost considered socialist institutions. Most great innovations at PayPal were driven by one person who then conscripted others to support, adopt, implement the new idea. If you identified the 8-12 most critical innovations at PayPal (or perhaps even the most important 25), almost every one had a single person inspire it (and often it drive it to implementation). As a result, David enforced an anti-meeting culture where any meeting that included more than 3-4 people was deemed suspect and subject to immediate adjournment if he gauged it inefficient. Our annual review forms in 2002 included a direction to rate the employee on "avoids imposing on others’ time, e.g. scheduling unnecessary meetings." (by Keith Rabois, former Executive Vice President of Paypal)

Inside Paypal Notes

PS: I’m back in Paris now for the next few months, happy to meet up if you’re here!

Work with me

I haven’t sent my monthly update last month. I’ve been working hard on June at that was and is taking all of my energy

I’m now hiring someone as a founding engineer to join me, Vinayak and Enzo building some kick-ass software.

I wrote two pieces of content over the last two months.

The first one is about an open engineering challenge we’re facing around having mutable vs immutable data

The second one is a guide on how startups should do product analytics, you can find it here

Looking forward to next month!


Some thoughts about sales

Hey there!

At the end of this month we’ll be doing the first public launch of June

So for the last month we’ve been onboarding a lot more companies (around 30) and doing user interviews (around 20)

We’ll progressively move to a more self served onboarding - but the process of thinking through how a sales pipeline works and how to set it up has been super interesting

If you’ve known me for a long time you know that I’ve always been fascinated by sales :)

Some things I learned

Keep control of the conversation

One of the biggest problems I’ve seen. When trying to set up onboarding calls it’s your job to define clear next steps and an “ask”

At each stage of your sales cycle there’s something your leads have to do in order to get to the next step. The default state is that people will drop off, so guide people through your funnel. As an example after we onboard someone we ask to schedule a 15 min catch up the following week, to help people understand our product. Once we did the catch up, we ask people to accept an invite to a shared Slack channel with them for day to day feedback. If people ask for feedback and are engaged we ask for referrals

Challenger sales and Solution selling

Marketing and sales can be of two kinds, push or pull. If people are aware of a need and are looking for a solution, your sales process is just about qualifying and order taking.

If people aren’t aware of the problem - then you can try a challenger sales approach. Challenger sales are about challenging the status quo in another company and introducing a new solution.

That’s it for this month! If you use Segment or want improve your analytics setup in your product reply to this email

Happy new year!

Hope all things are good for you :)

Ayn Rand

This last month I read the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I think her books are really charming for people that like building things. If you haven’t read it before I’d recommend giving it a go.

From the philosophical point of view though, I’m still making my mind about her.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy, objectivism, aims to define what is objectively good. In her view extreme individualism is the only moral way of living.

Intuitively the set of values that she promotes resonate with me.

I’ve been reading and discussing about her method of doing philosophy and the main criticism is that she isn’t that formal. When criticising other philosophers she does a lot of strawmanning - and her reasoning always starts with justifying something she already thinks.

I think in the next months I’ll try and lay down her inconsitencies in a more formal way

Interior design and retail

While reading the Fountainhead I’ve started to think a lot more about physical spaces.

My current interest is in learning more about the interior design tricks shops use to increase their revenue and customer satisfaction.

Here’s a couple of things I learned:

  1. Fitting rooms for men and women have different distortion on mirrors to make you look better. For men the distortion increases the perception of a V shaped body. For women the distortion makes you look slimmer.

  2. White lighting makes you not see imperfections on the skin. This is for the same reason we take photos with a flash

  3. The background colours also matter. For example orange emits a warm glow that makes skin look healthier and tanned

I’m looking for books about retail interior design more widely - would love a recommendation if you have one

Blockchain chicken farm

Yesterday I started reading this new book by Xiaowei Wang (thanks Vinayak for the gift)

It’s a very interesting collection of stories of how technology impacted the most rural places in China. Unfortunately the author slips in some bad takes on politics and social theory, making far fetched comparisons between China and the US

Don’t have other updates on my side, this month I’ve been working all of the time on June

We’ve been publishing a weekly changelog and I’m really happy of our shipping velocity

Loading more posts…