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Episode 75 - Escaping VC Culture & Building Products that Focus on True Lifetime Value (with Rand Fishkin)

Authors
Entrepreneurship
Hustle Culture
Product Marketing
Startups
Episode 75 - Escaping VC Culture & Building Products that Focus on True Lifetime Value (with Rand Fishkin)
4 Aug 2021
Rand Fishkin head shot
An interview with Rand Fishkin. Rand was the founder and CEO of SEO firm Moz. He documented the highs & lows of VC-backed entrepreneurship in his 2018 book "Lost and Founder", in which he fought back against tech clichés, and pondered how he'd do it differently next time. Now it's next time and he's back with SparkToro, looking to build truly sustainable businesses and a more caring, responsible capitalism.

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Content Warning - May Contain Adult Language or Themes

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About the Episode

An interview with Rand Fishkin. Rand was the founder and CEO of SEO firm Moz. He documented the highs & lows of VC-backed entrepreneurship in his 2018 book "Lost and Founder", in which he detailed lessons learned, fought back against tech clichés, and pondered how he'd do it differently next time. Now it's next time and he's back with new firm SparkToro, looking to build truly sustainable businesses and a more caring, responsible capitalism.

We speak about a lot, including:

  • His new startup SparkToro, what it does, how it's different to his previous firm and how it's going these days
  • Whether calling out thought leaders in his book led to any trouble, and why it's ok to make philosophical enemies
  • How he pushes back against the inevitable retort that, rather than hustle culture being a problem, maybe he's just not that good at it
  • The fallacy of meritocracy and how it's impossible for privileged founders (and the people that back them) to understand that opportunity is not distributed equally
  • How the VC industry is furthering inequality, blinded by survivorship bias, and why it's so important to give underserved groups a hand up
  • How the "growth at all costs" VC culture is forcing founders to make bad product decisions to make the numbers look good, and ignoring the real lifetime value of a user
  • The surprising way that SparkToro handles cancellations proactively, and why churning a few extra % is better than having unhappy, locked in customers
  • The problems with MVP culture, how people have taken the Lean Startup too far, and why great products are rarely minimally viable
  • How founders and product leaders should truly put the customer first, not be blinded by their own egos and defending a possibly meaningless strategic roadmap at all costs

And much more!

Buy Lost and Founder

Lost and Founder cover

"Everyone knows how a startup story is supposed to go: a young, brilliant entrepreneur has an cool idea, drops out of college, defies the doubters, overcomes all odds, makes billions and becomes the envy of the technology world. This is not that story."

Visit the book website or check it out on Amazon or Goodreads.

Contact Rand

You can contact Rand on Twitter or check out sparktoro.com.