This blog post is part of a recent AMA hosted at Sean Ellis’ GrowthHackers.com,  with Prabhjot Singh, cofounder + President at pyze.com. We are fans of Sean Ellis and wrote about why Growth Hackers need Growth Intelligence.


Bryan @ry: Can you talk about some of the challenges of scaling Pyze and how you overcame said issues?

When we started Pyze three years ago, the gross majority of app publishers had poor visibility into their app’s user base and lacked the tools to engage with their users. Sadly, the world hasn’t changed too much since then. The app stores have even more competition today and the intelligence tools that the top 1% of app publishers use to target and retarget users are light years ahead of the basic mobile analytics tools out there.

For us, the key focus from the beginning was on the product and being able to solve the customer problem. We wanted to build a solution that could be accessible to all app publishers, both from a cost and usability perspective, basically an app publisher wouldn’t need to spend thousands of dollars a month and wouldn’t need a PhD in Data Science. Building the Pyze Platform out took us about 2 years, including a solid Beta. We needed to be able to offer sophisticated intelligence and bake in mobile marketing automation like push and in-app messaging — all for free. We went through lot of iterations on our technology stack to arrive at our current architecture so we could scale the business. As a result, we now have a very scalable platform that supports our business model. I do think building the platform alongside some real apps and doing an alpha and a beta that tested our assumptions, and incorporating the feedback from customers, was critical to us getting to where we are today.

Bryan @ry: How do you look at competition, specifically when you’re going up against bigger, and better-funded competitors? How does that affect your strategic plan, if it does at all? What is your mindset when you go to compete against the 800-pound gorillas of the business intelligence space?

Competition doesn’t keep me up at night, making our product as good as it possibly can be does. We know what the strengths and the disadvantages of the 800 pound gorillas are. The only way we beat them is by continuously innovating, responding to customer feedback, and out executing them at every step. I am not worried about how their marketing message is changing or the new feature they are pre-announcing.

We’re all about the Pepsi challenge. Bring it, all day and all night long.

Bryan @ry: How do you look at hiring? Can you talk about some of the mistakes you’ve made hiring (and also seen others make)? What have you learned about hiring A+ talents?

Hiring is the most important responsibility of any founder. One bad hire in the early days of a start-up can sink your company. The biggest mistakes I’ve made around hiring are on-boarding too quickly even when I wasn’t 100% sold because we were under the gun to get product shipped or get more traction, or whatever. Those hires almost never worked out. The mistake that I’ve seen others make often is not recognizing that they made a bad hire and confusing activity with progress. This is why it’s important to take your time hiring because it’s not fair to the person you hired either if you have inflated expectations beyond their capabilities.

But generally, as the basics go, hire A+ players. People who think and know will be able to do the job better than you could. If it’s a domain area that you don’t know about, lets say its a Sales job and you have a product background, get someone with the relevant domain experience to interview. And don’t hire B players. That is the path to sun setting your startup.

Anuj Adhiya: This is clearly a challenge in the early days/being pre-revenue etc.  What strategies do you think work best to convince A+ players – who might already well-settled somewhere to leave all of that and come work for your startup and take on uncertainty over stability?

Anuj, that is a fair point. Convincing someone to give up a comfortable or well-paying position to join something unproven is quite the sales exercise. Sure, you can promise them lots of stock but the stock is fairly meaningless early on. The founders really have to believe and be able to convince your would-be employees that the journey is worth it, it will be transformative for them, and you will change the world, in a small or big way. Early employees have to drink the kool aid as much as the founders and be completely sold on the mission.

Posted by Melissa! :)