Hiten Shah — Self-Awareness as a Superpower, the Two Types of Founders and Lessons From 20+ Years in Entrepreneurship
Play • 1 hr 27 min

“Any idea is a hypothetical solution to a problem. It is basically spending time to figure out if your solution to the problem is the right problem to solve first of all”— Hiten Shah

Our guest today is Hiten Shah (@hnshah), co-Founder and CEO at Nira. Hiten has started multiple software companies since 2003 including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and Nira. Here are some of the topics we discuss:

  • Two approaches to entrepreneurship — the difference between pirates vs. explorers
  • Hiten talks about his own approach and helps you understand which one you should choose
  • Finding the courage to be disliked in order to progress
  • His personal development journey and how it's reflected in his professional life
  • Product development and Hiten’s approach to solutions and problems
  • Why you should base your product on people’s stories over what they say they want

Just a quick note: this episode was recorded last year (2020).

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Show Notes

  • 01:14 - Building a business as a Pirate vs. Explorer
  • 03:29 - How innovation can happen
  • 06:01 - The building of business with Hiten’s explorer tendencies and the pioneering outcomes
  • 11:41 - The importance of self-awareness, being genuine to yourself as a framework
  • 16:47 - How you can value yourself more while respecting your personal goals
  • 21:53 - Why is better to have a conversation, or when is better to ask a friend than to ask Google
  • 23:28 - The Ups and Downs of building a business
  • 28:26 - How to get rid of stress by finding the answer within yourself
  • 34:46 - Your way to finding a path to be non-judgmental
  • 35:44 - The implications of self-awareness on pirates vs. explorers
  • 37:17 - What Hiten wants other founders to know to progress professionally and personally
  • 43:12 - The style of content on Hiten’s blog and research work, and his intentions behind it
  • 48:35 - Tips for self-care while on the emotional startup rollercoaster
  • 52:50 - How does the process of developing a framework for a product look like for Hiten
  • 56:55 - The role of stories in defining the audience and their problems, and how to reach a solution
  • 64:00 - Should you use intuition or stories or data on the product development journey?
  • 66:52 - The principle of “measure twice, cut once” as a way of dealing with confirmation bias
  • 69:58 - The power of talking on a podcast vs 1:1 conversation for learning and advice for current and potential funders
  • 76:51 - On getting the right answer when facing with a conflicting advice
  • 77:24 - How by being an example he can be of the biggest help
  • 81:20 - The future envisioned by Hiten

Tweetable Quotes

"You can tell when someone is self-aware because they are able to clearly articulate why they are doing something, and how they are doing." — Hiten Shah

“A pirate wants to see what’s out there in order to copy it. An explorer wants to see what’s out there in order to go against it and do the opposite.” — Hiten Shah

“In reality, our collective experiences don’t exist, there is only individualistic experience, which means we are all dreaming.” — Hiten Shah

“The impact you can have on yourself and self-improvement on your mental health to understand what triggers you and why, and digging into it, is tremendous in order to look at actions as an observer, instead of a participant.” — Hiten Shah

“The more prescriptive you are about the things you’re doing, the more you keep it as close to business as possible and not personal.” — Hiten Shah

“The children were taught to live with certainty, and that is not the world we live in anymore.” — Hiten Shah

“Great product developers are good at intuitively knowing the problem, not intuitively knowing the solution.” — Hiten Shah

“You save your creativity for the solution. Don’t push your creativity on the problems.” — Hiten Shah

About Our Guest

Hiten Shah (@hnshah) is the Co-Founder and CEO at Nira. He has started multiple software companies since 2003 including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, and Nira. He also has a blog Hitenism in which he shares all the news and personal knowledge for anyone interested in SaaS businesses.

Hiten builds data-driven solutions to help online businesses make better business decisions at KissMetrics. Hiten Shah serves as a Venture Advisor at 15Five, Inc., SpacePencil Inc., and Lean Startup Machine Inc. He serves as Advisor of Bitium Inc. Additionally, he Co-Founded Crazy Egg & Quick Sprout, an analytics tool that visualizes the user experience on a website. He serves as a Consultant of 500 Startups. Hiten Shah served as Advisor of CatchFree, Inc., iSocket, Inc., and Drumbi Inc. he advises startups about metrics, product & marketing. He started on the Internet by founding an Internet marketing consultancy, ACS. Hiten Shah serves as a Member of the Advisory Board of Recurly, Inc. He serves as a Member of the Advisory Board at DailyFeats, Inc. He serves as a Member of the Advisory Board at Classy, Inc.

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