Note: This AMA is closed for new questions, but you can check out the existing conversations below.
In this AMA, we had Brendan Schwartz — the co-founder and CTO of Wistia, and has been running the show for over a decade now, with his co-founder Chris Savage — share his thoughtful insights on building product teams that take on giants (read: YouTube), pricing backward (they released a freemium plan eight years into the business), buying their investors back to build on their own terms, why ‘disagree and commit’ can be bad advice, and more. Dive in!
Brendan’s brain pickings:
Here are some curated links to help you know Brendan’s journeys and thought process a little better.
On making values-driven investments and bets:
“Our best investments have been the ones whose impact couldn’t be measured in the short term and perhaps may never be fully quantified. We make investments that align with our values, are good for our customers, and are good for us — clearly modeled return-on-investment-not-required. In the analytical world of business, this approach may sound wild, but it’s how we’re building Wistia and we’re darn proud of it.”
Source: How an Offer to Sell Wistia Inspired Us to Take On $17M in Debt
On setting inspirational but realistic goals:
“Setting intentionally out-of-reach goals reflects a cynical way of thinking about human nature and motivation. It’s driven by a belief that people are lazy, and by default won’t be ambitious or creative or try to do more than they think is possible. Goals, therefore, become a way to correct for that laziness. This way, even if people fail, their output can still be decent. Sadly, this way of thinking has become accepted as conventional wisdom. This doesn’t reflect our lived experience at Wistia in the slightest. Since moving away from setting overly ambitious goals, we’ve seen people accomplish more and do it in more creative ways. This is the tragic paradox of modern day goal-setting — companies that set hyper-aggressive goals think they need to in order to make people more smart, creative, and ambitious. But the truth is, those folks will be smart, creative and ambitious by default.”
Source: Why Setting Ambitious Goals Backfires
On building a strong co-founder relationship:
“In our time running Wistia, the idea that you should “disagree and commit” to solve conflicts is not one that Chris and I have found useful… Doing great work, for us, is about passion. It’s about two people with deep buy-in on what they’re doing, not one person with an idea and the other person helping execute on it. For that reason, we avoid committing to something we don’t both fully agree on — and do whatever we can to find that agreement.”
Source: How to Build a Co-Founder Partnership That Can Last (Decades)
On the power of context and knowing your product:
“I’m a firm believer that the best products are built by people with the most context. If you truly understand the vision, the market, your customers, all aspects of design and engineering, and the business model and finances, you will create an amazing product… Aa result, if you’re on the engineering team at Wistia, you’re talking to customers, handling support tickets, optimizing our marketing funnel, and helping solve financial challenges in addition to building product and infrastructure.”
Source: An Inside Look with Codeship: Brendan Schwartz, CTO of Wistia
Stay in touch:
You can follow Brendan to stay updated with his discoveries and insights:
- Brendan on Twitter
- Brendan on LinkedIn