Below is a post I wrote in August 2019 within Y Combinator community (which luckily received 300+ upvotes 🙇♂️). Now that I get a pretty steady stream of inquiries about fundraising and accelerator/demo days, I thought it might be helpful to repost here in public format. Hope it brings hope to a few.
Hi S19 founders,
Now that the demo day has officially begun, I just want to share our experience at SendBird (W16), so that perhaps some of you guys can relate.
I’ll admit upfront: We were not the hot company of the demo day. No where near. We didn’t get the overly enthusiastic emails from investors piling up in our inbox.
I thought we were doing okay during the batch, but on the demo day, the ones that got the most amount of ‘likes’ and ‘quickest raises’ were not necessarily the ones we thought did the best during the batch. Some companies raised a lot of money almost on the day of the demo day, while most of us felt like we were punched in our stomach, grasping for air.
After managing different teams of various background and scale over the years, I’ve always thought the question “what is your leadership style?” is almost a trick question. An executive from another company once shared with me a framework he learned at one of the leadership classes he took at Harvard.
It seems like the original version of Situational Leadership is a bit more complex, but the simplified version he shared made more sense to me and felt more applicable to everyday managers.
Just wrote a short article on how SendBird launched on Product Hunt.
Company values are what the people within the organization believe in. Decisions, actions, hires/fires, promotions/demotions are based on the company values and they are the fundamental building blocks for a strong, great company culture.
Of course, there are many good values in the world, but company values cannot list them all. Rather, the company’s core values should embody a set of unique beliefs, and should be simple enough to be remembered and used during daily conversations and work.
So, without further ado, here are our seven core values at SendBird:
1. Endless tenacity for customers
“Only the paranoid survive” – Andy Grove, Intel
Customers existed before a company did. Facing a problem, few people dared to find a solution, and customer value was created. The organized and deliberate effort of finding a solution later evolved to become a company that we know today. We exist to satisfy the customers, then to leap beyond the status quo and create innovative solutions to problems that the customers are not even aware of yet. The journey will be challenging and frustrating, but endless tenacity is the only path to the true customer happiness.
I believe civilization is a collection of things people take for granted. Water, gas fire, electricity, internet, and nowadays, smartphones. It’s a great privilege to be able to contribute back to civilization and build something that people take for granted.
Historically, a lot of these innovations were driven by technological advancement. But technology alone doesn’t fulfil innovations. Technology must be used to solve human problems. Hands-in-hands with humane design, we devise solutions to these problems and better ourselves. With proper marketing to provide these solutions to those in need, we begin to change the world for the better.
This is why we do what we do. This is why it’s meaningful to work with our team.
This is a memorable experience.
When you watch the World Cup, you notice the stark difference between the football players who’ve played on the European leagues and those who haven’t.
The sheer amount of experience you learn competing against the top players, being part of a great team is something that is unparalleled, and this is exactly what will push you forward light years ahead of your pack.
For me, Techstars felt like that experience I needed as an entrepreneur. Even though I had the fortune of selling my previous startup, this program feels like the place where you can really learn how to present yourself, how to crystalize your thoughts, how to deliver your execution, and bring out the best in yourself.
Without doubt, I would recommend the program to any aspiring entrepreneurs to take part in this wonderful journey.