3 Timeless Lessons Learned Working on a Rocketship
Last 4 years of my life has been a rollercoaster, living a bunch of extraordinary set of events led me to my current gig, pursuing growth and partnership initiatives at MobileAction. I love talking about my previous work, future ones, experiments, and stories (if you want to talk about those, let me know) but today I’ll exclusively talk about why I joined MobileAction and 3 things I learned deeply in the past year.
Beginning of 2020, I was in San Francisco, hosting my early *claim-to-fame* podcast, 415 Stories. This period of my life was quite exciting, I was interviewing inspiring entrepreneurs and investors every week at Printlee’s office at 415 Jackson Street — was a really good branding TBH.
One of those entrepreneurs was Aykut, founder of a successful intelligence company, MobileAction. He was generous enough to invite me to record an episode at the company’s HQ. Listening to his story and the mindset was inspiring.
He liked the concept of the podcast, and became the first sponsor 415 Stories. Later that year, I decided to take the opportunity to join MobileAction, which happened to one of the best decisions I made. Why?
It’s not a hot take to say “mobile is a huge industry”, but it became more obvious for me when I joined the company. For that reason, the mobile market attracts many smart entrepreneurs, building tools for app publishers.
Out of a numerous software companies in the industry, MobileAction today is one of the most reliable partners for app marketers, when it comes to competitive intelligence and campaign management. We do that by standing the “3A Rule” — building Accessible, Actionable, and Affordable tools.
Creating the intersection of these values comes up with many challenges, but as we see our delighted partners each day, it proves us the meaning of the work we’re pursuing.
MobileAction is a mobile intelligence software, trusted by more than 300,000 marketers in the world, including our friends at Canva, Adidas, Rappi, Alltrails, and probably more than a third of the apps on your phone use MobileAction to grow their app. The company is also an official Apple Search Ads Partner with SearchAds.com platform.
The company grew more than 400% over the last year, with the help of a solid strategy, an international team of growth enthusiasts, and our business partners.
This taught me a lot of lessons on scaling a tech company, leading growth initiatives, building a customer-centric product and more. Today, I’ll talk about 3 of these lessons.
Lesson #1 — Kill the snake.
Ben Horowitz talks about opportunities in a chapter of his great book:
We have three rules here at Netscape. The first rule is if you see a snake, don’t call committees, don’t call your buddies, don’t form a team, don’t get a meeting together, just kill the snake.
The second rule is don’t go back and play with dead snakes. Too many people waste too much time on decisions that have already been made.
And the third rule of snakes is: all opportunities start out looking like snakes.
For the last year, we encountered many snakes at MobileAction;
— The market didn’t have an affordable creative intelligence tool, so we created the Ad Library.
— Newcomers to the mobile world couldn’t find an accessible learning platform, so we built the Growth University.
— UA managers didn’t know their actual Apple Search Ads performance, so we launched Performance Grader.
We never called a brainstorming meeting, neither did a SWOT analysis, or Slacked back-and-forth for months. We knew people needed it, and we done it, we done it fast. Everybody did what needed to be done, and we launched it, without hesitation. Sometimes the best act to play is “Disagree and Commit”. People spend too much time on getting everyone on the same page, for the sake of conformity. In business, that can be a dangerous hill to drive when time is not your best friend.
Were these products 100% perfect the first day? Probably not, but as thousands of people started using them, we found flaws and did necessary iterations.
Turns out, if you know the market you’re playing, and have an insight around business, you can create insanely valuable things without all the buzz. If you’re an executive, you can lead this transformation at your company. In our case, none of these would be possible without Yekta’s execution.
Lesson #2 — Automate everything.
“Man minus the Machine is a slave; Man plus the Machine is a freeman.”
It’s obvious that every tech company sets repetitive tasks for their employees to maintain different parts of the wheel. In fact, over 40% of workers say, they spend at least a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks.
So how we can remove this obstacle of productivity?
The answer is: Automation.
Daily tasks like emails, data entry, occasional maintenances can easily be automated or you can reduce operating time with productivity tools.
Avoid using outdated/in-house built softwares for your daily operations. Use productivity softwares like Airtable, Superhuman and Clay. Encourage your team to master these platforms. If you can buy time, don’t hesitate it.
Lesson #3— Assemble a rockstar team.
This is my second “not so hot take” on this piece, but believe it or not, a great team is as much important as having a great product or a great market.
A good team with a bad product can do incredible things, but we can’t expect a bad team to be successful even if you give them the golden shovel. Products are replicable, talent is not.
Find people who can do their work even if you don’t teach them how to do. People who can take initiatives, own the work, and learn things fast is incredibly rare in talent market.
If you’ve made this far, I appreciate your time. We’re hiring across various teams at MobileAction, if you’re looking for a new challenge — come aboard, we’re taking off 🚀