FAANG to Retail Startup Founder, AMA

New bFVe10
Oct 16, 2019 222 Comments

- Founder of More Labs; prev growth PM at FAANG
- Primarily worked on growth as a PM (eng/data background before)
- Now running a CPG startup

AMA

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TOP 222 Comments
  • Microsoft 5AoptE
    What's More Labs? What product do you sell?
    Oct 16, 2019 13
    • Uber / Eng
      @w@

      Uber Eng

      PRE
      Capital One
      @w@more
      6 hr energy
      Oct 17, 2019
    • VMware roger2018
      4 hour energy at half the price. Will you buy? 🤔
      Oct 18, 2019
  • Nordstrom ZPiALo
    What are the challenges in scaling a physical product?
    Oct 16, 2019 3
    • Nordstrom ZPiALo
      So, how have you scaled your distribution?
      Oct 16, 2019
    • New bFVe10
      OP
      Oh damn, Nordstrom! We're not there yet, so clearly a lot of work to do.. Find us in your local 7-Eleven and CVS for now!

      But some key things related to retail distribution that worked well for us:

      - Optimizing to be an add-on item for alcohol sales (incremental sales for retailers + easy purchase for customers)
      - Aiming to be the highest profit margin product per sq ft - important criteria to place our product on checkout countertops (highest sales velocity)
      - Bright/unique packaging that pop. If you're in the Bay Area, walk over to your local alcohol store/convenience (we're in like half of them). Most products use the same packaging (cheap plastic). You'll probably spot our gold caps cause they pop!
      - Barrier to entry in retail becomes high for others once you establish yourself as a new/leading category. We're creating a new category with Morning Recovery (but a long way to go still)
      Oct 16, 2019
  • LinkedIn brooklin
    New grad who wants to start his own company -- best way to learn and acquire skills at a large established company or startup?
    Oct 16, 2019 3
    • AnchorFree / Eng 🍪 cookie
      New grads should first learn the industry for at least 5 years and better 10 years, and then try to start a company. IMHO the days of "the right timing in the right niche" are over, you need vast experience to succeed and outsmart competition.
      Oct 16, 2019
    • AnchorFree / Eng 🍪 cookie
      And ideas are crap, they're millions of billions, of ideas and dreamers with ideas. Execution is the only thing that matters, execution in the tough environment of competition and ever changing market demands
      Oct 16, 2019
  • Google aeOd02
    What is the craziest thing that happened to you, that you would've never experienced if you didn't start a business in consumer goods?
    Oct 16, 2019 6
  • New aTru42
    OP would you run any Moring Recovery giveaway for the Blind community?
    Oct 16, 2019 2
    • New bFVe10
      OP
      tag us on social and we'll send you a 6-pack. mention blind.
      Oct 16, 2019
    • This is truly amazing for the community
      Oct 16, 2019
  • PayPal u8lVWY
    What are some learning experiences at FAANG that has shaped your startup?
    Oct 16, 2019 1
    • New bFVe10
      OP
      The most important lesson I learned in my career is that no one really knows what they are doing. Great things aren’t built by people who knew exactly how to do it all along, but by those who have the grit and resilience to try, fail, learn, and iterate in pursuit of their goal. I feel pretty lucky with my time as a product manager because I worked under incredible leaders. They kind of imposed their will towards making things happen. You kind of just do it and figure shit out along the way lol. I knew nothing about supplements/retail/CPG, but felt pretty confident jumping into it.
      Oct 16, 2019
  • Amazon / Eng Baaam
    As long as you're enjoying your work - who cares. At some point, money doesn't matter anymore. Congrats on working for yourself!
    Oct 16, 2019 0
  • Microsoft ex56g57z
    will people buy your product in a down market or recession? honest answer. are you doing anything really special? or just another peloton with no viable business model?
    Oct 16, 2019 6
    • Facebook
      Fitted

      Facebook

      PRE
      IBM, Google
      BIO
      Bachelors & Masters in CS
      Fittedmore
      Lol @ex56g57z why are you so pissed, relax
      Oct 19, 2019
    • New Swe0
      @Fitted I think he is pointing the loopholes which is obvious
      Nov 22, 2019
  • Amazon dYH8rh
    What are some growth tactics that you were able to learn when you were a product manager that helped you scale your current business?
    Oct 16, 2019 2
    • New bFVe10
      OP
      As a growth pm, my job boiled down to [A] understanding the goal (growth target), [B] building hypotheses, and [C] rapidly testing against them, and doubling down to execute against winning opportunities. Pretty straightforward, but provides clarity in how we execute.

      When we first launched our product into retail, we didn’t have data to suggest a clear winning opportunity. So we approached it with the same growth framework.

      Our goal was retail sales. We identified a bunch of channels we thought made sense for our product - alcohol stores, drug, convenience, bars/clubs, hotels, etc - and measured sales velocity against one another. As we identified channels that showed better sales velocity/potential, we expanded to test other variables that could improve sales velocity - pricing, merchandise, shelf location, etc. Key difference vs. tech was that tests like these gave us directional insights only vs. stat-sig confidence, but it helped us eliminate most of the bad ideas early on.
      Oct 16, 2019
    • New / Eng myHg65
      Really good description of a growth PM btw
      Oct 16, 2019
  • Cerner wArQcd
    Why leave a good job at FAANG for an uncertain future? Do you have kids/family and did that impact your decision
    Oct 16, 2019 2
    • New bFVe10
      OP
      Don't have kids/not married/in my 20's. It would have probably impacted my decision otherwise, but can't say with certainty as I've no experience.

      Regarding risk, I kind of convinced myself that it was a logical decision to start More Labs when looking at it from a risk-adjusted angle. I may have been delusional, but this was my logic in the early days:

      - Silicon Valley (or at least the teams I worked with) values personal relationships over company loyalty - which meant I wasn’t burning any bridges by leaving. I built great relationships, and they would remain. They'd easily recruit/refer me back.

      - In the worst case that my startup failed, I was convinced that my experience alone would level up my career (ex - join FAANG at a higher position, pay, etc than where I left off). This logic only applies if my startup journey is a good one - but I felt like that was entirely up to me. Felt confident I would learn a lot and grow.

      - I was good financially early on, and was going to give myself reasonable salary after raising capital - which meant I wouldn’t incur debt and/or live poorly. There was some risk involved here, but the market (ex. VCs) was receptive during side project days to give me confidence.

      Overall - felt like downside was low (ie. less annual income) while the upside was very high (wealth, adventure/lifestyle, personal growth, impact, etc)
      Oct 16, 2019
    • New agtJ76
      W
      For
      Oct 16, 2019

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