February 28, 2018

6 Takeaways from Des Traynor of Intercom, SaaStr Annual 2018


Des Traynor is dialed in. He’s well practiced. Rapid fire. Witty. No bullshit.

Here’s what he talked about:

1. Decisions.

They’re the currency of startups. You better get great at and have a process for making them.

2. Alignment.

You can be doing awesome work, but if it’s not aligned with the company, you’re harming the company, it’s not neutral.

  • Independent iteration is dangerous
  • Ensure product builds what you sell and sales sells what you build

3. Leading to Decide and Align.

Functional leaders need to turn commonalities into principles so decisions can be made and alignment achieved. He must have read Dalio.

4. Don’t get Stuck

If you’re irreplaceable, then you can’t go anywhere. Des’ point is don’t get yourself stuck by ensuring nobody else can do your job. I refer to this as reducing your personal bus factor.

5. Don’t solve rare, small problems

You won’t get market pull or consistency in product usage/value delivery.


6. Product Focus

  • When to stop your product: If the next step is too diverse in behavior, then bow out. Focus on being great somewhere rather being ok in many places.
  • Tool time vs task time in product. You want to minimize tool time so you are getting out of their way. Your product is for helping your users get their tasks done.