Product & Startup Builder

My Friend Ben Metcalfe has just become a VC

Added on by Chris Saad.

Ben Metcalfe has just become a VC


The first time I met Ben Metcalfe was at a big meetup at the Computer History Museum. It was my first week in Silicon Valley and unbeknownst to me I had been experiencing what I later learned to be the valley’s “soft no”. When your Startup/product isn’t good enough but people don’t really want to tell you.

Ben was the first one to take a different approach. He told me - in no uncertain terms - what the real weaknesses of my Product were.

At first I disliked the sudden pushback (and Ben haha!), but then I quickly understood it (and him) to be insightful and invaluable. And, of course, he later turned out to be right!

He then proceeded to take me and my mate Nik into San Francisco where he introduced me to a lot of people, products, and places that changed my life forever (including SoMa, Twitter, Gregarious and Stowe). He taught me how to “pay it forward” by his actions and by his mentorship.

He‘s continued to be a great friend and advisor for the last 10 years. Including introducing me to the team at Uber.

I’m so proud of his latest move here. He’s a naturally curious and clear eyed evaluator of value and loves to help founders. He’s going to kick ass at this role.

Congrats Ben!

Originally posted on Facebook


Snapchat Context Cards

Added on by Chris Saad.

I’m getting a lot of pings about Snapchat’s Context Cards. Some thoughts...

  • Yes they seem very familiar (edit: to work I did internally at Uber (but never saw the light of day)

  • Understanding intent and efficiently fulfilling it Is the only way anyone has made significant money on the Internet

  • Using existing and implicit behavior as context for predicting intent is an incredibly rich and untapped area for innovation. Particularly at the application level where there’s more signal and domain specialization

  • You can do two distinct things with your API strategy. 1) Use it as a form of distribution - taking a ride on other peoples innovation. 2) Create a surface area for innovation within your own app. The former is a no-brainer. The latter is a game changer.

  • Will it be enough to stem the bleeding for Snapchat? I don’t know. Imagine if this concept was baked into something growing and used by savvy users with somewhere to be, though.

#productpolish #highestformofflattery

Originally posted on Facebook

My response to CNN about Uber's new CEO

Added on by Chris Saad.

A journalist from CNN emailed asking for my thoughts on Uber's new CEO. This was my response...

I think all signals point to Dara being a thoughtful and effective leader so I'm excited to see what he can achieve with Uber's already amazing business.

It's my sincere hope that he has the insight and strength of leadership to empower Travis to meaningfully contribute to the company he built. His insight and vision is invaluable.

Originally posted on Facebook

A meaningful recommendation

Added on by Chris Saad.

I've received some positive recommendations on LinkedIn. Truly grateful.

But maybe my favorite is this very kind sentiment from Nora. Given Uber's reputation lately, this means an awful lot to me.

As I've said before I'm very proud of the team and culture we collectively built on the Uber Dev Platform team.

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Do you get it?

Added on by Chris Saad.

As I'm talking to so many amazing people about what they're working on, it reminds me that some people really just "get it". They're rare but relatively easy to spot. Hold onto them for dear life.

  • Abundance thinking and generosity of spirit

  • Curiosity about how and why things work

  • Clear eyed but not cynical

  • Paying attention to the trends and techniques that work

  • Bias towards action with just the right amount of impatience with the status quo

  • Driven by principles, but not ideological

  • Bonus if they love sci-fi

Originally posted on Facebook


On career progression

Added on by Chris Saad.

Some of my tricks when taking each step on my journey...

  1. Learn from past mistakes (harder than it sounds - we're often wired for certain biases and tendencies)

  2. Ensure you're going "up and to the right" in terms of personal growth, lifestyle, value creation and value derived

  3. Put aside your feelings of impostor syndrome or anxiety - embrace your unique value and the abundance

What are yours?

Originally posted on Facebook