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Scaling Durable Product Advantages | Mads Johnsen | Slush 2023

December 9, 2023
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Min Read
Last updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Scaling Durable Product Advantages | Mads Johnsen | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Mads Johnsen, former product leader of Calm, Uber, and LinkedIn.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

The meeting discussed how start-ups can compete with larger companies by leveraging their speed and focus advantages, avoiding distractions from competitors and customers, identifying leading product indicators, and pinpointing a precise competitive advantage. Action items include identifying leading product indicators, monitoring competitors, focusing on customer actions, and leveraging a precise competitive advantage.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

Competitive Advantages and Start-up Journey

  • Companies like calm, LinkedIn, and Uber have different products and categories but share common characteristics.
  • They have durable product advantages such as a strong brand, network effects, scale efficiencies, and intellectual property.
  • Start-ups typically lack these advantages in the early stages.
  • First-mover advantages are generally overrated, and many successful companies were not the first in their industry.

Speed and Focus as Competitive Advantages

  • Start-ups have two advantages from day one: speed and focus.
  • Large companies tend to move slower, but even small companies can become slow due to operational improvements.
  • Retaining speed advantage is crucial for start-ups, and implementing larger company processes should be deferred as much as possible.

Avoiding Distractions

  • Competitors can be a distraction if not managed properly.
  • Set up a system to monitor new entrants and changes in product or positioning of existing competitors.
  • Focus on competitive awareness rather than obsession.
  • Customers can also be a distraction when they express their needs, but their actions may differ.
  • Look at customer actions rather than their stated preferences or intentions.

Identifying Leading Product Indicators

  • Leading product indicators provide early indications of product success.
  • These metrics correlate with monetization and show value earlier than revenue.
  • Identify specific metrics that demonstrate value and focus on those instead of broader metrics.
  • Design your product roadmap based on leading product indicators.

Precise Competitive Advantage

  • Narrow competitive advantages are more effective than broad ones.
  • Focus on being the best rather than the first.
  • Protect velocity and be unapologetic about it.

Driving Innovation and Leaving a Trail

  • Attend conferences like Slush to drive innovation and find your own path.
  • Focus on trailblazing and leaving a mark in your industry.
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Scaling Durable Product Advantages | Mads Johnsen | Slush 2023
Min Read
Scaling Durable Product Advantages | Mads Johnsen | Slush 2023
Min Read
Scaling Durable Product Advantages | Mads Johnsen | Slush 2023
Min Read

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