Duration 18:01
16+
Play
Video

Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea - Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky
Executive, Author, Investor, & Product Obsessive at Adobe
  • Video
  • Table of contents
  • Video
2020 Startup Grind Global Conference
February 12, 2020, Redwood City, CA, USA
2020 Startup Grind Global Conference
Video
Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea - Scott Belsky
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Add to favorites
276
I like 0
I dislike 0
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
  • Description
  • Transcript
  • Discussion

About speaker

Scott Belsky
Executive, Author, Investor, & Product Obsessive at Adobe

Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur, author, investor, and currently serves as Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. In 2006, Scott founded Behance, the leading online platform for the creative industry to showcase and discover creative world, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. After the acquisition, Scott helped reboot Adobe's mobile product and marketplace strategies and leading Behance.Scott actively advises and invests in businesses that cross the intersection of technology and design, and help empower people. He works closely with a number of venture capital firms including Benchmark and Homebrew, and is an early advisor and investor in Pinterest, Uber, sweetgreen, Carta, Cheddar, Flexport, Airtable, and Periscope as well as several others in the early stages.Through his work as a founder and investor, Scott has become an advocate for technology and community initiatives that empower creative people and help businesses leverage the creative potential of their people. He is the author of two national bestselling books - Making Ideas Happen and The Messy Middle, and founded 99U, a publication and annual conference devoted to productivity in the creative world.

View the profile

About the talk

A Keynote presentation by Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer + Executive Vice President at Adobe about his experience in Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea.


Share

I guess missing from it by I was was also found her started coming back in 2005 2006 if any was acquired by adobe's that's how I got into a big company roll. But I am hoping that in the 15 minutes that I have I can impart to you some things that I that I think might be helpful, you know in the stage of a building something enduring endless volatility. No end in sight ups and downs. I think I want to start by dispelling a mess that There's an incredible idea it

gets super hard and then it gets progressively better and better and better until you have an incredible realization and outcome. This is Ron. This is the perceived Journey that all of us are are out for to some extent. This is the reality. Oh, oh awesome. Great idea. Let's do that. So quit her job was taking a huge risk. Let's get a team what's whatever and then it's a series of incremental ups and downs. You think you're making progress and then you realize you aren't but hopefully it's two steps back three steps forward and the absolute

best case scenario is achieving The elusive positive slope. We are every highs incrementally higher every low is a little less slow and you are going up in the right direction. So this is what it's like to navigate the volatility on behance. My business was bootstrap for 5 years. Then turn back for two years came into Adobe dealt with integration woes and everything else. So like a lot of you I know what it's like to endure this sort of this sort of volatility and that is exactly what I wanted to talk about today the real quick background

behance platform to organize the car. The world over 20 million creative professionals now showcase their work on behance, but it actually started which dropping as a paper Products Company of all things. I know there's a lot of probably other creative ways to bootstrap in the room. We were like a before we organize the creative world on a LinkedIn for the creative world type product. Let's just try to organize creative people on a day-to-day basis since that's how we build our brand. We have a conference call Dan 99u conference now and it's 12 year. I'm still living and then behance of

course is the product that I we became known for an ultimately became part of Adobe for there were in a big announcement June 2012 around the acquisition and over the years. There were a couple books around how to how most productive creative teams operate making it is happening in the middle about this volatility. And then also a lot of opportunities. I tied down to work with other Founders in startups from the seed stage helping them build their products and navigate their endless volatile. What is the sum of that really informed some of the things that I'm going

to share with you today? And then my day job now unlike a lot of entrepreneurs. I actually got really excited about the new challenges that I faced being part of Adobe in this case and transforming Creative Cloud and building a lot of the Next Generation products for Creative people. So I my passions always been to help our creative people and I wanted to continue doing that at Adobe but going back to this volatility. It's fascinating that I just kind of summarized 7 years for you in like 30 seconds with a bow on it, which is crazy because

again as we all know this volatility in the middle is really what matters and the crazy thing is that we love we are obsessed with starts and finishes. I mean, it's all that the media covers. We love talking about the starts of things. It's so romantic when people just quit their jobs and start something new and set out on a bold vision. Pretty and then it's really exciting when there's a headline of a big exit and it's also easy to summarize a failure but there's very little written and chronicled about the endless volatility in the middle and I just found it fascinating that

there were very few even Frameworks for thinking about how to endure that and optimize the hell out of anything that works. So let's talk a little bit about that and that's what I want to use with our time available half of it is enjoying the Lowe's in realizing that we are not our best selves at every incremental low because we start to make decisions out of fear and there were a lot of examples in the course of my experience as an entrepreneur where we were in a really bad moment. We were seeing some competitive pressure or something wasn't working and out of fear. We started to

churn our decisions turn our convictions. And so we're not our best selves at the Lowe's we're also not our best selves at the highs because he falsely attributed things that we did to the things that work. So that's part 1 realization here part 2 is that the methodology here is quite simple. You have to hack and find ways to endure those lose and keep your team together. I think one of the dirty little secrets and start up land is at the greatest competitive Advantage is sticking together long enough to figure it out the bill. Institutional knowledge to create that sense of resiliency

that culture that allows you to stomach the volatility. And so I want to talk about a few real quickly. I only have very few minutes for like two or three things to think about on the underside and then on the Austin my side it's everything that works. I mean one of the worst things in the world is don't fix it if it ain't broken because the truth is is what's going to distinguish you and your teams and the way that you work and your products is actually emphasizing the things that are working and tinkering and a b testing and doing them even better and better that is how you stand out. That

is how your products and out. That's how you outperform your comp. So, let's Jump Right In to endure a few things. I wanted to impart number one is the importance of short circuit in your team's reward system. So we are all born with a short-term reward system from day one. We were trying to get the gratification and love from our parents were trying to get the check on AR tests in like, you know, second grade. We're trying to get the the grade, you know on the test the grade on the course. And as one of our investors Fred Wilson likes to say the two greatest addictions in life are

heroin and a weekly salary. and so when you unplug yourself You can't be you can't be foolish to think that the long-term conviction of what you're trying to deal with 5 to 7 years from now is enough to motivate you on a daily basis because the truth is you are hardwired for a short-term reward, and so is your team and so instead. Yes, that's enough maybe to get you excited about the new business to make the decision to join a new team, but Dan on a day-to-day basis, you have to feel like you're making progress in order to make more progress, and there's a lot of

research around the fact that progress begets progress this professor Harvard Business most recent that we don't have time. But the point is is you have to find your hacks to fun ones that we had at the ends one is it I've been a vegetarian for 28 years and eye development team actually thought it would be funny for me to agree to eat meat off of a certain Engineers Fork at our Christmas dinner if we met if certain milestone And so I assigned I agree to that and that became kind of a I don't know some form weird short-term incentive for some folks another one. We used to go in, you

know 2007 when we launched behance. We were typing behance into Google and it always said do you mean n Hance do you mean n Hance? Do you mean enhance and we were like, why can't we no longer be a mistake? And so we did all of our efforts to get new portfolios on get blink back from certain blogs to really just try to have the hands be a legitimate search term and then lo and behold even though we had no Revenue yet and no real business whatsoever six months later. We came in and Google recognize behance as the legitimate search term and it was one of those moments before the

end of 2007 where everyone kind of rejoice and it was an it was a short-term reward. These are the types of things that keep the captive team going now, of course in 2008 Beyonce. game super popular in Veloster SE all over again I think another thing to think about is especially in startup world, but in any business and I think about this also in my day job these days is that everyone tries to give defined roles, but it's people doing the defined role that keeps you on a known trajectory. Its

people being creative and observing really carefully observing what needs to be done outside their role that leads to Des rapports in and out comes after the point here is that you have to have a culture where people care indiscriminate lie about what needs to get done to make the product in the company succeed and that's important again, I don't have much time to talk about this further, but I wanted to make this case that the future isn't that crafted by people doing work they don't have to do and that is one of the themes that I see and I performing startups and then finally

resourceful this over resources and everyone knows here. We all wish we had more resources, but the fact is resources are like carbs we can throw them at problems. Make them go away, but they don't build any muscle resourceful. This is that muscle that enables us to have motions that through thick and thin through the endurance answer the optimization stage kennel our teams to really are performing to last and again sometime sticking together long enough is the competitive Advantage. This was important to think about ways of building resource one. That's one quick tip. Is it whenever your

team comes to you and says, hey we need more people. We need more people. We need more people the answer that you should give them is Reese actor and then they come back again Reese doctor and then the third time higher, Mantra refactory factor and then hire as ale for every team to think about how they can be doing things more efficiently before they start throwing resources at the problem. That's what you want to build in your tea optimize. What can I tell you seek competition? This is a story about a guy named Noah Kalina took a photograph of himself every single day for five years. No

reason why particularly he just got really into this didn't tell anyone with a struggling photographer in Brooklyn, you know, just trying to figure it out one day. He comes across a blog entry of another photographer a woman who had been taking a photograph of herself everyday for two years and she's talking about how she's going to debut it in a gallery and how brilliant this is and he says no way is she going to beat me to the punch and sew in a one-week time frame you put together that YouTube video of every photograph in succession put it up on YouTube that becomes one of the most viewed

YouTube videos of all time his platform as a photographer. He's on the morning shows and the cover of magazines and he points back to this impetus as the most important thing for his career potential an impetus to act often times comes from competition. And so whatever you're doing in a lot of startups I meet say I don't have any competitors or they're not focus on that. They're only focus on what they want to build. I don't buy it. I actually think the impetus to act is one of the things that actually forces you to optimize everything that works. So if you don't see

the competition take the competition Taco organizational. Organizational debt is the accumulation of decisions. That should have been made but weren't And the reason we don't make decisions is cuz we're not ready. There's always a great reason to not make a decision yet. My argument to you is that a decision made gives you data a decision made gives you nothing and sometimes a bad decision and knowing what not to do in the future the value that is better than no decision. And so decisiveness decisive Justice. I sniff. I always have my team's coming to meetings and I always

ask them upfront to tell me what are the elephants privately Like Son send an email in advance. What are the one or two elephants in the room? Right? Someone doubts the quality of the stack. Someone thinks that the designer is not doing this or that those elephants are often times the things that get in the way of decisiveness and you as Leaders me discuss them out and and then again, decisiveness as best as you possibly can a few quick toss about optimizing products. I'm so we go back to this graph write a lot of you are going to describe Industries

simply by having a simple solution. That is a EZ Go to Market and easier on boarding and easier to use than your incompetence. And then what you realize that as you start to enter the reality of the volatility you start solving every Problem by adding complexity and that leads to the famous product life cycle. What is the famous product life cycle users flock to simple product to get so excited. It's simple it's easier to understand. It's beautiful. Product takes all those new users for granted and then starts to add features to satisfy those

power users the ones that are going to upgrade and pay and do an Enterprise plan and all those things that make you a business and then volatility kicks in and you start to solve those problems with complexity and then What happens to users flock to a simple product all over again? And that is kind of Silicon Valley in a nutshell. So how can you divide us stay grounded by your newest customers first my experience as fascinating to me how most companies spend the last mile of their experience building a product thinking about the first mile of the customer's

experience using the product which makes no sense because the only part of your product every possible customer will see is the first Mile and if you can just get them through that you are way ahead of the game until I actually believed that the onboarding in the first model experience is probably the most important part of the product development cycle and and then also on an ongoing basis having a team dedicated to iterating not 1st Mile and recognizing that every first every new cohort of customers is difference is critical in the eye thing for Sample of Twitter. They were

probably a hundred million people in the world that were willing to carefully curate their timelines and carefully decide who they're going to follow and all of their interest areas to make a great nose speed of continent read a and then everyone beyond that just wanted news and then the onboarding process they were like, I don't want to spend time following individual a people and accounts. I just want to follow science. I just want to follow news and said that was an example where many cohorts of new customers that onboarding at 1st mile experience was perfect and then suddenly it wasn't

any more in to stay grounded by your newest customers. First my experience empathy before passion. Imeetzu many entrepreneurs as an investor who are driven by their passion for solving a problem as opposed to their empathy with the customers suffering the problem and it really is probably one of the biggest reasons why a lot of companies in it launching a product that is 30° off product Market fit. It's because they had this deep passion for the solution as opposed to empathy with those suffering being shoulder-to-shoulder with those suffering is the triangulation that Nails

product Market fit and it's easy to say but it's hard to do because it's literally non scalable stuff and I do believe that it's not non scalable stuff that you do in the early stages of your business that will ultimately distinguish you because it's the stuff that no one else is willing to do incumbents are willing to do but if you can double down an embassy and that is one of those ways that you can know really stay anchored with those customers and their needs final thought since I am officially out of time is is All the folks that I am not over the course of the research for the

messy middle. I also would ask them tell me about a moment where the moment where you decided to kind of give it all up and try something to start something to do something bold to question the status quo you talk to me about like that inflection point in your career in the constant answer that I got was always track back to a moment where people said you're doing what I like, that's crazy. Why would you throw away that great position? Why would you throw away? That's why I talked to one guy who worked in a huge publisher and maybe

15-20 years ago was on the top neotract to be the head of this major book publisher and instead took a fledgling Road leading a group called digital publishing and people said to him like what are you crazy? No one's ever going to read a book on the computer. And for whatever reason the more people that told them that that was The more he became convicted that this was the career move. He had to take which goes to say that if everyone thinks you're crazy. You're either crazy or you're really onto something. The my plea to you is to learn to gain confidence

from doubt and to recognize the nothing is ever achieved nothing extraordinary. Nothing extraordinary is ever achieved through ordinary means thanks for having me.

Cackle comments for the website

Buy this talk

Access to the talk “Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea - Scott Belsky”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Access to all the recordings of the event

Get access to all videos “2020 Startup Grind Global Conference”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Ticket

Interested in topic “Entrepreneurship and Startups”?

You might be interested in videos from this event

April 29, 2020
Online
21
86
covid-19, fundraising, fundraising leader, help, motivation, philanthropic organization, practical advice, training

Similar talks

Geoff Ralston
President at Y Combinator
+ 1 speaker
Jewel Burks Solomon
Head of Google for Startups, US at Google
+ 1 speaker
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
David Rogier
CEO & Co-Founder at MasterClass
+ 1 speaker
Allie Miller
Head of AI Growth, Startups and Venture Capital at Amazon
+ 1 speaker
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Jennifer Hyman
CEO and Co-Founder at Rent the Runway
+ 1 speaker
Aileen Lee
Founder & Managing Partner at Cowboy Ventures
+ 1 speaker
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Buy this video

Video

Access to the talk “Tackling Hard Work on the Way to a Big Idea - Scott Belsky”
Available
In cart
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free
Free

Conference Cast

With ConferenceCast.tv, you get access to our library of the world's best conference talks.

Conference Cast
558 conferences
22053 speakers
8194 hours of content