Building Worthwhile Startups: Insights from Ben Silbermann and User Interviews


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 01, 2023

4 min read


Building Worthwhile Startups: Insights from Ben Silbermann and User Interviews

Building a startup from scratch is no easy task. It requires dedication, persistence, and the ability to learn from both successes and failures. In this article, we will explore the wisdom shared by Ben Silbermann, the co-founder of Pinterest, and delve into the key takeaways from user interviews.

Ben Silbermann, speaking at Startup School 2012, emphasized the importance of time and patience in building something worthwhile. He stated that it takes a really long time to create something of value. This resonates with the idea that success is not instant, but rather a result of continuous effort and improvement.

Silbermann also highlighted an important realization he had early on in his entrepreneurial journey. He always had excuses not to start a startup, but he eventually understood that the only variable holding him back was himself. It is a reminder that we should not let fear or self-doubt hinder us from pursuing our goals.

An advice that Silbermann received from his girlfriend, now wife, was to either take action or stop talking about it. This simple yet powerful statement pushed him to take the leap and start Pinterest. It serves as a reminder that talking about our dreams is not enough; we must have the courage to transform them into reality.

The topic of fundraising is often a challenge for startup founders. Silbermann shared his experience and provided insights on how to hack fundraising. He acknowledged the different advice people give and emphasized the importance of trusting data, users, and one's own instincts. This highlights the idea that while external advice is valuable, it should not overshadow our own understanding of the market and our users.

Another key point from Silbermann's talk was the significance of being great at one thing. For Pinterest, it was making collections look beautiful. Instead of constantly changing their product, they focused on finding users who heavily utilized their product. This approach allowed them to refine and enhance their offering based on real user feedback.

Silbermann admitted that at first, it didn't make sense to him why anyone would use Pinterest. However, he realized that what mattered was that it made sense to someone. This highlights the importance of understanding and catering to the needs and preferences of a specific target audience, even if it may not resonate with everyone.

Now, let's shift our focus to the insights from user interviews. In an article by Goodpatch titled "Lessons Learned from Failure: 23 Tips for User Interviews," the author shares valuable advice on conducting effective user interviews.

The first tip is to establish a connection with the interviewee by starting with small talk. This helps create a comfortable environment and builds rapport, making the interviewee more likely to open up and share their thoughts.

Another important aspect is to clearly communicate the purpose of the interview. By doing so, the interviewee understands the context and can provide more meaningful insights.

During the interview, it is crucial to ask about both the positive and negative aspects of the user's experience. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the product or service, exploring both the highlights and areas for improvement.

Additionally, asking about decisions made by the interviewee and their reasons for giving up on certain things can provide valuable insights. Understanding the thought process behind their choices helps identify pain points and potential areas for improvement.

In conclusion, building a successful startup requires time, dedication, and a willingness to learn from failures. Ben Silbermann's insights remind us to build something we truly believe in and not let others deter us from our dreams. Trusting data, users, and our instincts is crucial in navigating the entrepreneurial journey.

When conducting user interviews, establishing rapport, clearly communicating the purpose, and exploring both positive and negative aspects are key to gaining valuable insights.

So, whether you're an aspiring startup founder or conducting user interviews for your product, these actionable tips can guide you towards building a worthwhile and successful venture. Remember, success may take time, but with perseverance and a deep understanding of your users, you can create something truly remarkable.

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