The Power of Personal Connection: A Holistic Approach to Startup Success


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 29, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Personal Connection: A Holistic Approach to Startup Success


In the fast-paced world of startups, founders often find themselves torn between marketing and sales strategies. While marketing aims to reach a broad audience, sales focus on a narrower and deeper approach. However, successful startups understand the importance of prioritizing personal connections and engagement with users. In this article, we will explore the death poem of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Jessica Livingston's insights on startup marketing, uncovering the common thread that emphasizes the significance of building meaningful relationships with users.

Connecting with Users: Lessons from Toyotomi Hideyoshi

In his death poem, Toyotomi Hideyoshi reflects on the transient nature of life, comparing it to dew that appears and vanishes. This poignant observation reminds us that life, like startups, is fleeting and ephemeral. Just as Hideyoshi's realization highlights the importance of cherishing every moment, it also draws attention to the significance of making the most of our interactions with others.

Startup Success: Narrow and Deep Engagement

Jessica Livingston, co-founder of Y Combinator, emphasizes the need for startups to focus on sales rather than traditional marketing. She argues that early-stage startups should prioritize narrow and deep engagement with a select group of users who are genuinely interested in their product. This approach allows founders to gather valuable feedback and refine their offerings.

Livingston cites examples of successful startups, such as Airbnb and Stripe, whose founders personally engaged with their initial user base. By meeting hosts in New York City and manually installing their product, these startups not only gained invaluable insights but also cultivated a loyal and dedicated user community. Their narrow and deep approach laid the foundation for their subsequent growth and success.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Broad and Shallow Marketing

The danger of relying solely on broad and shallow marketing is that startups may fail to connect with their target audience. Founders who choose this approach often struggle to attract users and receive the feedback necessary for product improvement. By avoiding personal engagement, they inadvertently shield themselves from the realities of their product's inadequacies and the challenges of starting a startup.

The Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize personal engagement: Take a page from successful startups' playbooks and engage with users on a personal level. By investing time and effort into building relationships, you not only acquire valuable feedback but also foster a loyal user base.
  • 2. Embrace feedback and iterate: Actively seek and listen to user feedback, even if it may be uncomfortable or critical. Use this feedback to iterate and improve your product, ensuring it meets the needs and desires of your target audience.
  • 3. Make a really good product: Before embarking on any marketing or sales efforts, focus on creating a high-quality product. A great product will naturally attract users and generate organic growth.


In today's competitive startup landscape, the power of personal connection cannot be underestimated. Toyotomi Hideyoshi's reflection on life's transience and Jessica Livingston's insights on startup marketing converge on the importance of engaging with users on a personal level. By prioritizing narrow and deep engagement, startups can build a loyal user base, gain valuable feedback, and ultimately increase their chances of success. So, let us learn from history and embrace the power of personal connection in our startup journeys.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)