Product & Growth: essential lessons for startups from Mona Gandhi (Founder, Upraised. Ex Airbnb)


It seems surreal but we’re almost five months into 2020 already. Feels like the world, in a hurry, decided to borrow chapters from a dystopian novel. I’ve been worried about several things including the Covid19 pandemic. But I’ve also tried keeping busy during the lockdown.

The book that I signed up with Harper Collins is almost complete. I’ve sent in the first draft. But I’m not celebrating yet. As Kevin Kelly says: When you are 90% done any large project the rest of the myriad details will take a second 90% to complete. If all goes well, the book will hit the stands by November.

I moved teams at Freshworks, the company which employs me. I now work with the Freshworks for Startups program. This means I get to work with founders and ecosystem builders. I love that. I also get to learn from some amazing colleagues.

As I’ve written before, in the practical guide to getting fit, running was at the core of my fitness routine. Then I started lifting. But because the neighborhood gym is shut, I’ve started running more. In May, I had the best month ever with 10+ runs and 66.5 kilometers in the books. I’ve also started intermittent fasting with a 16:8 window.

I’m reading my seventh book of the year: Modern South India: A History from the 17th Century to Our Times. The other books I read are here. That’s it about me. You tell me? Feel free to write in even if it’s just to say hi.

Some interesting stuff from Twitter

On understanding privilege

On fundraising

Sequoia’s Youtube investment recco

Failing and picking oneself up

A great self-improvement tip

The Use Case Podcast

In today’s episode of the Use Case podcast, we have Mona Gandhi, the founder of Upraised with us. She was the first female engineer at Airbnb. When she started at the company, the team only 30 people. She’s worked at many other places including Aperture, which was acquired by Google. Now she's building a platform called Upraised, for product managers.

Here’s what we mostly talked about:

⚡️Going from engineering to product management

⚡️Basics of product management and the skills required to become one

⚡️Identifying product-market fit

🔥Growth ~ Acquisition, Retention and Monetization

⚡️How Airbnb’s product-led approach helped them crack growth

If you’d like more on product management, check out our previous episode with Deepak Abbot, former SVP of Product at Paytm. We also have episodes with Anshumani Rudra, who heads product at Hotstar and Nir Eyal, the best selling author of Hooked. Check them out here and here.

Useful Links

Rahul Vohra on Superhuman’s product-market fit framework

Take the Upraised test for product managers here

Mona Gandhi on Twitter