Mentza Session: Build Principles for PLG – Part 2 – Listen to the original recording here.

Rohit Nallapeta: Hi good morning and good evening. For the people everywhere. Hi Anurag, how are you? 

Anurag Vaish: Hey, Rohit, how are you? good to hear you. 

Rohit Nallapeta: I’m good, I was just wondering if we should start off the conversation. 

Anurag Vaish: Yes please. I think it’s a very useful one. 

Rohit Nallapeta: And the last time you kind of told me that hey, this is a good one, we should have as next one. I’m like, you know what, let’s do this? Actually, it is what I was thinking. 

Anurag Vaish: Absolutely. 

Rohit Nallapeta: So, a couple of things that we discussed. Just to recap, right. We’re discussing build principles for product led growth software as part one and Part two. In part one we discussed build for the end user and build to be discovered. But I mean again there are 11 principles. This was all published by open view partners who coined the name product led growth.  

So today I thought I will take a few additional things to be discussed right, there are multiple principles. But you know Anurag, because you’ve been doing this also for Mentza , right? You were also a product front company at the end of the day, even if it is B2C catering, right? So, one of the things that they talked about was built to meet your users where they work and what I thought is I want to get your viewpoint on how you’re doing that in Mentza and I can talk about how we are doing that in Glance and talk more about it. What do you think about that? 

Anurag Vaish: So you said, you know, get the people where they are right. That’s what the principle is. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Correct, so you are in the age of connectedness, right? Build where built to meet your users where they work. So how do you look at this? Because you have a two-sided situation, which is both the creator and the listeners, so how are you in? I mean they carry their mobile phone all the time, so is that the use case that you are thinking? 

 Anurag Vaish: One is that the other is, you know. Fundamentally, right? I mean, when Rohit, you know, kind of makes a circle on our platform, right? Then it’s people who Rohit follows or people that follow Rohit. Rohit’s, you know, connection that they get to see what is happening right? so in that sense because the circle is not top down. It’s not like Coursera, kind of setting up a set of you know videos and then you have to go find who to listen to, right? 

If people are setting up these conversations and because people are embedded  in their own people environments and they find those people to listen to what these people talk or chat with them or converse with them, right? So that is, I think the most important part that content is generated by the users and their user groups come and kind of chat around it. Right. 

The second part is obviously mobile. The mobile kind of obviously makes all of these things much easier to handle, much easier to carry around, and so on and so forth and lately we even started the web piece right if somebody wants to listen the web, they can listen to it. Catering as much distribution as possible on Spotify, on the web, on the app. 

Rohit Nallapeta: So, that that I would think I call it out separately there right now Anurag in what you are saying right? There are two things that you mentioned, the groups and where they’re happening that I completely agree. But here is the two things that I think is super, at least from your listener point of view. You’re building out on the web where people are already working on a web browser. That I think is where you meet your users where they work in there. Working doesn’t matter what they’re working on, right? Whether it could be private work, personal work or office work, they you are meeting them in the browser.  

Second, you’re also meeting them on Spotify where they have given attention. They’ve decided to give attention to some kind of listening framework, right? So those I think are really good points about meeting your users where they work. And so, does it make sense to you? Anurag.  

Anurag Vaish: Yeah, it does, right? So, I mean. You know the desktop is obviously a thing to kind of look at, right? But I think most of our consumers are not on desktop on most of the time, right so? The point is that if they’re in a car, right? How do you catch them right if they are in between work right? If they’re in their canteen having lunch or they’re cooking something right, that’s why it’s on the mobile. Comes very, very handy, right? 

Rohit Nallapeta:  Very, very fair point, fair point. That’s a very fair point. So, here’s what we’re doing at Glance, right? Just to recap what we’re doing, we’re all about helping SaaS companies convert contacts into customers, right?  

So, our place of meeting our users are in the ecosystems which they are working in, which means our marketers and sales folks they usually they usually function at the level of what do you call us they function in the following ways, right? They work on a marketing system like a HubSpot, email platform like a MailChimp or Salesforce, right? 

So, we have created ecosystem apps that are present in that ecosystem itself. So, we definitely are looking at build to meet the users where they work, which means they are already working in HubSpot. We are an embedded app there. If they’re working in MailChimp, we are an embedded in app there. So, we want to increase that areas of discovery.  

The secondary aspect is our product also integrates deeply with their existing work products which because once they use our product, the things that we do in Glance like creating segments and stuff they’re visible inside of HubSpot directly. So those I think are one of the ways where we look at meeting users where they work. So that I think is a good way to compare a B2C and B2B app? You are a B2C app with a two-sided marketplace complexity and I’m a B2B app fit focusing on business.  

Now let’s talk about another interesting principle that is talked quite a bit. Build for openness I will define this way. The openness is people should be able to use your product and make something of it. In the B2B world it’s mostly about API’s and stuff. What do you think about openness Anurag. How are you thinking about openness in Mentza? 

Anurag Vaish: Yeah, so you know I mean. To us right? I mean the first thing that we wanted to do was to make it as transparent as it can be, right? So, I mean. There’s barely anything that’s hidden on our platform, right? It’s totally, totally open to anybody and everybody.  

Of course, there is an age restriction because of the socialness of the platform and I buy that idea, right? Because you don’t want to get kids exposed to you know any kind of commentary, if not content which is not appropriate, right, but apart from that it’s a very, very open platform, right? I mean, when Spotify came to us and said we want the content, so, you know, we had no hassles in giving it to them because that’s how we want to. We want to be open. We want to be transparent so that we don’t have you know things that you typically get with anonymity, the things that you typically get with privacy and so on and so forth, right? 

So, I’m not sure if that’s what you meant. Right? But if You put the two together right? One that you get where consumers are right. This is like what I used to say that if the governments make road not so that the rural population can come to the cities in government should make roads so that cities can go through the rural population right in some ways, so similarly, right? We are making the product in a way that it can be there anyway. Right, I mean, when clubhouse came in with, they had only IOS they didn’t have Android, right? 

And I do still believe that there is some kind of you know? Artificial scarcity around it, right? For us, when you know beyond all those giving it should be accessible to everybody, it should be accessible in as many ways as possible for everybody and should be open, whether it’s speaking or listening. Whether you want to create a circle, it’s totally open environment for anybody to engage in the way that they think is right and not for others to figure out that you know is this something that will allow you to do? 

Rohit Nallapeta: Super, one way I’m telling you is the openness as it is defined from the product led growth approach, right? Is having access to your content through an API and that may be a future idea and you know the way you define openness is also something that I really think for B2C it applies because the content being available is a kind of openness that you are displaying definitely that makes sense. Because that is one of the things that I think is a good way. That is one of the things that we can make people products available to other people more and more so that, I think is a very good way also, but there are other. Sorry, go ahead. 

Anurag Vaish: So, we’ve never done an API yet, right? But because the content is available on the web, right? So, which means it’s available to everybody, right? 

Rohit Nallapeta: I Agree. I think that’s what I was saying. You defined it interestingly than the real definition, so that is that’s actually a good idea what you’re saying so? 

Anurag Vaish: Because earlier our content used to be on the app, right? So, you have to get to the app to see the content, right? Which is very restrictive, right? Because then you’re saying even if you like our content, you have to first download the app. Then you can see the content. Right, but the content is totally available on the web, which makes it as democratic as possible, and then we have all the embeds in this that so that content can be ported on different sites and different apps and so on and so forth. And API route has not been explored for the content to sit on other people’s kind of you know environments, but that’s something that we can definitely think about. It if that is what you meant. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Correct. I mean look, I’m not intending that you should do one way or the other. I’m just thinking of it in terms of the definitions of an open view in the B2C side, right? And in B2B side for us right? Our segments that we deliver and our this thing would be delivered should be available as an API that anybody can consume given a certain data. Which means, at this machine that consumes this data, I can create an audio stream and distribute it anywhere else, right? That’s how it is treated as.  

So, I see the availability and openness definitely here what you are saying now, but definitely building on to something that’s also a very, very interesting way to think about it. So, I see where you are coming from and I don’t think there is no standard definition to openness, so at least in the B2C space. So, I really like that what you are saying that embeddability and distribution everywhere is one sort of openness. 

I want to talk about one other point that is kind of interesting for you and I both is build community as a competitive advantage, which I think Mentza is all about anyways, what do you think? Anurag. 

Anurag Vaish: Yeah, I mean. You know it’s not easy but. I get the point around community. So, people in general in this world, right where people have limited attention and are always kind of in a search mode right somehow? It’s content that kind of brings more accessibility than community, right? So, I mean, the way I see myself, I’m always in search mode right? So even if I know something well where I will find it. I still go to Google to find it right then I know from Google I can get there, right? So that’s become our mindset. So, you know we are trying to build communities on our platform and. I’m happy that there are 20 odd communities over here, right? But the way we see people still, you know, kind of engaging with the platform is through the content in people route and not to the community route and I couldn’t micro in my understanding of what community is, because when people access people in people, collaborate with people. It is a community, right? 

Rohit Nallapeta: So, there is the two kinds of community I look at it as right. There is one listening  community which we are building through interest itself, your circles are communities by themselves. From the listening side. That I definitely think is a way for people to propagate common interests and have a dialogue, but I think you guys have done it, and I think the other communities the creators connect group that we have where the joint WhatsApp group that we discuss and keep on motivating each other, right? 

Because I’m a creator and there’s a bunch of other creators that share the excitement of creating content. Believe me, for me at least, seeing so many posts there makes me what do you call? Create contact in a regular fashion rather than missing on anything else. In fact, I’m motivated to actually contribute. And not miss out on the creation aspect, right? That is one thing I think is also part of the community, right? You are also motivating contributors to create quality content and the other side the circles by themselves the listening interest communities. Anyway, what you are building through circles. That’s how I look at it. 

Anurag Vaish: So, to me, you know the perfect definition of a community is when there’s collaboration, right? If there’s no collaboration. Then there are many different ways you can look at. You look at like, fans group, right? So, there are few people who are fans of something or interest groups or volunteers. Or you know, protesters or rioters? They give, and they come in so many different ways from crowd to, you know, special groups to roundtables, and so on and so forth, right? But the finest definition that I think of communities when people collaborate, right?  

So, when you know two content creators come together to Co-host a circle.  Or when you know some listener jumps into the speaker  panel and says you know what? I can add something to your story right? Or they collaborate offline to kind of, you know, make good or something we discuss somewhere else, right? if you can force that collaboration, that’s when the feel of community will come through, right. 

Right now, I think we are just seeing the very surface level values of our community right where one person is inspiring the other. But I think that collaboration has to still come in, and I think part of their job is ours. To forge collaborations. To make collaboration easy accessible permissible way to sharing. And the other part is for people to, you know, engage enough with the platform and the people to believe that they can collaborate over here, right? So, I think when we get to collaboration. Will know a community happen. Does that make sense? 

Rohit Nallapeta: That makes total sense, and I will tell you one of the very good standard examples that is lent out in the world today, right. For the community I’m not sure if you use the product Notion. Notion is a no code workspace notion.so it’s quite famous and it got relaunched. That entire product grew on the strength of the community. Which was literally a Reddit community where a bunch of people started sharing about the creative things that they could do with Notion. 

Literally, users came and saw how all the product could be used and started looking at what all could be created and started building into that. That became that has become one of the largest drivers of what do you call product growth for notion definitely and from the Glance workspace, right? 

For us, we are now starting to look at this SaaS PLG and this Community that I’m trying to build on Mentza is one such community effort. I am also trying to do that on Weavr and I want to build something around our blog so I really want people to discuss ideas about product, segmentation, conversion and how SaaS and product led growth and how our growth funnel part of the theam can change. So, I am trying to do that. But we’re not there yet. So, from your point of view, while collaboration can happen, that is a very given point. There is also an interesting aspect of you know what people want to contribute and people want to give others the ideas of what all can they talk about. Those are also can be done. 

Anurag Vaish: Exactly, absolutely and I think you know? If you look at open-source coding right, that’s probably the finest example of community. But you know, techies come together, coders come together and try and help each other build on or solve the problem and all of that right. And then there are these sort of an artificial community space. Which is basically interest groups. I think because we have similar interests, we happen to be together many times right? I still don’t see that community aspect of it, which is just kind of, you know, co-consuming content or co-consuming event or something because they happen to have similar interest areas. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Yeah, I agree. But there is a little bit of give and, Divya makes a very good point. The give and take should be kind of not just consumed but give and take, I think that contribution is what I think is called a strong community.  

Anurag Vaish: Like what you said right? In the WhatsApp group, right? I mean when creators put their circles in the WhatsApp group, right? It’s not just about letting people know, it’s also an invitation to come and join those circles and be on the speaker and collaborate and make those decision richer right, and which is why I like the WhatsApp group, not so much that I know people get to see what is happening, it’s more to  get a feel that I can contribute to this topic, I can make this topic richer. I can add my story to it right, and that’s all that happens a lot by the way Rohit. 

Rohit Nallapeta:  100% I’m with you and I love that whole thing there. Now let’s move on to another aspect that I kind of want to talk about, right? I’m picking the points that I think are very relevant to us and I’m picking up a point called deliver instant product value. For me, I think Mentza it’s very evident the product value is you install the app, you look, you browse through the interest group and you can listen to a circle. And as a creator, you can host a circle, but if you are not entirely aware where the users are right, but what if I don’t? I mean, I’m brand new. Can I invite my other friends very easily? Do I have onboarding experience to create something? And listen to something, those are some questions I have for you. 

Anurag Vaish: Yeah, so like I said, we are a over featured product right in that sense that you know you will barely ever have to ask for the feature that doesn’t exist on the platform, right? And you did one last week, right when you ask for an email imbed, right? We don’t have any mail imbed right, but all of those facilities are there and it’s somewhat over featured in the sense that there were too many features in the platform, right? But that doesn’t help it.  

And I keep telling everybody that simply because you have a feature doesn’t mean you’re creating experience around it, right? I mean, people who feel the nudge right then they should be able to invite people, right? Or that they will be able to, you know, get other people on their circle or they can invite people from the platform that they don’t know, right? So, Rohit should be able to invite, say you know Surabhi from the listeners into the speaker, even though it doesn’t know Surabhi, right? As much as we should be able to invite Rajesh on the speaker because he knows right through all of those routes see. So, those kind of, you know, all those features are available. I think sometimes they’re hidden, sometimes they’re blatant.  

But we are still to see a phenomenon where a lot of people do a lot of these things, right, that’s not the truth. Most of the times people are doing some of these things, not a lot of these things, but I agree with you that if people start sharing inviting a lot more, you will see how the conversations will become richer, right? For the listener specially right because speakers know what they want to say. For the listeners, when they hear five different point of views it makes for a much greater experience than listening to ten good points from one speaker. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Correct, so my question to you is, What according to you is instant value? Because I can, I let me rephrase it this way, for a product like Glance, right? What we end up doing is for us the instant value is looking when a customer on boards himself he has a contact list like 5000 or 10,000 people and we first immediately allow them to organize the list by goals, which means any email list.  

Oh, this guy is for buying, this guy is for free trial, this guy is for upgrade for a B2B business context and in the next 45 minutes we are able to look at all the history. Look at every aspect of signaling and then we are able to tell them that. Boss, here are the people who are opportunities to buy. Who will upgrade, who will be a churn risk for you. Now the work that we do in the first 45 minutes is something that takes them days so that instant product value in a limit in a way which is possible in B2B for that volume we do it. So, I think in your case listening is a fantastic experience that anybody can get into quickly. That’s what I was trying to get to. 

Anurag Vaish: Yeah, for us you know. I mean people are consuming so much content all the time, right? You and me same right. Reading books, reading articles. We listen to podcast. Listen to music. We are searching on Google and getting like hundreds of pages to browse through, right? But this idea of a live interaction right is rare. I mean, even before clubhouse or Mentza came in right, I don’t even know where I could have gone to get a live experience. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Absolutely everything, because otherwise live radio with somebody is doing and listening. There are no real world lies there. 

Anurag Vaish: There is no interaction, right? I could watch a live match, but there is no interaction in it, right? And live is not live unless you can be part of it. At least the possibility exists that we really wanted to I could become part of that conversation, right? That possibility wasn’t there. Like you could be listening to a webinar, a seminar live, you could be watching a cricket match live or a concert live. But there is no way that you could become part of it right at in our platform you suddenly have this possibility where you can be part of that creation. Part of that experience, right? And I think that’s a big change that live audio is bringing to the world of experiences right? And therefore I think you know we could be great content or not so great content right, but this whole idea of an experience of being in a live is it’s way too good. I mean you know you could look at the you know this you when you go to a theater or when you are watching a street play right. There’s a fun to be in that live environment. Much beyond  a watching a produced show on Netflix, right for that matter. 

Rohit Nallapeta: You create an alternate world live experience which was an earlier not available like we do of Glance segments for our people. So, I mean different parts of the different world, right? Let me ask one important point in about 40 seconds, monetized based on usage. I don’t want to put you on the spot, but is there a monetization model that you are thinking like that? But it’s still to come. 

Anurag Vaish: Oh, very soon. So, it’s coming. Now we have to monetize because it’s a business right when people get value and they pay for it. But it’s a matter of a couple of months here and there. 

Rohit Nallapeta: Fantastic from the Glance side we monetize on a subscription basis based on a number of contacts we segment just to compare notes on our B2B and a B2C app, both look at so differently and doing this compare and contrast. As an experience of discussing product led growth principles for today’s world. 

So, thank you Anurag for joining me.  

Anurag Vaish Thank you so much Rohit 

Rohit Nallapeta: This was fantastic.  

Anurag Vaish: Absolutely fantastic. 

 

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