Amplitude’s IPO: An early PM shares the war stories

Amplitude was easily the least hyped startup in the “growth stack” that took birth ~2010. We weren’t first to market, didn’t get pre-emptive offers, press didn’t cover us. For seed stage founders and aspiring early startup pros: here’s 7⃣ things I’ve learnt truly mattered:
1⃣ Competition and urgency are your best friends. Being the underdog united and drove our team to continuously improve and raise the bar on ourselves. There wasn’t ever a moment to lose.
2⃣Hype is good for VC$ but not for driving operating excellence. We worked *hard* to raise the right money. Every metric mattered. Every hire mattered. Every deal won against competitors mattered. We fussed over pitch decks, financial plans and rehearsed them to perfection.
3⃣ Relentless, persistent execution builds companies. Product velocity, win rate, margins, retention. We did the hard things well. Our founders took great joy in operational excellence and conceded when they weren’t sure what it looked like so we could learn.
4⃣ Customer love is worth 100x investment $. We worked on being the best product for our customers everyday. You could ask anyone in the company what we prioritized and you would hear this. Be the best product.
5⃣ Titles and JDs don’t matter early on. My role at Amplitude changed every 6 months to the next bottleneck in the business to address. To be a good early startup hire, you need to be a generalist and learn what the company needs rather than keep working on what you know.
6⃣ Our founders made every equity decision to ensure strong equity participation for employees. Generous option plans. Access to early exercise for tax benefits. 10 year exercise windows to manage risk. The lack of hype early on leads to great outcomes for more employees.
7⃣ As an executive team we spent a LOT of time on culture and communication. We didn’t always get it right immediately but we listened, learnt and adapted. This included changing how we presented ourselves when we evolved from an underrated challenger to clear market leader.
The best part is this company is just getting started with 1300 paying customers and a whole world aspiring to build better products .. with data.
Thank you @spenserskates @curtisbliu @paladin314159 @justinjbauer @malthauser and @ericvishria for an incredible opportunity to learn the craft. Without the hype. #AmplitudeListed

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