80 minutes | Oct 1, 2020

Rahul Vohra - Using Emotion to Design Great Products - [Founder’s Field Guide, EP.1]

Today’s episode represents a new chapter for Invest Like the Best, so requires a longer introduction than normal. Starting today, I’ll be bringing you two episodes per week on the same feed. On Tuesday’s, I’ll focus on investors, and on Thursday’s, I’ll host builders—founders, CEOs, and operators from all different fields. We call this new Thursday series Founder’s Field Guide. There’s nothing more interesting to me than how great businesses get build, and how investors can identify those businesses at the right time. We’ve already recorded with founders build companies in food, technology, infrastructure, shipping, collectibles, and many more categories. The goal each weak will be to have a builder share what they’ve done, how they’ve done it, and what they’ve learned along the way. We view this as a critical next step in furthering our mission: to capture and openly share the world’s best knowledge on business and investing.

Onto the kickoff episode with Rahul Vohra. Rahul is the Founder & CEO of Superhuman, an extremely popular product for managing email. Rahul describes himself as a Computer Scientist, Gamer, Entrepreneur, and Designer. You’ll see quickly why it’s the intersection of these areas that sets Superhuman apart. We discuss why emotion matters when building products, and how other entrepreneurs can learn from his experience. Please enjoy the very first episode of Founder’s Field Guide, and stay tuned in future weeks as we host leaders from Nike, Cisco, Twitch, and so many more…listen in as we explore the world of cannabis, baking (not that kind), manufacturing, hardware, software, and more. Let’s dive in.


This episode is brought to you by Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft for Startups is a global program dedicated to helping “enterprise-ready” B2B startups successfully scale their companies. If you’re a founder running a B2B company targeting the enterprise, you should definitely check them out. 


This episode is also sponsored by Vanta.  Vanta has built software that makes it easier to both get and maintain your SOC 2 report, at a fraction of the normal cost. Founders Field Guide listeners can redeem a $1k off coupon at vanta.com/patrick


For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag


Show Notes

(3:56) – (First question) – His interest in game design and emotion in software creation

(5:15) – Key elements of game design

(6:23) – Toys in digital software creation

(8:48) – Finding success in boring software solutions

(11:19) – Getting confidence while building when there are no real customers

(14:08) – How they landed on their final product

            (15:40) – The Superhuman Product/Market Fit Engine

(20:46) – Determining software price

            (21:55) – Positioning Your Startup is Vital — Here’s How to Nail It

            (23:09) – Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

            (24:13) – Monetizing Innovation: How Smart Companies Design the Product Around the Price

(26:36) – First big break for the business

(29:04) – How technology companies actually grow

(32:15) – Branding a software

(33:57) – How he evaluates a company brand as an investor

(36:07) – Questions to ask founders when considering an investment

(37:35) – How the distribution of Superhuman worked so well

(41:25) – Most common question asked by VC’s about Superhuman

(43:00) – Why they do manual onboarding of customers

            (43:05) – Daniel Ek Podcast Episode

(45:10) – Cost structure of a busines looking to reach the billion-dollar valuation

(47:18) – Designing for flow in software business

(51:21) – His design philosophy and their joy formula  

(58:03) – His superpower

(1:00:46) – The power of therapy

(1:02:50) – Why he invests in other companies

(1:05:05) – Trends in the technology space that have him excited

(1:07:28) – The future for Superhuman

(1:10:26) – Kindest thing anyone has done for him  


Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club and new email newsletter called “Inside the Episode” at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag


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