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What exceptional startups have in common: they stay close to their users

Tips & Tricks

It's no secret that the startup journey is long and hard and that only the exceptional ones end up becoming huge successes. What makes the successful ones stand out? After interviewing hundreds of startup operators and leaders, we found that the most successful ones tended to have one trait in common: they all interacted very closely with users from the early days.

In the early days, the pre-product market fit or zero to one process is the most critical time for a startup to gather user feedback, learn from user behavior, and ultimately build a valuable product that the startup can later expand upon at a greater scale. Staying close to users during this period of time is important for a few reasons:

  • You can discover what aspects of your product users are finding value in and which aspects they are not. Building a product that people want is far from easy and oftentimes your own intuition will trick you. Actually talking to users and observing their behavior will help you double down on the features users find the most valuable and de-prioritize costly features that aren't as valuable.
  • You can observe their behavior to find out what areas are frustrating for them and improve your product's user experience.
  • You can catch any bugs or hiccups a user may run into to make sure they can use your platform smoothly instead of churning.

This will feel very unscalable at the very beginning, but learnings at this stage will be well worth it. In the early days every user journey counts, and staying on top of onboarding, conversion and churn now will help you scale those learnings in the future. It will be much more expensive in the future to scale a product that doesn't resonate with users than one that does.

Sample case study: Stripe

One of the most successful startups that was obsessed with its users during the early days is Stripe. Founded in 2010, Stripe provides payments infrastructure for the internet. Their founders John and Patrick Collison were known for waking up in the middle of the night to every single customer complaint or outage in the very early days. They also monitored user sign ups religiously and the founders themselves would answer customer support requests well into the growth days of the company. They even had weekend hackathons where the whole team, including engineers would go to the Collison brothers' house and knock out hundreds of support tickets.


The culture of user obsession continued to stay with the company well into the later days of growth, with "Users First" being one of the company's core operating principles. It seems to have paid off, as Stripe's payments processing product has taken off and has now become industry standard. Many of its subsequent product offerings have gained significant traction as well. Stripe is valued at $95 billion as of the date of the writing of this article.

Simple tooling to help you stay close to your users

We know staying close to users is critical to a company's success, so what are the tools to do this in practice? Luckily in today's day, there are tools like LogicLoop that you can quickly set up to help you stay close to users and improve your product experience. LogicLoop allows you to trigger alerts and workflows when certain conditions are met in your data, and can be used to monitor user activity in a variety of ways.

Get real-time notifications when a user does something on your platform

  • Trigger a Slack alert when a new user signs up
  • Trigger a Slack alert if a particular feature is being used
  • Notify a sales team member when a superuser uses your product obsessively

Once you're notified of user activity in your platform, you can observe & analyze their behavior to inform product development, or reach out to the user to guide them through your product or chat about an upsell.

Get notified when a user runs into a bug or issue on your platform

  • Trigger a PagerDuty alert when a user's account is not functioning the way you would expect

By staying hyperaware of any issues in your product, your team can quickly resolve any failures to give users a smooth experience and decrease the risk of them having a frustrating experience and churning.

Send users touch points throughout their journey to encourage interaction with your platform

  • Send users a welcome email when they onboard
  • Send users a congratulatory text when they reach a certain milestone on your platform
  • Send users a reminder even if they haven't logged into your platform for over a month and are at risk of churn

By automating these touch points, users are reminded of your product and you can increase their engagement levels. It also gives them an opportunity to reach out to you if they have any questions.

The benefit of using LogicLoop to increase customer engagement is that LogicLoop can operate directly on your database or data warehouse, allowing you to use SQL to really customize which users you want to target. In less than 30 minutes, you can implement the tools to stay vigilant among your users and increase your product's resonance with them, ultimately increasing your startup's chances of success. Sign up now if you'd like to give it a try for yourself.

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