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How did you get to where you are today? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path? What inspired you to work on this startup idea?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
Well, I think I would say First of all, there's no standard path to where people end up in their started journey. Some people started, started in 18 50 and everyone can have a equally good challenge. Success a songs you get started At some point I got here, I studied linguistics. So right off the bat, not a traditional start, Um, and then for about a year, I wouldn't really want to do at the problem. So I moved to Sweden either and did a master's degree in marketing. Uh huh. And then got a consulting job with Bain and Company during school and then that broke him offer back with, um, worked in management consulting for a few years assembled, who chose, well, Im and I think I've always wanted to have my business time. I started my instant technology and science, and so I kind of always coming out ideas. I think the management consulting feels that sort of taught me to be analytical. Uh, understand how different sort of functions in a business and education work, understand investor interest of incentives on. But I did a lot of reading to make up for what I didn't learn in my undergrad in my grad school, um, and tried to find mentors to help me again. Sort of deal with my gaps and weaknesses. And then, uh And then I started my first company. And then the rest is is history. So because that is the question.

What is the elevator pitch of your startup? What problem does it solve? How were your customers solving their pain point before your startup?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
the world's fastest python data science and machine learning platform. So for context, data science and machine learning models could take a long time to run. If you have 10 terabytes of data, uh, you can have a model lakes, maybe 60 days to run. It doesn't really work for a lot of businesses, but none of the reality that they've been in. And historically what they've done is they've just waited. Or instead of waiting, they can down sample the data. So instead of taking the true nature and size of the data, they take a small. Fortunately, that obviously has implications for accuracy, which will be worse, and insights sort of the trust in the data quality that they later. So with that in cloud, because it's so fast, they're able to take that full volume of data, uh, Dr Analytics from it, and then make recommendations that they're a lot more confident. And we see that used in any, you know, area from AI being used in autonomous vehicles. We see it used in biomedical for sale tissue cell tissue analysis, financial services, trying to understand sort of movements in the market, three applications air really broad to big data is a proper affecting, um, everyone in the business world and research world

Can you walk us through your first few weeks when you started working on this project? How did things change over the next few months?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
have an idea of what's going on, and the truth is you really have no idea what's going on. So, um, we thought that people wanted a science environment in the cloud with scalable resource is, um, that hypothesis evolved significantly over the next few months. First two weeks. Eso There's myself, sort of business founder and CEO and my co founder who's the CTO. There's also work in data science. Um, he was doing a lot of sort of product development work. I was doing a lot of customer discovery research as well as speaking with investors around different types of business models that we use. And so it was very research intensive, um, where we didn't want to strictly use our own vision and our own biases and views on what the business should be but understand from the market. Where was their demand? Where was their revenue opportunity also understand from investors? Would have financial business looked like what was a business that would be successful in that they've seen in business models that were sort of applicable to what we're doing, and it could maximize their chances of success. Um, and then we spoke with a lot of top leaders, you know, asking them, like, where should data science machinery be in the next five or 10 years? Can we go through tools? So there's a lot of research, and then you get to building a sort of initial version of the product, which you demo to customers, and you get feedback very quickly on Are they going to use this or not? And then you react to hot and cold and keep evolving on that exactly.

What were the challenges in building the initial team and how did you overcome them? How much time and resources did founding team members commit?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
is you want, of course, high quality team members. And if you don't have credibility or money, that becomes harder because people are going to have to leave a nice paying job for you or take a pay cut or or real with some challenges. Gonna make it a lot trickier to join your startup, then a bigger company or more trying to start up. Um, so there's a couple things you can do On my first start up, I was very front lines on sales, marketing and a lot of things. And so when our first team members join, we were basically doing the same thing. We're both on the phone, is doing the same exact job, so there's a lot of credibility in terms of that. I'm not sort of sitting in a chair and sort of giving out marching orders. I'm much on the front lines. They are, and my strategic mistakes will impact me. Just will impact anybody else, also involving them in the conversation around strategy planning product in the second start, uh, sort of or serial founders. At that point, it had been successful enough to have a way also raised a seed round $4 million you know, capability to buy, um, a lot of it have ads and think Who starts with image and Western? And with that, we're able to hire better time. Better part, but it's

How did your venture get its first professional funding? What were the challenges and how were they overcome? How'd your fundraising efforts change in subsequent rounds?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
building that sort of fundamental trust. Retired from the Czech, Um, wait middle.and we had a Siris of other angels joint and well, I think what really drove that first check to coming in was that we had started to sell a lot of product prior to the first investment. Um, that's tough, because we were selling a database service to Fortune 500 companies, where candidly, I was just emailing a lot of people calling a lot of people and making sales happen on. But it was just, uh, like, hard, hard work. But we had a lot of really good logos and revenue coming in. And so I think that gave investors confidence In the second startup. We had sold contracts of our product. That was just sort of a sliver of the overall scope for a very small price. But again, it showed, I think, to investors that there was a path to revenue, that there was a certain amount of product market fit here and then based on research, and over time we knew we sort of build up the full scope that they would be product market fit. Um, that was sort of increase the attractiveness and size of the contracts over time. Um, some of the major challenges. I think when you're starting off is you don't necessarily know what a normal or standard terms look like. And so, in the early age stages, you know angels can offer all kinds of terms. Antique stage funds can do that as well. If you have good legal counsel experience, there's also a lot of literature out there. Having mentors will help you sort of know that you should not be giving a board seat, probably, and a round mostly of angels. You might not want Thio give up so much control, but you might be willing to take same or dilution on a convertible note. So there's a lot of things to note to do right early on that will impact your financial stake later as a founder and also the interests of other investors, right? Yeah.

How did you set the scope for your minimal viable product? How did you get to product-market fit? How did your product evolve over time?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
So the problem is when you talk to a lot of different prospects and customers a lot of stories. So you have a lot of van diagrams with some overlap and then other things that is much on. Do you want to start obviously with the most common ground. But then sometimes that doesn't get people on the phone. You know, you also need a beachhead to say, Well, this is our differentiator. You can't just offer a Jupiter notebook and say, this is what we have. You have to actually offer more scope around that and have differentiating, um, tools. And so setting the scope was obviously starting with the common ground and then working on tooling around it that could serve as a beachhead, sort of capture the interest, something to try out. Okay, It has also over time, in a lot of ways. One is the actual product fundamentals, like what tools weum, the other way products change from what I've seen is how they're presented. And so it almost feels like a stage with actors where, you know, initially you might be putting this tooling front and center and saying This is a solution for a cloud hosting service and then your other tooling might be in the background mawr, which emphasizes performance, speed or usability. And then as it evolves, you actually start to change the order of how you present these characters and and are sort of story. The Cloud hosted actor was front of the stage for a while. Um, and today it's really the performance character, which which matters a lot on DSO. You restructure the stage a little bit, even though the product is fundamentally the same. Ondas well as user experience on boarding, you could see a lot of change how people adopted use your product based on that alone

Who were your early users? What marketing channels, approaches, and marketing tools did you use to contact users? What worked and what didn't?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
So our early users were a mix of startups and fortune 1000 companies, but they were pockets in those companies. So it was not like we brought on the entire outside a health care system or Newmark Knight. Frank, we brought on, like the pocket of data scientist that were here. Were there, um, we tried every way to reach customers. We tried to figure out where they consumed, um, content around data science, which block post that people were reading in Newsletters Way also reached out directly on LinkedIn by email. So it was a mix outbound and inbound marketing and selling techniques where we just wanted to see what was gonna work. When you find out what doesn't work, you change it or you just continue it. When you find out what works, you keep evolving it keep experiment with other channels. So it was a lot of experimentation, and you waste a lot of time experimenting early on, but it's worthwhile because you identify what works, and that's the most important thing. There's really never a playbook for what's gonna work at your startup. You still have Thio texted, generate a lot of things to figure out actually what works

How'd you hire, incentivize, and track the progress of your sales and marketing team including agencies and part-time workers to scale user base?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
bumper incentive sales is of course, commission, and so they get a cut of the deal for a certain portion of time. Um, and that's obviously the most theoretical. You know what you'll find in the game theory textbook. I think something else that a lot of people don't think about is the culture of the company. You hire people that are passionate about their work. They want to produce results. They will still work hard to schedule base himself. It's just who they are. And if you hire those people early on that such a culture at that level, that will attract more people like that. And new employees follow that lead. So setting a really strong culture is super important for instead of just beyond commission. In fact, I think it's culture for a lot of people that will make them burn the midnight oil rather than 20% of a perspective deal that may or may not come in on. The best thing you can do is the founder is to do it yourself first instead. A good example. If you do that and you will sleep blessed by doing that like that. But you will ensure that you have a culture and that will pay dividends way bigger later on

Who were your competitors when you started and how did the competition evolve? How did you create a competitive advantage and a unique selling proposition?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
so early on. There's so many companies that seemed like competitors large and small, and it can actually become overwhelming because you'll think of start ups that are similar sized. And you'll think of unicorns that are huge and Amazon's. And these ones, um, one important note when we think about competitors is, are they coming up in sales calls? If we identified somebody as a competitor, that has a similar solution, but they never come up in a sales call, they don't have a commercial traction to be a competitors, so they have to come up in sales calls. We have to be bidding against them for them to qualify. That will immediately take out a large chunk of perceived competitors for you. Sometimes investors will ask you about those companies, and you'll sort of have your differentiators and you'll talk about you know, we don't see them on sales calls, so I can't say if we're actually competing for budget at this prospect, then you have a really big companies that may offer something similar or some overlap or something directly similar. The way we categorize that is there is the existential threat companies for us that would be like a data bricks. You need to be a stage maker, maybe Domino Data Lab. And then there's companies that do something similar to you. You probably can compete in some categories, but they're not going to be an existential threat to your startup. In your scalability, that could be like an anaconda, even dominant dates again on DSO. You really want to focus on the existential threat ones because I don't have enough time to cover all of it. Perceived competitors on it evolves over time because you are constantly trying to differentiate new players with the scene companies spend out companies get acquired, and so the landscapes invariably evolving, and you have to stay on top of that. But you also have to keep yourself staying and focus on your own product fundamentals because you always feel like the grass is greener on. You'll just need the talk track to talk about them. For most of the time, we developed a unique selling proposition by looking at the history of competition and how leaders emerged eso we noticed that Cloudera, which had commercialized Hadoop a parallel computing framework in 2004 was sort of by Dana Bricks, which was commercializing Apache Spark and Next Generation computing framework from 2013 and data bricks really hammered on performance like faster machine learning models and usability. Those two things were what their main messages were on day produced scientific benchmarks to show that they were faster and more usable. Um, we experimented with that messaging. Similarly, we created similar benchmarks, and that actually worked very well. And so we were able to produce benchmarks that showed we were 2000 times faster than data bricks. And then we use the speed messaging as well as usability because we're python only, and they're not, um, as from our core differentiators, so you can do research and obviously creativity.

What were the major exciting and memorable moments? Were there also any moments that almost got you to quit? How did you get past them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
from a venture capital firm is pretty exciting because it's a huge sense of validation. Um, it puts evaluation of your company. The word is, of course, like, you know, you may have 25% of this company or 50% of this company, and it's worth $20 million or $10 million. You don't actually have that money. You're just it's paper money, right? At this point, it's It's not money in your bank account, but it's validation that you're on the right path. But you're far from finishing anything, so at the same time it's huge validation. It's also now huge pressure because you have to execute and you have a reputation in the Valley now to be very mindful of, you have $4 million of someone's money. In our case, that needs to be curto work effectively, and there's goals that you sort of committed to targets and objectives that you need to hit. And you have a plan for that and those plans gonna change. And so you're gonna have to find ways to cope with the changing world changing plans. Yes,

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
So you're doing the sales strategy and the sales calls you're doing the marketing strategy and the marketing prep work design a lot of that. Um, you're dealing with a lot of product working with engineering to relay back, you know, what does the market want? What are we seeing? What's gonna close these big deals? You're doing customer success. You know, you're you're staying close to your customers to understand how they can be successful, but they still using the product or they're not using it And why you're doing work with investors. You're even if you're not fundraising, you'll be talking with investors to plant seeds for future fund raises on down that, you know, vein. You'll be speaking with, um, your current investors and potentially future investors, um, to talk about the business model on how it's going. Of course, you're in charge of hiring, so you're doing the hiring strategy, who you need your budgeting headcount, and you're also getting on the phone and interviewing everyone at the first stage. So being founder and CEO of a seed stage company means you will literally do almost everything in the company, and your co founder will also do similar amounts of work. But then maybe focusing more on product or engineering depending on your their profile

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
I have a very weird story, but I went to college when I was 15 years old and I chose linguistics. Which is what happens when you go to college too young, because you just do something random. Um, I mean, linguistics was interesting because it was a lot of neuroscience and psychology, which taught me a lot about how people think and feel. And that's been very useful in sales and marketing as well as fundraising, because you understand sort of the human condition better on Ben. From my master program, I studied marketing, which I think was sort of the I would call it commercial psychology. Almost right. Understanding how people think in markets. More specifically, Um, that said, I read voraciously throughout my bachelor in grad programs. Like every book in economics and business, I could find psychology self help. I just read, you know, maybe one or two books a week. And so there was a lot of self starting education as well as like the formal education, and I think you could. It could not have been one of the other one had to be both, um, and I also think moving to New York city from Sweden was a big improvement as well, because just there's so much more talent here that has similar goals. To me, it's obviously way bigger. Manhattan is the size of Stockholm of Sweden, actually. And there's investors here that you could meet and have coffee within the culture. Four startups is here in a similar in, uh, San Francisco. So I think those were some of the things that didn't to best prepare my career. I also like, Look, I could've started my first start up when I was 22. I tried tinkering with ideas. I didn't get traction, but also didn't quit my full time job to go do it. I quit my full time job to start my start up. When I started selling the first contracts and I knew, Okay, we got something here, so that was a little bit more risk averse than maybe the traditional founder profile. Maybe it was just this risk averse. Um, So if you have two very much do it to how your life is going, there's no, um, cookbook for when to do it best prepare as long as you just do it

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
some some that I can share. E think some I sort of shared earlier is, you know, leading by example. It was powerful. It's hard work, but it's the best way to get quality. Um, sort of culturally, um, understanding what other people want and need and understanding that well is really important for working with organizations and other companies. It's very easy to sort of focus on your personal ambitions and goals. But if you understand what the investors need to understand what your employees need and your customers need, that will get you very far because you're able to now from just one node in the network. Actually coordinate with a lot of others, and the ability to self organize is, um, really powerful. And it's absolutely a prerequisite for being a founder, and I think the third one in terms of the professional careerI had worked the pharmaceutical space, nothing management consulting on. So I was very familiar with the pre clinical and clinical trial process, which in many ways is like the lean startup. Except for with medicine. You take a small dose. You try in a very safe environment, maybe self issue or an animal. Then you ask that based on the results and if it doesn't work, if it proves to be too toxic than you, scale it back and to sort of constantly re scope based on that trial process. So for me, I think about it like a clinical trial. The M V P is the more popular business version, but I think are both are very applicable that it helps you not overcome it. Resource is, but as well sort of get where you're going. So testing, testing your risky assumptions, making sure that your appropriately using engineering bandwidth and on the path attraction eyes what I consider Butnational venture capital before. So, um, you could go to meet UPS. You could try to me B. C s u Congar to pitch events. There's tons and tons of things. And depending on where your life has brought you, you will be a different levels of readiness. Um, I had not raised national capital before. I didn't know people who had raised professional capital before. I have family who had done that? Um, you know, my mom was a nurse. So, like, there's not a whole lot of founder experience coming down the line. Um, so you figured out a lot by yourself. The way I figured out how to get professional capital was by contacting almost every VC in the world like almost literally. And at some point you get meetings. You talk to people, you're learning what works, and so on. There's a lot of adversity, and the most important thing was, don't give up. You also can't be crazy and keep banging your head against the wall with a technique that work. So it's a mix of knowing when to pivot, but also not giving up on losing steam. Um, I think adversity ah, lot of It is, uh, the founder themselves. Like, try to try to keep your spirits up, try to push hard, but also no one to pivot. Um, it's like the last thing diversity challenge.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Oct 14 2020
I have seen CEO have come from so many different backgrounds. Lawyers, doctors, salespeople like any background. What will make you a CEO and founder is your determination, your ability to self improve. It's not gonna be so much. We studied in school just again, a reminder I study linguistics. Then I studied marketing that internship management, consulting, focusing on pharmaceuticals. And now I'm working in a I That is such an unpredictable path. I guarantee you that didn't do anything. You want it so I would encourage you know what you love. Believe in yourself, and when you're ready to do any, I would say Go for it. And don't be afraid that if you start a startup in it doesn't work out. You can always work again full time and then jump back in. It's not like dropping out of high school or middle school, where you know you feel scarred or you feel like this is a huge challenge. You have to go back. You can actually always go back to the professional workplace. On work at a law firm, you can work in sales in any place. Let me go back to the start again. Don't forget to enjoy your life travel when you're young,Okay, Perfect.