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How to Successfully Take a New Product to Market (Episode 94)

Karthik Suresh is the co-Founder of Ignition. Ignition is the world’s first go-to-market platform (GTM), allowing businesses to manage all stages of the product life cycle.

Karthik has extensive experience building and launching products across consumer, enterprise, and data domains.

Having led product teams at both early-stage startups and tech giants, he offers valuable insights into all aspects of product development and market strategy.

He is a product and a technology leader with experience as a founder, an early startup hire, and a key player in defining product strategy, and finding a market fit.

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What you will learn

  • The 4 big challenges for launching a new product and how to use Ignition to solve them
  • The truth about customer feedback
  • Why customers will “stop lying when they start paying”
  • The art of fundraising
  • The big problem for teams when going from idea to action for a new product
  • The steps involved in a “Go to Market” launch

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:03 - 00:01:09

Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas Show. Today with me Karthik Suresh. Now Karthik is the co-founder of Ignition and their website is at HaveIgnition.com. Ignition is the world's first go-to-market platform and it uses the acronym GTM, go-to-market, allowing business to manage all stages of the product life cycle. Karthik has extensive experience building and launching products across consumer enterprise and data domains. Having led product teams at both early stage startups and tech giants, he offers valuable insights into all aspects of product development and market strategy. He is a product and technology leader with experience as a founder, an early startup hire and a key player of defining product strategy and finding market fit.

So he's got extensive experience building products and consumer enterprise and the data domain across early stage and established companies. And I'm really looking forward to a conversation because everyone is launching products and how do you do that and how do you make it work?

Well, welcome to the show Karthik, it's great to have you here.

Karthik Suresh

00:01:10 - 00:01:12

Yeah, thanks a lot for having me. I'm excited.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:12 - 00:01:36

So Karthik, you've previously worked in startups. I think the original one, you started up with a London based Fintech company called Alterest that you started around 2016 and then you went to a company called Craft, is that correct? Is that correct? Was it Craft? The next one?

Karthik Suresh

00:01:37 - 00:01:38

Yes, that's right.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:38 - 00:02:29

And then you went to Facebook and your head of, basically helped them build rich consumer product experiences. So what, you basically did a degree in Computer Science Information networking and then you went to London Business School and did a master of Business Administration. So. Okay, so obviously you're in the tech area. Okay, that's obvious. So what got you into more product, because basically you dived into being a Product Manager and launched products for a range of companies from small to large. So where did the idea after doing all that tackle that science, going to business school in London? What, where did this interesting idea for product management and product launch come from?

Karthik Suresh

00:02:30 - 00:04:38

Yeah. Yeah. So I think it goes back to, you know, my very first job actually, so once I graduated from a Master's degree, my first job was in financial services actually with Morgan Stanley and then later with appropriating firm and I was a Software Engineer though, I started as a Software Engineer. And one of the things I noticed, I worked there for a few years in financial services and by the way, it was a crazy time because I graduated right into 2008, so I also went to the process. So that's another story I'd like to share. But like when I was working in finance, that was one thing I saw was that there was not a ton of impact, pretty much most of the work involved like taking money and making more money and just repeat and rinse and there was not as much fulfillment or also there's not like it's not very tangible, you couldn't see your results being delivered and used by many users and this is something I was like, okay, I need to, I need to explore more outside financial services and I had a lot of tech skills because I have a engineering background, but I also wanted to get some business skills at the same time because my eventual goal was always to start a company and that's how I ended up at business school and why did business school, it became very obvious that like the career I want to pursue would be in product management and specifically around like basically being able to build this product and then bring you to this world and also that it's not just about building a product, but it's also about turning, you're turning a specific idea into an actual, like something which made millions of people use. That's the main motivation is like you have all of these various ideas, you talk about with friends, but most of the time nothing actually gets done. But I guess product management is one field where it actually enables you to have to kind of empowers you to bring all of these ideas into actually usable product between millions of users can use and that's kind of what excited me and brought me into product management.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:38 - 00:05:15

So what I'm hearing is that you're like a desk jockey working in a very virtual world and you couldn't see the actual visually, you couldn't see the actual impact on anyone or anything, it was just like money in money out so, but yeah, so you went, I need to do something, I can actually maybe get my hands dirty on and actually act on it and make a bigger difference. So in other words, what you would want to do is you want to take an idea and then actually manifest and produce something that is tangible for the world.

Karthik Suresh

00:05:17 - 00:05:51

Exactly, and, and also the satisfaction you get from that and also the fulfillment you get, it's just like there is no paddle, like you know, there were, there were times and during my job in New York where we, you know very sometimes, you know, they have really good days, made millions of dollars, but it's nothing compared to like you're actually building a product and even like one or two users just seeing you and saying, hey, I love this product, you know, did you build it or just seeing them use it? I think it's a whole different level of like fulfillment and purpose.

Jeff Bullas

00:05:51 - 00:06:32

I totally agree. It's, I think the thing I discovered early on when I launched my business was that when you created something, whether it's a piece of writing or a product and then this is what excited me about social media was when you shared it on social media because social media is a two way conversation right? Which we've never really had before. Like we had emailed sure, there's a lag. So it's almost instantaneous feedback loop. So as you share what you're creating with the world and it doesn't matter what you're creating, it could be a business, a product, writing up, it really doesn't matter. But when you get that feedback, it's almost addictive, isn't it?

Karthik Suresh

00:06:32 - 00:06:43

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean, no wonder all the social media platforms are so addictive and right now the creators are probably the, you know, I think the most sought after people right now for sure.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:44 - 00:06:50

Because what happens in that feedback loop is your idea and your creation gets validated.

Karthik Suresh

00:06:52 - 00:06:53

Yeah, exactly.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:53 - 00:06:55

And that's intoxicating,

Karthik Suresh

00:06:57 - 00:07:27

Very intoxicating. And in fact, I mean it's, it is both good and bad. I think the good part is of course you get the right validation but the bad part is it could, it could make you believe that things which are, which are not really true are basically like, you know, kind of sometimes make you lose your humility and things like that. But at the end of the day, I think, I think getting that feeling from other people getting that sense of validation is so important.

Jeff Bullas

00:07:28 - 00:08:07

I totally agree. And I think the other part about that validation as it continues as you keep sharing your gift with the world and basically what you've done with an idea with Ignition is essentially that's your idea. It's your gift to the world to basically help other, make other people's life is in other words, how to launch a product that make product managers life easier too. Um, make sure you got process is done when we're gonna talk more about that too. But this sort of feedback validation loop, it's almost like it produced its own power and energy. That's what I've discovered and how have you experienced that? Is that the same for you?

Karthik Suresh

00:08:09 - 00:08:49

Yeah, it does. And I think that is like this. It's almost like, you know, if you believe in something and if you truly work for it, the whole world comes together to make it, you know, come through, right? And you can see that it's like if you're doing something for the right reasons, right? So even whether it's Ignition or any of the startup, it's not just, oh, I want to be like famous or make some money. It's not that it's just like truly believe this product should exist and have no idea why it doesn't exist today. So I want to go build it and then give this to the world and when you, when you do it, you need to do something with the best intentions, you can see the entire world coming together to help you build it along with you, right? So that's the most beautiful part of the journey.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:50 - 00:10:05

It is, it's almost like a virtuous cycle of power and energy. Um, it's almost like a force that shows up and phrase I quite often uses is you're changing the world in your own way and the world is changing you as you keep iterating your product, evolving your product, evolving your ideas and you are learning so much as you do this. And I, I found it incredibly motivating and powerful when I started and, it's almost like this force almost takes over you and you just do what it takes and you're almost like maybe use the word possessed and motivated. So, so, okay, so the idea about what Ignition does is basically you observed a problem as in how teams and companies go about launching a new product or bring it to market whether it's their only product or whether it's another or it's a product set. And of course product managers have this challenge. So was it observing a problem, the problems that actually might have had you create this product? This company, Ignition?

Karthik Suresh

00:10:06 - 00:12:37

Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, so I have had, you know, basically worked in, you know, as I said, early stage startups funded a startup before and in a large company and I got Facebook and one of the things I saw was that like whether it's a small company or a pretty large company. The problems are pretty much the same when you have to take any product to the market. You know at, at Facebook, I was involved in like wanting all these cultural moments campaigns like, you know, for example, like a holiday campaign or a New Year campaign or Thanksgiving campaign on Facebook and later on I was in Facebook reality labs, I was helping launch like new portals and new devices. That's a part of the hardware group at Facebook and before at startups is basically what worked in mostly in enterprise software. So the problems are pretty much the same thing. I mean, so the most important thing is like when you know when you want to launch products, the marketing things gets involved, when marketing teams get involved for, for better or worse. There's a huge disconnect between the marketing teams and the product and engineering teams more often than not. Either the product teams informed the engineering teams that something is shipping probably just with a week or two weeks ago and marketing teams just do not have enough time to prepare for launch because probably there's also not enough appreciation as to how much work it goes in to actually getting something to the market. I think on the product side and me being a PM, it's almost like you build it, people that come, there's this mentality, but it's not really true. You need to still actually work on an actual launch plan and on on the, on the other side, the same when, when something is being, let's say the marketers are planning a launch campaign. There's also a time when the engineers don't ship things on time. And, and then the campaign is then, you know, like kind of delayed because like there is no clear communication lines between the marketing and engineering teams. At the same time, you know, there's also like not fully full understanding as to why things are being delayed on the engineering side. So it's both ways, like, so, I think engineering teams and product teams assumed that hey, you know, shipping in a week, let's go launch it. But marketers are going to be like, no, I need like at least a month to prepare for a month and you're like, what do you need a month, what are you going to do for a month? I'm like, so that's the whole process.

Jeff Bullas

00:12:37 - 00:12:39

You just run a Facebook ad and then you launch,

Karthik Suresh

00:12:39 - 00:15:53

Yeah, you just send an email, you just launching an ad and you're done like, and then on the marketing side it's like, okay, we need this feature launched in a week and then on the internet is like, this is gonna take like two months. I'm like why does it take two months? It's just like a simple workflow. I just need to go and click these two buttons and boom, you know, you've got a product, so that is this whole disconnect sometimes it happens in a lot of whether it's an early stage company or a late stage company, so that's the first problem. Right?

Then, once let's say once the teams are aligned and you're then working on a launch plan, you need to think about, okay, how big of a launch is this, how much of a noise do I want to make? Is it like a tier one launch? Should I just go like and what's the budget I need to, is it like, should I put in like millions of dollars or it's just like a two or three launch? Um, so that's the next question.That's how big of a launch should this be? Obviously as PM’s, I want every single thing I launched to be a huge launch, but obviously you can only do so many tier one launches given all the resource constraints. Right? So once you decide on what, what and how much of a noise you want to make, uh then, you know, you need to have figured out, okay, who's, who's the target audience for this? Um, either feature out of product, how do you want to position this product in the market? Given all the competitors. Um, then think about which channels do you want to invest in? Like, you know, he said, is that you wanna invest in content? You know, you need to email customers, you update a blocked page, you need to run some ads, maybe you you know you think about all the channels you want to invest then once you once you come up it all the channels they need to figure out, okay like how do I get the assets? Like work with designers to generate assets, worked with copywriters to generate content. Then get approval from your manager and everyone and all the stakeholders involved because they always have opinions. Uh you need to make sure they are aligned and like get approval from the legal policy, all the teams, so that's a whole stakeholder management process. And then on the day you launch you need to make sure everything has shipped according to time, which more often than not we know as especially in software work that's not the case, there's always gonna be some delays. So you need to manage that delays. Um and then finally when you launch the product then you need to be able to measure the success most of the most often like you just launched the product and you go party because every launch is a success. So unfortunately it's not a ton of accountability on that side. So then you need to actually go measure say okay like I launched this product, I invested $1 million dollars in this campaign. How many leads did I get on my website? How many people signed up? How many people like it was retained and you need to actually come up with some kind of accountability, like for all the money invested, so this whole, kind of a process management or lifecycle management of the launch right from ideation to planning to execution and then measurement. Um, so that was an issue like in all, pretty much like whether it's an early stage company, whether it's a late stage company, even if you're like a, like a small business or an entrepreneur, there's always this we felt that there was a gap of like in the tools which will help you do this efficiently and that's how Ignition was brought.

Jeff Bullas

00:15:53 - 00:16:43

Okay. So what I'm hearing is that maybe three of the biggest problems that you mentioned, number one was lack of communication between the stakeholders, whether it's engineering and marketing product manager. The other problem is not having a good enough process and number three is accountability. In other words, what, what, what does success look like? Is it 1000 if you're launching a monthly subscription product, for example, in 1000 subscribers in two weeks, what is it 10 in the first day? We don't know. So, um, but then the other thing you mentioned was uh maybe the fourth issue is making sure that you've got the right tools that everyone is using, so you can make that all work together I suppose, is that correct?

Karthik Suresh

00:16:43 - 00:17:09

Yeah, exactly. And you can, everyone can find this in like one place, like even at Facebook, when you have to learn something, I was like, okay, you launch something and somebody from the branding team would say, hey, that's not the latest version of the logo. And I'm like, okay, so there's a, there's worse because nobody knew it was all like so fragmented across the company. Right? So, um, just having the source of truth in one place where you can find the entire launch by itself, it's a very valuable product.

Jeff Bullas

00:17:09 - 00:17:34

Okay, so you've identified all these problems with a product launch to make sure that product managers and also entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs are the product manager. Um, they have small teams to large teams that you mentioned. So he's me. So what have you created to help facilitate that? Is that a platform? Piece of software? Is it monthly subscription? How does Ignition do this?

Karthik Suresh

00:17:35 - 00:19:55

Yeah. So, um, what you built is basically, uh, it's almost, it's like, it's similar to a Cassatt's software and it's a tool which will help you manage your launches end to end like everything I talked about like first for the first thing is coordination problem. How do you coordinate between marketing teams and engineering teams? So we would, we would help integrate with GINA and product ports. So as a marketer or as a product manager, you would, you would go to Ignition and you can see the engineering roadmap and you can, you can get a quick view of how the engineering timeline is progressing. So you can and we will help you predict delays in engineering timeline, so you don't have to keep bugging the PM’s or the engineers as to like, okay, this is on time, this is delayed, so that's the first step.

The second, we will actually auto generate like out of the box template based on what kind of launch you want to do. So if you want to do a tier one launch and if you have a million dollars in a budget and we would actually generate a launch plan for you. So we will tell you hey, so these are the things you need to think about when you think about like target audience and you think about pricing, you probably will also recommend you, maybe these are the channels which you want to invest in, so we will create a large plan for you. Uh and then once you start filling in the launch plan, we will help you feeling each of these more duels in a launch plan, like for example, like uh, you know, let's say you're in copy generation, um you're right trying to write copy for one of the channels, we will help you generate those copies for you. Um and at the same time, we also have like a checklist more like a task checklist to make sure to keep you accountable and uh, ensure all the tasks which need to be done by a certain deadline are being done and finally, we'll give you also a timeline as to like all the different milestones like be to date all different milestones, all the channel and all the campaigns, everything in one calendar.

So basically all of this is bundled into like one software. So anybody in the company, they want to know like what's going on with this launch, they can, they can log into Ignition, they exactly see what the status of the launches, what's, what's already been done, what spending? So I mean that's hopefully like I can trying to paint a picture obviously the easier space to like sign up on the website and they say for yourself. But yeah,

Jeff Bullas

00:19:56 - 00:20:04

So what you've done is you've created like a portal where you can plug into the different APRs of the different tools that different companies use, is that correct?

Karthik Suresh

00:20:05 - 00:20:20

Yes. We integrate with most of the tools used by other teams. Um like for example, we integrate with the product board and GINA and Asana and Monday and all of the other tools which you know, the marketing and product teams are using, so we're bringing all the information in one place.

Jeff Bullas

00:20:20 - 00:20:28

Do you integrate with platforms? Also like Trello and Google docs? There's a lot of people use Google Docs?

Karthik Suresh

00:20:28 - 00:20:37

Google Docs definitely because obviously a lot of the content is and it's in Google Docs. Trello is on the roadmap, but there's something we looked at in the future.

Jeff Bullas

00:20:37 - 00:21:12

Okay, cool. Yeah, because basically what you're trying to do is you're trying to provide one space which is dedicated just a product launches and also plugs into different tools that different teams can use. So I suppose the reason we can do this today is because number one we got the cloud where a lot of the software sits today, it's not sitting on computers in your computer is sitting in the cloud. Number two I suppose is the software's evolved to the point where you can much more easily plug into different platforms or other software?

Karthik Suresh

00:21:13 - 00:23:01

Yeah, exactly. So that's one of the big reasons and also if you look at the evolution, I think this is a, this is a good time to talk about like this evolution of go-to-market in general like this, there's a macro picture. Um so traditionally you know there's engineering's and if you, if you look at all, so if you look at most of the founders, they are either engineers or product managers, Ex-engineers and product managers and a lot of the tools and start ups were built in in the product and engineering space. Um and so on one side you have like tools like obviously a GINA, all these tools being better to help engineers and park measures and on the other side you have, you know, established those like Salesforce, Hubspot marketing for sales people and marketing folks, but then there is nothing in between to bridge the gap between the product and the sales and marketing. So how do you bring a product to the market? Right. And I think that there's almost like a huge opportunity here which we're trying to fill. So we believe that we are, we are actually creating a new category here um, for specifically building the building emission for go-to-market.

The other macro trend is if you, if you look at all the tech companies before there was when the engineers and then there's engineers and product managers and now these engineers product managers and product marketing managers and we're seeing that product marketing manager is one of the most important roles which the companies are hiring for and this is like I think one of the fastest growing job categories in tech in general and there's no real tools out there for product managers. And I believe Ignition is the tool which enabled product markets to the job. So if we see like this multiple like macro trends and play which is which is why I believe is the right time for you know to build emission.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:01 - 00:23:12

Yeah, so does, with Ignition, do you actually provide a premium product as in other words you can try it for free initially, how does it work?

Karthik Suresh

00:23:13 - 00:23:50

Yes, yeah, we have, it is a premium product so you can try it, you can, you can, you can pretty much use every single feature, I mean right now we are still in beta mode and you can build, you can create up to one launch and then if you need to create multiple launches and it becomes a paper, but at this point you know like what we're mainly looking for is trying to get as much feedback because as I said, this is like a new product and we're building a new category. So we're trying to see like, you know, what's the best way we can ensure this is the product for the product marketers to help launch products in the market.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:50 - 00:24:23

It sounds like a fantastic idea. In other words, the problem you're solving is real and I totally agree with, it's like otherwise you're doing your own bespoke launch program which involves marketing, engineering, tech, PR, you know, the list goes on. So we hear the term MVP, minimum viable product, a lot. So what, have you tried to create a minimal viable product that hopefully ticks most of the boxes or the ones that you think are important initially?

Karthik Suresh

00:24:24 - 00:25:32

That's right. So we started a company earlier this year. The first step obviously is to speak to as many users provided the problem. We talked about validation before and make sure we get it and obviously like we need to see through, we see through what users say because a lot of the times you start saying saying things to make you happy or make you feel like, oh yeah there's a real problem, but you know, you got to do a ton of that to actually synthesize what's the real problem. And we had, we had an alpha launch sometime around June which is like the MVP where we used that to like get, you know, basically we had a Fighter 10, the customer design partners who were trying the product as we are building it and giving us feedback every week and we traded through that over the last few months. And we have now we have a product hunt launch scheduled on January 6, 2022. So that's gonna be, I mean we're also investing a ton in, you know, in our own product launch. So you know, basically putting it ourselves. So it should be exciting.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:33 - 00:25:39

So what's the biggest learnings you've had along the way and launching a new venture startups? So what have been the biggest challenges for you?

Karthik Suresh

00:25:41 - 00:29:22

Yeah it's such a roller coaster. It's uh any way you want to launch any new things. It's this is for, especially for all people trying to start their own business, you know, you need to be like very resilient. You need to think about, there's so many things which won't exactly go the way you planned for. But you obviously start, have to start somewhere but I mean work that I've worked at almost three different startups right now. And pretty much the idea we started with and where it is today is very different. I mean, it's the same space. It's still the same team, but the actual product, actual features are very different because you learn so much as you speak to the users and as you see the users use your product and I think that's, that's been like an incredible journey so far. It's such filled with so many highs and lows. Um like today we, we had a client who are absolutely loaded and last week we had someone who was like, oh, why do I need that? Maybe I can just use Google Docs for it. So it's pretty upset. So it's just like you just go through this like crazy emotions every day and uh, you need to be able to deal with that same thing with funding. Funding is another thing where people invest mostly based on who else is investing. So words like actually investing based on conviction. Very few people actually invest based on conviction. It almost seems like it's a very formal driven world where it's, I mean, fundraising is more of an art. I mean, I don't know the stage, right? Obviously at the latest stage you have metrics, you have revenue, you have customers, there's more of a numbers game. But at the early stage, it's more of like um it's more of an art, being able to tell your story and being able to paint the vision and also paint a vision of how everyone is trying to invest in your, so I think that's all of these things. And then at the same time you're trying to recruit people and recruit a team and build, build more of like at least the first 10 people are like the ones who set your culture for a long time. So you're investing a lot of time and also the recruiting, fundraising, recruiting, building the product, you're talking to users. So you context switching, like, like crazy every day. And all of each, each, each faces has his own set of emotions and so being able to deal with it is probably the most challenging part, but also for me, the most exciting part. I think if you, if you look at my background, that's kind of what even led me to actually start a company.

My very first job, I, I joined, you know, my very first job, my first career, I went to financial services, many trading because that's more adrenaline, like as a 24 year old, I just wanted to get like this rush every day. So I got into trading and then realized, okay, trading is not for me because you don't get to like make a tangible impact in people's lives. Um, and uh, and then, I mean, although I learned, I learned a ton because 2008, I was in Morgan Stanley in Times Square and the building opposite to me for Lehman Brothers and I could see the Lehman Brothers, like all the people who got, who got let go, just walk out with the boxes and then it became backless, like the blue color building and then people walk back in.

So I think they built a ton of resilience in me. But, and then the reason I'm saying this is like, I felt like this is exactly the kind of life and career and journey and passion, which I want. And eventually that led me to entrepreneurship because you face exactly the same emotions while building your own startup? I mean, it's a tech startup, but it's your own business. It's own small business. I think the emotions involved, the challenges involved are very much the same.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:23 - 00:29:56

Yeah, That's fascinating. I'm intrigued by, um, planning in terms of, as you said, what you originally started with is almost completely different than what you actually are working on today. So, um, I used to quote recently, just everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face. It's a Mike Tyson quote. And the market hits you in the face obviously. Um, so what did your initial plan look like and how would you change that today if you're starting over again?

Karthik Suresh

00:29:57 - 00:32:33

Yeah. So, so Ignition, we're just starting the journey. Probably I'm gonna, I'm gonna have the answer in a few years down the line but so far it's looking promising. But if you look at my previous startu, Craft, where you know, I joined as a second employee, I was there for four years. The series and that we started off there um more more as a company data, it's a similar to Crunchbase but it was more advanced and we initially wanted to build a data aggregation on all the companies that are basically the best source of truth on any company. So you can look up any company and we would give you the most up to date information about that.

But our target audience was initially we tried the job seekers. We wanted to build for the people who are looking for jobs because we're like right now nobody looks for a job title. They look for the job, they look for the right company. It's like if you find a rocket ship we'll get a seat, don't ask which seat. Right? So that was the whole idea of practice. Like we're going to give you the best job search engine which will help you search for the companies to join and not the title. But then later we realized more and more people are actually looking for company data for something else, for safe intelligence, for supply chain intelligence and other things and the Craft is today is that it's one of the largest supply chain risk management, supply chain data providers out there.

So where we started off, I mean the product is still the same. It's the company data, basically the best source of company data. There's all different types of data like sustainably data, location data, employee data, all kinds of data. But the people who were selling to is like now it's in supply chain because suppliers need that data to make sure that suppliers are like, because uh, for, for supplies for large companies, the supplier sort of black box, they have no idea what's happening. So there's a way for them to like get more transparency. For example, if, if if if a VPs let go then you get in a lot. So it became a supply chain platform from a job secret platform. So you started a journey as a, as a job secret platform, but right now it's one of the largest like supply chain management platforms. So that's an example of how, you know, you need to be like, you know, you need to be very agile, um, uh, in order to, and there's so many, it's not just one like there's so many examples of all, you know, they all started one place but where they are today is a completely different and they are successful. I mean the core product is still the same idea same, but you need to be a chart and figure out who is your target audience and how do you position it, all the things for example, we are, you know, building an ignition.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:33 - 00:32:49

Yeah, so essentially you're saying that this is where you think your target market is going to be and you can do all the research in the world, but not until you actually go to market, the market tells you what it wants.

Karthik Suresh

00:32:50 - 00:33:22

Exactly the market. And then you need to be able to listen to the market as an entrepreneur, as a founder, you need to be able to take that feedback and you shouldn't, a lot of the times sometimes people are very stubborn and say no, I know like I have this initial idea and you keep building and keep building and keep building and wonder why it doesn't work, but it's also important for you to listen to the market. The market is going to tell, you know what, it's gonna be loud and clear. It's almost like, you know, you can do, you can do as much user research as you want, but the moment you ask them to pay, the user stops lying.

Jeff Bullas

00:33:22 - 00:33:57

I love that once the user starts paying, they stop lying. I think that's worth bottling actually, that's very cool.

So yeah, I think what you're doing with the Ignition is fantastic and really needed. And so in terms of other entrepreneurs who have launched their own business or thinking of it or are already in the middle of it or what some of the top takeaways that you offered would offer to them in terms of tips that they should be aware of.

Karthik Suresh

00:33:59 - 00:35:31

Yeah, I have a have a few few few really. I mean, these, these things somebody would have told me, but like the first one is like, you know, do a ton of user research and always take the user research with a grain of salt because a lot of the times people are telling you things to make you feel nice and sometimes they might be hiding the truth. Uh, they might say, well there's a real problem, but it's more, it's more like a white man. I'm not a painkiller and that's for you to figure out. And this amazing book called the Mom Test, which talks all about user as such. Um, so that's one thing. The second thing is like you need to have a high, higher, higher level of pain threshold, higher rate of resilience because it's going to be a roller coaster. You need to like have that kind of uh, like a mental aptitude in order to undertake this journey and make sure you're strapped on. It is absolutely going to be a roller coaster, right? No matter what business it is. That's the second thing. And then three then definitely, definitely rely on support for your fellow co-founders, mentors, friends, family early on when you're building a company, it's very lonely. It's a lonely journey and make sure you get a ton of support from all the people who who are your mentors, your advisors, it's really important to make sure because once you persevere and get through this phase eventually guarantee you you will succeed. The hardest part is getting to the space at the early stage.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:32 - 00:35:37

In other words, you've got to basically persist and get through it and play the long game.

Karthik Suresh

00:35:37 - 00:35:54

Yeah it is, it is a long game. It's absolutely a marathon and it's filled with a lot of uncertainties. You know, uh you don't even know like where you're going. Like it's almost like the road gets revealed as you like keep running so you need to be able to, you know kind of deal with it.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:54 - 00:36:03

So basically keep taking steps every day and keep learning from it and hang in there and be persistent and surround yourself with good people.

Karthik Suresh

00:36:04 - 00:36:10

And don't and finally don't lose sight of the vision. Don't lose sight of what got you started in the first place.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:11 - 00:36:17

So let's maybe just finish up with that. What's your vision for Ignition?

Karthik Suresh

00:36:18 - 00:37:28

Yeah. So I believe Ignition is gonna be the end-to-end just product management solution period. Like basically help you build a product from ideation like figuring out, you know, coming up with ideas, doing user research figuring out whether it's the right idea then then coming up with the road map, then building an MVP. Then once you build an MVP, creating your customer advisory board, creating a community to get feedback. Then creating a wash in one of the product. Then taking the product to the market, figuring out what channels you have to invest and then finally measuring the launch and then finally growing the product once the launch is successful, how do you grow the product to scale?

So I feel like there is this opportunity in the market to build this end to end um like a product management system in the long term. Yes, we're starting with go-to-market because I feel the, that's the beachhead and that's the near term need, but longer term, I think it's gonna be like the end-to-end ideation slash product management and including the voter market piece, of course.

Jeff Bullas

00:37:28 - 00:37:45

I love it. I think it's very, very needed in the marketplace and look forward to our listeners and viewers actually finding out more about it and watching your journey and getting involved as well. So how can they, people contact you and we HaveIgnition.com.

Karthik Suresh

00:37:46 - 00:38:13

Yes. Please go to HaveIgnition.com, that's the website and you know, you can, you can give your email and sign up. You can connect me, connect with me on Linkedin or on Twitter. In Twitter, it's my first name, last name Karthik Suresh and Linkedin is like Karthik Suresh and feel free to mention that, you know, it was through this podcast but I'm really excited and really appreciate all your support and would also appreciate all your feedback.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:13 - 00:38:30

I love your story and I love what you're doing. I think it's really important in the entrepreneurial startup space and product launch in product management space as well and I think what you're doing is a very needed solution and platform and I look forward to seeing it become a rocket ship.

Karthik Suresh

00:38:31 - 00:38:35

Oh yes, thank you so much and thank you so much for having me on the show.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:35 - 00:38:37

It has been an absolute pleasure.