It’s not an easy time to be a startup entrepreneur. Even as generative AI and LLMs present the potential for a technical paradigm shift, startups today must also grapple with the realities of financial market upheaval, ominous global power shifts, uncertain economic indicators, and disruption up and down the supply chain: It may feel as though “hunkering down” is the best that a founder can do.
Bill Magnuson, Co-founder and CEO of Braze, has a different take, in which there’s no time like the present era of change to uncover opportunities that can distinguish your business from competitors’ as the skies clear. Having navigated through the early days of mobile and the multiple macro disruptions since to take Braze public and scale to a revenue run rate of $400+ million, Bill has put this strategy to the test.
Seeing opportunity in today’s times requires a longitudinal perspective on the underlying forces of change that create growth opportunities and strategy that anticipates the evolution of those forces while positioning your business to best take advantage of the resulting changes over time..
Timing around disruptions is key, and they provide a key opportunity for innovators to build in response to the evolution of new skillsets, team structures, and business models, all of which create new buyer personas, and can be cultivated even while headwinds stall growth. Those who lean into disruptions with curiosity and optimism can emerge as stronger innovators with deeper competitive moats because they were out building with a growth mindset while everyone else was hunkered down.
Key takeaways from this talk include:
*How to think about second-order effects of disruption, and when their evolution may ultimately reward patience, creating room for the slower growth that is often forced by a difficult macro. *What to watch for in areas of macro disruption in order to identify differentiating opportunities in unexpected places.
*How evolving skillsets, team compositions, and ways of working can transform business, and why its absence can lead to obsolescence.