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Intercom Books + Guides for an engineering leader: CTO, technical co-founder, VP of engineering

June 13, 2019

Building Waydev I realize as a startup it is very hard to catch up with all the “other” things in a startup except building the product, and this week I’ve found a couple of books that will help any technical co-founder, CTO, VP of engineering to be o the same page with everyone in the team. Below I will share with you the most important books to read as a technical member in a startup.

Sharing lessons learned from building a startup

The founders and team at Intercom address 9 questions we believe every founder and early-stage employee is going to need to answer.
  • Why you should build products based on the first-hand experience
  • How to find your first customers
  • A founder’s take on making your first hire
  • Everything you need to know about fundraising and much more…


Success starts with a great product

Product management requires a relentless focus on cohesion. You have to ensure that how a product is designed, engineered, named, branded, and marketed is all united under a single vision. This book provides actionable frameworks for navigating the hard choices along the way, so that you can ship a product that people want, and will use time after time. You’ll learn:

  • how to evaluate your current product and spot areas for improvement
  • why “no” is the most important word in a product manager’s vocabulary
  • how to roll out new features and actually get them used by customers


Is your marketing letting your product down?

Marketing at a startup is not for the faint of heart. Picking the wrong tactic can leave your product dead before you’ve even started. Our startup marketing book includes dozens of lessons that helped us grow from zero customers to more than 20,000, from crafting your early messaging to getting word of mouth, to keeping product and marketing aligned. You’ll learn:

  • Actionable advice you can use right away, like a step-by-step guide to launching your product.
  • Simple steps to get your first customers (no growth hacks, guaranteed).
  • How to choose the right tactics for your startup, from content and events to demand generation.


Great products start with real problems

People buy products and services to get a “job” done. The key to success is understanding the real job customers are using your product for. Drawing together the most valuable lessons we’ve learned thus far, Intercom on Jobs-to-be-Done offers tried and tested advice on how you should be thinking about business, growth and innovation.

  • How to get customers to switch to your product
  • Understanding your product’s real competitors, rather than category
  • Designing features using Jobs‑to‑be‑Done
  • How to interview customers and identify the job to be done


Onboarding isn’t a metric, it’s an outcome

Now updated and expanded with seven brand new chapters, Intercom on Onboarding shares the most valuable lessons we’ve learned from onboarding tens of thousands of customers.

  • How to make a great first impression
  • A framework for creating your onboarding strategy
  • How to design your onboarding flow and narrative
  • How to show users continuous value and increase retention
  • Ideas for scaling up and taking your onboarding to the next level
  • And much, much more



The Onboarding Starter Kit

Good onboarding isn’t just about introducing new signups to your product’s features. It’s a continual process of guiding people towards success with your product. A well crafted messaging campaign, rather than a fancy intro screen, is the quickest and easiest way to achieve that. Appropriate messages will remind users why they’re here, show them what they can accomplish and what they can do next. And it will do it faster than any fleeting product tour can

The secret to a good onboarding messaging campaign is to send the right message to the right person at the right time, based on a user’s activity with your product (or lack thereof) rather than a cookie-cutter series of messages that’s blasted out to everyone on day 1, day 5, day 14, etc.

One of these messages in isolation won’t deliver engaged users overnight. But a series of onboarding messages will help get new signups on the road to success and remove any stumbling blocks they might encounter along the way.

Aligning all those elements to get everything right takes deliberate effort and planning. That can seem daunting when you think of all the flows and steps and people involved. So in this guide, you’ll learn how to cut through the confusion to plan and create a great onboarding messaging campaign.


The Customer Retention
Starter Kit

Retention is the silent killer of SaaS businesses today. People get curious, kick the tires, shrug their shoulders and leave without saying goodbye. Even if you are acquiring customers for $10, if they only stick around for a month or two, you won’t build a lasting business.

Most people think retention is so crucial simply because it means you lose fewer users than you otherwise would. But a sound retention strategy is actually one of your most powerful levers to grow your business. A study by Price Intelligently showed that a 1% increase in acquisition affects your bottom line by about 3.3%. But improving your retention by 1% increases your bottom line by around 7%. That’s right: retention can be twice as powerful as acquisition.

One retention tactic that works particularly well is lifecycle messaging: contacting users with in-apps and emails they will get value out of, based on their actual experience of using, or in most cases not using, your software.

For example, imagine a project management app sending a “Getting Started” guide to someone who had not created a project after a week, but also sending a “How To Work With A Remote Freelancer” guide to someone who is actively using the product in a particular way in the weeks following that. Whether they are totally inactive or just not taking full advantage of your product, messages like these will prevent them from jumping ship as soon as something cheaper or shinier comes along.

Best of all, to create these message schedules you don’t need a “retention hacker”. You definitely don’t need a “retentioneer”. All you need is a few hours to create a simple campaign of messages that will pay back many times over.

Read on to learn how to create a retention messaging strategy that will turn struggling signups into a series of churn-resistant power users



Here are the guides for an engineering leader: CTO, technical co-founder, VP of engineering.

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