#288 - Jon Ricketts, CEO of Writerly - on building defensible differentiation.

A story about how to succeed in a generative AI market seeing a tsunami of companies being released.

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that gives creators the power to supercharge their productivity. My guest is Jon Ricketts, Co-founder and CEO of Writerly.

Jon’s career in the SaaS industry spans over 12 years. He has established himself in the field of artificial intelligence and business innovation. Jon’s journey as an entrepreneur began as an early employee at Transcard, a pioneering fintech company specializing in payment processing.

In June 2022, he co-founded Writerly, which he leads as the CEO.

Their mission: to make it easy for creators – both individual and enterprise – to leverage sophisticated AI to supercharge their productivity.

And this inspired me, and hence I invited Jon to my podcast. We explore what it takes to build a successful Generative AI startup in a period where a tsunami of companies is coming to market every single day. Jon shares how he started the business without a clear idea of what problem to solve and how he found his sweetspot. He then elaborates on what techniques he uses to build defensible differentiation and stand out in the market. Last but not least, he shares his secrets on how to stay nimble as the business grows.

Here’s one of his quotes

The hardest part about being in a generative AI market and seeing the tsunami of companies that are being released is just simply being patient. You try to weaponize speed, speed in terms of development, speed in terms of commercial marketing and sales. But the faster you move, the further back you fall.  

Because when you see something that you would like to replicate this week. Well, by the time your engineers and developers have completed, you’ve done your testing, and you’re moving from staging to production, guess what’s happened: someone else has come out and made that essentially obsolete.

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. How being intentionally patient can become your biggest value driver in a crazy Generative AI market.
  2. Where Jon is looking for signals on what to build and how to sell.
  3. How Jon found his sweetspot – even though it didn’t look attractive at all.
  4. How to design your business intentionally to create defensible differentiation.

For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.