#304 - Justin Chen, CEO PickFu - on turning nice-to-have into critical-to-have.

A story about how solving an introvert problem can turn into a fast-growing SaaS business.


This podcast interview focuses on the journey to take a SaaS business to $1M+ . My guest is Justin Chen, Co-founder and CEO of PickFu.

Justin Chen PickFuWhen Justin and his co-founder John Li were working on another business they disagreed and wanted a fast, informed way to break the tie.

Being software engineers, they built it – and that is what sparked the big idea behind PickFu.

Although it stayed on the back burner for years, like all the best treasures on the internet, people discovered it. Customers used the polling platform and shared it with their friends. Then, in 2018 they started to see increased attention from e-commerce conferences and podcasts, which is where they realized they had built something truly useful.

And this inspired me, and hence I invited Justin to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in consumer research. Justin takes us through his journey to the moment they decided to go all in. He explains why he decided to niche down – and what criteria appeared to be really important to get traction. He elaborates on how they’re creating defensible differentiation. Last but not least he explains how they’re designing for stickiness across product, customer success, and marketing.

Here’s one of his quotes

The focus on industries is super important. Because it’s really hard to market a general-purpose tool. But when you’re able to speak directly to people about their problems, and their use cases, it resonates so much more quickly. So for E-commerce and gaming, doing the marketing and starting to tailor the product much more specifically to those industries has been really important to getting our traction

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. How often the best solutions are not the ones that help you do the task correctly, but giving confidence to even consider doing the task at all.
  2. That even if companies have sorted your problem higher in the organization, it doesn’t mean everyone has access to that.
  3. How focusing on habit building helped to make the product mission critical for some verticals – and reduce churn.
  4. What adjustments he’s making to make NRR calculation more reliable and relevant.

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.