🤔 Lenny Rachitsky's thoughts on product, newsletters and working with humans
Tech Twitter's most helpful person has a lot to say
Yo! ✌️ I’m Brett! I am a Product Manager, musician, and Twitter power user. Twitter is where all the action happens in the tech industry but it’s not easy to keep up with. I write this weekly newsletter to help people stay informed on the most important discussions happening on Tech Twitter.
🤔 Who is Lenny Rachitsky?
Lenny Rachitsky is the most helpful person on Tech Twitter. And he’s not even a VC (though he does invest). After spending years as a serial entrepreneur and an early PM at Airbnb, Lenny has made it his mission to share his wisdom and the wisdom of others with the world.
Lenny writes one of the most popular newsletters on Substack, Lenny’s Newsletter, where he does incredibly thorough deep dives on product, growth, management and “anything else that stresses you out at the office.” He also recently created a private Slack community for his paid subscribers.
If you’re a product manager, founder, or growth person this may be the most valuable newsletter in your inbox.
I met Lenny a year ago when both of us were first getting our newsletters off the ground and I was looking for some career advice. What he shared then was incredibly helpful and I’m super excited that he’s bringing his insight to a larger audience with his newsletter.
🤔 Q&A with Lenny
🤔 What gives you the most satisfaction in what you do?
Nothing beats hearing from someone who has used a nugget that I shared in their life, and it made a big difference for them.
🤔What is one thing most people misunderstand about product and growth?
In terms of product, a lot of people think they'd be better off without PMs. This usually just means they're working with a bad PM. Good PMs make your life easier and better.
In terms of growth, there's a sense that growth is still mysterious. It's fairly straightforward actually. The majority of businesses grow through one of four ways: sales, performance marketing, virality, or content/SEO. Everything else either a one-off spike (e.g. PR), or accelerants (e.g. conversion)
🤔What would you say to someone just starting their career in tech today?
Do it. Just tell people it's an experiment, and that you're tinkering. That cuts down on the pressure. Use this time to see how it feels, to see if you can keep at it, and if you actually enjoy it. If not, it's OK to drop it.
🤔What would you say to someone deciding whether or not to start a newsletter?
Do it. Don't even tell many people about it at first. Just use it as a place to crystallize your thinking. See how it feels. If you like it, keep at it. If not, forget it.
Just remember: It's easy to start a newsletter. It's hard to keep at it.
🤔What are your plans with your newsletter / community?
With the newsletter, my main goal is simple: Get to a place financially where I can avoid having to get a job.
With the subscriber Slack community, I wanted to see what happens when you bring smart, driven, interesting people together. Turns out, wonderful things happen.
🤔What are you most excited about as an investor?
I get excited about so many things, but my sweet spot is (1) software companies (2) that are good for the world. Marketplaces, consumer, enterprise, SaaS and not SaaS – I look at them all.
🤔What have you been reading/watching/listening to lately?
Hamilton on Disney+ 💯
🤔What are your thoughts on Twitter and who are your favorite follows?
Twitter = 🤔 😂 😭
President Joe Biden (So-Called) is my current favorite follow
🏆 Lenny’s top tweet
Lenny is the king of sharing useful information in tweetstorms. It’s a little meta but his top tweet ever is part of a tweetstorm about learnings from writing his newsletter. If you’re at all thinking about writing a newsletter, read this thread:
If you’re interested in launching a paid newsletter, check out more of Lenny’s advice here.
💱 …On Marketplaces
Having spent seven years at Airbnb, and previously starting a consumer mobile marketplace app, Lenny is one of the foremost experts on marketplaces. That said, he regularly synthesizes insights from other experts in the space. These tweetstorms are amazing - be sure to click in.
Lenny oversaw Airbnb's host referral program which was instrumental for the platform’s supply growth. Here are a few of his top tweets around growth. Again, these are tweetstorms / articles so be sure to click in.
What I like about Lenny’s tweetstorms is that he gives away the goods before you even click into the articles:
This post on retention stirred up quite a controversy.
💼 (Product) Management
Here are some great threads for Product Managers:
Be sure to subscribe to Lenny’s Newsletter!