496: Should You Be the Face of Your Company?

03.13.2020 - By The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about whether you should be the face of your company.

Being the “face” of a startup can be very intimidating for some founders, which is why a lot of prefer to not approach marketing this way. However, being a public CEO or founder can be a very effective way to market a startup.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten talk about what made them become the face of their companies, examples of companies whose founders are the face of the brands, how to approach this if you’re starting a business today and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:12 Why this topic was chosen.

01:55 What made Hiten be the face of his brands.

04:37 How Steli became the face of his brands.

06:11 How Steli created videos in the early days of Close.

06:31 How Steli stumbled in public speaking.

07:01 Example of companies with public faces.

08:17 How to approach this if you’re starting a business today.

08:33 Why you shouldn’t make it complicated.

09:33 Why you do what’s right for your customers.

3 Key Points:

It started out with me wanting to do the best job with the businesses that we had.There’s ego involved in everything.Once I discovered that creating videos was super easy for me, I just started creating a lot of them


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: And today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about humanizing your brand and being the public persona behind your company. Hiten, both you and I are pretty public people and are very closely associated with being kind of the humanized version of our companies, right? A lot of people but no closed in connection with Steli, right? Or Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: And same with FYI and Hiten Shah, right? It's inseparable. And I had an interesting conversation recently with somebody that was asking me lots of questions on how I strategically decided to go down that route. What are the pros and cons? Who should do it? Who shouldn't do it? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it just an ego trip? And I thought this is actually fascinating topic and I thought it'd be fun for the two of us to kind of quickly unpack this for people. So let me first ask you, you know, FYI is not the first company and product that you launched, that you have been very closely as a human associated with versus just being a brand where people don't know who the people are behind the company. Pretty much every company that you've been involved with, you've been a very kind of public face off and you've been building kind of your personal brand in conjunction with the companies that you've been building. Was that a strategic move? Did you ever do research and then decide this is the best way to make a company successful, hence I'm going to go down that path? Was this kind of more random? How do you think about that, kind of looking back? Why did you in particular ended up doing this and building kind of a pretty public profile and brand on your own?


Hiten Shah: Yeah. For me, it started out particularly with like wanting to do the best job I could with the businesses that we had and kind of fell into it naturally. I actually fell into it by doing a ton of customer support for Crazy Egg back in 2005 and I was mentioned as a line item by people when they talked about our product versus like alternatives to our product. And a line item meaning like Hiten will respond to you really fast, if do you have a question? And I was just, I just knew that, particularly for that business, we helped you, we basically helped you see what's happening on your web pages by creating a heat map and so it was a very visual representation of analytics data. And at the beginning, there were a lot of compatibility issues with your website. So people would like write in and be like, yo,

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