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Paras Chopra is the Founder and Chairman of Wingify, an India based fast-growing software company, which serves over 6,000+ customers across 90 countries. Founded in 2009, Wingify has created two multi-million dollar products: Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) and PushCrew.

With a background in computational biology, machine learning, and web technologies, Paras has built a thriving foundation, running and growing VWO - world’s leading A/B testing and CRO tool and PushCrew - the most trusted web push notification platform in the world.

He bootstrapped and grew Wingify from 0 to $20mn annual recurring revenue and built a team of 200+ people in 7 years. In 2017, Wingify won the Bootstrap Champ category in the Economic Times Startup Awards in India.

Featured in Forbes 30 under 30, Paras is a gold medalist from Delhi University, who firmly believes in customer obsession, innovation, and data-driven decisions. He is also an avid reader & his interests include philosophy, science, and business.

Connect with Paras on LinkedIn and Twitter. Read his blog - Inverted Passion  

After the AMA is over, Paras will be giving away 5 books to 5 differents users with the best questions!

 

  • MK

    Mariana Klober

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Paras!

    Really excited to have you on! Thank you for taking the time for doing this :)

    I have a few questions for you:
    1. What has been your biggest challenge in building a team of 200+ people in the last several years?
    2. Can you describe 3 of the milestones you had on the way to reach 6k customers in 90 different countries?
    3. What has been the most strategic partnership for Wingify since it was founded?
    4. What has been your main acquisition channel and coolest growth hacker over the years? :)

    Thanks again for doing this!!

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      Thanks for asking these questions, Mariana. My responses:

      1. What has been your biggest challenge in building a team of 200+ people in the last several years?

      The biggest challenge has been in hiring. People usually say hiring the right people is important, but I'd add that knowing which positions you should be hiring for and what to look for in those positions is even more important. The challenge isn't just about hiring people who have the necessary skills and are the right culture fit, it's also to develop enough clarity on what would success for that role look like. This mistake becomes worse is you start hiring for generic labels like 'product marketing' or 'content marketer' or 'backend engineer' without exactly knowing what business results are you expecting to get from this position in next 12-18 months.

      Having the right people do what they're best at is a very big level in business success.

      2. Can you describe 3 of the milestones you had on the way to reach 6k customers in 90 different countries?

      The first milestone was the first 10 paying customers for VWO. It's my strong belief that if you are able to get 10 people who you didn't know before to pay you, you definitely have gotten something going.

      The second milestone would be the decision to build a sales team. As an engineer-founder, I didn't fully appreciate the role of sales and significantly under-estimated its potential to scale revenue until we got around to hiring first few sales rep.

      The third milestone would be a successful launch of our second product (PushCrew) after VWO as it reinforced SaaS fundamentals in my mind as now I could compare my VWO and PushCrew experience (I always doubted that the first one - VWO - could have been a fluke!)

      4 Share
    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      Sorry, I missed the last two questions. Here you go:

      3. What has been the most strategic partnership for Wingify since it was founded?

      We haven't built out strategic partnerships as well as our other channels. Having said that, our partners in Japan, Australia, and other regions have helped us crack markets where a local presence is needed to crack enterprise accounts.

      4. What has been your main acquisition channel and coolest growth hacker over the years? :)

      Our main acquisition channel has been the word of mouth as we've focused on building a strong product. The coolest growth hack has been the constant supply of case studies that we publish. In the early days of VWO, we had coded a small box that would popup whenever a customer got a successful result. That box would congratulate customers for getting a good result and ask them to fill info if they wanted to be featured as a case study. Using that method, we didn't have to seek customers to give us case studies, we simply kept getting a steady stream of case studies.

      For PushCrew, the growth hack that worked was "Powered by PushCrew" on customers' website if they were on a free plan.

  • AN

    Andrew Nicoletta

    about 2 months ago #

    This past July on your professional blog you wrote about organizational structure: https://invertedpassion.com/your-companys-org-chart-is-more-important-than-you-think/. I really enjoyed the advice on hiring specialist over generalist and building out teams.

    The timing of those hires can also be critical to a company's success, especially one that does not take on funding, such as your companies.

    Have you written about or have thoughts on when to hire specialists and/or team leaders?

    Thanks, Paras!

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi Andrew,

      Great question. The short answer is: the sooner the better!

      In engineering, you can still afford to have generalist but for goto market teams, you should shoot for specialists early on. With competition increasing every passing year, after initial market-product fit, startups fail to scale, not because they have poor engineering or product, but because they haven't found scalable and repeatable goto market channels. This means you need to crack only one or two goto market strategies but you would be able to do only via specialists.

      So, for example, if partnerships is the way to go, hire absolutely the best BD person you can hire who has experience of cracking partnerships of your type. If outbound sales is the way, assemble a small team, but make sure it consist of specialists in nurturing, calling, closers, database builders, etc.

      You really don't want to do a bit of social, a smattering of paid, generic sales demos. You'd want to pick a few things and do killer execution on them.

      If you can't afford or find specialists, pay consultants to guide your generalists. But don't have generalists figure out everything as then they (by definition) do a mediocre or good enough job at many things, but that isn't enough to thrive in today's hyper-competitive world.

      4 Share
    • AG

      Aakanksha Gaur

      about 1 month ago #

      Hey Andrew, Aakanksha from Wingify!
      Thanks for asking this question. Paras picked your question as one of the 5 best questions in this AMA and would love to send you one of his favourite reads.

      To connect with the team, we would need you to dm us your email on twitter.com/wingify and our team will take this forward!

      Thanks for an insightful question :)

  • BV

    Bipin VK

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Paras, good to see you on GH!

    Would appreciate a few insight on the following:

    1. What are the common mistakes that you see companies make with digital marketing data and analytics?

    2. What are the upcoming technologies that cloud potentially disrupt the digital marketing we know today?

    3. Your take on content marketing strategy for the next 3-5 years.

    4. Books/blogs/podcasts/YouTube channels that you would recommend to a SaaS product marketer.

    Thanks :)

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      1. What are the common mistakes that you see companies make with digital marketing data and analytics?

      The most common mistake is losing sight of the big picture, especially who the customer is and what she wants. Analytics, obviously, throws a 100 metrics at your face and that allows you to justify any activity with a corresponding metric. For example, you could justify publishing a new blog post by saying: "hey, but 500 people saw it and bounce rate was actually pretty low and most people checked another blog post after that, so it was a good thing to do". What gets lost in these data-driven discussions is: "but does it really matter?" That's a question I keep coming back to with our marketing teams.

      The real trick to doing digital marketing right is knowing the customer and her buying journey so well that everyone on the team understands which activities and metrics matter the most.

      2. What are the upcoming technologies that cloud potentially disrupt the digital marketing we know today?

      Actually, there's more technology out there than marketing teams are able to consume. The challenge isn't in the lack of tech, it's about prioritizing on the right things.

      3. Your take on content marketing strategy for the next 3-5 years.

      I feel it'll be mostly entirely video-first, even including traditional sales collaterals such as comparison tables, case studies, whitepapers, etc.

      4. Books/blogs/podcasts/YouTube channels that you would recommend to a SaaS product marketer.

      I like Jobs to be Done framework for understanding customers, and Alan's book is the best one out there: http://www.whencoffeeandkalecompete.com/

      I also enjoyed The Mom Test: http://momtestbook.com/

      3 Share
    • AG

      Aakanksha Gaur

      about 1 month ago #

      Hey Bipin, Aakanksha from Wingify!
      Thanks for asking this question. Paras picked your question as one of the 5 best questions in this AMA and would love to send you one of his favourite reads.

      To connect with the team, we would need you to dm us your email on twitter.com/wingify and our team will take this forward!

      Thanks for an insightful question :)

  • CS

    Cecilia Schmitz

    about 2 months ago #

    Paras! Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

    When we bump into founders of amazing companies like Wingify, we usually want to know what they did right to get where they are.

    What about the things you've done wrong? Can you point an action you suggested growing startups not to take today?

    Thank you so much!

    Cecilia.

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      Hi Cecilia,

      There have been several mistakes. Some of them:

      1. As I said in another comment, not having enough clarity on what I expected from a new position I was hiring for. I tried hiring-by-label (say "content marketer") and in some cases that didn't work out, not because the person was misfit but because I didn't have clarity what I wanted that person to achieve.

      2. Not focusing on growth early enough. I call it startup complacency and have elaborated it here: https://growth.wingify.com/startup-complacency-the-flip-side-of-startup-success-that-nobody-talks-about-586dc22dc8d0

      3. Focusing too much on features and technology, and too little on what it means for the customer. Again, I've written about it here: https://invertedpassion.com/nobody-likes-using-technology/

      My recommendation for growing startups to not do: trying too hard. Early on, if you have to push a product hard and it's not catching on, then there's most likely a problem with the market (that the problem doesn't exist or is not a priority) and no amount of effort can make it work. In such cases, I've seen founders justifying their effort in a variety of ways but more often than not, the right thing to do would be to cut losses and either try a different market or address a more important problem within that market.

      3 Share
    • AG

      Aakanksha Gaur

      about 1 month ago #

      Hey Cecilia, Aakanksha from Wingify!

      Thanks for asking this question. Paras picked your question as one of the 5 best questions in this AMA and would love to send you one of his favourite reads.

      To connect with the team, we would need you to dm us your email on twitter.com/wingify and our team will take this forward!

      Thanks for an insightful question :)

      • CS

        Cecilia Schmitz

        about 1 month ago #

        Hey, Aakanksha! Thanks for the message.

        I'm so happy Paras picked my question! Yay! :)

        I'll dm you my email on Twitter!

        Best,
        Cecilia.

  • FZ

    Fabricius Zatti

    about 2 months ago #

    Hello Paras!

    My question to you regarding data security in a global scope.
    Security is always an important subject, specially when handling user data. With regulations such as the GDPR coming into play, how do you think companies are adapting their business?

    Also, do you think we should expect other security regulations to come in the future years, for other regions as well?

    Thanks!

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      I personally believe GDPR is a really good legislation. If nothing else, it has brought the topic of privacy into public limelight and there's hope that it'll make consumers more discerning towards companies that make efforts to protect their privacy.

      Well-intentioned companies have nothing to lose as I imagine they were already protecting private data and adopting good practices.

      >do you think we should expect other security regulations to come in the future years, for other regions as well?

      I don't think there will be many new regulations, rather I expect an evolution of current regulations as regulators understand and adapt to interpretations of law. In some senses, privacy and Internet are anti-thesis of each other, so I'm not expecting GDPR to get it all right in one go. We may see several revisions of it before a norm is established.

      3 Share
    • AG

      Aakanksha Gaur

      about 1 month ago #

      Hey Fabricius, Aakanksha from Wingify!

      Thanks for asking this question. Paras picked your question as one of the 5 best questions in this AMA and would love to send you one of his favourite reads.

      To connect with the team, we would need you to dm us your email on twitter.com/wingify and our team will take this forward!

      Thanks for an insightful question :)

  • HT

    Hardik Tiwari

    about 2 months ago #

    How should one hire his first 5 employees while starting up?

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      From your online or offline networks (at least, that's where I hired from). Initially, hiring should be significantly referral based (hire those who you know, or those who your early hires know)

      2 Share
  • SC

    Snow Crash

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Paras,

    3 questions :

    1. Why did you choose to stay incorporated in India and decided not to move company to US?
    2. When do you think you will be able to hit $100 M ARR and how do you plan to reach there?
    3. If you had to start over which other field would you have picked instead of B2B SaaS?

    Thanks

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      1. Why did you choose to stay incorporated in India and decided not to move company to US?

      Re-incorporation is a massive project, we were not ready for it and there was no urgent need for it.

      2. When do you think you will be able to hit $100 M ARR and how do you plan to reach there?

      You'd have to join Wingify to know that :)

      3. If you had to start over which other field would you have picked instead of B2B SaaS?

      Either developer tools or mental health/clear thinking app market.

      2 Share
  • MA

    Madhur Ahuja

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Paras, What are the competitive advantages (moats) for a businesses like Wingify? How do you strengthen them?

    Thanks,
    Madhur

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      With VWO, you can start testing your webpages within a couple of minutes of signing up. That ease of use also works against us creating a moat, because if a customer can copy-paste JS snippet on their website easily, they can also remove it easily.

      This implies that our moats aren't traditional SaaS moats such as storage of data on CRM, or accounting software. Our competitive advantage comes to things such as usability, product breadth and quality of customer support.

  • CS

    Chand Sethi

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Paras,
    I am a final year undergrad student and an aspiring product manager.
    1. How would you solve the chicken-egg problem of requiring experience to be a PM and requiring being a PM to get experience?
    2. Through my limited experience in PM position as an intern, I found that Product Management is much more about soft skills - people, communication, negotiation, etc. than I thought. But I find that these skills are also very generic and people from all sorts of background exhibit these skills. What other skills can I develop (hard, provable, and tangible skills preferably - for instance, prototype design in Sketch) that might give me an edge in, say, an interview/selection process (being a college student).
    3. What's your view on PM/APM landscape in India for future?
    Thanks.
    (And can you do this on Reddit next time? GH asks for complete Twitter access to log in via Twitter.)

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      1. How would you solve the chicken-egg problem of requiring experience to be a PM and requiring being a PM to get experience?

      Let me tell you a little secret: the open source community is a free and open way to gain experience in any field, including product management. Pick up a project of your choice and simply start contributing. Help them with their positioning, interview users and compile their feedback, pitch a roadmap to developers. If you have a talent for product management, your ideas will get picked up by developers. Best part: you don't require anyone's permission.

      2. I consider great PMs to be mini-CEOs, so skill-wise, you can imagine that it requires a broad knowledge of many aspects. In addition to being okay to good at many things, I do recommend becoming great at one or two areas of your choice. These are the skills I've appreciated in good PMs: prioritization (how to remain focused on business results and not fall in love with features), customer interviewing (this differentiates good PMs from great PMs), convincing (management and developers), technical scoping, design (Sketch is not needed, even paper mockups will do), and increasingly data science (what magic can you build in your product).

      The best PMs know that products are not about shipping features but delivering customer value (and sometimes not releasing any feature is better than releasing constantly).

      I have written an article on PM which I think you may like: https://invertedpassion.com/cognitive-biases-poorly-designed-products/

      3. What's your view on PM/APM landscape in India for future?

      India needs more product thinkers but there's a caveat. The scale and quality of products is not correlated to the number of PMs. So volume-wise, there's no need for a lot of product managers, but great PMs are much in need because Indian products now compete with global products even in India (FB, Google, Apple). Though you should know that most of the product management for top tech companies happens from their HQs in US, and not from India.

      2 Share
    • AG

      Aakanksha Gaur

      about 1 month ago #

      Hey Chand, Aakanksha from Wingify!

      Thanks for asking this question. Paras picked your question as one of the 5 best questions in this AMA and would love to send you one of his favourite reads.

      To connect with the team, we would need you to dm us your email on twitter.com/wingify and our team will take this forward!

      Thanks for an insightful question :)

  • CC

    Chinmay C

    about 2 months ago #

    1- What books/YouTube
    channel would you
    recommend to
    understand human
    behavior?

  • VB

    Vipul Bansal

    about 2 months ago #

    Thanks for this AMA, Paras.

    1. What does it feel like to lead a team of leaders in an organization?
    2. How do you identify a leader?
    3. Can you share instance(s) where you had to take tough calls which you knew won't be received well by your team?

    • PC

      Paras Chopra

      about 2 months ago #

      1. What does it feel like to lead a team of leaders in an organization?

      Honestly, with the right set of leaders, a founder should feel "useless" and that's been my constant endeavor.

      2. How do you identify a leader?

      I've written extensively about this in my blog post: https://invertedpassion.com/how-to-become-a-leader/

      3. Can you share instance(s) where you had to take tough calls which you knew won't be received well by your team?

      Good question! One of the instances was where we had to ask engineering team split between our two offices (in Delhi and Pune) to co-locate in Delhi. This meant that some people had to shift their cities and I knew that's a hard thing to do for anyone. But we still took that call because from the business and product standpoint, it was important.

      3 Share
  • NS

    Nishanth Singh

    about 2 months ago #

    Hey Paras,
    Have enjoyed and learned from your blog posts and the Simpson's paradox video on your YT channel.
    My questions for AMA:
    i. I see that you graduated in Biotechnology. Why and how did you learn to code and do you still code/evaluate code at Wingify?
    ii. Is it mandatory to have a tech co-founder when you are building a tech product? Will building a good tech team with a specialist CTO be as good?

    Thanks in advance.

  • DT

    Dupesh Tilokani

    about 2 months ago #

    Hi Paras,

    Its exciting to see you on GH.

    Here is my question:

    I have a SaaS product idea which can help Indian SMBs to get more leads. As far as I can conceptualize, it is a very small basic tool, and can be profitably positioned at Rs. 2000-2500/- monthly ($25-35) if sold to 5,000 SMBs at churn of 10% with Lifetime of 9-12 months.

    The product is best fit for user persona who is basic graduate, minimally tech friendly(not tech savy) working in an SMB in 10k-25k salary, knows basic english.
    The customer and decision maker is owner-manager of business, & is less tech-friendly.

    Essential Requirement: The SMB customer should have at least 2 people who do sales.

    The value my product can provide is of 2 Lac - 5 Lac of additional sales per month.

    #1 How would you acquire those customers? and how?
    1. Content marketing
    2. Cold calls
    3. Sales team
    4. Partnerships, Evangelism, Events etc etc.
    5. something else (what?)

    #2. When Would you start focusing on increasing Lifetime of the product? so as you can invest in scalable marketing activities.

    #3 Any other tips you can suggest in context to building entry barriers?
    since its a very basic tool which can be replicated in a month at a loss leading strategy by a big guy like zoho.

  • LN

    levim nikt

    about 2 months ago #

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    https://supplementfordiet.com/therma-trim-reviews/

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