Taking advantage when a window opens for you


I remember when I joined Pinterest in 2012, the company still had a relatively low profile. And then things changed - Pinterest got pulled into the PR vortex despite Ben and Evan doing everything they could to keep a low profile. Almost overnight, Pinterest became the darling of the internet world.

There are moments like this in a company when a window opens -- when stars align and a sense of inevitability starts to take over your company. In Pinterest's case, user momentum and a hot funding round catalyzed our moment. But sometimes (as with AI startups currently), you're on a fast current. Or more often than not, the window opens because you're executing -- the product starts hitting a chord, growth is humming, you just hired a great exec or landed a great customer, and your confidence and conviction in your company's future shows.

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Trust me when I say this: the window will close, so do everything you can to maximize your moment.

Yes startups are a marathon, but this is a moment to sprint. Increase your sense of urgency. Raise your hiring bar. Consider pulling forward executive searches. If you haven't recently raised a round on funding, you might want to dust off your deck.

Ben and Evan crushed it when our window opened. We started hiring people with crazy amounts of experience from the executive level to IC engineers, we raised a round that valued us at $1B (when this was still special :), we revamped our NUX for an influx of new users.

The thing about jumping through your window when it opens is that it causes it to stay opened longer. Hiring great people raises the bar internally on execution. Growth sustains if not accelerates. Things start to compound more and more. A window that might be open for a few months can stay opened for several.

But eventually the window will close. This is not to say your business isn't still thriving, but the universe has just retracted its cosmic help, moving on to new younger startups whose stars are about align. You'll look back and miss that time when gravity loosened its grip. But hopefully you won't regret not acting on it.

Thanks for reading Rougher Thoughts by Sarah Tavel! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.