IdeaMensch Interview with CEO & Co-founder, Josh Lowy

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Josh Lowy

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Josh Lowy is the co-founder and CEO of Hugo, a note-taking collaborative solution for meetings. Native to Australia and based in San Francisco, Lowy was previously a product manager at Westfield Retail Solutions where he was responsible for building wayfinding solutions for brands to convert online consumer intent into offline purchases.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Hugo was born out of solving a problem for ourselves while we were facing challenges building a different product. At the time, we were focused on meetings, but the solution revolved around meeting preparation for individuals.

Solving problems as a team is really important, especially as a startup when the tempo of iteration is critical.

But we really struggled to agree as a team on what our customers’ most pressing problems were and why our current product wasn’t hitting on enough of a pain-point. This internal misalignment created a lot of drag for us. So we agreed to build a proof of concept (POC) into the product that posted meeting notes to a Slack channel, and allowed us to create Trello cards from those notes to connect conversations to tickets.

This was a turning point for us in two ways – first of all the team started to create better solutions for our users once they were tapped directly into the firehose of feedback. Something that was a costly, top-down process where the founders had to aggregate insights and share them with the team each week, transformed into a bottom-up approach. This dramatically increased the quality and tempo of our work. The second wave of change was when users started to respond really positively to our hack and wanted it for themselves.

We realized that the problem wasn’t with meeting preparation, it was with pushing information from a meeting to the right people and the tools they use to get things done.

So we faced this as a team:

Option A: keep heading in to the wind and try find an audience willing to pay for our meeting preparation product; or

Option B: Recognize the customer pull on this hack we’ve built, and double down on getting this into the market for teams (not individuals)

Obviously, we chose the latter!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Read more here.