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Perfect is the enemy of good | Waze founder Uri Levine on gaining momentum to create, fund and scale a successful company

2019-10-07 | 🔗

In this episode, Uri shares some of his key learnings from the Waze startup journey; from starting from scratch to a successful exit. You'll also hear the processes that he applies when he starts up or advises any company – like figuring out product-market fit, his strategy behind hiring a winning founding team, and how he allocates his time in each stage of the startup process. He also talks about something that is difficult for every business owner – when it’s time to let people go. 

Uri is interviewed by Scott Harris, a coach, mentor and a speaker at many of Tony’s events, including Business Mastery, Tony’s signature business event.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
If you're listening to this part cast, it means you're ready, no more than ready to have a major breakthrough in your business. Your home for change and your hungry for growth, but do you we're star or if you ve already started butter feeling stock. You need some help: and to talk to you about your business plan and how you can accelerate growth why twenty Robins is offering a free one to one business strategy session from one of his top business coaches, hundred dollar value completely free, no strings attached if you're listening right. Now, you can go to Tony robins dot com. Slash ceo to sign up. Your free session and get started on your own path to massive success, We is not an aim. You'd recognise, but something he invented is probably an app on your phone because founded ways, the world's largest traffic and navigation up more than two Fifty million drivers worldwide use it, and the company was a
by Google in two thousand thirteen for one point: one billion dollars since an early has founded several other companies like fee acts. A start up that reveal. Hidden fees. You may not be aware from your bank and energy, an apt that can do car problems, so you arrive prepared at the mechanic he's also creating innovative solutions to major problems in the: U S like the cost of health care and public transportation Worry he still obsessed with solving the traffic problem, as you can Will we gather Eries mission in business is nothing short of brilliant to disrupt inefficient markets and to solve problems that safe consumers, time and money, while also empowering them with information, in other words, he's creating real products for real people that solve real big problems. In this episode array shares some of his keel earnings from the ways startup journey from starting from scratch to a successful exit, but you're also going to hear the processes that he applies when he starts up or advises any company, like figuring
product market fit whether the problem he's trying to solve is actually a problem in the eyes of consumers, and history you behind hiring a winning founding team. He also talks about something. That's pretty forgot for every business honour when it's time to let people go there. Also dear out, worry allocates his time as a founder and cereal entrepreneur in each phase of the start up process. In order to properly support his team, while also making best use of his own time, is interviewed on stage by Scott Harris, a coach mentoring speaker at many of Tony's events, including business, mastery, Tony's, signature, business event here Scott Enery. Firstly, thank you Charlie's excited. Have you here is excited you share, as I am as well, I'm felicity, that's the don't know the way story, tell us the year story and tell us the way
story and then we'll get into some nitty gritty. The magic of ways is in the way that its being built and intellectually a crowd source application that generates all the data that we did. Drivers are using while you drive right, and so it's not only the traffic that we it's kind of. Ok, this is obvious. It's actually the maps. Themself writer, when we started the map was a page and then, when the first driver drove we collected that european data from the device and when we drove this dubious day down the blank page, we got to see something that looks like the rule that the person problem right and when you start to get that from a lot of drivers. We figure out. Ok, this one starting to look like a map right and if there is a lot of density than feet, we figure out that this is a highway verses Austria in these areas,
intersection, that that no one is making left turned and no left down is allowed right, and if there is our own, that there are a hundred people going into one direction and no one else in that direction. That would be one way street. Then, if there is a road that there are a hundred people going into one direction and only two coming that the direction that be a one way street in TEL Aviv and an essentially. We build the software that takes all of these data and generates the map, and now, when we started have more and more and more drivers, then we can generate the traffic information and help people to avoid up. There are few interesting things about that, because the five will have a time machine, and I will roll back time ten years ago, and I will come here and tell you this same story before we start. You will tell me that will never work right, or this is the stupidest idea that I ever heard
something like that in and not only that when we started the first version that we build was actually running on a pda. Remember. Some long long long time ago there were dinosaurs and then PDA than their Nokia phones in today all, have iphones and am grateful right this long time ago, these ten years, I want you to be met I assume that we will meet here again, ten years from now, and we will have all this audience we will need to remind you that we used to have Iphone than white forms and things like that, this piece of innovation strategy things are getting faster, not swallow, it is accelerating, and so we we the company in two thousand and seven. Actually, we started the concept in two thousand and seven. Then we went fund raising and surprisingly all the investor say no
right and in an hour and knowing- and I heard so many knows- that that was actually braidley discouraging, but we thought we are fighting to solve a big problem that its worthwhile, life, and so we kept on trying and we were able to raise funds only at the beginning of two thousand and eight, and this is where we started first version running on a pity a second version running on a Nokia phone right in in two thousand and nine, we launched the service in Israel, the initially and then rest of the ward and you know, you'll figure out that you would think that ok, the concept can start from nothing lights or we can start from a blank page and therefore it should work everywhere. Now. The problem was. It was not good enough right. So there is no one in this room that using waves since two thousand and nine, because if you would try that back, then you will tell me that this suck right,
and their home, and you actually right. That's right! It was not good enough, and so this is what we did right, we'll figure out from the system. It doesn't work. We went and spoke with the drivers and weak up their feedback and we heard what doesn't work for them, and so we went back to the drawing board. We built the next in- and we know that this is a right, and so we released annex version, and we know that this is it and it's not an iteration half the reiteration after iteration after iteration ray time is a minor improvement, every time is a baby step and they took such a whole year of two thousand and ten and twelve
figured it out and king with something that was actually good enough now? This is very, very important good enough in free wins the market good enough, for you wins the market that maybe the night did IP. Take him ever going to study good enough free wins the markets prepare for stuff in the biggest enemy of good enough is perfect. You don't need to be perfect. You gonna give you try to build something that is perfect. You would lose the market to some one. That is good and collapse. The question, because so often
as on to propose we fall in love with a product. We fall in love with a thing that we built and it takes some a challenge to go. Actually this isn't good enough, and in and I need to listen to feedback and do a new restoration and innovation cycles. What do you think is the stumbling block, two people letting go of their old model or they're all system and moving forward new one, so a worm. You know you look at all the successful consumer applications and if I were to ask a hundred people in the audience, how did you hear about ways? Ninety nine of them will tell me. We heard that from a frame right at the end of the day, if you build a product that is good enough in these dark, so it's all about the product and not about how you promote that and then eventually what happens is that people started collateral.
The good enough needs to create wealth right if there is no value creation than it's useless. Now I have my own method of creating value right. I started with a problem in and a big problem right, because if it's a small problem, if I'm down in person on the planet, that actually have this problem, then showing he's going to be so. But there are some interesting than building right, but if a actually have this problem. They would try to figure out. What's the perception of the problem of data people because most of the consumer services, when you go back to the history of creation, they started from the perception of a single person right the founder. This is where it started. This is the problem where the person face and realise that we can do something about it. The next phase is actually understanding the perception of the programme, of whom every you believed that actually is going to be the user, and once you do that
You encapsulate you understand the problem and you understand the perception of the problem. Then you go and build a significant ask. How do you do that? Because I think that you got ten different companies. Euro found a region or a chamber nor a first investor rain and most of them your idea which, when you ve, got a problem, whether its you're, probably right a traffic or any other companies like ingenious hated. It are having to be told what to do by your mechanic. Here is the problem. How do you then go and find out what other people's experiences that had enough? The problem is big enough to be solved just you start your friends and family do posted on social media. What do you do so? So the general rule is that I would start with friends and family, but I have my own rule of speaking with a hundred people hundred reason is that no one has
friends and family, a hundred people in their friends and family right, even though that I have five gates, I still don't have a hundred members of the family. Now the importance of the hundred people is that you have to speak with people that you don't know right, gotta stay with me. We don't know, and you have to speak with arab people that are not like you and other people like you in, and this is very, very important. Sometimes the problem is, and by the way, it's about the our prime, and not about the solution. You don't even deal with this solution at these ways, even though the ticket you have something in mind, you dont speak about the soldier. You want to understand how painful the problem, even in what's a perception of the problem. And you know you mentioned energy energy deals with the frustrations of going through the mechanic, what they might not know about it tell them about and in life. I take my card a mechanic, whatever those
I'll, say: ok, because I I don't know what's happening on their knees, they would, I feel, helpless, and I don't like to feel helpless, and so I tried to figure out what to do him. You know if the mechanical tell me that I need to replace the car, right or in my card, and I would say, ok go ahead and do that might the only problem is that there is no carburetor ain't. My card they dont makes garbage carburetors for two decades and so we built a map that runs on the smartphones, connects to the car computer. Doing the diagnostics for you telling your what's wrong and then ask mechanic to quote to repair so really empowered a driver with the knowledge and with the ability to do you got some fancy. They just come up one day because you're at the mechanics that you're frustrated by the problem you like that's annoying me I'd, want to pay the bill. You and I was frustrated with you. You feel like you're being ripped off, but but you feel help
because there's nothing, but you can do about it. So you go ask a hundred people, you don't know that are not like you and you see what the perception of what their perspective on the problem is there right away. That, then, we find out that the recent research that indicates that there are the two most hateful service providers are anti stand and mechanics This is where people don't dentists and not mechanics, but other did just another mechanics became evident in what we do so Hetty. Take that from an idea, Nega Perspective, Wanna Hetty, then what do you do to go? Find some money? You put your own money. Don't what are you start so worm your turn now that the idea is very, very important, it might be attributed about ten percent of the solution and ninety percent, these execution execution. So execution is the hardest part. In their home, in its usually would be about the herd, choosing the right team in the rights here for them.
And so what I would start is, I would start looking for the team or the ceo, and it might be someone that I worked with before my someone in young uranium in the banana issue programme that I meant or there, and we will start to think about how to build that and how to develop that, and it will take me months before I will decide that this is the right person at the right time to do that in what I want to find out the ring this period of time, is that the sea always the rightly there and the team follows then rising and that this he always capable of making our decisions. This is T shirts about us about your teacher, making it easy decisions is easy making hard decisions. These are what some examples of how decisions you think that people die MIKE
Yet I yeah, I speak with a lot of interpreters because I keep on building startups all the time right now, so I spoke with a couple of dozens of enterprise urged that their last start up phase and asked him why in half of them said, the team was not right capture, and so I kept on asking what does it mean that peace is not ripe, prevents or some of them told me? Ok, we had this guy responsible for marketing and was not good enough and we had this guy responsible for engineering was not good enough and solve some, not good enough is one reason, and then I heard, and not a group of answers that we hear the communication issues. Or something that I call eco management issues like, and then I asked them. When did you know that the team is not right in all of them knew within
first month, all of them within the first month. Now, just imagine when you hire a person into the team. How long does it take you to know that if this person has the right person to the team or not it's always a month, always within the first month? So the ceo knows that disperse the team is not right after the first month and it doesn't do anything just imagine for a second, the rest of the team right. They know as well that the team is not like in they look up to the ceo to make the decision because making easy decisions is easy, making hardest hit our distant, why no one wants
make the higher decisions and they expect this year to make the decision to see it doesn't make their decision than there are only two options like number one she doesn't know, which means that he always dupe it. This is not good number to seal, doesn't and still doesn't break their decision that sexual. Even worse, this your leave the leadership of actually making the hard decisions by the way. In both cases, the result is always the same. The top performing people would leave that would leave because they don't want to be in an organisation that is able to make our decision and they gave a choice telling you don't Nova Scotia just got her today, but you got member, although I back today, one we talked about, who am I who do I need and who do? I need to get rid of just remedies and when you say that, because most of you love bugs most you're here on the mission and the team- The vision somebody like no, I can't get rid of people on want to people, but not doesn't just serve. You
doesn't serve the rest to your team. If you ve got someone is not the right feet, not there. I play and true fully how many what are really serve. People who wants to serve people write your answer. I attributed serve them either if they are in the wrong way in the wrong team, actually not serving that person audit and inviting them to go somewhere else. You know just Imagine large organisations like any organisation that is large enough to eventually there is a normal distribution of the of the people's rights, also normal distribution. Here we have to performing here. We have excellent people, good people, lesson good people, and here we have people that children, you that lets say that you run this organization and you want to improve the quality of the organization. When you hire and not our top performer. You definitely impact when you find someone that doesn't need to be there. The impact these dramatically bigger, and the reason is that everyone knows why these are you, some
in their organization that shouldn't either everyone else gap and if you take it, that, then everyone realise that ok, you are doing the right thing in that impact. The overall impact, these dramatically bed I loved you, curiosity thrown us demand, but that's very nice. I love that we talked about how to take an idea and make it real. The first you talked about was building a team who gets the very first thing right fantasy. I would then have the ceo build out. The team. Tell me if you look at all the different business, you ve done the role being you solving a problem, whether its movement, which is sort of ways for public transport, where its energy, with the mechanics, illiterates fair, fly with the flights when you book a flight. What happens if the price goes up, I'm bored, you think, is next what what other problems with frustrations? Do you have in your life that you think are problems that need to be solved them sitting at the spectre for teeth? What other industries out there need to be disrupted
so few thoughts rights also number one, I'm not done with traffic, because you know you look a traffic jams today and you tell yourself: ok, this is actually more severe than it was ten years ago, and this is after we built ways. So the problem did not disappear. Maybe we feel a bit more confident when we are driving that we are actually outsmarting the classic. But the general problem of the traffic is still there. I'm looking at the medical services just imagine, and I want you to think about the following: ok, the medical, services in the. U S are five times more expensive than there are in Germany. Now it's not that there are better. There are simply five times more action, then when you realise that there are five times more expensive and are not better than obviously, there is sort of waste throughout the value chain and it's pretty big, and so I'm trying to figure out that,
yeah and I'm looking at their life in when says a major problem in the? U S, I would say more than half of the people have the right to life insurance in there and we are buying. Whatever this, the people that are selling us are selling rats, decide the form in the end. The reality is that we probably can build something better here. Son look a lot of problems to try to address signing now. Let me try another one: when you travel to Europe and you buy goods there, you actually entitled to get the t back when you try to, then, you'll figure out that ninety five percent of the cases people simply failed to get their money back because of complexity because of long lines because of different issues, and so I'm building. Refunded that is about to make it there
simple. As you now take a picture of your recedes, your passport, your boarding pass and get the money back as simple as that. Thanks because I think that a Europe of every get very nice. Can I ask what's the process, because it this evening you mean: what's this took about winning when you sold eyes at how does it happen? How do you get a billion dollar phone call? How does this Google to call you say: hey, we want your beer. Rather that happened and how are you on that. Actually exactly like that really info. When, when Google reach out to us, they aren't they reach out with one page terms, one takes turkey. And they said we gonna make them going to close the deal in a week. Can we simply say yes
and there have looked at the time. You know you look today at way of any ask yourself: was that the right move or the right decision or not- and this is very important to remember their right decisions and no decisions, because when you make a decision, you don't know what it would be like if you will make a different decision, and so we tend to tailor self ok, you know is probably wars today, ten times right, so maybe ten billion dollars, because there are so many more users and so many more people using that, then they figure out the business models is, and so a lot of good reasons to say it's worth more, but whether or not it would get here too disposition. We don't know that,
the end throughout the history, you know you look at the Netflix asking blockbuster to acquire them and blockbuster saying no twice ripe and we know what happened to blockbuster and we know what happened to Netflix and we cannot say this is how can they not feedback or Yahoo not acquire in Google for two million dollars and so different reason that there have that you look at the decision at the point of time that the decision is being made in always the right one, because you don't know what it was, what it would be like if you will
choose a different path? Rightif Yahoo would acquire Google in ninety ninety six and ninety ninety seven. What Google becomes a significant both the world, a very different right now we don't know that an end so, and so we we say yes to the today acquisition and her in this process actually leads to her. In particular, we say yes because we knew from past experience of goodwill is that they they don't break things that work right, and so they believed in the vision that we here than what they wanted to keep the vision up and running right, so helping drivers to avoid an outsmart craft and for me I left the day after day acquisition. I left. I can build more start ups and doesn't what I'm doing since then sceptical clinical with Those tell me what is it because you ve got some.
The great Algiers on so many things. I asked you backstage what is your day, look like what does the day will What a serial entrepreneurs life you're involved your board member of our chairman, or a co founder investor in in ten different companies. What what does a day look like in your life, so whom I would say that the first year of start up is the most critical one. First, you don't do things that happened in the first year. The product market feet is being figure it out in the dna of the company is being established in. These are the two most important thing that the journey of start up right, because when you look at the applications that you are using or service did that you are using today, and I would ask if so, what is the difference between the application that you are using today in the first time?
You have used that and the reality is that there is not different product market feet is being figure out early days now, if you haven't figure out the product market, feed than probably the company will die and you we're here about that, but those that you heard about them. They figure out the product market, feet runaway, in this period of time is where I invest most of my time in mentoring, the ceo in helping the team in guiding them and the first year that's probably meeting the ceo hum every week, maybe twice a week. Usually in my kitchen, though, I have kitchen? Where everything happens, I love it in the end, this is where we have done to build things and over time they need less and less and less of my time right and so my time is being freed up. I can start another one got it
and so this is my my method. I locked comical isn't tell me if I'm in this room in business, that I'm not a start up and I've already been going and I'm a meter in prime or maybe I'm standing age decay like you, I'm not a start up and I'm not an infant, but I'm somewhere else in their journey. What what what wisdom do you have for? Someone is taking off, but I cast Only business. I've already got this business. What what what wisdom or coaching would you have for them? So so you know we spoke about making hard decisions and getting rid of the people that do not feel this is critical. You will not believe how impact for Ladys and their home, and this is something that the hum
You know it's it's something that you can do throughout their organisation by the way, if you're, not sure, if you have a large organization than you can run a survey very simple survey with two questions, the end, the questions are very simple for freight one of their employees. I, before going to start a new team, would you like to have with you on that, and these are the key performer now it doesn't matter if they like this person to be on their team, because this person is good in nice or excellent.
Ok or it doesn't matter. What is the mix? The fact is that they want to work with this person. Now the opposite questions is who don't you want to have any artists and these person you should fire, because they do not create value that organisation. They actually create more damage than help, and this is critical. Now the outer that process. The outer aspect that we need to look at is sometimes we expect to see how to think about the next quarter and and this coming year and so forth, but from time to time we need to get out of this point of view and look into the future and look five or ten years down the road and start to ask ourselves how the market will be different in ten years from now. When you start to think about it, then
The next question would be if my business is still relevant in the ten years from now market. Now, if it is then keep on going right, so improve and an Annie and optimize and improve optimize and improve the organisation, in the end output organization in doubt put all the time. But if your answer to ten years now whatever I'm doing. Right now is a relevant. So let's just imagine that there will be a timeless vehicle they will be in and maybe it will not take detenus, but let's assume for a second, but ten years from now the hour upon a most vehicles and instead of asked driving our own cars, the cars will drive us right because if you look at this end
industry in the last hundred years. Nothing changes in reality. A hundred years ago, female syllable car was Ford and it was black and it was doing about sixteen smiles per gallon and last year it was Ford and ITALY black, it was doing about seventeen smiles programme, but the reality is that we drive cars. The same way that our parents did in the same way that our grandparents do nothing to change. We go into the driver's seat. And we have steering wheel. Then we have peddled and we drive the cars self once cars can drive by themselves. Maybe we don't need to own a car. Maybe what we need to own is an act that we click on that and a car shows up and we tell the cartoons
wherever in the car takes us there and then we click on the app again the car disappears. Now, if this is the case, we are changing the business model right. So, instead of buying cars, we gonna biased air miles per hour pair, whatever right, the total number of cars that will be sold we'll be dramatically lower than it is today, the total number of mileage that is going to be brave and he's going to be dramatically hired entities today, if your carmaker in you don't switch the business model, you will die. If you have parking garage, any you don't switch the business model or you don't get rid of that. You would not. If you sell incurring insurance and you sell it bear vehicle it not their mile, you will die so many disruptions. You'd just imagine the next generation. They will not.
The generation after that, when we will tell them that we use tried to drive a car on the way out of three cause. They will not believe us when we will tell you why pay the front of the house anymore in an hour if you're in this business- and you start to ask so- am I going to be irrelevant ten years from now? The answer is no you're not relevant in if you're not relevant, then we cannot keep on going in the same objectives that you believe is going to happen because someone else is going to become market leader of the future and you're, not even ready for that, returning weapons pie cast, is a collection of interviews and stories and is produced by the Tony Robins team copy. Robins research, international.
Transcript generated on 2020-04-04.