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Alain Chuard, co-founder Wildfire, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #200 - Alain Chuard: The Founder's Playbook

Alain Chuard

November 11, 2021

1:51 - The ideal founder team

7:09 - When to quit your day job

19:51 - Life after MVP

41:40 - Hiring for skills and culture

49:40 - The exit to Google

About Alain Chuard

Alain Chuard is a Swiss serial entrepreneur best known as the founder and Chief product officer of Wildfire Interactive, the social media marketing technology company acquired by Google in July 2012. At Google, Alain was responsible for overseeing Wildfire’s strategy, integration into Google’s Display Ads Division, and external representation of the product. He also co-created Swisspreneur with Christian Hirsig in 2016.

Here are some of his answers to every founder's burning questions:

- What's the ideal founder team? Alain prefers 2 founder teams with complementary skills: 1 product rockstar with an eye for design and strategy, and 1 marketing and sales machine. The founders should of course also share similar values.

- Where should I search for my co-founder? Look for high talent-density places, like Ivy League universities, On Deck Fellowship and Y Combinator.

- When should I quit my day job? Keep your day job during the idea validation phase, but go all in once that phase is through. You want to give your startup the best chance possible, and that requires you to give it your all.

- How do I know if I've got a good business idea? Start with your own problems and look for inflection points, or shifts in tech and user behavior. Ask yourself: why was this idea not possible 5 years ago? How do I currently have an unfair advantage?

- What makes a good MVP? MVPs should be barebones in terms of features and design but still provide a solution that captures a pivotal need the customer has. Basically: it should have achieved product market fit.

- How do I know whether or not to pivot? You should pivot if you're consistently failing to see demand or if you have a high churn rate.

- Should I bootstrap my company or raise funds? If you have a product that can scale through tech, raise funds. If you're running a business which grows in a more linear fashion, it's worth it to bootstrap. Either way, if you should choose to fundraise, approach it as a partnership rather than a transaction.

Currently Alain is the president of Prisma, a digital first school that adapts to every child's unique needs and abilities and to every family's lifestyle.

Memorable Quotes:

"I see a lot of founders that look at the fundraising process like a transaction, rather than as a partnership."

Resources Mentioned:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

High Growth Handbook, by Elad Gil

How Superhuman Built An Engine To Find Product Market Fit, by Rahul Vohra

Essays by Paul Graham

The Product Market Fit Survey

If you would like to listen to our very first episode with Alain, click here.

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