Oct 26, 2018 Gerda Verbickaite
It all began when Justin started investing his personal time in creating a product, which would stop teams from spending up to 60% of their time “doing work about doing work.”
Here are four main points Justin has learned along the way.
It is really important for everyone in the company to know why they come to the office each day and why they should try their best to keep developing and improving Asana. As a company, you have to have clarity of purpose, a mission, which has to be matched by all of the company’s decisions made on any level. When you walk into Asana’s HQ, you will see their mission statement in big letters right on the first wall you see, to remind everyone of the goal towards which they all work together.
With a clear mission visibly present, as Justin explains, they are able to push all their efforts towards helping their customers be more productive in tasks that matter. As one of their clients from AIDS alliance said: “Humanity will find a cure for AIDS faster because of Asana.”
When we want something, we often can only explain it in terms of things that we are already familiar with, but the best solutions usually come from those who listen to what’s laying underneath, what’s not being said. Justin explains: “building a successful product requires the combination of being able to really listen carefully to customers and at the same time […] fantasize from the scratch what something would look like.” When Asana’s customers started asking for a Gantt chart, instead of building the feature-in-demand, as many others would have, Asana asked their customers: “Why do you want this function?” By incorporating the first principle thinking into Asana’s decision-making, they were able to come up with a brand new interface and an organic version of a Gantt chart, which left customers saying that this is better than what they originally wanted.
When you are an entrepreneur, in some ways, things will not go according to plan on a daily basis. It is easy to get disheartened when something you have worked on intensely fails or doesn’t play out as expected, but Justin advises to remember that: “Problems happen, plans fail. […] The key is to not freak out and just calmly deal with each problem every day, one at a time until you achieve your desired outcome.” Find your way to stay focused on the bigger picture, which will help you in staying sane and remaining stable through ups and downs. Upon being asked “How is Asana doing?”, Justin recalls how it usually felt that so much had gone wrong, but when looking at the bigger picture, he would realize that they are one of the fastest growing SaaS companies, helping all these customers around the world.
Every entrepreneur shares the same experience – that almost any undertaking involves a steady stream of unexpected difficulties and mistakes. The key is to know that failure is not the end of your journey, it’s just a detour.
It can be very easy to forget to take care of your body and mind when deadlines seem to pile up. Justin has developed a routine to improve his productivity, health and happiness. During our chat, he was kind enough to share his personal routine and how it benefits him.
Justin starts his day with a journal, writing things that he is grateful for and big tasks he wants to achieve, followed by one hour of meditation. Meditation has been proven to have beneficial effects, such as improving clarity and, as Justin put it: “Meditation enables you to step back and make choices from a place of love and compassion.”
At work, instead of jumping to completing tasks, he first prioritizes and plans his activities, creating a structure for the day and calmly going through one task after another, taking breaks when appropriate and limiting the time spent on checking email and Asana. During our conversation, Justin also quite passionately talked about the importance of exercise and sleep, which should be seen as an investment in your productivity and mental cognition.
As our time was coming to a close, Justin shared his excitement about coming to visit Helsinki for the first time. He’s looking forward to experiencing the happiest country in the world, meet his customers from around the globe and get inspired to make Asana better.
There has been growing interest in investing in emerging markets, especially in Southeast Asia. Our speakers, Kay-Mok Ku (Gobi), Soo Boon Koh (I-Globe), Kaspar Hadiyat (Koro Partners) were joined by Jorel Chan, who is the head of Investment Operations for Slush. Their discussion ranged from: personal insights, their experiences, as well as how Southeast Asia has […]
I am my Rival who Drives me Chika Terada, the co-founder and CEO of Sansan kicked off his speech proposing to disclose his own stories. Last year, he tried to come up with a profound lecture. But then he realized, he’s not in a position to lecture. This year, he told the audience that instead, […]
The day 1 at Dialogue Stage was a success. With having engaging speakers and the smooth-as-ever facilitation, some talks had really sought the core aspects of the entrepreneur mindset. Here, we will address three out of the seven dialogues. Cross Border Business Strategy: How to build your own brand in this society? Welcoming Techstars as […]
A dream isn’t something that is final, it’s something that should constantly be updated and thoroughly thought about with the aim to achieve it. Miku Hirano is the founder and CEO of Cinnamon, a company that is dedicated to “remove all unnecessary work from the world by using AI.” At a glance, Miku seems to […]
The winner of Slush Tokyo pitching contest has been announced – congrats, Clarity K.K.! Their matchmaking platform helps women who are returning to the realm of work after having kids. The work-life balance for women in Japan is a tricky issue, and Clarity K.K. tackles the challenges of traditional work arrangements by enabling women to identify the […]
Helen Tung, Emergent Tech advisor and MINERVA fellow at the EU, moderated the conversation between Takahiro Nakamura (Director and COO at ispace) and Kazuo Ishigame (Co-founder and COO at Infostellars) on how to make it in space. Welcome to the space age. These two will be your guides. Ispace aims to develop spacecraft technology to extend […]
Yat Siu is the founder and CEO of Outblaze , an award-winning digital services company specializing in things such as gaming, cloud, AI, and smartphone software. He sold Outblaze’s services to IBM ten years ago, pivoting the company to digital entertainment services. Siu is a bit of a tech legend, according to many: the online […]
Slush Tokyo 2019 Pitch Contest Semi-finalists Announced! It has been a great turn out at the Pitching Stage at this year’s Slush Tokyo. 40 contestants pitched in today’s contest. Not surprisingly, even greater ideas and concepts were presented in front of an eager and curious audience and judges. Contestants’ ideas and talks were diverse: from […]
Join the other 70,000 tech heads and subscribe to our newsletter to know about our ticket sales!
We collect cookies to make your experience here smoother.