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Competing with giants: An inside look at how The Browser Company builds product | Josh Miller (CEO)
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Competing with giants: An inside look at how The Browser Company builds product | Josh Miller (CEO)

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Brought to you by Writer—Generative AI for the enterprise | Dovetail—Bring your customer into every decision | Linear—The new standard for modern software development

Josh Miller is the CEO and co-founder of The Browser Company, where he helped build Arc, my go-to web browser. In today’s episode, we get an inside look at the unique structure and values of The Browser Company and how their company culture has helped them land some of the best talent in tech. Josh shares ways that his company embraces experimentation, including their “optimizing for feelings” approach to building, and explains why extreme transparency is at the forefront of everything they do.

Special invite link to skip the waitlist: https://arc.net/gift/lenny

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/competing-with-giants-an-inside-look-at-how-the-browser-company-builds-product-josh-miller-ceo/#transcript

Where to find Josh Miller:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/joshm

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/josh-miller-b31259106/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

Referenced:

• Early access to Arc: https://arc.net/gift/lenny

• The Browser Company: https://thebrowser.company/

• Arc: https://arc.net/

• Hursh Agrawal on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hurshagrawal/

• Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/

• Scott Belsky on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottbelsky/

• Notes on Roadtrips: https://thebrowser.company/values/

• Shahed Khan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_shahedk

• Paper by FiftyThree:  https://www.hellobrio.com/blog/digital-drawing-paper-fiftythree

• Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/

• Peter Vidani on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pter

• The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/

• Ellis Hamburger on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellishamburger/

• Airbnb’s Snow White project: https://uxdesign.cc/how-airbnb-proved-that-storytelling-is-the-most-important-skill-in-design-15d04ac71039

General Magic: https://www.generalmagicthemovie.com/

• Linear: https://linear.app/

• Raycast: https://www.raycast.com/

• Cron: https://cron.com/

• Thrive Capital: https://thrivecap.com/

• Tuple: https://tuple.app/

• Figma: https://www.figma.com/

Harold and the Purple Crayon: https://www.amazon.com/Harold-Purple-Crayon-Crockett-Johnson/dp/0062086529

Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: https://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Forgetting-Name-Thing-Sees/dp/0520256093/

God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State: https://www.amazon.com/God-Save-Texas-Journey-State/dp/0525520104

The Last of Us on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-last-of-us

• Adam Curtis documentaries on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLStWlBRkr0N_aYjPmbrrjm_rsstpkUBLc

• Notion: https://www.notion.so/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Josh’s background

(04:37) Arc and the metrics they use to track growth

(05:23) Arc’s retention numbers

(09:03) Josh’s product-building philosophy and why he believes in optimizing for feelings

(19:38) How The Browser Company’s values create a culture that allows them to ship so quickly

(23:27) The “Notes on Roadtrips” doc about values

(28:29) How Josh is able to hire such amazing talent

(38:10) The good and bad of building in public

(45:57) Some of the odd teams at The Browser Company and why Josh calls it a prototype-driven culture

(46:42) The membership team

(48:48) The storytelling team

(52:41) Why The Browser Company doesn’t have traditional PMs

(54:48) A case for adding PMs

(58:13) The role of data, even in a company that optimizes for feelings

(59:11) Airbnb’s Snow White project

(1:02:55) How impactful moments in Josh’s life influenced values at The Browser Company

(1:03:49) How the film General Magic has inspired Josh

(1:05:13) The value of novel names

(1:07:31) Why The Browser Company’s approach works for Arc

(1:13:28) Why you need to nail latency and why Josh loves Tupl

(1:15:14) The shift to cloud computing and the ultimate vision at The Browser Company

(1:23:56) Lightning round

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

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