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Shaping the Future of Tech: Mohammad’s Unconventional Journey from Shopify to Gadget

Unraveling Entrepreneurship: Mohammad’s Journey from Product Manager to Successful CEO

We bring you an engaging conversation with Mohammad Hashemi, co-founder at Gadget, a burgeoning start-up reshaping the app development space for JavaScript developers. Known to his peers as ‘Mo’, this trailblazer leads the charge in creating a platform that streamlines the software development process, targeting the e-commerce sector with their unique solutions.

In this interview, Hashemi shares fascinating insights into his start-up journey, the origins of Gadget, and the value of conviction in pursuing innovation. Stay tuned as we explore the behind-the-scenes story of Gadget, a name you should definitely watch out for in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Unraveling Entrepreneurship: Mohammad Hashemi's Journey from Product Manager to Successful CEO
Everyday Cheese Strings and Infinite Apps: The Unconventional Path of Gadget’s Co-founder, Mohammad

Childhood comforts can sometimes follow us into adulthood, providing a slice of nostalgia amidst a constantly evolving world. For Mohammad, co-founder and CEO of the rising tech startup, Gadget, his morning routine has a delightful twist. “It’s in the mornings, I still have those cheese strings,” he admitted in a recent interview. As he unravels a cheese string each dawn, he’s also intricately unwinding the world of app development, aiming to eliminate the monotony for Javascript developers.

Gadget, a seed-stage startup, is transforming the digital landscape. As Mohammad quipped during our conversation, “We’re building an app development platform for Javascript developers. So when they want to build web apps, there’s a bunch of nonsense work they do over and over again. And our platform aims to handle that for them so that they can build more, build faster, maintain less and just be more productive day to day.” Like a string of cheese, every mundane task is slowly peeled away, allowing developers to focus on their unique code rather than replicate what has been done millions of times before.

The bond between Mohammad and his co-founder, Harry, dates back to their time at Shopify, where they braved many engineering challenges together. Their dynamic synergy is reminiscent of their previous tenure: helping each other navigate the complex web of app development and keep their ‘checkout’ running smoothly. “I think if I didn’t know him and I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t take that call,” Mohammad confessed, emphasizing the value of trust in their collaboration. It seems, in a world inundated with skepticism, their enduring confidence in each other acted as a firm bedrock for the birth of Gadget.

Reflecting on his journey and the leap of faith into the uncertain waters of startup culture, Mohammad offered a pearl of wisdom to aspiring founders, “The single biggest tipping point has to be the conviction. Like the moment you can’t keep your job because you’re so sure that you’re right about something and you should build it, is probably the moment you should quit your job and go build it. Because that’s when you have the conviction to overcome the challenges you’re going to face.” In essence, the perfect blend of conviction and challenge fuels the spirit of entrepreneurship. Just like the way Mohammad’s morning ritual might seem unconventional, his approach to the tech world is refreshingly unique too, keeping the flame of innovation ablaze.

A Start-up Journey Shaped by Relationship Analogies and a Yin-Yang Dynamic

At some point in his journey as a co-founder, Mohammad discovered an uncanny parallel between the relationships he had in his personal life and his business life. He likened the partnership with his co-founder to a marriage, the company being their child. This analogy paints a vivid picture of how co-founders must act as parental units, nurturing and guiding their joint venture. There are good times and bad, and it’s not always easy sailing. As Mohammad rightly pointed out, “the relationship is incredibly important, probably the most important thing, and it’s easy to lose sight of that.”

When disagreements arise – and they will – Mohammad relies on a piece of advice he received at his wedding, which he now uses at work. “Is this more important to me or my partner?” By framing it this way, he’s able to pick and choose battles wisely. It isn’t about being right but understanding when to let go, especially if the matter is of significant importance to his co-founder.

Back in the early days, before the team expanded to its current 22 members, Mohammad and his co-founder Harry were responsible for every product decision. Their differing skill sets complemented each other perfectly; Harry’s deep technical knowledge combined with Mohammad’s stronger user experience background made for a dynamic and effective duo. This duo set the foundations of their start-up with lots of brainstorming, mock-ups, and constant feedback integration. Only around the ninth month, when seed money started trickling in, did they begin expanding their team.

Transitioning from product management at Shopify to becoming a first-time founder, Mohammad carried forward valuable learnings. His past experiences dealing with both new and existing products came in handy while navigating the unchartered territory of founding a start-up. He emphasizes the importance of generating conversations to gather valuable data and insights, echoing the need for entrepreneurs to create something worthwhile enough to capture people’s interest and time.

Mohammad’s journey is a testament to his adaptability, his ability to take lessons from every experience and apply them to new contexts. His unique perspective on co-founder relationships, startup growth, and leadership adds a fresh, relatable voice to the entrepreneurial narrative.

His quote to remember: “Is this more important to me or my partner?” A question to ponder for every budding entrepreneur out there.

Unveiling the Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success

Stepping into the entrepreneurial world is a leap of faith, and Mohammad shares his insights that could make this leap a little less daunting. His observation is that the one thing most Project Managers (PMs) lack, and indeed he did too, is a keen appreciation for the role of distribution. In the tech world, the conviction is often that the best product always wins. However, Mohammad argues that in the journey from ‘zero to one’, distribution trumps product every day. The crux of his argument lies in understanding and securing the right distribution channels early and fast. In Mohammad’s words, “You can build the prettiest product in the world but distribution is what you really need to figure out very early on.” He firmly believes that a great product merely grants you entry into the marketplace, but winning a customer requires much more than that.

You can build the prettiest product in the world but distribution is what you really need to figure out very early on

Mohammad’s journey has not been without its challenges. He hasn’t made any major pivots, but he admits that they have had to change their core framework multiple times. This was especially challenging when building developer products, as changes can cause significant disruption for everyone involved. Reflecting on those experiences, he calls them “major product missteps” that were incredibly painful to correct.

When asked about the advice he has received, Mohammad shares an interesting perspective. He insists that founders should generally listen more to their gut and their customers, rather than their investors. He candidly recalls a moment when one of his investors suggested they raise funds at an incredibly low valuation, a move that didn’t make sense to him. The best piece of advice he’s received, however, revolves around the importance of the early team in a startup. As he puts it, “Be incredibly picky with your initial hires…because your first 50 and 100 people determine your culture forever.” Mohammad’s wisdom shows us that the human element in business is just as critical as any product or strategy.

Be incredibly picky with your initial hire because your first 50 and 100 people determine your culture forever

Unraveling the Entrepreneurial Journey: Mohammad’s Perspective on Product Management and the Essential Pivot to Leadership

In a heart-to-heart, Mohammad expounds upon his perspective on the crux of being a CEO in contrast to the role of a project manager. He reminisces, “In the realm of tech, product management often holds the view that the best product always wins, but my perspective deviated from this norm.” Mohammad asserts that it’s not just about creating the most refined product but finding and owning the right distribution channels early on. He cautions upcoming entrepreneurs, stressing that mastering distribution strategy could be their wake-up call to becoming successful CEOs.

Continuing on his journey, Mohammad paints a vivid picture of the initial hurdles he had to overcome. He explains how changes to core frameworks, a typical occurrence in the initial stages of a tech company, were challenging and even painful at times. However, he confesses that these very challenges offered valuable learning experiences, which further sharpened his resolve. He emphasizes, “Building platforms comes with the nasty challenge of trying to abstract something and figuring out what parts of it to show and hide. We constantly got that wrong, but then there’s a mess of how to clean it up just because of how deep in our product these changes were.”

With a definitive shift in tone, Mohammad shares his thoughts on the future, presenting an optimistic viewpoint of the company’s trajectory. From being unperturbed by the prospect of never working for anyone else again, to detailing what he would require to rate this year’s success for gadget as a 10, Mohammad leaves the listener hanging on to his every word. His most memorable statement, shortened for effect, sums up the motivation driving his ambition – “Getting the product right earns you a ticket to the show, but winning requires great distribution. Only then do great products truly win customers.”

Getting the product right earns you a ticket to the show, but winning requires great distribution.

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Janak Joshi is the senior vice president and CTO of