David Cancel isn’t the best product guy in Boston despite his background. He’s the best because if it.

The Secret Behind All Great Products

The products we create reflect our needs, as much as our talents.

This week’s guest is Drift Co-Founder and CEO David Cancel. If you’ve ever landed on a web page and had a real person offer to help you find what you were looking for, there’s a decent chance Drift helped make it happen. Their mission is to “help businesses grow by delivering a better, personal experience across every conversation with their customers,” and it’s a space David knows all too well. He’s spent his career building great products for marketers at companies he’s founded including Compete, Lookery, Ghostery, and Performable. He served as Chief Product Officer at HubSpot after it acquired Performable in 2011, and is widely credited as having re-architected both the product and the engineering team at that company prior to its wildly successful IPO in 2014.

David’s active in the Boston tech community investing in and advising organizations like CRV, Spark Capital, NextView Ventures, Dorm Room Fund, EverTrue, Visible Measures, Yottaa, and Help Scout. You can and absolutely should catch his Podcast — Seeking Wisdom — which offers practical advice on health, wealth, life, and learning for fellow entrepreneurs. As you’ll hear in our conversation, David was born and raised in New York City and now lives in the Boston area with his wife and two kids.

Team Cancel.

In this week’s second segment David and I talked about the process of developing products that win, which is so different from the mythology most startups are framed in after the fact. If you had to develop a person from scratch to drive that process, you’d be hard pressed to design a better fit than David, and we’ll dig into the relationship I’ve always found fascinating, between the person and the products they create.

I’ve known David for a long time, and he’s not only one of the best product guys in Boston, but one of the most broadly read and genuinely thoughtful people in our community. I think you’re really going to enjoy our conversation, which drifts into the working class backgrounds that have shaped us both, the importance of family, and the unvarnished truth about what it takes to create something the world wants badly enough to pay for it.

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