Jonathon Hensley

Jonathon Hensley
Problem Obsessed with Jonathon Hensley

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Hey everyone. Stay tuned to the end of the interview where I’ll give you some actionable insights that I learned from my guest. These insights are also in the show notes. As always, thanks for listening.

Now on to my guest for today, Jonathon Hensley, chief creative officer of EMERGE a Digital Product Agency, which helps empower businesses to build better products and services.

Jonathon grew up in the Bay Area, where he was exposed at an early age to the emerging computer industry. He took his parents’ interest in psychology and combined it with his fascination with tech. He became “obsessed” with understanding the connection between the new technologies and human behavior, an obsession that has grown and changed, just as the tech industry has grown and changed. EMERGE has grown through several iterations, starting with helping to solve the problems of infrastructure, then to applications, to now, with a focus on empowering companies and their teams to grow and be resilient using alignment as the core principle of success.

Jonathon’s desire to help companies, and his recognition of the high failure rate among startups, led to a deep dive into understanding why so many companies fail and what they can do to increase their chances to succeed. It’s all about alignment, he explains, an argument he develops in his most recent book, Alignment: Overcoming Internal Sabotage and Digital Product Failure (2021). A company needs to be in alignment on multiple levels to succeed. These are: product-market fit; organizational; within and among teams; and on an individual level, where everyone in the company has a clear understanding of the company’s mission and what their role is in contributing to its success. Jonathon also explains why “failing fast and often” might not be the best strategy for an aspiring entrepreneur.  

Now, let’s get better together.

Actionable Insights

Hensley says that businesses that are successful are in alignment in all of the four areas. To help you get more aligned, he recommends the following:

  • Get clear on your vision. Make sure your product vision has a clear destination and is measurable.
  • Recognize problems as they arise and embrace them as opportunities for improvement.
  • Don’t fall in love with ideas or strategies: fall in love with the problem.

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