Finding Gratitude Amidst Business Chaos with Vlad Magdalin
EP 78 of The Logan Bartlett Show: Untold stories from tech's inner circle
This week’s conversation is with Vlad Magdalin, the co-founder and CEO of Webflow. In the episode, Vlad tells many sincere stories including…
immigrating from Russia at age 9
starting Webflow four times before succeeding
Webflow’s rollercoaster experience with YCombinator
how Webflow grew to over 3.5 million users
It was inspiring hearing Webflow’s journey as an integral player in the no-code movement, as well as why he's grateful for the opportunity to start this company in the United States.
✉️ Episode Memo
On starting Webflow 4 times before it succeeded
In his initial efforts, Vlad took significant risks, even leveraging all of his debt to purchase the webflow.com domain and support his business. However, various life events and lack of confidence hindered his progress each time.
In 2012, a series of fortuitous events re-energized Vlad's interest in Webflow. Unexpectedly, Webflow's trademark registration, which had been previously denied, arrived at his doorstep years later. Vlad felt like the universe was urging him to give Webflow another chance. During this final attempt, the Webflow team decided that being accepted into YCombinator was a crucial factor in whether they would continue or not.
The best decision Webflow made
In the early days at YCombinator, Vlad felt very strongly that Webflow shouldn’t release a paid version because the product provided only limited value from his perspective as a developer. YC emphasized that if no one will pay, you can’t prove traction, and the product isn’t impactful enough.
Ultimately, Vlad recalls monetizing as the best decision for Webflow because it elevated which customers were best to listen to - those who valued the basic product enough that they were willing to pay for it. That early cohort of users experienced 100x superpowers from even the most basic product capabilities and set Webflow on a stronger path forward.
Making Webflow investors sign social contracts
Vlad takes a unique and unprecedented approach to working with investors, as Webflow requires investors to sign an “investing on principle” agreement, which emphasizes the partnership is meant to be long-term oriented and investors may see trade-offs that are counterintuitive to direct shareholders.
Vlad found this approach deterred some investors but attracted the right fits, leading to holistic alignment on what’s important in the long term.
⭐ Highlight: The sneaky tactic Webflow used to get their first customers
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
📱 Follow The Show!
If this was helpful to you, please consider forwarding!
Subscribe to The Logan Bartlett Show for more untold stories from tech’s inner circle!