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In episode #12, Anna Nadeina talks with Mihri, co-founder at beams, building a meta layer of productivity tools to help tech employees navigate the workday with more focus and less stress.

Introducing Beams: A Meta Layer of Productivity Tools

In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven work environment, staying focused and productive can be a constant challenge. That’s where Beams, a productivity platform co-founded by Mihri Minaz, steps in to help tech employees navigate the workday with more focus and less stress.

Mihri’s journey to creating Beams began with her own personal experiences and pain points. After studying Computer Engineering and working in various roles, from backend and database engineering to mobile development, Mihri found herself in a leadership position, tasked with empowering and unblocking her team. This experience led her to explore solutions that could improve individual and team productivity, setting the stage for the creation of Beams.


Using Beams to Navigate the Workday

Beams is designed to be a seamless and integrated part of an individual’s workday. At the start of the day, users can set their goals to encourage focus and commitment. Beams then integrates with the user’s calendar, Slack, and focus mode, creating a cohesive workflow that minimizes distractions and keeps the user on track.

One of the key features of Beams is its ability to block out focus time, allowing users to dive into deep work without interruptions. Mihri explains how this feature benefits both the individual and their team: “When I’m in Focus mode, they know what I’m working on, and they can also judge and decide, ‘Okay, what they need from me, can it wait to 20 minutes more until my focus time is over?’.”

Beams also offers a calendar health score, which analyzes the user’s calendar and schedules, identifying issues such as back-to-back meetings or those without clear agendas. This feature has helped Mihri and her team make informed decisions about their meeting structure, leading them to cancel a recurring design meeting in favor of a more asynchronous approach.


Building an Inclusive and Diverse Culture

From the outset, Mihri and her co-founder, Jana, have been intentional about creating an inclusive and diverse culture at Beams. This is reflected in their founding team, which is female, as well as their investor team, which is 50% female.

Mihri believes that having diverse people involved in the decision-making process is crucial, as it helps ensure the product is shaped in a way that resonates with a wide range of users. 

Mihri acknowledges that there may be biases in the funding landscape, but she believes that the key is to focus on building a strong product and user base, which can help overcome any preconceptions. She emphasizes the importance of rational thinking and data-driven decision-making, rather than relying solely on stereotypes or preconceptions.


Navigating the Challenges of Early-Stage Growth

As Beams navigates its early-stage growth, Mihri and her team have faced a range of challenges. One of the primary challenges has been balancing the need for rapid product iteration with the desire to maintain a high-quality user experience.

Another challenge has been in managing the competing priorities of individual-level product iterations, team-level feature development, and enterprise-level exploration. Mihri and her team have found a way to navigate this by releasing new versions of the Beams app and the insights dashboard on a weekly basis, while also engaging in conversations with team leads and C-level executives to understand their needs.


Leveraging Word-of-Mouth and Product Virality

Beams has found success in its customer acquisition through a combination of word-of-mouth and product virality. Mihri explains that the initial Product Hunt launch was a strategic decision, as they wanted to control the spread of the product and understand who their early adopters were within teams.

The team has also leveraged other distribution channels, such as being listed in the Google Workspace and Slack marketplaces, as well as building relationships with influential investors. These connections have helped Beams reach new audiences and expand its user base.


Embracing Failures and Celebrating Wins

Mihri and the Beams team have adopted a healthy perspective on both failures and successes. 

She believes it’s important not to get too caught up in either the wins or the failures, as they can distract from the real work of building the business. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of learning from each experience and using that knowledge to inform the next steps, without letting emotions cloud the decision-making process.

As Beams continues to evolve and grow, Mihri’s advice to other founders is to be efficient in their work and lead by example. She shares her own practices, such as using project management tools to track her network and follow up with potential collaborators, as well as making decisions asynchronously through documented discussions.


Head of Growth,