Weekly Roundup July 20, 2013: P. Graham, B. Horowitz, Marketing ROI, HR Trick, CEO Leadership, Branding, and More
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Latest from SUM
I’m saying Don’t Confuse Growth with Success, and Don’t Delay the Revenue Model, which is a Part II to Mark Suster’s Why You Need to Ring the Freaking Cash Register. I end with 9 signs that startups may be delaying their revenues. And a flurry of global startup activity prompted me to emphasize that Global Startups Should Build a Bridge to the US Market.
Paul Graham & Ben Horowitz
Paul and Ben have mastered the art of headlines. “Do Things that Don’t Scale” and “Capital Market Climate Change” are two Must Reads from this week because you need to keep up with their thinking, even if you don’t agree with all of it.
Startup land is still full of bad marketing or no marketing. Don’t get me started, but I’m glad that Seth Godin is lamenting that More people are doing marketing badly. “The cure? Noticing. Notice what is working in the real world and try to figure out why. Apply it to your work. Repeat.”
The Moz Blog is up there along with HubSpot, KissMetrics and InsideIntercom on our Top Blogs list, as a company blog that dispenses free and excellent advice, often unrelated to their product. How to Grow: 21 Tactics to Acquire Customers is fully packed with tactical and practical tips for acquiring and connecting with customers. Don’t read this post. Study it, and pick the best ideas that apply for you.
Landing pages expert service Unbounce challenges conventional wisdom and “best practices” about landing page optimization. “Conversion rate optimization really isn’t about optimizing web pages – it’s about optimizing decisions – and the page itself is a means to an end but not an end in itself.” If you’re into A/B landing page optimizations, they have Debunked Best Practices in Conversion Rate Optimization.
Vinnie Mirchandani is a relentless observer of technology trends. He picked out this Audience Segmentation table on Digital Business Models from a McKinsey report entitled Developing a fine-grained look at how digital consumers behave. If you have a large number of consumers as users, and you’re reached a maturity level need for segmenting them, read it, including the pdf report Consumer: Digital Consumers Altering the Value Chain. It is focused on the media consumer, but has many parallels to any “digital consumer”.
If you’d like to benchmark the ratios of your marketing spend, Marketo proposes a table of “Marketing Golden Ratios”. Rand Fishkin made the insight that there’s a causal relationship between vanity and actionable metrics, so Vanity Metrics May Not be All Bad. And Scott Brinker makes a convincing argument defending marketing technology point solutions vs. the marketing suites. The verdict? You may need both.
Geil Browning explains Why Being Social Makes You a Better Leader,- “Strong leadership is speaking the language of your people”, and “Don’t be afraid to tap into feelings”. It’s a must read for any founder who is self-aware of their transition to CEO. People being your #1 asset, this article will also help during your 1:1’s with employees. And while you’re at it, you may as well understand the importance of communication and “Structured Leadership” in her May article,Why Steve Jobs’ Exactitude Mattered as Much as His Vision.
Knowing how and when to scale is very important, because “if you scale too early, it will cost you dearly and if you scale too late you may miss the opportunity to lead.” Michael Skok has an incredibly insightful checklist of 12 things that can “help take the guesswork out of whether you are ready to scale or not”, in Scaling Your Startup: The Deliberator’s Dozen.
Failing is a relative thing in the startup world. Path.to, a marketplace for the tech and design community discusses why they are closing in Six Lessons That Might Have Saved Our Business Had We Learned Them Earlier. You may not agree with all their conclusions, but it’s worth a read.
Doug Merrill, ex-CIO & VP of engineering at Google makes the case for hiring an internal recruiter based on the ROI. The math is simple: at $25K per recruit, you’re better off hiring a full-time recruiter after 3-4 hires. How Startups can compete with Google to Score Great Talentis a quick read, but the title is misleading, because having an internal recruiter is an old practice that most medium size companies have, and that doesn’t just let you compete against Google. It just makes financial sense.
In a Forbes video interview with John Greathouse, Brad Feld gives practical tips to entrepreneurs on how to manage a good personal relationship with your spouse, while running a startup or being in a startup where the demands are strenuous. Happy spouse…happy house.
Jason Fried prefers to build a slow (and profitable) company, and he likes the business model of his cleaning lady. You can’t ignore this Fast Company interview, where he says “raising $12 million on a fourth round and still losing money is an absolutely disgusting scenario when it comes to business.”
Nailing the MVP is one of the hardest thing to do, and Kevin Devalt offers a list of advice, Your MVP is About Discovery – Not Product. More MVP goodness from the Startup Edition folks with The Disposable MVP and, surprise- Your First MVP is Wrong.
You can never ignore email marketing, and this study published by MarketingProfs confirms that Email and Search Deliver More Customers than Social Media.
A quick look at practices from 8 Marketing Influencers that talk about Competitive Intelligence, including some wisdom from the ever quotable FakeGrimlock. Read it just for the FakeGrimlock quotes.
CRM for B2B
Don Peppers typically advises large companies, but his message about Measuring the ROI of a Good Customer Experience will resonate with B2B/SaaS startups, because he warns that “Most companies don’t have analytics systems refined and ambitious enough to estimate the magnitude of an increase in a customer’s lifetime value, so they ignore it altogether.” Have the right metrics in place so you don’t end-up “eating your own customers, a little at a time.” His message applies after you start to maximize revenue potential on a customer basis, but in the meantime, I would go for revenue growth and ignore single customer analytics until you have a large footprint inside their business.
Advocacy & Branding
No surprises, but a Marketo Study reminds us that the Best Leads are from your Advocates. And Ogilvy has released an in-depth study How to Build a Global Passion Brand, which is a must-read if you want to understand the linkage between branding and advocacy. I liked this quote: “Move beyond the blunt metric of ‘sentiment’ to tracking advocacy levels”.
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