Weekend Roundup, August 17 2013, Sales, Conversions, Marketing, Leads, Segmentation, Metrics, Failing, and more.
This Week-end Roundup #6 is a manual selection of 30 links from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. Don’t forget to check the revamped SUM Library, where you can quickly reference a curated list of articles on dozens of topics, and save a lot of time finding the best links. We’re doing this work for you. I’m happy to report an average of 50% open, and 20% click rates on this email (with a peak of 22%). Let’s beat those metrics this week-end, and please forward this email to someone who needs it.
If you’re in Toronto on Oct. 23rd, join me to a fireside conversation with Albert Wenger, USV partner, in co-operation with Wattpad.
Brad Feld has 7 key objectives for a startup CEO you can pin to your wall, in Being a Great CEO. Fred Wilson reminds us that building-out a company has parallels to iterating on a product, in The Similarities Between Building and Scaling a Product and a Company. I published a framework for thinking about the various CEO transition points, in Startup Founder-to-CEO Transition Toolset. And Ben Horowitz explains the pitfalls of a product-minded CEO, inWhy Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox.
Jason Lemkin goes through the economic realities behind selling a cheap SaaS product with sales people, in How Cheap a Product can you Have and Still Have Salespeople? It’s a must-read if you’re new to SaaS, although you might have learned it the hard way. And I warn about the need to strike a balance between pain and gain when on-boarding a SaaS product, in The Fallacy of the Easy-to-Use SaaS Product. Robert Abbott at Norwest Venture Partners writes that the mid-market, companies with 50-2000 employees has been quite accepting of the SaaS model, in How SaaS is triggering the rise of mid-market companies.
Fred Wilson says, when it comes to listening to mentors and outsiders, advice on scaling the structure of your startup is valuable, because they have been there, in Turning Your Team.
Boriz Wertz reveals how he assesses potential $100 million opportunities, according to two key factors: LTV and virality, in a Slideshare The 2 Ways to Build a $100 million business.
Jason Lemkin says 50% of first VP Sales hires won’t work out, so maybe you ought to consider one who can sell too, in Should Your VP Sales Start Off as a Player-Coach?
Neil Roseman has some very practical advice on how to extract a meaningful outcome when interviewing software engineers, in The Anatomy of the perfect technical interview from a former Amazon VP. (he was also VP of Technology at Zynga)
Matt Blumberg reviews Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business, a new book by Manning and Bodine, and asks Is CX the new UX?. “Customer Experience is a journey, not a project. It has a beginning but it doesn’t have an end.”
A quick guide from Pivotal Labs on choosing your metrics, in Success Metrics for Lean Startups and New Products.
CeCe Bazar says inbound leads are often poorly handled, unlike outbound leads, and offers 3 ways to change that, in Stop Assuming Your Inbound Leads are Being “Handled”.
A mega Slideshare by Andreas Klinger on the many metrics, is worth the 152 flips, Startup Metrics, a love story. It reminded me of the ice cream flavors analogy; there is one for everyone. A deep dive (with code) into Cohort Analysis, with sample trend reports by Tomasz Tunguz, in Cohort Analysis for Startups: Six Summary Reports to Understand Your Customer Base.
Almost everything we are seeing in Native Advertising was probably started 63 years ago by David Ogilvy, I write in The Paradox of Native Advertising: New Recipe or New Bottle?
An insightful Infographic by Optify, The 7 Types of Digital Marketers outlines the many angles to marketing approaches. In it, you can find out if you’re a “snarky marketer” or “data whiz”. Most startups don’t communicate their value propositions well. April Dunford has outlined 7 steps to better startup value propositions. These are good steps to follow, but they don’t guarantee the quality of an outcome. So, refine and iterate.
Ben Drucker has some self-awareness with a list of potential startup failure points, in 5 Reasons Why My Company Will Fail. And a list of Four unSEXY Startup Lessons is worth looking at, to avoid failing, by Ada Chen Rekhi. And there is a (short) must-see video, from Mark Suster where he talks about common mistakes he made while running a startup during the dot-com days, The Importance of Realism in Startups.
Segmentation is to marketing what location is to real estate. Anh Nguyen from the OpenView blog outlines how to develop your market segmentation hypotheses, in The Hardest Part of Market Segmentation. And in the Moz blog, Craig Bradford offers ways to extract segmentation from analytics reports, in Custom Segments to Increase Sales.
A controversial list of 57 Startup Lessons by Slava Akhmechet got an earful of HackerNews comments, because not all these “lessons” were sound, although some of them are good. You will see several comments from Marc Andreessen and others pushing back. A review of Bill Aulet’s new book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 steps to a successful startup outlines the 24 steps. I’m not sure about the sequence of these steps, nor their completeness, but there are some good ideas.
Kyle Tibbitts says “20% of large companies obstruct 80% of the innovation, whereas 20% of startups generate 80% of the innovation”, in The Goliath Syndrome.
Lars Lofgreen explains the concept of Local Maximum and Global Maximum in Why A/B Testing is a Complete Waste of Your Time. Long story short, A/B testing is not answer to everything, and you need to understand the constraints of your expected outcome. And a short, but insightful post by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Engagement>Retention>Growthmakes the good point that “the problem with measuring and understanding retention is that by definition it takes time to measure.”
Timeless Content Marketing Lessons from the World’s Fastest Growing Online Publication, A very practical post with content best practices to “attract readers, not pageviews”, e.g. “don’t be too clever, as clever writing can result in a confusing message”, and “don’t give the full story away in the headline”. Read it if you are blogger.
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