Weekend Roundup Aug 24 2013, SaaS Modelling, Growth Hacking, Product/Market Fit, Marketing, HR, Customer Relations, and more.
This weekend’s Roundup #7 is a manual selection from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. 36 links in this edition. 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.
If you’re in Toronto on October 23rd, join me to a fireside conversation with Albert Wenger, USV partner, in co-operation with Wattpad.
Jason Cohen has tips for calculating the # of months your customers stick around, so you can be more accurate with your Life Time Value calculations, in The mistake of 1/c in LTV calculations. And here’s an Awesome Template with KPI Dashboard SaaS Startups by Christoph Janz.
How do you measure product/market fit and when do you know if you are there? I dived deep into this topic, with a table assessing a before/after aspect across 11 functional areas, in Product/Market Fit is a Continuum.
3 cases. 1. Wanelo founder, Deena Varhavskaya: How I got 10M members with no marketing. 2. How Tempo growth-hacked the hell out of its app before it ever launched. And Paul Choudary on How Paypal and Reddit faked their way to traction.
A lot has already been written on company culture, but I really like the Culture Canvas that Javier Munoz put together in What is a Minimum Viable Culture? And here’s my rant on 3 startup positions where the job title is meaningless, in Stop Using Job Titles in Startups.
Startup as a Blog
Ryan Hover wrote a thorough review of Five Successful Startups that Started as Blogs, and I expanded on this theme in Why Not Reverse Inbound Marketing. This approach is not for everybody, but if you like to write and have the time to build an audience before building a product, this might be the right tact.
The More Advocates You Have, The Fewer Ads You Have to Buy is a quote from Dharmesh Shah’s presentation Announcing the Next Generation of HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Platform at Inbound’13. The Influitive blog turned it into a post, emphasizing that your most valuable customers actually do some selling for you, not just buying from you.
In Customer Support: Always Easy, Never Necessary, Des Traynor notes that you “judge a company by how they treat customers, not prospects, because you’ll be a customer for a lot longer than you’ll be a lead in a pipeline.” And Bijan Sabet wonders if we attach enough importance to celebrating our users, in How do you honor your users?
Brian de Haaf on the dynamics between sales and product, in Hey Sales Guy – Stop Pissing Off The Engineers, for e.g. you shouldn’t let sales influence features.
Matt Blumberg has two ways to help your team identify unknowns that might surprise you, in Unknown Unknowns. And Jessica Bruder has a powerful article, The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, where she exposes the fact that several entrepreneurs suffer silently from depression, but they can’t talk about it because it is perceived as a weakness.
In When It’s Not Your Team, Fred Wilson reminds us that if a company isn’t growing, don’t be quick to blame the team, because “its likely to be a product problem, a strategy problem, or a competition problem.” Jay Simsons, CEO of Atlassian talks about their growth to $100M in this slide set and video, Unsexy sells itself. And here’s an interview of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Building a Company and Starting a ‘Sharing’ Revolution, where he literally took Paul Graham’s advice to “do things that don’t scale”, before doing what scales.
HubSpot says context and personalization drove the need to develop their next generation Marketing suite, in Why Context is the Future of Inbound. Tomasz Tunguz has a useful table for identifying and selecting the various content syndication channels, in Choosing a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Startup. Here’s a very detailed list of ideas on How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps). And What is the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy is a short article that explains the difference between content strategy and content marketing. Hint: strategy comes first.
Very insightful post from Brian Balfour about How New User Acquisition Channels Drive Change, where he discusses how new channels characteristics affect new products (think Facebook as a new channel). In The Perils of New Objects, Mark Suster says “success will be more defined by what you choose not to do than by what you choose to do.”
Scott Brinker at Chiefmartec has an interview with David Newberry (group marketing officer at Pitney Bowes software), When a marketing technologist is also the CMO, with a money quote: “Technology is a fantastic enabler, but it can’t replace the front-end thinking. If you start with technology, you are doomed.” Amen to that. Mark Evans asksIs the full-stack marketer a myth? To which I replied: it is the CMO, not an individual. And Jason Falls warns about The Danger of Marketing Automation. I’m in his camp.
In the age of flexible working policies and innovative incentives, Diana Martz has 5 Steps to Implementing an Open Vacation Policy, on the OpenView Partners blog. Bart Lorang names the many benefits of off-site meetings, in Startups Should Have Exec Off-Sites, Too. Albert Wenger warns that not only should you have Team Diversity, you should do it early enough, because it can become harder to add them later. And Salima Ladha has3 Reasons Why Your Startup Needs HR on the OpenView Blog. One of them: it’s cheaper.
There is good advice and mistakes to avoid in What You Want in a VP Engineering from the Recruiters Behind Twitter and Zappos, from the First Round Capital blog.
In Some Lessons from Vine, Fred Wilson says “the category creating innovator isn’t hurt too badly when the bigger and more popular social platform copies their signature feature in their product.” He belief is backed by 4 behavioral trends he’s seeing.
Stop Wasting Money on Unoptimized Advertising advocates the Moz blog. It’s a no-brainer today, given the real-time analytical tools that are available.
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