Customer Retention, Mentoring, Venture Capital, Pricing, Organizational Structure, HR, Content Marketing, SaaS, Weekend Roundup Must Read Sept 14 2013
This weekend’s Roundup #10 from Startup Management is a manual selection from the hundreds of weekly articles being curated. Previous issues are available here. There are 23 links in this edition. Forward to a friend, so they can sign-up and benefit too.
David Teten of ff Venture Capital just announced the availability of a 13-page paper, The Lower-Risk Startup: How Venture Capitalists Increase the Odds of Startup Success. It was published in the Journal of Private Equity a few months ago, and you can download the complimentary pdf from this link. There’s another new 112-page report, the New York Venture Capital Almanac, published by CB Insight. It tallies the funding activities of the top VCs in New York, and their relationships with one another. Toping off the topic of Venture Capital, I wrote this analysis, Battle of the Tech Ecosystems: Boston vs. New York, relying on Mattermark data. Finally, Fred Wilson asks Are Universities the New VCs?, an idea he has promoted to a number of universities for some time now.
Tony Ruckert describes the 3 Investor Personalities you will encounter in a VC. Hint: 90% of VCs are in one of them, he says. Albert Wenger “doesn’t believe that you have to have done a lot of big things yourself in order to be able to give good advice” as a VC, in Adding Value: The Big Picture (advice from VCs). That was in part, in response to Vinod Khosla’s comments at TechCrunch Disrupt that “more than 95% of VCs add zero value.”
Ash Maurya explains Why You Should Never Ask Customers What They’ll Pay, via 3 principles. “An optimal price is one that is accepted but not without some initial resistance. Apple is a master at this.”
Belle Beth Cooper at Buffer offers practical and realistic advice on coming-up with ideas, and managing a content pipeline, in From Ideas to Traffic Results: How we run a blog with 700,000 readers per month. And since video is content, Phil Nottingham has some quick tips on The Kind of Video You Should Create for Your Business, separating what you should do in-house vs. via a production company.
Jason Lemkin explains Why It May Take You 12-18 Months to Hire a Great VP, Sales – Period. And What to Do About it. Why? Because many of the good ones will look, hard and long, before they leap.
Peter Levine penned The SaaS Manifesto: Rethinking the Business of Enterprise Computing. In this Part I, he says to first exploit the departmentalization of IT by going after the departmental user. Jason Cohen introduces SSEBITDA – A steady-state profit metric for SaaS, a new metric that answers the following question: “If we were neither growing nor shrinking — thus in a ‘steady-state’ — what would our profit margin be?”
Rick Burnes has a HubSpot post, 14 Essential Elements of a Flawless Product Launch, with lots of advice on clarity, targeting and positioning. This ties well with my post, The Only 5 Types of Messaging You Need. The top 3 are: the elevator pitch, the positioning statement, and the value proposition.
William Allen explains how to apply the “Law of Small Teams” as you grow, in Never Stop Talking: How Small Teams Stay Great When They Grow.
Dr. John Sullivan has a very thorough Case Study of Facebook’s Simply Amazing Talent Management Practices. He has been studying Facebook since 2008. He says,“Remember that Facebook is no different than any other firm; crazy ideas go nowhere unless a compelling ROI business case is first made to executives.” This is Part 1 of 2.
Eric Wittlake says “your audience has no intention of giving you their attention, you must earn it with everything from design to headlines”, in Why Most B2B Advertising Doesn’t Matter (and Steps to Fix it).
Sindhya Valloppillil offers solutions in an insightful op-ed, The Naked Truth About Subscription Startups: The Good, The Bad & The Scams, saying “that most subscription companies are NOT doing anything special and are just adding unnecessary clutter to the ecosystem and our mailboxes.”
Des Traynor says “blaming your customer support team for unhappy customers is like blaming weathermen for the rain. Sure, they’re involved, but only on the receiving end”, in How the Support Team Improves the Product.
Sean Ellis has published this excellent guide, The Beginner’s Guide to CRO. It’s a 12-Chapter online e-book with a downloadable version. Must read.
Brant Cooper makes the right points in 5 Ways to Be a Better Mentor. My favorite, “The role of the mentor is not to replace the founder’s business model assumptions and market guesses with his own. The mentor should teach the founders how to test and validate (or likely invalidate) those assumptions.”
Jennifer Polk from Gartner has a short post, What the Twitter IPO Means to Marketers. It’s 3 things: Advertising, Analytics, and Targeting. Scott Brinker has a smart post, 14 rules for data-driven, not data-deluded, marketing. Two of my favorites: “data is only history, experimentation is the gold standard of causation.”
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