Good VCs, bad VCs

The Angel VC

Inspired by Ben Horowitz’ excellent “Good product managers, bad product managers” post and Stefan Smalla’s “Good leader, bad leader” masterpiece I’ve tried to put together my thoughts on what I think makes a great venture capital investor.

How Much Cash Should Your Startup Burn?

Tom Tunguz

Bill Gurley and Fred Wilson have focused on burn rates as an important topic for startups. The immediate question that follows this commentary is: How much does the typical startup burn throughout its life? And what is a “risky” burn rate for a company? I use a rule of thumb to evaluate the burn rate of a Series A startup. I multiply the number of employees by about $10-12k, depending on the location of the company. For example, Bay Area salaries are higher than most other places.

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How to manage and run a content marketing machine for your B2B SaaS company

Aaron Beashel

Content marketing can be an incredibly successful approach to customer acquisition for B2B SaaS companies.

The Metrics-driven SaaS Business

Chaotic Flow

My first serious lesson in the criticality of SaaS metrics was about six years ago when I was unexpectedly stumped in a board of directors meeting.

Driving Discovery and Experimentation in your Organization

Speaker: Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk, David Bland, Founder and CEO, Precoil, and Hope Gurion, Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product LLC

If you want to build what matters, you can't move forward blindly. But to make progress, you can't let things slow to a crawl while you focus resources on gathering data. This is where continuous discovery and experimentation come in. Join Teresa Torres (Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk), David Bland (Founder, Precoil), and Hope Gurion (Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product) in a panel discussion as they cover how - and why - to build a culture of discovery and experimentation in your organization.

SaaS Marketing is Not a Numbers Game

Practical Advice on SaaS marketing

"If we just dump enough names in the top of the funnel, some paying customers are bound to come out at the bottom of the funnel!" Wrong. This approach to customer acquisition - sucking in as many suspects as possible - is costly and inefficient.

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How to use FAQs in SaaS Contract Negotiations?

Aber Law Firm

I have found that FAQs are not used enough by SaaS companies as part of their selling and SaaS contract negotiation process.

10 B2B Blogs Every Software Nerd Should Read

Software Platform Consulting

The vast majority of tech press is about B2C software companies or software for IT department (e.g., databases, security, performance monitoring and other stuff) that does not excite me. But, there are a few good b2b blogs and newsletters those of you interested in enterprise cloud business applications should follow for inspiration. My nominations, in no particular order, are as follows: Price intelligently.

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Three more ways to build a $100 million business

The Angel VC

It seems like my recent post about five ways to build a $100 million business resonated very well with a lot of people. I also got some really good comments and suggestions, and so I'd like to follow-up with another post on the topic. Introducing: the Brontosaurus!

Why Revenue Isn't the Most Important Financial Metric for Startups

Tom Tunguz

Of the ten most important metrics on a startup’s financial statements , revenue might seem to be the most important. But it isn’t. Gross margin matters more because it is directly tied to a company’s ability spend to grow and achieve profitability. Imagine two startups, both selling products at $1M price points. The first has 5% gross margins and the second has 95% gross margins.

The Magic of Intent: Start Knowing The Goals of Your Users

Speaker: Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, Zalando, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher, Zalando

It's important to know your users - what are their preferences, pain points, ultimate goals? With user research and usage data, you can get a great idea of how your users act. The tricky part is, very few users reliably act the same way every time they use your product. Join Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher at Zalando, as they explain how they were able to reach a new level of user understanding - by taking their user research and segmenting their users by point-in-time intent. You'll leave with a strategy to change how your product team, and organization at large, understands your users.

It's a ZEN day!

The Angel VC

Today is a very special day for me as as an entrepreneur and investor. About an hour ago, Zendesk went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The last time I watched an IPO so carefully was when Shopping.com, the company that had bought my price comparison startup, went public – almost ten years ago.

Cohort Analysis: A (practical) Q&A [Guest Post]

The Angel VC

My colleague Nicolas wrote a great guide with tips and tricks on how to do cohort analyses which I'd like to share with the readers of this blog. Thanks, Nicolas, for allowing me to guest publish it here.

The 9 Marketing Disciplines of Great SaaS Companies

Tom Tunguz

Bill Macaitis, the former CMO of Zendesk, articulates how a SaaS marketing team should operate better than anybody else I’ve met. At a recent Point9 conference, Bill outlined the 9 marketing disciplines of great SaaS companies and how they fit together to create a marketing powerhouse. I’ve copied my notes from Bill’s talk below. Ops & Analytics Team.

A/B testing is like sex at high school

The Angel VC

A few days ago I went on record saying that A/B testing is like sex at high school. Everyone talks about it, not very many do it in earnest. I want to follow up on the topic with some additional thoughts (don't worry, I won't stretch the high school analogy any further).

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Encouraging Innovation in an Established Product Culture

Speaker: Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies

Innovation is both a process and an outcome. The best way to begin innovating your products is by innovating your internal process. We'll explore the challenges, solutions, and hands-on techniques for becoming a successful "agent of change" within a well-established product culture. We'll examine the importance of UX and user-centric feature analysis, the adaptation of Agile Methodologies to the creative process, as well as a way to drive successful culture change for setting expectations and winning approvals with cross-functional stakeholders. Innovation and Leadership go hand in hand. Join Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies, as we assess some case studies to see how to lead with a clear strategy well-defined tactics, and an unbiased understanding of the fundamental question: "why are you innovating?"

The Obscure Economic Idea Behind SaaS Pricing Challenges

Tom Tunguz

Startups struggle to set the right price for their products because pricing dynamics in the field don’t obey the laws taught in the classroom. The standard supply and demand curves, drawn above, imply that as price increases demand decreases; that buyers act rationally and that this law is immutable. But this simply isn’t the case. Buyers in the market place violate the traditional supply and demand model all the time. For example, Veblen goods defy the traditional pricing theory.

A toast to all the great ones that we've missed

The Angel VC

Picture taken by "nlmAdestiny" One of the things that inevitably happens when you're in the angel or VC investing business for a couple of years is that besides a hopefully healthy portfolio, you're also building a growing anti-portfolio.

Nailing Your Startup's Value Proposition

Tom Tunguz

What are the pains and aspirations of your customer? Does your product truly solve your customers problems? And fulfill its promise of doing something in a better way? Most startups wrestle with these questions at their outset, when they are in the customer discovery and customer validation phases of the lean startup cycle. But all startups should reevaluate these questions periodically. After all, a company’s customers evolve with time and so do their jobs.

3 Reasons We're in a Bubble. And 3 Reasons We're Not.

The Angel VC

Embedding Operational Reports: Everything Product Managers Should Know

Speaker: Dean Yao, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Logi Analytics

Businesses are run with analytics - but companies continue to struggle with interpreting, analyzing, and distributing data. Operational reports help get information to the people who need it most, in formats they understand, and in a timeframe that matters. Join the webinar to learn how embedding operational reports can give your users a precisely formatted, ready-to-analyze view of their operational activities. World-class software teams are embedding operational reports to empower end users with interactive data visualizations, detailed information, and highly precise formats that can be shared via email, PDF, print, or online.

Benchmarking Veeva's S-1 - How 7 Key SaaS Metrics Stack Up

Tom Tunguz

This post is part of a continuing series evaluating the S-1s of publicly traded SaaS companies in order to better understand the core business and build a library of benchmarks that might be useful to founders. In the two most recent analyses, we’ve explored the S-1s of Hubspot and Zendesk, two of the public SaaS companies with the smallest Average Revenue per Customer. Today, we’ll look at Veeva, masters of the massive enterprise sale, and one of the most remarkable SaaS businesses.

How Much is Your Business Worth?

Tom Tunguz

How much is my business worth? It’s a question every entrepreneur, founder and business owner asks themselves. This is particularly true during acquisition conversations with a prospective buyer. Because most companies are privately held, the acquisition details of the roughly 10,000 businesses who sell themselves for less than $500M each year in the US remain hidden.

How Vibrant is the Hardware Startup World?

Tom Tunguz

It would seem hardware startups are booming. First, the amazing success of the GoPro business and IPO , which set a 23-year high-water mark for a consumer hardware company. Second, there seems to be a growing number of hardware startups bubbling in incubators like Lemnos Labs and Highway1. Third, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have enabled hardware startups to mitigate one of the biggest risks in starting out: obtaining a reliable proxy for consumer demand.

5 reasons to ditch the PDF eBook from your content marketing

Aaron Beashel

The PDF eBook has been a staple of content marketing for a very long time, and for good reason too. It’s a great lead or subscriber magnet to offer people, and when done right it can significantly increase the amount of leads you generate and help build your all important email list.

Your 2-Part Metrics Audit for High-Value Products

Speaker: Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, Startup Patterns

You know what they say: what's measured improves. As product managers we're in a golden age of being able to get all sorts of metrics and run all sorts of experiments. But what are your measurements and analytics focused on? Are they really truly objective? Do they contribute to the ultimate vision of your product? And is everybody clear on that vision? Join Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, as he takes you through a two-part measurement audit. First, you'll learn how to make sure your measurements actually align with your product strategy. And second, you'll learn how to evaluate your culture of using measurements, so future experiments will more consistently provide high-value results.

We ? vanity metrics ;-)

The Angel VC

Who ever said only startups love vanity metrics? Here's our revenge for all those misleading stats that we have to muddle through almost on a daily basis when startups pitch us! Yesterday I saw this post on the blog of Karlin Ventures.

What really happens when you get featured in Buffer’s recommended content section

Aaron Beashel

I have to hand it to the guys at Buffer, the recommended content section was a genius play. Not only did they create a feature that has probably tripled product usage, but they created a content distribution channel that they can use to send content on a sharing rampage.

Why your content marketing should be like a rock concert

Aaron Beashel

Late last month, I was fortunate to take some time off to head up to Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay with a few friends. It was quite the event, with 40,000+ people all converging in one bigass field outside of Byron for 3 days of music and drinking.

The Hail Mary Offer: How To Turn Bounces Into Customers

Aaron Beashel

You’ve worked so hard. You’ve written an incredible post. You know your audience will be delighted, as your post has heaps of actionable ideas on how they can make their lives better. You’ve even tweaked the headline to perfection. It grabs attention. It arouses curiosity. It’s got it all.

Measure the Immeasurable: Beyond Vanity Metrics

Speaker: Sari Harrison, Product Management Instructor, Product School

As a product manager, it's your job to realize your product’s vision by executing your chosen strategy. It’s also your job to deliver value to the business. Ultimately, these two outcomes are aligned so the temptation is to focus primarily on business metrics. Doing this can cause you to lose focus on the real value you are trying to achieve, in favor of moving the vanity metrics such as launches and time spent. Join Sari Harrison, Product Management Instructor at Product School, as she explains how to use immeasurable success criteria along with your more standard KPIs to deliver products that don't just get used a lot, but deliver real value.