As an investor, I am more interested in finding out where knowledge ends and where a discovery process starts. It's astonishing in how many pitches entrepreneurs avoid "I don't know" and instead suddenly change topics or point to a statistic where when asked they cannot explain how that would be relevant to the question. "I … Continue reading “I don’t know.”
Deals seem to fall apart last second. Investors step away from their commitment. A large customers is having some hiccups just when you're closing the round. A partner leaves the venture firm just when you're trying to get the signatures. A clause with the employee stock options pool confuses a corporate investor and they put … Continue reading It’s not done until it’s done.
Most DevOps centric startups are focusing on the Dev, not the Ops. Many tools and startups start in Test & Dev (versus "production" or "in-revenue" applications). But really hard problems in DevOps are often connected to in-revenue, critical applications. These applications have real-time and high-availability requirements and "exactly-once" execution of commands. I have the privilege … Continue reading Developer-centric Startups for Critical Applications
When you work in a high-risk industry of startups -- whether as an entrepreneur, an employee, a VC, or a consultant -- there will be failures. You know that. And you are always surprised how much they hurt. You would think by now surely you've learned how to cope with it. It's painful and frustrating, … Continue reading Why Do You Keep Doing It?
I've written about Core, Near-Core and the Outfield. There will be scope creep. And the Definition of Core will continue to develop. With usually longer enterprise sales cycles that can be a problem. Ask your salespeople: Why are we in this account? This is especially true with Near-Core opportunities: There will be a class of … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Why Are We In This Account?
The last-mile delivery experience sucks. There are so many venture-capital-subsidized delivery services in the bay area. They double park, block traffic, dump the stuff on the front door, sheepishly smile if you happen to catch them, some even might utter a word or two. They are the workforce behind the "sharing economy" (I wonder who … Continue reading The Last-Mile Delivery Experience Sucks.
You closed your first customers, all friendlies who you worked with for the past 15-18 months to refine the product (so much for your "three months sales cycle from GA to bookings - that was easy!"). So who's next? You can categorize your prospects into three categories: Core (Hunt): This is the category where you actively … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Core Customers.
"If I ask CEO <x> about what your most transformational value on the board was over the last twelve months, what would she say?" My firm also invests in other venture capital funds, known as 'fund-of-funds'. I recently met a long-time friend from a great fund in enterprise software who I deeply respect. When I asked … Continue reading Do you Know Your Transformational Value?
Wow, just re-found this 5 minutes 56-second video with I had bookmarked. I usually hate these "Five Things Successful Executives Do" etc., but this one was a pretty good framework of four recurring patterns -- instead of "do your taxes yourself." or "smile more." or all the other nonsense you read on clickbait. This one has … Continue reading HBR Whiteboard Session: 4 Things Successful Executives Do Differently.
Most Enterprise markets are somewhat finite regarding the number of customers: F1000 by definition has exactly 1,000 companies (d'oh!). Getting new customers is good. That usually comes in cycles: yay, the first customer! Oh no, who's next? I think I figured it out.... Darn copy-cats! You will hit the point where competition isn't sleeping anymore. … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Don’t Forget ARPU Expansion.