The management-craze of "bring me solutions" has gone too far. I recently met with two spin-out teams of enterprises where the engineers and interim-CEO were scared to share any challenges or problems with corporate management because they were expected to be more "solutions-oriented." When I went back to one of the senior executives with a problem … Continue reading Bring me Problems.
You think you are the superstar sales guy. Or you are the CEO and are telling me that you have a superstar sales team. This is what I would expect from you: Run our play. if the play doesn't work we are changing the play. But you have to run the play. You have to … Continue reading Superstar Sales: Run The Play.
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
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?
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?
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.
Startups are notoriously short on resources, especially when they are rapidly scaling. Scaling friction takes more tolls than anticipated. At these moments, startups become vulnerable to ecosystem changes: Not because they need to take immediate action, but because the perceived threat came as a surprise and your organization is frantically scrambling to understand your options … Continue reading Discuss Your Offensive and Defensive Strategic Options With Your Board.
Up to a year ago, I would have said that the CTO is the most important person after the CEO for enterprise software startups. I'm a tech geek, so that's natural. Without a working prototype or technology, there is no high-tech startup, so for most high-tech startups engineering is pretty important, obviously. By now I … Continue reading The Most Important Executive Besides the CEO.
Enterprise IT Infrastructure has probably the most disciplined budgeting process and most rigorous procurement department. Not that they are always on target, but they have a very clear understanding of the different buckets, ROI, impact on operations, and necessary multi-vendor management. Enterprise IT infrastructure organizations know the percentage their enterprise wants to spend on IT … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: IT Infrastructure.