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.
Talk about burying the lead: "The competitive strength of Tesla is not going to be the car; it's going to be the factory," Musk said. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/02/tesla-loses-another-675-million-in-q4-its-biggest-quarterly-loss-yet/ Car manufacturers have known that for years (though some seemed to have forgotten about it) If you ever toured the factory floor of BMW in Munich, you know how … Continue reading Production, not Product, as Competitive Strength
Short answer: Don't. Don't worry about your industry focus (yet), unless you are clearly a vertical solution for a very specific industry; unless you and your first sales team only have experience in selling into one specific industry and have no other contacts and you are determined to keep only this team for a while … Continue reading Scaling First Revenue: Industry Focus.
A Chief is the leader of a tribal society. In Scottish clanns, the principal function of the chief was to lead his clan in battle on land and sea. All Chiefs need to be great communicators. They need to communicate a common purpose and rally their tribe to fulfill that purpose. They are often judges and … Continue reading You are not a CTO (yet).
When it comes to your team slide in your pitch, there are usually two lines of thoughts: First tell me who you are and why I should listen to you First show me the problem set and what's hard about solving that problem. Once I understand what you want to achieve, show me how your … Continue reading Pitch Clinic: Your Team Slide Sucks.
I got a lot of good feedback on my last post on SaaS: Should You Fix EBITDA Margins or Revenue Growth? The main criticism was that the companies of each cell were not true peer-companies and a such not comparable. I admit that perhaps it was a bad judgment using these companies to illustrate NTM revenue growth and … Continue reading Cloud Index: EBITDA Margins versus Revenue Growth
At some point, every CEO is a first-time CEO. I've met and worked with phenomenal first- time CEOs. They had all internalized leadership lessons from their mentors and bosses, and had a clear vision about cultural norms and responsibilities to their companies. As a venture capital investor, I wish some of them also were more … Continue reading What I wish first-time CEOs would know.
I noticed that every two weeks or so someone asks me about good books to read. I'm always delighted about that questions: People still like books! The question "is there a YouTube Channel or Twitter account I should follow" is more awkward (Are people still using Twitter? Or are they using it as in 'LinkedIn … Continue reading Books I recommend.