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The Great Game of Risk Played in Category Creation, and Why the Winning Strategy is Aggression

Suppose you’ve started a company that’s creating a category. Most buyers in your target market haven’t heard of your business or the kind of software you sell. There’s no budget line item, no Magic Quadrant, no G2 High Performer Award, no conference. You have an idea, a vast blue ocean in front of you, and a pile of greenbacks stashed in a bank account...

The Productivity Implications of Working from Home Across 150,000 Employees

Are we more productive at the office or at home? Researchers from the University of Chicago published data on the productivity trends across 150,000 employees of a large IT services company to answer that question. It’s the first time I’ve seen analysis on the same business through the period. The business had deployed software to monitor employee behavior...

The Figures that Will Move the Venture Capital Market in the Next 5 Years

This weekend, Janet Yellen said the US economy would benefit from an increase in interest rates. The Fed has been struggling to combat historically low inflation. The combination of both the 25% increase in the money supply from last year’s stimulus plus the proposed infrastructure spending should trigger inflationary pressures. What does it mean for...

Executive Recruiting as Competitive Advantage - The 3 Knock-On Effects of Failed Executive Hires

The cost of a failed account executive hire is about 8 months of lost productivity. A three month initial search, three months of ramp time, the termination, and then another two to three months of ramp for their replacement. That’s at the individual contributor level. What does it cost the organization to hire the wrong executive? In terms of time...

The Inflationary Forces in Startupland

Over the last ten years, the 75th percentile post-money valuation of a cloud software or infrastructure company has grown 11% annually. In 2021, the post-money valuation has spiked 60% from $48.1m to $77.0m. While not as hyperbolic an inflation rate as copper or lumber, the price trajectory of early stage cloud startups does result from a similar supply...

The One Force that Will Govern How We Return to Work

This summer, startups will define how they return to work. In talking to founders and executives, I suspect the answer isn’t universal. But the force that will shape the decision is universal. That force is competition. A startup has three main activities: (1) recruit a team to (2) build a product and (3) sell and service the product. Competition influences...

Never Raising, Always Raising

Startups used to raise once every 18 months. Today, we joke in Startupland that a startup is never raising and always raising. The implication is the most sought after companies often receive offers, whether they are in market raising capital or not. Take a moment to think through that statement with me. Venture capitalists and boards used to value...

How to Cut a Path through the Jungle of Regulatory Compliance

Data privacy has become a skill startups must master as they scale. As they grow, startups often collect increasing volumes of data. With great power comes great responsibility. Regulatory regimes demand greater data security and integrity, and add complexity. How should companies manage data privacy, especially regulations like GDPR and CCPA? To answer...

Covid's Impact on Software Sales Efficiency

More than a year after Covid washed over the software ecosystem and the tide ebbs, it’s revealing the impacts on fundamental metrics of public software companies. Sales efficiency is one of those key metrics. Covid altered the way salespeople and marketers engaged their target markets. Travel collapsed, virtual events blossomed, handshakes became Zoom...

Would You Work for This Person?

Would you work for this person? It’s a simple question. It’s one I often ask in reference calls on founding teams. During one of those calls, when I should have been paying attention to the answer, I posed my self a similar question. What is it about a person that would make me leap to work for them? Intellect, ethics, ambition, conviviality, mastery,...

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