I first learned about Sankey diagrams in my thermodynamics class and they’ve since become one of my favorite data visualizations and analysis tools. Sankey diagrams, like the one above of visitors to this blog, show the flow of things. Originally created for measuring the flow of energy through powerplants, they are incredibly useful for content marketing analysis, visitor analysis or any other kind of funnel analysis. The best Sankey diagram ever created is Charles Joseph Minard’s depiction of the Napoleonic War, which was made famous in Edward Tufte’s Book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.
The typical mobile phone’s home screen is occupied by more than 30 applications. A digital tragedy of the commons, each additional mobile application a user downloads decreases the odds of an average application re-engaging a user. After all, the time spent on mobile isn’t increasing fast enough to cover the marginal application. Developers have used push notifications effectively to re-engage users, but push overload drives more and more users to opt out of push.
At its core, a startup’s advantage in the market is the speed created by focus. When a team is well orchestrated, they can accomplish amazing things. Creating an environment that fosters communication best is therefore an essential part of startup management. But how best to do it? Founders have to balance span-of-control with span-of-managerial-responsibility. In an article this week’s New Yorker, Amazon’s founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is quoted on the subject with a contrarian point of view:
How much cash does a tech venture-backed company burn through before IPO? The median 2013 VC-backed tech IPO burned $33M and the average company burned $76M. The chart above shows the net income/burn rate of 2013 tech IPO by years since founding. Four categories of companies jump out in the chart: the profit leaders, the middle-of-the-pack, the negative hockey stick, and the go-for-broke. The profit leaders, Veeva(VEEV) and RetailMeNot(SALE), have generated tremendous profits from the outset.
If you’re building a startup, content marketing is a powerful tool to build a brand, develop customer relationships, and develop a a hiring pipeline. Blogging requires diligence and a few tricks to build a following. I’ve been writing for about 3 years and I’ve analyzed a few hundred of my posts to better understand what makes for effective content marketing. These are my lessons learned: I have 48 seconds to get my message across in this post.
In response to yesterday’s post on management design patterns, many readers asked for examples of best practices. So I’m going to write about the management best practices I have been taught and I have observed in startups. This is the first post of that series. The first management technique is called Situational Management, one that my wife, a terrific manager at Google, taught me. A manager’s most important function in a startup is to motivate employees to accomplish the business’s goal.
Earlier this week, I chatted with a friend of mine who has founded an incredibly successful business, which he and his co-founder have been scaling impressively. I asked him about his biggest learning over the past few years. He said before having started his company and having built the team, he perceived management as a Band-Aid, as a fix for something wrong in the organizational design, communication or day-to-day operations of the company.
At the bottom of this blog, there’s an inocuous sharing bar with links to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, HackerNews and subscribe by email and RSS. 1.5% of visitors click on one of these buttons. Despite the similarity of the buttons and the clicks, the value they generate as sharing tools varies dramatically. The chart above shows data from the widget on this blog for the past 30 days, comparing the number of clicks on each button and the traffic that results from that channel.
Steven Blank wrote yesterday about a novel way of depicting a startup’s competitive landscape in a pitch deck, called a petal diagram. While the petal diagram is a great way of describing an ecosystem or a go-to-market strategy, I don’t think it’s a great way to show a competitive landscape because petal diagrams don’t communicate the startup’s unique way of competing in the market. The ideal competition slide accomplishes at least one but up to four goals.