The Double-Stretch Hire Rarely Works Out

Over the past years at SaaStr, we’ve summarized a lot of VP-level hiring decisions down to one strategic choice:  do you pick a Stretch VP, one that hasn’t quite done it before, a Director of Sales to be your VP of Sales, etc. …. or do you pick someone that has the Perfect LinkedIn, and has seemingly done it all?  The choice in reality is often not a choice, but rather an illusion.  Because the perfect candidate, even if she really exists, isn’t going to join your start-up.  Not until you are Coinbase, or Intercom, or Algolia, or whatever.  So that perfect LinkedIn, that seemingly perfect VP experience … well that candidate is usually either a wash-out, or someone that never really did it. A few classic posts on that “choice” here.  They are pretty good and each worth a read:

Huge Thank You to Pendo and First Data Returning as Diamond Sponsors for 2019 SaaStr Annual!

We’re rapidly reaching “Full” state for our top-rated sponsor expo at the 2019 SaaStr Annual. We’ve added our final 2 Diamond Sponsors — 5x sponsor Pendo and 2x sponsor First Data! Pendo, fresh off being named to the Cloud 100, has been with us since the first SaaStr Annual and it’s terrific to have them go big and go Diamond!  Check out out terrific podcasts with CEO Todd Olson here and with CRO Bill Binch here.  First Data is back as our final Diamond sponsor for the 2019 Annual and it’s terrific to have them back!  Payments have become integral to every B2B application and it’s been terrific to partner with First Data to get the word out on their class-leading suite of products.  Come meet the entire team in February at Annual!  They were also kind enough to sponsor our Big Party last year, which will be
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Saastr Podcast #192: Michael Katz, Founder & CEO @ mParticle Shares Why Multi-Year Deals Are Not All Good

Welcome to Episode 192! Michael Katz is the Founder & CEO @ mParticle, the customer data platform that integrates all of your data and orchestrates it across channels, partners and systems. To date, Michael has raised over $75m in funding with mParticle from the likes of Social Capital, Greylock Partner, GV, Battery Ventures and more great names. Prior to founding mParticle, Mike was the Founder & CEO @ Interclick, where he organically grew revenue to over $140m in 5 years. The company went public in 2009 and was acquired by Yahoo in 2012 for $270m, a 50% premium on existing share price. If that was not enough, Michael is also a board member at Adaptly and Brightline. In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

What is the most influential piece of feedback that you have received from a boss or coworker?

My list:
  1. “You need to start managing people.” My second boss was generous enough to give me a small team to manage a few months into my job. I didn’t ask for it, and it wasn’t a group I wanted to manage. So at first I turned it down. He said, “that’s fine, but it’s time you learn to start managing people.” I woke up the next morning and realized he was right, and asked if I could still have the opportunity. By the end of the week, I had a team of 3 to manage.
  2. “You need to get out of the office and go visit more customers.” This is a constant SaaStr theme, and I needed to hear it, too. When I was struggling, I went to meet with another of my old bosses, who was one of the salespeople I knew. He said he Continue reading "What is the most influential piece of feedback that you have received from a boss or coworker?"

What is the most influential piece of feedback that you have received from a boss or coworker?

My list:
  1. “You need to start managing people.” My second boss was generous enough to give me a small team to manage a few months into my job. I didn’t ask for it, and it wasn’t a group I wanted to manage. So at first I turned it down. He said, “that’s fine, but it’s time you learn to start managing people.” I woke up the next morning and realized he was right, and asked if I could still have the opportunity. By the end of the week, I had a team of 3 to manage.
  2. “You need to get out of the office and go visit more customers.” This is a constant SaaStr theme, and I needed to hear it, too. When I was struggling, I went to meet with another of my old bosses, who was one of the salespeople I knew. He said he Continue reading "What is the most influential piece of feedback that you have received from a boss or coworker?"

Predictable Pitfalls of Founders and How to Avoid Them

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in People + Strategy magazine here.

We have romanticized founders having their “eureka” moments, writing their ideas on the back of a napkin, then holing up in their parents’ basement or their dorm room to start their company. While that’s mostly a fairy tale, what is certainly on target is that when founders start with a concept for a product or service and start to build a company around it, they often don’t think about how they will build the company and add people to achieve their vision. They are, understandably, in a hurry to figure out their product-market fit, to build and ship product, and to get the stage of funding they need. Founders tend to underestimate the importance of managing people, and the result can lead to difficult dynamics that tear at the fabric of their business.

In this article I describe

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Website builder Strikingly raises $10M Series A+ to continue growth in China

Almost exactly one year after announcing its Series A, website building platform Strikingly said today that it has raised a $10 million Series A+. The new round was led by Cathay Capital, with participation from CAS Holding, the lead investor in Strikingly’s Series A. This brings Strikingly’s total funding so far to $17.5 million. Co-founder and CEO David Chen tells TechCrunch that the funding is “technically a Series B level round for us,” but the team wanted to call it a Series A+ because the capital will be used to continue the momentum of products launched around the time of its Series A, including a mobile website editor and a reseller program, as well as its growth in China. (Series A+ rounds are also more common in China, where Strikingly has an office in Shanghai and is one of the most popular website building services). “The A+ is Continue reading "Website builder Strikingly raises $10M Series A+ to continue growth in China"

What is Jason M. Lemkin’s daily routine?

It’s not very interesting. First, I now try to avoid “screens” from 10pm to 7am. This has improved my quality of life. I try to spend <= 60 minutes a day on writing, content, blog, social, calls to Europe, and similar activities before everyone else is working. I now try to do this from about 7:45–8:45. As time has gone on, my creative time has evolved, or perhaps, returned to when it once was. Creative Time after I left Adobe/EchoSign used to be in afternoons, but now things are just too busy. So now my creative time is before everyone else is humming. Looking back, at EchoSign, it was the same. I tried to get to work an hour before everyone else for Creative Time. I try to go out to lunch with whomever on the team or outside of it wants to have lunch with me 🙂 I used Continue reading "What is Jason M. Lemkin’s daily routine?"

What to do Better Next Time – A Lesson from Current CEOs (Video + Transcript)

We sat down with CEOs of high-growth SaaS startups across the world on what they would do better next time. Featuring:
PJ Bouten – Co-Founder and CEO at Showpad
Hande Cilingir – Co-Founder and CEO at Insider
Frederic Plais – CEO at Platform.sh
Jason Lemkin – Founder at SaaStr
Joanne Chen – Partner at Foundation Capital Also, if you didn’t join SaaStr Europa, we’re having it again in 2019. Check out ticket prices and keep your eye diversity and inclusion ticket updates. Seriously, who doesn’t want a good FREE reason to fly over to Paris? Transcript Joanne Chen: My name is Joanne. I’m a partner of Foundation Capital and I am super excited to be here. We’re at the best SaaS conference in the world. And, the most beautiful city in the world, look at this venue. So, I think we need to give Jason and his team Continue reading "What to do Better Next Time – A Lesson from Current CEOs (Video + Transcript)"