Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?

Of course. As you scale, you’ll have more formal processes here and in particular, around who and how to terminate an employee. Get a great HR professional on board as early as you can, maybe even by employee #50. But one suggestion when you are small — have whomever is “best” at firing, fire an employee. What I mean is that firing an employee is very hard. Legally, sometimes it’s not hard, especially in places like California with at will employment. But it’s very hard on most people to fire someone. It wrecks them. So if the CEO is the most experienced in terminations, often she or he should consider handling terminations even for non direct reports in the early days. And folks that have never terminated anyone are often unintentionally very hard on the employee being fired. They ramble, they blame themselves, they dredge up mistakes … and they Continue reading "Does a CEO have the right to fire an employee down the chain?"

How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?

It’s always easier to hire when you have a brand. Once your company itself has and is itself a brand, it won’t matter. It doesn’t matter for hiring who invested in Slack, Intercom, Zoom, etc. But until you have a brand, leveraging an investor’s brand can help in recruiting. Especially in the early days. Like brands in general, a strong brand in your investor is a signal to “customers” (including prospective hires) of quality. There are so, so, so many startups. How does a potential hire know which one to pick? They look for a product and CEO they believe in. And they look for whatever early signals of quality they can find. Look at how powerful YCombinator is at attracting capital and talent to startups at an extremely early stage … that’s brand as a signal for potential quality. View original question on quora The post How much easier Continue reading "How much easier is hiring when you are venture backed?"

When Will the Next Wave of UI Advances Happen?

Technology innovations swing to a pendulum’s cadence. Sometimes innovations begin with infrastructure changes and reverberate up the stack. Other times, front-end engineers innovate at the application layer, which demand downstream changes in the infrastructure to scale. The last major epoch of front end evolution has celebrated its ten year anniversary. We’re in a period of punctuated equilibrium. When will we see rapid speciation? Web 2.0 and mobile applications built on iPhone and Android transformed the way users interacted with technology. One could argue there have been innovations at the platform tier. React changed front end deployment, for example. But aside from touch interfaces and the elimination of the page refresh with each click, not much has changed in human computer interaction in a decade. In contrast, in the last five or ten years, infrastructure has been reinvented, revolutionized, reborn. Infrastructure-as-a-service provided by Amazon, Google and Microsoft among others empowers Continue reading "When Will the Next Wave of UI Advances Happen?"

Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth

Once you have something in SaaS, somewhere on the path from $1m to $10m where you’re either on your way to Initial Scale or getting past it, you’ll often end up with a subtle choice: Should you go for the extra 10%-20% of growth a year? After a few years, a few management team mistakes, and a few cycles, finally it will be repeatable.  Net negative churn and renewals will kick in.  Your mini-brand will start drive in a regular stream of leads (more on that here).  You’ll be a known vendor, have a decent sales team, a proven product, a steady stream of leads.  You’ll more or less know how you’ll do next quarter and maybe even this year, within a wide variance at least. You’ll finally, sort of, have some of it dialed in and figured out.  Folks will start to get Continue reading "Squeezing Out That Last 10%-20% Growth"

SaaStr Podcast #175: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on How To Approach Long Sales Cycles

Welcome to Episode 175! Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr, the world’s largest SaaS event with over 20,000 of the world’s best SaaS founders and investors attending every year. Jason also invests from SaaStr’s debut $70m fund and has made prior investments in the likes of Algolia, TalkDesk, MixMax, Rainforest QA, and many more incredible companies. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
  • How does Jason think founders should approach long sales cycles in the early days? Why does Jason believe that ultimately long sales cycles do not matter? What can the truly great VPs do to impact those long sales cycles?
  • How does Jason think founders can tackle lead optimization with their team? How can founders determine which leads to send to which AEs? What will the effect of this tailored lead distribution be?

  • When is the right time for the founder to begin to take Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #175: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on How To Approach Long Sales Cycles"

What I Learned from OpenView’s Product-Led Growth Summit

On May 9th, OpenView convened 100+ SaaS leaders from our portfolio and network for our second annual Product-Led Growth Summit in San Francisco. The event and proceeding ‘Growth Office Hours’ were filled to the brim with new connections, sage advice and in-the-trenches stories from operators. Here are our most important takeaways. Darius Kyle Brian PLG Summit

First off, what the heck is Product-Led Growth?

Not just another buzzword…product-led growth is an important go-to-market strategy that underpins some of today’s most successful businesses. Think Dropbox, Slack, Intercom, Expensify and Datadog. Here at OpenView, we define product-led growth (PLG) as a strategy that puts the product front and center when it comes to how a company acquires, expands and retains customers. Relying on a product-led strategy yields rapid, extremely efficient growth. Although similar to a freemium approach, a product-led growth strategy doesn’t actually require that you offer your product for free. It does however necessitate an
Elena Verna PLG Quote
Todd Jackson PLG Quote
Merci Grace PLG Quote
Tomer Cohen PLG Quote
Brian Blafour PLG Quote
Dannie Chu PLG Quote
Ashik Ahmed PLG Quote
PLG Ashley Tope
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Andy Wilson PLG Quote
Continue reading "What I Learned from OpenView’s Product-Led Growth Summit"

What I Learned from OpenView’s Product-Led Growth Summit

On May 9th, OpenView convened 100+ SaaS leaders from our portfolio and network for our second annual Product-Led Growth Summit in San Francisco. The event and proceeding ‘Growth Office Hours’ were filled to the brim with new connections, sage advice and in-the-trenches stories from operators. Here are our most important takeaways. Darius Kyle Brian PLG Summit

First off, what the heck is Product-Led Growth?

Not just another buzzword…product-led growth is an important go-to-market strategy that underpins some of today’s most successful businesses. Think Dropbox, Slack, Intercom, Expensify and Datadog. Here at OpenView, we define product-led growth (PLG) as a strategy that puts the product front and center when it comes to how a company acquires, expands and retains customers. Relying on a product-led strategy yields rapid, extremely efficient growth. Although similar to a freemium approach, a product-led growth strategy doesn’t actually require that you offer your product for free. It does however necessitate an
Elena Verna PLG Quote
Todd Jackson PLG Quote
Merci Grace PLG Quote
Tomer Cohen PLG Quote
Brian Blafour PLG Quote
Dannie Chu PLG Quote
Ashik Ahmed PLG Quote
PLG Ashley Tope
Tope Awotona PLG Quote
Andy Wilson PLG Quote
Continue reading "What I Learned from OpenView’s Product-Led Growth Summit"

Why do some startups choose not to sell to other companies, and instead they go for an IPO?

I was just with a founder who owns 40% of his startup. He just turned down an offer for $500,000,000 to sell his startup to a public company. He is 33. I do not believe he has any life savings. I do not believe his parents have any savings, and he did not come from any money. He has never sold a share. 40% of $500,000,000 is just about $200,000,000. Turning that down is nuts. Why? Because he must think those shares are worth at least $1b (5x) to risk-adjust. And maybe, he’s just not done. Also — he is a much better CEO than I was. I was a good founder, but not nearly as good as he is. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? What future do you see? We’re all different here. Selling often is logical, the highest return on time, Continue reading "Why do some startups choose not to sell to other companies, and instead they go for an IPO?"

Why do some startups choose not to sell to other companies, and instead they go for an IPO?

I was just with a founder who owns 40% of his startup. He just turned down an offer for $500,000,000 to sell his startup to a public company. He is 33. I do not believe he has any life savings. I do not believe his parents have any savings, and he did not come from any money. He has never sold a share. 40% of $500,000,000 is just about $200,000,000. Turning that down is nuts. Why? Because he must think those shares are worth at least $1b (5x) to risk-adjust. And maybe, he’s just not done. Also — he is a much better CEO than I was. I was a good founder, but not nearly as good as he is. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? What future do you see? We’re all different here. Selling often is logical, the highest return on time, Continue reading "Why do some startups choose not to sell to other companies, and instead they go for an IPO?"