I Got Catfished By A Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You

What follows is a true story. Names, places, and companies have been changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent). I was catfished by a candidate. And not just during a phone screen. This guy made it through a recruiting agency, a phone screen, and three rounds of interviews. We were about to make the hire when everything unraveled. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a catfish is someone who creates a false identity online. The motivation behind a catfish can vary from tricking someone in an online dating app, seeking revenge, simply playing a joke, or in my case, seeking a job. I learned a lot from this experience (plus it is a pretty good story), so I thought it would be fitting to share with the SaaStr community. Act One: Falling For The Catfish When someone seems too good to be true they Continue reading "I Got Catfished By A Candidate: The True Story and How to Keep It From Happening to You"

7 Simple Tips to Being a (Much) Better First Time Manager

One privilege I get as part of mentoring and investing in a few dozen startups is a chance to work with first-time managers.  The reality is, most start-ups are better off with a Stretch VP than a Never Did It But Has a Great LinkedIn VP.  More on that here. And as part of that, I see a lot of ambitious, driven first-time managers screw it up 🙂  I thought I’d share 7 actionable tips to help you if you’re getting your first big shot now …
  1. Make a firm rule: No Excuses.  This is probably the rookie error most first-time managers make, and many second and third-timers as well.  Excuses actually work fairly well in Big Companies, because it’s often not exactly clear who is responsible for many things in large organizations.  But the #1 reason a VP is hired in a start-up is Continue reading "7 Simple Tips to Being a (Much) Better First Time Manager"

SaaStr Podcast #173: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on What To Look For In Your First Sales Reps

Welcome to Episode 173! 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, RainforestQA, and many more incredible companies. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:
  • When is the right time to hire your first sales rep? What characteristics must those sales have? Why does Jason believe it is impossible to poach a rockstar from another fast scaling startup? Should you then hire the stretch VP or the more experienced, potentially burnt out exec?
  • How does Jason think about aligning compensation to company objectives? Within the company, which functions serve as the best test areas for variable compensation? What must you be wary of when installing a system of variable compensation?

  • Continue reading "SaaStr Podcast #173: Jason Lemkin, Founder @ SaaStr on What To Look For In Your First Sales Reps"

SaaStr Podcast #172: Jon Lee, Founder & CEO @ ProsperWorks on Why It Is Easier To Start In SMB and Work Your Way Up

Welcome to Episode 172! Jon Lee is the Founder & CEO @ ProsperWorks, the #1 recommended CRM for G Suite. To date, ProsperWorks have raised over $85m in VC funding from the likes of True Ventures, Norwest, GV, Bloomberg Beta, and more incredible names. Prior to ProsperWorks, Jon started in investment banking at Merrill Lynch before moving to run a large operations team at Yahoo. Jon then founded Bazaar Advertising Solutions, a business self funded from a Palo Alto apartment that Jon scaled into a highly profitable $47m business in less than 2 years. Jon then sold Bazaar to Epic Media in 2006. Following the acquisition, Jon founded DNA Games, the number one casino simulation game on Facebook with more than 20 million players, ultimately acquired by Zynga in May 2011. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #170: Rob Reid, EVP & Managing Director @ Sage Intacct on Scaling Intacct’s Team & Culture To An $850m Exit

New! Prefer to read the transcript? We’ve got you covered! You’ll find this week’s transcript below. Welcome to Episode 170! Rob Reid is the Executive Vice President & Managing Director @ Sage Intacct, the undisputed global leader serving finance teams of any size. With over 10,000 employees and and over 3m customers, their financial solutions generate over $2Bn in revenue. Prior to Sage Intacct, Rob led Intacct over an incredible 8 year journey culminating in their reported $850m exit to Sage in 2017. Before that he was CEO and President of LucidEra, a market leader for on-demand business intelligence. Prior to LucidEra, Rob was group Vice President of industry leading Siebel CRM for Oracle, managing the SMB sector. Fun fact: over his phenomenal 30 year career, Rob has been involved with 8 startups, 7 of which have had successful exits. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #169: Kolton Andrus, Founder & CEO @ Gremlin with the Secret to Ensure High Conversion on Trials

Welcome to Episode 169! Kolton Andrus is the Founder & CEO of Gremlin, the failure as a service startup finds weaknesses in your system before they cause problems. To date, they have raised over $8m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Mike Volpi @ Index Ventures and Mike Dauber @ Amplify Partners. Prior to Gremlin, Kolton was a Chaos Engineer at Netflix, improving streaming reliability and operating the Edge services. Fun fact: Kolton also designed and built Netflix’s failure injection service. Before that he improved the performance and reliability of the Amazon Retail website. At both companies he has served as a ‘Call Leader,’ managing the resolution of company-wide incidents. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #168: Ryan Williams, Founder @ SalesCollider Shares Why 70% of Startup’s VPs of Sales Fail

Ryan Williams is the Founder of SalesCollider, the organization that helps technical founders jumpstart sales. Ryan got his start as the first sales manager at Adroll where he grew the team from 3 to 32 reps in just 8 months, a team that was responsible for ARR growing from $4m to $58m in under 2 years. Ryan then became an advisor to the early team at InVision where he coached both CEO and sales reps to close the first dozen enterprise deals. Then his last stop before founding SalesCollider was as VP of Sales at LeadGenius where he grew enterprise sales by over 400% and added clients such as Ebay, IBM, and Google, just to name a few. Ryan is also an Entrepreneur in Residence @ 500 Startups and a Mentor with First Round Capital. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #166: Clate Mask, Founder & CEO @ InfusionSoft On Why SaaS Startups Do Not Have To Scale To Enterprise

Clate Mask is the CEO of Infusionsoft, the leading cloud-based CRM platform for growth-minded small businesses, with more than 145,000 users worldwide. Under Clate’s leadership, InfusionSoft has grown from a fledgling startup housed in a worn-down strip mall into a 550 person company, raising over $130m in VC funding in the process. If that was not enough, Clate is also an angel investor with the likes of CampusLogic, where he also sits on the board, and is co-author of Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.   In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #165: Harry Glaser, Founder & CEO @ Periscope Data Shares a Step By Step Guide To Building Truly Diverse Teams

Harry Glaser is the Founder & CEO of Periscope Data, the startup that allows you to transform your business with the fastest, most powerful analytics platform. To date, Periscope have raised over $34m in funding from some of the very best in the business including Bessemer, SV Angel, DFJ, Susa Ventures, and Data Collective, just to name a few. With this funding they now serve over 975 customers including Adobe, Flexport, Tinder, NewRelic, and more. Prior to founding Periscope, Harry was a Product Manager at Google. Fun fact about Periscope, it was voted the best small company to work for in 2017. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Can You Scale Sales in the Bay Area? $30k ACV is Probably The Cut-Off

Silicon Valley / SF has gotten incredibly expensive. Rents, salaries, and perhaps most importantly, turnover. I’ve invested in 5 French start-ups. SF costs 2x Paris, fully burdened. It’s crazy.

And sales teams have gotten particularly expensive, because they don’t quite scale the same way engineers do.  You can pay great engineers a ton, eventually, because 1000s of folks can use the same software.  But you really do need Y reps for every $X00K of new bookings.  Sales gets more expensive as you add customers.  Engineering generally goes the other way, if you are doing it right. Why have sales teams gotten so exepnsive in SF?  It’s not just salaries and bonuses.  Those actually haven’t grown 2x in the past 5 years.  But the fully burdened cost probably has grown 2x, because: