Retention: How Lessonly Built an Insanely Loyal User Base [Podcast]

While most startups are laser focused on customer acquisition in the beginning, customer retention should always be top of mind. Mackey Craven, Partner at OpenView, explains what “good” retention looks like and how to measure it. Later on we hear from Lessonly’s CEO & COO about how they built (and retained) a loyal user base.     Prefer to listen on iTunes? Click here.
The post Retention: How Lessonly Built an Insanely Loyal User Base [Podcast] appeared first on OpenView Labs.

10 Software Experts Weigh in on Managing Through Change

If you tuned into the first season of OpenView’s BUILD podcast (hosted by yours truly), you know we focused on what happens in the first 100 days after implementing or undergoing a huge change. From starting as a brand new CEO to changing up product pricing to introducing a new product, we’ve heard stories this season from some of the leading operators in SaaS. (If you haven’t been following along, you can catch up here. Once you’re all caught up, make sure to ). So, whether you’re brand new to BUILD or just want a refresher on all the great lessons we learned in season 1, look no further – a recap of the best pieces of advice here:

Building a New Team

“Nothing else matters if you haven’t hired the right people. It’s one of the biggest challenges that we all face.” Liz Cain, Partner, OpenView
When Liz Cain,
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To Drive Operational Excellence, Ask These Three Questions

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on AlleyWatch here. Every startup reaches the point where they have learned, they have hired, they have structured. They stop tinkering with their “MVP” and start trying to get customers. They are ready to get things done. At that point these companies have to get excellent at execution. But achieving this rigorous execution requires a mindset shift. And a new way of thinking requires asking different questions. So here, three questions for executives to up their skills in leading operational excellence:

1. What did we decide?

It’s amazing how a group of people will be in the same meeting, participate in the same discussion, but have a very different take on what happened in that meeting. To make sure everyone is in sync, leave 10 minutes at the end of the meeting and ask, “What did we decide?” You might even grab a
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Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Inc. here. Physicist Niels Bohr once mused that an expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that one can make in a narrow field. That’s not a surprising sentiment coming from a scientist. Science is based on exposing ideas to the rigor of real-world testing. It’s an antidote for wishful thinking, superstition, unjustified enthusiasm and overconfidence. Failure, in this way of thinking, is constructive because it brings you closer to the truth. That said, even in tech circles where you’d think there would be reverence for the scientific method, using controlled randomized testing is severely underutilized. There are exceptions though. Airbnb claims to run some 700 experiments a week, and CapitalOne is known as a pioneer in business experimentation, but more often, companies do way too little real-world testing. One of the main reasons is a very human one
Continue reading "Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why."

Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Inc. here. Physicist Niels Bohr once mused that an expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that one can make in a narrow field. That’s not a surprising sentiment coming from a scientist. Science is based on exposing ideas to the rigor of real-world testing. It’s an antidote for wishful thinking, superstition, unjustified enthusiasm and overconfidence. Failure, in this way of thinking, is constructive because it brings you closer to the truth. That said, even in tech circles where you’d think there would be reverence for the scientific method, using controlled randomized testing is severely underutilized. There are exceptions though. Airbnb claims to run some 700 experiments a week, and CapitalOne is known as a pioneer in business experimentation, but more often, companies do way too little real-world testing. One of the main reasons is a very human one
Continue reading "Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why."

Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Inc. here. Physicist Niels Bohr once mused that an expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that one can make in a narrow field. That’s not a surprising sentiment coming from a scientist. Science is based on exposing ideas to the rigor of real-world testing. It’s an antidote for wishful thinking, superstition, unjustified enthusiasm and overconfidence. Failure, in this way of thinking, is constructive because it brings you closer to the truth. That said, even in tech circles where you’d think there would be reverence for the scientific method, using controlled randomized testing is severely underutilized. There are exceptions though. Airbnb claims to run some 700 experiments a week, and CapitalOne is known as a pioneer in business experimentation, but more often, companies do way too little real-world testing. One of the main reasons is a very human one
Continue reading "Founders, it’s time to embrace radical experimentation. Here’s why."

Lessons from a Triathlete: Small Startup to Large Enterprise – Which is right for you?

Editor’s Note: This is the tenth and final article in a 10 part series on how an elite athlete applies the lessons she’s learned from Triathalon training to her role as a Fortune 100 marketing executive. Read the rest of this series here. Recently, a recruiter and a friend asked what it takes to successfully navigate from a small startup to a large Fortune 100 company. A few items came to mind immediately – from my own experience as well as what I hear echoed from leadership circles:
  1. Stay focused on the business goals (revenue targets)
  1. Define more distinct KPIs for your team or functional area (marketing, engineering, customer success) and clearly articulate up and out how those other measures will positively impact revenue.
  1. Balance thinking fast and slow. In a startup, it’s easy to just go do and in a large enterprise, you may need to take a few
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Lessons from a Triathlete: Celebrate the Small Stuff

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth article in a 10 part series on how an elite athlete applies the lessons she’s learned from Triathlon training to her role as a Fortune 100 marketing executive. Read the rest of this series here. When you’re on drumbeat to reach 1 million active users or acquire $2 billion in revenue, you can become so focused on that one KPI that you might miss significant milestones along the way – and wear out your team. How can you take a moment to celebrate incremental accomplishments for your business and your team? I’ve talked before about how to fuel yourself and your team and ways to improve self-motivation, but recognizing and rewarding accomplishments is just one more way to keep yourself and your team on track to hit the finish line.

Set Benchmarks

During Ironman training, I’ll race a fewer shorter distance triathlons and
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Five Things I Learned as an Early-stage Entrepreneur

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the Eventerprise blog here. I was recently inspired by this post from Shuly Galili about her experiences as an early-stage investor and how she views early-stage businesses from the perspective of an investor. I am currently in the trenches with an executive team that has over 80 years of combined experience in various fields, and whose members have been responsible for deals and budgets totalling hundreds of millions of US dollars. So I thought this would be a good time to share the insights of a company that was digitally born and has grown rapidly from the ground up. Building an early-stage company is as demanding as it is exciting. There are many unexpected outcomes that require ongoing, agile problem-solving. When I co-founded Eventerprise with my partner Charlie Wright, who is a veteran of the events industry, we decided to take our combined
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