I’ve been steadily progressing through the excellent books in the <a href="https://press.stripe.com/">Stripe Press catalog</a>. First, I read High Growth Handbook. Most recently, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Elegant-Puzzle-Systems-Engineering-Management/dp/1732265186">I read An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management</a> by <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/will-larson-a44b543/">Will Larson</a>. It’s the best book I’ve read on engineering management.
Will has worked at Digg, Uber, Stripe, and is now at Calm and has seen many engineering teams endure and thrive through hypergrowth. The book abstracts out the wisdom of those times into theory abstracted from experience, not just hypothetical ideas. Will extends the concepts of systems thinking into engineering management.
The 4 states of an engineering team is a mental model that resonated with me, and I think it provides a framework for leadership teams and boards to understand the state of a developer team.
The four states are:
Falling Behind - every week, the team’s backlog deepens. The list of bugs and feature requests outstrips the Continue reading "The 4 States of an Engineering Team"
Q: Could you talk about your experience with the downside of entrepreneurship or startups?
The “downside” of entrepreneurship is that it changes you.
Not immediately, but some time around 24 months in:
You will think about your start-up close to 24×7. You might only work 40 hours a week. You can’t work constantly. But in your quiet moments, on a run, in the shower … you’ll be thinking about your start-up.
Your family won’t understand. They won’t get why it consumes so much of your mind. You’ll sort of drift a tiny bit more apart because of this.
You’ll drift away from non-core friends. You just won’t have as much in common anymore. But you’ll make great work-related friends.
Your brain will be rewired. You’ll be more intense. You’ll have so many “almost failing” experiences, you’ll approach life differently. You’ll see it in part as a series of crises to
Ep. 380: Ryan Sandler is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Truework, the company that gives employees control over employment, income and other identity data. To date, Ryan has raised over $44M with Truework from the likes of Sequoia, Khosla, Menlo and from the founders of companies such as Plaid, Seatgeek, Mino Games and Checkr. Prior to founding Truework, Ryan spent 3 years as a Senior Product Manager @ LinkedIn.
In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
How Ryan made his way from LinkedIn Product Manager to founding Sequoia backed Truework and changing the world of identity data.
Why does Ryan believe it is such an advantage to sell into mid-market? Where do most people go wrong here? How can startups show credibility to mid-market when they are so small? How can founders use case studies and references to build social credibility early on?
What have Ryan’s lessons been when it comes to pricing? How does Ryan think about and approach discounting? How does Ryan feel about pilot plans? What elements can founders negotiate on to get the best pricing?
Why does Ryan believe SEO is the best-kept secret in SaaS? How has Ryan structured his content and marketing team as a result? How can one automate as much of the content creation process as possible? How long should one expect in terms of lead times to see returns on the SEO strategy?
A bit of Mary Poppins, when her work is done the wind will shift and she'll be off to the next place that needs her 🌂
Appreciate the moments you have with folks; especially if they or the combination of them together are truly special. It's never forever. https://t.co/EYelUz4X4Y
— stacie frederick (@staciefrederick) September 29, 2020
Especially now that dozens of next-generation SaaS companies have IPO’d, you can start to see the turnover more viscerally than you can observe at quieter, privately-held start-ups. You see the VPs moving on every week. 12-18 months after almost any IPO … folks leave. It can be tough even on a larger organization, but the final realization of a seemingly now fixed valuation for their stock options and RSUs is often a reason / excuse / nudge for folks to Move On to The Next Thing.
I think in most cases, as Continue reading "Don’t Let Them (Your Best Employees) Go"
Chris Miller stopped by the OV BUILD Podcast to talk about being a key growth leader at HubSpot for over four years, and how he’s been instrumental in driving the company’s adoption of product led growth.
In this episode, Chris and host Blake Bartlett discuss:
The differences between growth marketing and growth product
How to use the 3 D’s (discoverability, desirability, do-ability) to solve growth problems
How HubSpot uses advanced segmentation to serve a large and heterogeneous pool of prospects
Business travel SaaS startup TravelPerk has launched an open API-based platform — letting its customers and partners build custom integration and apps.
The initial APIs cover HR and expense management use-cases, but more are set to be added as usage and demand grows.
“Applications we’ve seen being built on the platform already include HR functionality (think BambooHR), expense management systems, company payment cards, financial reporting, and ERP,” says co-founder and CEO Avi Meir, discussing the launch.
Longer term he says the hope is the platform generates “a huge range” of additional functionality for customers to draw on.
“Many of our customers are tech companies full of developers, so we’re confident that if we give them the tools it will be boundless what they can create,” he adds. “In fact, we’re working with one customer already who is using our API to build a custom approvals process because they need a Continue reading "TravelPerk launches an open API platform to extend its work trip SaaS"
Over the years at SaaStr we’ve done a lot of posts (and videos and sessions) on hiring your first great sales team. I recently re-read a bunch using our excellent Algolia-powered search and wanted to share some of my favorites, updated:
1. Your First VP Does Not Have To Be a VP of Sales.Looking back, this is just so important, I wish I’d written this in the earliest days of SaaStr. Yes, you know you want a VP of Sales. We all need one, almost all of us at least. But don’t let that stop you from hiring any other great VP first. They are all accretive. They all add to sales. Read it here:
Americans and other global citizens are increasingly self-employed, thanks to great software, the need for flexibility, and because skilled services especially can pay fairly well, among other reasons.
In fact, exactly one year ago, the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a digital platform for freelancers, released a report estimating that 35% of the U.S. workforce had begun freelancing. With COVID-19 still making its way around the country and globe, prompting massive and continued job dislocation for many tens of millions of people, that percentage is likely to rise quickly.
Unsurprisingly, savvy startups see the economic power of these individuals — many of whom aren’t interested in managing anyone or anything other than the steady growth of their own businesses. A case in point is Collective, a 2.5-year-old, 20-person San Francisco-based startup that’s been quietly building back office services like tax preparation and bookkeeping for what it dubs “business Continue reading "Collective, a back office platform that caters to ‘businesses of one,’ just landed a hefty seed round"
The time leading up to launching a new product or feature is always so exciting—and often pretty hectic. The product and engineering teams are itching to get their new thing in front of customers, sales is asking (and likely has been for a few months!) when they can start demoing the new product to prospects, and marketing needs all the details so they can send the press release.
Sound familiar? These are all important components of a launch, but there are some key areas to focus on in order for it to be a big success—and to keep things from going sideways. Next time you’re gearing up for a big launch, avoid embarrassing or costly mistakes by incorporating these five ideas into your plan:
1. Align with the most critical teams as early as possible
One of product marketing’s critical roles is alignment—and it’s got to happen on
Recently, we welcomed Kimber Lancaster to Office Hours at Redpoint to discuss running successful virtual events. It was a fantastic session in which Kimbre surfaced counterintuitive insights about one of the most critical marketing channels of 2020. Below, I’ve summarized some of my notes from the session.
First, there’s much more crossover between physical and virtual events than most people think.
The planning phase for virtual events parallels physical events. When you begin planning the virtual event, start with the event’s goals and the audience’s desires. Develop the messaging for your audience. Identify compelling speakers to further the cause. Declare metrics for success.
Not having to visit venues and plan for catering are the biggest differences and timesavers. You may also need to change your AV team, prep the speakers’ home video quality, and pre-record sessions.
Audience engagement rose to the top of the questions list from the audience. Kimbre Continue reading "Notes from Office Hours with Kimbre Lancaster on How to Run Successful Virtual Events"