What Happens When You Hire the Wrong VP


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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A lot of classic SaaStr advice has been how to spot the best potential VPs.  When to hire them.  How to interview them and qualify them.  What they really do.  Etc. etc. Because to scale, you are going to need to add a true management team, and then a second one, and then layers of management.  Otherwise, you’re growth will hit a wall. And you’re are going to hire some VPs that … just don’t work out.  It may be more your fault than theirs.  After all, you know Continue reading "What Happens When You Hire the Wrong VP"

5 Things that Kill Startups with Y Combinator


This post is by Amelia Ibarra from SaaStr


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Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel is featured in one of our most-watched SaaStr videos of all time — so we were delighted to have him back during our SaaStr at Home event to share the top 5 things that kill startups after their seed rounds, and how to avoid them. In this tactical session, he highlights the trends he’s seen most commonly seen in startups that die and offers insights on the causes, symptoms, and solutions. #1 Fake product-market fit You’re company building before product building. This is one of the most common symptoms of “impending death” for post-seed companies. So why do founders believe they have market fit, even if they don’t? Causes:
  1. Raising money from impressive people
  2. Raising a series of pre-product market fit
  3. Magical thinking (ignoring the obvious!)
  4. Lack of strong technical talent
There is a common misconception that product-market fit means you’ve conceptually built what Continue reading "5 Things that Kill Startups with Y Combinator"

5 Leadership Lessons Everyone Needs Right Now From Github COO Erica Brescia


This post is by Amelia Ibarra from SaaStr


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One of our top sessions from our recent Annual at Home event was from Github’s COO, Erica Brescia. For those unfamiliar with her background, Brescia started off as the founder and COO of Bitnami, a 75 person startup. Just over a year ago, she sold to VMware and the company has since doubled in size. In her session, Erica shares her hard-earned leadership lessons–  from selling her company to what she’s learned at Github, we’ll share her most essential leadership principles for any stage of business. #1 Build a Support Staff Early The truth is, founders are frugal. You want to lead by example and get everything done with your own two hands. But that “do it all” mindset, is actually harming your ability to execute. In fact, every task you do that is not actively building your business is distractive of the work truly adding to reaching your goals. Time Continue reading "5 Leadership Lessons Everyone Needs Right Now From Github COO Erica Brescia"

That Super-Successful VP of Sales. Great? Or Just Lucky?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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I get sent this resume to review all the time. Director+ of Sales at Slack / Zoom / DropBox / Pick Your Brand Name SaaS Company. Took Hot Start-Up from $0 to $30m as VPS from Day 0. Was there “early” through IPO and did amazing things. That all sounds impressive, for sure. But were they great? Or just lucky? The thing is, it’s actually hard to know on the surface. Because it’s not ARR growth or even an IPO alone that determines if a VP of Sales him or herself is great. Because so many people were involved in getting Salesforce to $20,000,000,000 in ARR. It’s really how well they did based on a situation. Come into a #2 player and turn it into #1? That’s kind of amazing. Come into Salesforce at $2 billion and help it get to $5 billion? I mean, that’s great … but … Continue reading "That Super-Successful VP of Sales. Great? Or Just Lucky?"

You Don’t Want Your Dream VP Candidate


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Ok this is a simple post, and one we’ve touched on many times before.  But it deserves its own post because it’s a mistake so, so many of you will make as you go to hire your first VPs.  And even your second VPs. Don’t hire the “Hot VP”.  Not until you are equally hot, at least. What do I mean?  So many founders, especially first-time founders, fall in love with That Great VP They’ve Heard Of.  The one at SaaStr Annual at Home.  The Continue reading "You Don’t Want Your Dream VP Candidate"

Top 7 Regrets in Hiring VPs. Firing Them Is Not One of Them.


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: Have you ever regretted firing an employee?

No.

I’ve regretted, and still regret almost daily:

  • Waiting too long to make a critical hire. You overload the existing team, and progress stalls out.
  • Not closing my A+++ top choice for a role, no matter what it took. This haunts me to this day. When there is a true game-changer, do whatever it possible takes to close them. And then even when they say No, remember, you still have another chance next week, next month, and next year.
  • Underhiring. Not hiring someone experienced enough Continue reading "Top 7 Regrets in Hiring VPs. Firing Them Is Not One of Them."

What’s Your Loss Rate? You Really Should Know


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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A ways back on SaaStr, we wrote a classic post, Beware of the Confidence of High Win Rates.  It’s something I see again and again, especially below $2m in ARR or so.  A start-up says they have a lot of problems, but winning deals isn’t one of them.  That they win every deal they are in.  Well, of course these early stage start-ups win all these deals.  Because they are only invited to just a very small percentage of the dances. So ultimately, it’s healthy and positive to see win rates decline after $1m-$2m.  That means your mini-brand is
Continue reading "What’s Your Loss Rate? You Really Should Know"

Is the Covid Boost in Cloud and SaaS Already Over?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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We’ve talked a lot on SaaStr recently on Covid Beneficiaries, the ones given a boost by the crazy times of this year.  And I’ve seen it across my little investment portfolio too, from startups like Gorgias tripling on the back of the acceleration of eCommerce, to Talkdesk booming as call centers have to move to running distributed in weeks, to RevenueCat and others benefitting from an explosion in app development. But can this go on forever?  Doesn’t the Covid Boost eventually have to slow down, as the acceleration into the future becomes … the present? I thought a lot about a comment from Loren Padelford, GM and SVP of Shopify/Shopify Plus at the recent SaaStr: Enterprise event.  He said the future in e-commerce (where Shopify is #1) had been brought forward 5 years.  You can catch the A+ session here: Reflecting on it, that does seem
Continue reading "Is the Covid Boost in Cloud and SaaS Already Over?"

VPs That Can’t Hire … They Aren’t Real VPs. At Least, Not Yet.


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Perhaps the single most important thing you can ever do in SaaS, at least after $1m in ARR or so, is hire the best VPs you can.  We’ve talked a lot over the years about how not to hire a wrong VP of Sales — 70%+ of the first VPs of Sales don’t make it even 10 months. But there’s a related, larger issue for basically all your first VPs of Every Area.  You’re probably going to hire 1-2 VPs that themselves are smart, driven and successful — but that can’t themselves hire great people under them. This is something you have to be hyper-aware of.  Because sometimes, these VPs That Can’t Hire are super smart, super engaging, and super competent.  You may really like these candidates.  Up-and-comers are a powerful force to tap into.  You sales-team-conferenceneed to hire up-and-comers. But you have to do more diligence to believe Continue reading "VPs That Can’t Hire … They Aren’t Real VPs. At Least, Not Yet."

When Selling for $2 Billion is Too Early


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Q: Why do many startup owners sell their firm and move on instead of planning on making it a big player like Google, Microsoft, etc.?

I remember not long ago I was at a SaaS event. A SaaS CEO running a $20b+ SaaS company bumped into a great SaaS CEO that had just sold for $2b, and said to him:

“You sold too early.”

The SaaS CEO that had sold seemed almost defensive, and responded, “It was the right call in our space.”

That’s the answer, that’s the story.

I’ve sold 3x, twice as a founder, once as a start-up exec:

  • The first time, we sold to the wrong company. That haunted me for years. I lost $10m in paper gains, and that haunted me for years. We should have picked the other offer instead (to Amazon). Instead of $0, I would have ended up with $100m+ most Continue reading "When Selling for $2 Billion is Too Early"