I'm a partner at Redpoint
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book, Winning with Data
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Founded in 2007, Dropbox epitomizes the freemium go-to-market. Dropbox has grown from 0 to 500 million users over that time period. 2% of those users convert to paid and pay an average of $9.33 per month. 90% of revenue originates through self serve channels - an astounding figure for company that generated more than $1B in revenue last year.
What should be the return on investment of a startup's cash burn? Fred Wilson posed this question last year in his post Some Thoughts on Burn Rates. In that post, he suggests, and I agree, that a 5x ROI on cash burn is a good target.
You're two or three years into your startup. You have hired a great team and want to retain them. It's time to consider refreshing their stock options to motivate them to stay longer. How many options should you grant to each employee?
How should you think about designing your startup's logo? The mark symbolizes your business. It's destined to be ubiquitous. Business cards, ads, hoodies, mobile apps, water bottles, even custom sneakers may bear the logo.
20 years ago, a newly minted billionaire was in his office. Fluorescent lights, a dingy purple carpet, and a CRT monitor resting on a door. Not a desk - those were too expensive - a door supported by 4x4s, brackets and wood screws. In his 60 Minutes profile, he drives around in a Honda Civic. His rationale? "It's a perfectly good car."
Much of the conversation today about crypto is about Bitcoin and currency. But that's myopic. Soon, we will be talking about how crypto will change the software world. In fact, many founders have already started that pursuit. More than 30% of the initial coin offerings in 2017 target developers and businesspeople with their products.
When a startup takes form, the first weeks and months and years are spent furiously. The team assembles itself. The lightbulb illuminates. The idea is formed and reformed again and again as customers supply feedback. Eventually the team hews the right product. The startup raises capital. Then the team returns focus to hiring, evolving the product, closing customers. However, continuing this way isn't the path to huge scale. There's a critical step missing.
This is one of the best pieces of advice I've collected about writing. Put each sentence on a separate line when you write.
Recently, I wrote about customer/revenue operations, an idea that seems to be taking hold at many different SaaS companies. Instead of optimizing the performance of each individual step of the customer lifecycle, customer operations optimizes it over the entire journey. This is a fundamental change in the way a business manages its customers, and it's now starting to be reflected in the organizational structure of SaaS startups.
In SaaS, machine learning has become an essential component to many different products. Whether it's automating responses to inbound sales queries, identifying expense reports for audit, or surfacing anomalies in data, machine learning improves workflow software. To date, most software imbued with machine learning reduces costs rather than increase revenues.