Sam Altman argues in How to Grow Huge] that the only way for a startup to grow really large is to create products that people love and promote. As the user base grows, users attract ever larger numbers of users to the product, producing compounding growth. The point is a terrific one and I think it can be generalized. To grow really large, startups have to create proprietary distribution channels.
A key component in a startup's formula for success is educating customers about the product and driving sales. The sales and marketing teams of a startup are responsible for this. There are many ways to structure sales and marketing teams.
For retailers of any size from startup to Fortune 50, the tablet application has become more important than the mobile application. IBM's annual Black Friday ecommerce report, which tracks 800 internet retailers proves the point.
I first learned about Sankey diagrams in my thermodynamics class and they've since become one of my favorite data visualizations and analysis tools. Sankey diagrams, like the one above of visitors to this blog, show the flow of things. Originally created for measuring the flow of energy through powerplants, they are incredibly useful for content marketing analysis, visitor analysis or any other kind of funnel analysis.
The typical mobile phone's home screen is occupied by more than 30 applications. A digital tragedy of the commons, each additional mobile application a user downloads decreases the odds of an average application re-engaging a user. After all, the time spent on mobile isn't increasing fast enough to cover the marginal application.
At its core, a startup's advantage in the market is the speed created by focus. When a team is well orchestrated, they can accomplish amazing things. Creating an environment that fosters communication best is therefore an essential part of startup management. But how best to do it? Founders have to balance span-of-control with span-of-managerial-responsibility. In an article this week's New Yorker, Amazon's founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is quoted on the subject with a contrarian point of view:
How much cash does a tech venture-backed company burn through before IPO? The median 2013 VC-backed tech IPO burned $33M and the average company burned $76M. The chart above shows the net income/burn rate of 2013 tech IPO by years since founding. Four categories of companies jump out in the chart: the profit leaders, the middle-of-the-pack, the negative hockey stick, and the go-for-broke.
I've been writing for about 3 years and I've analyzed a few hundred of my posts to better understand what makes for effective content marketing. These are my lessons learned:
In response to yesterday's post on management design patterns, many readers asked for examples of best practices. So I'm going to write about the management best practices I have been taught and I have observed in startups. This is the first post of that series. The first management technique is called Situational Management, one that my wife, a terrific manager at Google, taught me. A manager's most important function in a startup is to motivate employees to accomplish the business's goal.