Hi, I'm a partner at Redpoint. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 16,000 others receiving these blog posts by email. Subscribe.

The Best Content Marketing Campaign in the Last Year: Do VC Blogs Actually Lead to Investments?

In a very kind gesture, Ivan Kirigin submitted this blog (and Intercom.io’s blog) to answer the question posed by Disqus, What is the best content marketing campaign you have seen and why? I’m honored by his comment. In response, David Fleck, head of revenue at Disqus asked whether the blog has ever led to an investment and whether that’s the right KPI for it.

I haven’t yet found a startup through the blog that Redpoint eventually invested in, but I’m hopeful it will one day. But this blog ...

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You’re Not Finished Selling Until You Change Your Customers Habits

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It is easy to think the sales process ends once a customer has signed a contract or downloaded an app or created an account. But it’s a huge mistake.

Great products have a point of view on the way things ought to work. GMail chose labels over folders for email categorization. Pandora chose recommendations over libraries for music libraries. Looker chose spreadsheets over an SQL prompts for data exploration. None of these ideas matter if they aren’t used.

People try software because they like a the ...

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Not Sharing the Opportunity to Learn is a Cardinal Sin

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I have never worked for a company that was dogmatic about project postmortems but I have always wished I had. After all, project postmortems teach us so much.

Learning from the mistakes and experiences of others constitutes the better part of our business education. It’s why we ask successful entrepreneurs to coffee and hang on every word when they speak at conferences. All those stories are postmortems. Postmortems condense all the experience and learning into a nugget of shared wisdom.

Despite their value, postmortems ...

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How Web Development Techniques Are Infiltrating Mobile Apps

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Mobile apps are like packaged software, a friend who is a head of product at a successful mobile first company told me over breakfast.

On the web, you can launch a product that’s 80% functional to hit a promised launch date. Around 1 am that night, when most users are asleep, you can surreptitiously push an update with bug fixes and new features, reboot the servers, and no one is the wiser.

iOS apps don’t work this way. A mobile app with a serious ...

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Mobile Social Networks: The New Customer Acquisition Powerhouse

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There’s a force in mobile app distribution that isn’t talked about much despite its magnitude: mobile social networks. Mobile social nets are becoming the predominant mobile app paid discovery/distribution platforms.

How big is this force? Line, the Japanese mobile messenger with more than 200M users is on a $400M run rate, 60% of which is derived from app distribution. Kakao Talk will pay out about $600M to developers this year - which is about 10% of iTunes global developer payout in 2012. Remember, ...

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The Part They Don’t Tell You About Startup Team Building

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At Google, the director of my team repeated a management mantra to us quite often. “Manage yourself out of a job; make yourself redundant”, she would say. “Empower your people and then get out of the way.” Our director was a terrific team builder.

Before Google, she founded a startup where she learned to build a company. When she told us her mantra, she was sharing her learnings with us.

Company builders sow the seeds of a team, cultivate each teammate, promote a leader from ...

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The Series A Is Overloaded

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There’s a concept in computer programming called operator overloading that neatly describes the current Series A investment market.

Overloading means using the same code for two very different purposes depending on inputs. For example, a programmer could redefine the + function so that instead of adding two numbers, the function would multiply the numbers if one of the numbers was negative. Overloading can create lots of confusion in programming because the same function name can return very different results.

The Series A market ...

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Analyzing Twitter Ad Performance for the Last 9 Months

I’ve been promoting my Twitter account since October 2012 in effort to better understand social media content marketing and to promote that great vanity metric, Twitter follower count.

At the outset, I promoted my account and links to blog posts. I prize followers more than one time visits to a blog, because the long term marketing relationship provides many chances to bring someone to my blog. Promoting links sends traffic to a single blog post, but doesn’t convert to followers with a very high rate.

I spent $10 per ...

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The Sales and Marketing Spend Strategies of Billion Dollar SaaS Companies

How much should your SaaS startup spend on sales and marketing? I’ve written about using unit economics and lead funnel performance to answer this question. Emulating the patterns of successful SaaS companies is another technique.

There are about 34 publicly traded SaaS companies that have published their revenue and sales & marketing expenses. Though their revenue growth rates are each unique, the sales and marketing spend patterns are quite similar.

The revenue ramps of public SaaS companies follow the familiar exponential growth path. ...

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Marketing’s Technical Liberation

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Product and engineering teams are inseparable and at the core of most startups. One degree removed, sales and customer support teams ply the voice of the customer to influence product and eng. Of the five teams in a startup, marketing teams tend to have the least influence because traditional product marketers must influence others to enact change.

Marketing works with product and engineering to update branding and communication within the product. Marketing collaborates with sales to refine the product positioning. Marketing relies on engineering to provide ...

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