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.

Why Starting a Company Is Completely Irrational

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I once read a book by Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist researching decision-making from USC, about a man who had lost the capacity to feel emotions after he was struck by lightning. Much to my surprise, his man was totally incapable of making decisions.

His cognitive ability, the capacity to process and analyze data, remained fully intact. He could articulate the pros and cons of every alternative to each decision. His logical ability was flawless. But, he never could decide on an option.

There’s something indescribable about ...

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Peak Smart Phone: What Happens to the App Economy When Smartphone Penetration Reaches 100%?

We’re already seeing the impact to hardware vendors of peak smart phone. Over the past six months, Apple, Samsung and HTC share prices have fallen 20 to 25%. These share prices have tumbled because smart phone penetration is hurtling towards 70% in the US. True saturation has occurred in certain segments: 87% of 30 to 49 year olds with income greater than $75k own a smart phone.

Does the app economy suffer from the same challenge of decreasing growth as hardware?

Yes, it does.


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The Compounding Returns of Content Marketing: The Data Behind Why Persistence Pays Off in Blogging

It is easy to write off content marketing as a waste of time. Effectiveness is difficult to measure; it is time consuming and the payback period on the investment is uncertain.

But unlike most forms of paid marketing, content marketing has a cumulative and compounding return. Each of the posts of a blog continues to attract traffic from SEO and social channels long after it has been published.


Below is a chart of the 9 most popular posts in the last 12 month on this blog. It is scaled to ...

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Throwing in the Towel on Google’s Go: What Programming Taught Me About Sales

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I started playing around with Google’s programming language called Go yesterday. There’s a tour of the language found here. Clearly, Go has been designed by a group of incredibly smart people and makes a series of terrific design decisions that enable a tremendous amount of flexibility and performance while reducing the amount of code an engineer has to write.

But after spending about 90 minutes running through the tutorial, I decided to throw in the towel.

It’s easy to become accustomed to a ...

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The Startup Sector That’s Quietly Booming

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I’m asked with some frequency which startup sectors are booming. Mobile messaging and big data are knee-jerk reactions at this point. But these days I often respond “financial services.”

In the last two years, financial services startups have been innovating impressively quickly and challenging some of the fundamental ways in which capital and credit are distributed. I count seven major categories of innovation to date:


Math Based Currencies/Payment Networks - Bitcoin might be the most well-known and best publicized math-based currency, but there are a ...

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The First Rails App I Built at Google

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At about 11pm on a Tuesday night in 2006, I began coding a skeleton CRM web app for our internal use at Google called Toothpaste that tracked the key details of our larger inside sales customers.

It was my first real Rails project after spending quite some coding Java. After I ran “rails server”, I watched the terminal as the program spit out a few lines from the built in app server, Webbrick, and refreshed my browser to see the Ruby on Rails Welcome page. ...

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How to Analyze Your Startup Like A VC in 15 Minutes Or Less

When I first started in venture capital five years ago, I wanted to create a programmatic way to analyze companies well. My goal was to be able to step into a meeting with an entrepreneur with some kind of form that I would fill out throughout the meeting, so that by the end of the meeting I might have an understanding how the startup fits into its ecosystem.

It took quite a while to devise this framework and to revise it until it became useful, practical and insightful. I spoke ...

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Debunking the Myths of Social, Viral and Community

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What is a social product? This was the question Sandi MacPherson, founder of Quibb posed to me, over lunch earlier this week.

In Startupland, we bandy about terms like social, social media, virality and community when talking about products but it wasn’t until that moment that I stopped to think a bit more about what each word really means. Sandi has thought a lot about these concepts while building Quibb and she has some of the clearest points of view on social products I’ve ...

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It’s Time to Start Worrying About the Next Round for Your Startup

There’s an adage that is being passed around by entrepreneurs that goes something like this: “As soon as you raise this round, it’s time to start worrying about the next round.” I think it’s a wise adage.

It’s similar to my most important principle of fund raising which is “Raise enough money to achieve a set of milestones that will attract a subsequent round of investment from new investors.”

Those two ideas are simple and logical. But what does this mean for the business on a very tactical level? ...

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A Formula For Innovation

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One of my favorite courses in engineering grad school was Marketing which was taught by a brilliant quirky professor. On the first day of class, our professor wrote on the board this equation:

Innovation = Invention + Go To Market

Addressing a group of engineers who prided themselves on their technical skills, this professor of marketing tried to instill in us that invention alone isn’t enough to create innovation.

The invention has to be coupled with a way of understanding the customer, speaking ...

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