I'm a partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

Using The Friend Paradox to Maximize Your Effectiveness at Startup Networking Events

googleio.jpg

I’ll never forget the first large tech conference I attended after joining Redpoint. Held in the movie theater in downtown Redwood City, the TechCrunch conference attracted several hundred entrepreneurs, investors and journalists. Not one of whom I knew.

After a handful of conferences and a few awkward quick-name-badge-glance-then-say-hello conversations, I started to recognize faces and became friendly with the conference regulars.

Walking into a room and working it by building a network person by person is an essential part of entrepreneurship (and venture capital). That room ...

Read More...


Sexism, Statistics and Space: How Disruptive Startup Ideas Are Discovered

ScreenCapture at Mon Sep 23 07:04:59 PDT 2013.png

In response to analyses published on this blog, a handful of readers have raised the idea of Simpson’s Paradox to me. Because I wasn’t familiar with it, I’ve been researching it and last week, I came across VUDLab’s beautiful website which uses a sexism-in-admission lawsuit against Berkeley to demonstrate the idea.

In 1973, the University of California-Berkeley was sued for sex discrimination. The numbers looked pretty incriminating: the graduate schools had just accepted 44% of ...

Read More...


Which Half of Your Startup’s Emails Are Wasted?

burning-ben.jpg

We know by heart that half of our marketing dollars are spent improperly. But what’s worse is most products waste half of their chances to deepen a relationship with their customers.

There are two different kinds of email within products: product marketing emails and transactional emails. The first of these marketers optimize continuously and the other is oft forgotten.

Product marketing emails include acquisition campaigns, lifecycle marketing, retention marketing, cross-selling, up-selling and content marketing. Tools like Marketo, Silverpop, MailChimp and others have solved this problem for marketing teams. ...

Read More...


How To Take Exceptional Notes and Be Productive with Paper

ScreenCapture at Wed Sep 18 09:22:59 PDT 2013.png

As a PM at Google, I carried a laptop to every meeting I went to. I typed notes, jotted down action items, and distributed the minutes of almost each one of my meetings. I stayed organized and tracked my teams’ progress this way.

But, as I learned when I starting working at Redpoint, outside the rainbow bubble of the Googleplex very few people take notes on laptops during meetings. It’s just impolite. People wonder if you’re typing emails ...

Read More...


Interpreting Cohort Data: The 3 Key Analyses for Measuring Your Startup’s Product Performance

After I wrote a post on six important cohort reports, I received a handful of questions about how to interpret cohort charts effectively. When I review cohort data from companies I work with, I look into three different trends to evaluate a product’s performance.

ScreenCapture at Tue Sep 17 08:52:34 PDT 2013.png

This is a cohort chart of hypothetical product indicating percentage of monthly active users each week for 12 weeks. There’s great data here and but the amount of data can be overwhelming. Time flows ...

Read More...


How Wordpress Used VideoConferencing and IRC to Change the World

pants.png

I’ve been reading Scott Berkun’s book The Year Without Pants which details his working life at Wordpress. The book reveals a thought-provoking collection of lore behind Wordpress and in particular, the day-to-day operations of a distributed volunteer team who built a technology that powers about 20% of the internet.

Scott embeds insightful gems about daily startup work life into his stories. My favorite so far is this one:

“Most people doubt online meetings can work, but they somehow overlook that most ...

Read More...


Google F1 and The Cascade of Innovation New Databases Create

Formula-One-3.jpg

The NoSQL movement launched officially in 1999 but rose to prominence much later perhaps closer to 2008 when Hadoop and other key value pair technologies became en vogue.

Today, it’s hard to argue with the success of the movement. Large banks, insurance companies, biotech companies and dotcoms rely on NoSQL to power their services and inform their most important decisions.

I first saw MapReduce at Google. I’ll never forget the conversation I shared with a search engineer who described MapReduce. Separate the data, process each ...

Read More...


Crossing the People Management Chasm: A Necessity of Startup Growth

ropebridge.jpg

One of the hardest but least spoken about transitions in a startup’s life is crossing people management chasm.

At the outset of the startup, there might be three people, then eight, then fifteen. As they grow, startups often create ad hoc managers I call team leads.

Team leads manage 3 to 5 people. They work alongside their team, whether engineering, sales or marketing and contribute actively to achieving the goals of that team team. They code, sell or market for 50% of their time. With the ...

Read More...


Six Key Benchmarks for Your SaaS Startup

milestone.jpg

One of the most frequent questions entrepreneurs ask me is how does their business compare to others? Benchmarking is a great tool, if you can get access to representative data. Pacific Crest and David Skok have released a fantastic survey benchmarking SaaS metrics for early and growth stage companies. The entire report is well worth reading. Below is my list of the six most important benchmarks and observations from that report.

Inside Sales Driven Companies Grow Fastest

Read More...


The VC Firm of the Future

Data Center Finance.jpg

The venture capital fund of the future will perform the same tasks as the venture funds of today: help portfolio companies, evaluate new investment opportunities and build networks of other investors, potential hires, and founders.

But to succeed over the next 25 years, venture capital firms must increase the scale and sophistication of each of these duties by order of magnitude through technology. In the five years I’ve worked in the venture business, I have witnessed tremendous change in the industry driven by intensifying ...

Read More...


Index