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.

Google F1 and The Cascade of Innovation New Databases Create

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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 ...

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Crossing the People Management Chasm: A Necessity of Startup Growth

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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 ...

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Six Key Benchmarks for Your SaaS Startup

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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

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The VC Firm of the Future

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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 ...

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The One Best Metric for Your Startup to Maximize

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It’s not engagement. Engagement, (time-on-site, page views, number of sessions per day) is the wrong concept because it doesn’t apply to most products. The best metric is share of habit.

Engagement fails the majority of products as the best metric to optimize because maximizing engagement/time-on-site contradicts the product’s purpose. Google relentlessly whittles down the time it takes for users to complete a search. Sparrow reduces email client use. Online travel agents and e-commerce companies minimize conversion funnel duration. Expensify slashes time spent filing expenses.

For ...

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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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