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 18,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.

Coding and Cooking: The Connection between Jacques Pepin and Database Migrations

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When I was a little boy, I watched a cooking show on Sundays called “Jacques Pépin.” Over the course of 30 minutes, Jacques would orchestrate a symphony of raw ingredients into a dish that I yearned to smell and taste. That chicken paillard looked sumptuous.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been coding in Rails 3 quite a bit, building a collection of tools to be more effective as a VC. And oddly enough, I think back to Jacques Pepin quite often.

The Jacques Pepin ...

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Social Network Alchemy: The Five Ways of Turning Users Into Gold

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Derek Powazek questions the intrinsic economic viability social networks in his post “What If Social Networks Just Aren’t Profitable?”. It’s a logical question to pose in the aftermath of the Digg sale and the wobbly Facebook IPO.

There is one clear lesson from Digg’s sale: the technology that powered a once-massive social network is worth about $500,000.

The Big Digg Lesson

The Atlantic summed up the essence of social networks' business models brilliantly. It’s not the technology that’s intrinisically valuable, but the activity ...

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Your Startup’s API Could be Its Disruptor

platform-arrows.jpg How deeply do you consider the impacts of building a public API for your startup? It’s no small decision: you could be enabling your disruptor.

APIs are incredibly powerful tools for enabling partners, building ecosystems and engendering success among customers. For example, Salesforce’s Force ecosystem, which enables developers to build products atop customer Salesforce installations and increases the value customers derive from Salesforce selling more seats and retaining customers longer. Google’s Maps API enables developers to spread Google Maps, building the brand, increasing distribution and all the ...

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Redpoint is Hiring a Consumer Analyst

We’re looking for an analyst to join the early stage consumer investment team at Redpoint. This person will help us find and evaluate investments and work closely with the early stage team. If you know anyone who is a recent grad, is passionate about technology and is looking to work hard and learn a ton, please send them our way. Details are below:

Job Specification:

Redpoint Ventures is looking for a full-time analyst to join our investment team. As an analyst you will help us research and develop new ...

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How Will I Enable Greatness Today?

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In the summer of 2008, a crisis evolved on my team at Google: social networks had grown exponentially. The AdSense network was flooded with social network page impressions whose poor performance challenged advertisers and Google alike.

During that summer, we formed a tiger team of about four or five key people. We shed our daily responsibilities, relocated our desks to a conference room in a deserted building on the edge of campus where we brainstormed and debated and wrote patents and developed a plan of action. ...

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The Greatest Challenge to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is Unbundling

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Craigslist’s generic market place gave rise to fifty or more single-purpose alternatives some of which are quite valuable companies: AirBnB, Care.com, 99Designs, oDesk, CustomMade, Gazelle.

Each of these startups operates verticalized market places that solve customer problems better than Craigslist’s generic platform. In so doing, these startups have grown their observed markets.

The same unbundling trend will happen to social networks.

Generic social networks will continue to succeed. But their most attractive users in the best segments will be systematically poached by verticalized competition.

Today in ...

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Reverse Engineering Your Startup’s Success

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Who can forget gems like these word problems from 3rd grade math class?

Q: Jack walked from Santa Clara to Palo Alto. It took 1 hour 25 minutes to walk from Santa Clara to Los Altos. Then it took 25 minutes to walk from Los Altos to Palo Alto. He arrived in Palo Alto at 2:45 P.M. At what time did he leave Santa Clara?

It was during those classes that our mathematics teachers taught us how to work backwards through the problem.

...

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Three Counterintuitive Points about SMB SaaS

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Kenny van Zant drew this diagram for me on white board and I think it’s the best visualization of how SMB SaaS freemium business grow. The diagram highlights a few important mechanics of the SMB SaaS business model.

In any given freemium user base, small-office/home-office (1 to 20 employee shops) users tend to be a few times larger in size than true SMB customer (20 to 500 employees). Most of these SOHO customers remain unpaid evangelists. A few ...

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Hiring Your Startup’s First Salesperson

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To many entrepreneurs, hiring the first salesperson is a mystery. When should I do it? How much should I pay this person? How do I structure the work?

The great part about sales teams and sales departments is that they quantitative - sales teams thrive on numbers. At the most fundamental level, sales productivity has to exceed costs.

So let’s answer the question of when to hire a salesperson by understanding the financial mechanics of a sales team. When ...

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The Secret to Growth Hacking

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Could you grow your users at 5% for 15 months? Or at 7% for 12 months? Or at 10% for 9 months? That’s how long it would take to double your user base at those growth rates.

Though there is some science to growth developed by the technology-fluent marketer, aka growth hacker, growth remains a confounding art because there isn’t one feature - like implementing FB Connect or promoting Tweets or having a big red button on a home page. Rather, it is the sum product ...

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