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.

The Most Under-Appreciated Startup Team Member

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The reason most startups go out of business is they run out of money. The CEO bears the responsibility for raising money, managing those assets and growing the business into profitability and ultimate sustainability.

But the CEO shouldn’t bear this load alone. To help defray that critical responsibility, the CEO ought to have a consigliere, an advisor who helps plan, allocate resources, and illuminate the trade-offs between decisions. That consigliere is the head of finance and the most under-appreciated startup team member.

In my experience, there ...

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The Dawn of the Voice-to-Text Era

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We all type quite a bit. I’ve never measured how many words each day I type but I imagine it’s probably a few thousand each week between my laptop and my mobile phone and across emails and blog posts. And no one can deny the toll this takes on our wrists.

In the past week, I’ve been suffering from some carpal tunnel pain particularly as I’ve been coding more. Coding often requires all kinds of odd key combinations because of the varying syntaxes of CSS, ...

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Why You Should Be Measuring Time To Utility For Your Product

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Do you measure your product’s time to utility? If not, you should.

The best products reward users as quickly as possible after installation and account creation. But it’s easy to forget about this and as a result, watch conversion rates from download/install-to-active fall.

CRM products have the longest time to utility of most software products. The end user, a salesperson, logs into a blank Salesforce installation. She must type in a bunch of data about a customer. If the customer account closes, great. But it’s not ...

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The Data Behind Why Google’s Play Is So Much Harder For Startups To Crack Than the iOS App Store

As the number of Android users continues approach 1B devices, more and more startups are looking to deploy complementary applications on Android, in addition to their iOS applications. Some startups are beginning looking to launch on Android first. But the dynamics of the Android app store are quite different from iOS. In fact, they are much more challenging for startups.

Like iOS’s app store, Android’s app store also ranks applications. But the ranking system is very different in four key ways:

TL/DR

  1. Android seems to tune/control the charts to ...

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Elon Musk’s Genius: Understanding the Cost of a Screw and the Value of a Photo

Last night, Elon Musk inspired the audience at D. It is hard to overstate the scope and breadth of his ambitions or the impact of his start ups PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX on payments, automobiles and space.

Behind the desire to listen to great men like Musk speak about their perspectives is a hope to receive some insight, some pearl of wisdom. Last night, I came away with two of those both about startups.

First, when the inevitable question came along along asking Musk to compare his ...

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Block and Tackle Product Marketing

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At the D conference yesterday, Tim Cook said many things without saying much. But one story did strike me. Cook described the product management and strategy process at Apple.

Walt Mossberg asked Cook why the iPhone has only one flavor when the iPod had so many including the shuffle, the nano, the mini, and the classic. Even though both products originally launched as a single model, the iPod flourished into a family of products while the iPhone has remained a single SKU.

Cook responded by telling ...

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Startup Pricing: How to Manage Channel Conflict

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You have just launched your new software start up. The last webpage to go up on the website is the pricing page. Like many other SaaS startups, you decide to employ some version the three pane pricing plan: first the free version, second a paid upgrade costing between $5-$40 per month, and third an enterprise tier with a “Call for Quote” in place of the price.

A few days after you launch, an enterprise customer contacts you asking for a quote. You respond with an offer ...

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A Startup’s Guide to Maximizing Last Mover Advantage

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About a year ago, Peter Thiel spoke at a PandoDaily event where he extolled the last mover advantage:

“First mover isn’t what’s important — it’s the last mover. Like Microsoft was the last operating system, and Google was the last search engine.”

I hear this refrain more and more in pitches. The thinking goes the last entrant to the market benefit from mistakes made by earlier entrants.

But being the last mover isn’t always advantageous. The reality is more nuanced.

When Last ...

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Antagonism is the Heart of the Consumerization of IT Movement

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At today’s Under the Radar Consumerization of IT (CoIT), the predominant theme will be antagonism. Friction, dislike, resentment within organizations marks opportunity for consumerization of IT startups.

Taking advantage of this sentiment, Expensify employs a very deliberate marketing tactic: “Expense reports that don’t suck.” Talk to anyone who uses antiquated expense report systems and they are bound to sigh and complain, frustrated by the experience but resigned to the fact they can’t do much about it. Expensify provides those people with a better alternative and, most ...

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Investing in the Consumer Web is Dead

Reading through the tech press since the Facebook IPO, you might get the impression venture capitalists are still reeling from that apocalyptic offering, believe no further successes can be had in the consumer web, and so are fleeing the consumer web in droves to pursue enterprise investments.

That’s because in the past year or so most major tech publications have swung from focusing on consumer products to enterprise companies. GigaOm made this transition first, now TechCrunch and PandoDaily are following suit.

But the problem with sounding the alarm for the ...

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