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 Antidote to Burnout is Progress

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Andrew Dumont wrote about his grueling schedule at a startup and the lessons on “Avoiding Burnout” which spurred a torrent of comments on HackerNews. For me, the most interesting comment is this one by Daniel Ribeiro who quotes Isaac Yonemoto:

Burnout is caused when you repeatedly make large amounts of sacrifice and or effort into high-risk problems that fail…You effectively condition your brain to associate work with failure… The best way to prevent burnout is to follow up a serious failure with ...

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Building Content Strategy by Segmenting and Analyzing Twitter Followers

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To answer that question, you have to look for examples of the best storytellers. The best storytellers are the television studios. They divide the day into different segments to reach different audiences. Morning: news. Midday: soap operas. Evening: Nightly news segues into primetime sitcom. Late night: news segues into comedy.

An entrepreneur told me a few weeks ago, when we where talking about how to build a blog audience and I had asked him how he thought about content strategy. In short, segmentation ...

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Design’s New Frontier: The IRL Era

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When the neologism was popularized in 2004 by Tim O'Reilly, the words Web 2.0 captured a desire for the web to become interactive. It was a description of a movement towards social media and engaging users on the web. But more than an idea, it carried a design aesthetic which focused on the user, user experience and engagement. After all, users wouldn’t participate on a hostile site.

We’re no longer in the Web 2.0 age - look no further than the Google Trends data to prove ...

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Out of My Depth

intellij.png “What’s the difference between a string and a String?” I asked on the first day of my engineering internship at a startup. That comment drew some sighs from the other engineers in the cube. The pit in my stomach confirmed what I already knew - I was out of my depth.

I had never programmed in Java before that day. And there I was, a Java engineering intern at this startup. Over the next few months, I imbibed as much as I could about object oriented ...

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The Twitter Game, Google’s Bin and Other Force Multipliers

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When I started at Google, I began working in the AdSense Online Sales and Operations team. The demand for AdSense was overwhelming and we received tens of thousands of website applications each day asking to be granted permission to run Google’s ad product on their websites.

Sometimes, automated approval systems would reject an application based upon strong spam or fraud signals. But thousands of applications each day demanded additional human judgement. So a team of us worked “the Bin.”

The Bin was an approval tool that ...

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Activity Based Pricing: When Is It The Right Choice for Your Startup?

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Pricing is taxation. A pricing plan taxes some element of a product’s use. For a startup, choosing what to tax and how to tax it can be one of the most perplexing decisions because the tradeoffs between usage and revenue aren’t always clear.

Activity based pricing or usage based pricing is one of the more common pricing plans in utility computing and software these days. Need to spin up another server immediately? Did another user sign up to use this software? No problem - we ...

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The Android-First Social Network

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Do social networks have a killer distribution or engagement advantage on Android that cannot be replicated on iOS because of Android’s openness? Will we see an Android-first social network of real scale in the near future?

I think it’s a real possibility. Open platforms enable faster experimentation and more innovation than closed ones. New engagement models can be created, tested and refined much more easily on Android than iOS and Facebook’s newest mobile product could be that first example, despite its initial struggles.

Chat ...

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Mastering Feedback Loops in Startups

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Feedback loops are essential components of every person’s role within a startup. The most recent and celebrated feedback loop is the viral coefficient or k-factor which Facebook applications optimize to grow their user bases. The [k-factor](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-factor_(marketing), a borrowed concept from the study of biological viruses, measures the rate at which an application spreads through the network.

But feedback loops don’t solely exist within marketing. For product teams, there is consumer feedback and user engagement metrics. For engineering teams, there’s technical performance. For sales teams, there ...

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The Defining Characteristics of Successful SMB SaaS Startups

At first glance, SMB SaaS companies, those who sell Software-as-a-Service to small to medium businesses, may seem like any other software company. But they are quite a different breed.

Successful SMB SaaS companies have reinvented their businesses eschewing the expensive enterprise sales model in favor of end-user centric marketing, support and product development. These businesses often look more like consumer startups than enterprise startups. It’s all because of the nature of the market.

Market Dynamics

SMB SaaS companies sell to a highly fragmented market. See the table below comparing the ...

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The Two Key Ingredients in Great Connected Consumer Products

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We’ve all had a great idea for a product that would solve a pain we feel directly. It used to be impossible to convey that insight to anyone who might be in a position to act upon it. But that’s all changing because of the Internet.

Of late, it’s becoming increasingly easier for consumers to share their ideas for great products and bring them to market. One great example of this is a company called Quirky which solicits ideas from a community of people ...

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