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.

Hiring Your Startup’s First Salesperson

ScreenCapture at Fri May 3 06:09:12 PDT 2013.png

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 ...

Read More...


The Secret to Growth Hacking

Gaia.jpg

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 ...

Read More...


What Today’s Revolution in Publishing is Missing

baskervilles.jpg

There’s something beautiful about handwriting that we’ve never been able to capture on the Web. Handwriting has style, a uniqueness to each writer and also an ability to capture the evolution of thought with crossed out words, carats and interjected clauses and margins full of edits. The image above is my favorite from Emily Temple’s curation effort of a series of famous authors' manuscripts on a Tumblog.

I was thinking about how much differently this blog feels to a reader than the above draft of ...

Read More...


The Antidote to Burnout is Progress

match.jpg

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 ...

Read More...


Building Content Strategy by Segmenting and Analyzing Twitter Followers

twitter2010.jpeg

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 ...

Read More...


Design’s New Frontier: The IRL Era

square-signature-screen.jpg

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 ...

Read More...


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 ...

Read More...


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

Monopoly-token-CAR.png

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 ...

Read More...


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

power_meter.jpg

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 ...

Read More...


The Android-First Social Network

Facebook-Chat-Heads.jpg

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 ...

Read More...


Index