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.

How to Align Founder and VC Incentives: Why Fund Size Matters

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When deciding if to raise a venture round, it’s critical to ensure your venture investor shares the vision for the company: both the product roadmap and the financial goals of the company.

Most founders never consider the impact on fund size on VC motivations. As long as there are enough reserves to invest as the company grows, a founder might think, that’s fine with me.

But this is naive. Fund sizes dictate a VC’s strategy. To achieve their target returns, a ...

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Your Startup’s 10 Most Important Metrics

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With the analytics tools today, it’s easy to measure hundreds if not thousands of different metrics for your business. Cutting through all the chaff to determine the most important or insightful metrics can be quite a challenge.

Below are the ten metrics I’ve found to be most useful in board meetings. They answer the questions of how should a startup founder might measure the business at the highest level. You should have many more metrics than these, but I’ve highlighted the ones that I recommend.

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Why Freemium Negates The Leaky Bucket Myth

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If at any time in the past ten years, you might have asked someone at Intuit about the size of the QuickBooks user base, they would have told you the same number: about 4M.

This figure hasn’t grown because Intuit’s customer base, the small-and-medium business market, is a leaky bucket. On the small end of the spectrum, about 750,000 businesses are created each year and about the same number fail. On the upper end of the spectrum, successful medium sized businesses (and the ...

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Mobile Productivity for Normal People

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Over the past few weeks, there has been a new refrain among consumer mobile startups that I’ve met with: we’re designing for normal people or normals as Chris Dixon would put it.

There are a few reasons for this trend. First, there is a movement towards great design. Second, there is a wave to reinvent and reimagine core applications of the mobile phones. The apps shipped with the standard OS were ports of their desktop counterparts. Only now, after using these cloned applications for ...

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Why the File System Wars Will Trigger a Wave of Consumer M&A

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You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia”

There is a land war being fought on the web and it’s for files and filesystems. Incumbents and startups alike are duking it out. And things are really starting to get interesting.

The startups, Dropbox and Evernote, reinvented the file system as a synchronized, cross platform file system abstracting the hardware and the data. ...

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The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed

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An entrepreneur shared this quote with me a few weeks ago.

The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.
William Gibson, quoted in The Economist, December 4, 2003

I remembered it this morning when I drove past a Google self-driving car and then again a few minutes later when a Tesla whipped past me and a third time during the same commute when I dictated an email to my mobile phone. Sometimes living in the Bay Area does feel like ...

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Which Data Biases Challenge Your Startup?

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Steve Sinofsky, executive at Microsoft for 24 years penned an insightful post on the five data biases plaguing product decisions. It can be easy for any founder, product manager, marketer or engineer accept a data point at face value as the rationale behind a decision.

But understanding the nuances and biases of the data, questioning the data, is often just as important as the result. The corollary point argued in his post is data isn’t strategy - data can’t be blindly used to inform ...

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Measuring Dark Social Using Google Analytics

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In social media, like the real world, there’s quite a lot of gossip going on behind your back. At least on the Internet, you can measure it.

Dubbed dark social, this “invisible” sharing brings 40% of the visitors to my blog and similar amounts of traffic to other content sites. The Atlantic Monthly, which receives 5M monthly uniques, reports 60% of traffic from dark social

Like its distant cousin dark energy, dark social is a massive and to date little understood force despite its ...

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A Startup’s Guide to Outsourcing

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During the life of a startup, the question of outsourcing can arise frequently whether for PR, marketing, product design, sales or engineering.

Outsourcing can be very attractive: consultants bring new points of view, relevant experience and (potentially) immediate results. Of course, consultants charge high fees and after their contract expires they leave with their knowledge and insights in tow.

Founders may be challenged when deciding when and what to outsource. To simplify the decision, reflect on your startup’s key competencies needed to win ...

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Social Proof: The Most Formidable Force Driving Content

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In a world of socially curated news, there is no place for RSS. I wrote last year:

Social streams solve the problem most RSS readers faced: the inbox with 1000+ items to read and no way to sift through them.

Socially curated news syndicated through social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and content networks (LinkedIn, Quibb, HackerNews) solves the relevance problem that RSS never could address.

Brian Shih, former Google Reader PM, wrote an excellent, passionate post-mortem on the product on ...

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