Venture Capitalist at Theory

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2 minute read / Mar 31, 2016 /

Winning with Data

There’s a new class of company that wield data to create long-term competitive advantage. TheRealReal uses this morning’s sales data to inform this afternoon’s marketing campaigns. Hubspot motivates its sales teams not just with a target quota, but a blend of key sales metrics that reflect the strategic priorities of the company. Zendesk’s data team educates and trains its employees to use data in meetings to prioritize key product management and marketing efforts.

I first saw the impact of this type of data informed decision-making at Google. Underneath my desk, I kept a server that used data from the Google crawler to benchmark AdSense’s market share relative to our key competitor, Yahoo’s Publisher Network. Since then, I’ve reaffirmed a belief that the best run companies are data-driven, and this skill sets businesses apart from their competition.

In 2013, Redpoint partnered two very similar minded entrepreneurs, Frank Bien and Lloyd Tabb, who were building Looker, software to enable every business to use data to create their own competitive advantages. In customer after customer, we’ve all seen this thesis borne out. The best run companies use data to win.

So Frank and I wrote a book about it. Winning with Data will be released on June 20. We interviewed many of the top startups in their industries and share our understanding and learning from those interviews and our own experiences. It’s a book with three sections:

  1. The historical challenges faced by companies to used data
  2. Case studies of companies using data to win
  3. Guides for how to replicate those best practices in your team and company

It was great fun to co-author the book and I learned quite a bit about how these businesses structure their data teams, educate the broader company on data analysis tools and techniques, and evolve their cultures.

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