Tom Tunguz wrote an insightful piece analyzing the recent Slack S1 filings and comparing it with its cohort including Zoom in particular which also had a stellar debut couple of weeks back.7 key metrics put Slack in a comfortable position poised for spectacular growth. The only data missing, though tangential but relevant is how much each company raised unto the point of IPO. In case of Slack it was $1.2Bn while Zoom raised $145Mn (source CrunchBase, link below).
Like most entrepreneurs who are exposed to the thoughts of Steve Blank, Alexander Osterwalder and the lean movement you see the value of building your Business Model Canvas. Simple as it may sound, plan-on-a-page, it shows only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actually pulling off on the actions you list. The core of the idea is validation of assumptions as quickly and as definitively as you can. Earlier this month I wrote about asking the right questions to yourself about your business and your plan.
Ever wonder why Hubspot gives away most of their software for free? Their CRM, Sales Automation, Calendar applications are all available for users without charge. Joel Spolsky, Founder of Stack Overflow, identified what would be recognized as a major pattern in technology business in his post ‘Strategy letter V’ (in June 2012) – “companies seek to secure a chokepoint or quasi-monopoly in products composed of many necessary & sufficient layers by dominating one layer while fostering so much competition in another layer above or below its layer that no competing monopolist can emerge, prices are driven down to marginal costs elsewhere in the stack, total price drops & increases demand, and the majority of the consumer surplus of the final product can be diverted to the quasi-monopolist.”
David Cancel wrote an article for Inc where he revealed the ‘simple lesson from Charlie Munger’ that helped Drift hit 8 figure revenue.
This was truly counterintuitive – at least when Charlie Munger started applying it to Berkshire Hathaway investment philosophy. For starters it was the outlook. The ability to have a contrarian view to a situation. David quotes Munger from the book Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger:
James Clear runs his enormously popular site (over half a million subscribers) jamesclear.com. He stumbled upon the fact that his writings around habits got great response and decided to keep exploring the ideas around formation of habits. The result is his book Atomic Habits that released to rave reviews late last year.
Product led growth is a recurring theme amongst some of the most known brands in the market today. B2B Saas is driven by this growing tribe of products and companies like Slack, Dropbox, Twilio and Shopify. OpenView Partners have been focused on this and have backed a bunch of ventures which, as it turns out, had PLG (product led growth) in their DNA.
If you are planning to raise money from Angles of VC’s you need to understand how your venture is likely to be valued. Basically it is a black box with broad strokes. How each parameter corresponds to value is still unknown as it varies widely from one investor to the other. Specially if you have generated interest from multiple VC’s.
The huge growth in funding to Asian startups since 2013 has resulted in some monstrous exits. 5 of the 10 to be exact which included 2 from China ( none in 2013) and the humungous $21B Walmart acquisition of Flipkart in India – one of the largest VC backed M&A exits. The growth in startups and their value creation is now all over South East Asia. Between 2017 and 2018 Asia saw the birth of 65 Unicorns with 3 from Indonesia.
Key to understanding is the ability to ask appropriate questions and listen for the answers
Sharon Drew Morgen wrote about her idea of Facilitative questions. She writes : “Decades ago I had an idea that questions could be vehicles to facilitate change in addition to eliciting answers. ……Here’s the big idea: using questions directed to help Others efficiently recognize their own route to Excellence, and change as appropriate vs. using questions to seek answers that benefit the Asker. This shift in focus alone creates an automatic trust.”
Guy Kawasaki. One of the most prolific business book writers of our times. Dispenser of native wisdom. One of the original straight talkers. Wonderful storyteller. I read all his books and found them easy to read and simple to digest. The simplicity was from his time at Apple. As the evangelist for the Mac (software ecosystem) and the author of the book The Macintosh Way, he imbibed the ability to simplify.