Liz Fosslien is the Co-author and illustrator of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. She recently spoke to First Round Review and explained the myths that we carry around about feelings and how “Follow your head, not your heart” is hurting the person as much as the workplace. Specially in startups. She elaborates on the seven emotions which we are told are deadly in the workplace but could be your secret career superpower. The cost of ignoring emotions at work is steep. “Part of the reason why emotions have such a bad reputation is that we’ve tried to keep them out of the workplace for so long. We suppress everything we feel, which means we don’t resolve issues while they’re still manageable.” says Liz.
Jason Cohen, the CTO and co-founder of WP Engine wrote a very interesting POV on “The Unprofitable Saas Business Model Trap” exactly about 6 years ago. Now you will think that articles written so long back must have lost relevance – but surprisingly for SAAS startups there is a lot to mull over.
Some one had to call it out. Fred Wilson did. Why call the “highly valued venture backed startups” Unicorns? In his post yesterday in his much read blog avc.com he suggests ‘Whales’ instead. Whales are rare but whales are real. Just like the highly valued startups.
David Bradley was the 12th member of the 12 member team in Project Acorn – the IBM race to build a PC in record times. It was the spring of 1981 and engineers were going crazy as the prototypes will crash regularly and the boot up will take for ever as every time it had to go through a series of memory tests. Bradley was entrusted with a way to trigger a reset without the memory tests.
Alli McKee, founder of Stick and folks at Gong did a research on what makes a great sales presentation. Stick interviewed 200+ top sales and marketing professionals to come up with 9 presentation points that they swear by. Not surprisingly, Alli’s piece starts with the Andy Raskin formula :
Like most of the people I know, across geographies, distraction has reached alarming proportions. I have multiple tabs open when I work. Multiple notifications, phone, at least 4 different VOIP apps any of which can ring at any time breaking me off from whatever I am doing. The distracted mind also does its tricks. Things I need to do pop up at times when I am focused on something else. The urge to finish those breaks the momentum. The ability to read anything beyond 500 words is interrupted. Pop ups, download and update notifications from numerous softwares and browser extensions – all essential for work, keep jerking the mind around.
Jason Lemkin, Founder SaaStr in a recent Q&A addressed this question. The pro for the selling organisation is obvious. Predictable revenue – irrespective of usage. But is it sustainable and will users continue to pay based on this model? He raises important questions like : “….
- Can’t a customer pay in part based on usage, if they want to?
- Does my price automatically go up, even if I just add 1 or 2 users to my account?
- Does every type of user “cost money”?
- Do I have to figure out now how many users I need for the best pricing, when I don’t really know? “
I am thinking a lot about Startups and the new generation business and how today we can so easily jump start. The cloud, open source, gig economy, co-working spaces. They all make it easier than ever to get us started. You get the drift. That’s quite obvious as I am in the middle of one with Pitch.Link. The challenges of something new that in turn challenges the status quo is for another discussion. Today let’s talk about Value. The Value that we need to deliver to our prospective customers which in turn helps us get to sustainable revenue. That sounds simple, right? It could be the route to Startup Success Rate going from the current 10% to, say 50%. Occam’s Razor!
I will keep it brief. What are the Lessons from SuperHuman saga? Surreptitious tracking of users – call them prospects, call them customers, call them MQL, SQL or PQL – is not acceptable and will come back to bite you no matter what perceived benefits you think you get. Most Sales Tech that offers analytics of user engagement does it without explicit permission of the end user. Whether it is using pixels (99% users do not know of this technology and do not have image downloads disabled by default) and this is not the Wild West Coast anymore that we will hide behind the Buyer Beware signage.
Can you really learn from peers? From reading, from books, form Webinars and podcasts? If you can distill, you can. It is difficult to retain details but the broad idea stays. That’s why mental models are useful for success (Charlie Munger) and storytelling is so effective. The first time I heard Brian Chesky on Masters of Scale talking about customer experience rating and imagining what a 11star experience would be like – it stayed with me. Through numerous retelling (exactly like stories – the ones we like we tell others) it went deeper into my consciousness.