I just invested in a company that:
After taking a year to explore the Boston tech community and figure out what I want to do next professionally, I learned a lot about myself and the ecosystem as a whole. One big hole in our ecosystem is pillar companies - companies big enough to make large acquisitions, create enough wealth to spur new angel investors and serve as training grounds for people to grow their careers and then spin off and start new companies. We have a couple companies on the verge of being like this, but we need more and I want to help build another one. That is what I plan to do as CMO at Cybereason (official press release).
One of the little things we did while building HubSpot that turned out to be a big advantage was to run our business monthly, not quarterly. Marketing goals were monthly. Sales goals and commissions were monthly. We produced financial and other reports monthly. And most importantly we made changes to marketing, sales and the product roadmap monthly.
I'm hearing more and more questions over time from founders, execs and marketers at startups about NPS (net promoter score). If you are not familiar with NPS, check out this overview and my interview with the creator of NPS. We used NPS extensively at HubSpot starting when Jonah Lopin implemented it around 2009 (he's now founder of Crayon, check it out if you do any marketing or design work - I'm an advisor and investor). NPS can be a very valuable tool in measuring customer happiness and the underlying growth potential of your startup, if it is used properly. Unfortunately, from the questions I have been getting, I worry startups are misusing NPS, so here are some of my thoughts.
Today Attend is announcing that I have been elected to their board of directors. There are a lot of reasons I’m very excited about this new role - in many ways it is the perfect company for me to dive into - so I thought I’d share how I think about the opportunity for the company.
Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot, wrote an article smacking around Business Week for their opinion of Saas on his blog OnStartups. I agree with him, and listed out my reasons in a comment. That comment seemed worthy of a blog article here. (Disclaimer: I work at HubSpot which provides internet marketing software on a Saas basis.)
- Reduced IT staff required. It is difficult and expensive for a small or medium sized company to attract and retain a good IT staff. A company like Salesforce.com can do this more easily.
- Reduced IT infrastructure required. Why should a small company that sells real estate have to buy servers and maintain them? It makes more sense to let your software provider do that throgh Saas.
- Upgrades are easy with Saas. Have you tried to upgrade Siebel? Yuck... both for the price and for the cost of actually doing the upgrade. In contrast, Salesforce.com does multiple upgrades per year, and they just happen, pretty much. You automatically get all this cool new stuff, and you just pay the same price and do nothing to get it.
- Better alignment of interests. In traditional software, you pay tons of money upfrant because a salesperson did a nice demo. Then you are stuck with the software, if it works or not. In Saas, you pay a little bit of money, and then you use the software. If it does not work like it did in the demo, you can cancel and move on. This is a huge benefit to the customer because it better aligns interests between you and the software supplier. You want the software to work, they want you to remain a customer, so they make the software work for you.
What do you think? Is Saas Cool or Crappy? Leave a comment.