How Startups Can Use Metrics to Drive Success

Both Sides of the Table

Having a set of metrics that you watch & that you feel are the key drivers of your success helps keep clarity. And the more public you can make your goals for these key metrics the better. I was recently talking with a startup company who wanted me to try their product.

A year in review: productboard’s top 10 posts from 2017

socalTECH

At productboard we aim to bake best practices of product management straight into the interface, so you can improve the way you manage your products right out of the box. In the meantime, we’ll continue publishing thoughts and ideas we’ve learned from great product managers here.

Timing and why we’re all VCs

TechCrunch LA

Capitalism is fundamentally about timing, since market competition is about finding opportunities before others. Anyone who has worked in a large company further knows that timing a product launch or a new marketing strategy has more to do with internal politics than reading market forces.

Turn “process” into “game.”

Berkonomics

Most of us are driven by the competitive spirit, the desire or need to win. It provides a short competitive experience with a measurable outcome in which the players know who won and by how much. Create and publish metrics as goals and comparisons to past accomplishments.

How to Prepare for a Board Meeting to Make Sure you Crush It

Both Sides of the Table

If you buy into the argument that a strong board can actually help you then this post will lay out how to help you have more productive meetings by preparing properly in advance. Often board members themselves don’t do the work to say “what metrics would we like to see.”

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Accurate assumptions lead to defendable plans

Berkonomics

It is most often missed assumptions about the market, the competition, the speed of adoption, or other critical metrics you’ve researched, or selected, or even just guessed at to create your plan. The biggest error in planning may not be spreadsheet calculation error.

Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

Both Sides of the Table

This is the norm and unless you have a hugely competitive round it’s not worth fighting. This is not true in the majority of cases but rather when you have competition in your round and feel confident in using your leverage. If your metric move immediate up-and-to-the-right?

What Happens When Startups Turn from Their Innovation Stage to Operational Excellence?

Both Sides of the Table

An alternate outcome that I also unfortunately observe in some cases are companies who had extreme early success with an initial product adoption but failed in key areas that limited the growth and therefore the ultimate financial outcomes. How profitable is my product or service?

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Non-millennial Bootstrapping – These 50-Something Entrepreneurs Rejected VC $ And Nailed It

InfoChachkie

Without taking a dime of outside capital, the company has achieved impressive success in a competitive, SaaS market segment, landing companies such as Nike, Intuit, NASA, AutoDesk and PBS. I have always worked on early stage products.

What I’ve Learned About Venture Funding

Both Sides of the Table

With perfect information and too much competition you pay up or they walk right down the street and get it from somebody else.” And if you’re lucky and hit product/market fit straight out of the gate – awesome. VC funding.

Here’s Why a Booming Tech Market May Fool You into Thinking You’re Successful

Both Sides of the Table

You’d imagine that companies selling tons of shelfware would quickly meet their deserved fate in the market, yet the spin around a category of software can fool buyers into thinking they “must have this product to compete.” ” Case studies get done with ebullient CEO’s espousing the benefits of said software even though their organization was barely using the product. How frequently they’re using the product?

Why Startups Need a Well Articulated Strategy (And How to Think About Yours)

Both Sides of the Table

You need to first create a compelling product. Compelling in the sense that you solve a real problem a target group of potential customers has with a product that is significantly better than the alternatives on that market. You need product / market fit. It is about product.

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The Loneliness of Success that Nobody Talks About

Both Sides of the Table

As an industry we need to pay attention to those who are struggling as they build their startups and make sure we pay as much attention to the mental stresses of the job as we do to the business challenges like shipping product, hiring staff and raising money.

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Scaling Sales: Arming & Aiming – Objection Handling

Both Sides of the Table

Some objections are real and they end up becoming changes to your product, your service plan or your pricing / bundling. But they want to establish a baseline in the customer’s mind of the value they will get by using your product. We’re a premium product.

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Doing the Right Thing > Doing Things Right

Both Sides of the Table

They are tasked with “getting deals done” so they race around talking to tons of potential partners inking anything from channel sale deals , product integration, international distribution agreements, co-marketing arrangements, M&A discussions, etc.

How I Invest

Both Sides of the Table

I spend hours thinking about the products, competitors, market opportunities, recruiting and financing of these businesses. As a starting point I have to believe the founder has the attributes of an entrepreneur that matter most to me : Tenacity, resiliency, inspiration, perspiration, attention-to-detail, competitiveness, decisiveness, risk tolerance and integrity. I am much more attracted to technical product teams than to new business concepts or commerce types.

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This Week in VC with Mo Koyfman of Spark Capital

Both Sides of the Table

Company grew by more than “400% each year” for past few years [assume growth metric = revenues]. Metrics: 2.5mm members, 1,000 brands, 2,500 sale events to-date. Metrics: 50mm users (up from 40mm in Dec 2009), -Competition includes: Spotify , Last.fm.

Startup CTO or Developer

SoCal CTO

Most often at the earliest point in the life of a startup, the dominant need is certainly to produce product to get something in the market, get funding, etc. I understand the desire for hiring someone who is going to product product.

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Lead Developer to CTO at a Startup

SoCal CTO

While I do fill that role at the moment, I'm a little hesitant to refer to myself as a CTO as we still haven't launched a product, acquired a single user, or turned or a penny in profit. How do we need to structure the systems to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition? How are we going to manage the product roadmap? What other kinds of capabilities such as graphic design, user interaction, product manager, QA will we need?

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Why You Need to Ring the Freaking Cash Register

Both Sides of the Table

I remember just a decade ago in 2003 when we all laughed at how dumb people in the 90′s were talking about the race to “capture as many eyeballs as possible” before your competition. I work with a lot of startups.

How to Decrease the Odds That Your Startup Fails

Both Sides of the Table

So when Sam Rosen came to me with the idea of disrupting storage with a product that is priced cheaper than existing incumbents and he could build a product that is a better service I was intrigued. Many startups in stead launch “cool” products that their friends and peers love initially but don’t yield large amounts of revenue or profits and certainly can’t support the costs structure. In economics this is known as a “substitute product.”

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Automated Advertising Next Generation of CRM?

Frank Addante

This has given companies a competitive advantage, allowing sales reps to be acutely aware of their customers needs and increase their responsiveness. Is Automated Advertising the next-generation Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

6 Steps To Raising Venture Capital – Hint: Preparation Matters More Than Your Pitch

InfoChachkie

The VC will recognize you as a productive and additive member of the online startup community. If you are deploying a freemium business model, test your upsell strategy on a portion of your users to establish concrete free-to-paid conversion metrics.

Why Startups Should Raise Money at the Top End of Normal

Both Sides of the Table

You’re unlikely to want to make this sort of investment with the product or the market not yet validated. while acknowledging that San Fran deals are often higher valuations due to increased competition amongst investors. Use competition to make sure you get a fair price.

8 Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Board

Both Sides of the Table

In this period (less than 2 years) he has brought on incredibly talented senior execs is sales, marketing, product management, client services, finance, vp engineering and more. Rob Bailey is the CEO of DataSift. He wrote a post this long weekend on how he manages the board of DataSift.

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Joey Flores On Earbits' Life, Death, and Resurrection

socalTECH

We had some investors very interested but wanted us to validate some metrics, so we spent time building things to prove those metrics. The number one thing we are doing is making a competitive listening experience for our users.

Should Startups Focus on Profitability or Not?

Both Sides of the Table

They have have raised $2-3 million, built a product that has some amount of market traction and got to annualized revenues of around $1 million. Is it one product line or multiple? They used the money to hire a bigger tech team so they could roll out their second product line.

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16 Great Startup Posts from March

SoCal CTO

Death By Competitive Analysis - Steve Blank , March 1, 2010 Trading emails with a startup CEO building an iPhone app, I asked him why potential customers would buy his product. In response he sent me a competitive analysis. It looked like every competitive analysis I had done for 20 years, (ok maybe better.) How do you get press and the blogosphere talking about your product?

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Startup Fundraising 101: Getting Ready To Raise A Round

Tech Zulu Event

And when it comes to timing, wait until you’ve come up with a working prototype and developed your product before you seek external funding. There’s plenty of capital out there, but there’s also a lot of competition for startup funding. First things first. Why raise funds?

"Pull Management" vs. "Push Management" systems (v1.0)

CEO Flow

The internet has changed business – in helpful and challenging ways: * We have more information and metrics – and more confusion from all the clutter. * We can develop and deploy products faster – far beyond our clients’ ability to absorb them. * The brute force methods that used to work so well, such as “work harder,&# “hire more,&# “spend more&# aren’t true strategic or competitive advantages.

"Pull Management" vs. "Push Management" systems (v1.0)

CEO Flow

The internet has changed business – in helpful and challenging ways: * We have more information and metrics – and more confusion from all the clutter. * We can develop and deploy products faster – far beyond our clients’ ability to absorb them. * The brute force methods that used to work so well, such as “work harder,&# “hire more,&# “spend more&# aren’t true strategic or competitive advantages.

Top 29 Startup Posts May 2010

SoCal CTO

My Obsession With The Product - Feld Thoughts , May 3, 2010 For some reason I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately. The Yin and Yang of Product and Engineering - A VC : Venture Capital and Technology , May 22, 2010 For a tech company, product and engineering are the heart and soul of the business. Klout Puts Metrics Into Social Media Management - Tim Berry's Blog - Planning Startups Stories , May 21, 2010 I really like klout.com for three good reasons: 1.)

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Top 30 Startup Posts for July 2010

SoCal CTO

No, that IS NOT a competitive advantage - A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks , July 12, 2010 This is part 1 of the series: 5 Lessons from 150 startup pitches. Listening to first-time entrepreneurs talk about their competitive advantages is as predictably invalid as the local weatherman's 10-day forecast. Metrics availability. Automating the Path to a Better User Experience - The Product Guy , July 5, 2010 I started writing about Quick-UX in 2008.

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Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations

socalTECH

Cyber & nuclear threats, disruptive innovation, and increasing competition for market share will continue to reshape how members view their memberships. This data is playing an increasingly important role in strategic planning and product development. Product-lifecycle focus.

It’s Morning in Venture Capital

Both Sides of the Table

Yes, it’s true that FOMO (fear of missing out) is driving some irrational behavior and valuations amongst uber competitive deals and well-financed VCs. Try charging customers for your product when you have 12 competitors giving the product away free finances by $20 million of VC.