Posts Tagged: saas

The Most Important SaaS Sales Metric for Start-Up CEOs: Your “Peak MRR”

I talked a little while ago about the #1 most important overall SaaS metric IMHO being your Lead Velocity Rate, and that the problem with most sales metrics is that they are backwards looking, not forwards looking. But there’s one

The Most Important SaaS Sales Metric for Start-Up CEOs: Your “Peak MRR”

I talked a little while ago about the #1 most important overall SaaS metric IMHO being your Lead Velocity Rate, and that the problem with most sales metrics is that they are backwards looking, not forwards looking. But there’s one

Hire the Right Type of VP Marketing — Or You’ll Just End Up With a Bunch of Blue Pens with Your Logo On Them

Apologies to all those to whom this is already well known.  But, I know many of you have never hired a head of marketing before.  And as soon as you get your MSP (Minimum Sellable Product) out the door, and

Hire the Right Type of VP Marketing — Or You’ll Just End Up With a Bunch of Blue Pens with Your Logo On Them

Apologies to all those to whom this is already well known.  But, I know many of you have never hired a head of marketing before.  And as soon as you get your MSP (Minimum Sellable Product) out the door, and

Start-Up Success in SaaS? You Have to Bend the Odds In Your Favor. Some Thoughts on How to Do It.

Mark Suster put together a presentation (and a blog post) a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me me. I never, perhaps intentionally, looked at the odds of achieving a solid exit in a start-up. Actually it’s just

Start-Up Success in SaaS? You Have to Bend the Odds In Your Favor. Some Thoughts on How to Do It.

Mark Suster put together a presentation (and a blog post) a few weeks ago that has really stuck with me me. I never, perhaps intentionally, looked at the odds of achieving a solid exit in a start-up. Actually it’s just

Maybe It’s More Important Your Co-Founders’ Weaknesses are Complementary To Yours

I think in the enterprise, in SaaS, it’s especially important you pick the right co-founders.  It’s a 7-10 year journey, after all.  In Consumer Internet, I guess so long as you hit it early, you can always get rid of

Maybe It’s More Important Your Co-Founders’ Weaknesses are Complementary To Yours

I think in the enterprise, in SaaS, it’s especially important you pick the right co-founders.  It’s a 7-10 year journey, after all.  In Consumer Internet, I guess so long as you hit it early, you can always get rid of

I’m Tired of Running My Successful Start-up After X Years. What Should I Do?

The Holidays are here — and I hope you are taking a vacation. Because, I know you are tired.  Really tired.  SaaS is hard.  The New Revenue dials and dashboards in Salesforce go back to zero every month, or at

I’m Tired of Running My Successful Start-up After X Years. What Should I Do?

The Holidays are here — and I hope you are taking a vacation. Because, I know you are tired.  Really tired.  SaaS is hard.  The New Revenue dials and dashboards in Salesforce go back to zero every month, or at

Heading into 2013: Thoughts on Ways The Start-Up World is Just So Much Better Now

I came of age in the tech/venture start-up world in the late ’90s.  As we go into 2013, I’ve reflected a bit on just how much better things are for founders and entrepreneurs now than they used to be, even

Heading into 2013: Thoughts on Ways The Start-Up World is Just So Much Better Now

I came of age in the tech/venture start-up world in the late ’90s.  As we go into 2013, I’ve reflected a bit on just how much better things are for founders and entrepreneurs now than they used to be, even

How to Get From 1.0 Launch to Traction in SaaS

Building 1.0 products is tough.  Creating something from nothing is hard, a relatively rare skillset.  You need tenacity, creativity, amazing developers, a keen understanding of your market both today and 24-36 months out.  … But in the end, it’s the

How to Get From 1.0 Launch to Traction in SaaS

Building 1.0 products is tough.  Creating something from nothing is hard, a relatively rare skillset.  You need tenacity, creativity, amazing developers, a keen understanding of your market both today and 24-36 months out.  … But in the end, it’s the

SaaS and The 7-10 Year Sales Cycle

EchoSign is about to finish its 7th year out of ‘beta’ on January 1, 2013.  And last week, Adobe announced EchoSign and Document Web Services hit $50,000,000 in ARR at year-end.  That gives me an opportunity to reflect on some

SaaS and The 7-10 Year Sales Cycle

EchoSign is about to finish its 7th year out of ‘beta’ on January 1, 2013.  And last week, Adobe announced EchoSign and Document Web Services hit $50,000,000 in ARR at year-end.  That gives me an opportunity to reflect on some

Want to Understand SaaS? If Nothing Else — Understand That It Compounds

If you haven’t done a SaaS start-up before, it’s different.  The reasons are many, but I think they can almost all be summed up in one key factor: SaaS compounds. What does this mean, that SaaS compounds? It means it’s

Want to Understand SaaS? If Nothing Else — Understand That It Compounds

If you haven’t done a SaaS start-up before, it’s different.  The reasons are many, but I think they can almost all be summed up in one key factor: SaaS compounds. What does this mean, that SaaS compounds? It means it’s

Why Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) Is The Most Important Metric in SaaS

One thing that is great in SaaS, from a 20,000 foot perspective at least, is You Can See The Future. It’s the benefit of a recurring revenue stream in a B2B model.  If you did $100k last month, and have

Why Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) Is The Most Important Metric in SaaS

One thing that is great in SaaS, from a 20,000 foot perspective at least, is You Can See The Future. It’s the benefit of a recurring revenue stream in a B2B model.  If you did $100k last month, and have

Don’t Accidentally Bootstrap Yourself to Death

There’s a phenomenon, a type of SaaS company, that I think if you are scrappy, if you can make things happen as a founder — that you need to be careful not to become.   It’s the Bootstrapped-to-Death Start-up. I’ve

Don’t Accidentally Bootstrap Yourself to Death

There’s a phenomenon, a type of SaaS company, that I think if you are scrappy, if you can make things happen as a founder — that you need to be careful not to become.   It’s the Bootstrapped-to-Death Start-up. I’ve

Imagine a World With Unlimited Capital, and See Where It Takes You

There’s an exercise BigCos do, that I was asked to do, that at first, I thought was a waste of time.  The exercise is:  “How would you  run your business if short-term revenues didn’t matter?” I thought (and still think)

Imagine a World With Unlimited Capital, and See Where It Takes You

There’s an exercise BigCos do, that I was asked to do, that at first, I thought was a waste of time.  The exercise is:  “How would you  run your business if short-term revenues didn’t matter?” I thought (and still think)

I Don’t Know about CEO Coaches. But We All Could Use CEO Trainers.

Once you’ve been venture backed, if not before, you’ll hear a lot about CEO Coaches.  The classic example is Bill Campbell, CEO coach to Steve Jobs, Google, Mark Pincus, and other leaders in between.  VCs generally have great networks of ex-CEOs

I Don’t Know about CEO Coaches. But We All Could Use CEO Trainers.

Once you’ve been venture backed, if not before, you’ll hear a lot about CEO Coaches.  The classic example is Bill Campbell, CEO coach to Steve Jobs, Google, Mark Pincus, and other leaders in between.  VCs generally have great networks of ex-CEOs

If You Don’t Have a Truly Great Founding Team, Just Take a Pause. Don’t Start Your Start-Up Yet.

Ok I know this post and its title seems like the most obvious thing in the world. But empirically, I can tell you isn’t.  Over the past 12 months, I’ve met with friends/colleagues/partners/ex-customers who are total rockstars and working on

If You Don’t Have a Truly Great Founding Team, Just Take a Pause. Don’t Start Your Start-Up Yet.

Ok I know this post and its title seems like the most obvious thing in the world. But empirically, I can tell you isn’t.  Over the past 12 months, I’ve met with friends/colleagues/partners/ex-customers who are total rockstars and working on

Making Sense of Color after Meraki, and Going Big

I had a draft post I’d written weeks ago entitled something like “Color:  Just an Enormously Large Seed Round Gone Horribly Wrong”, or something like that.  Which I guess it was — $41,000,000 to build an iOS app with no

Making Sense of Color after Meraki, and Going Big

I had a draft post I’d written weeks ago entitled something like “Color:  Just an Enormously Large Seed Round Gone Horribly Wrong”, or something like that.  Which I guess it was — $41,000,000 to build an iOS app with no

Don’t Hire CEOs, Architects, Game Devs, or Dualies

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to recruit a lot of types of folks over the years where my domain knowledge was limited.  I’ve had to recruit Ph.Ds. from various domains including particle physics.  Front-end, mid-end, back-end engineers

Don’t Hire CEOs, Architects, Game Devs, or Dualies

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to recruit a lot of types of folks over the years where my domain knowledge was limited.  I’ve had to recruit Ph.Ds. from various domains including particle physics.  Front-end, mid-end, back-end engineers

4 Good Reasons Not to Start a SaaS Start-Up

There’s been one huge change in “entrepreneurship” IMHO over the past 10 years. >> No, it’s not that it’s cheaper than ever to do a start-up.  That’s not even true.  In the old days, when software came on a disk,

4 Good Reasons Not to Start a SaaS Start-Up

There’s been one huge change in “entrepreneurship” IMHO over the past 10 years. >> No, it’s not that it’s cheaper than ever to do a start-up.  That’s not even true.  In the old days, when software came on a disk,

Great CEOs are Really Coaches, So Let’s Learn from Phil Jackson

“I don’t care if it’s 82-and-0 this year, you’re f***ing gone.”[5] — Jerry Krause, Owner of Chicago Bulls to Phil Jackson, The Greatest Coach Ever, After Phil Jackson Won His 5th NBA Championship, and just Before He Went On to

Great CEOs are Really Coaches, So Let’s Learn from Phil Jackson

“I don’t care if it’s 82-and-0 this year, you’re f***ing gone.”[5] — Jerry Krause, Owner of Chicago Bulls to Phil Jackson, The Greatest Coach Ever, After Phil Jackson Won His 5th NBA Championship, and just Before He Went On to

Knowing — and Sharing — Your Zero Cash Date

One of the most important operating metrics in your SaaS start-up, if you aren’t predictably cash-flow positive, is your Zero Cash Date (“ZCD”). You hear a lot about SaaS metrics, but this one doesn’t often come up.  It should, and

Knowing — and Sharing — Your Zero Cash Date

One of the most important operating metrics in your SaaS start-up, if you aren’t predictably cash-flow positive, is your Zero Cash Date (“ZCD”). You hear a lot about SaaS metrics, but this one doesn’t often come up.  It should, and

Unfortunately, We (Probably) Have No Idea If Your SaaS Idea is Any Good

Here’s the thing in SaaS:  I appreciate you asking me.  But, honestly, generally speaking — I probably have no idea if your pre-launch SaaS idea is any good.  So no need even to show me any deck, any static demo,

Unfortunately, We (Probably) Have No Idea If Your SaaS Idea is Any Good

Here’s the thing in SaaS:  I appreciate you asking me.  But, honestly, generally speaking — I probably have no idea if your pre-launch SaaS idea is any good.  So no need even to show me any deck, any static demo,

On Not Forgetting to be 10x Better

I was struggling what to make of the news that now, AT&T too was jumping into the cloud storage-as-a-commodity business offering 5GB of free online storage.  Just like DropBox.  And Google Drive.  And Box, if you use it that way.

On Not Forgetting to be 10x Better

I was struggling what to make of the news that now, AT&T too was jumping into the cloud storage-as-a-commodity business offering 5GB of free online storage.  Just like DropBox.  And Google Drive.  And Box, if you use it that way.

Quora Names SaaStr to Top Writers of 2012

Awesome.  SaaStr’s been named a Top Writer of 2012 by Quora. You can easily track SaaStr on Quora anytime via the Quora feed at the bottom of any post or SaaStr.com More about the Top Writers of Quora here on

Quora Names SaaStr to Top Writers of 2012

Awesome.  SaaStr’s been named a Top Writer of 2012 by Quora. You can easily track SaaStr on Quora anytime via the Quora feed at the bottom of any post or SaaStr.com More about the Top Writers of Quora here on

The Shifting Sands of SaaS Relationships. Here’s How to Handle It.

I know why Steve Jobs was so very, very mad at Google and Eric Schmidt.  Why he pledged to go “thermonuclear”.  Why he vowed to spend up to $100 billion dollars (Apple’s cash) to “bury Google”.  It couldn’t have been

The Shifting Sands of SaaS Relationships. Here’s How to Handle It.

I know why Steve Jobs was so very, very mad at Google and Eric Schmidt.  Why he pledged to go “thermonuclear”.  Why he vowed to spend up to $100 billion dollars (Apple’s cash) to “bury Google”.  It couldn’t have been

How to Figure Out Your Competitors’ Revenues in About 70 Seconds

A friend of mine who heads business intelligence at a public web company taught me a little hack that does seem to work pretty well to figure out the revenues of any pre-public SaaS/web services company.  Here is the formula:

How to Figure Out Your Competitors’ Revenues in About 70 Seconds

A friend of mine who heads business intelligence at a public web company taught me a little hack that does seem to work pretty well to figure out the revenues of any pre-public SaaS/web services company.  Here is the formula:

The 10x Rule: What Raising $1 of Venture Capital Really Means

Recently, a good friend of mine asked me how much he should raise in his round.  He was lucky enough to have a range of options.  My simple advice was:  assume you have to return a liquidity event (sale or

The 10x Rule: What Raising $1 of Venture Capital Really Means

Recently, a good friend of mine asked me how much he should raise in his round.  He was lucky enough to have a range of options.  My simple advice was:  assume you have to return a liquidity event (sale or

Sorry, But Your Start-Up’s Team Isn’t Actually Any More Agile Than the Big Guys. Why You Really Still Can Win.

Perhaps the biggest misimpression/misunderstanding I had about Fortune 500 tech companies and start-ups was that start-ups are more agile at developing product. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Every tech leader has tons of talented engineers.  In fact, every tech

Sorry, But Your Start-Up’s Team Isn’t Actually Any More Agile Than the Big Guys. Why You Really Still Can Win.

Perhaps the biggest misimpression/misunderstanding I had about Fortune 500 tech companies and start-ups was that start-ups are more agile at developing product. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Every tech leader has tons of talented engineers.  In fact, every tech

The Pernicious Effect of Dilution in SaaS: The Cold, Hard, Bloody numbers

I remember one of the first things I had to do in the start-up world, years ago, was help prepare the table of 5% Stockholders and Named Executive Officers and Directors for a small public company.  {If you’ve never seen these

The Pernicious Effect of Dilution in SaaS: The Cold, Hard, Bloody numbers

I remember one of the first things I had to do in the start-up world, years ago, was help prepare the table of 5% Stockholders and Named Executive Officers and Directors for a small public company.  {If you’ve never seen these

Palo Alto is Finally, Totally, Fully Back After 4 Years. What Does it Mean?

Do you remember 2008?  Lots of people don’t seem to, but I do, and it was rough.  The stock market fell 60%.  And never seemed to stop falling.  VCs stopped funding everything.  There was even this little October 2008 memo

Palo Alto is Finally, Totally, Fully Back After 4 Years. What Does it Mean?

Do you remember 2008?  Lots of people don’t seem to, but I do, and it was rough.  The stock market fell 60%.  And never seemed to stop falling.  VCs stopped funding everything.  There was even this little October 2008 memo

Do You Scale? It’s Harder in SaaS.

Generally speaking, I think scaling product in SaaS is about 10x easier than consumer internet.  Not easy mind you, but 10x easier.  Why?  Even Salesforce.com only has a tiny fraction of the concurrent sessions of Twitter, let alone Facebook.  Your

Do You Scale? It’s Harder in SaaS.

Generally speaking, I think scaling product in SaaS is about 10x easier than consumer internet.  Not easy mind you, but 10x easier.  Why?  Even Salesforce.com only has a tiny fraction of the concurrent sessions of Twitter, let alone Facebook.  Your

Mobile First? The Desktop Still Has Three Good Years Left in It in SaaS

“Mobile First.”  OK, we all get it.  Look what’s happening on Facebook, as the majority of its usage has rapidly transitioned to mobile, throwing at least a wrench  into its browser-based ad model for the time being.  Google, Zynga, etc.

Mobile First? The Desktop Still Has Three Good Years Left in It in SaaS

“Mobile First.”  OK, we all get it.  Look what’s happening on Facebook, as the majority of its usage has rapidly transitioned to mobile, throwing at least a wrench  into its browser-based ad model for the time being.  Google, Zynga, etc.

A Real Life SaaS Case Study: Eloqua. Marketo. Pardot. There Are 3 Different Paths to Success, My Young Padwan.

[note: Updated Modestly in 3/14 with post-IPO data:] I don’t know about you, but I really can’t stand case studies.  They always seem either contrived (forcing contrasts in companies that aren’t really there) or else too hypothetical, because we know

A Real Life SaaS Case Study: Eloqua. Marketo. Pardot. There Are 3 Different Paths to Success, My Young Padwan.

[note: Updated Modestly in 3/14 with post-IPO data:] I don’t know about you, but I really can’t stand case studies.  They always seem either contrived (forcing contrasts in companies that aren’t really there) or else too hypothetical, because we know

Workday is Growing 90% this Year. At $250m in ARR. So Wake Up: You Probably Need to Do A Lot, Lot Better.

I recently was talking to the CEO of a SaaS start-up doing about $40m a year — very impressive.  I asked him when the IPO was coming, and he shrugged.  We’re only growing about 33% at this point, because we’re

Workday is Growing 90% this Year. At $250m in ARR. So Wake Up: You Probably Need to Do A Lot, Lot Better.

I recently was talking to the CEO of a SaaS start-up doing about $40m a year — very impressive.  I asked him when the IPO was coming, and he shrugged.  We’re only growing about 33% at this point, because we’re

Dreamforce, BoxWorks, Arse-Kissing, and Behavioral vs. Attitudinal Loyalty

Not tooo long ago, I was meeting with one of EchoSign’s largest customers.  As I was coming, someone else was leaving – Marc Benioff. He’d come (flying private I assume, and possibly straight from Hawaii) to … kiss the customer’s

Dreamforce, BoxWorks, Arse-Kissing, and Behavioral vs. Attitudinal Loyalty

Not tooo long ago, I was meeting with one of EchoSign’s largest customers.  As I was coming, someone else was leaving – Marc Benioff. He’d come (flying private I assume, and possibly straight from Hawaii) to … kiss the customer’s

If You Sell Your Company, You’ll Either Feel Like A Used Car Salesman — Or Like Hugo

I was recently having drinks with a friend who had recently received an attractive M&A offer.  Attractive enough that one of his investors tried to talk him into it, telling him it would be a way to achieve his vision

If You Sell Your Company, You’ll Either Feel Like A Used Car Salesman — Or Like Hugo

I was recently having drinks with a friend who had recently received an attractive M&A offer.  Attractive enough that one of his investors tried to talk him into it, telling him it would be a way to achieve his vision

Why You Need 50 Million Active Users for Freemium to Actually Work

Having spent 6+ years building what is, if nothing else, the web’s leading freemium e-signature service, I’ve learned one thing: almost everyone gets the math wrong in Freemium.  9 times out of 10 — just don’t bother with a Freemium

Why You Need 50 Million Active Users for Freemium to Actually Work

Having spent 6+ years building what is, if nothing else, the web’s leading freemium e-signature service, I’ve learned one thing: almost everyone gets the math wrong in Freemium.  9 times out of 10 — just don’t bother with a Freemium

Everybody Lies: SaaS Revenues in the Inc. 5000

Every non-public SaaS company lies about their ARR.  It’s sort of like how consumer internet companies all lie about their user numbers.  Maybe they fudge bookings in there.  Or they lean forward.  Or quote where they’ll be in a quarter

Everybody Lies: SaaS Revenues in the Inc. 5000

Every non-public SaaS company lies about their ARR.  It’s sort of like how consumer internet companies all lie about their user numbers.  Maybe they fudge bookings in there.  Or they lean forward.  Or quote where they’ll be in a quarter