Archive for July, 2014

The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable

“More than 50% of app businesses are not sustainable at current revenue levels”…. I think that says it all. The fact is that if you’re a mobile app developer, you need to think long and hard about your business model. And for most mobile developers, that should not be making money directly from your apps, but instead how can you use apps to drive monetization elsewhere?

How does Facebook fit into your marketing strategy?

Good, thoughtful article on how to best use Facebook for marketing. If you’re struggling with how to get traction on Facebook, it’s well worth a read.


Is being on Facebook really worth it? I don’t see Facebook generating leads for my business?

We hear this a lot in South Africa from our clients and I wanted to investigate further. Let’s start with what is Facebook? FB is a platform where images, texts, ideas, opinions and content is shared. It is first and foremost a learning and sharing platform.

So now you ask, how does that slot into my business marketing strategy? Facebook is not the area for pure hard-sell. If you were to bombard your fans on Facebook with hard-sell, you would see a steep rise in ‘unlikes’ or simple non engagement. Facebook is about creating a community and building brand awareness, it is a platform for continued customer service AND it is a more controllable way for businesses to handle word of mouth communications.

Let me explain, before the explosion of the internet how did…

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Hardware Is The New Software

Interesting innovations happening in the hardware space… it’s not just about software, cloud anymore for VC’s

Benchmarking your SaaS business

Bruce MacVarish Notes

Oracle Social Insight

Pacific Crest and David Skok have released a survey benchmarking SaaS metrics for early and growth stage companies.

The entire report is well worth reading.

Redpoint VC Tomasz Tunguz (@ttunguz) lists his 6 most important benchmarks and observations from the report.

1. Inside Sales Driven Companies Grow Fastest

Inside sales driven distribution companies grow about 40% faster than companies using field sales, web sales or channel, or about 37% revenue growth per year.

2. Price the Product Between $1k to $25k Annually to Optimize Growth

Companies with contract sizes of $1k to $25k grow the fastest, about 26% faster or 35% y/y. There are two reasons to support this pattern. First, purchases under $25k tend to require fewer approvals which decreases sales cycle. Second, these accounts can be closed by inside sales reps which are far less expensive than field sales. On the same sales investment, a startup…

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Amazon Web Services enters the wild-and-wooly world of applications

Interesting how Amazon is increasingly competing with their own ecosystem. Caveat emptor for those building apps on top of AWS


The big news last week was Amazon(s amzn) Web Service’s entry into several new areas —  log monitoring and admin with Logs for CloudWatch; collaboration and file sharing with Zocalo; and mobile application development with Cognito, Mobile Analytics and a new Mobile SDK.

First, the new logging tool, which I glossed over last week, but is an important example of Amazon filling gaps in its product menu. As the name states, the new tool works with the AWS CloudWatch network monitoring console to collect log file activities which can then be stored and analyzed in  AWS Kinesis.

Log files can be valuable to the iterative practice of product updates and feature adds, but deriving that value can be tricky, Matt Wood, AWS GM of Data Science told me last week.

“As developers choose which features to do next they have to continuously experiment and measure what’s going on inside their app,” he said. “You need to…

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Pitching to CIOs, Part 2: Lessons for Software Founders

Good read for software startups that pitch to enterprise CIOs

The Empiricist VC


If you’re in the enterprise software / SaaS business, then you know that the sales process almost always includes a conversation with the CIO. This is a conversation you want to nail for obvious reasons.

Pitching to CIOs has its nuances, as I was reminded during two recent CIO events,  a series that I host every few months.

Guests at these events comprise large enterprise CIOs, as well as founders of enterprise software and SaaS companies. The CIO attendees are a combination of IDG Venture’s CIO Advisory Board and selected senior IT executives from prominent enterprises. The startup attendees are from IDG’s portfolio companies, and more so, the founders of other interesting startups. Founders have the opportunity to present their solutions to the CIO audience. These events are relatively small by design, in order to foster intimate conversations and candid feedback.

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Sales vs. Marketing at SaaS Companies


It is amazing to me how many early-stage companies don’t really know the difference between sales and marketing, and therefore, aren’t able to drive or manage either exceptionally well.

My first job was as a Sales Rep. responsible for selling telecommunications transmission infrastructure equipment.  The difference between sales and marketing responsibilities was described to me in this way:

“Sales is getting rid of what we have;

Marketing is making sure we have what we can get rid of.”

Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures had a great blog recently:  The Marketing Math Behind Scaling a SaaS Salesforce.  The focus is on the marketing side of the equation and the gist is that as a SaaS company scales, the company must begin to mechanize the sales process.  Mechanization is about making sure that not only has sales figured how to sell in an efficient, repeatable manner, but sales also has a…

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