The Only 4 Things That Really Matter After $10m ARR
The 4 things that matter most are things that it’s often hard to take too seriously in the early days.
Culture? Well, in the early days that’s the cofounders and the pizza box team.
Brand? In the early days, you sort of make fun of brands as old school.
Customer Visits? No time, or at least done when you can fit them in. Gotta spend all your time closing new customers. It’s do or die if you can’t put points up on the board.
Continuous Recruiting? No time. You are busy being VP of 4 different functions yourself.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Categories tend to converge on value props, features, messaging, and even design over time. It's why every SaaS website looks exactly the same. This means you need to reinvent yourself on a consistent cycle.
common tactics that disrupter brands use to reach customers. In summary:
1. Content-to-commerce (Glossier, Goop*): If you have an audience that's already telling you want it wants, just make that thing.
2. Monetize organic fandom (Fenty, Haus Labs*, Honest Company*): Start with a person who is widely known and build a product that is authentic to her story and aligns with the needs of her fans.
3. Brand resonance loop (Away, Daily Harvest*, Warby Parker, Rothy's*): Build an iconic hero product that's highly visible and extols user virtue. New users will be attracted in an offline viral loop.
Benchmark. But benchmark from the best.
Most people benchmark their competition. But what happens if they aren’t very good? Instead, benchmark from the best. And if that means they are not in your category, no matter. But the learning curve will be steep. And that is the main thing.
there are four categories of product problems.
Feature Work - Creating and capturing value by extending a product's functionality and market into incremental and adjacent areas.
Growth Work - Creating and capturing value by accelerating adoption and usage by the existing market.
Scaling Work - Focusing on bottlenecks to ensure the team can continue to move forward and take on new levels of feature, growth, and product-market fit expansion work.
Product-Market Fit Expansion - Increasing the ceiling on product-market fit in a non-incremental way by expanding into an adjacent market, adjacent product, or both.
What’s something that you miss that surprises you? What’s something that you don’t miss that surprises you?
Which member of your family/ friend group have you been thinking about the most during this time? Why?
What’s the most generous act you’ve seen recently?
What’s the last thing you experienced that made you laugh, or cry?
What times of the day or the week are hardest?
What’s giving you hope right now?
What’s the best thing that happened to you today?
How do you want this experience to change you? How do you think it will?
What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience?
Pinterest used DIY meetups to sequence to influencer blog campaigns to sequence to virality to get enough content where it could scale via personalization on the retention side and SEO on the acquisition side.
Figma has been building the ideal tool for designers, they’ve actually built something more important: a way for non-designers to be involved in the design process
It’s an approach that Vincent mastered while embedded at Apple, where he met with Steve Jobs weekly for 11 years. “What Steve wanted was a highly provocative two hours,” recalls Vincent, who is credited with conceiving the iconic ad campaign featuring dancing, iPod-wearing silhouettes. “And if it wasn’t, he’d be like, ‘Boring! Try to do better next meeting.’ ” FNDR may not mint the next Steve Jobs, but if its system works, its clients’ stories will always be engaging.
If you’re serious about finding 1000 true fans for your work, you need to stop confusing attention with accomplishment and make a shift from metrics to meaning. This is not an easy shift because as a society we are programmed to seek out status. And more is the ultimate indicator of status: more followers, more money, more traffic.
The spot embodies Kaplan’s approach of “culture in, brand out” marketing, which he details on the podcast: “Rather than start with your brand objective, start with what’s happening in culture by listening to the consumer, looking at cultural truths and insights, and saying, ‘OK, there is a thing that is bubbling up here.’ Start with that and then ladder up and say, ‘what would Pepsi’s point of view be on that.’”
On the internet, where attention is bought and sold like a commodity, the scarce resource has shifted from attention to trust.
The first theme is to be very scrappy. Good content does not need to cost much money — many of our best posts and videos cost very little. Closely related to this is a high output. When content is cost-effective, you’re able to make more of it. This is critical because you won’t learn very much doing something only a few times. It takes many dozens of times to refine the template to perfection — and indeed this is what we offer our advertisers: a refined social format, forged by dozens of prior failures.
Hire great people, and then trust them completely. Default to trust, and then let anyone go who doesn't live up to that trust.
The list of tools that top DTC brands are using today
Young workers are likely to ask for a promotion after just one year
A lot of people talk about Instagram being the mall of our generation and I buy into that.
Such a neat concept for how leaders influence their teams
1. Being grease instead of glue
Not sure I fully agree with the anti-README angle (I have done READMEs in the past), but I do like this sentiment
If you want to build trust, you do that by showing up, talking to your team both individually and as a team, and behaving in an ethical, reliable manner. Over, and over, and over again. You don’t get it from writing a doc about how you deserve their trust.
A world class team and an authentic brand that resonates with consumers can take a seemingly uninteresting market by storm.
Just setting the KPI isn’t enough, though. These 3 things need to happen:
The team needs have a sense of ownership over the KPI.
If they don’t feel like they own it, they will view it as someone else's problem.
Every single person on the team needs to understand the KPI and have easy access to viewing it.
lean was an answer to a specific problem, one that most entrepreneurs still face and that ebbs and flows depending on capital markets. It’s a response to scarce capital, and when that constraint is loosened, it’s worth considering whether other approaches are superior.
I keep my 1:1s pretty casual and conversational. Our team is majority remote, so for me, these meetings are as much about building relationships as they are about checking in on projects, performance, and career aspirations.
1 - How were you brave today? 2 - How were you kind today? 3 - How did you fail today?
“The goal isn’t credit. The goal is change.”
– Seth Godin
5. If you’ve hired people you trust (and if you haven’t, why not?), trust that they’re working.
A real strategy involves a clear set of choices that define what the firm is going to do and what it’s not going to do.
For (target customer)
Who (statement of need or opportunity),
(Product name) is a (product category)
That (statement of key benefit).
Unlike (competing alternative)
(Product name)(statement of primary differentiation).
Managers would often complain to me about an employee or someone in another department. I'd always say, "Have you told her yet?"
If both our friends and our news sources most likely reflect our existing beliefs, we risk living in a full-body filter bubble.
Flexible tooling: Adoption of that mindset, though, is a lot more important than adoption of any single tool. “Just let everybody have their own specialized data tool. There is no one solution.” Her team uses Looker; other teams might find that something else works better for their analytics. “I hear people say, ‘Wouldn't it be great if we all used Looker for everything?’ There's no amount of time in the world for me to build enough Looker capabilities, even customizations, to answer questions as well as, say, Amplitude for the product team. So let them use the tool that works for them.”
Marketing’s role is about recommendation
doing the right things is more important than doing things right
what has emerged in the paranoia of everyone thinking social media only works when you spend money, is a lack of hustle and a lack of understanding that great content, especially when amplified in subtle ways, can be unbelievably effective.
It got my attention, not my interest.
Put differently, it got my lizard brain to look but kept my thinking brain peacefully sleeping and my heart beating a slow, steady, uninterrupted pace.
Put differently still, it got 51K unique views and 1600 email addresses. A 3% conversion rate. Pretty solid, actually.
And that speaks to the problem of looking at conversion rates only when we’re measuring lead-gen pages. Because, in the case of the MoneyLab.com/Email page above, those new subscribers didn’t sign up to receive value. They signed up largely out of morbid curiosity. And partly out of being nudged to do so repeatedly. So a 3% conversion rate doesn’t actually mean much at all – in this case or on many lead-gen pages.
What matters – and what you’ll actually be measured against as a marketer – is not how your list has grown but how your business has.
^^ the factors of 10x content
I believe it is critical to have the courage to test big. If you spend all your time merely trying to optimize things you already know work, you likely will not achieve exceptional performance.
LICE makes everything nice. :)