1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: From Andrew Chen of a16z this week (who is now LA-based - see #3 below as to why that's important): An 80-page slide deck of the red flags and magic numbers that investors look for in your startup's metrics. The article is the best part due to Andrew's commentary - but if you want the PDF, I got ya. Just click here.
2. VENTURE: Venture funding, once abundant, has dried up and become scarce. With a current average 1.5-year gap between funding rounds, cash-strapped startups are either shutting down or seeking buyers. An imminent startup bloodbath is predicted, as indicated in the article. There is little bonus X-Thread on VC returns that explains some of the reasoning: From 11,350 startups, only 1.1% drive the VC fund returns.
3. FIRST PRINCIPLE THINKING: This is a famous Silicon Valley principle/tech-ism. Take a read here on the concept of First Principles Thinking. Not gonna to lie; I've re-read it again this week, and it is a great way to make my brain hurt. Want more? Fine. Here is a complete guide/website. Now that you are an expert on this principle, here is how First Principle Thinking can be applied IRL - in this example, towards a Product Lead Growth business.
4. SaaS COUNT: It's always been a SaaS-ism that the US leads the pack regarding SaaS country of origin - but how big is the lead? Check this post from earlier this year - there are around 30,000 global SaaS companies, and the US claims 60%+. It's a star-spangled dominance; the UK and Canada are the next two very distant countries to round out the podium. Efficiency is the secret sauce, not layoffs. Don't just take my word for it. Check the stats.
5. PERSONAS: SaaS B2B Marketing is a unique beast - and getting into the minds of an idealized customer often requires creating personas - You should try it - it will make you a better SaaS marketer. For most SaaS companies, creating multiple personas is often a strategic necessity. So here is an additional differentiator (and what the difference is compared to a persona) of an Ideal customer profile.
6. MARKETING: More for your SaaS dictionary: Buyer Intent Data. There is never a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy and channel for a business. So, how does a company find the best marketing channels for them? This article suggests that everything needed to answer those questions is already within the data a business generates daily. (You'll need Personas - so complete the links above.)
7. COMMAND: A much-needed read for me this week. Being 'in command' of your business doesn't mean you're in control, and that's OK - it involves proactive, agile leadership that drives change, acknowledges challenges, and seeks solutions, ensuring autonomy and accountability for success.
8. DILUTION: This is a fantastic Carta Chart: How much is equity dilution standard? At the Seed and Series A stage, businesses usually see around 20% equity dilution. At later stages (Series C-D), dilution drops to ~10% per round.
9. AI: Race Capital has a thought-provoking article covering areas they are excited about within AI - Disruption of horizontal SaaS, AI for Enterprise enablement (and look what OpenAI did this week), Commoditization of the cloud, etc. McKinsey has their more cerebral insight here as a bonus.
10. CASE STUDY: Everyone loves a good old Pivot story - here are 5: The Hidden Backstory of 5 Startup Pivots That Grew to $43B including Lyft and Discord.
POD OF THE WEEK: How to build a SaaS landing page that converts from the team at Product Led.