Moneyball For Seed Investments

When I heard Billy Beane speak about how baseball teams used to pick their players it was overly wrapped around the concept of looks….

Is he tall, was he the high school captain, homecoming king, is he fast, with a low strike out rate? Did he hit the game winning home run when the scouts visited? And more…

It was vanity stuff.

Then the industry switched to data, and a short, slow, overweight, ugly guy who had a monster on base percentage became a winner.

Seed investors and especially accelerators put too much weight on looks as well.

Did he go to Stanford? Work at Google? Does she have a pretty github account, or can she spit off quotes from the lean startup? Do they live in San Francisco and can they name drop really well? Basically, does this person fit the startup look?

Granted we have less startup data, but it is starting to change. We need to find the startup world’s on base percentage.

I don’t have the answers right now but I think they will emerge. Could there be some sort of personality analysis we can glean from their social media accounts? Could they produce product market fit data? Hell, we may find that being from San Francisco is a difference maker…there’s something in there I just don’t know what it is.

There are people working on this. One is Daniell Morrill. I recommend following her if you’re interested in the topic.

I’m excited to see how data for startups evolves over time and interested in making data driven investment decisions in the future.

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Important Leadership Lessons in My Life

My father is an amazing leader who I always have looked up to.

He has a strong faith and introduced me to the writings of Peter Drucker, who is hailed as “the man who invented management”. My father and Drucker were the first steps to my learning the one thing I now know for 100% certain about leadership.

The role of the leader is to serve.

I later read a few more books that really honed this in: The Servant (where I learned the upsidedown org chart), everything by Patrick Lencioni, RSVP Selling (blog post), and the Gospels of the Bible.

Then I met and spent time with true leaders like Rusty Gordon and Charles Brewer. All before working with one of the best in the business, David Cummings.

The people who consistently teach me the most about this are my teammates at SalesLoft and my friends at the Village.

As long as I strive to become a servant leader, it makes everything easier.

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I sent this email to team SalesLoft delayed on takeoff to #sdsummit

Hey team,

I’m taking off on a plane as we speak. I’ve got big plans ahead and wanted to loop you all in.

Today is the start of the SiriusDecisions Summit.

SiriusDecisons is not only a client of ours, but they are also the leading research and advisory firm for all of B2B. One way to look at them is as the “Gartner” for B2B marketing, sales, & product management.

This group helps us hone in on best practices for the most important areas of our company. It may be the single best place for a SaaS CEO to gain knowledge.

Not to mention…

There will be hundreds of our users, over a dozen clients, and thousands of people who need to know about the emergence of sales development, and how we can help them.

David Cummings wrote that “the sales development team is the most important sales process innovation in the last 10 years.” It’s our goal to share the many lessons we’ve learned in this emerging space and to help others realize the truth of this quote.

Many of our dear friends will be there as well, the biggest voices in our industry who have taught us so much. People like Matt Heinz, Brad Gillespie, Ken Krogue, Steve Richard, Garth Moulton, Trish Bertuzzi, Adam Wexler, and many more.

If you’re interested in tuning in to the tweet stream it can be found at #sdsummit.

Let me know how I can help in any way while away. I’m so proud of everyone for an awesome May…

(our new BDRs are on fire, the marketing team is cooking up & distributing amazing educational products, our client success team is showing love to more customers, more effectively than ever before, the sales team is putting huge numbers up on the board, and our world-class engineers have built an amazing new product that will be used for the first time this Friday! —- SPS will become THE application of record for the sales development industry.)

Lastly, as the team grows, I’m seeing our core values come out more than I thought was possible. It makes such a difference having a group that lives our core values of positive, supportive, and self-starting!

I’m looking forward to watching you all crush it this week from afar and please let me know how I can help in ANY way!

Sincerely,
Kyle

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Multi-sensory Media Content

I’m always looking for new ways to motivate, educate, and inform people through content. Our content marketing at SalesLoft has been our number 1 source of historical leads. I’m not satisfied though with the way we make content today. Videos, blogs, podcasts….I keep telling myself there’s got to be something better.

Then I stumbled upon the Golf Digest iPad app and this is what I found:

This got me thinking. What kind of multi-sensory approaches can we use in B2B Content Marketing? I’ve got a few ideas but nothing concrete yet. What do you think?

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Email Signature Video Hacks

I’ve been thinking a lot about the best signatures for emails and I came up with some pretty cool ideas.

So everyone loves video and lot’s of people use gmail (for business and personal). Have you ever noticed how when you receive an email that includes a youtube link, Gmail will automatically pull out a thumbnail of that video and post it in your Gmail?

Here’s what it looks like with a screenshot from a Jon Birdsong email.

Screenshot 2014-04-29 12.33.21

 

That’s pretty cool…but you know what is even cooler? Having an animated .gif video running live in your signature. Like this:

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1. Convert your video to an animated gif (use photoshop) and host it somewhere on the web where they give you a link (WordPress is easy).
Step 2. Go here https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?pli=1#settings/general
Step 3. Scroll to your signature and click the image (mountain) button

Inline image 1


Step 4.
 paste in the link for the image
Step 5. highlight the video and click the link button (to the left of the image button)
Step 6. add this destination url

And that’s it. A simple hack to inject live running video into every email.

For reference, here is the .gif I use:

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The 3 Things Each of your Employees Needs to Know

Part of being an entrepreneur is dealing with unstructured or vague concepts. But as you grow your team, you’ll want to clarify expectations with your people as much as possible.

One way to do that was introduced to me by my Co-founder Rob Forman. When we first started working together, he shared the importance of answering the following questions:

  1. Who’s my boss?
  2. What’s my job?
  3. How do I know if I’m doing it well?

As a leader, it’s important that each member of your team know the answers to these questions.

I asked Rob for to share why this was so important. Here’s what he had to say:

Too many people are not happy or engaged in their jobs. Research has found the biggest correlation for this to be the relationship one has with their direct supervisor. If I don’t know who I work for, what my job is, or if I’m doing it well, there is ambiguity and confusion, which is toxic. However, there is clarity, focus and feedback when these 3 elements are in place. This sets me up for fulfilling success as I work hard to achieve clear goals with my team.

As an example, here is how we laid it out for Rob in January 2013.

Who’s my boss?
-Kyle

What’s my job?
- Build a world-class product for salespeople

How do I know if I’m doing it well?
- If I am hitting 8/13 mutually agreed upon dev sprints per quarter

Now as the company has grown, the role expands. To put it in perspective, here’s a look at mine:

Who’s my boss?
- Shareholders (founders & employees)

What’s my job?
- Build a world-class software organization

How do I know if I’m doing it well?
- Is the company hitting it’s mutually agreed upon KPIs for product, revenue, client success, and culture?

The goal is to keep it simple. If you’re unable to answer the questions in 1-2 sentences, you need to continue to refine it.

What are your thoughts on these 3 questions?

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“Whoever Cares the Most Wins”

Last night I heard Laurie Ann Goldman speak at the TiECon event. She’s a baller. She was recently the CEO of Spanx where she took the company to $250 million in revenue and over $1 billion in market value.

Lauria Ann said a bunch of awesome stuff last night, but this simple statement made me think about how we all can win with our businesses:

Whoever Cares the Most Wins

Laurie Ann Goldman

Goldman pictured center

_
It got me thinking. How can I (and our team) care more than our competitors and therefore win? Here’s what I came up with:

Empathy for the customer

Caring about customer objectives more than our competitors is vital. What are the things that limit them from their full potential? What makes them smile? What makes them productive? What makes them look great to their friends, bosses, clients? If we really dive in to their world and care the most about what makes them a hero, we’ll win.

Empathy for the company culture

Caring the most about our culture means guarding it heavily. It means communicating our core values frequently and even calling each-other out when they are being risked. How can we stay positive when 99% of the world would complain? Do we take that extra step to help a team member when 99% of outsiders would focus on themselves? Do we take the extra step to summit the mountain when 99% of the world would stop and rest?

Honing our craft

I read a book by Tony Hawk (the famous skateboarder) once. He said he wanted to be the ‘thought leader of the thought leaders’…the one who inspired the experts, not just the everyday skateboarders. Caring the most means doing this ourselves. How can we be the leader of the leaders? Do we care the most about being the best at our roles? How can we motivate ourselves to have the discipline and exhibit the behavior that breeds excellence?

Having fun

Life’s too short to not love what we’re doing. Do we not only work hard but play hard as well? How do we keep our environment light-hearted and welcoming? We spend more time at work than anywhere else. Are we focused on making that time fun and enjoyable? When we wake up happier to come in the office in the morning than others, we win.

Under this theory of leadership, we’re asking more from ourselves than expected. Laurie Ann quipped that her employees have a love / hate relationship with her. They “hated” on the fact that she always asked and pushed them to do more than they had ever done before…to care more than everyone else. In the end however, the love prevails as her people are able to accomplish things they never thought possible…things they only could imagine in their dreams. To be more, to do more, and to become more.

And to therefore, win.

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Work Harder than Everyone Else and You’ll Raise $37 Million

I ducked into a coffee shop in NYC during a January snowfall in 2012. We were meeting with TechStars to interview for their spring cohort. (spoiler alert – we didn’t get in, but later got in the Boulder program).

But in that coffee shop, that’s where I met Moisey Uretsky. One of the top tech entrepreneurs in the game today. And a guy who just raised $37 million dollars to take on Amazon.

Moisey, Ben & Jeff of DigitalOcean sucking up to Nicole Glaros! (Boulder Summer 2012)

This is Jeff, Ben, & Moisey of DigitalOcean sucking up to Nicole Glaros with flowers! (Boulder Summer 2012)


The story of this post is tenacity, hard work, and predictability,

We both got rejected from NY but met again a few months later in March. Long story short, we both got in and got to work beside each other for the summer.

Ben popping Champagne for a user milestone in the TechStars kitchen

Ben popping Champagne for a user milestone in the TechStars kitchen

I loved watching DigitalOcean work…and thought from Day 1 that they were going to kill it. Moisey and Ben’s Team were one of the two hardest working companies at TechStars that summer. They were there 6 nights/week until 10/11pm. The other hard working team was Ubooly. I like to think SalesLoft was up there with them.

So…DigitalOcean and Ubooly we’re the two hardest working companies at TechStars. They are now the two most successful companies from the cohort.

I’m not surprised, are you?

An investor came to visit us once in Boulder. He was hanging around late night and told me: “here are the three companies I’d consider investing in” When I asked him why he stated:

“Because they’re here at midnight on a Friday!”

I believe in ROWE and work hard not to burn out, but at the end of the day, the hardest workers win….and have the most fun.

Birdsong & Villager Jeff from DigitalOcean...also the proud owner of wit.com - hence the hand signs :)

Jon Birdsong & Villager Jeff from DigitalOcean…also the proud owner of wit.com – hence the hand signs :)

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If you are fan of the hustle, please share this

#sayyesgary

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Entrepreneur in Residence at SalesLoft

It’s been a great month at SalesLoft. We’ve more than doubled revenue month-to-month and have added over $140,000 in new ARR in January. Due to our growth, we decided to secure an awesome new suite at the Atlanta Tech Village.

But the office holds at least 16 people and we only have 9 right now (counting all interns and new hires). So we’ve decided to extend an invitation to the Atlanta startup community for an Entrepreneur in Residence.

This inidividual is ideally between startups and looking for ideas. We’ll offer a key card to our place along with all the energy and buzz that comes from being around SalesLoft and having a Village membership. In return we want the extra energy & benefits that come from having another entrepreneur around.

Here are a few pics of the office: 

We’re looking for someone who:

  • Has run a funded startup (successful or not)
  • Is positive, supportive, and self-starting (our core values)
  • Wants to start a new company
  • Can help us out in small ways here and there

We’re looking to manufacture serendipity. Who do you know that would be a good fit?

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