A little while ago, Amanda from Lattice Engines interviewed SaaStr on Sales and Marketing Alignment and related topics.
While I hate the term “alignment” from my days as a F500 VP, if the term every were to be used in a useful way in a SaaS start-up, it’s the way your VP Sales and VP Marketing should be joined at the hip.
They should be the Mom and Dad of marketing (no gender attribution intended). If they don’t worktogether like a well-oiled machine — and surprisingly, often they don’t — you’ll have a real problem on your hands trying to scale.
Although many job interview books and articles focus on technical questions, they typically at least touch upon the importance of dress, communication skills, general people skills, and likability. However, there's one aspect that seems rarely discussed relative to its importance: passion.
Some cool pictures of what planets would look like if they were as close to Earth as the moon is. For instance, Mars would look like this:
Via Peter Levine, 4 great lessons from an amazing leader:
I recently had the privilege of hosting a fireside chat with Lieutenant General John Vines, who is regarded as one of the most influential U.S. military leaders of the past twenty years. [...] At the time, he was the only military general to lead combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the post 9-11 era, overseeing an organization of more than 160,000 troops.
For a man of his stature, he’s refreshingly humble. He jokes that he was the only guy to cause Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to lose his voice from screaming at him in two separate wars. The General is one of those people with whom you want to hang out after spending only a few minutes with him. No wonder he is such an extraordinary leader.
During our conversation there were many leadership lessons from his experience that are highly relevant to entrepreneurs and CEOs.
Interesting article on the mechanisms of how experts think:
Adriaan de Groot, a chess master and psychologist, studied expertise by showing a chess position to players of different ranks. He found that grandmasters evaluated few moves and re-evaluated them less often than other players. One grandmaster evaluated one move twice, then evaluated another and played it. It was the best possible move.
This was generally true: Grandmasters never considered moves that were not one of the top five best possible moves. Other players considered moves as poor as twenty-second-best. The less expert the player, the more options they considered, the more evaluations they made, and the worse their eventual move was.
Medium's newsletter is proving to be a great source of interesting content, alongside Quora's.
Great advice from Paul Graham:
One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don't scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don't. You build something, make it available, and if you've made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don't, in which case the market must not exist.Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.
Interesting article by Ben Horowitz:
Shared command always seems really attractive to the people at the top of the organization like the CEO and the board: “we have two world-class people, this gives us the best of both worlds! We shouldn’t get caught up in the conventions of years past. We’re all adults. We can get along.” It looks much less attractive to those who do all the work in the organization. To them it looks more like frustration, chaos, and delay.
You have to have one person who will be ultimately responsible for any given decision in the company. And you have to make sure that final decisions are, well, final. Not final-until-someone-else-disagrees-with-you. I definitely agree that taking no decision is much worse than a bad decision made fast. You cannot course-correct unless you have set a direction.
Fred Wilson wrote a couple interesting articles lately:
One of the mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is they move to business model before locking down strategy. The way I like to think about this is get the product right first, then lock down the strategy of the business, then figure out the business model.
Strategy takes what you want to achieve and develops a plan to get there. From strategy you can develop tactics and implement them.
For me, strategy is as much about what you are not going to do as what you are going to do.
Interesting article on sourcing leads:
But for startups, early stage companies and small/medium businesses, uncovering qualified leads on a tight budget is a very different situation, and one that many organizations struggle to figure out. While I am not suggesting we have discovered the holy grail here at Work Market, I am going to share some of the more effective methods that we have used, and look forward to additional comments on what this readership finds successful.