Channel Partners: Don’t Count Them Out

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14 iStock_000001963232_Small channel partner

Current technology trends seem to make direct customer acquisition more palatable than channel partner alternatives. With the movement of information from walled gardens to the cloud, it’s easier than ever to own and manage your relationship with your customer. Lower implementation costs, increased penetration of tools into small enterprises, and generally reduced adoption friction all… Read more »

Three customer acquisition levers

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Jars of Rock Candy

Of all the formulas used to describe how customer acquisition works, this identity equation is as simple as it gets: [Dollars In] = [Dollars Out] x [inverse of Acquisition Cost] x [Conversion Rate] x [Transaction Size] That’s it.  When you pay for a marketing campaign with the goal of driving revenue, then everything you need… Read more »

Agents, Ninjas, Honchos: Three Types of Advisors

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warriors of the light

Startups at all stages benefit from the wisdom of advisors. These people typically complement the management team in some meaningful way. They are not on the board, so their advice is merely guidance. Still, if a founder picks the right advisors, she will receive a wealth of benefits. Advisors can serve as: A sounding board… Read more »

Poor Pricing Kills Startups

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Withered corn in clouds

Founders don’t spend enough time examining pricing. They’re too busy working on more important issues such as releasing version 2.0 and raising enough capital to keep the doors open. Brilliant entrepreneurs who build useful products generate substantial value, but in order to capture this value, they must implement rational pricing strategies. If you’re one of… Read more »

Three flavors of freemium

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Vanilla ice cream

You wouldn’t think there’d be much of a difference between natural vanilla and vanilla bean ice cream, but for some reason, parties are more exciting when the host rips out the Haagen-Dazs with the little black specks.  Freemium models are like vanilla ice cream, most of the time we lump them together and consider them… Read more »

Crowdfunding 101: pros and cons

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Sheep off State Highway 7, New Zealand (copyright Steven Dupree, April 2010)

Private equity, the domain of Vanderbilts and Warburgs, brought a new form of financing to the 1940s.  With all its large minority positions and lucrative fees, venture capital hit its stride in the 1970s.   The turn of the century popularized the image of the brilliant, yet narcissistic independent angel investor.  Now, with the recent… Read more »

Midfunnel metrics matter

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The state between Rhode Island and New York

Connecticut is famous for a long stretch of congested highway that’s perpetually under construction.  Anyone from Rhode Island who takes a holiday weekend in New York drives through Connecticut unless he or she is seeking the fall foliage of western Massachusetts – or is otherwise directionally challenged. So how many Rhode Islanders visit New York… Read more »

My $1B market is bigger than yours

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Hamster in a wheel

When I stepped into my second consecutive Starbuck’s to meet Nir Eyal at the end of a long day, my brain was squishy.  The hamster in there was just sitting on his wheel, biding his time.  But from the moment Nir opened his mouth, the ideas flowed out and forced me to think and reconsider… Read more »

Scrappy marketers: pull active seekers first

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Fishing on Ashumet Pond is one of the most relaxing things in the world.  But good luck catching anything!  Unless you’re Kevin.  Kevin loves fish, he wears fish shirts, he puts fish bumper stickers on his car.  Kevin researches whether a surplus of carbon dioxide causes cataracts in fish.  And Kevin catches fish whenever he… Read more »

Don’t ask me to ‘Get Started’

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05 iStock_000000460891_Small starting line

With these two words… I don’t know what to do.  If you’re Peter: I’ll check my email.  The basketball coach: I’ll prepare for wind sprints.  My mother: I’ll get off the couch.  If we’re on a first date, I’ll just look at you funny. Context + ‘Get Started’ = Start Task. No Context + ‘Get… Read more »