Until yesterday I thought that Mailbox nailed their launch. They seem to have done everything right: created hype, designed a great-looking app, came up with an intriguing video, built a robust waiting list, and got tons of press.
The icing on the cake was their brilliant plot to shoot up to the top of the iTunes most-downloaded app list (currently number 4 overall): they sent everyone on their waiting list an email which asked the recipients to download the app in order to check their position on the waiting list. Read the rest of this entry »
No doubt that the financial crisis will hurt everyone. With a frozen financial system the entire idea of US capitalism (borrow cash, put it to work, grow to be profitable, invest again…) is on hold. Eric Schonfeld concluded today that VCs and Startups will not be immune to the crisis and I can not agree with him more. The one thing to remember though, is that a financial Crisis, a war or other disasters impact some people/industries/countries more than others, so while no winners will emerge, some may lose less.
One of the sectors that may lose less is the little (but fast growing) SaaS (Software as a Service) industry. Here is why: Read the rest of this entry »
I am often asked about strategy, execution and the relationship between them, and I ended up explaining the issue in an e-mail today. After reading the e-mail again, I figured it was generic enough to be widely shared, so here goes…
Rule # 1- No need for “VP of Strategy”: strategy is so well embedded in the organization operating system that outsourcing it to a VP of strategy is hardly ever a good idea. The rationale is clear: when you are not making/selling/marketing anything, your strategic ideas will dwindle or become disconnected from the company reality. Say you promoted your bright director of product marketing to be the VP of strategy—sooner or later she will lose the source of inspiration she had, which was the constant work with customers and partners and the actual creation of the product and will not be able to impact strategy as she did before.
Rule # 2- Strategy is the business of the CEO: Read the rest of this entry »
I just ended a two-day strategy workshop with a small startup, less than 3 years old and 12 employees strong. The CEO and founder figured out after 3 years of being reactive and flexible that being a real software company requires focus and clear strategy and was smart enough to stop everything and take the time to think about what’s next. I think that 2-3 years from now the company will remember this workshop as a turning point for the company. Not because of the value of the workshop—all we did was synthesize what they already knew—but because it was the first time they stopped and decided on their own future. Not because a customer asked, not because someone woke up in the morning with an idea—they took the time to go through the process of developing a strategy and creating the big fat arrow in which the company will walk (or better yet, run) in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I wrote about The SMB Market: the one that is difficult to win, but too large to ignore. My main claim was that SMB spending on IT is about to cross large enterprise spending, but very few companies are successful in winning this market. This phenomenon leads to a very scattered market, led by thousands of different vendors and lacking economies of scale. Take the Business management (AKA ERP): If you add Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP and Netsuite, you will get to about 20% of market coverage. Who has the rest? Others. Who are those others? Many thousands of small to tiny companies that found a way to make a living out of selling a local or micro vertical business management software. Their customers may enjoy personal service and high fit for their needs, but they would not enjoy state of the art technology and the reliability of a large company.
The hardware space looks much different. In just about any survey you read, these two names are coming along strong as SMB market leaders in their spaces. These are two companies with a sound SMB strategy: Dell with its direct and efficient model (cut the middleman is an alltime SMB favorite) and Cisco with the smart separation of its business, keeping the Linksys unit as the SMB and consumer brand and Cisco as the enterprise brand.
Whether your business is a behemoth or an agile startup, if you are selling to the enterprise and now you want to sell to small businesses, you have to start thinking differently. Here are some ideas to get you started: Read the rest of this entry »
While everyone in the tech industry was busy with who was briefed about Google OpenSocial, Shai Agassi launched his ambitious automotive business model. To me, both stories belong in “Advanced Business Strategies” class and show how much the high-tech industry has advanced over the last 15 years and turned to be a driving force and a thought leader for the entire global economy. Read the rest of this entry »
The news is humming all day about the almost $7B deal between SAP and BO. Most of the bloggers and journalists think that this move breaks SAP’s organic growth strategy. While I would not attempt to evaluate the deal itself (some better qualified people like Joshua Greenbaum or Boris Evelson from Forrester did a great job doing just that), I would like to evaluate the “change in strategy” claim, made by almost everyone. Read the rest of this entry »