Both Sides of the Table


If you follow the tech media you would be subject to a lot of narrative biases that are completely off base – and this includes the value of email and phone calls.

TL;DR

Tech news keeps proclaiming “phone calls are dead,” which is useful except that the data suggests the exact opposite. Calls are changing but not dying.
All the data actually suggests with the growth of mobile, inbound sales calls will double from 30 billion to 60 billion in 3 years (source: Kelsey)
In fact 61% of all mobile searches where a customer contacts a business it is via a phone call (source: Google). Much more data in the full post.
It’s why the first company I ever invested in as a VC – Invoca – just announced a $20 million funding by Accel Partners. They have grown at a 200% CAGR over the past 4 years
This 1-minute video shows exactly what Invoca does

THE FULL STORY

I’m sure you’ve heard the meme that “email is dead” – if fact if you Google it you’ll find a long list of articles that will mislead you.

Some quick data that I pulled from EmailisNotDead.com (mid 2012)

There are 2.9 billion email accounts. This figure is predicted to reach 3.

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Yesterday I wrote a post about “growth hacking” and why I thought it was wrong that people were hating on the term unnecessarily. It’s worth a quick read.

My argument is pretty simple. If you’re a technology startup you need to excel at product, of course. But being best-in-class at online marketing is also a sine qua non to standout from your peer group.

The starting point of product IS marketing, which is what a lot of young entrepreneurs that never studied business don’t realize. It’s building a product that is substantially differentiated, and, as Bill Gross, one of the most prolific tech entrepreneurs of our era says, “

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There’s an article making the rounds in tech circles titled “Growth Hacking is Bull” written by Muhammad Saleem. I’d like to make the case that the article is wrong.

I’d strongly encourage you to read it. I actually really enjoyed many of the points Muhammad made about marketing in general and I found myself nodding through the entirety of the article except for it’s core premise.

He believes that the term “growth hacking” is misleading and potentially dangerous and in stead endorses good old fashioned online marketing techniques. Avoid the spin, stay heads down and deliver the goods.

I believe growth hacking is about all of this. Plus. It’s about looking out for and catching the next major marketing wave before others have grokked it.

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Happy official New Year’s, all. It’s that time of year where we think about new beginnings.

And there’s none that makes me happier than to announce that Jordan Hudson has been promoted to a Principal at Upfront Ventures. Please help me congratulate him by Re/Tweeting this post (and following him if you don’t already).

I thought this was a good chance to talk about what Associates at VC firms actually do and define what on Earth a “Principal” is.

What is a principal at a VC firm and how does it work at Upfront Ventures?

Most firms have “associates” and “partners” and some have an additional role called a “principal.”

Associates have different functions at different VCs.

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I’ve written a few posts about boards recently as part of a series on the subject. I should note that my friend Brad Feld has written a new book on the subject that I would recommend if you want the bible on the topic. I admit that I haven’t yet read it but I’ve had numerous discussions with Brad over the years about board structure & conduct and consider him a mentor on the topic.

In the Early Days

When you first start your company and raise initial venture capital your board probably consists of 1-3 founders and 1-2 VCs. The main thing you’re concerned about in this phase of your company is maintaing control of your board, which in a legalistic perspective is ensuring that founders & management have the majority of seats on the board.

Most experienced VCs won’t push you to give up founder control at this stage of the business nor should they.

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