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In this week's newsletter:  A full festive run-down across 2022 for you :)
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Weekly Briefing No. 191
by Edwin Abl

Hey — It's Ed. Welcome to my weekly briefing. 

2022 is nearly done. Wow, it's gone fast! I wish all of you a fantastic festive season and New Year. The weekly briefing will be back on Saturday 07th, January after taking a few weeks out with the family. 

Keep an eye out. It might have a new name ;) 

After three years, we're at 190+ editions. 

Feedback is welcome to move forwards. My vision: I'm on a mission to help VCs, CEOs, and Marketing build a better future together. I want to help revenue leaders plus their teams from burnout, depression and feeling bad about feeling under-appreciated. I want marketing leaders and teams to feel valued. 

A few stats since launch: 

🙏 Over 1,000+ articles since 2019
🙏 Over 150+ product/app recommendations 
🙏 Over 150+ short-advice snippets 

Real quick: 

→ My new website launched in October - 
www.edwinabl.com

What's New?

- Updated blog section 
- New products
- New programme: Tailored 1:1 Marketing Playbook Builds

→ My new offering for Due Diligence launched in November: 
www.demandkarma.com

→ This newsletter is a passion project of mine. If you like the content, you can help it keep going:

🙏 Forward it to someone who'd like it.
🙏 Share on Linkedin.
🙏 Share on Twitter. 
🙏 Reply with just a 1-liner testimonial 

It would be greatly appreciated if you find it useful. 

*** Question asked regularly: Where is an archive of all previous posts *** 

Go Here —> Access my archive with over 100+ articles.
 
Have a wonderful holiday season !! 
🎄🕯️🔔

 

IDEAS FROM ME  📈

1. My favourite post of the year: 

The Power of Anti-Goals

Why?

This whole anti [goals] concept is a unique take on goal setting. I have tried goal setting, but it doesn’t work for me. Listening to the Andrew Huberman podcast last week had a similar narrative on anti-thinking. The premise is that fear is a more powerful motivator, i.e. imagine the catastrophic effects of failure; if I don’t do this every day. I’m looking at an early death. 

It’s where I hypothesized the starting point of my methodology, which I termed the phrase “anti-scaling”. I talk about this concept to VCs, CEOs and CxOs regularly. Anti-scaling is a belief system for business and personal momentum where you reverse engineer your thinking.

Most people are obsessed with “scaling”, but it’s premature in many cases without anti-thinking in its place. You can see the methodology here

2. I could have done better at my goal of 50 books this year. That was my goal, but I landed on around 17 (nothing compared to COVID years). Anyhow, here are six of my favourite reads 

PS: welcome your recommendations :)

🎅 Snow Leopard - Category Pirates
🎅 Four Thousand Weeks - Oliver Burkeman 
🎅 Niche Down - Chris Leonard 
🎅 Life Force - Tony Robbins 
🎅 The Awakened Brain - Lisa Miller 
🎅 The Daily Laws - Robert Greene

3. What’s the best way to build and maintain trust among team members at work? A simple formula.

✅ Be interested and listen/understand their perspectives
✅ Help them solve challenges
✅ Provide a buffer for overwhelm
✅ Deliver simple and actionable advice

Focus on those four items to build trust.

ASK THEM:
What am I making confusing for you? 

 

 

SAAS GTM  📈

4. On the whole "ANTI" theme. What is an anti-persona? 

Anti-personas, instead, are people who think they are in your target audience but aren't. That means they look similar but have some variation of the problem that makes your product not a fit as a solution.

For example, at one point, HubSpot's target persona for the marketing tool was VPs of marketing in mid-market companies of certain types. The anti-personas were technical marketers, enterprise marketers, or small business owners.

5. The hardest lessons for startups to learn.

As a startup, the ability to focus is your best advantage against a big incumbent. Any one of your bigger competitors will have many more resources (both money and people) than you do. Your competitive edge is the ability to tackle a narrower market or use case and grow your business from that narrow wedge.

6. SaaS companies must start planning for international growth well before they need it. And there is a set of concrete, relatively simple steps to get started.

 

WELL-BEING  🧠 

7. Curious about the difference between amateurs and professionals?

Well... 

There are many other differences, but they can effectively be boiled down to fear and reality.

💪 Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to.
💪 Professionals realise that they have to work with the world as they find it.
💪 Amateurs are scared — scared to be vulnerable and honest with themselves.
💪 Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything.

Luck aside, which approach do you think is going to yield better results?

 
 

###

One more thing...Thanks for reading.

Enjoy your day. And if you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to a friend 🤝, tweet me 👏, or if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.

Thanks, 
Ed 

 

 🤔 What is The Most Important Indicator When Forecasting The Scalability of a SaaS Scale-up?

I asked my network this exact question. 

Here are some of the responses.

Any surprising?

Two interesting ones for me: 

- Insight #10: Many businesses are trying to scale without hitting the milestones. The solution here is "Anti-Scaling" thinking. 

- Insight #13: The only real mention of sales and marketing alignment. 

The full list. 

Insight #01 
The scalability of any SaaS startup is highly dependent on multiple factors, and no single one ultimately drives success independently. With that said, the MOST important indicator is the management team -- not just if they have prior experience scaling SaaS startups, but also their general mentality + approach to growth, as all other factors ultimately depend on management decisions. 

Insight #02 
I'd imagine one would have to start with TAM.

Insight #03
Two elements I consider.  Combining new client growth with existing client organic growth allows for strong SaaS growth metrics.

Insight #04
It depends on the stage of a startup, but typically churn matters. 

Insight #05
Unit Economics or Churn rate, IMO. 

Insight #06
Depends on the stage. Quality of the team at early stages. Technical debt will grow no matter what, and a high-performance team will be able to balance re-architecting with maintenance.

Later, the database access strategy becomes very important with many concurrent users. A company culture that ships only software with 100% unit test coverage is pretty important too.

Insight #07
Net retention > 120%

Insight #08
CAC doubling time (CACD) is what we look for.

Insight #09
Founder, TAM, GTM, CAC/LTV, Cap Eff

Insight #10
Year 2, CAC at 0.8 payback period.

In my experience, many businesses are trying to scale without hitting the milestones that indicate they can, without risking catastrophic disappointment. Probably a symptom of hustle culture, to be honest.

Insight #11
I often think it is a roll of the dice.  But time often proves that the experience of the founder and team plays a definite role.

Insight #12
A multi-tenant architecture which scales to add resources as the number of SaaS customers and their respective service sessions incur. 

Of course, there could also be an accompanying commercial element where the costs remain predictive and can be forecast for 100 to 1Mil sessions.  

Insight #13
Excellent question... I come from the global enterprise tech world, where sales and marketing teams mix like oil and water. Having a revenue target of $1.5B USD per year, I got very good and integrating the focus, alignment, effort, and outcomes of marketing and sales.
 

 

PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION

WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO SET UP YOUR MARKETING PLAYBOOK 1-ON-1?

Pitch: I'll give you proven playbook templates used by fast-growing teams and my experience scaling B2B marketing machines.

Click Here to Learn More

 

CAN WE WORK TOGETHER?

This newsletter is my passion project. I hope it helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to learn at the pace needed to keep up. Many readers have asked about how we can work together. In case you’re interested, I do three things.

(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model ‘DEMAND KARMA’ that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs. 

(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine.

(3) MENTORING: Designed for people looking to get to the next level — Director, VP and new CxO. My sweet spot is helping to mentor developing VPs / "Head of"  / aspiring leaders to step into the CxO role.

If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit. 

Click here to schedule a call.
 
Copyright © 2020 Edwin Abl, All rights reserved.

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Edwin Abl · 32 Lavender Sweep · London, London SW11 1HA · United Kingdom