How to build a high performance growth team
Growth teams across Silicon Valley and beyond are driving unprecedented results. But contrary to popular mythology, their results are not based on a grab bag of secret growth hacks. Instead, these growth teams are applying a rigorous process of testing and analysis to uncover and optimize sustainable and scalable growth drivers. Sean’s presentation will explain how and when to implement this proven growth process at your startup.
« The tip of the iceberg at Rent the Runway »
Rent the Runway is an iceberg of a business: when you look at the website you only see the smallest bit above the surface. Below the surface is the hugely complex array of people and systems that we use to fulfill the promise we make to our customers to deliver a Cinderella experience.
To frame the problem, imagine that you are building Netflix, only instead of shipping out DVDs, you are shipping out thousand dollar dresses. And those dresses have to get to someone in time to be worn to a big event, say, her prom night. Then they come back to us, to be inspected, cleaned, repaired, and sent off to the next Cinderella who needs them. This is the operational challenge that Rent the Runway has had to attack over the past 4 years of its existence. We describe our problem as « reverse logistics », far from just pick pack ship, we have to think a lot about the return phase of the order and how we can quickly process things coming in to enable them to go back out again.
I will discuss about how we have gone from a system run manually via Google Docs to one that runs on a network of event-driven services that coordinate the operations of hundreds of staff shipping tens of thousands of orders a week. This is a story about marrying complex technology, logistics and data considerations to physical processes that require large numbers of people making time-sensitive decisions. There are a few interesting key points of change in the story, from manual tracking to semi-automated to redesigning the entire warehouse flow (and entire software stack) to support real time inventory adjustment and same-day processing.
The state of starting a startup
State of starting a startup Building a startup is a rollercoaster of some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Learn the real, no-BS stories of Shane Mac (Assist), Greg Isenberg (5by), Ian Hunter (Buzzstarter) and Jonathan Lieberman (Operator), all of whom have raised millions of dollars of venture capital on just an idea, have almost run out of money many times, hired some of the world’s best talent, and designed websites like MLB, Mint, Techcrunch and so on.
« Humor as a survival mechanism »
Harper Reed will share stories and talk about his time as the CTO of the Obama Campaign and how one of the ways he was able to survive the highly stressful, highly competitive and rather complicated work environment was through humor. Expect naughty words. Or not. He’s not sure yet. 😉
How to make decisions
Strategy is an over-used word that could mean anything from « idea » to « set of tactics ». Modern product management techniques put a lot of emphasis on ‘scientific’ approaches to strategy, with emphases on talking to customers, collecting and tracking data, and engaging in continuous testing. Despite a firm belief that the data will tell you what to do, many organizations struggle to translate an idea (e.g., « grow the business ») into a strategy (e.g., « pursue customer segment X through marketing and product development plans Y and Z ») and then into a plan (e.g., « step one: collect underpants »). Information and mental models are useful – if you know how to use them. Knowing how to use them means understanding how to reflect on information, assess opportunities and risks, and make commitments and sacrifices. These are the human skills that – so far – no database or framework can substitute. This workshop will teach you how to make sense of information, and to translate that sense-making into decision-making.s
Perfect equity splits for startups
You and a partner go in “50/50” on a new business. You do all the work, he owns half the company. Now what? Traditional equity splits are never fair. Someone always has more than they deserve at the expense of others. Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is a simple method for dividing equity in an early stage company that tells you exactly the right number of shares for each participant. Attendees will learn how to implement a practical dynamic equity split using an allocation framework that tells you how many shares each person gets, and a recovery framework that tells you the fair buyout price (if any) in the event that someone leaves.
Continuous innovation: Optimizing your business model
Today’s so-called Unicorns include B2C darlings Uber, Airbnb, and Google, as well as B2B giants such as Salesforce.com, VMWare, Zendesk and SolarWinds. There are also a number of iconic social ventures which, while not technically unicorns, are having a profound, widespread impact on society. These organizations got where they are today status by creating truly disruptive business models that dramatically altered the markets they entered, putting incumbents on their heels—or even out of business entirely.
How to save your early-stage startup from certain doom
In this session, Tom will combine anecdotes and data to highlight some of the oft-repeated mistakes that startups make when trying to get themselves moving. Listen and learn from the mistakes of those before you. Examples include: Too much listening to users, not listening to users enough, cargo cultism, not looking at competitors, comparables and corpses and, most importantly, blindly following advice from people on a stage who give you startup advice.
« My ‘Little’ Category: Lever the world to build your multi-billion dollar category outside of the Valley »
Silicon Valley appears to be a land filled with enchanted creatures – not just the proverbial unicorn, but also dragons, centaurs and My Little Ponies. Many denizens of the Valley claim that founders need to go there to create an enchanted startup. However, founders outside of the US have a major advantage, should they choose to use it – they are born global, and by taking advantage of the talent, capital and customers around the world, they have an opportunity to build something even more impressive, the global multi-billion dollar category creator.
Mark Organ was previously founder and CEO of Eloqua, the Toronto-based creator of the multi-billion dollar cloud-based marketing automation category, with over $10B of category market capitalization, with Eloqua itself sold for nearly $1B. Now CEO of Influitive, itself a creator of the advocate marketing category with over $50M raised, Mark draws on his experiences creating categories and studying several others to show to build not just a unicorn, but a company that defines an ecosystem to unlock tens of billions of dollars in value.