SaaStr preso: The Top “People” Lessons — And Mistakes

Gave a talk at SaaStr today. A lot of people asked for the slides — here they are:

The Top “People” Lessons — And Mistakes — From Founding a $3.8 Billion Market Leader

The 7 “People” Things No One Tells You When You Scale a B2B Company

• Drum roll please

Recruiting is over-rated

  • What?????
  • Best companies will have fewer people
  • More People = More Communications Issues
  • Track revenue/employee
  • My mistake: I have ALWAYS over-hired

THE important business skill: selecting (and managing) vendors

  • Rely on APIs instead of hiring more
  • Vendors are getting better faster than employees
    • WhatsApp had under 60 people at time of acquisition
    • Kylie Jenner’s company has 7 employees
    • Vizio got to $2BB revenue with just 80 employees
  • My mistake: again, I have ALWAYS over-hired

Unbalanced teams beat balanced teams

  • Pick 1-3 areas where your team will be dominant
  • Just hire for the things you are already really good at … forget about the rest
  • Even Salesforce.com is not good at lots of things (like UI)
  • My mistake: I ALWAYS try to hire to fill the gaps – bad idea

Try to NEVER hire in the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Really hard to attract great people to SaaS in SF
  • Really hard to keep great people in SaaS in SF
  • Not being is SF is a massive strategic advantage
  • My mistake: I almost have EXCLUSIVELY hired in San Francisco

Put off hiring VP HR and VP Marketing (for as long as possible)

  • 90% of marketing people are in the bottom third of their organization*
  • 95% of HR people are in the bottom third of their organization*
  • Hire these VPs AFTER you have hired all the others. And you can wait to hire VP HR until > 100 employees
  • My mistake: yup … made this one too. * stats completely made up for effect

You CAN fire people too quickly

  • “you never fire someone too quickly” is very wrong
  • People can be saved … you hired them for a reason
  • My mistake: not being creative enough to find a fit

How to ID the 10X employee (before you work w her)

  • Threats vs Opportunities
  • Planning vs Action
  • Negativity vs Positivity
  • Individual vs Team
  • My mistake: I still don’t know how to ID this person

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