Founders Grid #54
• Measuring the lifetime value of a mobile customer
Apptentive’s Alex Walz takes founders on an epic math journey to breakdown why the CLTV is the foundation of positive returns in an increasingly mobile-first economy.
• Bureaucracy isn’t inevitable — here’s how Airbnb beat it
While replacing policy with principles might sound good to red-tape-averse startups, Airbnb’s Mike Curtis shows why it cannot work without good judgment and guiding principles.
• We don’t need more Designers who can code
Product-design head at Gaiam TV Jesse Weaver warns against the “foolhardy” desire for “Swiss Army knife” designers, and presents empathy as the missing link in his convergence equation.
• Lessons from the front lines: building Fetchnotes
Alex Schiff provides a great in-depth analyse on the ups and downs of building and selling Fetchnotes.
• The spiderweb strategy
The “Spiderweb Strategy” of Sidebar and Folyo creator Sacha Grief may just be the key to solving your multi-project monetization dilemma.
• Growing a marketplace: how to spark the virtuous cycle
According to early-stage versionone VC Boris Wertz, time is a key factor in the “virtuous cycle” Holy Grail of online marketplaces, and both founders and investors have vital responsibilities.
• The complete guide to the Kano Model
Product manager Daniel Zacarias provides in-depth guidance on how founders can use Noriaki Kano’s research to move customers from satisfaction to delight.
• The valuation boost needed to justify YC will surprise you
It is worth checking in with 2-time Y Combinator graduate Ivan Kirigin since he left the Winter 2015 batch, as your startup math might be all wrong.
• Maximum exposure
Mashable with Partnered founder Baldwin Cunningham on taking a restorative hobby to the next level.
• How to raise money as a first time founder
This advice from Zapier cofounder Wade Foster is still relevant nearly 2 years on, including the value of wading through the VC jargon and contract legalese.
• Lessons learned from scaling a blog
John Collins from Intercom confirms content marketing can be a high-leverage, loyalty-building activity that everyone in the company should boldly contribute to.
• Growing The Grommet
Noah Kagan talks to The Grommet’s Jules Pieri and learns why truly caring about what you do is a formula for success.
• How an $11b SaaS company measures churn
Tomas Tunguz reveals why ServiceNow’s “renewal rate” is a great replacement for the unit renewal metric, as it conveys the health of the broad base of the business.
• Featured apps: The influence of star rating, price, age & category
Appbot’s Stuart Hall examined 129 apps on the Apple Store home page and reminds us that the basics (great apps + great user reviews) matter most.
• 9 Lessons learned bootstrapping our company, raising $1 million, then pivoting two years later
Eric Bieller, cofounder of Speak, provides us with a great list of lessons learned since becoming AngelList’ first Syndicate.
• Hiring UX designers: 11 qualities to look for
Opower’s Suelyn Yu lends a helping hand to company owners who have found themselves in a relatively new field without a shared understanding of what good UX is.
• Autopsy – Lessons from failed startups
A great collection of failed startups with reports from the founders on the lessons they learned.
• Recruiting – The 3rd crucial startup skill
Matrix Partners VC David Skok asserts why founders need to add a talent pipeline to their sales funnel and develop their employment brand in addition to their product.
• Chairman Zhang’s flatpack skyscrapers
Whether it’s the knowledge that buildings use more energy than transport or industry, or time-lapse footage of a 57-storey tower built in 19 days, Finn Aberdein’s BBC feature on Zhang Yue is fascinating reading.
• Illuminating North Korea
This super interesting New York Times’ interactive feature offers intriguing insights into North Korea.
• What Silicon Valley can learn from Seoul
The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham announces Silicon Valley’s adoption of Gangnam Style after Google launched its first Asian office in the land of the world’s fastest Internet speeds.
• On the value of Judgement
Founder Jason Cohen argues that there is nothing great or progressive about a world view that is defined by dispassionate equanimity.
• Twitter’s C.E.O., Dick Costolo, is set to exit, feeling heat of criticism
Amid the media frenzy, Vindu Goel and Mike Isaac show us that Dick Costolo still loves Twitter and is especially concerned about its fiduciary duties.
• What is code?
This epic essay (38,000 words!) from Paul Ford clarifies and demystifies the position of software and the people who write it.
• The little girl behind Lamberts’ $30 million donation for medicinal cannabis research
After the announcement of the $33.7M Lambert Initiative, the Age’s Kate Aubusson speaks to the father of the 3-year-old who prompted the unprecedented donation.
• Chinese firms are leaving the U.S. to relist back home
Ben Scent and Belinda Cao explain in Bloomsberg Businessweek that Chinese firms are leaving the U.S. for bigger share gains and greater business privacy.
• What I learned from 100 doodles in 100 days
Portigal Consulting’s Steve Portigal shares the details of his journey from imposter to inspirer.
• The making of Lemmings
Read-Only Memory’s Rich Stanton revisits a videogame classic that started with a redundancy package.