Every month from here on out we’ll be publishing a monthly company update. If you’re interested in staying abreast of our progress, you’re in the right spot. Here’s what we’ve been up to since we published our launch announcement.
Product marketing, Take One. When you don’t have a product yet, it’s tough to take screenshots… so we went with a cartoon (see above). Illustration by Stephanie Vecellio.
For people outside of tech it may seem weird to see “optimizing for profitability” in our first company update. Well, duh! you might be thinking. But in tech circles it’s all too common that start-ups raise funding from outside investors, spend wildly, and run the business at a loss in an effort to jack up their annual growth rate and subsequently their valuation. Josh Pigford, Founder of Baremetrics, wrote an article that really resonated with us pointing out that there are other ways to build a business and to define “success,” even if you work in tech.
With that in mind, we made two important decisions.
While it may seem weird to be talking about profitability pre-revenue, these decisions are important to us for a couple of reasons. First off, the decision to focus on profitability will impact almost every decision we make. It will force us to be financially judicious, and will ensure that we’re deliberate about the investments that we make. Particularly when it comes to hiring, it will force us to consider the ROI of each new team member that we bring on. And sharing profits with employees will incent everyone to be as productive as possible - a smaller headcount means everyone gets a bigger piece of the pie.
Additionally, as co-founders Dimitris, Dave, and I need to know what “success” looks like for one another. While we’re not pursuing a “growth at all costs” path leading to an exit event, we do hope that Outseta is financially rewarding for us and our employees. These decisions set expectations in terms of how those financial rewards will be delivered. We think these decisions provide tremendous benefits in terms of alignment.
Here are the highlights…
Most of the product decisions we’ve made so far have come down to productivity. Outseta is an ambitious undertaking, and getting a product to market as quickly as possible is our priority.
Former SAP exec and new Marketo CEO Steve Lucas came pretty darn close to validating our idea in an interview with SiliconANGLE. Steve’s a smart guy, so that was pretty cool to see. Here’s an excerpt highlighting what Steve had to say...
“What’s crushing the marketer right now is that every time there’s a new consumer touchpoint, there’s a new point solution for it,” Lucas said. “It’s overwhelming the marketer.” The problem with that, he said, is that “you lose any context on who the customer is.” It’s a problem marketing clouds ranging from Oracle’s to Salesforce’s to Adobe Inc.’s are trying to address — in fact, it’s a prime driver for their own acquisitions. Marketo is trying to offer a range of services that, at least according to Lucas, may be able to provide that unified view more simply than can the marketing clouds with their disparate acquisitions that take time to integrate.
Steve’s comments resonated with me in a big way as both a marketer and someone trying to get a SaaS start-up off the ground. Outseta is very much trying to provide a “unified view of the customer more simply” - and we agree that marketers are getting crushed by too many point solutions.
That’s a wrap on our first company update. See ya in March!
Geoff, Dave, and Dimitris
We send two emails per month - that's it. One is a monthly company update, the other provides tips on growing early stage SaaS businesses.