Four lessons for optimizing Twitter

Over the weekend, I analyzed my Twitter performance over the past 4 weeks. I wanted to determine what if any best practices I could tease from the data. Below are my four conclusions:
The best time for me to tweet is 9am Pacific. On average, tweets at 9am generate 2.3 times the number of clicks as those in the 8am hour and 3.3 times those of the 12pm (lunch) hour. Below is a chart of number of clicks per tweet by hour of the day:

Four lessons for optimizing Twitter

Over the weekend, I analyzed my Twitter performance over the past 4 weeks. I wanted to determine what if any best practices I could tease from the data. Below are my four conclusions:

The best time for me to tweet is 9am Pacific.

On average, tweets at 9am generate 2.3 times the number of clicks as those in the 8am hour and 3.3 times those of the 12pm (lunch) hour. Below is a chart of number of clicks per tweet by hour of the day:
ClicksPerTweet.png

Each retweet is worth about 9 clicks.

My median tweet receives 24 clicks and the average tweet receives 36 clicks. So the first retweet drives a 25 to 33% increase in clicks. Below is a chart of tweets (marked by red dots) plotted by the number of reactions/retweets and clicks. The blue line is the linear trendline.

retweets.png

Users with huge follower counts send

Reach.png
DuringtheDay.png

Continue reading “Four lessons for optimizing Twitter”

Entrepreneurship growth: perception vs reality

The flurry of media activity in entrepreneurship including the spate of new TV shows like X-Factor for tech and Shark Tank, the refocus of the NYTimes and WSJ on technology, and the number of entrepreneurs on mainstream magazine covers gave me the impression that entrepreneurship is on the rise. While this may be true in pockets like New York or California, entrepreneurship in the US is shrinking – at least according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a report from the NYTimes: When Job Creation Engines Stop at Just One

Understanding payments

The payments ecosystem is complicated. But FastCompany constructed an illuminating diagram walking through a typical payments flow that I’ve copied here. Just look at all those steps!
Simplifying this complexity is the opportunity for many startups like Stripe, Dwolla and others.

Entrepreneurship growth: perception vs reality

The flurry of media activity in entrepreneurship including the spate of new TV shows like X-Factor for tech and Shark Tank, the refocus of the NYTimes and WSJ on technology, and the number of entrepreneurs on mainstream magazine covers gave me the impression that entrepreneurship is on the rise.

While this may be true in pockets like New York or California, entrepreneurship in the US is shrinking – at least according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a report from the NYTimes: When Job Creation Engines Stop at Just One

For decades, new companies have produced most of the country’s job growth. Without start-ups, the country would have had a net increase in jobs in only seven years since 1977. The number of people employed by new businesses peaked in 1999, the height of the tech bubble, and has fallen by 46 percent since then, to 2.5 million

Continue reading “Entrepreneurship growth: perception vs reality”

Understanding payments

The payments ecosystem is complicated. But FastCompany constructed an illuminating diagram walking through a typical payments flow that I’ve copied here. Just look at all those steps!

Simplifying this complexity is the opportunity for many startups like Stripe, Dwolla and others.

Founders, teach your employees statistics

Everyone is learning statistics because making sense of data is the difference between success and failure. R, the open source statistics language, is about a third as popular as Ruby and growing fast.
Statistics are essential because data is ubiquitous and volumes are growing exponentially, even in startups. CEOs measure key company metrics. Engineers measure application performance and build machine learning models. Marketers measure campaign performance and reach. PMs measure engagement.

Founders, teach your employees statistics

Everyone is learning statistics because making sense of data is the difference between success and failure. R, the open source statistics language, is about a third as popular as Ruby and growing fast.

Statistics are essential because data is ubiquitous and volumes are growing exponentially, even in startups. CEOs measure key company metrics. Engineers measure application performance and build machine learning models. Marketers measure campaign performance and reach. PMs measure engagement. And so on.

A basic knowledge of statistics has become essential for most roles in business and for most companies, I think it’s worth sending most employees to a statistics course, because understanding the relationships across data is the determinant of success. More information implies better analysis means better decisions.

Venture capital is no different. I spend quite a lot of time with R these days. I’ve written about how I use these for business development. Also, I manage Continue reading “Founders, teach your employees statistics”

Ringing the Bell

Disclosure: Bessemer is the largest shareholder in LifeLock, but like our co-investors Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs and Symantec, we did not choose to sell any stock in today’s offering. I serve on the company’s Board of Directors, as I have done since our Series A investment in 2006. The following is my personal opinion.
Today I stood by Todd Davis’ side as he rang the NYSE bell to begin the trading session, marking the day of LifeLock’s IPO. Although I don’t expect to be out of Lifelock stock any time soon, I already consider it one of my proudest investments. At a time when digital technologies increasingly expose our private data to theft, Lifelock provides security directly to millions of Americans, and indirectly to over a hundred million Americans through the company’s enterprise services. LifeLock is leading the way to cloud-based protective services, the inevitable future of data security.
Our Series A investment in LifeLock shows off Bessemer’s road map methodology at work. Before we ever heard of the company, we had developed an investment hypothesis around the need for services that authenticate consumer transactions, in order to stem the rapid rise of financial identity theft. We had learned a lot from watching Cyota defend online bank accounts (before we sold it to RSA), and realized that similar out-of-band authentication technology was needed more broadly. (At the time, we identified fraud alerts as the best way to authenticate transactions, but today there are more effective, comprehensive, and less intrusive ways to do it.)
So we actually met every other startup in the space – most of whom were rich in Silicon Valley credentials. But we couldn’t find the combination of technology, service and marketing that you need to sell consumers, which was discouraging.  We finally heard about a small team in Tempe working on the problem, so James Cham, Brian Neider and I flew out to Arizona to meet them.
There we met Todd and the other 9 employees. What immediately distinguished them from their competitors is that LifeLock prioritized the customer experience. They prided themselves on their young but high touch service department. They lived for customer testimonials, and displayed them proudly on the wall. This service orientation really forced the company early on to meet the challenge of simplifying the message around a complex technology product. Rather than try to solve all the technology problems up Continue reading “Ringing the Bell”

My approach to building a hiring pipeline

Over the last few months, I’ve been helping a few companies build hiring pipelines to recruit at nearly every experience level and for technical, sales and business development roles. Below are the lessons I’ve learned. Identify your ideal candidate
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Narrow your search focus to find the right candidate. The easiest way to start is by building look-alike candidate lists.

My approach to building a hiring pipeline

Over the last few months, I’ve been helping a few companies build hiring pipelines to recruit at nearly every experience level and for technical, sales and business development roles. Below are the lessons I’ve learned.

Identify your ideal candidate
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Narrow your search focus to find the right candidate. The easiest way to start is by building look-alike candidate lists. I start with either a particular person or a list of companies that would provide someone with the right experience for the role.

Right tools. Right mentality.
Hiring is a daily process. You should treat it like email – something you do every day. Allocate an hour per day to search and contact potential candidates. Allocate up to 50% of your time to interview, reference and close candidates.

Get your technology in place. Upgrade to a premium LinkedIn Continue reading “My approach to building a hiring pipeline”

Sushi, passion, and entrepreneurship

Passion is not something you follow. It’s something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world. Follow a Career Passion? Let It Follow You
In his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, Cal Newport, a college classmate, champions the idea that passion lags work, instead of passion inspiring work. It’s the same philosophy embraced by sushi master Jiro, in the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Sushi, passion, and entrepreneurship

Passion is not something you follow. It’s something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world.
Follow a Career Passion? Let It Follow You

In his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, Cal Newport, a college classmate, champions the idea that passion lags work, instead of passion inspiring work. It’s the same philosophy embraced by sushi master Jiro, in the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Jiro should focusses on mastering a practice, making sushi.

Passion is a magical thing – it is inspiration, a contagious motive force for progress and excitement. Some people have it innately. Others discover a calling through their journeys and develop passionate for a cause. Still others require dedication, discipline and perseverance to elicit it, like Jiro.

Founders are an adventurous breed. They undertake the substantial risk of starting a company to solving a problem Continue reading “Sushi, passion, and entrepreneurship”

October 2012 | SERVILE BRANDS


This post is by trendwatching.com from trendwatching.com

Consumers are more demanding, time-starved, informed, and choice-saturated than ever-before. For brands to prosper, the solution is simple: become SERVILE. SERVILE means turning your brand into a lifestyle servant focused on catering to the needs, desires and whims of your customers, wherever and whenever they are. Check out new concepts, services and products that are infused with servility, from brands like Tesco, Virgin America, IKEA, Hyundai and more…

Read SERVILE BRANDS »


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A six-step framework to make strategic decisions

Any number of challenges can arise during a startup’s initial years. Some of these changes could be major and may require rethinking strategy. Competitors enter your target market. New products are released into your market which undercut yours. Customer acquisition costs rise dramatically. If faced with these questions, it’s hard to know where to begin or how to structure an analysis to reach an answer. McKinsey uses a 6 step process to frame the process of answering these strategic questions which is profiled in this month’s Harvard Business Review.

A six-step framework to make strategic decisions

Any number of challenges can arise during a startup’s initial years. Some of these changes could be major and may require rethinking strategy. Competitors enter your target market. New products are released into your market which undercut yours. Customer acquisition costs rise dramatically.

If faced with these questions, it’s hard to know where to begin or how to structure an analysis to reach an answer.

McKinsey uses a 6 step process to frame the process of answering these strategic questions which is profiled in this month’s Harvard Business Review. This framework has helped me many times simplify strategic questions and shift from questioning to analysis to action.

Case: A new competitor emerges to compete with a startup

  1. Frame the strategic choices as mutually exclusive options. Start with the most apparent options. Either compete directly with a new competitor or change your target market.
  2. Generate alternatives. Brainstorm other possibilities that broaden Continue reading “A six-step framework to make strategic decisions”

Cutco Knives and startups


This post is by Ed Sim from BeyondVC

When I worked for Cutco Knives one summer in college selling the world’s finest cutlery, my dream was to sell the Homemaker +8 at every meeting.  It was the Rolls Royce of knife sets and in every sales call I had, I always tried to flog the deluxe set.  Of course, more often than not, I left with selling a spatula spreader or much smaller set.  Many a memory was brought back yesterday as my wife and I went through a sales pitch for Cutco knives from an enterprising college student.  His pitch was great…and entertaining…and the same from 20+ years ago – cut the penny with the scissors, cut some rope, lay out the catalog, and even the close.  Would you like the Homemaker +8 or the Homemaker +4?

How about the Essentials +5 or the Essentials.  As I sat in on the sales call, what I remember most about selling knives was that it was a tough and lonely job and my friends teased me the whole summer about being little more than a “door-to-door” salesman flogging kitchen utensils.  Looking back on that experience, I recognize that I learned so many valuable skills about selling and more importantly about myself in terms of constantly being rejected but still having the optimism and fight to move on to the next opportunity.  I am sure by now you are thinking, what does selling knives have to do with startups?I strongly believe that every entrepreneur should take a sales job at Continue reading “Cutco Knives and startups”

Cutco Knives and startups

When I worked for Cutco Knives one summer in college selling the world’s finest cutlery, my dream was to sell the Homemaker +8 at every meeting.  It was the Rolls Royce of knife sets and in every sales call I had, I always tried to flog the deluxe set.  Of course, more often than not, I left with selling a spatula spreader or much smaller set.  Many a memory was brought back yesterday as my wife and I went through a sales pitch for Cutco knives from an enterprising college student.  His pitch was great…and entertaining…and the same from 20+ years ago – cut the penny with the scissors, cut some rope, lay out the catalog, and even the close.  Would you like the Homemaker +8 or the Homemaker +4?  

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How about the Essentials +5 or the Essentials.  As I sat in on the sales call, what I remember most about selling knives was that it was a tough and lonely job and my friends teased me the whole summer about being little more than a “door-to-door” salesman flogging kitchen utensils.  Looking back on that experience, I recognize that I learned so many valuable skills about selling and more importantly about myself in terms of constantly being rejected but still having the optimism and fight to move on to the next opportunity.  I am sure by now you are thinking, what does selling knives have to do with startups?I strongly believe that every entrepreneur should take a sales job at one point in their life, even for a summer.  Whether you are a tech guy or product guy or executive, you have to remember that you are always selling – not just to the external world like customers and VCs and partners but also internally as well, drumming up support, getting the team to buy into your ideas, and much more.  I believe there is sometimes a stigma for being a sales person but in reality no business can ever succeed without someone selling your product or service.  

Selling Cutco Knives was great because I went through sales training which at the time seemed incredibly cheesy, became enamored with trying to win salesperson of the week and month, and learned how to use referral based lead generation to create sales appointments.  I learned about creating a great script to use on the initial sales call (great understanding for understanding the life of an inside sales rep), how to use a presumptive close (can we meet this Wednesday at 3 or 5), how to properly make a sales call, how to read my potential customer, and ultimately how to manage my own personal sales pipeline and funnel.  From that experience I went on to start my own window washing business and develop a deep appreciation for sales reps and how hard their job really is.  And I find myself selling every single day in my life as a venture capitalist – selling to potential investors, selling my value Continue reading “Cutco Knives and startups”

Should founders join incubators?

Yesterday, I spoke at Columbia Business School. We had a conversation about the role of incubators and accelerators (or the moniker of your choice) within the startup ecosystem. Given the volume of first time entrepreneurs and the broad growth of interest in entrepreneurship, I think these programs are invaluable. To entrepreneurs, these programs offer up to seven value propositions, listed in order of importance, as I see it. Education – Examples include General Assembly runs a substantial education program and YCombinator operates Startup School and First Growth’s Venture Network Startup-in-a-box – TechStars offers legal help to incorporate a company, PR and marketing support for launch, banking partners, business development contacts, developer tools discounts all with the goal of eliminating as much friction as possible and helping founders focus on product/market fit discovery and execution.

Should founders join incubators?

Yesterday, I spoke at Columbia Business School. We had a conversation about the role of incubators and accelerators (or the moniker of your choice) within the startup ecosystem.

Given the volume of first time entrepreneurs and the broad growth of interest in entrepreneurship, I think these programs are invaluable. To entrepreneurs, these programs offer up to seven value propositions, listed in order of importance, as I see it.

  1. Education – Examples include General Assembly runs a substantial education program and YCombinator operates Startup School and First Growth’s Venture Network
  2. Startup-in-a-box – TechStars offers legal help to incorporate a company, PR and marketing support for launch, banking partners, business development contacts, developer tools discounts all with the goal of eliminating as much friction as possible and helping founders focus on product/market fit discovery and execution.
  3. Networking – Within each program, founders develop relationships with like-minded entrepreneurs and most programs offer guest Continue reading “Should founders join incubators?”