Companies founded by a group of engineers often have a deep-seated mistrust of sales — or more precisely, salespeople. That was the case at GitHub, says CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath. Wanstrath joins a16z General Partner Peter Levine to discuss how GitHub finally embraced sales, why good salespeople are like good teachers, and what it takes to sell to developers. MORE
It may seem like good apps or services sell themselves. That’s what the whole viral thing is all about, right? Wrong, says Daniel Shapero, who helped build LinkedIn’s enterprise sales team from a small core group to more than 1,200 people all over the globe. Shapero joins a16z’s Peter Levine to discuss the right way to build a sales organization — from answering the basic question of why sales?, to hiring, compensation … and the inevitable culture clash that occurs when salespeople and engineers meet.
The words “I need you to update Salesforce” are the equivalent of saying to a teenager, “Make up your bed” or “Clean up your room.” It’s always met with an attitude, a sigh, and then a half-hearted effort to do a job that was clearly meant to benefit somebody else. Updating Salesforce has always been an incredibly tedious activity for salespeople who spend all of their time on email, text, phone … or in person communicating with customers. Salesforce, while useful, has always been a product for the managers — not for the closers. MORE
For most companies, fundraising isn’t about $100-million rounds and “unicorns”. It’s often an anxiety-ridden, lonely, frustrating process filled with uncertainty and self doubt.
Despite the stories out there, raising venture capital isn’t easy for most startups. Entrepreneurs are always evaluating tradeoffs, such as valuation and structure (which we’ve written about before). But there’s much more, so we’re sharing this list of FAQs to help shed light on the realities of raising capital. MORE
The classical description of disruption in business, and especially technology, is that a new product (method, business model, etc.) appears that’s not as good as the existing way of doing things, but that’s much cheaper… The future always comes looking like a toy. You can see this basic story over and over again in the history of the technology industry.
Right now, the tech industry is being reset by the mobile. And in mobile, disruption tends to work the other way around: That is, in tech the cheap weak product generally gets better quicker than the good expensive product gets cheaper. But in mobile, the good expensive product has generally got cheaper faster than the cheap, weak product got good. Moore’s Law is operating in both cases, but the effects are different. MORE