Our Top 10 Enterprise Posts of 2019

From big ideas to company-building tactics, here’s a roundup our best enterprise posts from 2019. Be sure to also check out “The most overlooked trends in enterprise tech in 2019” in the latest edition of our enterprise newsletter, and subscribe for more in 2020.

The Empty Promise of Data Moats

Most data effects are really scale effects. If you’re a startup that assumes the data you’re collecting equals a durable moat, then you might underinvest in the other areas that actually do increase the defensibility of your business long term — verticalization, go-to-market dominance, post-sales account control, the winning brand, etc. So how can you establish more durable data moats, or at least figure out where data best plays into your strategy?

Product-Market Sales Fit (What Comes First?)

In that shift from product-market fit to product-market-SALES fit, how much should you optimize your go-to-market for product… and even the other way around? What does this mean for product design and product management? When should companies offer services? As for pricing, how do you know you’re not leaving value on the table?

What Time Is It? From Technical to Product to Sales CEO

Since the startup (and founder) journey doesn’t go neatly linear from technical to product to sales, tightening one knob (whether engineering or marketing or pricing & packaging) creates slack in one of the other knobs, which demands turning to yet another knob. So how do you know what knob to focus on and when? How do you build the right team for the right play and at the right time? This episode of the a16z Podcast shares advice on how to manage your own time (and psychology!) as your company grows, and as you “earn the right” to build complex products.

Growth, Sales & A New Era of B2B 

Traditionally, consumer companies have had viral growth and network effects, while enterprise companies have been built brick by brick and sale by sale. But a new wave of B2B companies show that recently enterprise businesses have started to look a lot more like their consumer counterparts. This keynote explains the new go-to-market combination of bottom-up growth and traditional top-down sales that is changing both the enterprise business model and the technology it sells.

Open Source: From Community to Commercialization

While open source has delivered amazing technological innovation, commercial innovation — most recently and notably the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) — has been just as vital to the success of the movement. And since open source is by definition software that is free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute, open source businesses have required different models and a different go to market than other kinds of software companies. In this post we provide a practical, end-to-end framework for turning an open source project into a successful business.

Free Software and Open Source Business

How do you keep community engaged while building a business? What new opportunities does SaaS (software-as-a-service) present? And if you are a SaaS business, how should you approach cloud service companies, like Amazon Web Services (AWS)? This conversation shares how startup CEOs have turned open source projects into successful businesses.

The 10x Customer Hiding in Plain Sight

After you establish a set of customers at a consistent price point, it’s almost always possible to get a customer at 10x the scale without major product or go-to-market shifts — why, and how?

AI in B2B

AI has found its way into B2B, and it is rapidly transforming how we work and the software we use, across all industries and organizational functions. What does the rise of AI in B2B mean for enterprises, workers, and startups? AI provides a strong first mover advantage to enterprises that adopt it early, but how can startups seize the next AI opportunity?

16 Steps to Securing Your Data (and Life)

Individual cybersecurity is now a critical part of enterprise security because when individual workers aren’t secure, the enterprise isn’t either. In this post, we lay out 16 practical steps you can take to secure your data, accounts, and devices.

16 Sales Contract Clauses to Balance Risk and Reward

To help startups navigate the risk and reward trade-offs of customer contracts, we interviewed lawyers, founders, and CROs about their experiences and what they learned about winning the deal without taking on contractual risk. In this post, we cover 16 of the most important sales contract clauses and how to approach each.