Scale vs. Growth

From the Lessons in Vernacular Department

We hear a lot of talk about scale in business. Solve a problem for a small group, figure out how to deliver the same solution to 10-, 100-, 1000X the number of people.

Scale is a grown-up word for big kids with revenue generating things. It’s cold, corporate.

Growth, on the other hand, has a more down-to-earth, organic feel, doesn’t it?

Growth is preparing the soil, planting the seed, tending to a sapling’s needs as it sprouts from the ground, puts down roots, and grows into a productive tree over time.

Growth and scale can mean the same thing—but you don’t have to scale from the start.

Think and dream and visualize your orchard—but focus on growing that first tree.

Enlightenment & adult growth spurts

Now with counter-productive temper tantrums!

My five year old daughter gets cooler every day. She’s so much more fun than she was back when she was just this adorable little chub with bright blue eyes and curly blond hair.

And yet, she can be a mean, vindictive, little cuss. Daily.

We’ve come to realize that her growth spurts are preceded with attitude and drama. Every. Time.

And it’s only natural. She’s constantly soaking up an inordinate amount of information, processing it with whatever means she has, and adapting her worldview/life-model to suit.

You can imagine how frustrating this must be. These are challenging times. She knows she’s about to figure something out. It’s on the tip of her tongue—but she’s just not there yet.

And, boy, does it piss her off.

But once things click, she goes right back to being her wonderful, amazing self. She’s better, smarter, stronger than she was before. And that’s exciting to see.

And if you think about it, growth spurts like that continue on throughout our lives.

As we soak up inordinate amounts of information, processing it with whatever means we have, and adapting our worldview/life-model to suit, it can get damned frustrating.

Eyes on the prize, though. It’s probably a good idea to consider the times when we’re completely fed up at our wits’ end adult growth spurts.

Something wonderful is going to happen.

You’re just not ready yet.

Keep trying.

Reflections on SaaS Day at Startup Week 2018 at Galvanize

One of the perks of being based in a coworking space is sometimes the cool events come to you.

This was Startup Week at Galvanize. There were presentations and workshops going on all over campus all week. I passed on most, and there were a couple sessions I had to miss because of scheduling conflicts, but the ones I got to were time well spent.

Reflecting on SaaS Day at Phoenix Startup Week 2018.

Todd Davis, Lifelock Founder and former CEO: What I wish I knew when LifeLock was a startup

  • Starting a business could be the hardest thing you ever do.
  • You better be audacious, with a truly big idea you really, truly believe in.
  • So your passion and excitement for what you’re doing will help you sell it.
  • Know the 2-3 things you need to do this year to succeed—work on them daily.
  • Hire people smarter than you. Listen to them.
  • Do what you SHOULD—not what you can.
  • And remember these are the good old days. Document the memories.

Justin Gray, Founder & CEO of LeadMD & Six Bricks: SaaS Metrics that Matter

This was the first time I saw my former boss presenting information. Wow. It was like a year of SaaStr podcast episodes finally clicked beyond my understanding a few definitions.

If you want to talk about unit economics, leading/lagging metrics, CAC:LTV (Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value) optimization, customer vs. dollar churn, and how customer success plays into all that, let me know. We can do that here from time to time, but I’m thinking it’s not quite the core audience.

Suffice to say it was useful information for me, building the future of Gearbox Magazine.

Chrisy Woll, VP of Customer Success at Campus Logic: 4 Foundations for Every CS Team

Chrisy was a real treat. Not only was she very entertaining, I loved how she began her presentation with her own Customer Success journey.

She was an Enrollment Counselor at GCU at the same time I was working with Finance Counselor new hire training curriculum at Apollo Group. She sort of stumbled into a SaaS company where everyone was excited to be there and believed in the mission. And when things weren’t working out, they moved her into this new, Customer Success role they needed. Then she was headhunted to a VP role.

Had I known Customer Success was a thing more than 18 months ago, I might have got a bit more of a jump on the work-life parallel thing—but I probably wouldn’t have been ready for it.

I don’t know that I’ve gone into to much detail about what I do in my Customer Success role, but here it is for those who’ve never heard of it. Customer Success are the people who get involved with customers to make sure they get what they paid for.

Overall, this was a damn good day. Smart people sharing knowledge and inspiring ideas.