Category Archives: Metrics

Appearance on Run The Numbers Podcast: A Startup CEO’s Guide to Board Meetings

I love writing and speaking about board meetings. Why? Because:

  • They’re critically important. Board meetings can make or break careers.
  • You get little to no instruction on how to do them. Most training for CEOs and execs is of the “throw them in the deep end of the pool and see if they float” variety.
  • You don’t get much practice. At four to six times per year, board meetings are not quite frequent enough to provide sufficient reps to drive real improvement, except over long periods of time.

So, many founders and CEOs muddle along with a series of merely good-enough board meetings, and not good ones.

I’ve written a lot about startups, boards, and CEOs. For example:

Thus, I was happy when CJ Gustafson invited me for an interview on his Run the Numbers podcast for an episode entitled A Startup CEO’s Guide to Board Meetings.

A video of the episode is embedded below. You can find it on Apple or Spotify as well.

Thanks CJ for having me.

Slides from SaaS Metrics Palooza 2023: How To Present SaaS Metrics Like a Pro

Last month I spoke at SaaStr Annual 2023 on The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS Metrics (video here). When I wrote that presentation I found myself with something of a content blivit on my hands. I had a bunch of strategic things I wanted to say, but darn it, I had a lot of tactical things I wanted to say as well.

While the strategic use of metrics is key, poor tactical presentation of metrics can lead to anything from obsfucation to disaster. Never forget Edwin Tufte’s reminder that tactical presentation mistakes can lead to quite strategic problems, demonstrated via his analysis of a Powerpoint deck that was used in a discussion of the Columbia re-entry decision.

So, instead of trying to jam everything into a single deck, I decided to write two different presentations:

While there is a touch of overlap between the two presentations (e.g., piecemealing), they are designed to be consumed together and reinforce each other, so please take a look at them both.

I have discovered a new mantra in building these decks. Because so many SaaS metrics problems are ultimately driven by a lack of trust, and because templates can do so much to build both trust and alignment, I am now in the habit of repeating:

Templates build trust. Templates build trust. Templates build trust.

I also have a new theme song (and walk-on music) for mistake number seven, excessive use of smoothing. Don’t be a Smooth (metrics) Operator.

I’ve embedded the slides of the SaaS Metrics Palooza presentation below. You can download a PDF of them as well. You can find a video of the presentation at the SaaS Metrics Palooza Website (registration required, but free.)

Thanks to those who attended the presentation and thanks to BenchmarkIt and my SaaS Talk podcast partner, metrics brother Ray Rike, for inviting me.

Video of my SaaStr 2023 Presentation: The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS Metrics

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Slides From SaaStr 2023 Presentation: The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS Metrics

This is a quick post to share the slides from my SaaStr Annual 2023 presentation entitled The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS metrics. Thanks to everyone who attended the session, laughed at my jokes (yes, there were jokes in a SaaS metrics presentation), asked questions in the session, and who stuck around afterwards to dive deeper into more Q&A.

The slides are available on Google Drive and I’ve embedded them below as well. To see the live video, go here.

Come to my SaaStr Annual Presentation: The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS Metrics

I’m excited to say that I’ll be speaking at SaaStr Annual 2023 as part of amazing speaker line up. The event runs from September 6th to 8th and will be held at the San Mateo County Event Center.

While SaaStr works hard to keep things fresh by limiting repeat speakers, I’m proud to say that I was invited back this year as a fan favorite. While I always write a new, custom presentation for SaaStr (e.g., 2020, 2021, Europa), I thus feel extra presssure this year to keep things new, fun, and exciting.

This year’s session is entitled The Strategic Use and Abuse of SaaS Metrics. It will be held on Wednesday September 6th from 3:30 to 4:15 pm on Plaza Stage C. You can sign up here once you have access to the event portal. (You can register for the event here.)

In this year’s session I’ll talk about:

  • Why I wanted to give this presentation in the first place. I’ll review the problems I’ve seen over and over again in board meetings, monthly reporting, and metrics presentations.
  • The difference between a strategic and a tactical SaaS metrics discussion. (At some point, I’ll do a tactical session on the mechanics of presentating and discussing SaaS metrics, but this session isn’t that.)
  • How to spot a strategic SaaS metrics problem. Do any of these sound familiar: bludgeoning, rat-holing, recalculating, piecemealing, mis-benchmarking, or torturing? (Those are just 6 of the 15 signs I’ll present.)
  • A simple example of twisting SaaS metrics to mislead. (Yes, people actually do this kind of crap.)
  • The root causes of strategic SaaS metrics problems, including a missing foundation, a lack of trust, and a de-linkage from strategy.
  • A SaaS metrics maturity model that I built to help you determine where you are and what to focus on as part of your SaaS metrics journey.
  • The five layers of that maturity model and what you can do at each layer to build your SaaS metrics maturity.

I hope that you will be able to attend SaaStr Annual 2023 and be able to join my session. I look forward to seeing you there.