How to Make Better Decisions with Data

Companies often use A/B testing to optimize their websites, but they rarely use it for anything else. This is a wasted opportunity. It turns out that if you capture enough data, any repeated, measurable activity can be framed as an A/B test. For example, how does breakfast affect your morning work productivity? If you spend a month or two tracking your productivity along with the breakfast meals that you eat, you'll quickly learn if skipping breakfast turns you into a zombie or if having eggs instead of pancakes will help you get a promotion.

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Why Startup Technical Diligence is a Waste of Time

In late 2012, I made the transition from software engineering to seed stage investing. I started Susa Ventures with several friends, and I was going to be the person in charge of all technical diligence. Since practicing software engineers are relatively rare in the VC industry, I (naively) assumed that my background would give Susa a big competitive advantage when making investing decisions. For the most part, I was wrong.

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15 Short Stories About LinkedIn's Early Days

I was lucky enough to be one of LinkedIn's earliest employees in 2003. I joined the company when it was just over a dozen people and was the 2nd non-founding engineer hire.

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Why This? Why Now? Why You?

Once your startup has some traction, fundraising becomes more straightforward. Investors still care about your vision and your team, but much of their focus shifts toward analyzing and interpreting your numbers: how fast is revenue growing? How many users are logging in monthly? How about daily? What fraction of users are retained for at least 3 months? 12 months? Strong numbers reduce the perceived riskiness of your company even if other parts of your pitch are weak. After all, if your company is making $2m/year and growing 20% monthly, then you must be on to something, right?

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Startups are Risk Bundles

Startup founders are sometimes surprised when they spend a year or two executing against their roadmap, make a lot of progress, and still have to struggle to raise more capital. Why wouldn't investors be interested in a company if it's much further along than it was last year? Why are the few investors who are interested only willing to invest at a lower valuation?

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