Jean-Charles Samuelian
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan
5 maiJean-Charles' Newsletters

Jean-Charles' newsletter: n°18

Chaque semaine, je partage quelques articles que j’ai trouvés particulièrement enrichissants. J’espère qu’ils vous aideront autant qu’ils m’ont aidé.

Template 18

Au programme de la semaine, Bezos reprend les manettes d’Amazon, comment mesurer son Burn vs. la croissance, et les entreprises de Saas doivent se concentrer sur la croissance efficace.

Certains articles sont en français, la plupart sont en anglais (je copie certaines citations en anglais). Ils ne sont pas tous récents et vont au rythme de mes lectures.

Bonne lecture !

Si vous aimez, vous pouvez vous inscrire, partager (par email ou le blogpost) ou encore me suivre sur Twitter.

📱Monde des technologies

👉Jeff Bezos a repris les manettes d’Amazon (NY Times) :

  • Focusing on the long term is “pretty much all” he did, Mr. Bezos told Forbes in 2018
  • The company would later announce plans to start building its own small lab. “We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant time frame, but we think it’s worth trying,” Mr. Bezos told shareholders.

👉Excellente analyse de Ben Thompson sur l’alliance face à Amazon (FB, Shopify, Stripe, …) : intégration vs. modularisation (The Stratechery). À retenir :

The AIDA model, as the purchase funnel is also known, is exactly as Lewis described it; I always understood it best in terms of problem-solving:

  • Attention: make the buyer aware of a problem they have
  • Interest: the buyer becomes interested in solving their problem
  • Desire: the buyer becomes interested in your solution to their problem
  • Action: the buyer acquires your solution

👉Fortnite hosted a virtual concert of Travis Scott for its players (Source).

  • According to Benedict Evans, “Fortnite continues to try to become more than just the latest hot game concept, with another in-game media event, this time a concert from 'Travis Scott'. There is a thesis that this (or something) is going to become a permanent virtual world with real longevity. I'm not convinced, but we'll see.”
  • In December, Tim Sweeney, the billionaire chief executive of Epic Games was asked on Twitter: "Do you view Fortnite as a game or as a platform?". His answer was telling, and possibly a hint at what was in the pipeline. "Fortnite is a game. But please ask that question again in 12 months."
  • Epic said that more than 12.3 million players participated in the event at thesame time, which it said was an all-time record.

🏯 Construire une entreprise

👉Burn Ratio ou comment mesurer de manière intelligente son burn face à sa croissance (David Sacks).

  • Investors increasingly scrutinize burn and margins during downturns.
  • How to Measure Capital Efficiency: Burn Multiple = Net Burn / Net New ARR
  • How much is the startup burning in order to generate each incremental dollar of ARR?
  • The beauty of the Burn Multiple is that it’s a catch-all metric. Any serious problem will eventually impact the Burn Multiple by either increasing burn, decreasing net new ARR, or (most tricky) increasing both but at disproportionate rates. For example: A gross margin problem, a sales efficiency problem, a churn problem….
Burn ratio
  • After the Series A, it might drop to 2. After the Series B, when the sales team should be operating at scale, the expectations for efficiency increase even more. Eventually, for a company to become profitable, burn must reach 0, which implies that the Burn Multiple should also approach 0 over time.
  • If the Burn Multiple is going in the wrong direction as the startup matures, that’s a indicator that something is wrong, even though headline growth might still be increasing in nominal terms.

👉Un “playbook” quand il n’y en a pas, comment gérer les crises avec l'ancienne CEO de Dupont (Masters of Scale).

  • I've been through quite a few crises and it doesn't really help to get all angst-ridden over it. You just got to focus on what you can control. (...) Now the question is what do you do about it?
  • Create your own trajectory (...) it is really being very thoughtful and almost forceful with the organization about you're not going to just ride this out and things are going to be the same. What you have to do is really write your own story. Don't play the hand you've been dealt, play the hand you want, right?
  • Bold has to connect. So what people want to know is “Why?”, right? Why, if we’re here, do we need to move there? And the more you separate “here” from “there” and the more you just talk about “there”, they're not going to get it. You have to take them on that journey of moving from here to there and “there” has to be a connection.
  • If you want people to follow you – and this is where I learned a lot from going from more of an authoritarian style of leadership to a more inclusive and or influential style of leadership – is that, you know, I used to laugh and say, “Okay, next experiment, let's go try this.”
  • If you don't have a hypothesis on what the outcome is, pretty specific hypothesis, then you're not going to know whether you're winning or losing.

👉Comment les entreprises SaaS doivent se concentrer sur la croissance efficace (a16z)?

  • For businesses that are already generating revenue and that have found product-market fit, leaders should prioritize retention, focus on profitable acquisition, and manage costs to preserve runway.
  • In a volatile market, SaaS businesses should focus on efficiency, before growth.
  • As the first graph shows, SaaS growth slowed in 2009 – this is unsurprising, as software spending declined by 20+ percentage points in the previous three market crashes in 2009, 2000, and 1997.
  • Though growth slowed, these companies improved the efficiency of their growth (defined as net new revenue / total overall operating income expense)

1. Retention is first priority

  • To measure retention, look at gross retention (percentage of revenue from a customer segment that remains after 12 months, not including expansion) and net retention (percentage of revenue now received from a customer segment vs. 12 months, including expansion).
  • Churn will be higher for businesses that sell into SMB.
  • Proactively contact customers. All the typical customer success playbooks still apply and are more important than ever – conduct quality customer onboarding, make sure you have several advocates across the customer, frequently measure NPS, and quickly address any concerns.
  • Prepare for near-term downsell. Customers in many cases may be shrinking budgets or head count or both.

2. Efficient customer acquisition

  • Historically, you might have inched above the typically recommended 12-month CAC payback
  • Use bottoms up for lower cost of acquisition: (...) With free users already embedded across a large number of enterprises,
  • Deprioritize selling to higher churn segments (like SMB) or highly impacted sectors like travel and restaurants, when possible.
  • Meet new customers where they are (...) Understand this new behavior and use it to experiment with new acquisition paths. (...) Box has made its business edition free for 90 days for companies; and Atlassian is offering Jira and Confluence free to teams of 10 people or less.

3. Manage your runway

  • Plan for 24+ months of runway
  • Collect and manage accounts receivable

The future It’s possible that we could see accelerated cloud/SaaS adoption as employees get used to “the new normal” of a distributed workforce and move further away from on-premise software

🏥 Santé

👉Les start-ups dans le domaine de la santé mentale sont en pleine croissance (Sifted).

  • Copenhagen-headquartered telehealth platform Kara Connect, which links therapists and healthcare specialists with patients, saw a 15-fold increase in professional sign-ups in March
  • “The biggest growth is the number of psychologists who want to use our technology,”
  • Larger corporations are also looking at ways to help their employees deal with their new work realities. This has led to increasing demand for startups offering therapeutic and well-being services to companies remotely.

📚 Livres & videos

👉Project Code Rush - The Beginnings of Netscape / Mozilla Documentary (Youtube) pour retomber dans les débuts du net, l’histoire de Netscape face à Microsoft, le rythme de la Silicon Valley.

💚 Les publications d’Alan et sur Alan

👉 Alan aide les entreprises à préparer l’après-confinement en leur fournissant des masques (Blog Alan). Nous proposons en effet à toutes nos entreprises clientes de commander gratuitement des masques grand public réutilisables pour l’ensemble de leurs salariés.


👉 Déconfinement: L’hygiène et la santé, priorités n°1 pour les hôtels, cafés et restaurants (Blog Alan).

Jean-Charles Samuelian
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan

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