Jean-Charles Samuelian
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan
3 marsNewsletter

Jean-Charles’ newsletter: n°9

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

2020 Newsletter 9

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

Revolut lève $500m à $5.5bn de valorisation avec TCV (Les Echos) : plus de 10m d’utilisateurs.


Bob Iger quitte le rôle de CEO de Disney (NYT).


Amazon ouvre un supermarché avec sa technologie Amazon Go et veut la vendre à d’autres acteurs (WSJ). Cela pourrait être une véritable révolution dans le retail, très en ligne avec la vision “frictionless” de Jeff Bezos.


Les marchés s’effondrent dans la perspective du Coronavirus, sauf Zoom. (The Information). Apple a émis un profit warning sur le sujet (Axios), Facebook a annulé sa conférence annuelle.


Apple va peut-être (enfin !!!) changer les apps par défaut qu’on peut utiliser (Bloomberg). On pourra avoir Google Maps à la place d’Apple Maps quand on clique sur un lien.


🏯 Construire une entreprise

Pourquoi les entreprises ‘Blitzfail’ passent du plus haut au plus bas très rapidement (David Sacks), à lire à tout prix. Quelques excellentes citations :

1. Unit Economics.

  • If a startup is not maturing its finance function to keep up with its growth, it may discover a margin problem too late.
  • Losing money at the corporate level is ok; losing money at the unit level is not. Proper attribution is necessary to tell the difference.
  • The startup that does not upgrade its financial standards over time will suddenly find it much harder to fundraise.

2. CAC

  • It is generally considered uneconomic to spend much more than first year’s revenue on CAC. Another rule of thumb is that LTV (the lifetime value of a customer) should be at least 3X CAC.
  • To avoid a surprise, startups should move away from a “blended CAC” concept as soon as possible and attribute CAC by channel. This requires tracking conversion rates by lead source all the way through the funnel.

3. Churn

  • As a rule of thumb, enterprise logos should retain about 95% on an annual basis, SMB logos about 85%, and startup logos about 75%.
  • It’s important for SaaS businesses to have dollar retention over 100%, meaning that ARR expansion from retained customers exceeds lost ARR from churned customers.

4. External Dependencies

  • Even a startup with great metrics can have the rug pulled out from under it if it has a platform dependency on another company. External dependencies create existential risks.

5. Sales Behavior

  • So often, the sales department seems to be the locus of bad behavior in the startup that’s gone awry. Culture and HR problems, compliance issues, missed projections or restatements, and oversold customers are all common issues.
  • The root cause is that Sales is the only team in the company operating under an incentive plan which dictates that sales reps earn a multiple of their base salary or get fired. This draconian incentive is necessary to attract, motivate, and retain the best sales people but also creates a crucible out of which some undesirable behaviors can be forged.
  • When the sales incentive plan is unaccompanied by a sales compliance regime, the short-term objective of hitting quota will override any other considerations of what is good for the business.
  • But most of all, the leadership will understand that it’s their job not just to hit the number, but to enforce ethical sales behavior and protect the long-term interests of the business.

6. Mechanical Turk

  • Founders should avoid these situations by rejecting the shibboleth to “do things that don’t scale.” For growth startups, this is generally bad advice. The whole point of technology is to figure out the most elegant, scalable solution.

7. Founder Psychology

  • Ultimately, founders can only be as visionary as their ability to execute will allow. If they go beyond that, visionary becomes delusionary.

La notion de Directly Responsible Individuals (DRI) est très puissante (Gitlab):

  • Apple coined the term "directly responsible individual" (DRI) to refer to the one person with whom the buck stopped on any given project. The idea is that every project is assigned a DRI who is ultimately held accountable for the success (or failure) of that project.
  • DRIs do not owe anyone an explanation for their decisions. ... they absolutely do not have to convince other people.
  • The fear of falling into a perpetual loop of explaining can derail a DRI, and cause people to defer rather than working with a bias for action.
  • You get to provide input, but you don't have the right to feel heard or be considered in the eventual decision.
  • Foster a culture where DRIs are willing to put their ideas in the open. This enables feedback from a broad range of diverse perspectives, which the DRI can take into account and choose how (if at all) it shapes their thinking.
  • If you make the DRI convince or explain their decision too much to all the people who provided input, you'll get projects that fly under the radar.
  • It's about results and efficiency. DRIs work conceptually because they leave no room for ambiguity about who has the final say on all questions that arise within a project or team.
  • For example, when building a new product feature the Product Manager is the DRI for the prioritization and the Engineering Manager is the DRI for delivery.
  • A DRI should be able to articulate the objectives, check progress and give and receive feedback.

La stratégie de DuckDuckGo sur le marketing, la croissance et l’organisation (20MinuteVC Podcast)

  • Auto-financés et profitables pendant très longtemps
  • Les “marketing channels” meurent vite. Il faut apprendre à être très innovant
  • Modèle d’équipe complètement distribué qui force à repenser la communication très tôt
  • Faire des post-mortems pour les projets qui marchent et ceux qui ratent

Analyse de Ben Thompson sur les marques “DTC” (Direct to Consumer) (Stratechery) et comment Google et Facebook en saisissent la plus grosse partie de la valeur.


👩‍⚕️ Santé

HealthJoy lève $30m pour clarifier les “health benefits” aux US (TechCrunch) avec un focus sur leur assistant virtuel.


Ribbon Health lève $10m pour clarifier la donnée en santé (TechCrunch) avec une approche autour de leur API.


Le futur de la santé sera verticalisé (RedPoint). Angle très américain, cependant quelques constats intéressants et entreprises à suivre.


💚 Les publications d’Alan et sur Alan

Cette semaine, nous vous partageons ce qu’il faut savoir sur le Coronavirus sur notre blog, l’Argus de l’assurance a publié un article sur notre croissance en 2019.


C'est pas mon idée a publié un article sur les nouvelles features que nous avons lancées et montre comment elles nous différencient des acteurs traditionnels.


Seedable classe Alan parmi les 20 meilleures start-ups où travailler en Europe en 2020, aux côtés de N26, Glovo, Bold, ...


📚 Livres

Thinking in Bets par Annie Duke (Amazon). Excellent livre sur comment penser en probabilité pour éviter de tomber dans des faux raisonnements “j’ai réussi parce que j’avais raison”, “j’ai raté parce que je n’ai pas eu de chance”.


Jean-Charles Samuelian
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan

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