## More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Sammy Abdullah

2 years ago

## R&D, S&M, and G&A expense ratios for SaaS

SaaS spending is 40/40/20. 40% of operating expenses should be R&D, 40% sales and marketing, and 20% G&A. We wanted to see the statistics behind the rules of thumb. Since October 2017, 73 SaaS startups have gone public. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be 30/50/20. The data is below.

**30/50/20.** R&D accounts for 26% of opex, sales and marketing 48%, and G&A 22%. We think R&D/S&M/G&A should be 30/50/20.

**There are outliers. **There are exceptions to rules of thumb. Dropbox spent 45% on R&D whereas Zoom spent 13%. Zoom spent 73% on S&M, Dropbox 37%, and Bill.com 28%. Snowflake spent 130% of revenue on S&M, while their EBITDA margin is -192%.

**G&A shouldn't stand out.** Minimize G&A spending. Priorities should be product development and sales. Cloudflare, Sendgrid, Snowflake, and Palantir spend 36%, 34%, 37%, and 43% on G&A.

**Another myth is that COGS is 20% of revenue**. Median and averages are 29%.

**Where is the profitability?** Data-driven operating income calculations were simplified (Revenue COGS R&D S&M G&A). 20 of 73 IPO businesses reported operational income. Median and average operating income margins are -21% and -27%.

As long as you're growing fast, have outstanding retention, and marquee clients, you can burn cash since recurring income that doesn't churn is a valuable annuity.

The data was compelling overall. 30/50/20 is the new 40/40/20 for more established SaaS enterprises, unprofitability is alright as long as your business is expanding, and COGS can be somewhat more than 20% of revenue.

Emils Uztics

2 years ago

## This billionaire created a side business that brings around $90,000 per month.

Dharmesh Shah co-founded HubSpot. WordPlay reached $90,000 per month in revenue without utilizing any of his wealth.

His method:

# Take Advantage Of An Established Trend

Remember Wordle? Dharmesh was instantly hooked. As was the tech world.

HubSpot's co-founder noted inefficiencies in a recent My First Million episode. He wanted to play daily. Dharmesh, a tinkerer and software engineer, decided to design a word game.

He's a billionaire. How could he?

Wordle had limitations in his opinion;

Dharmesh is fundamentally a developer. He desired to start something new and increase his programming knowledge;

This project may serve as an excellent illustration for his son, who had begun learning about software development.

# Better It Up

Building a new Wordle wasn't successful.

WordPlay lets you play with friends and family. You could challenge them and compare the results. It is a built-in growth tool.

WordPlay features:

the capacity to follow sophisticated statistics after creating an account;

continuous feedback on your performance;

Outstanding domain name (wordplay.com).

# Project Development

WordPlay has 9.5 million visitors and 45 million games played since February.

HubSpot co-founder credits tremendous growth to flywheel marketing, pushing the game through his own following.

Choosing an exploding specialty and making sharing easy also helped.

Shah enabled Google Ads on the website to test earning potential. Monthly revenue was $90,000.

That's just Google Ads. If monetization was the goal, a specialized ad network like Ezoic could double or triple the amount.

Wordle was a great buy for The New York Times at $1 million.

Aaron Dinin, PhD

2 years ago

## I put my faith in a billionaire, and he destroyed my business.

How did his money blind me?

Like most fledgling entrepreneurs, I wanted a mentor. I met as many nearby folks with "entrepreneur" in their LinkedIn biographies for coffee.

These meetings taught me a lot, and I'd suggest them to any new creator. Attention! Meeting with many experienced entrepreneurs means getting contradictory advice. One entrepreneur will tell you to do X, then the next one you talk to may tell you to do Y, which are sometimes opposites. You'll have to chose which suggestion to take after the chats.

I experienced this. Same afternoon, I had two coffee meetings with experienced entrepreneurs. The first meeting was with a billionaire entrepreneur who took his company public.

I met him in a swanky hotel lobby and ordered a drink I didn't pay for. As a fledgling entrepreneur, money was scarce.

During the meeting, I demoed the software I'd built, he liked it, and we spent the hour discussing what features would make it a success. By the end of the meeting, he requested I include a killer feature we both agreed would attract buyers. The feature was complex and would require some time. The billionaire I was sipping coffee with in a beautiful hotel lobby insisted people would love it, and that got me enthusiastic.

The second meeting was with a young entrepreneur who had recently raised a small amount of investment and looked as eager to pitch me as I was to pitch him. I forgot his name. I mostly recall meeting him in a filthy coffee shop in a bad section of town and buying his pricey cappuccino. Water for me.

After his pitch, I demoed my app. When I was done, he barely noticed. He questioned my customer acquisition plan. Who was my client? What did they offer? What was my plan? Etc. No decent answers.

After our meeting, he insisted I spend more time learning my market and selling. He ignored my questions about features. Don't worry about features, he said. Customers will request features. First, find them.

# Putting your faith in results over relevance

Problems plagued my afternoon. I met with two entrepreneurs who gave me differing advice about how to proceed, and I had to decide which to pursue. I couldn't decide.

Ultimately, I followed the advice of the billionaire.

Obviously.

Who wouldn’t? That was the guy who clearly knew more.

A few months later, I constructed the feature the billionaire said people would line up for.

The new feature was unpopular. I couldn't even get the billionaire to answer an email showing him what I'd done. He disappeared.

Within a few months, I shut down the company, wasting all the time and effort I'd invested into constructing the killer feature the billionaire said I required.

Would follow the struggling entrepreneur's advice have saved my company? It would have saved me time in retrospect. Potential consumers would have told me they didn't want what I was producing, and I could have shut down the company sooner or built something they did want. Both outcomes would have been better.

Now I know, but not then. I favored achievement above relevance.

# Success vs. **relevance**

The millionaire gave me advice on building a large, successful public firm. A successful public firm is different from a startup. Priorities change in the last phase of business building, which few entrepreneurs reach. He gave wonderful advice to founders trying to double their stock values in two years, but it wasn't beneficial for me.

The other failing entrepreneur had relevant, recent experience. He'd recently been in my shoes. We still had lots of problems. He may not have achieved huge success, but he had valuable advice on how to pass the closest hurdle.

The money blinded me at the moment. Not alone So much of company success is defined by money valuations, fundraising, exits, etc., so entrepreneurs easily fall into this trap. Money chatter obscures the value of knowledge.

Don't base startup advice on a person's income. Focus on what and when the person has learned. Relevance to you and your goals is more important than a person's accomplishments when considering advice.

## You might also like

Shalitha Suranga

1 year ago

## The Top 5 Mathematical Concepts Every Programmer Needs to Know

Using math to write efficient code in any language

Programmers design, build, test, and maintain software. Employ cases and personal preferences determine the programming languages we use throughout development. Mobile app developers use JavaScript or Dart. Some programmers design performance-first software in C/C++.

A generic source code includes language-specific grammar, pre-implemented function calls, mathematical operators, and control statements. Some mathematical principles assist us enhance our programming and problem-solving skills.

We all use basic mathematical concepts like formulas and relational operators (aka comparison operators) in programming in our daily lives. Beyond these mathematical syntaxes, we'll see discrete math topics. This narrative explains key math topics programmers must know. Master these ideas to produce clean and efficient software code.

# Expressions in mathematics and built-in mathematical functions

A source code can only contain a mathematical algorithm or prebuilt API functions. We develop source code between these two ends. If you create code to fetch JSON data from a RESTful service, you'll invoke an HTTP client and won't conduct any math. If you write a function to compute the circle's area, you conduct the math there.

When your source code gets more mathematical, you'll need to use mathematical functions. Every programming language has a math module and syntactical operators. Good programmers always consider code readability, so we should learn to write readable mathematical expressions.

Linux utilizes clear math expressions.

Inbuilt max and min functions can minimize verbose if statements.

How can we compute the number of pages needed to display known data? In such instances, the ceil function is often utilized.

```
import math as m
results = 102
items_per_page = 10
pages = m.ceil(results / items_per_page)
print(pages)
```

Learn to write clear, concise math expressions.

# Combinatorics in Algorithm Design

Combinatorics theory counts, selects, and arranges numbers or objects. First, consider these programming-related questions. Four-digit PIN security? what options exist? What if the PIN has a prefix? How to locate all decimal number pairs?

Combinatorics questions. Software engineering jobs often require counting items. Combinatorics counts elements without counting them one by one or through other verbose approaches, therefore it enables us to offer minimum and efficient solutions to real-world situations. Combinatorics helps us make reliable decision tests without missing edge cases. Write a program to see if three inputs form a triangle. This is a question I commonly ask in software engineering interviews.

Graph theory is a subfield of combinatorics. Graph theory is used in computerized road maps and social media apps.

# Logarithms and Geometry Understanding

Geometry studies shapes, angles, and sizes. Cartesian geometry involves representing geometric objects in multidimensional planes. Geometry is useful for programming. Cartesian geometry is useful for vector graphics, game development, and low-level computer graphics. We can simply work with 2D and 3D arrays as plane axes.

GetWindowRect is a Windows GUI SDK geometric object.

High-level GUI SDKs and libraries use geometric notions like coordinates, dimensions, and forms, therefore knowing geometry speeds up work with computer graphics APIs.

How does exponentiation's inverse function work? Logarithm is exponentiation's inverse function. Logarithm helps programmers find efficient algorithms and solve calculations. Writing efficient code involves finding algorithms with logarithmic temporal complexity. Programmers prefer binary search (O(log n)) over linear search (O(n)). Git source specifies O(log n):

Logarithms aid with programming math. Metas Watchman uses a logarithmic utility function to find the next power of two.

# Employing Mathematical Data Structures

Programmers must know data structures to develop clean, efficient code. Stack, queue, and hashmap are computer science basics. Sets and graphs are discrete arithmetic data structures. Most computer languages include a set structure to hold distinct data entries. In most computer languages, graphs can be represented using neighboring lists or objects.

Using sets as deduped lists is powerful because set implementations allow iterators. Instead of a list (or array), store WebSocket connections in a set.

Most interviewers ask graph theory questions, yet current software engineers don't practice algorithms. Graph theory challenges become obligatory in IT firm interviews.

# Recognizing Applications of Recursion

A function in programming isolates input(s) and output(s) (s). Programming functions may have originated from mathematical function theories. Programming and math functions are different but similar. Both function types accept input and return value.

Recursion involves calling the same function inside another function. In its implementation, you'll call the Fibonacci sequence. Recursion solves divide-and-conquer software engineering difficulties and avoids code repetition. I recently built the following recursive Dart code to render a Flutter multi-depth expanding list UI:

Recursion is not the natural linear way to solve problems, hence thinking recursively is difficult. Everything becomes clear when a mathematical function definition includes a base case and recursive call.

# Conclusion

Every codebase uses arithmetic operators, relational operators, and expressions. To build mathematical expressions, we typically employ log, ceil, floor, min, max, etc. Combinatorics, geometry, data structures, and recursion help implement algorithms. Unless you operate in a pure mathematical domain, you may not use calculus, limits, and other complex math in daily programming (i.e., a game engine). These principles are fundamental for daily programming activities.

Master the above math fundamentals to build clean, efficient code.

Katrine Tjoelsen

1 year ago

## 8 Communication Hacks I Use as a Young Employee

Learn these subtle cues to gain influence.

Hate being ignored?

As a 24-year-old, I struggled at work. Attention-getting tips How to avoid being judged by my size, gender, and lack of wrinkles or gray hair?

I've learned seniority hacks. Influence. Within two years as a product manager, I led a team. I'm a Stanford MBA student.

These communication hacks can make you look senior and influential.

# 1. Slowly speak

We speak quickly because we're afraid of being interrupted.

When I doubt my ideas, I speak quickly. How can we slow down? Jamie Chapman says speaking slowly saps our energy.

Chapman suggests emphasizing certain words and pausing.

# 2. Interrupted? Stop the stopper

Someone interrupt your speech?

Don't wait. "*May I finish?*" No pause needed. Stop interrupting. I first tried this in Leadership Laboratory at Stanford. How quickly I gained influence amazed me.

Next time, try *“May I finish?” *If that’s not enough, try these __other tips__ from Wendy R.S. O’Connor.

# 3. Context

Others don't always see what's obvious to you.

Through explanation, you help others see the big picture. If a senior knows it, you help them see where your work fits.

# 4. Don't ask questions in statements

*“Your statement lost its effect when you ended it on a high pitch,”* a group member told me. Upspeak, it’s called. I do it when I feel uncertain.

Upspeak loses influence and credibility. Unneeded. When unsure, we can say "I think." We can even ask a proper question.

Someone else's boasting is no reason to be dismissive. As leaders and colleagues, we should listen to our colleagues even if they use this speech pattern.

Give your words impact.

# 5. Signpost structure

Signposts improve clarity by providing structure and transitions.

Communication coach Alexander Lyon explains how to use "first," "second," and "third" He explains classic and summary transitions to help the listener switch topics.

Signs clarify. Clarity matters.

# 6. Eliminate email fluff

*“Fine. When will the report be ready? — Jeff.”*

Notice how senior leaders write short, direct emails? I often use formalities like "dear," "hope you're well," and "kind regards"

Formality is (usually) unnecessary.

# 7. **Replace exclamation marks with periods**

See how junior an exclamation-filled email looks:

Hi, all!

Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow! We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake! Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!

See you soon!

Why the exclamation points? Why not just one?

Hi, all.

Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow. We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake. Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!

See you soon.

# 8. Take space

"Playing high" means having an open, relaxed body, says Stanford professor and author Deborah Gruenfield.

Crossed legs or looking small? Relax. Get bigger.

Ari Joury, PhD

1 year ago

## 7 ways to turn into a major problem-solver

For some people, the glass is half empty. For others, it’s half full. And for some, the question is, *How do I get this glass totally full again?*

Problem-solvers are the last group. They're neutral. Pragmatists.

Problems surround them. They fix things instead of judging them. Problem-solvers improve the world wherever they go.

Some fail. Sometimes their good intentions have terrible results. Like when they try to help a grandma cross the road because she can't do it alone but discover she never wanted to.

Most programmers, software engineers, and data scientists solve problems. They use computer code to fix problems they see.

Coding is best done by understanding and solving the problem.

Despite your best intentions, building the wrong solution may have negative consequences. Helping an unwilling grandma cross the road.

How can you improve problem-solving?

# 1. Examine your presumptions.

Don’t think *There’s a grandma, and she’s unable to cross the road. Therefore I must help her over the road.* Instead think *This grandma looks unable to cross the road. Let’s ask her whether she needs my help to cross it*.

Maybe the grandma can’t cross the road alone, but maybe she can. You can’t tell for sure just by looking at her. It’s better to ask.

Maybe the grandma wants to cross the road. But maybe she doesn’t. It’s better to ask!

Building software is similar. Do only I find this website ugly? Who can I consult?

We all have biases, mental shortcuts, and worldviews. They simplify life.

Problem-solving requires questioning all assumptions. They might be wrong!

Think less. Ask more.

# Secondly, fully comprehend the issue.

Grandma wants to cross the road? Does she want flowers from the shop across the street?

Understanding the problem advances us two steps. Instead of just watching people and their challenges, try to read their intentions.

Don't ask, How can I help grandma cross the road? Why would this grandma cross the road? What's her goal?

Understand what people want before proposing solutions.

# 3. Request more information. This is not a scam!

People think great problem solvers solve problems immediately. False!

Problem-solvers study problems. Understanding the problem makes solving it easy.

When you see a grandma struggling to cross the road, you want to grab her elbow and pull her over. However, a good problem solver would ask grandma what she wants. So:

Problem solver: Excuse me, ma’am? Do you wish to get over the road? Grandma: Yes indeed, young man! Thanks for asking. Problem solver: What do you want to do on the other side? Grandma: I want to buy a bouquet of flowers for my dear husband. He loves flowers! I wish the shop wasn’t across this busy road… Problem solver: Which flowers does your husband like best? Grandma: He loves red dahlia. I usually buy about 20 of them. They look so pretty in his vase at the window! Problem solver: I can get those dahlia for you quickly. Go sit on the bench over here while you’re waiting; I’ll be back in five minutes. Grandma: You would do that for me? What a generous young man you are!

A mediocre problem solver would have helped the grandma cross the road, but he might have forgotten that she needs to cross again. She must watch out for cars and protect her flowers on the way back.

A good problem solver realizes that grandma's husband wants 20 red dahlias and completes the task.

# 4- Rapid and intense brainstorming

Understanding a problem makes solutions easy. However, you may not have all the information needed to solve the problem.

Additionally, retrieving crucial information can be difficult.

You could start a blog. You don't know your readers' interests. You can't ask readers because you don't know who they are.

Brainstorming works here. Set a stopwatch (most smartphones have one) to ring after five minutes. In the remaining time, write down as many topics as possible.

No answer is wrong. Note everything.

Sort these topics later. Programming or data science? What might readers scroll past—are these your socks this morning?

Rank your ideas intuitively and logically. Write Medium stories using the top 35 ideas.

# 5 - Google it.

Doctor Google may answer this seemingly insignificant question. If you understand your problem, try googling or binging.

Someone has probably had your problem before. The problem-solver may have posted their solution online.

Use others' experiences. If you're social, ask a friend or coworker for help.

# 6 - Consider it later

Rest your brain.

Reread. Your brain needs rest to function.

Hustle culture encourages working 24/7. It doesn't take a neuroscientist to see that this is mental torture.

Leave an unsolvable problem. Visit friends, take a hot shower, or do whatever you enjoy outside of problem-solving.

Nap.

I get my best ideas in the morning after working on a problem. I couldn't have had these ideas last night.

Sleeping subconsciously. Leave it alone and you may be surprised by the genius it produces.

# 7 - Learn to live with frustration

There are problems that you’ll never solve.

Mathematicians are world-class problem-solvers. The brightest minds in history have failed to solve many mathematical problems.

A Gordian knot problem can frustrate you. You're smart!

Frustration-haters don't solve problems well. They choose simple problems to avoid frustration.

No. Great problem solvers want to solve a problem but know when to give up.

Frustration initially hurts. You adapt.

**Famous last words**

If you read this article, you probably solve problems. We've covered many ways to improve, so here's a summary:

Test your presumptions. Is the issue the same for everyone else when you see one? Or are your prejudices and self-judgments misguiding you?

Recognize the issue completely. On the surface, a problem may seem straightforward, but what's really going on? Try to see what the current situation might be building up to by thinking two steps ahead of the current situation.

Request more information. You are no longer a high school student. A two-sentence problem statement is not sufficient to provide a solution. Ask away if you need more details!

Think quickly and thoroughly. In a constrained amount of time, try to write down all your thoughts. All concepts are worthwhile! Later, you can order them.

Google it. There is a purpose for the internet. Use it.

Consider it later at night. A rested mind is more creative. It might seem counterintuitive to leave a problem unresolved. But while you're sleeping, your subconscious will handle the laborious tasks.

Accept annoyance as a normal part of life. Don't give up if you're feeling frustrated. It's a step in the procedure. It's also perfectly acceptable to give up on a problem because there are other, more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

You might feel stupid sometimes, but that just shows that you’re human. You care about the world and you want to make it better.

At the end of the day, that’s all there is to problem solving — making the world a little bit better.