which would you rather be?

in life, and in your startup, what would you rather be?

this earth digger?

moving earth one bucket at a time


    this guy, who skates almost frictionless on ice?

its kind of a loaded question.

yet, it is surprising how often in life and in business we choose the digger.

in Start-up life, as en entrepreneur or CEO, there are several ways you can make your life easier.

yet some people choose to dig a hole rather than skate.

the most common way to make life hard for you self is in your business model.

the most common mistake that is still common amongst early-stage SaaS startups is to go for direct sales:

  • it is costly.
  • it takes a long time to figure out
  • it changes the DNA of your company early. how easy is it to change later to Self-Serve after your VP sales has dedicated a year to sell direct.
  • it effects the leads you seek, and their costs
  • it gives a false sense of control
  • oh yeah, and the switch later, is really painful

most of the above applies to our bad-traits as individuals, too.

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9 Responses to “which would you rather be?”

  1. Avi Kedmi Says:

    Sometime you start with Direct to build credibility in the market as OEM is difficult to convince when you don’t have proof of customers.

    But then comes the question how many customers you need for OEM to kick in….

    no doubt it is totally different company DNA.

    • adisababa Says:

      avi, thanks for your comment
      OEM is a great model. it allows for scale at low costs. i agree that very few OEMs will partner with a startup, if the startup does not posses some assets, namely desirable customers and a clear way to sell to them.
      SaaS is a bit different in the respect, as usually SaaS comapnies do not go for OEM. there is still a great similarity: how your package and deliver the product. In OEM, from my experience, if you just have a technology that a few innovative customers said “yes” to, but your packaging and delivery model is not suitable for the OEM, the OEM relationship will have many promises and many disappointments. this comes up with SaaS as well. you start direct, but hope to reach scale with self-serve. it turns out the packaging and delivery are very different and the awareness and switch are difficult.
      i have gone direct to prove the point with several portfolio companies. but few and far between are the CEOs who realize this is just a phase, a learning or discovery period, and every lesson needs to be abstracted, “modeled” and turned into a process that can be automated later for a large mass of low touch customers. we stay tuned to the short term goals, quarterly results, meeting targets, controlling costs and forget to do the real important work that – own and protect the business model. then we run out of money, it is time for the next round, and we go to fundraising with a non-scaleable model and promises of change that never comes. i have spent $10s of millions on this mistake and have seen very few people that have been disciplined enough to avoid it. Sam Somech of Itemfield, sold to informatica, did a great job in building a company for OEM model

  2. אורלי Says:

    Dear Adi, This post rings a bell. You ought to be the one who coined the moto in Mash”am: עדיף להיות חנון עסיסי מגזעי יבש
    Boker tov, Orly

  3. liorzad Says:

    Hey Adi –

    Great post – I like the glider assuming he is not crashing into a wall, I also like the digger, assuming he is digging for gold.

    In life I think it is complicated – it is all a balancing act between insight and scalability – especially for Startups –

    It is all about the right distance – 🙂 Proxemics is a great word. 🙂

    Look at my post on Product Management – Mind the Gap – love to know what you think.



    • adisababa Says:

      Proxemics is the study of measurable distances between people as they interact. The effects of proxemics, can be summarized by the following loose rule:
      “ Like gravity, the influence of two bodies on each other is inversely proportional not only to the square of their distance but possibly even the cube of the distance between them”
      kind of hurts when my four siblings are 10,000 kms away

  4. adisababa Says:

    no doubt, the past 30 years have been wonderful for us nerds. from being perhaps the least popular kids in school, we have had nice careers, made more money we could ever dream off, roamed the globe, had great experiences. now, it is time to decide what we really, really want to do with the rest of our lives. our time here is short, and i am not sure the wonderful career opportunities we got access to, have lead us to the right balance

  5. אורלי Says:

    אם לא השתנית מהותית ב- 22 השנים האחרונות והזיכרון שלי מאז לא מאוד מוטה אז הרעיון שעשוי להתאים לך על מנת לממש באמת באמת את מה שאתה רוצה זה למצוא יוזמה בלי תוצרת עם טייטלטורה (“מספר ארדש 2”) אלא כזו שתידרוש ממך להיות ולעשות משהו שרק אתה בעצמך בלעדית יכול לעשות כי אתה עדי פונדק מינץ 🙂

  6. אורלי Says:

    שתבוא עליך שנה טובה

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