davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Finding a Startup Idea

Last week I was talking to an entrepreneur and the topic of finding a startup idea came up. It got me thinking about the different ventures I’ve been a part of and where the ideas originated. Let’s take a look at a few. Freelance Consulting When I was in high school and college the dot com boom was in full effect. As a self-taught programmer, I built dozens of websites and received a recurring question: how do I update my site?...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

High Growth Startup, 0 Employees

An area I’m especially fascinated with is the future of work. Of course, the pandemic significantly broadened that interest through forced remote/virtual work and many discussions of how the office will change going forward. Last week I read one of the most incredible examples of a high growth startup scaling successfully with zero employees. Yes, no employees, eight figures of revenue, and almost a triple digit growth rate. So, how...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Pipedrive and Gainsight Exiting to Private Equity

Recently Vista Equity Partners announced separate acquisitions of Pipedrive for $1.5 billion and Gainsight for $1.1 billion. Both startups are highly regarded as category leaders in SMB CRM and enterprise customer success, respectively. Let’s take a look at some quick data points from each. Pipedrive – Sales CRM and Pipeline Management 95,000 customers (source)664 employees (source)$90M in funding (source)Founded in 2010 Gainsight...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Startup Lessons from The Perfect Store

In the late 1998 I loved eBay and was on it daily. At the time, I’d buy sports cards from across the country to resell them in my local region. On eBay, I’d focus on Atlanta Braves players — my favorite team — and buy stars like Chipper Jones at half the Beckett pricing guide value from dealers in places like Seattle. Then, as a high school senior, I’d drive to baseball card shows and setup a dealer table selling to people in...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Running the Product/Market Fit Engine the Superhuman Way

Every so often I come across a podcast interview that is so profound and thoughtful that I stop everything and concentrate on the content. Last week I listened to an interview with Rahul Vohra, the founder of Superhuman, and it was one such show. There were a number of takeaways over the course of an hour, but the most interesting part for me was about thinking through product/market fit. Here are a few notes on Rahul’s ideas...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Everyone Feels Above Average At Angel Investing

Over the years I’ve talked with a number of friends that have expressed interest in angel investing. Typically, they say something like, “I’m looking to make 10 investments so that I’m sufficiently diversified and financially successful.” Then, they offer up an oft repeated refrain of how the investments will play out: 3 failures ($0)3 get the investment back (1x)3 make a good return (2-3x)1 excellent return (10-20x) After...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Find Your Digital Mentors

Last month I was on a panel discussing the importance of mentors and how they really helped me in my career. The panel moderator asked for recommendations on how to find mentors and I gave my favorite answer: start with digital mentors. Digital mentors are people that you don’t know but they help you through their books, blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts. Digital mentors don’t have to be traditional writers, rather its people...

davidcummings.org davidcummings.org

Startup State of the Union Slide Deck

Early in the Pardot days, it was clear things were going well and we had something special. Only, we were inexperienced and didn’t know what we were doing (does anyone, really?). My concern was ensuring we grow faster than the market, and to do that we had to ensure our employees’ personal growth was even faster than our company growth. For me, my needed personal growth was around communications and company alignment. To facilitate...