Categories
Behavior Brain Neuroleadership Neuromarketing Neurosales

There is No Black and White in this Picture

Are you sure that no single pixel is pure black or pure white?

Are you sure it isn’t all shades of gray?

According to Wikipedia, “black and white thinking (also called splitting or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism.”

Even to this day, I am realizing, it is so important to view decisions and behaviors outside of black and white thinking. The dichotomy clouds perception and reaction to events in life. Honestly, this jading is not some opinion on my own. This is based on the view of thousands of experts and deep research. I also see it in myself without question, as well as in others who are close to me.

As an example, we can see black and white thinking when we compare linear to non-linear thinking. See this great article by Jody Michael Associates. Their suggestion for seeing things by shades of gray is, “self-awareness, empathy, curiosity, mindfulness and slowing down reactive tendencies.” The go on to cover flexibility, emotional intelligence, somatic (non-verbal) communications, seeking personal and professional growth, and recognize blind-spots. Black and white thinking is pervasive, it exists on multiple spectrums for many variables.

The stand out comment for me in this article (as a nerdy and passionate guy who loves neuro-leadership, neuro-sales, and neuro-marketing), is that changing habits in ourselves is the grand majority of what it takes to move your own needle on black and white thinking. It sounds simple and easy, but it isn’t.

Changing perception and changing habits are terribly hard to do.

Categories
B2B SaaS Behavior Brain Business Design Business Growth Decision Making Design Thinking Entreprenuer Financial Analysis Financial Analysis and Automation Machine Learning Meta-Data Order to Cash Pattern Matching Search Engine Start-Ups Value Creation

We All Share Meta-Data

Meta-data is really, really really special. If you haven’t taken time to understand it in depth, you should. Why?

Here are the key points of why, IMHO:

  • Meta-data is constantly searched by the most powerful compute clusters and semantic engines on Earth, and Google is the most used.
  • By organizing, scoring, matching, and optimizing all types of content, meaning, and context, search engines help power commerce (and even life) across trillions of dollars of transactions around the world.
  • We use search every day without thought.
  • Search engines are found in almost every software-based application we use, and we use software more in our daily lives than ever in the course of human history.
  • Search engines are powered by some of the most advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms ever written by some of the smartest engineers in the history of the world. Search engine investments have provided one of the most prolific returns of any in history.

Why do I care about meta-data?

One of the things I am most passionate about in life is the ability to change human behavior and help direct it on to paths for growth. Search engines already help do this by matching life experiences. For example, experienced professionals can offer advice to younger professionals, who can search and find it. Therapists can do the same with people seeking help. Husbands and wives can do the same. Search even helps to predict our mates.

Our future is a wonderful probabilities and optimization problem, which is driven by meta-data, search, and machine learning. Today, I believe our growth as humans is powered mostly by a) search technology andb) other humans…and it will transform to another state in the future…transforming lives.

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Yes, this post is a little intellectual, but I am trying to find the voice in my passions, and I was trying to make a point about meta-data : ).

Categories
B2B SaaS Business Growth Financial Analysis and Automation

Why I Joined SaaSOptics: $13 Billion Reasons for B2B SaaS Startups

Today, I am very thankful and excited to announce my new gig!

After consulting for several months, I have joined SaaSOptics.com full time – where I will lead product growth strategy.

SaaaSOptics provides automation and analytics for order to cash at B2B SaaS startups and scale-ups—ultimately, our software helps raise money, respond to board inquiries, use KPIs to invest resources within their company, and much more. (Section 3 explains the business outcomes you can achieve with our software.)

Why do I love this company?

Why do I think others should find out if SaaSOptics is a fit for them as a customer or employee?

If you are inclined to learn more, let me mention why in 5 parts…


An aside: After spending 10 years working on my second blog (2008-2018) and never getting around to re-implementing my first blog (on pMachine Expression Engine in 2004 <head scratch>), I am starting a new blog here to start a new milestone in my life journey.


Part 1. $13 Billion Reasons (and Dollars Raised)

Our target market is B2B SaaS companies from roughly $1,000,000 to $50,000,000. 

  • We have over 600 customers—these are basically all high-growth companies and sell software across industries and departments. 
  • We provide them with financial automation and analytics for order to cash processes (also known as subscription management). We usually sit between CRM and the general ledger, focused on revenue not cost.
  • These companies provide artificial intelligence, IoT, advanced marketing, IT security, education, media, and much more—for example, Bizzabo.com, Crunchbase.com, Chilipiper.com, StructionSite.com, Skywire.com, and Profitero.com

These companies pull data directly from SaaSOptics analytics and financial reporting to a) build trust with investors and b) support their valuation during fund-raising.

Collectively, our software has helped B2B Startups raise over $13B USD across 1300+ rounds of funding. This includes dozens and dozens of the best venture capitalists on Earth!

The B2B SaaS market gets me very excited. Why? I was a product manager in my first job—and led a SaaS solution in 1998. I have worked in the space for 20+ years and have worked in product marketing or a related role for 10+ SaaS products. I started my own SaaS company at one point and tried to create an angel fund in the SaaS arena for human cloud services.

This market gets me totally pumped. I love the entrepreneurs and teams who want to change their industry.

Part 2. The People at SaaSOptics are Awesome

For 10 years, I have wanted to work again for my mentor, colleague, and friend Dave Ryan. Why? Because he is one of the best humans I’ve ever worked for. I worked for the company he founded and led, MarketingCentral.com, in the 2000s (just before he started SaaSOptics).

When I reached out to Dave last year about SaaSOptics, I knew he had surrounded himself with a great team of people, starting with his two co-founders, Clayton and Matt—adding many good peeps along the way.

Here is what I have found:

  • Today, we have over 80 employees (and are growing in high double digits YoY). We have some amazingly passionate and professional people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. I’ve often heard people complain about the millennial generation at work, but you haven’t seen these folks. Smart as shit. Hard-working. Love to learn. Want to make a difference. They are awesome.
  • Our executive team and founders are top-notch in every way. No jerks allowed—they are people who treat others well and have integrity in the area. Data driven. Customer driven. Enterprise value driven. Experts in SaaS financials and funding. Strong financial acumen. Great at relationship building. Don’t like big egos. Know how to deliver trust and value (from the Alston Gardner school of sales). I could go on and on. 
  • Having worked at 7 companies in my career and consulted with dozens more, I see clearly that the culture, teamwork, and decision-making are strong. So many of the non-exec-team leaders are awesome too—HR, product, customer success, sales, marketing, engineering, finance, operations—basically every department has some bad-asses. In fact, our employee recognition award is called “The Bad Ass Award.” We have won “best places to work” awards. We have fun together.

In 2000, I interviewed a prospective senior executive during a recruiting process, and I have never forgotten what he said—that who you work with is as important, or more important, than how much money you make or exactly what you do. I didn’t believe it as much in my younger years, but he was so right. (I will say, if you have all three, you should thank your lucky stars every day when you wake up.)

Now that I have spent 45 years on the planet, I believe co-workers share a journey together. There is some part of our lives that overlap while we work together. Sometimes, we become life-long friends and stay in touch for decades. We see each other marry and have kids, and more. I am very lucky and thankful to work alongside such a wonderful group of people.

3. Amazing Product, Focused on Customer Success

We have a world-class product and customer success team. 

I first found this out when I wrote the company’s first 3 case studies—roughly 6 years ago. At the time, I got to interview the CEO and Founder of Greenhouse.io, the CFO of Schoology, and a fractional CFO. It was immediately apparent just how much the application was valued by B2B SaaS start-ups. We were helping these companies scale their financial operations and nail fund-raising. For example, one company raised something like $80M in 5 rounds over 2.5 years. You don’t do this without an awesome financial product and a software vendor who can help your customers get maximum value from the product.

  • We are loved by our customers with a 97.5 customer satisfaction score.
  • We have been recognized by industry media and analysts—for example, being on the Inc. 5000. 
  • We have been around 10 years and have customers who have been with us that long .
  • We have dozens and dozens of great testimonials.
  • We have high scores on sites like G2 Crowd. And more…

When it comes to business outcomes, our software and services help CFOs, CEOs, their investors, and their companies achieve the following:

  • Increase cash flow 25-50% by reducing A/R
  • Push finance team hiring decisions by 12-18 months
  • Improve trust with investors, maximize enterprise value, and reduce valuation risk
  • Support GAAP compliance, closes, funding, audits, tax compliance, board meetings, and budgeting with automation, analytics, and accurate data
  • Process new customers, revenue recognition, and future invoice schedules in less than one minute
  • Transform order-to-cash processes from 100% manual to 50% or even 90% automated
  • Report revenue accurately
  • Never miss a renewal
  • Reduce internal communications about customer financial status by as much as 90%

4. Opportunity—to the Tune of $6B

When you work at companies like SaaSOptics, there is tremendous opportunity:

  • We just raised $12M in series B funding after a record breaking 2019. Our A round investors have returned for round B.
  • Our Q3 had 70% year over year growth.
  • Since January of 2018, we have grown ARR by 105%, added 50 employees, and grown our customer base by 58%.
  • We have been on the Inc. 5000 twice. In 2018, we were #1596 with 387% growth over three years. In 2019, we jumped to #1085. The average growth rate for the year has been 157.4%.
  • We were named one of Atlanta’s fastest-growing private companies in Atlanta Business Chronicle and also won their Pacesetter award. 
  • The Technology Association of Georgia awarded us one of the most innovative companies of 2018.

But, the thing that blows me away the most is this.

Over $6B+ in invoices pass through our system.

We have more financial transaction data going through our platform than many regional banks. We automate and analyze $6B+ in revenue—24 x 7 x 365 days a year.

5. My Passions Too—Can I get a Hell Yeah?

Now, here is the icing on the cake for me. And, it gives me more than goosebumps. It makes me grateful beyond a level I can communicate easily—and I have written a gratitude journal for 10 years.

When I draw a Venn diagram of my passions, the three circles are a) personal and business growth, b) design thinking, and c) the brain science behind human behavior and decision-making. I’ve been interested in the first since I was about 12 years old. The second I became passionate about in college, and the third started 10 years ago.

Here is what is amazing. The executive team connected these passions with my role. Many people don’t explore their passions. Others find them and don’t pursue them. Some people know what they really are. Others pursue with difficulty finding a path. But, when you get them to line up with your everyday job, you are in an amazing place. 

Now, I feel like I retired at 23 because I’ve always loved what I’ve done in the software industry and with the related data and media machines. I loved working in artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing arenas for years—ecstatically learning about IoT, PaaS, and 10TB memory grids. I loved learning about early short-form media like podcasting and vlogging. I loved learning about CRM data models and marketing analytics. I have loved creating internet applications, like WebMD, and things that are new to the world. I have loved trying to start 20 businesses over the years.

But now I get to apply my life-long passions to such an amazing opportunity?

I am truly blessed—and blessed is not a word I use often, only when it is felt deeply. I am very grateful—and grateful is a word I use every day. And, fuckin eh man—that is a word I probably use more than I should—but…hell yeah…I am really excited..and this opportunity deserves it.

Thank you to everyone who, along my journey, helped guide me here (purposefully or not :). 

And, thank you to the founders and founding investors of SaaSOptics who have done the work and taken the risk so that many of us get to experience such a great opportunity in our short time on this planet.

Thanks for Reading!

Kindly,

Adam