Every so often, I like to take on new personal projects.

This year, I am trying out video blogging. Specifically, I am posting to YouTube about my experience going under the knife to treat a herniated disc — dubbed “Post-Op Stories“. I’ve been living with a lot of pain since July 2017, and chose surgery (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)) as the solution.

I found a lot of disparate feedback about the patients, their situations, their treatments, and their long-term results. So, I’ve decided to video blog about the whole undertaking – weeks leading up to surgery for preparation, and then (now), days, weeks, and months post-op. All this to help others understand treatment options, specifically the ACDF, and for me to experience video blogging on a regular basis. Plus, this will help keep me accountable to following specific regimens to maximize my recovery.
You can check out the episode with the link below. Follow along the story, or just pick specific topics/ episodes for what could be interesting. Let me know what you think! 

Recently, I was reading an article in IndieHackers where a member sent out a landing page for an idea hoping to lean on sign-ups as a proxy for interest. With good interest, he would continue to chase the idea. However, he didn’t receive any sign-ups or feedback. He was stuck and was looking for feedback. One commenter pointed out the 90/9/1rule of contributors.
  • 90% of the web is made of consumers (“lurkers”).
  • 9% will contribute occasionally, not often.
  • 1% contribute to most of the web. This can apply to social networks, sign-ups, etc.

There are many ratios that have developed over time in business. These are not hard-fast rules. Instead, they are general observations much like the golden ratio in nature or pi. Here are a few other rules.

  • 80/20where 20% of “xyz” contributes to 80% of some result. In consulting, I used to find ~20% of product SKUs contributed to 80% of the company revenue.
  • 10/10/100from a sales leader panel about terminating a sales associate for poor performance/ poor fit. As a sales leader, you’re only aware of 10% of the whole problem. The fear of addressing the problem is 10 times the reality. And these problems are typically solved 100 days late.
  • 10xis commonly referred to as the net benefit needed for a prospect to switch to a new solution as a “must-have”. A venture capitalist (VC) once told me you have to be at least 5x better/ improvement to even be remotely considered.

What are some other ratios you’ve heard of? (Outside of financial ratios.)

Today, I’m spotlighting two Atlanta-based SaaS startups that are on a tear in growth – LeaseQuery and OneTrust. Both of these companies have experienced monumental growth by addressing excruciatingpains. In fact, those pains are brought about by regulations forcing companies big and small, near and far to address.
LeaseQuery is addressing the upcoming FASB 842 and IFRS 16 regulations where companies must now disclose its leases on the balance sheet. Before, companies could just lump leases as lease expenses, never actually disclosing what the leases were. All public companies are to report leased assets (e.g. real estate, vehicles, ovens, etc.) starting in 2019. Private companies must start recording in 2020.

OneTrust’s rise has been further pronounced after it’s more public position in enabling companies to manage data privacy. Facebook’s recent handling of user data that was scooped by Cambridge Analytica was an example of user privacy being a hot topic. Europe’s newest crackdown on how people’s data is stored by corporations called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has helped accelerate OneTrust’s significant growth. GDPR goes into effect May 25, 2018 affecting any company with any data of the European Union’s population – sold customers or not. This regulation will influence data protection guidelines worldwide with significant fines for any (and each) infraction of companies violating GDPR.
These companies were started by founders not only experiencing the pains themselves, but by founders who saw the emerging trends worldwide. By moving swiftly to address these pains, they’ve been able to learn and leverage that growth for even faster growth. It’s a beautiful thing to watch companies addressing real pains scale.
What are some other companies that have addressed legal and regulatory changes? Are there changes you know about in your area/ industry of expertise that have not been addressed yet (or minimally)?

Desire for achievement is best demonstrated during in the “interims”. What happens during interims have the greatest influence on results.
What is an interim? An interim is the moment between two moments, activities, or events. A moment, activity, or event could include:
  • When a bodybuilder is working out in the gym.
  • When a marketer launching or in the middle of a campaign push.
  • When a singer is on stage.

An interim then, is the in-between period between workouts at the gym, marketing campaigns, or on-stage during concerts. Interims are when desire shines greatest. This is where success is created.

I thought about this as I was leaving the gym the other day. As I left, I saw folks who had just arrived sitting on a couch. Clearly, they were waiting for others. If they sit there for 5-10 minutes, that’s 5-10 minutes they could have spent warming up. That’s 5-10 minutes they could have put their things away in the locker room. This, of course, does not include the time at home with diets, sleep, etc. However, the details during interims including those immediately leading up to a new event are just as telling.
When a woman with an idea says she wants to leave her job and start her own business, but spends hours sitting in front of the TV after work, she’s not building towards her goal. Her interim time is spent watching TV, not on customer discovery. She’s not learning how to program. She’s not performing customer discovery.
Contrast the actions of Cristiano Ronaldo, five-time Ballons d’Or and Real Madrid stalwart. Cristiano is a well-known fanatic about his post-game recovery and pre-game preparation – the meals he consumes, recovery rituals, etc.
Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, is another prime example of an individual who excels during interims.
The actions of individuals during interims can be a type of “bias towards action”, but it goes beyond that. It’s a reflection of the desire and action to achieve. The habits during the interims create long-term effects beyond the events themselves in reaching goals.
What are you doing during your interims? Why?

I attended a meetup recently with a Q&A session with George Azih CEO of LeaseQuery, a company that has grown from 5 to 50 employees in the last year. His company is solving a real pain-point. In fact, what his tool provides addresses a mandate by upcoming financial reporting regulations — specifically, lease accounting.

Having spent several years growing the business largely alone, he de-risked much of the business by proving traction. The company has been able to grow at rocket-pace all while still being bootstrapped. Nice.
A couple points that he attributes to the company’s success so far:
  • The product is a SaaS application that helps companies comply with new accounting regulations around lease accounting. Read: This is a MUST-have.
  • He has a strong leadership team that he regards as the three legs of a stool – he runs product and has two partners, Chris and Brendan, running sales and engineering, respectively.
  • The company sells and collects 3-year commitments upfront. This reduces the risk of vendor change after one year (and two). Instead of providing discounts, the company assures customers their price will be locked with continual product improvement.
  • His primary role as CEO is now removing impediments from the team. He enables his team to do their best work.
  • The real impetus for George to focus on the product/ company after 3 years as a side-gig was a stress-induced illness.
  • Building the business slowly also helped George become a deep expert in this area of accounting. He shared his knowledge via blog posts to build credibility with his target audience.
  • The CEO’s number one tip is how bad things can actually be good… and conversely, good things can be bad. Read: do your best with what you’ve got.

Not to take away from the great leadership and team in place executing, but it’s powerful to see how a MUST-have product can help a company grow.