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David Skok

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Top Stories by David Skok

Intro Many potentially great companies fail each year because, while they have an incredible product, they don’t figure out how to get it to market fast enough. Figuring out how to reach customers and break through to Product-Market-Fit remains one of the hardest parts of building a successful startup. This post introduces a four stage... ... (more)

The Best VAR Management Program in the World?

How SolidWorks grew to $400m a year in revenues by helping their VARs become world class business leaders. SolidWorks was started back in 1993 with the vision of bringing solid modeling for mechanical design to the masses. Before SolidWorks entered the market, solid modeling was only available from PTC at $20,000 per seat, on expensive Unix workstations. Jon Hirschtick, the founder, set out to change all of that by offering a fully featured product at a fraction of the price. He also decided to use a reseller model to get the widest distribution at the lowest cost. This combinat... (more)

Six Things VCs Look For in An Investment

As a serial entrepreneur, I learned a lot of lessons from things that didn’t work. These lessons later on shaped my ideas on what would be needed to build a successful startup company. When I became a VC, I realized that these same lessons could be applied to helping evaluate the many businesses that I was getting to see. Whilst the following criteria are by no means a guarantee of success, or the only criteria that you should think about, I do believe they can be very helpful. So in no particular order, here is a list of six questions that I learned to ask to validate my own st... (more)

Lessons Learned – Viral Marketing

A short study of this web site reveals that a hugely important factor for success in startup companies is finding ways to acquire customers at a low cost. In the Business Models section, we looked at the perfect business model: Viral customer acquisition with good monetization. However viral growth turns out to be an elusive goal, and only a very small number of companies actually achieve true viral growth. In 2005, I invested in a company called Tabblo (acquired by HP in 2007), and had the good fortune to work with an outstanding entrepreneur, Antonio Rodriguez. Tabblo did mana... (more)

Startup Killer: The Cost of Customer Acquisition

In the many thousands of articles advising entrepreneurs on what they have to focus on to build successful startups, much has been written about three key factors: team, product and market, with particular focus on the importance of product/market fit. Failure to get product/market fit right is very likely the number 1 cause of startup failure. However in all these articles, I have not seen any discussion about what I believe is the second biggest cause of startup failure: the cost of acquiring customers turns out to be higher than expected, and exceeds the ability to monetize th... (more)