My B2B experience

30 bite-size learnings I’ve collected from my B2B experience:

1. If the problem is not measured, it’s not worth solving. There is no market.
2. Or if the problem is not imposed by a new regulation or a market shift, there is no market. E.g., new gambling regulation making the Bet Buddy solution a standard.
3. Miracle sales talent doesn’t exist. This is YOU. Why? You know the problem you are solving best and care about it the most.
4. 70% of early-stage sales is about exciting prospects about YOU. 30% is about the product and process. Building that initial understanding and shared view of how to solve the problem is half the job.
5. The sales team should never lead the product roadmap.
6. Prospects that ask for just one more feature will never buy. This is hard to resist as founders love to build.
7. As a startup, if you haven’t contributed to an RFP, you are used to fill in the number of responses. It’s ok to participate to learn, but you will never win.
8. Respond to your customers quickly. This is your leverage against incumbents that are slow. And they are all slow.
9. Don’t spend time getting on the approved supplier lists. Find a buyer and a specific problem to solve. The buyer will get you approved.
10. In a saturated market, focus on secondary needs which are usually underserved. E.g., AI for legal teams as primary vs. helping manage multi-team comms at law firm projects as secondary.

11. Sales partnerships at an early stage are a waste of time. Don’t even think about them. Large companies have their own numbers to make, and they will never ever mention you or your product.
12. Aim to spend 24 months to figure out the product/market fit (PMF). You will get rejected, invalidated, and redirected.
13. Often, the best PMF strategies target an uneconomical use case for incumbents. Incumbents have a large cost base and are slow. This is your advantage.
14. Your PMF will not be the one you came up with and in the market you originally targeted. It will most likely be in an adjacent market.
15. Finding PMF is a process of elimination, not a deterministic outcome. Think of it as a scientific discovery vs. delivering a waterfall project.
16. In B2B, PMF is made up of product/buyer fit (PBF) and product/user fit (PUF). Focus first on PBF as you have 12 months until renewal to solve PUF.
17. PBF is personal. You need to get on with a buyer, help them be successful, and project a solution to their specific organizational problem.
18. PUF is factual. You need to demonstrate the usefulness of your product by ROI, engagement (MAU), or NPS. You have a year to do this but start tracking and engage the buyer to be your product promoter from Day 1.
19. Send the renewal invoice 3-6 months early. Half of the time, it just gets paid.

20. If the demo is focusing on software, you will never sell. Focus on the problem it’s solving. The best demo meetings start by the prospect showing you how they are managing the problem now which your software is solving (the Salesforce way).
21. Share your pricing early. It’s important for building trust and transparency. Incumbents have opaque pricing which everyone hates.
22. If you don’t understand the buying process, you don’t have a go-to-market (GTM) figured out.
23. Figuring out GTM will take twice as long as building the product.
24. Being very specific is the fastest way to sell and build trust. The prospect will think, “This product is built for us.”
25. The only way to sell is to go deep and niche. Why? If your product overlaps with incumbents, procurement will default to them.
26. You want to be seen as unique to offer a very specific solution. A broader solution will overlap with incumbents. You will lose.
27. The early adopters that need their problem solved will not care about much else if your solution is solving their problem from Day 1.
28. Claim to have ISO and InfoSec. The user won’t care about them, but the buyer will. You are selling to the buyer, not the user.

29. Figure out the standard tech stack in your market and adopt it, e.g., banks use Java, fintech uses Python. The buying team is made up of engineers too. You want them to agree with your (their) choices.
30. Forget the latest tech. No one cares. Only some engineers developing their skills for their next gig care.

AI business review

AI Opportunity Study: Harnessing AI for Business Growth and Efficiency

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a game-changing technology, transforming industries and reshaping the way businesses operate. However, navigating the AI landscape can be complex, especially when it comes to identifying how it can drive growth and efficiency within your specific business context. This is where an AI Opportunity Study comes in.

What is an AI Opportunity Study?

An AI Opportunity Study is a targeted, time-boxed project that aims to deliver high-impact results in key areas of your business by leveraging the power of AI. With my extensive AI experience gained from working in startups and Meta, I conduct a comprehensive study of your business to identify areas where AI can drive growth, improve efficiency, and provide a competitive edge. But what does this entail? Let’s dive into the scope, approach, and deliverables of an AI Opportunity Study.

Scope of an AI Opportunity Study

An AI Opportunity Study covers all key aspects of your business operations to assess where AI can be beneficial. This includes:

  • Operational Processes: Examining business operations to identify areas where AI can automate manual tasks, improve efficiency, and reduce errors.
  • Customer Interactions: Evaluating customer-facing processes to determine how AI can enhance personalization, customer service, and engagement.
  • Data Analysis: Reviewing your data capabilities to understand how AI can deliver deeper insights and support decision-making.
  • Innovation Potential: Assessing how AI can drive innovation in your product or service offerings, creating new business opportunities and competitive advantage.

Approach to an AI Opportunity Study

The AI Opportunity Study follows a structured and systematic approach:

  1. Initial Consultation: Understand your specific business objectives, operations, and current technology landscape.
  2. Feasibility Study: Evaluate the feasibility of AI implementation in different areas of your business, taking into account both technical and business considerations.
  3. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to understand the return on investment of potential AI initiatives.
  4. Prototyping: Develop AI prototypes to test and validate potential AI solutions in a real-world context.
  5. Strategic Roadmap Development: Based on the findings, create a strategic roadmap for AI implementation.

Deliverables of an AI Opportunity Study

At the end of the AI Opportunity Study, you can expect the following deliverables:

  • A comprehensive report detailing the potential areas where AI can drive growth and improve efficiency in your business.
  • Feasibility studies and cost-benefit analyses of potential AI initiatives.
  • Prototypes of AI solutions to demonstrate their potential impact.
  • A strategic roadmap outlining the steps for AI implementation, including suggested AI initiatives, prioritization based on potential impact and feasibility, and an implementation timeline.

In conclusion, an AI Opportunity Study serves as a critical step in your AI journey. It provides a clear understanding of how AI can be leveraged within your specific business context and equips you with a strategic roadmap to harness AI’s power effectively. With my experience in AI, I can guide you through this process, ensuring your business is well-positioned to leverage AI for growth and efficiency.

business review due diligence

IT Healthcheck: How good is your IT?

In the current AI age, businesses are heavily reliant on their IT infrastructure to stay competitive and efficient. However, with the rapid pace of technological change, it can be challenging to keep up and ensure that all systems and teams are functioning optimally. That’s where an IT Healthcheck comes in.

What is an IT Healthcheck?

An IT Healthcheck is a targeted, time-boxed project that aims to deliver high-impact results in key areas of your IT operations. As someone with decades of experience in the tech industry, I leverage my expertise to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your IT organisation, infrastructure, systems, and practices.

The goal is to identify potential areas of risk, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement to ensure that your tech operations are robust, secure, and fit for purpose. But what does this process entail? Let’s delve into the scope, approach, and deliverables of an IT Healthcheck.

Scope of an IT Healthcheck

An IT Healthcheck covers all critical aspects of your IT operations. This includes:

  • Hardware and Software: Checking the age, relevancy, and effectiveness of your current technology stack.
  • Network and Security: Assessing the security measures in place and the overall performance of your network.
  • IT Processes and Procedures: Reviewing your IT management strategies, including data backup, disaster recovery plans, and incident response.
  • IT Governance: Evaluating the alignment of IT strategy with your business objectives and compliance with relevant regulations.
  • IT Teams and Organisation: Evaluating your IT organisation setup, and performance, and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Approach to an IT Healthcheck

The IT Healthcheck follows a systematic and thorough approach:

  1. Initial Consultation: Understand the organization’s specific needs, objectives, and current state of IT operations.
  2. Data Collection: Gather comprehensive data about the IT organisation, infrastructure, software, procedures, and security measures.
  3. Analysis: Analyze the collected data to identify potential risks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement.
  4. Recommendations: Based on the analysis, provide clear and actionable recommendations to enhance the IT operations.

Deliverables of an IT Healthcheck

At the end of the IT Healthcheck, you can expect the following deliverables:

  • A comprehensive report detailing the current state of your IT infrastructure, systems, and practices.
  • An analysis of potential risks and inefficiencies and areas for improvement.
  • Actionable recommendations to enhance the robustness, security, and efficiency of your IT operations.
  • A strategic roadmap for implementing the recommended actions.

In conclusion, an IT Healthcheck serves as a proactive measure to ensure your IT operations are up-to-date, secure, and efficient. It provides valuable insights into your current IT state and equips you with a strategic roadmap to future-proof your IT organisation and infrastructure. Leveraging my extensive tech experience, I can help you navigate this process and ensure that your business is well-positioned to leverage technology for success.

book leadership

Due Diligence for CEOs, CTOs & Engineering Managers: The main business findings that matter to your organization

It’s Here!

“How to check if what they are saying is true?”…or…”A No-Nonsense Guide to Tech Due Diligence” or some other catchy title like that.

My new book “Due Diligence for CEOs, CTOs & Engineering Managers: The main business findings that matter to your organisation (Short books for busy managers series)” is now available. 

The book costs less than a tunafish sandwich and, honestly, smells a lot better.

It explains the most important due diligence areas and findings you should know about as a business leader when identifying and quantifying the risk of partnering with a supplier or investing in a business.

It does it in terms so simple even CEOs and CTOs can understand it.

If you love me like you say you do, here’s what to do:

   1. Go here and buy the book.

   2. Write a glowing review of the book and post it on Amazon.

   3. Then, if you have a 10 minutes to kill, read it.

book leadership

The 1 Rule for CTOs & Engineering Managers: Focus on Impact

Pleased to say that our second book in a series aimed at CTOs and Engineering Managers has been published on Amazon.

This 10-minute text explains the single most important rule CTO and Engineering Manager should follow based on our experiences at Meta and other organisations.

Forget technology. Forget investors. Forget shareholders. Forget Scrum. Forget DevOps. Learn how to make impact quickly in your role as a CTO or Engineering Manager.

If you found value in this super-short read, we’d be grateful if you’d leave an honest review on Amazon. It’ll take a few seconds of your time, and your support makes a real difference. 

book leadership

Contracts for CTOs: 9 commercial contract clauses that really matter

Pleased to say that our first book in a series aimed at CTOs has been published on Amazon.

This 10-minute text points CTOs to the 9 commercial contract clauses that really matter. Forget technology. Forget sales talk. Forget the promises you’re given. Learn how to add value to your role as CTO by reducing costs and increasing profit.

Commercial contracts are where risk and reward meet, and you need to be able to navigate that intersection.