Why you should NOT cold-email Steve Ballmer
Recently, Elizabeth Yin of LaunchBit wrote an article called “Why You Should Cold-Email Steve Ballmer.” In the article she says to aim high in a corporation to as a way to reach the decision makers that can then delegate down to lower level employees for action.
Traditionally this is how enterprise sales have worked, but I think there is a new trend of “bottom up” sales that has proven to be a very effective and arguably better way to do enterprise sales.
The Yammer Example
Probably the biggest example of a bottoms up approach to enterprise software has been Yammer. They took the approach of being very valuable to employees by solving their problems on a small scale, and making it easy to invite their coworkers to start using the service. When they would reach enough people in a company, only then would they go to a VP or C-level person and say, “All your employees are already using our product. Let’s just make it official. $$$” Working your way into an organization like this is how you become a $1.2 billion company in 4 years.
Tech companies are riddled with software development tools that started from the bottom up. Think about Github, Pivotal Tracker, and Basecamp. While working at Zappos, the call came down from the top that we needed to start tracking our time with this tool called AtTask. After using the tool one time, we started rioting, picketing, and boycotting against the tool because it was horrendous, unusable, and honestly made us scared for our jobs.
Maybe You Don’t Need the Whole Enterprise
Recently I’ve been looking for “ins” at some very large corporations at the very bottom of the food chain. Not because I want to work my way up through the corporate hierarchy, but because I the business model I’m pursuing doesn’t rely on closing the “big deal.” Corporations are a wealth of knowledge and traffic, so I’m interested in the folks on the front lines.
So instead of thinking about how you can close the big deal, try thinking how you can change your value proposition to close smaller deals that can grow into big money makers.
March 27, 2013 at 12:04pm
Is Your Startup Community Screwed When the Poster Child Leaves?
Today, one of the first Vegas Tech Fund startups Romotive, announced that they would be leaving Las Vegas for Silicon Valley. This is huge news for our fledgling Vegas Tech community. But is it bad news? I don’t think so.
At, first my mind went straight to, “Oh noes! Romotive is implying that you can’t grow past a certain size here in our community.” After reading Frank Gruber from Techcocktail’s point of view, though, I completely changed my attitude.
Yes, it sucks that they’ll be leaving our community. Keller, Phu, Peter, Jen and other Romoites are good friends of mine. Now they’ll live far away and I won’t be able to hang out with them eating, drinking, and playing ping pong during community dinners. What is awesome about this change though, is that they’re an awesome company. They’re going to be around for a long time. They’re going to change the world, and they started all of that right here in downtown Las Vegas.
Romotive came here with a Kickstarter win, and a couple of robots. In less than 2 years they left with 20 people, millions of dollars, and connections to pretty much any resources they’ll need.
Tech communities are very much like company growth networks. If your community can be really valuable to small startups and help them get to around 20 people quickly, and then move on, that’s a good thing. That’s very attractive to other small startups. So we’ll just have to own that for a while, be the “accelerator city” that Frank talked about. As we get a flow of startups coming in, exploding, and moving out, Vegas will start to be more valuable past the 20 person mark and it’ll get to critical mass.
I wish Romotive the best of luck changing the world!
An Introduction is in Order
I moved to Las Vegas in 2008 to work for Zappos.com. To be honest, I thought I would be aiming for San Francisco where “all the cool tech companies” were. Then I found this little island in the desert.
That island got really small when I discovered that Zappos was pretty much it when it came to technology, culture, and passionate people here in Vegas. Or so I thought…
For me, what started out as two cool bars that only locals went to, has turned into what I like to think of as a revolution. I personally feel like my small contribution to this revolution is in helping to build the tech startup community here.
What follows this post are articles, quotes, and personal experiences I’ve had or stumbled across.