If your revenue plan isn’t written in stone, your expense plan shouldn’t be either

One of the (many) benefits of being an early stage private company is that you don’t have to forecast your revenue and earnings to the public to judge 

It’s great because you can change it without having a massive impact on your company quarter to quarter. 

Often times when we see early stage startups predict revenue they almost always get it wrong. Even the best performing companies will get it wrong as it often takes longer and is harder to scale revenue that originally believed.  That’s why we don’t really obsess on revenue forecasts, particularly in an early stage, capital efficient company.

But while revenue plans aren’t written in stone in those early days, your expense forecast shouldnt be either. 

The timeline the company originally came up when raising that last round was likely something like the classic, “this will last 18 months”. That’s a perfectly fine approach as we don’t like to see a financing last the company less than that. 

But there is nothing about that expense plan that should be written in stone. I recommend working backwards and decide if you have enough time to make the progress you need. Revisit your assumptions Don’t take anything for granted. If you need more time then slow down the burn rate. This means either reducing that aggressive hiring plan you originally came up with, or you may need to reduce the team. Neither are exciting but not giving the company enough time can be much more painful. 

I’ve been through all of these scenarios, as an investor, board member and from working inside startups. Staying lean and mean is always better than being forced into fund raising. 

As the experience of TV viewing continues to evolve, our TV partners have consistently asked for one common benchmark from which to measure the engagement of their programming. This new metric is intended to answer that request, and to act as a complement and companion to the Nielsen TV rating

Twitter Blog: Coming Soon: Nielsen Twitter TV Rating

Years ago, my partner Todd years called Twitter “the EKG for television”. Very cool seeing this idea productized. 

The health of a platform (continued)

There are a lot of wars in the mobile and social space these days.

Perhaps, the wars are in every sector but I’m focused on mobile and social so I see it more.

Anyway, Google is unique because they build apps and they build a platform (android).

Several months ago, I was thinking out loud if Google would make a version of Maps for iOS that would be as good as their Android version. There were varied opinions if Google would do that. Many believed Maps is a killer mobile app and Google would keep it for themselves. 

I was hoping they would put down their weapons and focus on their users first and wrote this at the time.

This is the opportunity for Google to change the cycle of history and these platform wars. I’d love to see Google step up and create a kick ass version of Maps for iOS *and* Android. It would take courage and conviction and it would be inspiring. 

Last week Google did just that. They build a kick ass version of Maps for iOS. And during that same week they build a kick ass version of Gmail for iOS. It has replaced the native mail app for me. 

Google gave some folks one less reason to buy an Android phone. But I’m delighted they are paying attention to their users first vs giving their platform and unfair advantage. And for these decisions, I say, good on you Google.

There are plenty of other areas where Google and other companies in the mobile and social space can put down their weapons, call and truce and take care of their users. But last week was a refreshing start and I’m happy about that. 

Hi Bijan! I’m considering buying a Leica camera, noticed you have one and post some wonderful shots from it, and figured you’d be a good person to ask this: how does the Leica perform in low light situations? Do you find you get satisfactory results or do you take multiple shots and luck out with one? Thanks!

Hi.

I have a Leica M9-P and it isn’t an easy camera to make photographs in low light. 

It can get noisy about ISO 1000. And the lack of autofocus makes it even more challenging at times. But I’m still pleased with the results. However low light plus movement is something I haven’t been able to figure out. 

If you aren’t used to shooting with a rangefinder it will take a lot of practice. I also have a few other cameras in my arsenal that I will carry if I know in advance the lighting will be tricky.