I’ll admit that I love a good dashboard. As an aid to SaaS operators seeking to optimize business performance, dashboards can be invaluable.[1] Stephen Few defined a dashboard as, “a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance.” This is a useful definition that makes clear: dashboards are instruments of control. Specifically, just as dashboards within vehicles aid in the controlled navigation of those machines, company dashboards help leaders drive organizations forward while controlling speed, direction, and business…


As he does in his blog with astonishing frequency, David Cummings last week put his finger on a pervasive problem in startups: complexity of messaging. To cap-off a characteristically well-constructed case for communicating with simplicity, the post concludes with this guidance to operators: “The next time you describe your product, competitive position in the market, or value add, reduce the complexity of the verbiage. Increase the understandability. Make it clear.” Such great advice; and I’ve been thinking about it all week. But, like many things in life, it is easy in theory // difficult in practice. …


In September of 2020, I attended SaaStr Annual and wrote about it here. It was my first fully virtual multi-day conference; and there was a real novelty factor to it. Seven months and several digital conferences later, I’ll admit to eagerly awaiting the return of in-person industry events. Still, I was pretty fired-up to take part in SaaStr Build this week; and it did not disappoint. The return on my time-invested was high, with a mix of valuable takeaways and follow-up research to do. My hope in this post is to succinctly share some of my personal highlights with anyone…


How to turbo-charge your valuation.

Valuations for publicly traded SaaS businesses are bananas right now. At the time of this post, Zoom’s enterprise value relative to its last twelve months of revenue (EV / LTM) was an eye-popping 58.41x. Veeva’s EV / LTM ratio was 37.02x; and “lowly” Salesforce’s was 10.03x. And it’s not just the stock market; valuations for privately owned SaaS businesses are also flying high. Against this backdrop, a colleague recently shared with me commentary from a similarly frothy time for software businesses. …


Tis the season…not for jolliness…but for annual forecasting. Countless companies spend the month of December frantically closing out the current year, while scrambling to codify goals for the fiscal year ahead. So, for many small-scale SaaS businesses, this is decidedly NOT the most wonderful time of the year. Rather, when it comes to financial planning and analysis, it can be a time of feast or famine. Famine in this case is represented by simply not doing any intentional planning. A surprising number of small software companies don’t share fiscal goals with their teams, or even set formalized financial plans whatsoever…


Note: This is a loosely defined “Part 2” to a prior post entitled: “Pulling Up from the Weeds of Cash Conservation.”

There is an old English adage: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As explained in this HBR article and per the website PhraseMix, “This phrase is usually used to give advice to someone who’s using their money, power, or skill in a way that’s not very wise.” …


It was 2001; and my boss was impressive — some would say intimidating. A whiz-kid founder and CEO of a fast-growing start-up that had raised capital at lofty valuations, he was precociously business-savvy and had a seemingly unshakable self-confidence. All of which made it that much more remarkable when he put his hands up and uttered those unforgettable words: “You convinced me.”

The truth is that we had very different leadership styles; and I often found myself filing the minority report when it came to debates among our company’s leadership team. But on this day, (and many times thereafter), I…


From time to time, we use this forum to share observations and trends from webinars or virtual conferences (here); and sometimes we invite guest-bloggers to offer insights from their own experiences (here and here). This post does both of those things at once. Our friend and peer, Mike Dzik, is a Growth Partner at Radian Capital (full disclosure: one of Lock 8’s investors), where he works with Radian’s portfolio companies on their respective go to market strategies spanning marketing, sales and customer success initiatives. Last week, Mike attended the TOPO Virtual Summit a three-day virtual conference for sales, sales development…


The television series Undercover Boss has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years. Now entering its eleventh season, the show features “high-level corporate execs (who) leave the comfort of their offices and secretly take low-level jobs within their companies to find out how things really work and what their employees truly think of them.” For cringe-worthy viewing, this one totally hits home for me.

But I also like the show’s more serious theme of “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” in order to deeply understand that person’s experience. At Lock 8, we’ve adapted this concept to help provide…


As a card-carrying introvert, I’ve always found industry conferences to be exhausting. Likewise, over recent months, Zoom Fatigue consistently crushes me by mid-day Friday. So, I figured that a pandemic-induced remote conference would be some kind of “snakes on a plane” hybrid, uniquely designed for my personal torture. But, having just concluded my first honest-to-goodness attendance of a multi-day virtual trade conference, I am pleased to report that I was totally wrong. Rather, the SaaStr Annual at Home conference this week was engaging, informative, and — I can’t believe I’m writing this — energizing. Having been freed from the relentless…

Todd Gibby

SaaS operator-turned-investor | Founder of Lock 8 Partners | Sharing observations, thoughts, and lessons learned from the ever-educational journey.

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