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Operating Partner #214

Happy Thursday <<First Name>>

My heart goes out to all of the families who lost a loved one this week in the tragic shooting in Texas. As a father of two school aged children, this news hits too close to home. It's absolutely terrible.

Thank you to all who sent me notes about my friends who passed. I read each one and responded.  I truly appreciate this community and how special it is.

One of my portfolio companies Virgin Voyages just released a new video spot which some of you may have seen during the Celtics vs. Miami game this past weekend. AdAge gave a nice writeup. A lot of data informed the creativity of this advertisement - and frankly, it's more creative than most spots on television. Who said that advertisements have lost their creativity?

A shoutout to one of my angel investments, Altan Insights, an alternative asset intelligence platform, for raising their $4M Series Seed.

Before we begin, here are some solid reading to get started with: I hope you enjoy this OP - we're finally back to regular issues. Feels good to get one of these out again! As always, please reach out with any questions or feedback.

-Darren

Back to Basics

This piece applies to b2b and b2c businesses.

I think I wrote something similar back on my blog in 2008/9 when the market cratered. I got good feedback on it then, and hopefully, the piece's evolution is helpful to you.

We cannot control the market, and it will do what the market will do. If you can control it, maybe it's for a super short period. A healthy market will go up and down, but if you believe in the economy, the market should increase over the long term. Define long by whatever you want, but I am using a 50+ year horizon. 

But today and yesterday, and most likely tomorrow, the market is doing something that we have not seen in a while - declining. Many companies have been trading at high valuations, some that did not make sense, over the past few years. 

Now that we've surpassed most stimulus and the realities of a potential post-pandemic society are in our sights, we are starting to witness a sell-off. 

Companies that were once super high fliers have traded down in price. Some alternative assets have traded down too.

As business leaders, senior functional leads, and employees of organizations, what do we do when the market seems to be going down…and down?

In short, make sure you've got your basics covered in an environment where everything is hot, and it's hard to miss.

Step back and assess the situation you are in. Does your team have the basics covered?  

For instance, when was your team last talking about search engine optimization? 

When did your team last talk about marketing yield? When did your team last talk about contribution margin on a per sku basis?

Those are just some examples of what I mean by "back to basics." No regrets decisions you can make - in an up, flat, or down market that will help protect your business and, frankly, you.

Also, know your operating metrics and data. Now, there is no better time to understand your CACs, LTVs, contribution margin, attach rates, channel level ROI, etc. The more you know now, the better your decisions about increasing (or decreasing) investments in your areas such as marketing, digital, e-commerce, etc.

Last, ask your customer service team or engineering team about the last ten trouble tickets submitted. Read them over, and do so each day/week. These are customer pain points. Focus on fixing those pain points. In a down market, customers will rethink every dollar they are spending… do not give your customers a reason to cancel you.  

Jobs From the OP Community

From time to time, I publish jobs across the OP community and within my portfolio in this newsletter. If you have a job/role that you want to promote, please send me a paragraph such as the ones below.  I do not charge for promoting jobs in the newsletter but they must be relevant to this community. I reserve all rights (s) to approve/publish jobs.

Growth Manager. Datonics. Datonics is looking for a Growth Manager with experience in scaling a B2B SaaS product from the early stage through high growth. Your role will include defining, coordinating, and executing strategies that support Datonics’ business objectives, including brand awareness, audience engagement, and B2B user acquisition for our suite of Shopify applications and SaaS data enrichment offerings.

Director, Analytics & Behavioral Insights. Zelis. We’re building a team that’s tackling the biggest challenges in healthcare payments. We are searching for a Director, Analytics and Behavioral Insights to support the growth of our company as we expand our teams. Responsible for leading and communicating the long-term strategic vision, roadmap, and evolution of Member Journey Analytics function and aligning the adoption roadmap across various Member Analytics teams.

Director, UI/UX Leader. Zelis. Develop and advocate an end-to-end human-centered design (HCD) process for the Member Empowerment team. Includes enforcement and governance of the HCD process by which the team drives “Consumer-first” product development. Influence and partner with related UX, UI and Human Centered Design teams across the enterprise. Develop, maintain, and execute on appropriate A/B testing and multivariate analysis in coordination with matrixed partners.

Articles To Read

Here are some articles that should keep you busy during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend...  or don't read these articles and enjoy some time reflecting and relaxing.

VCs and the Impending Gloom (Dan Primack)

Inside TikTok’s Explosive Growth (Alex Kantrowitz)

Cyber Insurers Raise Rates Amid a Surge In Costly Hacks (WSJ)

Amazon Opens First Brick-and-Mortar Clothing Store Near LA (Bloomberg)

Google’s Mandiant Deal Aims to Automate More Cybersecurity Services (WSJ)

Even Among Corporate Raiders, Elon Musk is a Pirate (NYT)

Why TV Advertising’s Measurement Currency Change Won’t Happen in This Year’s Upfront Cycle (Digiday)

‘Cost-Conscious Consumers, Restrictive Economy’: Advertising’s Tough Ride in 2022 (Digiday)

What Are The Most Important Ecommerce Dates for the 2022 Holiday Season? (Salsify/Caesar)

Digital Transformation On The CEO Agenda (McKinsey Digital)

How Do You Measure Success in Digital? Five Metrics for CEOs (McKinsey)

Air Travel Forecast: When Will Airlines Recover from Covid-19? (Bain)

Staying Bullish on Startups Right Now (@apartovi)

Nielsen Measurement Alternatives Tests Reveal Concerning Data Trend (AdAge)

Amazon Aims to Sublet, End Warehouse Leases As Online Sales Cool (Bloomberg)

Third Highest Number of S&P 500 Cos Citing “Supply Chain” On Q1 Earnings Calls In Over 10 Years (Factset)

Adam Mosseri Says He Wants Big Tech to Give Up Control (Wired)

Designing Token Economies (Packy McCormick)

The Era of Borderless Data Is Ending (NYT)

The Bot That Saw The Times (Columbia Journalism Review)

Why America Has So Few Carpenters (The Hustle)

Google Takes Yet Another Run at E-Commerce - And Amazon (Bloomberg)

Thank You for Reading

Thanks for reading OP #214. I hope you enjoyed this OP.

Durhamism # 1140: "Go the extra mile. It's never crowded."

Darren / @dherman76
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