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I'm building or buying a CRM-like system. You can help.

Hello, reader of my blog!

I meet lots of people.

I can't keep track of everyone.

This is costing me all sorts of bad things. I'm missing opportunities to connect with good people, and since 90% of interesting things in life are the result of connecting with good people, I think this is really a big leak of good things from my life.

I've decided to get a CRM-like system. CRM stands for "customer relationship management" - it's commonly used in sales to track what communication you've had with a prospect/client/etc in the past. Have they gotten a brochure? Have you talked with them on the phone? Did you followup after they bought? How happy were they? Did they fill out a testimonial? Did they refer anyone? Did you send them a gift for referring someone? What's their birthday? Etc, etc.

Optimizing Product/Market Fit: First Be Proactive. Then Be Reactive.

On DROdio

I just read this post about how the startup Level Up has raised $41MM but may now be running out of cash, and according to the article is down to half its previous employee count.  It got me thinking about a big mistake I see startups make, which is over-extending before finding true product/market fit.

I was well aware of this danger at Socialize, and we still made that mistake.  At one point in early 2012, we were up to 16 employees.  When we sold to ShareThis, we were down to six.  It's not that six employees was too few -- it was exactly the right number and type of employees for the stage of our company -- it's that sixteen was way too many.  We didn't absolutely need that many people to build and sell our product, even though we felt at the time that we did.  The six employees that ended up forming the core of our company in the year before we sold it were all very key employees and are incredibly productive, and that's what we needed to find product/market fit.  

So if a CEO is acutely aware of the issue and still falls into the trap, I can't imagine what the siren call of rapid expansion does to CEOs who aren't watching out for it.  But it is possible to get around it:  On the opposite side of the spectrum you see companies like instagram that sold for $1 billion with just a dozen employees.

So I've come up with a mental framework to optimize the outcome of a new startup dealing with this issue.

Daniel's Framework For Optimizing Product/Market Fit:

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