Small businesses represent 85% of all Massachusetts companies and employ over a quarter of the workforce. There's room for you here!
Source: Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Despite agreeing with much of "Inbound Marketing," I have until now resisted the use of numbered lists in blogging. "Inbound Marketing" co-author and HubSpot founder Brian Halligan, who spoke today at MIT's Momentum Summit (#mosum) is a numbered-list-evangelist. In deference to Brian and to kick-start this blog, here it goes:
5 Things I learned at the Momentum Summit -
#1 - Successful entrepreneurs obfuscate the key ingredient to their success. CTO and Kayak co-founder Paul English's assertion that Kayak's unique ability to deliver an "intuitive user experience" is pivotal to its success, reminds me of Tony Hsieh's insistence that a corporate culture of happiness is the reason for Zappos astronomyical revenues and mind-blowing success. Even though I want to believe that happy employees can drive the kind of profits Zappos enjoys, I agree with a commentator (whose name eludes me right now) that the key to Zappos early success is much more simple - "Free Shipping Both Ways." When an audience member pressed English for details about how Kayak goes about creating such a unique "intuitive user experience," he explained that Kayak has patented the process, and therefore declined to give specifics.
#2 - There are not nearly enough women in this space (or women are not receiving adequate recognition). The entire slate of entrepreneurs who spoke at the Momentum Summit were men. In several instances software developers, engineers, and sales executives were referred to as "the guys."
#3 - Low operations cost is king. Kayak receives $2 million in revenue for each employee, and plans to grow larger than its primary competitor, Expedia, with a tiny fraction of the number of employees (2%). Carbonite's CEO and co-founder David Friend explained that its competitive advantage lies in its ability to purchase unprecedented quantities of online storage space, and hence offer the lowest price for unlimited backup storage. Even though the discussions led with the remarkability of the product, the team, and the customer service, low operational costs and high efficiencies are critical to the high-growth companies that presented today.
#4 - "Outbound marketing" and P/R are dead, or deadish, or perhaps alive and kicking. HubSpot's Brian Halligan speaks so passionately about the death of traditional forms of marketing (including p/r), it's hard not to nod along in agreement (as many, many people in the audience did). However David Friend spoke as convincingly about Carbonite's success in brand-building through traditional media - advertising on NPR, Google, and every conceivable outlet that produces the desired ROI. According to Friend, Carbonite is a "marketing machine," which could not possibly have been sustained through bootstrapping. Friend asserts that Carbonite has demolished its competitors through its high-volume purchases of online storage and brand-building through traditional marketing techniques.
#5 - Great companies are centered on teams of exceptional people. Super-efficient engineers with diverse experiences (and high levels of tolerance for loud red phones, customer complaints, and spontaneous meetings of new potential employees), are the driving force behind Kayak. The two leaders at Carbonite focus on their core areas of strength - one in developing software and the other in raising money. Most of HubSpot's employees blog and tweet, even though they are merely encouraged and not required to do so.
And this concludes the first in a series of five numbered lists (just kidding). Let's see how this one goes. Did you attend #mosum? We'd love to hear your thoughts -