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21May/18Off

70% of Value in Tech is Driven by Network Effects

NFX ran a study on all unicorn businesses (e.g. worth $1BB or more) since the Internet was widely available in 1994. 336 companies met this criteria.

Of those, 35% of those companies had network effects (NFX) at their core. However, they were more valuable than companies without network effects, so they added up to 68% of the total value.

Are NFX the core driver of growth to startups we're overlooking?

On the one hand, the study is skewed towards examining only unicorns. So this data doesn't even consider centaurs (e.g. $100MM+ valuations). On the other hand, there is something to be said about examining what made the best, the best.

Are there other factors that drive major value to a startup? Your thoughts?

16May/18Off

Beating remarketing addiction and testing for incremental value using Google Analytics

Trying to kick remarketing ads? Contributor Andreas Reiffen discusses why you may be addicted to them and explains how KPIs directly aligned with business objectives help avoid the vicious cycle that comes from ROAS-based objectives. Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
10May/18Off

Putting a value on a story

Walk through the diamond district in Manhattan and in the course of one block, at least a dozen men will stop you and ask if you're hoping to sell a diamond ring.

A few blocks away, Tiffany will happily sell you a diamond ring.

Buy a $7,000 ring at Tiffany's and walk over the one of these guys and you'll be lucky to get $1,000 for your new ring.

That $6,000 is what you paid for the story.

It's the cost of the box, the lighting, the salespeople, the architecture and most of all, the special feeling.

Do a blind taste test. In one glass, wine from a $10 bottle. In the other, wine from a $200 bottle. The untasted difference between the two is what you paid for the story.

The list goes on and on.

Just about everything we buy comes with a story included.

And yet, most creators, sellers and marketers don't invest enough, don't take enough care, and don't persist enough in making sure the story is worth what you paid for it.

       
7May/18Off

Learning by fixing – the value of triage engineer rotations

Breaking things and fixing them again is one of the best ways to learn. I learned this lesson early, thanks to my younger sister and her Japanese robotic toy dog. Somehow, I convinced her to let me take apart her robodog so I could see how it works.

“I’ll put it back together. Don’t be such a baby!”

How wrong was I? It would probably have been easier to put back together a Volkswagen Beetle than this toy dog. There I was, sitting clueless on the floor, surrounded with plastic parts and electronics. My sister was crying and I was sweating, trying to fix everything before our parents returned home. In the end, just in time, the dog was put back together (albeit with some mysterious spare parts hidden in the bin).

Fixing things and building things are very different to one other

Still, I learned a lot that day. I learned that engineering is hard. I learned that breaking things feels bad. I learned that trying to fix things can be stressful. I learned that fixing things and building things are very different to one other. But above all, I learned that trying to fix things is actually a great way to learn.

Introducing triage engineer rotations

I often think of that incident because I’ve found many of those lessons resonate with the way we do things at Intercom, particularly in the way we separate the different processes of building and fixing.

Recently, Brian Scanlan wrote about how we developed an out-of-hours on-call team to deal with emergencies and ensure the best possible uptime for our product while avoiding burnout among engineers.

But we also have a way of optimizing our on-call process during the working week to allow engineers to focus on building rather than being distracted by fixing issues.

We introduced the idea of having a triage engineer rotation. Every week, we nominate a triage engineer for the team, who serves to shield teammates from distractions during the working hours. Their teammates, in turn, are able to deeply focus on their goals. But the benefits go much further than fostering better focus.

Triage engineer mission and expectations

Your main mission as the triage engineer is to shield teammates from distractions. That means being the first one to answer any messages regarding the team and the systems you own. You report issues status to the team in the morning stand-up and inform them of anything relevant.

Also, the triage engineer should manage high-priority issues, investigate new issues, and, if time permits, fix low-priority issues. If some issues require more planning to be resolved, triage engineer will suggest them as next week’s tasks during a planning meeting.

Triaging issues

Triaging is nothing more than determining the priority of an emergency. The prerequisite for this process is that each team should have a set of categories covering their area of responsibility. These can be created as labels or tags within your issues tracking software. We use GitHub for issues tracking.

There are several steps we take while triaging an issue, and the workflow looks like this.

Triage engineering workflow

How to assess priority of issues

An important part of the process is assessing the priority of issues as they arise. In general, we follow these prioritization guidelines:

  • P1
    A primary workflow in Intercom is broken, or not working as expected. The relevant team should immediately work on this above all other commitments. A P1 should never be open and not being investigated.
  • P2
    A specific feature or part of Intercom isn’t working as expected. However, it doesn’t prevent users from completing primary workflows. At the latest, this should be scheduled into the relevant engineering team’s following week’s plans.
  • P3
    Minor items where something is technically broken i.e. things are not working as designed. Engineering teams should react on a case by case basis depending on the other priorities.

At the end of the week, organize a short issues hand-off. Use this meeting to inform the next on-call triage engineer about the important issues left open or possible issues arising. That’s it! You’re now ready to handle any issue flying your way.

Time for triage: Investigating issues

There’s a lot of prejudice among engineers against fixing the boring old issues. Everyone wants to work on a fancy new project. However, it can actually be a lot of fun playing detective with an issue. Digging around and exploring the existing systems is a great opportunity to learn. Investigating issues will force you to actually read and understand other people’s code.

Engineers realize the value of not breaking things

That brings me back to a few of the big lessons I learned trying to fix my sister’s robodog. Fixing things is one of the best ways to learn. It’s also incredibly satisfying. But the triage rotation also gives engineers a real system of ownership and responsibility. If I didn’t have to fix that robodog, I wouldn’t have learned exactly how bad it feels to break something.

By regularly working triage rotations, engineers realize the value of not breaking things, or more precisely, the value of building them to be stable and resilient. They get a broad context of what the team owns and how things work, and where weaknesses can occur.

It’s hard to decide an engineer should exclusively focus on being the distraction shield for a week, but the dividend is double-sided – the other teammates are able to do deeply focused work without the distraction of issue alerts, while the insights you get from doing the on-call triage rotation are invaluable.

A lot of this sounds like common sense, but a surprising number of companies don’t manage to implement an approach like this. The cost isn’t just in unresolved issues, but also in constantly broken focus. That makes it harder not just to fix things, but to build them in the first place.

If this sounds like the sort of environment that you would enjoy, we are actively hiring – check out our openings.

Careers at Intercom

The post Learning by fixing – the value of triage engineer rotations appeared first on Inside Intercom.

4May/18Off

Using machine learning to get more value out of your Facebook campaigns

Contributor Laura Collins explains how to securely get the most out of Facebook's trove of user rich data and take advantage of its sophisticated machine learning to improve campaign performance. The post Using machine learning to get more value out of your Facebook campaigns appeared first on...
Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
4May/18Off

Using machine learning to get more value out of your Facebook campaigns

Contributor Laura Collins explains how to securely get the most out of Facebook's trove of user rich data and take advantage of its sophisticated machine learning to improve campaign performance. The post Using machine learning to get more value out of your Facebook campaigns appeared first on...
Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
3May/18Off

Prioritizing Creativity and Societal Value Will Lead to Organic Brand Growth

The best interests of businesses and societies haven't always been on different trajectories. From the Industrial Revolution to the birth of modern economies, these two were often unified. Innovation in business went hand-in-hand with improvement to quality of life, and the ambitions of business and society were fundamentally intertwined. Railways, for example, lowered shipping rates,...
3May/18Off

Prioritizing Creativity and Societal Value Will Lead to Organic Brand Growth

The best interests of businesses and societies haven't always been on different trajectories. From the Industrial Revolution to the birth of modern economies, these two were often unified. Innovation in business went hand-in-hand with improvement to quality of life, and the ambitions of business and society were fundamentally intertwined. Railways, for example, lowered shipping rates,...
27Apr/18Off

Surefire tactics to get the most value out of budget-limited campaigns

Since few people have money to burn, contributor Amy Bishop shares how to get the best return on your AdWords campaigns by understanding what is valuable and trimming wasted spend. The post Surefire tactics to get the most value out of budget-limited campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Land.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
22Apr/18Off

What Is Link Reclamation & How to Regain Lost Link Value by @annaleacrowe

Link reclamation regains lost link value, which can quickly increase your rankings and link profile.

The post What Is Link Reclamation & How to Regain Lost Link Value by @annaleacrowe appeared first on Search Engine Journal.