The Reality Thanks to our
line of credit, we still have a long runway. Retention hasn’t gotten much worse; it just hasn’t gotten better. By being cautious and conservative, we can be profitable again in June 2014. The worst part – the waiting & wondering - is behind us. Now we just need to make our subscription better and delight our customers.
Why Does a Company Exist?
“Many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. While this is an important result of a company’s existence, we have to go deeper and find the real reasons for our being. As we investigate this, we inevitably come to the conclusion that a group of people get together and exist as an institution that we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately—they make a contribution to society." - David Packard
Defining Core Purpose Purpose (which
should last at least 100 years) should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies (which should change many times in 100 years). Whereas you might achieve a goal or complete a strategy, you cannot fulfill a purpose; it is like a guiding star on the horizon -- forever pursued but never reached. Yet although purpose itself does not change, it does inspire change. The very fact that purpose can never be fully realized means that an organization can never stop stimulating change and progress. - Jim Collins
Defining Core Values Core values
are the essential and enduring tenets of an organization. A small set of timeless guiding principles, core values require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization… Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, puts it this way: "The core values embodied in our credo might be a competitive advantage, but that is not why we have them. We have them because they define for us what we stand for, and we would hold them even if they became a competitive disadvantage in certain situations.“ - Jim Collins
Defining Strategic Vision Strategy takes
what you want to achieve and develops a plan to get there. From strategy you can develop tactics and implement them. For me, strategy is as much about what you are not going to do as what you are going to do. Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve your goals are limited. - Fred Wilson
Defining a BHAG To build
a visionary company, you need to counterbalance its fixed core ideology with a relentless drive for progress. One way to bring that drive for progress to life is through BHAGs (short for Big Hairy Audacious Goals). With his very first dime store in 1945, Sam Walton set the BHAG to “make my little Newport store the best, most profitable in Arkansas within five years.” As the company grew, Walton set BHAG after BHAG, including the still-in-place goal to become a $125-billion company by the year 2000. The point is not to find the “right” BHAGs but to create BHAGs so clear, compelling, and imaginative that they fuel progress. - Jim Collins
Earlier This Year, I Talked
About Five 1. Increase customer retention in every cohort 2. Return to profitability 3. Reach a broader marketing audience with our products, content, and brand 4. Remove reliance on Google data 5. Improve Moz’s company culture
For 2014, We Only Have
Three: #1: Improve Retention in Every Cohort #2: Return to Profitability #3: Launch Moz Local & Learn
Why Remove Culture? Because being
TAGFEE is not a temporary, strategic initiative. It’s not a goal we will accomplish, celebrate, and be done with. It won’t shift in 12-18 months. Culture is permanently important – it must infuse all of our efforts forever. Having culture as a strategic initiative confuses the definition and purpose of both culture and strategic initiatives.
Why Remove Broader Audience? We
need to focus on delighting our current audience before we expand into more new markets. SEO alone continues to grow fast, and both content & social marketers are including SEO into their workflow (just as SEOs are including content/social in theirs). If we can build a great product for this base, we have a great opportunity (and a lot of learnings we can apply) to reach less SEO-focused folks in the future. Moz Local is a big bet on its own and a great way to reach a broader audience in 2014.
Why Remove Dependence on Google?
Google Analytics has been good to us, and doesn’t appear to be a short term risk (as it did earlier this year). With the disappearance of keyword traffic data, rankings are more critical than ever to understanding how campaigns/pages perform. Hence, we can’t empathetically serve our customers in the next few years without rankings data (and Google appears not to be actively working against us or others who get that data).
Why Make Retention Such a
Focus? Retention is extremely well correlated with customer happiness. If we’re to be empathetic to our customers, retention is the best way to measure success. In any future liquidity event, retention will be a huge part of how we’re valued. Every dollar we make is worth more if we improve retention. Retention is something everyone at the company can directly and indirectly impact, and something we can all see and measure together. Retention means higher CLTV, which means better margins, and an easier time staying profitable as we grow.
Why Do We Need to
Be Profitable? Profitability lets us control our own destiny vs. being beholden to raising future rounds of investment, and potentially losing our ability to prioritize the culture we want. Profitability means we can make investments in long-term bets (like we did with Wonk, Local, Moz Analytics, etc). Being profitable reduces risk that we’d need to take more drastic cost-cutting measures in the future. Profitability removes the emotional challenges that a limited runway create.
Everything we work on must
be: 1) Mapped to either retention, profitability, or Moz Local 2) Measurable with numbers that are made transparent to everyone at the company 3) Prioritized against other things that can move the needle on these initiatives
Here’s How We Crafted the
Current Roadmap List of active and backlogged projects from teams Retention, cancellation, and usage data from Alyson Eteam planning meeting facilitated by Tim & Karen
Here’s How We Crafted the
Current Roadmap Every priority had to fit 1+ of the following: Usability, Stability, Accuracy Discoverability Highly Requested by Users Big Innovation / Game Changer Creates Advantage Over Competition Reduces Costs
Tim & Karen then circulated
to each team to get feedback + input, which led to this: Adam will share more about this in his presentation
How Will We Do This
in The Future? Some folks like the top down approach But we believe great solutions should come from more diverse groups, and that, long-term, planning should be more inclusive. The future process is still TBD, but the hope is to make the Eteam + Board responsible for defining problems, and Adventure Teams responsible for solutions.