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Featured Essays

Above: Hayes Valley, San Francisco, CA – my current neighborhood!

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Receive my newsletter, usually once a week – it features long-form essays on what’s going on here in Silicon Valley.

eBook, presos, PDFs

Rational Growth (pdf). The team at AppSumo also sponsored an eBook based on a few interviews with me. It’s supposed to be an intro to thinking about product and growth from an analytical POV.

Zero to product/market fit (preso). How to go from nothing to product/market fit, and why so many startups fail trying to get there.

SaaS isn’t viral (preso). A critical examination on the factors that make SaaS products hard to distribute.

Minimum Desirable Product (preso). A presentation given to Steve Blank and Eric Ries’s Lean Startup class at Berkeley about balancing business goals and user experience.

Growing renewable audiences (preso). A talk to the portfolio companies of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures on why PR and press aren’t important for scalable user acquisition.

How to create a profitable freemium startup (spreadsheet)

Facebook viral marketing: When and why do apps “jump the shark?” (spreadsheet)

Recent Essays (2011-current)

Below, I’ve organized some of the essays I’ve written in the last few years. Hope you enjoy them.


Product/Market Fit



Industry and Investing


Older content from 2007-2011

See below for some of my older content, from before 2013. Most of the discussion is about websites, and some of it outdated or wrong :) But I’ve archived them here to read at your leisure!

Viral marketing and user acquisition (2007-2011)

For web entrepreneurs, growing your userbase is a key challenge, alongside product development and financing. These posts emphasize a quantitative approach to getting traction and growing users.

Engagement and product design (2007-2013)

Using principles from game design and analysis of consumer behavior, these essays cover the process of creating experiences your customers will love.

Freemium and online ad monetization (2007-2013)

Social web product have unique characteristics as it applies to online advertising and direct monetization levels. These posts cover some of the issues around key topics such as ARPUs, conversion funnels, CPM rates, behavioral data, revenue modeling, etc.

Metrics (2007-2013)

Without metrics, web entrepreneurs are just flying blind. These essays cover some of the organization and development issues around instituting a metrics system – what to measure, in what order, and how to implement them.

Media and games (2007-2013)

Traditional media, including TV, music, games, and movies are at a crossroads. Here are some thoughts on how the industry is changing and evolving.

Entrepreneurship and startup life in San Francisco (2007-2013)

Just a couple thoughts on things I’ve encountered while arriving in SF.