How Google and Others Are Using Data Science to Speed Up Productivity

I’ve decided to start blogging on LinkedIn and cross-posting here. My most recent post on productivity and data science.


Email, calendar and productivity were vastly different in the 90s. Phone calls were still the norm and the “You’ve Got Mail” ringtone was a delight versus a chore. Fast-forward to today: we are in information overload. I have 7+ calendars and processes 70+ emails per day. Marry that with my Facebook generating 1500+ social media updates between each login, my Zite news feed with 100s of relevant articles and my Twitter stream with 200+ posts every hour, I have an information addiction and I can’t stop….

Read the rest of the post on LinkedIn

Hoping to have some more time to write again soon!




Sales 2.0: The Bottoms-Up Sales Model

Sales 2.0 is the new way of selling mobile enterprise apps and services. Instead of selling to the enterprise via an expensive sales force, you sell directly to your target customers, often employees at the enterprise.

Last week at the MobileBeat conference, I moderated a discussion with John McGeachie from Evernote, Nancy Ramamurthi from TripIt and Jason Mills from Expensify on some of the strategies they took to achieve bottoms-up success – let me summarize below:

  1. UX/UI is still the #1 feature. One of the historical advantages of enterprise sales was the focus on functionality over user experience. This works if you have a sales force demonstrating each feature to an enterprise buyer but when an app is being downloaded directly by your target user, you are held to the same bar as a consumer app meaning the user is short-attention-spanned, fickle and will get frustrated easily.
  2. Like a consumer app, iterate and A/B test as much as you can with your target audience. Prosumers are ultimately consumers.
  3. Freemium is common and free-to-paid works (eg Webex, SurveyMonkey, QuickOffice) but paid-only is challenging. John w/ Evernote specifically mentioned how some of the greatest conversion came after 3 or 6 months of use of the application. Achieving freemium means converting a small percentage of a large number.
  4. Mobile results in awesome customer acquisition. Jason from Expensify mentioned that mobile was their largest customer acquisition channels and ironically one of their biggest challenges was actually making mobile users aware of their online experience.
  5. Mobile is also accounting for a greater percentage of paid conversion. As opposed to the desktop, the app store is challenged because of the lack of support for subscription billing but this can be remedied by offering longer-term plans (eg 3 months, 6 months, 1 year).
  6. On the topic of privacy and enterprise data, transparency and having clear guidelines reigned. Be clear to the enterprise what you do/don’t with the data and be ready to honor some take-down or data-removal requests.
  7. When it came to features, focus on the 80%. When the topic of bottoms-up sales and how it may butt-heads with an eventual direct enterprise sales team, the panel universally agreed that the features that made the roadmap were those that benefited their bottoms-up users (the 80% bucket!). And this meant even saying no to some enterprises as painful as that may be.
  8. There is a right time to begin enterprise sales along-side bottoms-up. When you have a critical mass of prosumers at common companies using your product, start selling group editions. Nancy with TripIt mentioned how they signed-up ~1300 companies in a relatively short amount of time with TripIt Pro but only brought this product to market 18 months ago or 5+ years since they started!

And now some observations:

  1. Most of these startups (Evernote, TripIt etc) didn’t know how successful they were going to be amongst prosumers in the enterprise at the onset. They launched consumer focus and got pulled into the enterprise. In the case of Expensify, they targeted the prosumer and got pulled into consumer with customers using Expensify as an alternative to Mint.
  2. The use cases addressed by each of these companies are very horizontal. They are not job persona or industry vertical specific but rather broadly useful and applicable putting them closer to the consumer category.
  3. All of them seemed to have taken shots in the dark with their price point but some price elasticity testing was done with Flash sales.

It was an awesome panel and I look forward to seeing more enterprise mobility apps take advantage of bottoms-up sales!