Conan’s Newsletter No. 14

Market Curve; Moving upmarket for SMB SaaS; Grocers reassess the Instacart dilemma; How could plankton in the Cretaceous influence modern American politics? Going to any website in 2020;

The Market Curve


  1. The Market Curve. Mike Vernal from Sequoia points out that a great product is not sufficient for a great business — a great market is needed too. In this essay, Mike introduce the concept of “Market Curve,” a  long-tail curve for the relationship between the number of customers and revenue per customer variables for a given Market size. Mike divides companies into five categories (Enterprise, SMB, Prosumer, Commerce + Marketplaces, and Consumer Apps) and offers some great examples for each type.
  2. Moving upmarket and the ascent of SMB SaaS. Adam Fisher from Bessemer Venture Partner shares his thoughts on how SMB SaaS companies could move to the left side in the Market Curve. There are two broad types of go-to-market strategies. One is the Customer-pull strategy, which relies on the growth of customers. The other is the Bottom-up strategy, which targets individual employees or specific types of employees as entry points within an organization. Adam then shared ten best practices for SMB-focused SaaS vendors to move to the upmarket.
  3. To own or not to own delivery? Grocers reassess the Instacart dilemma. This article discusses the dilemma food retailers need to face in dealing with eCommerce platforms like Instacart. I have been relying on service like Instacart since the start of the pandemic. This weekend is the first time I do grocery shopping in a physical store, and it feels very strange (and inefficient) to me. I think grocery eCommerce will continue to be a thing after the pandemic ends.

Interesting Facts

  • How could plankton in the Cretaceous influence modern American politics? This fascinating tweet stream summarizes the formation of a “swoosh” of counties in red states that consistently vote for the democratic party in the past decades. In the Cretaceous, the area was the coastal shore where millions of plankton live. As the planet cools down, the oceans recede. But the dead bodies of plankton make the soil extra organic and more suitable for cotton to grow. As a result, many African-Americans whose ancestors worked in cotton plantations live nowadays in the region, and they vote for democrats. You could also read this essay and this wiki for more descriptions of this interesting link between ancient history and modern politics.


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