As the co-founder of a SaaS startup, Jason Lemkin has become somewhat of a hero of mine. Yes I know, most people look up to actors or singers, maybe a football player or something else a lot cooler than an entrepreneur and VC…but in my book that’s about as cool as it gets.
Along with being a very successful founder (Jason sold his SaaS company Echosign to Adobe back in 2011) he’s now a well known investor at the $70M SaaStr fund and runs one of the most-read SaaS blogs out there.
Last year we attended SaaStr Annual for our first time and it blew our minds. So not surprisingly we’re coming back this year and I thought I’d share a few reasons why I’m so excited and why if you’re a SaaS founder, you need to be here…
- Learning from people that have been where you are – anyone will give you advice. In fact, there are plenty of investors out there who have never run a SaaS business but will give you SaaS advice like they’ve lived it. Nothing beats advice from people who have been where you’re sitting, period. There are incredible talks ranging from building your sales team to raising your next round to optimizing your SDRs and just about anything else you could imagine. On top of that, you’re surrounded by other SaaS founders so you never know who you might grab a coffee or a beer with. Last year I had a beer with another SaaS founder who was about a year ahead of where we were, in about 30 minutes I learned more from her experiences than I could have reading a zillion blog posts. Experience matters and spending time with experienced SaaS founders is the #1 reason why I’m so excited about going back to SaaStr.
- Understanding what ahead for SaaS startups in 2017 – I can still remember the talk that Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint gave last year at SaaStr. He outlined the trends he was seeing in the SaaS space and what was ahead for 2016. Suffice it to say that he has a pretty good crystal call (a lot better than most IMO) and hearing this first-hand really got he gears turning and made us think about the moves we were making in the coming year. I’m glad Jason decided to put the conference at the beginning of the year because it really does give founders a great chance to learn and apply what they learn during the year.
- Networking, networking, networking – like I said in my first point above, one of the most valuable experiences I had last year at the conference was talking with another SaaS founder who had been where we were at the time. This year I already have a handful of meetings setup with SaaS founders that I wanted to connect with because I’m inspired by what they are doing and would love to learn more about how they think. There’s really no other place on the planet where you’ll get more SaaS founders together at one time than this week in San Francisco.
So there it is, and I know it might sound promotional but I can promise you that I’m not being paid to write this. I’ve actually never met Jason before but I’m really hoping I’ll get a chance to this year. It’s no secret that running a startup isn’t for the faint of heart and SaaS startups have their own set of challenges.
It’s blogs like SaaStr and events like this that have helped me realize that we’re not going through this in a vacuum, and the challenges we face, we’re all facing. The best part is, we get to go through it all together…at least, if you choose to.