Takeaways from SaaStock 2017: good chats, good Guinness, great people

By Christian Owens, 03 Oct 2017, in thoughts, events

If you’ve attended an event before, you’ve probably experienced first hand that they can be a colossal waste of time (and money). Two things that a 40-person startup like us can ill afford to waste!

So when the good people at SaaStock told me that it’d be great if I flew to Dublin for 4 days and that I should also bring the heads of product, sales and marketing with me, we ran it through the only 4 questions that really matter for a startup - and decided to go:

  • Can it help us make a better product?
  • Can it help us make our customers happier?
  • Can it help us grow revenue?
  • Can it make us better people?

We’ve just come back from SaaStock: it delivered on all 4.

Lots of chats with fellow SaaS founders and execs about common challenges, with existing and potential customers about their pains and what truly matters to them, and of course a Guinness or two along the way.

There was also a lot of fantastic content - too much to list it all (just go there), so here are the 5 talks that we found the most useful with our current scaling challenges.

What matters at each stage of a SaaS startup’s life

Great talk by David on the different stages of a SaaS startup, from proving product-market fit to finding a scalable sales & marketing model - and the importance of raising enough to reach the next major milestone (with all the mistakes you can make along the way).

Scaling an engineering team

Maria spoke about the challenges they faced when growing FreeAgent’s engineering team to 50 people - ⅓ of whom worked remotely. A very practical talk, full of ideas and processes, which will definitely come in handy as we scale our team.

So long scrum, hello Kanban

Les from Okta spent time talking about the practical differences of Kanban compared to Scrum - especially interesting as it changes the relationship between the business and engineering team on how the work is done.

Internationalising global software companies

There were many sessions around internationalisation: this was the most data-driven (a good complement to Rachel’s experience of remote team management).

Unicorn growth secrets

Bill has run marketing and go to market at 3 of the 5 fastest growing SaaS companies - Slack, Zendesk and Salesforce. He therefore had a couple of smart things to say about the importance of branding and the way to build modern marketing teams and stacks.

See you next year!

We’re now looking forward to SaaStock 2018: hopefully we’ll have used all these lessons wisely - and face fresh new challenges as a reward…

3/4 of the Paddle team at SaaStock

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