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Running a Billion Dollar Startup with Twelve People? | Strong Opinions @marksbirch

Stashed in: 106 Miles, Billions!, Black Swans!

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This is exactly why I've stayed far, far away from large companies or companies trying to 'staff up' (and why I'm secretly glad I no longer work at Sendgrid). VCs are calculating values based upon, in part, the number of employees, but wth do all these new staffers do all day? otherwise useless crap... The interesting work's already been done, AFAICT....

Tumblr, Pinterest, 9gag, and Instagram all got to tens of millions of users with fewer than a dozen employees.

Once a company needs to hire a sales force, it gets very big very fast. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Groupon, and now Twitter are all evidence of that.

I think tho, that with a publicly accessible API and a small team of evangelists, companies can accomplish more than any army of salesfreaks, and with a more organic growth pattern. Let people/teams with vested interests in your success extol your virtues by building on your platform.

The sounds good in theory.

In practice, how many startups are actually able to do this?

Not many.

I want to say Sendgrid is doing this well.. but I know that most of the big growth is coming from the partnerships that the Bizdev guys have been cooking up.

That's my understanding, too.

So yeah, there's very few examples of this actually working in practice.