Less Annoying Business: Boring internal policies make for great reading material, right?

publishedabout 2 months ago
4 min read

Hey [FIRST NAME GOES HERE],

Tyler from Less Annoying Business here. Here's what's new:

New content

Employee equipment budget template [Blog post]
I'm testing a hypothesis. I think there's more demand than supply for content about the boring internal policies of small businesses. So I decided to share one of our most boring internal policies: Our employee equipment budget (more on this below)

Lower growth means lower churn [Blog post]
This point seems obvious when you see it laid out, but I feel like I've never seen it mentioned before. Basically, if you run a recurring revenue business, newer customers are more likely to churn than older customers which means that as your growth slows, a higher % of revenue comes from older customers, and so your churn will decrease.

Small Giants [Podcast]
Dru and I both read the book Small Giants which is about companies like LACRM. I thought it was a great book, and there were definitely some interesting points to discuss on the podcast.

Referral programs for hiring [Podcast]
In this episode we discuss a variety if topics related to what we're working on. I talk a bit about the employee equipment budget (linked to above), hiring from within the company, and the first time I even remotely considered selling equity in LACRM.

What I'm working on

In my last newsletter, I mentioned that I had just finished meeting with everyone at the company. As is often the case, what follows is a lot of administrative work following up on what we discussed in those meetings. Even during relatively calm times like right now, employees have questions, point out policies that need to be updated, have ideas we should try out, etc.

For me, November involved a lot of policy-writing. I linked to the new employee equipment budget template above (I wrote that as an internal policy and then also published it as a blog post), plus I finalized the details for a company charity drive this holiday season, put together a policy for deprecating one of our lesser-known features, worked on refining our policy on remote work, etc.

My main takeaway is that working on internal policies is extremely time consuming, and yet I almost never hear anyone talk about it. I mean, it's boring, so I get it. But so many founders talk about other aspects of running a business (marketing, sales, product vision, etc.). Shouldn't someone being explaining how they handle subsidizing employee parking passes, or how long employees have to start their parental leave after having a child (just to give a couple very specific examples of policies that must exist but that you've probably never heard anyone talk about).

I'm not sure what my point is, but I'm going to try to talk about this more. It takes up a lot of my time and mental energy, so it shouldn't just be hidden in our internal wiki.

Good stuff on the internet

Hollow abstraction [Tweet / Blog posts]
That's a link to a tweet, but if you want a longer read, here's a blog post, and here's another.

I've been trying to understand web3 (cryptocurrency, NFTs, etc.). Despite reading, talking to people, etc. I just can't figure out what all the hype is about. Lots of smart people are singing its praises, but for some reason I just can't connect the dots.

This author (Liron Shapira) has done a great job of getting to the core of why these arguments sound smart but don't make sense. The web3 supporters are using hollow abstraction. They're talking abstractly, which I normally love, but they aren't testing the abstraction to make sure it holds up in specific situations.

For example, if I wanted to explain why smart phones were such a game changer, I could say: Computers are tied to your desk and your internet connection. But life happens everywhere, including places where computers aren't. Smart phones bring computers and internet connectivity to where life is actually happening, which opens up entirely new use cases.

That sounds smart! It's abstract, which I like. But a key to good abstraction is that you should be able to pull concrete examples from it. I could follow up my abstract point with this more concrete one: Take Uber for example. Mapping software existed long before smart phones, but you were limited to just printing out maps and taking them with you. Because smart phones are with you all the time, not only do you not need to print maps anymore, but you can do fundamentally different things with them, such as hailing a driver to pick you up at your current location.

The problem with all the web3 stuff I've read is that it's all abstraction with no concrete examples. Everyone's talking about distributed this and anonymous that and democratizing the web and giving users ownership of their own data, but when asked for a specific use case that web3 could be great for, the response is always...unimpressive. I've lived through several waves of tech hype (web 2.0, smart phones, social/local/mobile, SaaS) and in every case, my memory is that early evangelists had no problems describing really exciting concrete use cases for the tech. The fact that web3 evangelists struggle so much with this is not a good sign.

The SOC2 Starting Seven [Blog post]
I love when people explain complex topics in very simple, actionable ways. Which means I love this post.

If you're not familiar with SOC2, it's a compliance standard that many software companies follow in order to convince their customers that they're following security best practices. We don't really need to be audited for SOC2 compliance (it's more for SaaS businesses that sell to giant enterprise customers, not small businesses) but of course we take security seriously, so we wanted to make sure we're doing all the right things. But looking up info on SOC2 online is a nightmare. This post explains in very clear terms the main things a company should do to prepare for a SOC2 audit.

I Analyzed SaaS Billing Dark Patterns [Blog post]
This post explains some billing practices that the author finds annoying. There's so much content about what you should do ("5 ways to get more leads!") but not nearly enough about what not to do. If you run a recurring revenue business, I encourage you to read through this list and compare your billing practices against these dark patterns.

-Tyler


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