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10 Laws Of Being SaaSy

In 2008, Byron Deeter and Philippe Botteri of Bessemer Venture Partners released a presentation titled "10 Laws Of Being SaaSy." If you've never hear of them, Bessemer invested in many of the most successful technology companies in the world - like Twilio, Shopify, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

The deck is pretty short - 19 slides in total including the usual intro stuff. The 10 "Law" slides are incredible. Not just because they were useful at the time, but because - 13 years on - it's interesting to compare how the now mature world of Software-as-a-service was emerging back then.

For a lot of people, 10 Laws Of Being SaaSy may have been their first introduction to acronyms like MRR, CAC, and LTV. It may have included some first lessons for nascent SaaS sales teams - like structuring teams into "hunters" and "farmers" while comping both of them based on MRR growth.

Law #6 basically describes a "flywheel" growth engine. Create demand, convert demand into customers, turn those customers into advocates to keep the flywheel spinning (It's worth comparing this to Dave McClure's Startup Metrics for Pirates presentation from 2007. His slides were messier, but he was basically describing a growth flywheel framework and metrics).

It's worth noting which slides from 10 Laws Of Being SaaSy that were either less-right over time, or that didn't factor in future evolutions in cloud computing.

The European in me is particularly sad about slide 13. Europe definitely didn't have a booming SaaS ecosystem, but seeing Europe and Asia as "next-ups" is a reminder of how far we've come. It also lacks detail about "International." International isn't Europe and Asia - there are a many languages, currencies, and other market factors at play within each of them. And, no mention of LATAM at all.

Law #8 - "Just say no" to on-premise deployments - has been largely blown apart by policy and legal evolutions like GDPR. It was already a reality in markets like Germany, which typically erred on the side of caution on data privacy. Virtualization software like Docker made on-prem easier than ever.

#9, however, is a Law that will always be relevant. Successful Software-as-a-service could also be described as Software-and-service - where service (these days at least) is increasingly self-service.

Check out the full deck here. It's a nice history lesson, and a nostalgic trip back in time.