At the Recurring Revenue Conference, we endeavor to cover every aspect of what it takes to succeed in the subscription economy for our attendees. We seek out the best speakers, cover the most relevant topics that SaaS companies have to be cognizant of and dive into the most innovative tech coming to market. However, our event is just once a year, so how can you stay up to date with SaaS news, or quench your thirst for more information once the conference is over for another twelve months? To tide you over, we’ve collated a list of the top SaaS influencers and blogs to follow. Here are our recommendations:
Name: Marc Benioff
Best place to follow: Twitter @Benioff or browse his numerous interviews online
Why they are on this list: An internet entrepreneur, author and philanthropist, Marc is the former CEO of Liberty Software and CEO of Salesforce.com. Hailed by Forbes as ‘Tech’s Mad Genius’, he tweets frequently on all things SaaS related and must certainly be regarded as a leader of the SaaS community.
Name: Stewart Butterfield
Best place to follow: Twitter @stewart
Why they are on this list: As well as cofounding Flickr, Stewart founded Slack, the now ubiquitous messaging platform and Inc. Magazine’s 2015 company of the year. Stewart himself has gained an impressive number of accolades. In 2005, Butterfield was named one of Businessweek's "Top 50" Leaders in the entrepreneur category and in 2006, he was named in the "Time 100", Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Ten years later, he was named the Wall Street Journal's Technology Innovator for 2015. This longevity despite an ever-changing tech landscape is testament to his ability to pivot and seize the right idea at the opportune time.
Name: Brad Coffey
Best place to follow: His blog at http://www.bradfordcoffey.com/ and on Twitter at @BradfordCoffey
Why they are on this list: Brad Coffey is the Chief Strategy Officer at HubSpot, where his focus is directing long-term strategy around HubSpot's products, user experience, and pricing. His blog is centred upon SaaS economics, and he often layers in examples from HubSpot itself to illustrate an article’s message.
Name: Brad Feld
Best place to follow: On his blog https://www.feld.com/ or on twitter @bfeld
Brad is a well known entrepreneur, investor and author. He’s the Managing Director at the Foundry Group, as well as the co-founder of Techstars, one of the top accelerators in the world. He has written many books, some insightful articles on his personal blog and tweets regularly.
Name: Kirsten Maas Helvey
Best place to follow: Kirsten tweets @kirstenmaas and publishes fairly regular blogs on http://fortune.com/
Why they are on this list: Kirsten is COO of Cornerstone OnDemand, a $2.3 billion talent management software company, as well as a member of Women in Technology International (WITI) and board member of Junior Achievement of SoCal, so her influences is widely-spread. The advice in her blogs focuses on people and communication skills, including specific guidance for employers - such as building a remote team.
Best place to follow: kissmetrics.com and Twitter @Kissmetrics
Why they are on this list: Kissmetrics is a behavioral analytics and engagement platform, providing extensive analytical tools to help users understand customer behaviour, drive growth, and optimise marketing strategies based on data. The Kissmetrics blog is full of resources including infographics, comprehensive marketing guides and webinars, with a heavy focus on testing and recommendations to improve every aspect of the user experience on both your website and your SaaS product.
Name: Nathan Latka
Best place to follow: Podcast & Twitter @NathanLatka
Why they are on this list: Nathan has a fresh take on staying in touch with the SaaS community, by recording a 15-minute interview with a CEO each day for his podcast The Top Entrepreneurs. The CEOs Nathan meets share revenue data, equity splits, cash burn and more. A SaaS data expert, Nathan sold his first SaaS company and now focuses on using love of data to research and invest in other SaaS companies like TheTopInbox, where he currently serves as CEO. We were delighted to welcome Nathan at The Recurring Revenue Conference 2018.
Name: Aaron Levie
Best place to follow: Twitter @levie or on Quora
Why they are on this list: Founder and CEO of Box, Aaron is a well known entrepreneur in the SaaS space, and was Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. He co-founded Box (alongside Dylan Smith) from his dorm room at college, and secured billionaire Mark Cuban as a notable early investor - with a $350,000 check delivered to his college digs. Aaron leads Box in its mission to transform the way people and businesses work, with a focus on an intuitive user experience. He is passionate about all things SaaS and that enthusiasm is present in his frequent and insightful conference appearances.
Name: Open View
Best place to follow: https://labs.openviewpartners.com/ and Twitter @OpenViewVenture
Why they are on this list: Founded by Scott Maxwell, a venture capitalist since 2000, this blog contains insights, actionable advice and founder interviews aimed at helping entrepreneurs grow expansion stage software companies. Scott’s own posts focus on distinctive business models and products that address an important market pain point in an innovative way.
Name: Neil Patel
Best place to follow: Neilpatel.com/blog and on Twitter @neilpatel
Why they are on this list: The number and calibre of associations that celebrate Neil is insanely impressive. Forbes ranks him as one of the top 10 marketers, Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies and The Wall Street Journal hails him as a top influencer on the web. Not satisfied with high-level endorsements from well-known publications, Neil was also recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil’s blog is focused on marketing and is has extremely valuable content that does not focus on any single marketing channel, but helpfully positions the customer first. He provides many tips and strategies for companies of all sizes in relation to many marketing channels, both new and well-established, and answers the marketing questions business owners really care about.
Name: Aaron Ross
Best place to follow: www.PredictableRevenue.com & Twitter @motoceo
Why they are on this list: Aaron’s Predictable Revenue framework formed the basis for a new outbound sales process and team structure for Salesforce.com, which, as a result, added an extra $100 million in revenue in just a few years. A frequent and distinguished speaker at the Recurring Revenue Conference, Aaron’s clients include Oracle, Acquia, Digium, Crunched, Servosity, and Responsys. His website also provides an online learning platform to introduce and develop the Predictable Revenue techniques that have made many SaaS companies incredibly successful with their outbound sales.
Name: The SaaS Report
Best place to follow: https://thesaasreport.com/
Why they are on this list: The SaaS Report is a comprehensive source of business news, investment activity and corporate actions related to the SaaS and software industry. There is a subscription element for access to all articles and additional features, but plenty of articles are available without a subscription. The SaaS report is a great place to take the pulse of the SaaS community - with learnings from the companies that are raising significant capital, to those that are struggling; updates on the latest deals and information on the people driving the explosive growth in the SaaS world.
Best place to follow: https://www.saastr.com/ and Twitter @saastr
Why they are on this list: SaaStr is the largest web community of SaaS entrepreneurs and host of the hugely successful SaaStr Annual conference. SaaStr content is syndicated in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and other leading publications, as well as being hosted on their website and on Quora. Their Q&A section is especially valuable for quick, candid answers to many of the SaaS community’s questions.
Name: Hiten Shah
Best place to follow: https://thestartupchat.com, https://hitenism.com and Twitter @hnshah
Why they are on this list: Co-founder of Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics alongside Neil Patel, Hiten Shah is an expert SaaS writer, blogger, and is regularly active on a variety of social channels. Hiten publishes an excellent weekly SaaS email newsletter (check it out here) and also joins Steli Efti for The Startup Chat podcast, a fantastic entrepreneurship and business podcast.
Name: David Skok
Best place to follow: https://www.forentrepreneurs.com/ and on Twitter @BostonVC
Why they are on this list: After 25 years as an entrepreneur, founding four companies (Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software), David took his passion for helping entrepreneurs and startups succeed to the next level by joining Matrix Partners as a venture capital partner. David’s website https://www.forentrepreneurs.com/ has some wonderful articles including “SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving What Matters“, which provides an excellent overview of the unique nature of SaaS revenue metrics and is essential reading for any novice joining the SaaS community.
Name: Mark Suster
Best place to follow: https://bothsidesofthetable.com and Twitter @msuster
Why they are on this list: Mark is a two-time entrepreneur who has sold both the companies he founded (one to Salesforce.com). He is now an angel investor and investment partner at Upfront Ventures looking for dynamic startups to invest in and sharing valuable insights through his regular blogs. As his blog’s name suggests, Mark’s writing offers a balanced perspective, drawing from his experience in the investment community, juxtaposed with valuable recommendations framed with a business mindset.
Name: Therese Tucker
Best place to follow: Therese is not really active on social media or blogs, but there are many great interviews with her online.
Why they are on this list: Therese Tucker started BlackLine in 2001 when she merged her two talents and passions, technology and finance, into a successful business venture. She was the sole initial investor in the company and lead it all the way to becoming the first female-founded VC-backed company IPO in Los Angeles. She designed the first of BlackLine’s products back in 2001, engineered its transition to the cloud in 2007, and led BlackLine in automating the financial close process. Therese embodies entrepreneurial spirit and true dedication to seeing it through. We were delighted to have her as our keynote speaker at The Recurring Revenue Conference 2018.
Name: Tomasz Tunguz
Best place to follow: Tomasz writes daily on his blog http://tomtunguz.com/ or Twitter @ttunguz
Why they are on this list: Tomasz is the guru on leveraging data to answer key questions facing startups. As in his book, Winning with Data, the broad theme is that access to extensive data is not enough - data must be used in a smart way and this use must be systematized to inform business decisions. Tomasz also advocates for a data-driven culture within your workforce in order to find deeper business insights while avoiding the most common data pitfalls. Tomasz is heavily focused on SaaS and his role as a venture capitalist at Redpoint, giving great insights into the SaaS market and how data is used to evaluate performance and the customer lifecycle in a new SaaS business.
Up and Comers to Watch…
Many of the people above are established names and connected to very well-known companies, but we also wanted to share a handful of up and comers that we are incredibly excited about in the SaaS community...
Name: Jessica Mah
Best place to follow: Twitter @JessicaMah and she blogs at https://blog.indinero.com
Why they are on this list: Many of the names on this list were successful from an early age, but few can beat Jessica for hitting the ground running. Jessica started her first internet company at the age of 13, finished high school at the age of 15, studied computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, then went on to become a Product Architect and CEO of Indinero.com. Jessica designed the Indinero product for the typical small business owner, with a strong focus on usefulness and simplicity. That same perspective is prevalent in her social media presence and blogs.
Name: Carmen Vicelich
Best place to follow: She has authored a book called The Data Revolution and is on Twitter @CarmenVicelich
Why they are on this list: New Zealander Carmen has founded two data-driven companies: Data Insight, an analytics business that help a company to leverage its own data to provide personalised insights into consumer habits and the broader industries; and Valocity, which tailors the same approach specifically for the property and valuation market. Carmen’s focus is helping companies understand the fundamentals of how to transform themselves into forward-thinking, data-driven organisations of the future by adopting the right structure, people, and processes.