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High-Output Management for Remote Teams and Companies Part II – ReadWrite

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High-Output Management for Remote Teams and Companies Part II - ReadWrite


In the first installment of this two-part series, we looked at the characteristics of high-performance remote teams. We discussed the key methods I use to ensure my teams are in the best possible position to perform at the highest level.

I explained my process for setting quarterly goals, communicating those goals to the entire organization, and how every level of the company has OKRs that tie into the larger objectives. I also shared my thoughts on check-points and how we use OKRs and check-ins to stay on track and identify any problems as early as possible.

High-Output Management for Remote Teams and Companies Part II

In this second installment, we’ll dive into the finer points of decision-making for leaders, and I’ll be sharing how we use these principles at Turing.

Next, we’ll talk about feedback, and how honest, transparent, and immediate feedback facilitates speed and continuous improvement. Finally, I’ll give you my blueprint for establishing a high-performance organization.

The secret to making fast, but high-quality decisions 

I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to have the right decision-making structure for your company. One attribute of a high-performance company is that the team makes fast decisions that are also correct.

Reversible vs. Irreversible decisions 

From my perspective, there are two kinds of decisions companies make; reversible decisions or irreversible decisions. Ninety-nine percent of the decisions a company makes are reversible. Only a very few, who you raise money from, who you choose as a co-founder, are irreversible.

Typically, the best approach for a company is that anybody except the CEO should make reversible decisions. If it’s an irreversible decision, the CEO makes the decision. In both cases, high-performance companies make high-quality decisions fast.

How not to suck at decision-making 

Generally, there are three ways companies can operate when it comes to making critical choices.

One way they can operate is purely top-down. For example, somebody with authority just says, hey, do this, and everybody does what they’re told. The benefit of this approach is that it’s swift.

The negative is that you don’t have enough buy-in from everybody on implementation and people don’t feel heard. Frequently, valuable insights from others in the team don’t get incorporated into the decision. So that’s not ideal. 

Have one decision-maker but consult key stakeholders

A much better approach is to have one decision-maker who consults with key stakeholders. These are people with insights and perspectives relevant to the problem. Often, there is a very high-quality decision made when all the right people are sharing their inputs.

But you will want to maintain one arbiter who weighs all the inputs and makes the call. This approach has the benefit of factoring in everyone’s expertise, and it increases the likelihood that everyone feels heard.

Product design decisions

At Turing, for some of our product design decisions, the approach I follow is the same pattern described above. Having one decision-maker — someone who is a key stakeholder. All stakeholders are consulted, then we have the decision-maker also be the person who’s responsible for implementation.

How frustrated have you been when somebody else makes the decision, but you are the person that ends up accountable for implementation? That’s not great. I believe it’s always good to have the decision-maker be the implementer and the person who owns the metrics associated with the decision. 

Decide who decides

So for our product design reviews, we use the following process.

A decision owner (could be someone from the Product team or Engineering team) reviews the design for a new feature, takes inputs from key stakeholders, and then decides. This person also owns the success metrics for that feature.

The decision can be a) good to move to implementation, b) identifies a few changes that need to be made before it moves to implementation c) decides it’s a no-go.

Once the decision is made, the decision-maker identifies the next step. E.g., “ship to staging by Feb 10th.” We track what was decided, share it with the team, and move to implementation. The decision-maker is the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) for implementation.

You can do much of this asynchronously. At Turing, we’re using Google Docs, so our designer, Alejo, leaves the Photoshop designs in the Google Doc so the people involved can leave comments on the doc, and everybody signs off.

The beauty of this process is that it allows you to use meeting time to go over anything that is genuinely contentious or something that needs further hashing out.

Reserve synchronous meetings for resolving blockers

Synchronous meetings are used more for resolving any bottlenecks, conflicts, or anything that needs further discussion while doing the simpler stuff asynchronously. But one of the most important things is having that separation between a decision-maker and team members that provide input.

Too often, companies err by having a decision-maker but no group of people to be consulted.

So then things get into the product, and there is not enough buy-in. Afterward, people sort of complain about the decision behind each other’s backs — or follow-through is lackluster on implementation and support. 

Making decisions made by a committee is another mistake companies make.

Everybody will try to get on the same page and reach a consensus. The problem is that getting to an agreement can be very costly for a startup because you can lose so much time. Purely democratic decision-making does not work for fast-moving technology companies.

That’s why I call my approach a reversible decision — because 99% of all company decisions are reversible. Keep in mind that you should be making a lot of reversible decisions knowing full well that some of them will fail, and you can always internalize the learning and move forward. 

Embrace feedback loops for continuous improvement

High-performance organizations have a strong culture of feedback and continuous improvement. Ideally, once a month, you must take some time to internalize areas for improvement to go faster.

At Turing, for example, I have a document that’s solely focused on the next improvements.

I call the document the “Next Improvements Diagnosis.” What I try to capture are all the negative things that can happen within my company. A trial can fail, or a developer can fail a customer’s interview. Or, for some reason, collaboration breaks down.

What we do is track every single case of any fail happening. Then we try to understand why this error occurred? How could we have detected the problem earlier, and how can we prevent it from happening next time?

Instill a culture that learns from failure

One of the hardest things to do in a startup is to have a culture that learns and improves from failures without falling into the blame game or feeling too negative about it. 

When I see these things breaking down, this may seem odd, but I have a big smile inside me because the most challenging part of building a high-growth company is if you can’t find the headroom to go faster.

I love when we find big, meaty problems because solving them means unlocking a lot more growth and business value. (Rubbing hands together with glee.)

It’s also helpful to keep the team focused on the positive outcomes of some of these adverse situations to learn from them and get stronger.

Do you analyze your lessons?

Too often, non-high-performing cultures fall into the trap where people are saying, “It’s not my fault; it’s that person’s fault.” Failing to analyze lessons from failures and therefore never improving is even worse. 

If you are still on the first level — you’re not even tracking all these failures; you’re only showing things going up and to the right.

Track failures to get better more quickly

But I want to track every single failure where we didn’t deliver on our promise to a developer or a commitment to a customer and use this data to keep getting better continuously. High-performance cultures share a common attribute of continuous improvement and constantly leveling up.

How to build a high-performance organization – a simple blueprint

How do you distill everything I’ve written into a simple blueprint that makes it simpler for your team and your company to perform to your utmost? 

It’s simple but not easy. Here’s your cheat sheet:

  1. Make sure everyone understands what high-performance looks like. Remember, high-performance teams, establish clear goals, write them down, share them widely and then meet or exceed them.
  2. Leadership at the team and the company level should establish the next set of objectives, makes sure that everyone in the company understands what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’ll measure success.
  3. You’ve developed a method of creating checkpoints and making adjustments when you see something isn’t going as planned.
  4. Write everything down. Writing simplifies, clarifies, and makes it easier to drive alignment. Writing also makes it easier to refine ideas through iteration and feedback, so your final version keeps getting better.
  5. There’s a clear decision-making process that secures buy-in from all involved parties, but with a single decision-maker who’s responsible for implementing the decision, tracking performance, and determining what needs to happen next.
  6. Be sure to create a culture that embraces failure and leverages mistakes to unlock untapped speed.
  7. Never become complacent. High-performance teams and companies focus on identifying areas for improvement and continuously working to better themselves and deliver on plan and on schedule.

Final thoughts

Building a high-performance team is not something that happens overnight. I’ve worked for years to develop the skills that have enabled me to attract the right kind of people and hone them into a highly productive, collaborative, and unified team. I have an outstanding executive team that has helped me distill these lessons and contributed to this blueprint.

Becoming the sort of leader that inspires people to build a great product and company that can change the world isn’t an endpoint; it’s a continuum.

You won’t start this process at the top

Remember — you’ll be bad at this before you’re mediocre and mediocre before you’re good and good before you’re great. But at each stage in your process, you should be able to see where you want to go.

By applying the techniques I’ve outlined above, you’ll be on your way to getting high-output management for your remote teams and companies.

Image Credit: krakenimages; unsplash; thank you!

Jonathan Siddharth

Jonathan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Turing.com. Turing is an automated platform that lets companies “push a button” to hire and manage remote developers. Turing uses data science to automatically source, vet, match, and manage remote developers from all over the world.
Turing has 160K developers on the platform from almost every country in the world. Turing’s mission is to help every remote-first tech company build boundaryless teams.
Turing is backed by Foundation Capital, Adam D’Angelo who was Facebook’s first CTO & CEO of Quora, Gokul Rajaram, Cyan Banister, Jeff Morris, and executives from Google and Facebook. The Information, Entrepreneur, and other major publications have profiled Turing.
Before starting Turing, Jonathan was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Foundation Capital. Following the successful sale of his first AI company, Rover, that he co-founded while still at Stanford. In his spare time, Jonathan likes helping early-stage entrepreneurs build and scale companies.
You can find him Jonathan @jonsidd on Twitter and jonathan.s@turing.com. His LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonsid/

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Retirement Planning Tips for the Self-Employed

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Free Your Money: Strategies for Keeping Your Money In The Best Place Possible - ReadWrite


For the self-employed, retirement planning can be a bit more complicated than for the rest of the population. They don’t have the benefit of an employer-sponsored plan and an HR department where they’ll find counseling and advice on planning for their retirement years. However, that doesn’t mean the self-employed can’t have a comfortable retirement or that they should work until they drop. With a little bit of planning and creativity, self-employed individuals can save enough for a laid-back retirement full of fun, travel, and well-earned rest. Here are eleven tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Start saving for retirement as much and as early as possible

When we’re young, it’s hard to focus on long-term goals like retirement, and we tend to focus much more on our immediate needs. This includes things like buying a house or a car, taking care of student debt, paying monthly bills, and more. If you’re a passionate entrepreneur running your own business, even things like housing and a car may come second in terms of priorities; you usually focus all of your time and energy on business management and growth, so retirement planning falls way behind.

However, if you want a comfortable retirement, the best time to start saving was yesterday; the next best time is today. At this point, what matters is not how much you save for retirement every month or year (we’ll cover that in a moment). What really matters is to get started.

However, if you want to retire comfortably, you must start saving as much as possible as early as possible. The sooner you start contributing to a retirement account, the more time your money has to grow through compound interest.

Why does this matter?

Most people don’t grasp just how much of an impact starting to save one, two, or three years earlier can have on the size of your nest egg by the time you retire.

Let’s run some simple numbers. Suppose you put $10,000 in a 401(k)when you’re 35. It will grow at a 5-8% interest rate. Taking the lower 5% as interest rate, by the time you reach retirement age, those $10,000 will have grown to $43,219. If you wait one year and deposit the money when you’re 36, after 29 years, your balance will be $41,161 instead. That’s $2,058 less you’ll have at your disposal for waiting just one year. Start saving when you turn 40, and you’ll end up with $33,864. That’s over $9,000 less, even though it’s the same $10,000 you started with.

Now imagine you don’t just save $10,000 in total, but save roughly that amount every year, which is what most people saving for retirement do. If you run the numbers, the difference can be tens of thousands of dollars for waiting a couple of years instead of starting to save right away.

Tip #2: Even if you’re your own boss, pay yourself a salary

Just because you don’t have an employer doesn’t mean you can’t pay yourself a salary. This is especially important if your business is doing well and you’re reinvesting most of the profits back into the company and forget to take some of them out as income. When it comes to retirement planning, you need to know how much you’re making every month so you can budget accordingly and set enough money aside for the future. The best way to ensure this is to pay yourself a salary.

How much should you pay yourself?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. The most important ones are:

  • Your current expenses
  • How well your business is doing
  • The long-term financial goals for your business
  • How much money you’ll need to live comfortably once you retire (more on this later).

Tip#3: Choose the right retirement account

When you’re employed by someone else, there’s a good chance your employer will offer you access to a 401(k) retirement account. If they don’t, other options are still available, like an IRA. For the self-employed, the options are a bit more limited, but there are still several retirement accounts you can choose from. The most common four are:

  • One-participant 401(k): This is also known as a Solo 401(k), and it’s perfect for self-employed individuals or business owners with no employees. The contribution limit for 2022 is $20,500, but if you’re over 50, you can contribute an additional $6,500 as a catch-up contribution.
  • Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Account, or SEP-IRA: This account is another tax-deferred retirement account available to small business owners and the self-employed. The contribution limit in 2022 is the lesser of 25% of your net earnings from self-employment or $61,000.
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees Individual Retirement Account, or SIMPLE IRA: This retirement account is available to small business owners with 100 or fewer employees. The contribution limit in 2022 is $14,000, but if you’re over 50, you can also contribute an additional $3,000 as a catch-up contribution to reach $17,000.
  • Keogh plan: This account is also known as a qualified retirement plan, and it’s available to self-employed individuals or unincorporated businesses.

Each of these retirement accounts comes with its pros and cons, so you must do your research to find the best one for your specific situation. They all share one trait: they’re funded with pre-tax dollars, meaning you’ll be able to defer paying taxes on them until you retire.

However, if you expect to reach a higher income bracket as time passes, choosing a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k) may be wiser. These accounts are funded with after-tax dollars, meaning you won’t get the tax break now but will when you retire and start withdrawing from the account.

After making your decision, though, the most important thing is to start contributing to one of these accounts as soon as possible.

Tip #4: Estimate how much you need to save for a comfortable lifestyle during retirement

When you start saving for retirement, what matters most is that you start early and save as much as possible without disrupting your short-term plans and lifestyle. But, eventually, you’ll want to begin crafting a real retirement plan. That means:

  1. Setting clear and ambitious yet achievable long-term goals and breaking them into smaller, more manageable ones.
  2. Drafting a clear strategy that’ll serve as a roadmap to achieve those goals
  3. Acting on that strategy and sticking to it as closely as possible
  4. Performing annual controls to see how far you have come, what you’ve accomplished, where you fell short, and what needs to change in the following year to get back on track or reach an even more ambitious goal.

When it comes to setting goals, these need to be specific and measurable. Therefore, you’ll have to define what you expect your retirement to be like so you can estimate how much income you’ll need to pay for that lifestyle without outliving your savings.

This estimate doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate, but rather an assessment that will help you see a ball-park figure of how much you should be saving every month from your income to enjoy the retirement you want.

Tip #5: Invest in a diversified mix of assets

When most people think about retirement, they picture themselves sitting on a beach sipping cocktails or playing golf. But to make that dream a reality, you need to have enough money to cover your living expenses for 20, 30, or even 40 years.

The previous tip was about determining how much your living expenses add up to. However, once you run the numbers, you’ll likely find that your current income isn’t enough to save the amount you need every month. If that’s the case, don’t despair. You can dramatically lower the money you’ll need to set aside every month if you manage to increase the return on your savings, even if only by a little.

This means investing your savings, not just leaving them to grow in a savings account. Regarding investing, stocks and bonds are the two most common asset classes. But there are also other options like real estatemutual fundsexchange-traded funds (ETFs), and even NFTs and crypto trading. The key is to invest in a diversified mix of assets to minimize the risk of losing money while still giving yourself the chance to earn a higher return.

For example, let’s suppose you invest the same $10,000 as before when you’re 35, and you manage to get an average of 6% growth instead of 5%. In that case, instead of $43,219, you’ll have $57,435 when you retire. That’s a difference of over $14,000 for that extra 1% return, without saving a cent more than what you were saving in the first place!

Tip #6: Secure a minimum level of income

No matter how much money you have saved for retirement, it’s crucial to have a plan in place to ensure you’ll have a minimum income level every month. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is to purchase an annuity.

An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for a lump-sum payment, the insurance company agrees to make regular payments to you for a set period of time or the rest of your life. There are different types of annuities, and you can customize contracts to your heart’s content by adding contract riders.

Annuities are a way to protect your nest egg and to make sure you have a minimum level of income every month, but they’re not without their drawbacks. For one, annuities are complex financial products, and it can be challenging to understand all the different features and benefits. Additionally, annuities come with fees and commissions that can eat into your investment returns, which is something you need to watch out for.

In any case, what matters most is that you set up a safety net you can fall back on in retirement, so you don’t have to worry about running out of money or outliving your savings.

Tip #7: Live a healthy lifestyle

No list of tips about preparing for old age would be complete without this important piece of advice. One of the best ways to reduce your medical expenses in retirement is to live a healthy lifestyle when you’re young. This means eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and getting regular check-ups. Of course, this isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it in the long run.

A healthy lifestyle will help you avoid costly medical bills down the road and help you feel better and enjoy your retirement more. After all, what’s the point of saving for retirement if you can’t enjoy it?

So make sure to take care of yourself now, and you’ll be thankful later.

The bottom line

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding retirement planning, especially if you’re self-employed. However, following these tips should give you a good start. Remember to invest in a mix of assets, secure a minimum income level, and live a healthy lifestyle. And most importantly, don’t wait until the last minute to start planning and saving for your golden years.

Published First on Due. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by SHVETS production; Pexels; Thank you!

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Why is Artificial Intelligence Crucial for Biotechnology?

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Why is Artificial Intelligence Crucial for Biotechnology?


Biotechnology lies in the middle of biology and technology. Through modern technologies, it uses biological processes, organisms, cells, molecules, and systems to create new products for the benefit of humanity and the planet. In addition, it contains laboratory research and development through bioinformatics to explore and extract from biomass through biochemical engineering to develop high-value products. Biotechnology operates in various fields, such as agriculture, medical, animal, industrial, and others.

White biotechnology, related to creating products demanding chemical processes from biomass, can also be one of the solutions to the energy crisis by producing biofuel. The latter can be used for vehicles or heating.

Each organization working in the biotechnology sphere maintains voluminous sets of data stored in databases. This data must also be filtrated and analyzed to be valid and applicable. Such operations as drug manufacturing, chemical analysis, enzyme studies, and other biological processes should be backed by computerized solid tools for high performance and accuracy, as well as helps to reduce manual errors.

One of the most helpful technologies that help to manage the biological processes, drug production, supply chain, and deal with data within biotech is Artificial Intelligence.

It interacts with data received through scientific literature and clinical data trial. AI also manages incommensurable clinical trial datasets and enables virtual screening and analyze the high volume of data. As a result, it reduces clinical trial costs and results in discoveries and insights for any field in which biotech operates.

More predictable data makes it easier to build work processes and operations, enhances the speed of performance and the accuracy of the procedures, and makes decision-making more efficient. 79% claim that AI technology impacts workflows and becomes crucial to productivity.

All of these results are becoming more cost-effective solutions. The estimated revenue gained with the help of AI grew by $1.2 TN in the last three years.

Advantages of using artificial intelligence in biotechnology.

AI applies in various fields, but the most significant is the use of AI in medical care. Although such technology’s ability as data categorization and making predictive analyses are beneficial for any scientific sphere.

Managing and analyzing data

The scientific data is constantly expanding and has to be arranged in a meaningful way. This process is complicated and time-consuming: scientists must go through repetitive and heavy tasks, which must be performed with great attention.

The data they work with is a big part of the research process, which results in high cost and energy loss in case of failure. Moreover, many kinds of research don’t result in practical solutions, as they fail to be translated into human language. AI programs assist in the automation of data maintenance and analysis. Open source platforms empowered by artificial intelligence help reduce the repetitive, manual, and time-consuming duties lab workers have to perform, enabling them to focus on innovation-driven operations.

Gene modification, chemical compositions, pharmacologic investigations, and other critical informatics tasks are thoroughly examined for shorter and more reliable outcomes.

Effective data maintenance is indeed crucial to every scientific sector. However, the most significant advantage of AI is its ability to organize and systemize data into forms and make predictable outcomes.

Driving innovations in the medical sphere

Over the past ten years, we faced the urgent need for innovations in the manufacturing and deploying pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, food-grade chemicals, and other raw materials connected to biochemistry.

Source

AI in Biotechnology is essential for fostering innovation throughout a drug’s or chemical compound’s lifecycle and in labs.

It assists in finding the right combination of chemicals through computing permutations and combinations of different compounds without manual lab testings. In addition, cloud computing makes the distribution of raw materials used within biotech more efficient.

In 2021 the research lab DeepMind developed the most comprehensive human protein map using AI. Proteins fulfill various tasks in the human organism – from building tissue to conquering diseases. Their molecular structure dictates their purpose, which can have thousands of iterations—knowing how protein folds help to understand its function so that scientists can figure out numerous biological processes, such as how the human body works or create new treatments and medicines.

Such platforms give access to data about discoveries for scientists all over the world.

The AI tools help decode data for uncovering the mechanisms of particular diseases in different regions and help make analytical models accurate for their geography. Before using AI, time-consuming and costly experiments were performed to determine the structure of the proteins. And now, about 180,000 protein structures made by the program are available through the Protein Data Bank for free to be used by scientists.

Machine Learning helps make lines diagnosis more accurate, using actual findings to enhance diagnostic tests. And the more tests are performed, the more precise results are generated.

AI is a great tool to enhance electronic health records with evidence-based medications and clinical decision support systems.

Artificial Intelligence is also frequently employed in genetic manipulation, radiology, customized medicine, medication management, and other fields. For example, according to the current study, AI improved breast cancer screening accuracy and efficiency compared to a standard breast radiologist. As well as another research claims that lung cancer can be spotted faster by neural networks than by trained radiologists. Another AI application is to detect diseases more accurately through X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans through AI-driven software.

Reduces time of research

New illnesses spread quickly across countries due to globalization. We witnessed it with COVID-2019; as a result, biotechnology has to speed up its production of necessary medications and vaccines to stand against such illnesses.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning maintain the process of detecting the proper compounds, assisting in their synthesis in labs, helping to analyze data for effectiveness, and supplying them to the market. The use of AI in biotech reduces the time in operations performance from 5-10 years to 2-3 years.

Boosting harvest production

Biotechnology is critical in genetically engineering plants to generate richer harvests. The role of AI-based technologies is increasing in studying crop characteristics, comparing qualities, and projecting realistic output. The agricultural biotech also uses robotics, a branch of artificial intelligence, for manufacturing, collecting, and other critical tasks.

By combining such data as weather forecasts, farming characteristics, and the accessibility of seeds, compost, and chemicals, AI aids in planning future patterns in material circulation.

AI in Industrial biotechnology

IoT and AI are widely used in producing vehicles, fuels, fibers, and chemicals. AI analyzes the data collected by IoT to transform it into valuable data for improving the production process and product quality by forecasting outcomes.

Computer simulations and AI come up with the expected molecular design. Strains are being produced through robotics and machine learning to test the accuracy of developing the desired molecule.

To sum up

Though this is just the start of using AI in biotech, many improvements can already be offered to various spheres. Moreover, the growing development of the software empowered by Artificial Intelligence in biotech demonstrates that it can be used for multiple processes, operations, and tactics to obtain a competitive advantage.

It can not only drive innovations but also be a valuable tool to reduce costs by making more accurate tests and predicting results without the actual performance of the experiments in the lab.

As well as find the future necessities of humanity in healthcare and agriculture, forecast potential losses, and make prognoses for companies where they should target their resources for more effective production and supply.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

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A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding and Building a PaaS Marketing Strategy

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A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding and Building a PaaS Marketing Strategy


It feels like yesterday when the first public PaaS (platform as a Service) named Zimki was launched at EuroOSCON in March 2006. Fontango launched the beta version after finishing its development in 2005. However, when PaaS was introduced to the masses — not many people understood its importance very well. Therein, defining a proper PaaS marketing strategy seemed unnecessary.

Even though the core marketing for every product will always remain the same — we sell, and market products, and clients buy them as they need them. The problem now is that while the initial intent of the service was to simplify code writing – its usage and benefits have grown by manifolds.

According to Financial News media, “the PaaS market size is expected to grow to $164.3 Billion by 2026.” This suggests that many more companies are looking into private & hybrid PaaS options to make the most of the cloud computing market. In addition, Statista’s report on worldwide PaaS shows that the market revenue will surpass $100 Billion in the US alone this year. Moreover, the global PaaS market will break records and exceed $400 Billion in 2022.

While these are all hypotheses until we see these numbers, the chances of these expert insights coming true are more than us expecting rain just because our nose tingled a bit when we woke up this morning. Thus, marketers must start by understanding PaaS basics and the key characteristics that will help them create a good PaaS marketing strategy.

Understanding PaaS — a brief guide for marketers

What is PaaS

The simplest way to define and describe PaaS is by first understanding that it is a form of cloud computing. Its progression has changed how business applications are built and run. With the help of PaaS, now a new application can be delivered within a web browser in lesser time. The developers can use a point-and-click interface or deploy it through a custom code.

How to use PaaS

PaaS allows businesses to:

  • deploy
  • run
  • manage custom cloud application

Without introducing any complexities they faced before, building and maintaining the company’s servers and infrastructures. In short, it can be said that PaaS offers a time & cost-efficient solution to the business.

Differences between PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS

Cloud computing birthed more than just PaaS – it also gave us its siblings, IaaS and SaaS. While most companies like Netflix use SaaS, all 3 of these offer custom cloud computing solutions depending on the type a company requires.

Image Source: Tulip

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) allows organizations to manage their business resources on the cloud. These resources include their network, servers, and data storage. IaaS is a flexible category and offers a ‘pay-as-you-go’ option to add custom features.

PaaS helps businesses and developers host, build, and deploy agile & customer-facing applications by offering them a custom framework. PaaS management is somewhere between IaaS and SaaS in a way that lets you build upon the framework and manages most of the items for you.

SaaS (software as a service) needs the least amount of management from you and is the most commonly used cloud service. These products offer cloud-based tools and applications to both consumers and businesses.

“Companies in the industry are increasingly preferring hybrid cloud solutions to increase efficiency, innovation, and reduce costs. A hybrid cloud refers to a cloud infrastructure environment that is a mixture of private cloud, on-premises computing and public cloud solutions. Platform as a service providing companies in the industry are leveraging this technology to enhance their agility, capability, increase development & deployment speed, and reduce IT costs.”

– Quote from Research and Markets Report

Is salesforce SaaS or PaaS or IaaS?

Although many people argue that salesforce is either SaaS or a hybrid example of both SaaS and PaaS combined, the company says that Salesforce is a PaaS. The Salesforce platform is the world’s number 1 PaaS solution. Moreover, the SalesForce Lightning extension is considered the next-gen PaaS solution.

Source: Jiadong Chen (medium)

Examples of PaaS

Some other examples of PaaS include:

  1. SAP Cloud
  2. Heroku
  3. Cloudways
  4. Microsoft Azure
  5. Apprenda Cloud Platform
  6. Google App Engine (from Gmail to Google Earth, everything is PaaS)
  7. Doku
  8. AWS Lambda
  9. Pivotal Cloud Foundry
  10. IBM Cloud Foundry
  11. Oracle Cloud Platform
  12. Red Hat OpenShift
  13. Zoho Creator
  14. Wasabi

Building a Proper PaaS Marketing Strategy

Let’s look at the steps necessary to consider when building a PaaS marketing strategy. Ironically, these steps will work for all kinds of cloud marketing strategies – be it IaaS marketing, SaaS marketing, or XaaS marketing.

Step 1 – Understanding the Product from a Marketer’s Perspective

When you are working on building a PaaS marketing strategy, it is essential first to understand the basics of PaaS (as I have explained above) and the features your product offers. No matter how technological your product is – if your team has no idea about it, they can’t help others think of it as a solution to anything as well.

Step 2 – Creating Custom Target Market Segments

Most tech companies target other businesses, but that is not all you need to know. For example, a company’s CEO or founder might not have enough time to read your inmails, emails, or your company page despite following it. The best target audience would be people who can quickly understand the importance of your product. Therefore, your target audience should always include a primary focus on the IT or Tech department heads, depending on the marketed product type.

Step 3 – Competitor Research

Your product needs to stay ahead for better revenue and sales generation. Doing thorough competitor research can help you discover the growth points they might be missing and offer you a case study of what worked for them and what didn’t. However, knowing what works for them doesn’t mean you just steal their ideas. If you do so – you might get a little attention from the target audience, but you will still be behind your competitor. Instead, discover the market gaps & target demographics and then work on a strategy to fill them in instead. Use their already workable strategy as garnishing to yours rather than making it a holy grail.

Step 4 – Prioritizing Marketing Types & Platforms

This is by far the most crucial point regarding your marketing strategy. While we all know digital marketing is the new gen marketing, no one marketer is a jack of all marketing types. So for step 4, you need to think about the marketing types that will help you with;

  • Brand Visibility
  • Brand Authority
  • Lead Generation
  • Revenue Generation

Before I tell the marketing types that I include in the strategies I build – it is essential to understand that they vary from business to business. If a company is just launching itself, it might not be able to do everything and anything. Therefore, always prioritize when building a strategy.

First, you need to pin down the growth points and then expand your strategy from there. Set reality-based KPIs and expectations for the team to ensure there’s no burnout or blame game, and take it six months at a time. My go-to PaaS marketing strategy always includes:

  1. Organic Marketing
  2. Inbound Marketing
  3. Content Marketing
  4. Voice Marketing (relatively new technique)
  5. Search Engine Marketing
  6. Product Marketing
  7. User-Generated Marketing.
  8. Acquisition & Retention Marketing
  9. Referral Marketing
  10. Brand Marketing
  11. Email Marketing
  12. Conversational & Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  13. Video Marketing
  14. Neuro-Marketing with a dash of Emotional Marketing
  15. Social Media Marketing (just because your product needs b2b marketing doesn’t mean Linkedin is the only social media solution)

You can also throw in influencer marketing to the mix – if your budget allows it. For me, the first influencers are always the clients themselves.

Key Points to keep in mind when building a Proper PaaS Marketing Strategy

1.      Customer Experience

I once worked with a tech company that offered eLearning solutions to businesses. Yet, everyone in the leadership didn’t know how to log in to WordPress, download surveys from SurveyMonkey, etc. This helped the team understand the importance of customer experience, so they always worked extra hard to ensure their customers never faced an issue when using their services.

Likewise, designing an application or website is essential to keep the customer experience in mind. The idea is to make things easy for them. Don’t overcomplicate things by keeping the blogs tab just in the footer or hidden in a scroll-down tab. The easier and more functional your service is for the customers, the more word-of-mouth marketing you get.

From color psychology to the font type – you need to have a look at it all.

2.      User Onboarding

When it comes to PaaS, first expressions are the last ones, and people mostly do judge a book by its cover. However, client experience is an integral part of any product marketing team when selling something technical because not all clients are equipped with the knowledge to understand technical jargon and processes. Therefore, user onboarding comes in handy and helps showcase your product’s total value.

A user onboarding benefits in not just customer acquisition or activation, but aims to build a retention level with upward growth in a way that also increases revenue. Moreover, if the user onboarding is done correctly, it can also lead a company to acquire new customers due to the word-of-mouth marketing done by the existing happy client.

With existing customers marketing for you by referring their peers and colleagues – your customer acquisition costs can reduce significantly, creating a snowball effect for the business growth. To conclude, user onboarding can help you win your customers over in the first few minutes and make them stay loyal to you for not just weeks but years!

3.      Trial Periods

One of the best ways to convert a potential customer is by offering them a trial period of the product. This lets them test it just like they want to and gives them an illusion of getting something for free. Take Netflix, for example, they started with a 30-day free trial for their potential subscribers. Now when they have gained enough attention – they finish the trial periods.

You can drive a similar strategy as well.

4.      Highlight Benefits rather than Features

Someone who’s not as technologically advanced as the developers of your product might not care about all the features it offers. Instead, they want to know why your product is best for them. Therefore, keeping the communication lines between you and your customer as clear and concise as possible is essential. Focus on how your product will add value to their costs, employees, and time.

This is where your competitor research will come in handy; if you know your customers’ pain points, you can offer them the solutions they want. However, in trying to do so, ensure you don’t overwhelm the prospects by giving them too much information.

An example is when an Eco-friendly alternative company offers solutions like bamboo straws or brushes. They don’t go into how sleek their product was because of some specific processing or ingredient – their main selling line is that this thing here you see will help the environment and decay faster in comparison to plastic. From their blogs to social media posts and podcasts, they focus on what their products offer in value rather than something else, and it works.

Another example of this is SalesForcewhen talking about PaaS and why they are the number 1 solution for companies – they only talk about the benefits and pain points. They don’t go into details about the features. However, they created an infographic and added all the features to it rather than going into detail.

5.      Set the Right Expectations

Never lie to the leadership that you can generate so and so revenue and little time. Long-term growth can NOT be achieved with black hat methods and techniques. A company’s growth takes time – no one will wake up, see your product, and think they should click buy because they saw an advert or because you sent them an email. Tofu, Mofu & Bofu exist for a reason in the sales funnel.

Similarly, don’t lie when marketing your product. There’s no point saying a train can fly to sell it only to end up with negative reviews on the internet. Today’s generation is savvy and knows when they are being marketed to. Hence, it is essential to be transparent about your product’s functionality rather than selling its subscription like a unicorn. You might get one-time payments, but they can be canceled too.

Bad reviews mean a reduction in customer acquisition and retention rates – directly impacting your sales and revenue.

Conclusion

Developing a marketing strategy will always focus on similar platforms and techniques — no matter which product or company. The only thing that adds-on to the value of a strategy is its execution per planning. Many tech companies have started to prefer hiring marketing and content teams with backgrounds in tech or software engineering because they feel it is easier than having employee integration or product training. But by doing so, they are missing out on the most important thing — a layman’s viewpoint. If everyone in the company understands the product without trying it — they can never market it to a non-technical person.

With a proper understanding and a good marketing strategy for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, or XaaS, as discussed in this content piece, you can reach the right target audience and demographics per your requirements.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Sijdah Hussain

Digital Marketer

Sijdah is an Organic Growth Marketer with 7+ years of experience in the content industry from writing to advising and 5+ years of experience in SEO – she have extensive experience working in a fast-paced work culture in both b2b and b2c industries.
She enjoys designing and implementing content strategies with a consistent brand voice for social media, website and webpage layouts per SEO algorithms to ensure steady growth and online presence & help improve the company’s sales efforts.

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