Category: English

Important coronavirus update for fans of standup comedy

The world needs four things right now.

First, medical doctors and scientists to bring us the vaccine against COVID-19.

Second, we all need to stay home and keep eating all those rolls of toilet paper.

Third, we need doctors, paramedics and nurses to keep doing their heroic jobs, saving lives even if many of the rest of us are irresponsible, careless, stupid or even malicious.

Last and, well, least, we need to laugh well. Laughter was invented by Mother Nature to keep us sane in situations like we’ve found ourselves in. Stand-up comedians for one have helped us laugh our way through the toughest of times (pandemics or even election results), and they’ve inspired us to see things in a new light in better times.

We all can and should change our comedy habits right now

With comedy clubs closed and tours cancelled, binge-watching Netflix and a lot of YouTube only solves part of the problem. For sure, there are plenty of funny stand-up recordings there, but if you watch the same names you’ve always watched, you’ll lose out on the excitement of going to a live comedy club night and seeing someone you’ve never seen before. Perhaps even seeing a kind of comedy you’ve never seen before.

You’re also not helping the economy to get better. Most people with shows on Netflix and large followings on YouTube are not materially impacted if a few more or a few fewer people watch their shows. And that’s not the case with many brilliant comics who mostly do live work (and whose gigs have all been cancelled).

Luckily there’s a solution or even several of them. Here’s how you can get entertained, keep getting some of the aspects of seeing live comedy and playing a small but important role in having the comedybiz pie distributed more justly and sustainably.
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How to hire the first marketer for your team or startup


I’ve built 3 marketing teams, hired more than 30 marketers, made a couple of colossal recruiting mistakes, been hired as the first marketer in a high-growth startup (Pipedrive), spent 5 years at the marketing team of global tech company (Skype) and founded a mar tech startup and found someone to hand marketing over to (Outfunnel). I haven’t “seen it all” but have clocked enough hits and misses to dare to write this post.

Hopefully, this post will help to hire your first (or third) marketer. As we all know, hiring is hard, and it’s painful to be working in a team where you’re missing a core skill.

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How to run ads for your startup – the penultimate guide

There are several ultimate guides available for running ads, and I have no ambitions to create another one. So here’s a penultimate one, containing only six pieces of advice. But the advice is practical, to-the-point and based on more than 10 years and several million dollars of ad investments, as well as several million dollars of ad spend (yes, these are different things).

senator we run ads printed graphic t-shirt-600x600

1. Make the first pick of channels, using category awareness and category urgency as your guide

“What channels should we use?” is a pretty common question and while all businesses are different and there is no best answer, I’ve found it helpful to use category awareness to make the first pick of channels.

Category awareness is high when most people in your target audience already know the product or service you’re selling. It’s things like car insurance, CRM software, web hosting, smartphones, etc. Each of these things is generally well known and people in the target audience use search engines and specialist shopping or comparison sites when they feel a need.

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How to create a marketing plan for your startup : here’s a no-BS framework

It seems we have product-market fit. What marketing channels should we invest in?

This is probably the most common question in the startup community (right after “should we do an ICO?”). After answering it a couple of dozen times in one-on-one sessions and workshops I now think I have a solid answer, the equivalent of having a map in an unfamiliar city. You can still get horribly lost but there’s a really high chance of getting to where you need to go. Which is particularly handy if you’d like to arrive before all the others do.

This post builds on my Two Hedgehog Marketing framework which was great but may have missed some practical implementation guidelines which are now present.

Ready? Building a marketing plan starts from assessing category awareness.

Step 1. Map category awareness and category urgency: are you a guard dog, a sugar glider or a little bit of both?

A sugar glider, your humble guide to understanding category awareness.

Join me on a (justified) detour with pets to illustrate this. You get a guard dog if you feel like you need to protect your property by someone who can also keep you company. You kind of know what to expect and how the business of getting and looking after a dog works. No amount of advertising or media stories will persuade you to get a dog if you don’t want a dog. In fact, if someone did advertise getting a dog, you’d probably be blind to this.

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70 meetings and calls later: How I achieved customer interview management superpowers

customer development path

I’ve been working on a marketing automation tool (more on that at the end of the post). Or rather, I’ve been working on an idea for a marketing automation tool as I don’t want a single line of code written before I’d experienced a notable pull from target customers. (This may sound like I am clever/ born lean, but in reality, I’ve made the mistake of starting a couple of projects out of pure enthusiasm in the past, and I’ve had enough of that, thankyouverymuch).

I set myself a goal of 10 customer pre-orders in a reasonable time, kicked myself in the butt and got started. As I had been preparing for cutting the cord of employment for some time, I had created an Evernote document with names of people I wanted to approach, another one with interview questions and the third one with feature ideas.

I knew I wanted to keep track of the whole process, be able to easily access and analyze my notes and automate as much as possible. Unsurprisingly, I picked Pipedrive as my main tool and took the advice that I had been preaching Pipedrive users for almost seven years: that the first step of achieving a (good) result is defining the process.

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An entertaining startup/marketing speaker and host

20+ years in marketing, 10+ years of speaking at events and 10+ years of being an amateur stand-up comedian have made me a not-half-bad marketing speaker.

Selection of gigs:

      • “Õhtu Geeniusega” – co-host of a “live startup talk show for normal people”
      • Latitude59 2023, guest at Late Afternoon Show
      • SaaStock 2022, talk on Accelerate stage
      • Sifted Session Tallinn, radiator-side chat moderation (like a fireside chat, but funnier)
      • Vendep SaaSCamp 2021 fall, online session

    • Password 2021, Tallinn, keynote
    • sTARTUp Day, Tartu, January 2019 (keynote)
    • SaaStock 2018, Dublin, October 2018 (talk, Traction stage)
    • SaaStr Europa, Paris, June 2018 (keynote)

  • SmallBusinessWeb Summit (now Saas Connect), San Francisco, March 2017 (keynote)

  • Business of Software Europe, London, June 2017 (15-minute talk)
  • Microconf Europe, Lisbon, November 2017  (keynote)
  • Slush Founders Day, Helsinki, November 2017 (roundtable moderation)
  • Tallinn Marketing Week, May 2018 (workshop. Feedback 9,6 out of 10)

Topics I like

  • Marketing Strategies / Frameworks for Early Stage Startups
  • Product-led sales and onboarding
  • How to know what works and what doesn’t work in your B2B/SaaS marketing
  • Evolution of a (SaaS) marketing team
  • How to hire marketers / build startup marketing teams
  • Lessons learned building a SaaS company from zero to seed (based on Outfunnel) or zero to A/B/C rounds (based on Pipedrive)

My speaker bio

Andrus Purde is founder of Outfunnel, easiest way to create deep connections between sales and marketing tools. Prior to that Andrus was Pipedrive’s head of marketing and helped to grow the company from zero to 75,000+ paying customers around the world. He has held various marketing roles at Skype, as well as senior marketing roles in FMCG and media. He is an active participant in Northern-European tech and marketing scene, a regular speaker at technology events and an angel investor.

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Show your click stats to the designer, or how creativity at scale is hard work


This post leaped out of my head as I’m wrapping up my six or so years of heading marketing of Pipedrive and I’ve started to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly. There might be more posts like this, you sign up to receive notifications in the right sidebar.

Q: What moron pays good dollars for the right to show Facebook ads to the perfect audience and then cobbles together stock illustrations and copy that makes one yawn at best?

A: The moron that wrote this piece.

Hear me out, there may be a lesson or two here. You see, I’ve considered myself as a “creative” marketer which has been somewhat justified. I’ve rented a tram for a month and had it transport people for free, brightly Skype-branded. I’ve won creative awards on both sides of the table. I’ve managed a creative team at an agency and run my own little boutique.  And then I completely stupidly dropped the creative ball as head of a 20+ person tech marketing team.

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How Pipedrive reached 50,000 paying customers

Pipedrive art

Earlier in the year Pipedrive crossed the 50,000 paying customer mark, an event we celebrated with cheap champagne insightful stats. I thought it’d be a good idea to follow up my “how Pipedrive got to 10,000 customers” post.  A couple of things are exactly the same, some have lost their relevancy and there are several new themes.

What follow are my observations of things that got us from 10,000 to 50,000 customers, in no particular order, but leaving the most important thing last. Note these are observations of a marketer, if you asked one of our product managers, sales leaders or investors to write the post, you might get a different post.

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Referral program timing: time is your enemy

One of my three operating theses is: market products that don’t need marketing. This is not due to laziness, at least not entirely, but due to my belief that this way you get to work on more interesting problems.

Relating to the “no need for marketing” idea, I firmly believe early stage technology companies should focus on word-of-mouth and recommendations as part of The Two Hedgehog marketing framework. Here’s an important piece of information to keep in mind when you’re designing your referral program: timing matters.

Pipedrive lesson: user age is the most important factor in referral schemes

And I’m not talking about their time on Earth but time since signing up to your service. Pipedrive’s product analyst Andres looked at usage of our tell-a-friend program in relation to almost any conceivable feature usage or user characteristics. Time since signing up is the most important factor to consider.

Pipedrive time to refer

The biggest volume of invites, both successful and unsuccessful, are sent out during the first couple of days since signing up. Which makes perfect sense because users are still in the discovery phase and learning about any referral programs in the process.

Which would mean that there will never be a better time to set up some messaging and triggers around the referral program.

There is another peak around day 30 for Pipedrive that coincides with the end of the trial period for must users. I’m 99% confident this is not organic and is caused by us encouraging triallists to visit the billing page where we present information about our tell-a-friend program among other things.

Bonus factoid: the probability that an invite is successfully accepted increases with each new invite the company/user has sent. That is, the more invites someone sends, the higher the probability of success, or vice versa.

What about the rest of the iceberg, or “true” word-of-mouth?

Any referral programs are usually just the tip of the iceberg and there are magnitudes more old-fashioned people-to-people referring going on. The above was data from Pipedrive’s referral program. Is the same true in the true “organic” word of mouth?

Potentially. I ran a study some years back and asked a sample of 291 Pipedrive users when would they be most likely to recommend the software. They claimed that this is not during the first days but during the first couple of months. Which may or not be true. We might study this next, so there may be a sequel to this post.


A hundred years ago products and services spread because they were good, not because they were marketed well. Focusing on referrals is not only efficient and effective, it’s also a step towards these olden golden days where we work on earning recommendations, not “hacks”.

PS. Pipedrive is growing fast and we’re hiring. You can see openings our jobs page and we’ll be adding new ones soon. If you would like to work with me/us, get in touch.

10 highly practical startup marketing tips

10 traffic sign

Sounds like clickbait, right? A “listicle”, questionable facts loosely stitched together only to get you to visit. But what this really is is ten solid, if I say so myself, marketing tips based on almost a decade of technology marketing.

I wrote them down because each of them has proven valuable in conversations with people that are marketing startups in one way or another. Here they are, in no particular order.

#1. Talk to lots of customers in a short period of time.

Talk to customers” is the piece of advice that has probably the lowest ratio of awareness to real usage ie. everyone knows it and no-one seems to do enough of it. Let me one-up this: speak to a couple of dozen of customers in a short time at least once when you start working with a new company or customer group.

I spoke to nearly 40 customers in 3 weeks for an hour each about 1,5 years ago as part of a customer persona exercise and while the result was useful, the process of having gone through this was even more useful. This dramatically increased my ability to create connections between Pipedrive’s offering and our customers. I can now relate new features we announce to specific places in the day-to-day of customers. When I look at product usage stats or market research slides, particular pieces of these conversations spring to mind and help to bring data to life. (There was also the practical added benefit of finding three really insightful case studies for our blog.)

And here’s a practical tip. The answer to the question how many customers should I talk to is: keep talking to more customers until the stories you hear back start to resemble each other. If you have a homogenous user base the right number may be 10, but in most cases it’s safe to aim for 25 or so.

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