Landon Howell | A blog about startup marketing



Sales during a pandemic
May 21 2020  •  0 comments

The salespeople who will win during lockdown/quarantine are those with the most empathy.

Your prospective customers are stuck at home, working from home (most for the first time), many with children (who need quality time and attention), and all concerned with simply trying to stay caught-up in their responsibilities.

They are attempting to balance personal and professional responsibilities and stress during a pandemic and record unemployment.

“Circling back” to “see if you received my last email” isn’t empathy. Take an other-centered approach and throw out most of your old playbook and process.



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SMBs and Covid-19 Impact
May 19 2020  •  0 comments

Facebook surveyed 86,000 people who own or work at SMBs on the effect of Covid-19 on their operations.

31% of SMBs have stopped operating in the last three months

52% of personal businesses have shut down

36% of SMBs reported conducting all of their business online (which is something Shopify and others have seen)

74% of surveyed employees said they did not have paid sick leave, but that number jumps to 93% for hotel, cafe, and restaurant industries

45% of owners/managers at small businesses said they’ll rehire the same staff when they reopen (yikes)

11% of operating businesses predict they’ll fail in the next three months given current conditions (this seems unreasonably optimistic)



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There will be no “Silicon Valley exodus”
May 18 2020  •  0 comments

I originally shared the following on LinkedIn.

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“Silicon Valley faces tech exodus.”

No it doesn’t.

San Francisco and Silicon Valley will continue to be the global startup and tech hub. It’s where the medium and large tech orgs are based, it’s where the VCs are anchored (or have a satellite office), and it has a massive pool of talent to fill all roles of a company of any stage.

I’ve not even touched on the amazing weather, food, views, events, and the mix of cultures.

The Bay Area is amazing. For every person wanting to move out, dozens are wanting to move in.

The cost of living is high, but so are the salaries, the benefits/perks, the work experience, and the likelihood that you can not only find a tech company you love (and when you want to change tech jobs your options are seemingly endless), but a job that you love which *also* has a high likelihood of success (e.g. IPO).

Also, this isn’t a zero sum game. The Valley/SF can be incredibly important *while* other cities also exponentially increase in their importance.

We’ve already seen this happen in Boston, Seattle, Austin, and New York City.

I’m typing this from Atlanta, an incredible tech hub that I moved to after leaving SF a year ago.



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A poll of U.S. SMBs during quarantine
May 12 2020  •  0 comments

Some interesting numbers from a poll conducted by Veem of U.S. SMBs.

• 90% of small businesses are bracing for an economic slowdown

• 81% of small businesses think COVID-19 could impact them for 12–16 months

• 65% of companies said they had either submitted an application for the federal aid or planned to do so in the near future

• 59% of companies are applying/have applied for loans

• 52% of companies are cutting operational costs

• 55% have already experienced some significant impact to revenue

• 50%+ of companies reported moderate to high supply-chain disruptions as a result of factory shutdowns, border restrictions, and industry furloughs

• 30%+ are now setting up regional supply chains or changing their supply chain

• 30% are optimistic, taking the stance that they are better positioned to thrive in the current environment (e.g. ecommerce)

• 13% of companies have not taken any measures to prepare for a slowdown

• 54% of the companies are freezing hiring

• 23% are downsizing staff

• 18% said they plan to increase staff training and support



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Almost 3 of 4 Americans say the economy is reopening too fast
May 8 2020  •  0 comments

71% of Americans are worried that coronavirus restrictions are being lifted too quickly

29% said that restrictions aren’t being lifted quickly enough

14% said they think it is safe to end stay-at-home orders

9% of those surveyed said they think “it is safe now” for schools and universities to reopen

Source: The Hill



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The Apple I
May 8 2020  •  0 comments

The Apple I, which debuted in 1976.

It sold 175 units.

Here’s the interview with Steve Wozniak from BYTE Magazine.



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The Nag Metric
May 4 2020  •  0 comments

I love the new metric proposed by Julie Zhuo: The Nag Metric

Also, if you are on a Marketing/Growth team or Product team I highly recommend subscribing to her newsletter The Looking Glass.



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TikTok hits 2 billion downloads, has best quarter for any app ever
May 1 2020  •  0 comments

“In Q1 2020, [TikTok] generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play.”

TikTok’s growth over the past couple of years has been fun to watch, but Q1 2020 growth was insane. The app surpassed 2B downloads. It crossed 1.5B in the fall of 2019.

My tween niece formally introduced me to TikTok during the 2018 holidays. I was familiar with the TikTok in its previous form, Musically, but from my own experiences I simply found musically is that it was a place where tweens and teens would lip sync and dance… which wasn’t of interest to me, 30something father of two.

Fast-forward to May 2020 and TikTok’s audience has gone the way of Facebook and Instagram: the adults joined in on the fun.

[To note: “Downloads” does not a user make, but being an avid consumer (but not creator) myself I can tell you that at least anecdotally these growth numbers feels very real.]

The Top 3 countries driving growth…

#1 India
• 611M lifetime installs
• 30.3% of all TikTok accounts

#2 China
• 196M lifetime installs
• 9.7% of all TikTok accounts
• Numbers do not include third-party Android store installs

#3 United States
• 165M lifetime installs
• 8.2% of all TikTok accounts



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Interesting notes from Spotify’s Q1 2020 earnings call
Apr 30 2020  •  0 comments

I was really interested to see Spotify’s Q1 2020 earnings in a world of stay-at-home and work-from-home. Some items and metrics that stood out…

  • Searches for “chill” and “instrumental” playlists were up, as 20% of consumers reported listening to more music than usual to manage their stress.
  • Decline in usage of car and wearable (because ain’t nobody commuting at the moment)
  • 31% in both MAU and subscriptions YoY
  • 286M monthly active users (up from 271M in Q4 2019)
  • 130M subscribers
  • This is wild: More than 70% of new podcasts on Spotify were created with Anchor. Spotify acquired Anchor in Feb 2019 for ~$150M.
  • 1 out of 5 users “engaged” with a podcast… which I feel is an incredibly vague way of saying “some people probably maybe accidentally clicked on a podcast or two but we don’t really have a ‘whoops’ metric yet do this is the best marketing term we could use.”


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    Google Meet is now a great, free alternative to Zoom
    Apr 29 2020  •  0 comments


    For those reliant on Zoom as a free video conferencing tool, Google has now made Meet available for free.

  • The meeting can include up to 100 participants
  • No cut off time for meetings (Zoom’s free offering cut off is 1 hour)
  • People not explicitly added to a meeting via a calendar invite will be automatically entered into a green room when they try to join a meeting, and only be let in when approved by the host. (aka: no “Zoom Bombing”)
  • Previously, Meet was only available to enterprise and education customers. Now, anyone with an email account will be able to use the platform.



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