SaaStr Annual 2019: Key takeaways

SaaStr Annual 2019: Key takeaways

Our Service Delivery Manager Rod Aburto and our PMO Adolfo Cruz attended the 5th SaaSt Annual event. They were lucky to hear from the best executives, founders, and VC’s in SaaS. In this article, they share with us their experience and some key points that were covered through the event.

What is the SaaStr Annual?

In their own words: “The 5th SaaStr Annual is the largest non-vendor confab in the world, uniting the global B2B SaaS community both online and off. We want to help everyone scale faster and with less stress and more success!” Here’s a couple of facts around it:

  • 12,500+ SaaS executives, founders, and VCs come together for the SaaStr Annual
  • 3+ full days with 200+ sessions from the best-of-the-best on how to scale faster
  • 100+ of sponsors
  • 250+ VCs, including an entire day where the VCs pitch you
  • 300+ speakers from the best SaaS companies across the world

Scio Consulting at SaaStr

We have been attending SaaStr Annual for a couple of years ago, and we can say the event gets better and better each time. It was certainly better organized than the previous year. San Jose Convention Center is a venue suited for such an event (3x bigger than the venues in 2017 and 2018), so we gladly welcomed the news when we hear SaaStr has moved out of being held at a hotel. As usual, we got 2 main reasons to attend:

  • Get first-hand information on today’s SaaS industry trends and tips for helping companies grow
  • Networking and meeting people, talk about their own experience and share ours

Takeaways from SaaStr Annual 2019

Here’s a list of great ideas we gathered during the event, be sure to adopt and adapt as required!

1.      Generational Companies as a goal

Both during the Opening Remarks and along several of the sessions, the aspirational goal to maintain this year was “Becoming a generational company”, not just a unicorn, but a company that transcends generations and becomes a $1,000,000,000+ in Annual Recurrent Revenue (ARR)

2.      The Sales Funnel, no more

Main speakers reiterated on the idea of chasing a Sales Flywheel instead on a Sales Funnel: turning leads and current customers intro promoters and evangelists.

Flywheel Saastr

Flywheel Saastr


3.      Key Rules of Building Distributed Teams

Eventbrite Saastr Annual

Key Rules of Building Distributed Teams Attribution – PAT POELS SVP Eventbrite @patpoels

4.      Mobile Subscriptions

Mobile Suscriptions Saastr Annual 2019

Mobile Subscriptions Attribution – JACOB EITING CEO RevenueCat @jeiting

5.      Standardize Interviews

  • Define Goals for Recruiting, assign topics or areas to the team interviewing (Intentional roles)
  • Stress on finding talent aligned to company values
  • Don’t include very busy developers on the Panel per default
  • Normalize interviews company-wide
  • Interview training is reviewed annually
  • Include people from Learning and Development in the panel

From the session: Setting Up a Good Hiring and Interview Process (Jully Kim from ZenDesk)


6.      How to move upmarket

If you want to move upmarket, focus on growing your user base with a plan to land with companies, don’t sell to the C-suite, at least not at the beginning. You need to grow your user base because they will be your best sales agent within their organizations to adopt your solution at an organization level.

7.      Facts about free trials

Time-based free trials are the most common because they convert up 2x better than other models like feature or seat trials. In terms of free trial duration, 14-day trial is the most common for a couple of reasons:

  • Trial length has no impact in conversion
  • Time kills deals

8.      Talent is everywhere

SaaS companies are struggling in hiring local talent, especially in the bay area, many of them are building teams in other parts of the US or other countries but, to make it work, 2 aspects are essential:

  • Find leaders that you can trust and let them do their work building and managing distributed teams, don’t become a bottle-neck trying to control everything from your main office
  • Treat distributed teams as equals, they happen to be in other cities, in other countries, but they have the talent to deliver value, give them meaningful work


9.      Miscellaneous ideas

  • Partnering for growth:
    • You should build both indirect Channels and Platform Ecosystems
    • Aim to offer developers oriented platforms: Business to Developers (B2D)
  • How New customers are deciding:
    • Trust has moved from Brands to Referrals
    • You need to nurture your happiest customers to bring more business


In summary, take care and grow your user base with a plan to land in companies, let the users play and try your complete solution for a period of time, and you can build your solution with a distributed team that you trust and treat as equals.


What do we think of the event?  

We enjoyed participating in SaaStr Annual 2019. It is a vibrant community, full of knowledge and opportunities. Knowing the latest trends in the SaaS world allows us, at Scio Consulting, to propose new ideas and solutions to our clients that are aligned with what consumers/users are expecting.

Next you’ll find some of the event’s pictures:

PS: Make sure to continue reviewing all presentations at

5 Key Considerations in UX Design for Software Applications

5 Key Considerations in UX Design for Software Applications

In this modern age of technology mostly dominated by applications, one of software developers’ major considerations is how the overall product or application affects user experience.

When we mention ‘user’ and ‘design’, two things come to mind: User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).  There’s a difference between the two, but in this article, we’ll focus more on the UX Design perspective.

UX has a very broad definition — from being the creative and analytical process of determining what a piece of software will be, to an approach in design that takes the user into account. The term originated from Don Norman, a renowned cognitive scientist in the 1990s. He defined ‘user experience’ as including everything about how the end-user interacts with a company, including its products and services.

Simply put, UX Design is the overall approach or process for designing a system that offers a positive experience to the users through product interaction.

Before you put your tech-wiz hat on, we’ve narrowed down the five most important things that you need to consider in designing your software application, ensuring that it isn’t only successful but user-friendly as well.

Consideration #1. Users First: The Art of App Onboarding

Before you create your software application, you need to know your audience or users first.

How does your audience operate? What do they want and need? How can your product make their life easier?

These are some of the key questions that you need to ask yourself when designing a software application. But how can you know what they want if you don’t show it to them?

Here’s where ‘app onboarding’ comes in. This is a term used when a random person is given the chance to use an application that he or she hasn’t tried before. This is the stage where your user will grasp the application’s UI and Controls, a critical step in the software development life-cycle.

There are many methods of onboarding, but the most important thing you must keep in mind is that your new users shouldn’t get lost or frustrated when trying out your app.

Consideration #2. Simplicity: Avoiding the Unnecessary

When designing a software application, software developers tend to get lost in the process. Because of their desire to develop the best software, they often forget one of the most basic principles in designing, which is to keep it simple.

Rather than designing an application that can do everything, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time, and then upgrade from there. This way, you won’t get exhausted in adding features that other software applications do — for free.

This allows your software application to have breathing space, and it streamlines the user experience. It also makes it easier for you to get the message across, in terms of marketing.

Consideration #3. Personalization: Customization and Originality

Not having the ability to tailor your newly-installed software application can be frustrating. That’s why a lot of people prefer one that they can customize or where they can add a bit of their personality into it.

Changes that allow for personalization may vary from font size and colors to the application’s layout. They may even include the capability of hiding some features within the software.

What this gives the users is the opportunity to play around with the application. Tailoring it to their needs leads to a more satisfying experience for them.

Consideration #4. Responsiveness: Efficiency and Speed

This is a key and standard element in any software application. If your application isn’t designed to be quick and responsive, it will result in inefficiency and a bad user experience.

By efficiency and speed, it means that your application can quickly accomplish what the user is trying to do and that it is efficient in finding different ways to cater to the user’s needs.

Reducing the number of actions to get something done in your app is one way of making it efficient and quick.

Consideration #5. Scalability: Growth and Functionality

Giving your software application ‘space’ for new features in the future opens the door for added functionalities, enabling the application to grow or “evolve” into something better.



Developing a software application that gives users a great experience boils down to knowing what your audience wants; keeping it simple and functional without losing its efficiency and speed; and making it customizable while also keeping it original.

By keeping these things in mind, you’re on your way to designing a user-friendly software application that will keep your users hooked.

If you need to develop software that your users will surely love,  contact us and we will be glad to help you.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Building a SaaS Application

Advantages and Disadvantages of Building a SaaS Application

As computer and internet technologies have evolved, so have the products and applications that are available. While it used to be that software applications would come as a self-contained program, more companies are switching to SaaS-based platforms. Essentially, a “software as a service” or SaaS, is an application that can be accessed as a subscription. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages for those looking to build a SaaS application.

Advantages of Building a SaaS Application


Lower Up-Front Costs – One of the foremost advantages of building a SaaS application is the fact that it is usually cheaper to get the project started. With a SaaS application, you will not have to worry about building all features at once before being able to grant access to your clients. You can build the initial versions of the app and start offering to clients, and then increasingly adding new functionalilty.

Easy to Upgrade – When you are building a SaaS application it is easy to deal with updates and hardware upgrades, as the platform is already being hosted, so there is no need for redeployment at your clients infrastructure or sending each one of them an upgrade set of files. This substantially decreases the workload once the project is up and running.

Instantly Accessible – The internet can be accessed from nearly anywhere in the world these days and this bodes well for SaaS application developers. So long as there is a sufficient connection to the internet, then changes to the SaaS application can be quickly implemented from any location.

Disadvantages of Building a SaaS Application


Security Concerns – There is no doubt that the primary disadvantage to building a SaaS application is the chance of security breaches. While in a self-contained application, user information is stored locally, in a SaaS service user data, including credit card numbers and personal information, it stored in a cloud. If there is a flaw in the security system then subscriber information could be compromised. You should ask your software development team to perform regular security checks as to confirm the App has no vulnerabilities.

Internet Requirements – While access to the internet is available almost anywhere, there are spots where access is very limited. This limited access can cause problems for those building SaaS applications, as they will require an internet connection to perform any necessary changes or updates. Your development team should provide 24/7 support from a highly connected development center.

Control Issues – Seeing as SaaS applications are typically hosted by a third party, this limits the amount of control that developers will have once the service is launched. This lack of control also causes issues for users, as they will be forced to keep up with updates and other system requirements. In essence, as the SaaS application is updated, there is no way of going back to preexisting interfaces, whether the user would prefer it or not. This should be something you discuss thoroughly with your development team, so you can plan on offering different features to different clients, as well as ways of ensuring all production deployments are done when most of your users are not using the App.

In Summary

There are many things to consider when building a SaaS application, as it comes with many advantages and some disadvantages. Perhaps the greatest motivator in creating a SaaS service is the low budget that is required to get the project off the ground. In addition, once the application has been deployed it is easy to make updates, so long as there is an internet connection. On the other hand, there are disadvantages that need to be considered as well when planning the product and the deployment of versions. There is nothing more important to a SaaS application than keeping user information secure, and since the data for the app will be stored in a cloud there is always the possibility of a security breach. If you are planning to develop and deploy a SaaS application, be sure to keep these tips in mind, and you are sure to have a successful launch.