Welcome to The V Formation

Welcome to The V Formation, a blog focused on enterprise product strategy and entrepreneurship.

Who am I?

I'm Vivek Saraswat, a venture capital investor at Mayfield Fund.  Over the years I've had the privilege of working in product management for some great companies--startups and giants alike--in the enterprise infrastructure and developer tools space. For example, I launched and managed Docker's primary enterprise product, created VMware's Storage for Cloud-Native Apps initiative, and worked at AWS on snapshots for Elastic Block Store. In a previous life I was an early engineer at a venture-backed energy startup, before I traded in my clean room bunny-suit for the world of product specs and GitHub issues.

At Mayfield I invest in early stage enterprise startups, with a focus on next generation infrastructure and applications. I spend about half my time on new investments and market analysis, and the other half helping our portfolio companies on areas like product strategy, go-to-market, value communication, and recruiting.

My other big passion is music--I sing in an a cappella group called Halfway to Midnight, and have played off-and-on in various rock bands. I also like spending time with my family, playing games, and annoying/appeasing my cat. You may occasionally see examples of all of the above in my posts.

Why should you care?

For the vast majority of internet-goers, you probably shouldn't. There are millions of blogs out there on such varied topics as cat clicker trainingslow-roast cooking, and gaming speedruns. If, however, you are part of the rarified few that cares about enterprise product strategy and the constantly evolving world of cloud-native startups, then read on.

I've noticed that there are many technical blogs on infrastructure and developer tools, many blogs on product strategy, and many blogs on startups in general. However, there are comparatively few resources on the merging of these areas--enterprise product management/marketing for startups. Some of the topics currently rolling around my head:
  • What makes startup product management for enterprise IT customers different?
  • What are the best practices and tools an enterprise product manager can bring to an early-stage company?
  • Why is product marketing crucial for your early-stage enterprise product, and how does it differ from similar roles at a larger company?
  • At what stage and how should you consider top-down sales vs. bottoms-up adoption in your go-to-market strategy?
  • How do you maneuver around the titans of the cloud industry while defining the value proposition and strategy for your enterprise product?
  • How can you best utilize open-source models for a commercial product?
My goal with this blog is to take some of what I've learned over the years as an enterprise product manager and investor--success stories and battle scars alike--and talk about topics like these in a way that is (hopefully) moderately useful and entertaining to you.

What does "The V Formation" mean anyway?



The V Formation is, to quote Wikipedia, "a symmetric V-shaped flight formation of geese, ducks, and other migratory birds [...] that possibly improves fuel efficiency, particularly over long migratory routes." 

Why did I choose this name, you might ask? Here are some possible reasons:
  • It represents a group of organisms driving towards a common objective, which is (usually) the goal of a good product manager or startup founder
  • This blog is all about the formation of enterprise products, teams, and companies.
  • It sounded cool in my head and uses the first letter of my name.
Take your pick.

What's next?

If you've made it this far, great! Perhaps some of these topics will be of interest to you in the future. Stay tuned next month for my first post around enterprise product management. Feel free to subscribe (see the link on the sidebar), or follow me on Twitter where I will link all of my blog posts. And of course, I welcome any feedback as well as suggestions for future topics.

Comments

  1. Congrats, Vivek..great start! Very selfishly, I'm curious to learn about your perspective on "How do you maneuver around the titans of the industry while defining the value proposition and strategy for your enterprise product?"...As a young startup; even with paying customers, this question comes up way too often :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sharad, this is definitely a big topic and one I will go into in more depth in a future post. The short answer is "very carefully", particularly if your startup is in the infrastructure space...

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    2. Sounds great. Looking forward it.

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