Experiencing Inertia and Uncertainty in Starting and Growing Your Business?

Starting and growing a company isn’t a paint-by-numbers endeavor that happens at the speed of light if you just hustle. High growth success isn’t that simple, that fast, or that smooth of a ride. The Hockey Stick Principles shows you how to navigate each stage of growth — especially The Blade Years — why challenges arise, how to solve them, and how to move through each stage more smoothly.

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Is hockey stick growth feasible?


Take a look at these startups' revenue growth charts. The companies are different sizes and from a wide range of industries, yet their revenue growth follows a predictable pattern. In my study of 172 startups, all but eleven companies had hockey stick-shaped growth curves. As a startup entrepreneur, you should aim for hockey-stick growth and also be aware of the challenges presented at each stage.

Don’t worry about hockey stick projections' naysayers

Founders showing off a slide deck of optimistic forecasts to prospective investors have done a disservice to the hockey stick metaphor, and plenty of industry pundits have maligned it unfairly (Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Feld Thoughts). But my study shows that a hockey-stick growth pattern for innovative startups is real, and that aiming for hockey-stick growth, while being aware of the predictable stages of growth, is exactly what successful entrepreneurs should do.

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Bobby Martin

About Bobby

I have cofounded two startups with hockey stick revenue growth: First Research (1999) and Vertical IQ (2011). First Research was sold to D&B in 2007. I’m also an angel investor but lately I’ve been obsessed with studying how good ideas become successful companies.

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FROM THE BLOG


When My Startup Grows Up…

I believe most of us are born charismatic and unconventional. As children we are free, confident, silly, risk-takers. But as we grow up, we lose that sense of innocence. The peer pressure to conform to society’s standards becomes too much, and we slowly become boring and conventional. Startups often follow the same pattern as they […]

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6 Mistakes I’ve Made as an Angel Investor

A scene from the great movie Glengarry Glen Ross shows Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, chewing out a sales team saying they’ll wind up losers in a bar mumbling, “‘Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman, it’s a tough racket.’” I get this feeling that one day, I’ll be the loser in the bar, except I’ll be mumbling, “Oh yeah, I used to an angel investor, it’s a tough racket.”

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13 Observations from a Part-Time Angel Investor

Are you considering becoming a part-time angel investor or curious what it’s like? I’ve invested in five startups, three of which were pre-revenue when I got involved. The following table offers some information about my portfolio. Company Year I invested Revenue  the year I invested My ownership Estimated 2016 revenue Estimated 2016 growth A 2008 […]

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