How to survive recession #ThreadMill

Twitter thread unrolling TheThreadMill

#ThreadMill is an attempt by NextBigWhat to curate some of the great Twitter threads and make them available to the wider audience.

Below is a great thread by Suhail, cofounder of Mixpanel on surviving recession and how to thrive.


1/ A slow, steady thread on how to survive a recession or macroeconomic stress test if you’re a startup. I had to quickly learn mid-2009 during Y Combinator, I was 20, and had just raised $500K. The ordeal would last ~18 months. Here’s how to survive…
2/ If you’re only selling to primarily startups, a cash crunch will increase the rate of startups dying from “natural causes.” So, if you’re able, now is the time to diversify. If not, work on annuals to shift out the risk. You will still be able to sell to startups, just fewer.
3/ Now is a good time, as you brace for impact, to get really focused with the resources you have instead of what you could have. Try to double down on your core products vs risky endeavors. You don’t need to stop hiring but a way to shift risk is to get pickier with hiring.
4/ Beware of investors who will take advantage of you: in the darkest moments, multiple VCs wanted to find our 2-person team a CEO. I think the environment has greatly improved but it’s been a while since investors had the same power. They will get picky with investments too.
5/ One of the most metrics that people will care about is if you *can make money*. That’s why B2B after 2009 grew so rapidly later—out of necessity certain startups are born. The stress test is why folks feel it’s a great time to start: a lot of the right behaviors get enforced.
6/ In 2011, we went out to raise our Series A. Things had calmed down for seed but we quickly got passed on by 11 VCs. We were doing $45K/mo which grew to $190K a year later. We were forced to raise bridge that barely came together. There’s no shame in this. Raise what you need.
7/ Expect investor decision making to take longer if things worsen. I’ve talked to many founders waiting till they had 2-3 months of runway. This correction will feel surprising & create unnecessary stress so plan ahead. Due diligence will get more intense—have the numbers ready.
8/ It’s never been more important than right now to be honest with your team around burn rate, odds of success, areas to focus, etc. The folks who stick around will appreciate it & work hard. Some others might move to more stable pastures–that’s fine. It’s all hands on deck.
9/ It’s time to get lean & scrappy culturally. Being lean means removing expenses that are unnecessary. The right employees don’t care about free Kombucha. Being scrappy means finding clever solutions to otherwise difficult, time costly, or expensive options.
506 minutes
@Austen Holy hell. This feels like it’s going to be worse than 2008-2009.
@Austen No way Italy is the only major hit.
Thought of a huge, easy to build feature after 10 mo of thinking about deeply about browsers. Desperately must temper my desire to build it to stay focused & wait my turn.
@immad i texted you
10/ One little trick I used to keep expenses at bay was to call in my credit card for fraud every 6 months. It was annoying to re-add it to services I actually used but it guaranteed cutting recurring expenses I wasn’t thinking about anymore without analysis.
11/ Unexpected times create new constraints for everyone. More than ever, it’s a great time to start companies that seemingly make everyone hyper-aware of the situation they’re in. Should you help people save money? have fun indoors? learn differently? will video feel less awk?

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