Strategy overview

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TL;DR

Our mission is to increase the number of successful products in the world.

We started by building an open-source product analytics platform with all the basic things you'd need to understand user behavior - funnels, trends, session recording, feature flags, and many more features. Within a year, we had thousands of customers using us and we started generating revenue.

We focused on our paid product earlier in 2021. We quickly hit a milestone for the first 5 reference customers and we've kept selling since. The next step on our journey is to figure out how to accelerate our top of funnel growth, while achieving larger order values from our Enterprise product.

Context

We’ve grown a lot - tens of thousands of sign ups - but it’s clear that the many of our users use us despite a bad experience, with complex deployment and maintenance a particular issue. This is a great problem to have, as it means we’re solving a hair-on-fire problem - product analytics that you can self-host.

For any company, nothing matters more than product market fit. If we get that right, it’ll be much easier for customer success, marketing or sales teams to succeed.

Mission

“Increase the number of successful products in the world”

Long-term vision (for 2026)

Where do we want to get to?

In 2026 we will go public with $100M ARR. To achieve this, PostHog will need to be the standard devtool for building better products.

How do we get there?

  • Build for developers that need to control their data
  • Make every developer want to tell others about us
  • Our biggest users self-serve to paying customers
  • Go broad and develop all the tools our customers need to build better products
  • Empower developers to build on top of PostHog

What should we be working on today?

The mechanics of success

Revenue is critical for us to go public but we won't set short-term revenue targets as revenue is an output metric to several other inputs. Instead, we think it is more appropriate to focus on metrics within our control that contribute more to our revenue in the long-term.

We discuss how we track against our high-level metrics once a week during PostHog news.

How should we prioritize between competing directions?

While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Breadth vs. depth of capabilities

  • Breadth: build basic versions of every feature needed rather than a small set of sophisticated ones, so our customers can consolidate.

High quality users vs. high paying businesses

  • High quality users: focus on acquiring more high quality users over big ticket contracts, so we can get better feedback and learn faster.

App-based platform vs one-stop-shop

  • Apps-based platform_: integrate with the best services and data sources to solve customer problems faster

Self-hosted vs. Cloud

  • Self-hosted: focus on customers who need to self-host, as there is a huge untapped market and we’re uniquely placed to win.

  • Why maintain Cloud if the focus is on Self-Hosted?

  1. Top of Funnel: Cloud acts as a top-of-funnel for people to quickly try out PostHog before committing resources to self-hosting
  2. Iterate Fast: Cloud enables us to quickly release, test and iterate on new features with our customers without waiting for longer self-hosting release cycles
  3. Benchmark for scale: If we can support a very large instance of PostHog then we can be confident that our customers can support an instance of similar size
  4. Tactical: Escape valve for users that made the wrong choice Some teams think self hosting is what they want, but realize that they'd rather migrate to cloud once they're already in production and like the product, but want zero maintenance. Reject the “modern data stack” vs. adapt to it
  • Reject: We enable our customers to ingest, store and analyze data on their infrastructure, we don't believe sending sensitive data to multiple cloud providers the right approach

Direction for 2022

  • 2 word summary: Nail self-serve
    • Customers
      • Focus on large-mid-market. E.g. Large initial contracts ($20k-$70k/year) and smaller deals in organizations that will eventually become large
      • Non Goal: Start doing outbound sales
    • Product
      • Goals:
        • Quality: Our core features (insights, recordings, feature-flags / experimentation) work like a Swiss watch
        • Self Service Subscription: Customers of every size sign-up, start using and subscribe to PostHog without asking us for help
        • Deployments: PostHog is the easiest self-hosted product to deploy and scale in the world
      • Non Goals:
        • Build lots of new low quality / partial features
        • Build everything a single enterprise customer wants just to close a deal

Target customers for 2022

Our ideal customer is a large-mid-market (~$20k-70k) who meets as many of these these criteria as possible:

  • Needs
    • Need to control their user data
    • Need to excel at product led growth
  • Haves
    • Have budget and savvy engineers are the decision makers
    • Have a central analytics or devops function
    • Have a product aimed at businesses

Questions?