For the last decade, Macs have been running a UNIX-ish operating system on x86 processors. They’ve been fantastic developer’s machines, and the MacBook Pro is the de facto standard laptop issued to all developers, all hackathon attendees, and arguably, anyone who does real work with a computer.
This week, Apple unveiled the latest MacBook Pro and provided more evidence Steve Jobs actually knew what he was doing. Fifteen hundred bones will get you a MacBook Pro with a last-gen processor, an Escape key, a headphone jack, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports (with one port required for charging). The next model up costs $1800, ditches the Escape key for a dedicated emoji bar, and includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports.
In the past, I have defended people who choose MacBooks as their laptop of choice. A MacBook is a business-class laptop, and of course carries a higher price tag. However, Apple’s latest hardware release was underwhelming and overpriced. If you’re looking for a new laptop, you would do well to consider other brands. To that end, here’s a buyer’s guide to ThinkPads, currently the second most popular laptop I’ve seen with the dev/hacker/code cracker crowd.
The ThinkPad was created in 1992 by IBM. In the first few years of development, three product lines came to the forefront. The 300 series ThinkPad was the bottom rung, the 500 series was middle of the road, and the 700 series was the best you could get. This is the same sort of thinking that went into marketing the BMW 3, 5, and 7-series. This is same marketing that went into naming the PowerBook 100, 140, and 170.
Here are the names Apple still uses for their laptops (and yes, these are the real model names):
The ThinkPad naming convention makes marketing easier, product differentiation simpler, and by comparison shows us Apple without Jobs the first time was better than Apple without Jobs the second time.
In the world of ThinkPads, this tradition continues. In 2005, IBM sold their PC division to Lenovo, who now maintains the space-grade reputation of the ThinkPad brand. However, not all ThinkPads are created equal. The T, X, and P series are the only ThinkPads you should care about. While many Lenovo laptops have been the target of several security concerns and 0-days such as ThinkPwn, laptops not bearing T, X, or P-series label are disproportionately affected. Not only are the lower-grade ThinkPads (E and L-series) shipped with more crapware, the construction of the three premier lines of ThinkPads is much more robust.
With that said, here’s a buyer’s guide for the most common use cases we’ve seen.
You have two choices: the T400 or X200. These are old laptops, yes, but thanks to Intel’s Management Engine this is the newest ThinkPad you can use. If you’re going this far back, install Libreboot, and disregard everything said on the Libreboot mailing list for the last few months.
If you only need a burner laptop and don’t need GPL coursing through every vein in your body, you’re getting an X220. With the X220, you’ll have a slightly more modern ThinkPad, but still one that can handle basic tasks, development, and pretty much everything that isn’t video, gaming, or photo editing. This is the Mad Max laptop, available for about $200 through eBay or the like. Install an SSD, and you have a perfectly capable daily driver. The X220 can be used with coreboot, and the X230 (the one with the downgraded keyboard), is now an active area of research for the leading ThinkPad expert on the planet.
Here’s the breakdown of the ThinkPad product lines. The X-series is the ultraportable line of ThinkPads. The T-series is the middle of the road – slightly larger than the X-series, but a little more capable. The P-series (formerly W-series) the portable workstation class of ThinkPads.
Taking the series as the first letter of the model name, next we can consider the screen size. The X260 has a 12″ screen. The T460 has a 14″ screen. The P50 has a 15″ screen, and the P70 has a 17″ screen. Obviously, the first number of the model name designates the screen size.
With that breakdown out of the way, here’s a decent buyer’s guide: If you want an ultraportable, buy an X260. If you want discrete graphics, get a T460s. If you do not have back problems yet and want a portable workstation, get a P50. Need a laptop with a Xeon and ECC memory? That exists. Within the X, T, and P lines of ThinkPads, there’s something for everybody. Don’t max out OEM RAM — just buy another stick. The same theory goes with SSDs and hard drives.
A laptop is not for you. Here’s PCPartPicker. Build your own desktop. It’s like Lego, but for adults.
With the exception of 3D printers, Hackaday is surprisingly reticent to supply suggestions on consumer electronics. That said, our experience in planning so many meetups, attending so many hackathons, and chilling out at so many conferences gives us a unique insight into laptop buying trends. Overall, the Hackaday community is split 60:30 between MacBooks and ThinkPads, with the remainder being taken up by rooted Chromebooks or some truly terrible Black Friday specials.
Although an endless wave of posts of the latest and shiniest product are highly popular and profitable from an editorial standpoint, this post is an outlier. We’re not going to become the next Uber Consumer Blog wasting your time with product announcements.
However, Apple’s latest MacBook announcement missed the mark and you won’t find many people saying otherwise. ThinkPads have excellent Linux support, and *nix better than Cygwin is coming to Windows. A portable computer is mandatory these days, and we humbly offer our experience in the hacker’s second choice of laptop.
There currently are close to 20,000 cryptocurrencies today. The majority of these are yet to break parity with the dollar. In such a flooded crypto market, how do you determine the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022?
How do you tell the cheapest cryptocurrency to buy - the one with the highest potential of having its value explode?
Our team of analysts sought to help you arrive at this decision and point you to the right investment decision. We probed the market, analyzed numerous cryptos, and ultimately settled on what we consider the 10 best cryptocurrencies under $1 to buy today.
Read on to learn why each makes it to this list?
10 Best Cryptocurrency Under $1 To Buy in 2022
Here is a summarized list of the 10 cheapest cryptocurrencies to buy today - they all are priced below $1 and have a massively promising future.
Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
A Closer Look at the 10 Best Cryptocurrencies Under $1 to Buy in 2022
When coming up with a list of the best cryptocurrencies under $1 to buy in 2022, we looked at more than their current price. We looked at how they have performed in the past, the urgency of the real-world problem their blockchain seeks to address, and their potential future price action.
1. Cardano (ADA) - Overall Best Crypto Under $1 to Buy in 2022
Cardano, the largest smart contract platform and the most valuable cryptocurrency on this list, tops our index of best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022. Launched in 2017, Cardano is on a mission to ultimately replace Ethereum as the most preferred smart contract platform. It is unique - in the sense that it is the first peer-reviewed blockchain technology - which makes it the most secure crypto network.
The fact that programs and protocols on the network have to be peer-reviewed before integration into the ecosystem makes the Cardano blockchain less dynamic. It, for instance, only integrated the smart contract functionality in September 2021 and its DeFi, dApps, and NFTs niches are yet to blossom.
Cardano’s security, its able leadership led by Charles Hoskinson, and its high level of decentralization have earned investor confidence. These have in effect helped Cardano grow its market cap beyond $17 Billion and become a near-permanent feature on CoinMarketCap’s list of 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies.
We also noticed a trend, every time Cardano added a key feature to its blockchain, ADA tokens gained value. Moving forward, Cardano is expected to roll out numerous core features and programs - from meme currencies to Web3 Apps and protocols, expand its DeFi and dApps offerings and score more partners.
All these are expected to help grow ADA’s token prices exponentially, reaching as high as $25 in 2025 and beyond $50 at the turn of the decade - effectively growing your investment by 10000%. And such a promising future further affirms why Cardano is one of the best cryptocurrencies under $1 to buy and HODL.
Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
2. Ripple (XRP) - Best Large Cap Crypto Under $1
Another cheap crypto to buy under $1 is XRP. Ripple coins and the Ripple blockchain seek to disrupt the global banking industry. They intend to replace the SWIFT payment and communication network and introduce a faster, more secure, affordable, and effective cross-border payment and messaging system. The Ripple payment system has already been adopted by dozens of leading banks across the world.
Launched in 2014, the crypto market understood XRP’s massive potential early and by 2018, it was selling above $3.50. But the SEC soon filed a case against Ripple Labs in the US and XRP token prices started tanking - ultimately breaking parity with the dollar. Banks and other financial institutions held back against joining the Ripple network, key developments on the Ripple ecosystem stalled, and investor confidence in XRP shrunk. All this is to say that the Ripple token is only trading below $1 because of the ongoing SEC case which explains why we featured it among the best cryptocurrencies under $1 to buy today.
The altcoin has also proved its resilience and readiness to break above $1 during the past crypto rallies. It already broke above $1 during the early 2021 crypto market rally and during the late 2021 mini rally. This implies that XRP is probably one rally from breaking above $1 and the SEC-case verdict away from exploding.
Cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
3. Dogecoin (DOGE) - Best meme currency under $1 to buy in 2022
Dogecoin is the most valuable and arguably the most popular meme currency. It has the backing of the celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk and a horde of crypto influencers and popular investors. Dogecoin also has a large and vigorous community of supporters, especially on Twitter and Reddit. It makes it to our list of best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022 because of its ability to earn its investors' significant returns in a relatively short period.
In the first five months of 2021, for instance, Dogecoin helped its HODLers grow their investments by close to 2000%.
Unlike most of the other cryptos we feature in this guide, it is highly likely that Dogecoin won’t break above $1 anytime soon. However, support from Elon Musk, a revived meme coin craze, a recovering crypto market, and sustained hype from the crypto community are all expected to continue fuelling its value gain and exploding DOGE investor portfolios. This, in effect, confirms why it is one of the cheapest cryptocurrencies to buy today.
4. Basic Attention Token (BAT) - Best Token Economy Crypto to Buy Under $1
Basic Attention Token is a token economy cryptocurrency created by Brave Software and distributed to users of the Brave Browser. It is a hugely promising cryptocurrency targeting the multi-billion online advertising industry. It rides the online privacy wave and seeks to grant you more control over the type and amount of personal information advertisers collect from you, the type of adverts you view and even pays you to view these adverts.
Launched in 2017, its adoption is on a steady uptrend seeing that the Brave browser currently has more than 50 million active users monthly. However, the promising future and appeal to users are not the only reasons why we believe BAT to be one of the best crypto under $1 to buy today.
We also include it here because its prices are already massively discounted. At the time of writing, BAT is already trading more than 85% below its all-time high. Plus by 2025 and 2030, the token prices are expected to reach $2 and $20, which translates to gains in excess of 650% and 6500%, respectively, if these forecasts come true.
5. Stellar Lumens (XLM) - Established Crypto Under $1 With Strong Use Cases
XLM is another cheap crypto to buy under $1. Stellar is an open-sourced and highly decentralized payment network that seeks to revolutionize the world financial system. Two of the core missions that help endear it to the crypto community are the provision of crypto storage services and financial inclusion and reach to the unbanked. Stellar is also on a mission to oversimplify cross-border transactions and both the cash transfers and exchanges on its decentralized crypto exchange are highly affordable.
The adoption of Stellar blockchain and tokens is on the rise as the blockchain has already partnered with several on- and off-chin brands - like IBM. These partnerships, in-network developments, rising adoption of blockchain technology, and increased awareness about Stellar are to catapult XLM tokens to new heights. And these are some of the reasons why we consider XLM one of the cheapest crypto to buy today.
By the turn of the decade, some highly optimistic analysts believe that XLM token prices will have broken above $30. This implies that if you bought and HODLed the token today, you would be acquiring it at a 30000% discount.
6. Tron (TRX) - Best Crypto Under $1 With a Strong Roadmap
Tron is a revolutionary blockchain that seeks to revolutionize the multi-billion entertainment industry. First launched on Ethereum before launching its own mainnet, the Justin Sun-led network seeks to remove the big tech intermediaries like YouTube, Apple, and Facebook from the entertainment industry. It intends to supply content creators and developers control over the distribution and payment of their content.
Its biggest appeal is that it lets content creators and crypto developers create and monetize products and services on this blockchain. They could also create custom tokens that they can use to receive rewards from their supporters and product users. We feature it among the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022 because it is just carving its niche in the multi-trillion-dollar industry.
Another reason why we add it to our list of cheapest crypto to buy is that it already is heavily discounted. At the time of writing, for instance, TRX tokens are selling 80% below their all-time high. And moving forward, they are expected to reach $4 by 2030, which implies that you could be staring at 8000% gains.
7. Algorand (ALGO) - Most Promising Crypto Under $1 to Buy in 2022
Algorand is one of the most promising crypto under $1 to buy in 2022. Launched in 2018, Algorand has enjoyed steady growth, owing to its ultra-fast and multi-use blockchain technology. It has an expansive ecosystem and even though it currently is trading 90% below its all-time high, it has a $2 Billion market cap.
We feature ALGO among the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022 because it is on a mission to increase its usefulness and demand for the tokens. This started in early 2022 when the Algorand Foundation announced a $10 Million grant for the development of an EVM bridge and a further $20 Million to boost the running of Ethereum-based smart contracts and dApps on Algorand.
This has ushered a lot of visibility towards Algorand and even helped it score numerous collaborations with both on- and off-chain brands. The most impactful for 2022, nevertheless, came about in May 2022 when FIFA made Algorand its official blockchain platform.
In the upcoming World Cup 2022, ALGO will be an official regional supporter for North America and Europe. All of these are expected to help catapult ALGO token prices to unimaginable heights in the future with some analysts expecting it to reach $70 - a 23000% gain - by 2030.
8. Cronos (CRO) - Best Exchange-Based Crypto Under $1 to Buy in 2022
Cronos, formerly crypto.com coin, is the native crypto for Cronos Chain - a relatively new blockchain network created by the Crypto.com exchange. We feature it among the best crypto under $1 to buy today not just because it is new but also because of its massive potential for future value gains.
We also feature it here because it is the utility token for one of the fastest-growing crypto exchanges and DeFi platforms. Launched in November 2021, for instance, the Cronos Chain DeFi staking and lending platform had more than $4 Billion in total value locked in early 2022.
The Crypto.com and CRO token developers are also actively working on increasing the use cases for the altcoin. In addition to introducing crypto lending and staking platforms, they have also introduced a CRO reward scheme for the Crypto.com Pay payments app and visa card. Like Binance and its BNB coins or FTX exchange and its FTT coins, CRO token prices are expected to rally by as much as 10000% to reach $10 in the next 5 years.
9. Chiliz (CHZ) - Best Sports and Entertainment-Focused Crypto Under $1
Chiliz is a unique blockchain dedicated to sports and entertainment. It seeks to revolutionize the level of engagement between sports clubs as well as content creators and their fans. It achieves this through the Socios engagement platform and exchange. Through the platform, clubs can create custom governance tokens that can then be sold to fans who, in turn, acquire a right to participate in the club decisions like shirt design.
In the last 12 months, CHZ tokens prices have been ranging between $0.08 and $0.06. But the number of clubs that have already launched tokens on Socios or are interested in creating some has been on the rise. This is one of the key reasons why we feature Chiliz among the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022.
We also include it on our index of cheapest crypto to buy today because its developers are looking to scale its use cases with the launch of the Chiliz 2.0 blockchain. On this EVM-compatible mainnet, Chiliz will add DeFi products, NFTs, Metaverse, play-to-earn games, event ticketing, and loyalty programs.
All these have the net effect of increasing the demand for CHZ tokens, which effectively catalyzes its value gains. Expert forecasters expect it to reach $15 in the next 10 years, implying that you stand to grow your investment by as much as 15000% if you HODL.
10. Shiba Inu (SHIB) - Invest in a Meme Coin with a Hugely Upside Potential
Shiba Inu is the second most valuable and arguably one of the most popular meme currencies. It also is one of the cheapest cryptos around today. Like Dogecoin, chances are high that SHIB token prices will never reach $1. We nevertheless feature it among the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022, because of its promise for a massive upside value gain.
A combination of a rallying crypto market, endorsements from the crypto community and celebrities, as well as meme coin frenzy, helped Shiba Inu prices rally by more than 5 million percent in early 2021, making its HODLers stupidly rich. Given that we are approaching yet another rally, the majority in the crypto market is confident that Shiba Inu is ripe for yet another price run that sends SHIB investor profiles skyrocketing.
Only this time around, Shiba Inu has more than a rallying market, community support, and a meme coin craze revving up its value gains. In the last few months, Shiba Inu developers have sought to increase SHIB’s use cases by launching an NFT marketplace, a token launch pad, and collaborating with different ecommerce stores. They have also increased the burn rate for SHIB token prices and all of these are expected to catapult SHIB prices and investor portfolios to unprecedented heights.
Are Cryptocurrencies Under $1 Good investments?
The majority of the best crypto under $1 that we have discussed hereinabove are quite similar to penny stocks. They have massive growth potential and if you choose wisely, there is a likelihood that their value will blow - effectively taking up your investment.
But there is never a sure-fire trick to identify the best crypto under $1 to buy, which implies an equal chance of your cheap crypto bet tanking and taking down your investment.
There nevertheless are a few factors that make these cheap cryptocurrencies worth buying today. We look at the top 3 below:
Reasons to Buy Cryptocurrencies Under $1 Today
1. Staking and lending earn you passive income
The DeFi niche is blowing and some of these platforms are massively accommodating - taking in even the newest and cheapest cryptocurrencies. You may, therefore, consider investing in one of the cryptos under $1 and using them to earn passively on crypto-staking platforms.
2. Diversify your portfolio cheaply
The fact that most of these cryptos are selling for pennies gives you the ability to diversify your portfolio cheaply. By buying as many penny cryptos as possible, you increase your chances of blowing your portfolio when some of these low-value cryptos eventually blow up.
3. You can buy on a large scale
The fact that most of these cryptos are lowly priced also means that you can go large scale on the cheap crypto that you believe has the highest potential to blow up.
Where to Buy the Best Cryptocurrency Under $1 in 2022?
Most of the crypto under $1 that we have featured in this guide are massively popular. They, therefore, are listed with virtually all the popular crypto exchanges around. But if you are new to crypto investing and aren’t sure where to buy any of these cheap cryptos, we recommend using one of the following three exchanges:
1. eToro - Best for beginners because of its user-friendly crypto trading platform. It also has a transparent fee structure and integrates social and copy trading.
2. Coinbase - Best for buying crypto instantly. It is also deeply liquid and has a straightforward account registration process.
3. Binance - Best for ultra-low crypto trading fees. It is also the most liquid crypto exchange, supports the widest range of cheap cryptocurrencies, and is easily accessible.
How to Buy Cryptocurrency under $1 for Beginners - Step-by-Step Guide
eToro is our top choice for the best crypto exchange to buy crypto under $1. To get started buying any of the cheap cryptocurrencies discussed above on the exchange, use this step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Register a Crypto Trader Account
Open the official eToro exchange website and tap on the “Join Now” icon on the top right of the home page. Complete the user registration that pops up by entering such personal information as your name and email address, country of residence and phone number, as well as income source and trading experience.
Step 2: Verify Identity
Verify your identity by submitting a copy of your government-issued identification document e.g. I.D, Passport, or Driver’s license.
Note: You will receive an email notification informing you of your account approval.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
Log in to your approved eToro account and tap on the “Deposit” icon on the user dashboard. A funding menu will pop up indicating all the payment options available to you - based on your country of residence. Choose one and follow the prompts to complete the cash transfer.
Step 4: Search for the Crypto
While on the user dashboard, click on the “Discover” button to view all the asset classes supported by the exchange. Choose “Crypto” and use the search menu to find the crypto under $1 to buy on the exchange. Alternatively, look it up from the list of cryptocurrencies supported on the trading platform.
Step 5: Buy Cryptocurrencies Under $1
Tap on the “Buy” option against the preferred crypto under$1. A trading menu will pop up. Use it to customize the trade by indicating the number of cryptocurrencies you wish to buy or the amount of cash you wish to spend on this trade.
Conclusion - Best Crypto Under $1 to Buy in 2022
There is no shortage of cryptocurrencies under $1 to buy in 2022. And in this crypto investing guide, we have discussed what we consider the top 10 cheapest cryptocurrencies to buy today.
We have discussed them all and looked at some of the reasons why they make it to our list of best crypto to buy in 2022. We have discussed some of the reasons why you should be buying these cheap cryptocurrencies.
But even more importantly, we have introduced you to three highly reputable crypto trading platforms where you can buy these tokens. We have even provided you with a step-by-step guide on how to buy crypto on the highly reputable eToro trading platform.
Want to start buying these cheap cryptocurrencies? Register an account with eToro and start diversifying your crypto portfolio.
Frequently Asked Questions on Best Crypto to Buy Under $1 In 2022
What is the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022?
In the above crypto investing guide, we have discussed 10 of what we consider the best crypto under $10 to buy in2022. These range from the likes of Shiba Inu which has posted 5 million percent gains in the past and others expected to grow by 100X in the next few years.
Which cheap crypto will explode in 2022?
There is no telling what crypto will explode in 2022, especially now that the market is slipping deeper into a crypto winter. Nevertheless, as soon as market recovery kicks in, we are confident the above 10 cheap cryptocurrencies will post massive gains.
Can I buy cryptocurrencies with $1?
Yes, you can buy crypto with $1. In fact, all the cryptocurrencies we have discussed hereinabove are all selling below $1. However, most crypto exchanges have higher minimum trade limits e.g $10 at eToro.
What is the best cryptocurrency under $1 to invest in?
The best crypto under $1 to buy today and HODL over the long term is $Cardano. Other serious contenders for the best crypto under $1 to buy in 2022 are Ripple, Stellar, Algorand, Chiliz, Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, Basic Attention Tokens, and Cronos.
© Nathan Mandell
Achieving market leadership
A host of challenges face business leaders today as they strive to create unique value for customers. Winning the battle, say Kellogg School experts, takes a holistic strategy that smashes functional silos and taps diverse resources.
By Matt GolosinskiMarketing has been around for at least 5,000 years, with evidence of the profession dating back to the Babylonians. Archeologists have discovered the equivalent of ancient billboards in Rome advertising rental property, and in Pompeii, a display hawking a good place to drink in the suburbs.
The first advertisement in English appeared in 1472: a handbill announcing a prayer book for sale. Two centuries later, the first newspaper ad arrived. Since then, with the expansion of business in the 19th century, and the competitive markets of the digital age, products and services have proliferated, and marketing along with them, until today we find ourselves in a sea of sound and image that tries to convince us to “reach out and touch someone,” “think different,” or “fly the friendly skies.”
Kellogg School faculty say marketing has grown crucial in response to Internet-era competition. Today marketing touches every aspect of an organization. Or it should.
“On one level, everything is marketing,” says Marketing Professor Angela Lee. “You can only talk about functions like finance or organizational behavior when you have some product or service to offer. If I don’t have that, why do I need an accountant?”Silo busters
Call it “holistic marketing,” as do Kellogg School marketing gurus Philip Kotler and Dean Dipak Jain in their text Marketing Moves: A New Approach to Profits, Growth and Renewal (co-written with Suvit Maesincee). The authors explain how successful firms link marketing to strategy, operations, accounting and other areas to win in the information-based economy.
“Marketing has not kept pace with the technologically sophisticated markets,” says Kotler, the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, who has written more than 20 influential marketing texts over three decades (see Buy the Book). Kotler insists that customers, not products, are scarce today. Holistic marketing argues that firms will only be leaders by embracing a customer-centric model that rethinks corporate strategy, making marketing the lead driver leveraging digital communications to deliver value.
At the heart of this mission, says Jain, is innovation, something at which
Kellogg excels. “Kellogg embraces the culture of change. Leadership, in marketing or any area, requires that you have a clear vision, but with flexibility built into it,” he explains.
Kellogg has remained an academic leader, in part, by breaking down departmental silos to enable faculty to communicate across disciplines, Jain says. This model is one he believes also serves corporate leaders, since marketing is about communications — both outside and inside the firm.
Externally, marketers must connect with customers to cultivate lasting relationships, primarily by solving problems for these customers.
Internally, marketers and their peers have to find common language with which to articulate their collective efforts, or else risk being overtaken by more focused rivals.
Not just value, unique value
Gregory Carpenter, The James Farley / Booz•Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy, contends that marketing plays this internal role by providing “a unifying theme for people’s actions” which can lead to more integration across functions.
“The more integrated you can be, the faster you get to market, the higher the quality of your products, the better the service,” says Carpenter, who cites Starbucks and BMW as two paragons of marketing that understand the importance of educating consumers about their products to create “unique value.”
This accent on ensuring a firm’s internal focus matches up with customer needs comes as the result of decades-long shifts. The “make-and-sell” marketing model prevalent before World War II gave rise to the “sales approach” after the war. Today, even aggressive sales strategies alone prove insufficient. Companies must now “sense-and-respond” to customers’ needs, before customers even articulate those needs.
“We’re used to saying that marketing is about giving consumers what they want,” explains Carpenter. “But as markets become more sophisticated, you find consumers being overwhelmed with choices. One of marketing’s important external roles is educating people to understand and sift through the thousands of choices to come up with something uniquely valuable.”
Kellogg itself serves as a case study, says Carpenter, citing the “tremendous diversity of perspectives” among the school’s faculty, as well as its theoretical rigor dedicated to solving real-world challenges.
Jain says that this eclectic group of scholars produces the cutting edge research and frameworks that differentiates Kellogg from peers through “innovation and excellence.”
Innovation is part of what allows firms to become “market makers,” as Professor Daniel Spulber writes in Market Makers, a strategic management text. He defines a market maker as an organization that is not simply providing better products and prices to consumers, but providing more convenient service to customers and suppliers. Companies must create new products, or devise a better way of bringing them to market.
“Companies can no longer think of themselves as just producers of products or suppliers of specialized services,” says Spulber. These firms must understand their roles as market creators, instead of viewing the market as an external force beyond their control.
So how has marketing ended up in the center of the corporate universe? The answer has something to do with the Enron/Andersen debacle, global competition, and green ketchup.Hard facts of intangible value
Today’s firms produce goods and services, such as computer software, whose tangible value is minimal, but whose intangible value — intellectual capital, say — is enormous, and difficult to get down on traditional balance sheets.
“What has happened over the last 30 years is that the market’s valuation of companies has diverged and grown relative to the accountants’ valuation of companies,” says Finn. “This cannot be written off as irrational exuberance. It’s undeniable that the traditional transactions-based accounting model is not capturing all the intangible value locked up in these companies, a lot of which is in the marketing operations, including the brand value.”
Enron was only a accurate example of a crisis that Finn says has steadily grown over three decades as bricks and mortar operations have declined in importance. Many firms today, including traditional industrial companies, have come to believe that the traditional accounting models failed to capture the scope of their endeavors, leaving such things as customer service and specialized expertise off the balance sheets. So the firms have rewritten accounting rules to try solving the dilemma. These tools, however, lacked any universal standards.
Some companies outside the United States, such as India’s Infosys, a software company that produces a supplementary balance sheet alongside its traditional one to capture assets such as brand and human capital, have begun addressing the crisis. U.S. firms have yet to touch this approach, which Finn notes is based on appraisals and market values, frameworks more familiar to economies that have experienced bouts with high inflation. “Accountants are afraid of doing this,” Finn says. “It would involve a complete transformation of the American accounting model.”
In fact, Finn sees the Enron situation as having forced a retrenching within accounting that embraces traditional transactions-based models.
“The problem is, the crisis itself originated from a lack of confidence in this very model,” says Finn.
Finn’s recommendation, which he says has lost support in the post-Enron era, is to build a model where firms hire appraisers and marketing specialists to assess the marketing-related intangibles and provide that information in the financial statements.
Otherwise, the future of financial accounting as an industry is in jeopardy, Finn believes.
Speaking the same strategic language
While Finn’s analysis accentuates systemic corrections involving marketing and accounting, the two disciplines interact in other ways. Finn’s colleague, Accounting Professor Beverly Walther, notes that these departments now often come together earlier in the product development stages.
“Companies are revisiting their accounting cost systems to ensure they get an accurate idea of how much it costs to manufacture a product or provide a service,” says Walther. “That’s critical information for marketers.”
She notes that there is no one true product cost for a diversified company, so accounting decisions made when setting up the product costing system must incorporate a myriad of determinations.
“These decisions can dramatically affect the data you get out of the cost system,” Walther explains. “When most people think of marketing, they think of designing some sales promotion. They don’t think that marketing can pervade all the communications taking place between the firm and its constituents.”
Indeed, this is what Kellogg faculty say marketing must do. Stephen Burnett, professor of strategic management and faculty director for the Kellogg Executive Education Program, has worked with executive clients to enhance their marketing efficacy. He has written about his findings in the forthcoming Kellogg on Integrated Marketing.
“Marketers must be wizards at what they do, but they must also possess a strong working understanding of corporate finance, accounting, manufacturing, and information technology,” says Burnett, who will serve as academic director for a new Executive Education program called “Creating the Market-focused Organization” this November. His research has found that the most telling variable in whether a client successfully revamps its marketing department was how the firm viewed marketing’s role. “If it was perceived as a ‘Marketing Department’ problem, then almost nothing changed,” Burnett states. “If marketing was perceived as a total organizational issue, then improvements were significant and sustained.”
In fact, organizational structure and philosophy hugely divide leading firms from bottom feeders, says Ranjay Gulati, the Michael L. Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Technology and E-Commerce, who has studied the impact of what he calls “other focused” operating models in companies’ performance. He discovered that regardless of industry, winning firms built their marketing and organizations strategies around relationships — with customers, suppliers, alliance partners and employees.
“Firms are discovering that capital takes many forms,” says Gulati. “‘Relational capital,’ defined as the value of a firm’s network of relationships, is key in developing a total solution for customers.” Relationship-centric organizations leverage their alliances or vendor network, says Gulati, and top firms find client solutions by “creating offerings with a higher value proposition” than commodity-based transactions on the lowest rung of what he terms the “customer relationship ladder.”
“A solution is not an extension of an existing product line or the mere bundling of services with products,” says Gulati. “It is a fundamentally new approach to creating incremental value.”
© Nathan Mandell
Citing his studies of the airline and hotel industries, Dana says that smart firms in these arenas routinely use marketing and pricing techniques to differentially target the value customers and the lower-value customers. This strategy is especially important given the fixed-capacity of planes and hotels.
“My research challenges the view that airlines are all about trying to squeeze the last dollar out of the business traveler,” says Dana. “I emphasize that airlines are actually saving the business traveler money by filling up all the otherwise unused capacity.”
The trick, he says, is to fill this capacity with low-valuation customers “without creating availability difficulties for those people for whom you built the hotel or airliner in the first place, which is the business-class traveler.”
Strategy and marketing really meet in the sophisticated pricing and programs surrounding travel and hospitality, says Dana. While hotels and airlines are offering lower rates, these come with conditions designed to maintain a desired balance among all customer value strata. Consequently, “there are a lot of hoops the consumer must jump through,” Dana says.What if they had a fire sale and nobody in operations could put it out?
“You have to look at marketing from the strategic level and ensure that what you are trying to sell is consistent with what the operations function is doing well,” says Chopra, the IBM Distinguished Professor of Operations Management. Chopra cites Dell Computer as one firm doing this. “With Dell, there is a complete match between what their marketing is telling people to do — buy our computer because we offer you customization at a reasonable cost in a reasonable time — and what their operations deliver.”
Not so with some of the start-ups that went belly up, says Novak. She cites Webvan, the online grocer, as one that took a decent idea but failed to explore the operational logistics adequately.
“Webvan certainly had a position to occupy, from the marketing perspective,” says Novak. But its marketers forgot to check in with the operations people before taking on delivery challenges that required coordinating a fleet of trucks. Issues such as time-slots and penalties for missing those slots soon loomed large.
“When you add in all the additional costs assumed in that business model, it wasn’t a money maker,” says Novak.
So how could Webvan and other dot-coms have prevented this disconnect between marketing and operations? For starters, by introducing the two parties to one another early in the design process, a strategy whose importance Chopra says is gaining more recognition, despite logistical hurdles.
“Boeing no longer will begin producing a prototype until it has a running simulation of the factory that will make the product,” says Chopra, adding that even seemingly superficial marketing choices — changing a fabric color — can impact inventories and cost.
Too often, though, the marketing people on the design side are separated in time and location from the manufacturing activity to decide how to outline the processes and how much they will cost. “If you’ve missed that communication,” Novak says, “it makes it incredibly difficult to catch areas of potential conflict early enough to resolve them.”
Step out from behind the one-way glass
If marketing serves a vital internal purpose, it’s equally important in communicating with customers. By figuring out people’s motivations, marketers can best fill consumer demand.
“There are two main approaches to thinking about the economy,” says Angela Lee. One is economics, which looks at the world on an aggregate level, and the other is psychology, which tracks specific variables within certain groups. “Psychology will continue to become relevant for marketers who must get inside the consumer’s mind and then differentiate a product based upon this information,” says Lee.
Peter Tan, president and CEO of McDonald’s (China/Hong Kong), agrees. The networked business world has demanded that marketers “know their customers better than they know themselves,” he says.
The new competitive environment brought about by the Internet has radically shifted how producers reach consumers, says Tan ’83. “Businesses are increasingly forced to shift from a product/supply-driven approach, to one that is customer-led. While it remains important to understand and focus on core competencies, it’s critical to understand the opportunities and threats evolving at a pace not seen in the past.”
Businesses wanting to achieve enduring profitable growth, says Tan, must build brand-loyal customers — customers who aren’t buying a product just because the company is offering a deal, but because of the firm’s reputation.
To build brand-loyal customers, Tan notes that marketers must inhabit the same spaces as their customers to predict behavior even before it emerges.
This is what Marketing Professors Robert Kozinets and John Sherry have done in their ethnographic research, field studies of consumers that draw upon anthropological techniques. Both have studied people’s behavior within “servicescapes” such as NikeTown. Kozinets, who expresses antipathy for traditional focus group research conducted from behind a one-way mirror, insists there’s no substitute for going into the lives of your customers to gain insights.
“The key is to get where consumers are actually consuming things the way they usually do, and to understand them and their behaviors on their own terms,” says Kozinets. “What many marketing managers want is a ‘software solution’ that lets them pretend to know their customer. People are very complex. It takes a pretty wise, intelligent, motivated person to comprehend even one other person. To expect technology to do that is lazy and naïve.”
Carpenter cites several examples of companies adopting ethnographic marketing approaches. The former chairman of Harley-Davidson, for instance, used to spend weekends riding motorcycles with his customers.
“A half-day of a senior executive’s time can be extremely valuable, but so can doing mountains of market research,” Carpenter says. “You can learn a huge amount by spending a couple hours with consumers.”
If ethnography is the hands-on approach to gaining consumer insights, technology still plays a major role.
Jim McNerney is chairman and CEO of 3M Corp., and a member of the
Kellogg Dean’s Advisory Board. He says that 3M employs Voice of the Customer (VOC) methodology to capture key VOC inputs and ideas.
“One of our important customer links is our sales and technical services representatives, whose responsibilities include providing feedback from customers to our R&D teams and our management about our customers’ expectations,” McNerney explains.
But disruptive technology such as video recorders have allowed people to skip commercials, and have reduced the efficacy of Prime Time to reach a mass market, since viewers can tape and watch a show outside its scheduled time.
Michael Mazzeo, professor of management and strategy, insists that marketers must leverage these technologies.
“It’s harder to get a mass audience to watch commercials during “Friends,” but we can have Jennifer Aniston wear a Diet Coke shirt during the episode,” suggests Mazzeo.
Media fragmentation can work in the favor of smart firms. For instance, home improvement shows may not draw high numbers of viewers, Mazzeo notes, but they attract people likely to buy a window manufacturer’s product.
Maybe, adds Mazzeo, these technologies even mean marketers go back and change what they design at the product development stage.
Mazzeo’s point is one that Lee reminds her students about. A product is not static. It can change over time, and not simply in appearance.
“If you change the price of your product, it may, in the mind of the consumer, become a very different product,” says Lee.
Marketing then seems more like philosophy with its considerations of reality as an interplay between the mind and the world.
And what about that green ketchup? Does it represent a real innovation, or is it a symbol of creative fatigue induced by a hyper-competitive market?
“Even within marketing we are saying we have to do more, because we don’t have that many new products,” says Lee.
Lee is not predicting the end of marketing, but believes marketers must think more deeply about their roles.
“Say I’m selling drills,” Lee says by way of example. “Only I’m not really selling a drill; I’m selling you a hole in the wall. If I take a step back, I have to ask why you need that hole — maybe to hang a picture. But I may be able to sell you pictures, or something to make the wall look nice without a picture. I may sell you a projection system.”
Take one more step back and what marketers are really selling is something extraordinary: Possibility. Living up to this task means marketers, as never before, must be leaders, says Jain.
“Companies must anticipate future or unarticulated needs if they wish to excel,” he explains.
“Leadership demands vision and relentless passion. These qualities have taken Kellogg to the top echelon, and continue to drive our innovation as we live up to our brand promise: to provide holistic education that creates full human beings, as well as corporate leaders.”
Business-to-business (B2B) lead generation and prospect development are key skills that can drive superior sales growth. They are closely interconnected, as prospecting is an essential part of lead generation. But this link isn't always obvious to sales and marketing professionals.
The lack of understanding of their interdependence tends to complicate the relationships between sales and marketing team members. Forrester Research states that “if marketing and sales are not aligned and they do not collaborate, they will be disintermediated,” resulting in lost sales or costly delays.
Aligning B2B lead generation and prospect development requires strong cooperation, reliability and trust. Both sales and marketing teams need to work together to develop a set of specific abilities, customer insight, knowledge and practices that help launch campaigns, nurture leads, collect and analyze data, and convert prospects to new customers.
Building An Analytical Foundation
Big data has become a game-changing factor for sales and marketing in companies across the globe. Data is penetrating all spheres of business, and the success of the entire lead generation process now depends on the competence of the team.
Competence in big data analysis is a prerequisite to work with various data types and disparate data sources to establish an efficient lead generation funnel. A successful lead generation strategy requires a high level of personalization, which in turn involves the processing of massive amounts of data (often from diverse sources).
According to research by Econsultancy and IBM, most companies use only a small portion of data collected for personalization, yet still struggle to unify this data.
Disparate legacy systems and data sources require the accurate analysis, cleaning, comparing, blending and filtering of data before it is ready for migration. Legacy data sources are usually related to data quality issues, and the overlapping of datasets, duplication of data and missing data are frequent occurrences. Therefore, the integration of such data requires well-established, precise steps and complex programming. Patience and scrupulousness are major keys to success when dealing with disparate data.
A key reason legacy systems tend to be a burden for both sales and marketing teams is that they appear to be outdated. Due to the exponential development of digital tools and techniques, a gap often arises between the system adopted earlier and the data gained now. Owning an outdated legacy system can result not only in sales and marketing complications, but in errors, bugs and even unprofitable decisions. Moreover, many challenges can be avoided by modernizing legacy systems, including:
Complications with system integration and scalability.
Slow or poor performance.
Dependence on disconnected and siloed data and tools.
Hardware and device dependency.
Storing data within in-house data centers seems to be an outdated solution and cumbersome to manage. The present challenge of data management has shifted to the integration of accumulated in-house data with data gained and stored in external sources.
Combining these two categories can prove to be a huge success. Industries face the need to answer complex questions; thus, data integration is a must.
Getting A Big Impact From Big Data
Building a sustainable and profitable business largely depends on the ability to translate vast amounts of data into actionable insights. These insights are valuable for many directions of enterprise activity, especially for marketing and sales.
The need to integrate data from various sources and apply it to segment a target audience has stipulated the appearance of marketing data management systems (MDMS). Introducing such a platform allows highly personalized targeting across multiple channels. Moreover, the customer engagement road map also sees improvement through this approach. The secret to successful marketing campaigns is getting a significant impact through big data.
Despite all of the technological advancements and improvements, marketing and sales departments still struggle to align their efforts and optimize results, driving additional sales by converting more of the “right” prospects to customers. Applying a stable and well-tuned B2B prospecting platform can uncover opportunities such as:
• Customer insights application for cross-sales.
• Improvement in a personalized experience.
• Optimization of order processes.
• Better content management (taking into account a diverse range of devices and channels).
• Growth in lead nurturing.
Building Digital Lead Development Ecosystems
A digital ecosystem is centered around a company's website and is fueled by high-quality content. Building unique and highly efficient lead development ecosystems will help you leverage this channel effectively.
Digital lead development ecosystems take responsibility for both lead creation and nurturing. In other words, the ecosystem works on lead development and hands over these leads to professional salespeople, considering the demographic and behavioral data, to close the deal. The interplay between smart marketing automation tools, customer relationship management (CRM), various channels, data and a website creates a flourishing ecosystem for lead development.
With so many analytical tools on the market today, each with its own nuances, consolidating these functionalities into a single platform can help marketing and sales gain full advantage of the B2B lead generation and prospect development potential for accelerating business growth.
Readiness to take risks and apply new approaches and techniques can be highly rewarding. Developing the ability to combine data gained from legacy/disparate sources with in-house data can help companies refine and continually Boost sales and marketing return on investment (ROI) and results.
Modernization and improvement should not be regarded as a one-time activity for those attempting to get more sales. To keep up with the market dynamics and rapidly developing technologies, companies should focus on turning their data insights into real profits. The most direct path to achieve this is efficiently utilizing the sales funnel.
In conclusion, important steps to growth include building an analytics foundation, modernizing legacy systems, applying big data in strategy development, adopting micro-market orientation and implementing a consolidated platform. These are ongoing tasks that require continual improvement in order to be prepared for the constantly changing demand.
Passwords, in accurate months, have been the source of much contention in cyber security, with the viability of conventional authentication methods under fire. Although a string of companies are bidding to remove passwords from the information security scene altogether, the reality is they’re still widely prevalent and likely to remain so. Most people lean on passwords to log into anything from personal email accounts to business-critical apps and services, so keeping them secure remains a paramount concern.
The threat of hackers cracking weak passwords, meanwhile, has only escalated in accurate years. Not only has the spotlight been shone onto poor cyber security hygiene practices like password reuse, but a string of historic data breaches mean many credentials are in circulation around the web. Although it’s difficult to avoid a cyber security horror story in today’s age, the unfortunate truth is the majority of people are prone to reverting to easy solutions when devising passwords. Astoundingly, for example, the most common password of 2021 was ‘123456’, which was used by more than 100 million individuals.
Insecure passwords have long been an issue, with cyber security expert Troy Hunt expressing alarm in 2011 that passwords generally tend to follow a similar trend. They’re relatively short (between six and ten characters), simple (less than 1% had a non-alphanumeric character) and predictable (more than a third were in a common password dictionary). In the 11 years since, how much has actually changed? Not an awful lot, it seems, and businesses can’t risk their employees using short, simple and common passwords to access critical business systems. That’s where a password management tool, like Synology C2 Password, comes in to help us safeguard data with stronger access protections and password generation.
The state of password hygiene across society is poor – thanks, in a large part, to the way our brains work and the limitations of our memory. Beyond ‘123456’, the most common passwords in the top five are ‘password’, ‘1234578’, ‘qwerty’ and ‘123456789’, according to WPengine. Examining the top 50 most-used passwords suggests number sequences are incredibly common. Whole words such as ‘dragon’, ‘football’, ‘monkey’ and ‘master’ are also leant on heavily.
It confirms what many of us may have assumed; that people often instinctively choose passwords that might be easier to recall off the top of their head, rather than methodically choosing strong and complex passwords. There’s also the issue of password reuse. With so many passwords to remember, many people tend to just use the same one, or handful, across several user accounts. As a result, hackers wouldn’t need to employ sophisticated brute-force cracking tools often warned about to break into user accounts; they can simply reach for a handful of short and simple go-to words or number sequences.
Another trick many people lean on to complexify a weak password is to tack a number onto the end of it. Of the ten million passwords WPengine analysed, 8.4% ended with a number between 0 and 99; with people perhaps thinking it was easier to remember than using a more complicated letter and number combination. Of those, more than 20% of people used ‘1’ suggesting convenience is the key priority.
When choosing whole words as passwords, many people rather predictably tend to pick words from categories such as colours, animals, or fruits, in addition to first names, superheroes or even days of the week. This, of course, makes the job that much simpler for cyber criminals hoping to break into user accounts that aren’t protected with a password management tool. Poor password hygiene, indeed, does most of the heavy lifting.
How do we, collectively, move past the limits of our password-creating psychology? There are various methods to overcome poor password hygiene, including the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recommendation to use three random words. Although the ‘three random word’ strategy is suited for use at both home and work, it might not be so simple for users to remember a few dozen different three-word combinations for the various apps, services and user accounts they’ll log in and out of on a daily basis.
Password reuse is, by far, the greatest risk with this strategy. Whild sensible on paper, most people will likely default to a handful of combinations and rotate as they see fit. Meanwhile, although two-factor authentication (2FA) might provide another barrier for cyber criminals, this isn’t entirely infallible and not all organisations offer such protective measures on every internal system.
Password managers are, by far, the most effective and simplest protective measure anyone can take when safeguarding their account credentials. The Synology C2 Password platform, in particular, is a shining example of a robust and free password management tool fitted with a litany of capabilities that collectively serve as a modern remedy to age-old problems associated with passwords.
Synology C2 Password allows users to store their passwords in a bank alongside other sensitive material like banking information, addresses and passport details, while keeping everything organised using categories, favourites and tags. The platform is also accessible across a multitude of devices, so you can add an item on your primary work machine and access it from your tablet, for example. Saved credentials, too, are also automatically filled in at login screens.
The most important feature, however, is the password generation tool. Synology C2 Password automatically generates and securely stores passwords for your essential apps and services, so you don’t have to generate and remember a complex and uncrackable password for each one you access. The use of AES-256 encryption to safeguard all data also ensures the password data cannot be remotely accessed or intercepted; items are encrypted before they leave your device to be stored on C2 servers. The decryption key, moreover, is stored on your devices and never shared with Synology C2 servers.
Poor password hygiene is a growing spectre in the security world, with the most common habits people lean on when devising passwords a huge factor. However, using a free password management tool like Synology C2 Password could be the most effective way to counter the shortcomings of human psychology, and completely wipe out the prevalence of bad habits like using number sequences or common words when setting passwords, or reusing passwords across multiple accounts.
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“These aren’t the droids you are looking.” Famous words uttered by Sir Alec Guinness as his character Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas’s classic movie Star Wars (Episode IV – A New Hope.) Using the Jedi mind trick, Kenobi is able to influence the weak-minded and encourage them to comply with his wishes. While this is the stuff from science fiction movies, the power to influence others, especially without the person realizing it, has probably crossed everyone’s mind to some degree. It could be an incredible tool in the hands of a “good.” Imagine helping people quit smoking or combat alcoholism. In the wrong hands, it could be devasting as people do not even realize they are not in control of their thinking and decisions anymore. Thankfully, people don’t seem to have Jedi powers; however, artificial intelligence (AI) may already be there.
The Jedi mind trick is really about the power to subconsciously influence a person. Currently, we have AI solutions that can perform psychographic profiling and neurolinguistics just by using publicly available data. Psychographic profiling is essentially an AI that can assess the psychological traits of a person. The AI can actually determine personality insights, values, hobbies, and even political party affiliation. On the neurolinguistics side, the AI can leverage language and comprehension to understand how a person likes to learn, what factors create engagement, and even the best types of words to use to maximize persuasiveness. The combination of these two create the ultimate, AI-powered influencer… or master of the Jedi mind trick.
Imagine a newsfeed, advertisement, marketing promotion, or video that seems to be tailored made for yourself, even down to the image and message from it. Seems pretty lucky. Now, imagine getting one the plants the seed of an idea in your mind. Then, getting a second one that re-enforces the first one. Then there is a third one…. fourth one… etc. Soon, that seed will blossom into an incredible tree, and people may not even realize it. Could this really happen? Can machines be persuasive? Well, we have seen IBM Watson successfully convince people to change their minds in a debate against a human. Plus, in the article A.I. May Have Written This Article. But Is That Such a Bad Thing? , we know that AI can write convincing articles, blogs, videos (e.g. deep fakes), and so forth. The technology is here, but what is it being used for?
Digital marketing and sales doubtlessly comes to mind. There is definitely an element in this field, but surprisingly, not as much as people think. Using AI for psychographic profiling is utilized quite a bit in combination with traditional demographic information to do more micro-segmentation and even individualized targeting. However, the penetration of neurolinguistics has been slow so far. In part, people are reluctant to believe that a machine could find better ways to engage and persuade a prospect than a human marketer (or salesperson) could. However, there is one area that has not only embraced AI as an influencer but has also heavily invested in it. It is the ultimate expression of influence and persuasion: politics.
In elections around the world, we have seen more and more use of technology to engage voters, fundraise, poll, and even test out sound bites. However, we do not hear too much about technology being used to influence and persuade (and not many campaigns will even attest to doing this.) However, the public is starting to see more uses of AI as a messaging and propaganda machine to target specific sections of the voter bloc. Consider the power to target micro segments of the voters with specific messages that resonate with them. It is a tremendous and powerful tool for politicians. As a result, there are numerous articles, blogs, strategies, and game plans that now integrate the capabilities of AI as an essential part of the campaign strategy.
Is this a bad thing? It depends on how it gets used. AI, like all technology, is simply a tool. It’s a like a hammer. We can use it to create, or we can use it to destroy. For a politician that wants to share how their plan for social services will truly help a large and diverse group of people, AI can be a powerful tool to share this message and value to each specific group. For a politician that wants to mislead or deceive, AI, unfortunately, is also powerful tool create and distribute a false message (as we have seen with things like deep fakes.)
Should the public be concerned that our thoughts may not really be our thoughts? Absolutely. As the old adage goes: the price of freedom is every constant vigilance. Plus, the Jedi mind trick only works on the weak-minded, so it is in all of our interests to keep watch and help each other from succumbing to subconscious influence through these AI tools.
BigCommerce Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:BIGC) Q2 2022 Earnings Conference Call August 4, 2022 5:00 PM ET
Daniel Lentz - Head of IR
Brent Bellm - President, CEO & Chairman
Robert Alvarez - CFO
Conference Call Participants
Gabriela Borges - Goldman Sachs
Clarke Jeffries - Piper Sandler
Daniel Reagan - Canaccord Genuity
Koji Ikeda - Bank of America
Samad Samana - Jefferies
Matt Pfau - William Blair.
Brian Peterson - Raymond James
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to BigCommerce Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speaker presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. Please be advised that today’s conference is being recorded.
I'd now like to turn the conference over to your first speaker today, Daniel Lentz, Head of Investor Relations. You may begin Sir.
Good afternoon, and welcome to BigCommerce's second quarter 2022 earnings call. We will be discussing the results announced in our press release issued after today's market close. With me are BigCommerce's President, CEO and Chairman, Brent Bellm; and CFO, Robert Alvarez.
Today's call will contain forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning financial and business trends, our expected future business and financial performance and financial condition and our guidance for the third quarter of 2022 and the full year 2022.
These statements can be identified by words such as expect, anticipate, intend, plan, believe, seek, will or similar words. These statements reflect our views as of today only and should not be relied upon as representing our views at any subsequent date, and we do not undertake any duty to update these statements.
Forward-looking statements, by their nature, address matters that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause real results to differ materially from expectations. For a discussion of the material risks and other important factors that could affect our real results, please refer to the risks and other disclosures contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
During the call, we will also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures, which are not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures as well as how we define these metrics and other metrics is included in our earnings press release, which has been furnished to the SEC and is also available on our website at investors.bigcommerce.com.
With that, let me turn the call over to Brent.
Thanks, Daniel, and thanks, everyone, for joining us. On today's call RA and I will review our second quarter results and discuss our priorities and approach to managing through the current conditions of market turbulence. RA will also provide detail concerning our view on the back half of the year in his discussion on updated guidance.
First and foremost, I'm pleased to share the second quarter was one of the best in our history, a result that encourages us given the macroeconomic climate. Our team continues to deliver on our mission to be the leading open SaaS eCommerce provider, empowering B2C and B2B merchants around the globe. Let's discuss the details.
In Q2, total revenue grew to $68.2 million up 39% year-over-year. This was our 10th consecutive quarter of posting 30% or higher revenue growth, which was bolstered by strong results from the Feedonomics acquisition in Q3 of 2021.
Our non-GAAP operating loss was $13.7 million, which was also ahead of our guidance last quarter. We concluded Q2 with an annual revenue run rate or ARR of $296 million up 41% from last year that represents a sequential growth in ARR of $15.5 million. This increase was driven by our continued success in the enterprise segment. Enterprise account ARR was $206.6 million up 68% year-over-year. That marks our 15th consecutive quarter of 40% or higher enterprise ARR growth.
Q2 delivered the largest sequential growth in ARR in our history, excluding the quarter of the Feedonomics acquisition. It was better even than during the height of the pandemic when we saw strong transaction driven tailwinds to partner revenue, subscription upgrades and enterprise plan order adjustment. As I said, our strongest growth is coming from the enterprise segment, which now represents 70% of our total company ARR compared to 52% just before our IPO only two years ago.
I am often asked about my views on our current progress and where I feel this business can be in three to five years. I am also asked how we need to operate in a challenging climate to deliver sustainably high revenue growth while hitting our commitments to investors about spending and profitability.
What I want to emphasize from the start is this. Our underlying business momentum is strong. We are winning bigger, more complex merchants every quarter. We are delivering a product roadmap we believe is best in class and industry analysts and merchants are recognizing our emerging enterprise leadership. I have never been more confident about the prospects of this business than I am now.
Over the last few years, you have heard me talk often about our upmarket journey from serving SMB to mid-market and enterprise merchants. I've given updates on our steps to develop new products and add APIs and GraphQL capabilities as part of our differentiated open SaaS approach.
With the launch of our multi-store front functionality to all enterprise merchants in the second quarter, we now offer the key functionality and flexibility that the world's most sophisticated merchants need to be successful. We have crossed a transformational line in our journey as a company to become the world's most modern enterprise eCommerce platform.
We at BigCommerce are not the only one saying this. Forrester, a leading global market research company named us a strong performer and placed us closest to the leader designation of our relevant competitive set. For B2B eCommerce, Forrester rated us the third highest in terms of the strength of our current B2B offering. Meanwhile, [indiscernible] in Europe named us the top enterprise B2C platform. And we won 2022 Australian Solution Provider of the Year from retail global's vendors and partnership.
Just last week, we received high honors as a top solution in paradigms B2B combine for both mid-market and enterprise receiving 22 out of a possible 24 total medals. We earned six more medals in last year, and that marks the third consecutive year we improved our B2B ranking with Paradigm.
On the three continents that comprise our top markets, the experts are ranking us at the top of their platform evaluations. Now that we are officially launched in Mexico and South America, we look forward to competing in those markets as well.
While there is no doubt macroeconomic challenges are facing our industry and global markets more broadly, we believe we are still at the front end of a long term upward curve. IDCs most accurate forecast, estimated $8 billion in worldwide digital commerce application revenue this year. That has projected to decline to $12 billion in 2025 and the good news for us is that spending for on-premise applications is projected to decline whereas spending on SaaS solutions like ours is projected to grow at 20.8% CAGR. New enterprise store acquisition drives our growth, and we continue to see strong demand.
With our accurate acquisitions of long-time technology partners, Bundle B2B and B2B Ninja, BigCommerce has expanded its native B2B eCommerce functionality to provide a dynamic platform for all B2B merchants that is easier to use, faster than legacy B2B solutions and more flexible and powerful than other SaaS platforms at a time when B2B eCommerce is growing faster than B2C.
In Q2, our international expansion efforts made further progress. Adding to our operations in the, our international expansion efforts made further progress adding to our operations in the largest Western European economies. We launched our formal presence in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and further expanded into the dock region with the addition of Austria. We built on our accurate launch in Mexico with expansion to Peru, our first country in South America.
In the coming months we'll launch in additional Latin American countries. We're supporting new languages, adding new geographies and integrating new payment methods for local markets. We're in the early innings of global expansion and our growth rates in EMEA, APAC, and non-US Americas supply us confidence that expansion will pay off in the near and long term.
We continue to add new enterprise merchants to our platform in the second quarter. Mountain Equipment Company, Canada's largest supplier of outdoor gear, launched its headless integration using BigCommerce checkout support storefronts in English and French. Well Pharmacy, one of the UK's largest pharmacies is now selling over the counter and prescription medications on its BigCommerce store, leveraging our open SaaS and headless capabilities.
Australian Motorcycle Helmet brand foresight helmets is leveraging headless to create its beautifully designed storefront. Lifetime Brands, a leading global designer, developer and marketer of a wide range of household products from KitchenAid, Farberware and other brands, launched a new store using B2B addition.
Tile Warehouse, a subsidiary of major UK tile brand Topps Tiles, launched a pop-up storefront to sell clearance tiles directly to consumers, leveraging a fulfillment partner to pull through real-time inventories and providing custom URLs for product categories and attributes. Finally Zumnorde, the popular German shoe retailer, turned to BigCommerce to internationalize and relaunch its web shop on a modern platform that doesn’t require constant upkeep and that can be customized to provide an incredible customer experience.
I'd now like to share some thoughts about the current operating environment, which is challenging for us as it is for others. Although the majority of our subscription-based business is not directly dependent on the GMV trends of our merchant stores, we are impacted in other ways by downturns in eCommerce spend that can be caused by the economy, return to shopping and physical stores and/or other adverse economic changes. Specifically, reduced growth rates in our merchant sales impact our partner and services revenue, balance of subscription upgrades and downgrades, order-based enterprise fees and trendline for customer retention and bad debt.
We try our best to make decisions to balance the achievement of our near-term financial goals with the maximization of our long-term business and shareholder potential. We believe we need to lead with humility, grounding decisions and our understanding of customer and partner needs and our mission to make open SaaS the best solution for the next era of e-commerce. Along the way, we have had to respond to unforeseen challenges and occasionally make new bets on opportunities that earn our conviction.
Halfway into this challenging year, we've managed to achieve our goals so far. Thanks to our management team's collaboration and adjustment we continue to believe that we will achieve the top line and bottom line guidance we set at the beginning of the year, despite the impact current market conditions have on select components of our P&L.
We understand that the market is focused on potential risk areas created by current economic headwinds. Nearly all e-commerce companies have been talking about these risks to their businesses. We too face these risks, but on balance, I believe the strengths of our business model are demonstrated well in this market. And I'd like to dive deeper into why that is.
First 70% of our revenue mix comes from enterprise merchants, which are predominantly established successful businesses from a wide range of categories, geographies, and B2C and B2B use cases. Similarly, but separately, 70% of our revenue comes from recurring subscription revenue, which provides a stable, predictable top line.
The combination of durability from enterprise customers and predictability from subscriptions makes us less vulnerable to short term economic swings then would be a consumption or GMV-based revenue model. Second, the components of our subscription plans that do adjust with GMV tiers or order counts are calculated using a trailing 12 month look back. This has a moderating effect against short term and seasonal fluctuations in consumer spending. Sharp movements upward take time to be fully realized in our pricing and revenue, which we saw during the pandemic, noting that a revenue did not increase as fast as total e-commerce GV did.
On the flip side, sharp short term movements downward are also dampened by our trailing 12 month convention. For us, the most immediate direct impact to our revenue from our customer's GMV fluctuations occurs in partner and service revenue, the biggest component being rev share from our payments partners. We are doing our best to account for eCommerce spending risk in our outlook and RA will speak to that in detail shortly.
Third, nearly all of our direct sales occur in US dollars today. Foreign exchange risk is limited to partner share like in payments that are earned in non-US GMV, essentials plan subscription upgrades prompted by GMV earned in foreign currencies and are non-US operating expenses. These FX sensitivities impact a small percentage of our total revenue and expense base today. We do not believe a strong US dollar is a material risk to us at this time.
Finally, our product is considered mission critical buyer merchants success in eCommerce is imperative to all businesses strategically and financially, especially post COVID. accurate CIO surveys indicate continued robust spending and software, and we offer a material total cost of ownership advantage over legacy enterprise software competitors. As merchant budgets tighten our platform should remain attractive and mission critical for most of our customers.
Shifting gears now to our board of directors, as we announced earlier this week, we've added two fantastic new directors to our board. Sally Gilligan, Chief Growth Transformation Officer of the Gap and Satish Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer of the Container Store. Our goal was to enhance our board with the experience and perspectives of retail veterans. Sally and Satish respectively represent the technical and CEO retail buyer personas to whom we sell while also bringing deep functional expertise to our board governance. We're excited about all they will contribute.
Meanwhile, I want to sincerely thank Steve Murray and Jack McDonald for their years of service on our board. Steve was a partner at the venture firms who led our series C and D rounds and served as our lead independent director. Jack is iPod and ran two successful public software companies and served as a valued mentor to me through our process. They were instrumental in our growth to public company status and were grateful for their leadership and service to BigCommerce.
As I wrap up, I would like to reiterate my belief that our team and business performed very well. This past quarter, we delivered strong results in a challenging operating environment. Investments made across our strategic priorities, continue to deliver customer and business value. We're increasingly viewed as a true leader in the e-commerce industry, and I'm especially grateful for everything our employees and partners have done to earn that during times of dramatic change.
With that, I'll turn it over to RA.
Thanks Brent. And thank you everyone for joining us today. During my prepared remarks. I'll walk through details on our Q2 results. In that discussion, I'll also speak to how some of our metrics are derived so that investors could more easily understand the underlying trends in revenue and bookings. In addition, I'll provide details on how current conditions are impacting the business. Efforts we are taking to optimize our spending. And finally I'll provide greater detail on our guidance on back half revenue and profit assumptions.
We always strive for transparency when discussing our results and outlook. So we want to take extra steps to provide clarity in this current macroeconomic environment. In Q2, total revenue was $68.2 million up 39% year-over-year. Subscription revenue grew 51% year-over-year to $51.3 million, driven by our mix shift to enterprise accounts. Supported by strong results from our Feedonomics acquisition, we have now posted 10 consecutive quarters of 30% or higher total revenue growth and 15 consecutive quarters of 40% or higher enterprise ARR growth.
Partner in Services Revenue or PSR was up 12% year-over-year to $16.9 million. Though platform transaction volumes have largely been in line with the conservative expectations we set at the beginning of the year, we saw slightly lower than expected volumes in GMV in Q2. Overall, we have been encouraged by the durability that we are seeing in transaction volumes thus far in the year, but given the economic climate, we are taking conservative approach to our PSR outlook in the back half of the year. And I'll discuss this in more detail later in the guidance section of my remarks.
Revenue in the Americas was up 41% in the quarter while EMEA revenue grew 42% and APAC revenue was up 18%. Our international progress is strong as we entered five new markets in July, and I'm proud of the traction our teams are delivering overseas. I'll now review our non-GAAP KPIs.
Our ARR agreed to $296 million of 41% year-over-year, driven by continued strength in our enterprise customer base. That represents a sequential growth in total ARR of $15.5 million, which is the highest growth in our company history, excluding the quarter of our acquisition of Feedonomics. In particular, I would draw your attention to the composition of that big sequential growth in ARR.
As a reminder, we calculate ARR at the end of each month, as the sum of two things. First, it includes our end of period, monthly recurring revenue multiplied by 12 to prospectively annualize subscription revenue. We often refer to this as our subscription ARR. Second, we then add the trailing 12 months of PSR. The sum of subscription ARR, and the trailing 12 months of PSR is our total ARR.
When looking for leading indicator trends in net bookings, investors often look to either changes in deferred revenue or remaining performance obligations or RPOs. These metrics are not good indicators of BigCommerce's booking trends because most of our merchants today are billed month-to-month and we also see large multi-year partnership agreements in deferred revenue or RPO that can make period to period comparisons challenging.
Instead, one of the best ways to see the underlying trend in our net bookings is by looking at the quarter-over-quarter sequential change in subscription ARR. That difference is a reasonable indicator of our change in net bookings in the latest quarter. In Q2 subscription ARR increased by $13.7 million, which was 29% higher than our previous record increase in Q4 of 2021 and also higher than any quarter during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.
What this means is that we posted our highest sequential growth in ARR in our history and that growth was driven by gross new subscription bookings growth in enterprise and omnichannel, even as we are seeing less tailwind to PSR and pricing adjustments due to current macroeconomic conditions. Those conditions are largely outside of our control. But what we have tried to control is winning new deals, launching merchants on time and providing the best level of service for our merchants, which is how we manage to exceed our gross new targets and set an ARR record even the midst of this type of economic uncertainty.
At the end of Q2, we reported 5,418 enterprise accounts, up 1,503 accounts or 38% year-over-year, including Feedonomics. ARPA or average revenue per account for enterprise accounts was $38,133 up 22% year-over-year. Now that our enterprise accounts represent 70% of our total ARR, we will continue to share details and accounts with greater than $2,000 in annual contract value or ACV in our quarterly filings through the end of the year, but we will not review them in our earnings calls.
I'll now shift to the expense portion of the income statement. As a reminder, unless otherwise stated, all references to our expenses, operating results and per share amounts are on a non-GAAP basis. Q2 gross margin was 77% up 131 basis points from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, we reported gross profit of $52.3 million up 33% over the prior year. In Q2, sales and marketing expenses totaled $31.2 million up 56% year-over-year. This spending represents 46% of revenue up 481 basis points compared to last year. This increase was driven by additional head count, particularly due to investments in international expansion and enterprise.
Research and development expenses were $19.4 million or 28% of revenue, up 144 basis points from a year ago, driven by additional hiring to support our investments in our key strategic initiatives. Finally, general and administrative expenses were $15.5 million or 23% of revenue up from 21% of revenue a year ago. We expect to see growing operating leverage from G&A as we moderate hiring and other expenses in the coming quarters.
In Q2, we reported a non-GAAP operating loss of $13.7 million, a negative 20.1% operating margin. This compares with negative $4.2 million or a negative 8.6% operating margin in Q2 2021. Adjusted EBITDA was negative $13.2 million a negative 19.3% adjusted EBITDA margin compared to negative 7.1% in Q2 of 2021. Non-GAAP net loss for Q2 was negative $14.1 million or negative $0.19 per share compared to negative $4.2 million or negative $0.06 per share last year.
We ended Q2 with $360 million in cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities. Year-to-date, operating cash flow was negative $35.9 million declining from negative $17.4 million a year ago. We reported free cash flow of negative $39.3 million or a negative 29% free cash flow margin. This compares to negative $19.1 million and a negative 20% free cash flow margin in Q2 2021.
As we discussed in our accurate Investor Day, we are committed to reaching breakeven by mid-2024 and continue our path to Rule of 40. Again, 70% of our revenue mix comes from enterprise merchants and separately 70% of our revenue also comes from consistent recurring subscription revenue. More than 60% of our total cost sits in staffing, which allows us to moderate spending where necessary by controlling our pace of hiring and thereby generate improvements to operating leverage behind our durable recurring revenue stream. This is a strong growing enterprise business and we are confident we can grow profitably behind our strong merchant base and healthy unit economics.
I'd now like to review some measures that we are taking to optimize and prioritize spending. First, we are prioritizing high ROI investments in the enterprise segment and focusing on the key strategic initiatives, we believe will increase our leadership position over time.
Over the past four years, we have seen an average LTV DAC ratio of eight to one for our enterprise business compared to two to one for our non-enterprise business. We have shifted dollars from non-enterprise marketing activities to prioritize enterprise. And we also rolled back Fremont promotions on non-enterprise plans during Q2 as well.
Consequently, we are seeing fewer new small business signups, but we are seeing improved cohort health and retention, higher revenue and improved profitability. Second, we have materially slowed down our pace of hiring. We exceeded our hiring expectations over the last nine months, even in the midst of a competitive hiring landscape. And we have brought on key roles needed for our investment plans in omnichannel international expansion, B2B headless, and largest enterprise.
We are confident we can continue our momentum and capitalize on the benefits of the significant investments we have made in our employees. Even as we moderate our pace of hiring, we estimate that this will generate an exit rate savings of six to 8 million heading into next year. I am confident that this and many other cost savings initiatives currently underway will keep us on pace to meet the timeline to profitability that I affirm previously over the course of the last six months, I've also received many questions about how inflation is affecting our business.
And I'd say we are seeing its effect most directly in labor costs. Thus far, we are taking necessary steps to offset this through tight budgeting, geographically, diverse hiring, and other cost savings initiatives. We are also managing pricing closely to ensure that we are seeing the full benefit of the value we provide our merchants. We will continue to take actions as necessary to manage and offset cost pressure in the coming quarters to deliver break even by mid 2024.
In conclusion, let's shift to our guidance and outlook for next quarter in the full year 2022 for the third quarter, we expect total revenue in the range of $68.3 million to $71.2 million implying year-over-year CAR over year organic growth rate of 15% to 20% with Feedonomics now in the 2021 base for Q3. Our non-GAAP operating loss is expected to be $14.4 million to $16.4 million for the full year 2022.
We expect total revenue between 277 million to $282.9 million translating to a year over year growth rate of approximately 26% to 29%. We expect a non-GAAP operating loss between $48.9 million and $52.9 million. This reflects a little less than a 1% change to full year revenue at the midpoint to risk adjuster remainder of the year compared to our prior quarter guidance. Despite this, we are holding consistent to our prior quarter guidance on non-GAAP operating loss for the year and tightening our range based on the cost containment efforts we've already taken.
Now I'll provide more context with respect to our current thinking for the back half of the year. First, let me address our assumptions around transaction volumes and their impact on PSR and subscription pricing adjustments. Thus far, transaction volumes have been largely in line with the conservative expectations on which we based our plans at the beginning of the year.
However, additional consumer spending headwinds in the back half could impair year over year growth in transaction volumes and GMB. We anticipate that this could have a potential negative impact of three to 4 million to revenue, primarily in revenue share. We capture in PSR, but also subscription revenue due to potentially fewer pricing upgrades and more downgrades and churn, which we have now factored.
In second, we expect the level of competition to remain high to the back half of the year. And we could see some additional headwinds to new merchant growth should sales cycles lengthen that said, we also see significant total cost of ownership and product advantages against legacy enterprise competition.
That could actually be a tailwind in a tight merchant spending environment. We are prioritizing these enterprise merchants and we expect to see a smaller, absolute number of new merchant ads in the back half due to the removal of our non-enterprise free month promotions. However, we expect to maintain healthy and growing ARR driven by a strong enterprise bookings mix and higher APA consistent with our Q2 mix of new merchant wins.
Third, we will continue to invest against our strategic priorities while we will continue to make the crucial investments needed to fuel long term durable revenue growth. We are also taking steps to pay, spending closely with revenue growth, to deliver our profit commitments. Our profit guidance has included the anticipated impact of those efforts throughout the back half. And we expect those efforts to begin showing additional momentum and improving operating loss results.
As we exit the year. Finally, I'd one skin like to thank all of our incredible employees, merchants and partners. We are delivering strong results, even in the midst of a challenging operating environment. I'm so proud of the work and dedication of this team and the level of commitment and character that continues to shine bright each and every quarter.
With that, Brett and I are happy to take any of your questions. Operator?
[Operator instructions] First question comes from Gabriela Borges, Goldman Sachs. Please go ahead.
Good afternoon. Thanks for taking the question. For Brent to start, I'm curious if you're seeing any change in the cadence of free platforming cycles and willingness for customers to invest in technology, putting aside the paw a services business, and really focusing on the subscription solutions business.
So two questions in that; one is any change in willingness to invest in the cadence platforming cycles and two, are you seeing any change over the last quarter in the number of RFPs you're being invited to, or your win rates because of the new technology upgrades you've announced in multi hub and multi inventory.
Hi Gabriela, the trends we're seeing in Q2 are consistent with the last couple of quarters, meaning a healthy continued demand in mid-market and enterprise for new and replatform decisions. This is in accurate quarters of course, down from the first year of the pandemic, when there was a mad rush by companies caught flatfooted or late to adopt, but in terms of replatforming cycles, we continue to see that demand be healthy.
For small business, the demand is not what it was anywhere close to the peak of the pandemic, but for mid-market and enterprise it's strong. We are noticing ourselves getting into additional and healthy RFP opportunities as a result of the strong tech analyst ratings we've been getting of late, including Forester for both B2B and B2C from Paradigm for B2B i.e. Merck in Europe for B2C. Those are seemingly getting us into additional incremental consideration cycles and it's too early to say what those win rates will be because the RFPs tend to take some time to work their way through to a decision, but we're optimistic that our win rates could be assisted by this as well. Thanks for the question.
That makes sense. Thank you. The follow up is for RA, would love to hear a little bit about the impact that pricing adjustments or upgrades have historically had on your business over the past two to three years. And how do we think about the potential magnitude for downside to the extent you see downgrades in your ability to manage through that?
Yeah. Hey Gabriela, a lot of cases some of the upgrades like the upgrades we did in Q1 for pro plans was really just to get the merchants on the right plans. Yeah, there could be some increase in upgrades, but really is to get them the service entitlements and level of service that we feel those merchants need. So they can grow into really large enterprise merchants.
I would say in hindsight, over the last two to three years, our upgrades as we move from an SMB platform to enterprise platform in large part has hasn't been material in terms of our overall revenue. It's being basically putting merchants on the right plans. And so going forward, I think our enterprise pricing is pretty well fine-tuned at this point.
Our go to market is pretty fine-tuned at this point. Upgrades for us last year, obviously was impacted by the in increased transaction levels with COVID this year now we're moderating that a bit especially in the back half, but hope, hope that answers your question.
Appreciate the color.
Thank you. Our next question will be from Clarke Jeffries, Piper Sandler. Please go ahead.
Hello. Thank you for taking the question. First is maybe you could help us walk through the deal composition the quarter and maybe the occurrence of larger deals. A couple of new metrics this quarter, trying to understand what drove that big sequential growth in subscription ARR and what seems like maybe one of the lighter quarters in terms of raw net ads on the enterprise account number.
Yeah, I'll start Brent, but Q2 represented a great quarter in terms our ability to win large deals on both big commerce and Feedonomics both sides closed deals north of a $1 million of ACV, which is super encouraging 12 months into the Feedonomics from the Feedonomics acquisition, I'll tell you, we just couldn't be more impressed by the team and the product, the use cases of Feedonomics back 12 months ago, versus what we're seeing today are greatly different.
I think Feedonomics with BigCommerce we're able together to expand the total addressable market opportunities. When we think about just Q2, some of the notable wins for Q2 and in Feedonomics was new enterprise merchants, leveraging them for marketplace channel management, including listings on Amazon, Walmart, Target Plus, we had a very large win with a leading same-day delivery fulfillment partner in the US and in Latin America, them syncing real time local product information for millions of products.
Also a large win with a global affiliate and advertising platform, transforming data at scale for millions of products. So I share that with you because I want to supply everybody a sense that these use cases go well beyond just commerce. I think what we've learned with Feedonomics plus BigCommerce, there's a lot of opportunities in terms of aggregation, syndication, data transformation at scale for merchants, but also for our agencies, our channel partners, our technology -- and technology companies.
So when you look at that sequential increase, a third of that increase was Feedonomics subscription and two thirds of that was BigCommerce. So both sides had a really great quarter and two several really large deals.
Excellent, helpful color. Sounds like Feedonomics is really executing. Second follow-up is just tightening the range on the profitability guidance, but roughly holding the midpoint. Sounds like there was some commentary about a flowing of hiring $6 million to $8 million. I'm just wondering if there were any investments that are actually going up and offsetting the slowing and hiring to get to you to sort of keep that in line of operating income guidance.
No, thankfully I think we, we really got ahead of it, Clark. I mean, we went into the year knowing that it was an investment year for big commerce. We feel great about our execution in terms of staffing up our key strategic initiatives, but we also went in the year knowing that next year we needed to show leverage, because we've always had a goal to get to break even by mid 2024.
So I feel great about how we staffed up. We executed really well when we look at the five strategic initiatives that we covered at our analyst day. I think we've we we've executed extremely well across all five. And so if I take a step back and think about our progress, as Brent mentioned we believe we are the most modern e-commerce platform in the market today in our goal is that we want to be a clear leader in the enterprise category over the five years over the next five years.
And these are these investments that we're making are how we're going to get there. So, make no mistake we're investing for the future, but with the changing macro environment, we're also taking a hard look at the entire business. We're making sure that our spend is focused on the highest ROI areas. And then we're also looking at optimizing our cost structures to make sure that our unit economics Boost over time.
And our profitability also improves, but we went into the year knowing that we were going to drive leverage, starting to drive leverage in the back half. So I feel pretty, really, really good on our ability to kind of get ahead of it. And we don't feel like we got ahead of our skis, so really proud of the team.
Thank you. Next question from Terry Tillman of Truist. Please go ahead.
Hey guys, this is actually Connor [ph] on for Terry. Thanks for taking my question. First one for me just on international expansion. So congrats on growing your presence in Europe to Nordic [ph] I know international expansion is one of your key investment areas this year. Could you maybe just remind us what you look for in terms of ROI entering new geography and have these regions been mostly consistent with the US in terms of enterprise merchant demands? Or is there maybe a little bit more slow down there? Yeah, go ahead. Brent,
Why don't you take the ROI part of it RA and I'll answer the second part.
Yeah. Connor, we covered this on the analyst day, but you know, we're basically we know that we're going to invest in the first year. We look for a, a payback anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Sometimes when we make heavy heavy investments, it could be up to 30, but on average, you know, we're kind of make, want to make sure that these expansion costs, we get paid back in kind of 18-24 months and the markets that we enter into we, we test and learn a lot before we make these investments.
We know they're strong product market fit. We've identified agency partners, tech partners, to make sure that our product can be ready in those markets. And so much like the markets that we've seen such great success in, we try to replicate that model. And I could say that that holds true for the markets that we entered into in Q2.
Yeah. And in terms of performance in market to market, none of them should be benchmarked against native English speaking countries like the us, which by the way, was our second market, not our first Australia was our first way back when or the UK. I mean the UK just was a rocket ship, but even when we formally entered the UK, we already had more than 3000 stores there.
We just didn't have a marketing website or employees. It's very new to enter foreign language countries, Italy, France, Spain, Germany. What we're seeing Netherlands, what we're seeing in general is that our markets are in line with our, sort of first year, second year performance, but there's variability from country to country that can have a lot to do with the early traction or lack thereof that we get with local agency partners and just how strong they are and how heavy they go in with us.
An example of a market that's off to spectacular success is Italy. And if every new launch country where like Italy, then we'd be way ahead of all of our targets. But in general, we're on track and that's true in Europe. It's on, it's true in Mexico as well. Thanks for the question.
Thank you. Next question comes from Daniel Reagan, Canaccord Genuity. Please go ahead.
…forecast for the business, just given the macro backdrop, which verticals or cohort types were you seeing the most risk in, and then also as volumes come under pressure, how should we be seeing about risk of downgrades? Any color there would be great.
I got most of the question. I don't think, I got the beginning, but, I think I got the gist of it. So, what we've seen in our aggregate GMV volume, in the first 18 months to 24 months of COVID, we saw a sizeable step up in our aggregate GMB. We have not seen a deterioration of that. We've seen growth rates that have come down a little bit. But in terms of aggregate GV volume, pretty much across every major category we've seen growth and we continue to see growth.
There's some categories growing faster than others, but overall they're all growing off of a much larger base than they were, you know, 12 or 18 months ago. When we think about the back half, we AC, obviously have to factor in GMV assumptions for same store sales.
We also have to factor in the launch of new accounts and I'm really excited about the back half because we're actually launching one of our largest accounts ever in, in hi in our history. And it's going to once fully launched, it'll be north of a billion dollars on our platform. So when we think about and look at the GMV by category, we're seeing growth across most categories.
We're also factoring in the launch of new accounts with much higher GMV. And just like in Q2, as we sign larger and larger merchants, we're going to be able to add that GMV on top of the aggregate GMV. That's been stepped up over the last, 12 to 24 months. So as I think about the back half of the year, you know, we're looking at same store sales assumptions discounting that slightly, and then adding the impact of, you know, large accounts that you know, we're really excited to launch.
Got you. Super helpful.
1 thing I'll also add there as our mix is now 70% enterprise these are businesses, often national brands. These are companies with a wide product catalog that have kind of the durability, I think that will allow, their GMV to continue to increase on big commerce.
So as that mix continues to shift even further and further to enterprise as, and then you add on top of that large enterprise, accounts that are a million dollar in ACV and accounts that have a $1 billion running through the platform. That's definitely going to help us, I think navigate any fluctuations in same store sales or near term economic uncertainty.
Got you. Super helpful. And just as a follow up and circling back to the replatform cycle, as we think about the Magento displacement opportunity with sun-setting of M1, can you just talk a little bit about how your approach acquiring these customers has evolved now that you have probably a little bit better way of the land? And then secondly, what levers can you pull to accelerate? Any agency efforts here? Thank you.
Yeah, with time, we keep trying to get better both at the core demand generation tactics that we're already good at, which I will highlight as well as add new tricks that have higher ROI. So the things that we already are well experienced at digital marketing outbound and inbound sales development rep sort of lead cultivation account targeting, and especially one of the things I think we're best in the industry at is working with our agency partners.
We're very good at co-selling with agencies building joint value proposition with agencies, but one of the big opportunities we have is to expand our agency network, both within established markets and new markets. And particularly at the high end, if you go to the very high end of large enterprise, you know, historically we were competing in mid-market in the lower end of large enterprise and the types of agencies that were doing the multi-million dollar installs and implementations, weren't working with us, they were working with in years past the Oracle ATGs and IBM WebSphere of the world, even though those aren't sold anymore or at Magento enterprise, maybe Salesforce SAP, and now that many of the tech analysts are actually rating us ahead of those platforms.
And far ahead of our more SMB centric platforms, we're entering the consideration set. And in fact, the priority set of, of many of these top agencies. And so we're trying to compete for the full spectrum of opportunities. And some of these sales can be very big and needle moving for us if and when we win them, there are also a bunch of other technology partner tricks and you know, working with our existing merchant base to expand our opportunity, set that our new tricks for us, we're trying to work on. And you know, and finally we want to increase our presence at events eCommerce events, industry events.
We want the word to get out that we are the world's most modern enterprise eCommerce platform and be in the consideration set for every relevant decision that big companies and small companies are making
The only that's great. Brent, the only thing I would add to that point is we launched an omnichannel certified agency partner program. That's getting a lot of great interest in traction and essentially that allows our agency partners to help merchants on their omnichannel initiatives regardless of what platform they're using. So regardless if they're on Magento or anything on other platform they're able to work with, Feedonomics it's a great example of how big commerce and Feedonomics are working together.
They call Feedonomics leveraging our ecosystem of amazing partners, our partners, being able to leverage their technology to transform millions of skews of data and syndicate that to a lot of feeds at a scale that they just couldn't do on their existing platform.
So I think feed Andos and our omnichannel initiatives in this partner program could be a really good way to incentivize merchants to start working with Feedonomics and then, hopefully migrate over to big commerce sooner rather than later.
Thank you. The next question will be from Josh Beck with KeyBanc. Please go ahead.
Hey guys, this is Mattie on for Josh. Thanks for taking my question. My first question for you is what are going to be the key factors bridging what today's 15% to 20% organic growth outlook is here to your long term model expectations. Thanks.
Yeah, so I'm happy to take that. I I'll just point to enterprise. So even with Feedonomics in our base period in Q3 we still feel like we could grow our enterprise ARR potentially over 40%. Enterprise and Feedonomics, as we've mentioned before, we expect both segments to grow at a pretty high clip at a very comparable clip.
Knowing we've got some lapping effects this year it still gives us a ton of confidence that with the large mix of our revenue tied to subscription that large mix tied to enterprise the deals that we're winning today and that we have great pipeline to win in the second half we still stand pretty confident that, over the next five years, this is a business that, will deliver a 25% to 30% CAGR.
Awesome. And for my follow up, I'm curious if you guys could supply an update on how B2B Ninja and B2B Bundle acquisitions are tracking and then just overall B2B momentum. Thanks.
Yeah, they're tracking consistent with their trend line pre acquisition, which is a very healthy trend line. And we shared some of those B2B growth rates in our analyst day in Q1. I should say in in May, the most important thing to note is with bundle B2B. There's a fair amount of work that we do to now bring that product native into the platform and Boost the architecting and the compatibility of it with all themes with multi-store front additional geographies.
So there's refactoring of the product that they have to make it more usable with the best capabilities, both and both functionality and openness at big commerce. And we are fixated on that in the short term, continuing to sell it very successfully. And then, maybe after a year after acquisition, we'll start turning our attention to the addition of additional functionality in this.
We're just very pleased though, with where we are at B2B in general. For paradigm that it's mid-market and B2B combines to recognize us as an award winner in 22, out of 24 categories, that shows that the product is quite well rounded and mature as it is, and it's only going to get better.
Thank you. Next question will be from Koji Ikeda of Bank of America. Please go ahead.
Yeah. Hey. Hey, thanks guys. Thanks for taking the questions. Just a couple from me. I wanted to ask the first question on the guidance and RA appreciate all of the color on the call regarding the guidance and the way to think about it. I guess my question is really about PSR regs, really thinking about how we should be thinking about this segment's growth in the second half. I clearly understand the factors that were driving the guidance there, but real short question is, could PSR revenue growth be flat or even down in the second half?
No, we don't think so. Koji. When I think about the second half you know, we do start with our same store sales assumptions. And then we add on the impact of, you know, the large accounts that we launch and the impact to PSR. We do expect that impact in the kind of part of Q3, most of Q4.
So Q4, I suspect PSR kind of in the mid to high teens based on that remember we also have a mix of non GMV related revenue items in PSR. But when I think about Q4, I can see that kind of in the mid to high chains. When I think about Q3, we do have to lap a deal, couple of partnership deals that we signed Q2 of last year that could put Q3 in the single digits, but overall for the back half.
No, I don't, I don't see that being negative. If anything, I see it slightly down in Q3 just for the lapping effect of those deals from last year and then outpacing based on the large merchant launches in Q4.
Okay. Got it. Thanks RA. And then just, one follow up there. So thinking about the subscription side of that, that equation, the little bit of a slower growth rate there just that's the subscription component for potential downgrades, affected by the GMB with the commentary that you said earlier in the call, is that the right way, right way to kind of think about the growth algorithm here.
You got it. Yeah because the GMB assumptions affect PSR obviously, but definitely touches on assumptions around upgrades, downgrades and potential churn. The good news is, you know, with our large mix of enterprise, our retention metrics still look really good. But again, when you're kind of scenario planning and what if planning around that it does touch on churn a little bit, but since our mix is so heavily weighted to large enterprise merchants, we feel pretty good about that, but it does affect upgrades and downgrades.
Got it. Thanks guys. Thanks for taking the questions.
Thank you. Our next question will be from Parker Lane with Stifel. Please go ahead.
Hey, it's Max on for Parker, just staying right there on the potential churn, thinking about this strong enterprise traction and kind of the way you're shifting away from some S and B free trials and stuff. What do you think the churn will be for those smaller customers or is, is it just a matter of new small customers not coming on? And is there an idea of what you think the overall percentage of enterprise should be in the long run?
Yeah, it wasn't so long ago that we were saying that enterprise could be 70% and we're here already. I think in our analyst day I mentioned that I think there is a clear path to 80 potentially 90% of our revenue could be enterprise on the small business side. I don't want anyone to think that we're not still winning small business merchants or not seeing revenue from small business merchants, that promotion what we found when we dug into it was, a lot of signups, but really low conversion after the promo period. So in terms of effective kind of P&L management, didn't make a lot of sense to have that hanging out there where you have gross new signups that don't convert to revenue.
What we're seeing now is we're getting signups and they're converting and they're paying and the revenue from the signups that we're getting now for small businesses are, is actually much greater than the revenue we were getting when the promos were in place.
So I think with the promos we attracted probably small businesses that, you know weren't real businesses or weren't serious about e-commerce what we're seeing now is small businesses that, you know, are serious, have real businesses and you know, are growing on our platform. So I think overall I would characterize it as a win in terms of attracting small business merchants that, you know, do drive revenue.
And we expect that that two to one LTB to C will get better. Now that we're doing a better job of identifying those merchants, signing up those merchants and not spending too much money on acquiring merchants that won't convert.
Got it. That makes a lot of sense. And then thinking back to the strength you mentioned in Feedonomics and how well it's performing, are you still intending on investing around $5 million to $6 million that you mentioned during the analyst day, or is that potentially going to be lower as you look to cut some costs or is it potentially going to be higher given the success?
It wouldn't be higher. Feedonomics is now part of our omnichannel strategy. I mean, they just came off a quarter where they signed the three largest deals in their history. So that no reason for us not to continue to invest in Feedonomics and in our omnichannel initiatives, omnichannel in a lot of ways, if you think about a potential tightening spending environment we believe BigCommerce provides an excellent ROI total cost of ownership advantage for merchants around eCommerce.
We also believe Feedonomics is super attractive for merchants who want to increase in their return on ad spend increase in conversion. And so both of our Feedonomics business and big commerce business, I think that there is some really, really strong advantages to what we offer for merchants. If they're taking a hard look at mission critical investments that they need to make,
I appreciate the color. Thanks.
Thank you. Our next question will be from Samad Samana of Jefferies. Please go ahead.
Hi. Great. Thanks for squeezing me. Hi, RA. Hi, Brent. Maybe just first question just with your existing larger merchants, you know, they're usually planning for multiple years, even if things are maybe a little bit slower in the, in the short term
So I guess, Brent, I'm curious when you think about multi-store, are you seeing customers still adopted and at least still launching new stores with the eye that is a transitory change in behavior, and that e-commerce is still going gain share over time, or just, how are you seeing the behavior of existing customers, even as they're thinking beyond let's call it the next couple of quarters and as they're -- as they're building their business for long term?
After the pandemic, every business views online and eCommerce as strategically essential to their future, what's so powerful about multi-store is it lets businesses add brands and or customer segments like B2B and or geographies in a far easier and more seamless way than they ever could before because they can do it all within one account and leveraging a common set of tools and backend integrations.
When we first went into general availability at the end of Q1, it was available only to new stores and therefore our existing customers were sort of salivating for when it would be ready for them. And then last quarter we launched it now for existing enterprise stores and we're seeing very healthy demand for this among them.
It's too early to say, like at what point, what percentage of our customers will have multiple stores using multi-store front? You could, many of them already had multiple stores that were redundant or, or sort of independent accounts, but now having single account multiple storefronts, we don't know what long term maturity will be in terms of penetration and number per, but I think it will be quite large because most of our mid-market enterprise customers are big.
They are complex, they do have multiple brands, geographies and or segments to sell into. And, and so we think we're early days of a long term adoption trend there.
Great, appreciate that. Thank you.
Thank you. The next question comes from Emil [ph] of Barclays. Please go ahead.
Hey thanks. Well for me to, for squeezing me and more bigger picture question if you think about the things going on in the industry and we just saw the big news at Shopify. How do you think it from an industry perspective now? Are we still on the kind of the hangover to some degree from the pandemic and the big boom in eCommerce and we kind of everyone kind of scaled up too quickly and now kind of suffering from that or are we kind of be way beyond that and this is now more Studying for what's going to happen to the economy? Like, could you just kind of see how you frame it in your mind?
Thank you. Yeah. And, I've received this question probably more than any other question over the last couple of years and my answer's pretty consistent. If you look at the data and just take the us the best official slash public data source is the us census, which comes out with its quarterly eCommerce estimates for B2C in 2020, the year of the pandemic B2C grew 32% in the us if trendline growth rate had been 13% to 15%.
All right. Let's just say that average is 14%. Well, 32% isn't even one and a half years of accelerated growth. Then when you got to 2221, so, alright, you've accelerated by about a year and a half in terms of eCommerce adoption and the height of the pandemic. Q1 continued to have growth rates north of 40% because they were overlapping some months pre pandemic.
But then by the end of the year, you dropped down to 10% growth rates in the last couple of quarters of last year and the year average 14%, which was smack dab, normal pre pandemic. So you're already back to pre-pandemic levels. You've only booked about a year and a half worth of acceleration. And you're now growing at a rate lower than you were pre pandemic as you lapse the highs, Q1 was 6.6%. Q2 is not yet reported.
My point is that the net of all of this is that B2C has accelerated by about a year through these two plus years of pandemic. It's our expectation by the end of this year, that the laughing of the peaks from a year ago and the return to store will be done, will hopefully be back to normal growth rates in that, you know, call it 12 to 15% range at the end of this year, but it was never a five to 10 year acceleration.
And we didn't run our business as if it were we're eager to see those growth rates return. I think the, the biggest thing happening right now is just the softness in the economy. And anybody would say, well, if we were 10% growth-ish in Q3, Q4 of last year, but 6.6% in Q1 of this year, there's reason to believe that the softness in the economy is responsible for several of those points of GMV reduction.
And at some point the economy comes back, growth comes back, we cycle through all of this in the long run the expectation at a macro level, at a global level, it's going to continue to be one to two points of total share gain per year of online, relative to offline and that's likely to persist for many years to come. So again, you won't find in economic history, many bigger, larger transformations over time, it's happening at a quite steady rate. It was almost a metronomic 13% to 15% growth rate a year pre-pandemic. And if we can get back to those growth rates everybody will look at this as a very attractive, predictable long term macro trend.
Okay. Yeah, it makes total sense. Thank you. And then Robert, like one quick, last question for me, like, as we go into macro downturn and like, obviously you talked about like some of the enterprise contracts that might not hit the volumes, et cetera. Can you and, and hence then kind of get, get stepped down, et cetera.
Can you remind us, like how tightly are these contracts negotiated? Was there a lot of buffer in there or are they kind of close to where they are, they kind of relatively realistically negotiated in? He there's a, you know, there's quite a few step downs. Like how should we think about that?
Thank you. Yeah. I would characterize it as we try to build in kind of a good estimate as we negotiate them in the of what they expect, what we expect in the first 12 months in terms of number of orders.
Remember our enterprise contracts are based, are order based. Now if they're, if volumes are elevated, they could get there faster. And again, we're using kind of a trailing 12 month view to kind of moderate or, or, or temper down any kind swings in the near term. In terms of like the next tier of orders, it's really based off the first tier that we negotiate.
So some of our contracts are, low average order value high, average order value. So you really have to do it. It's merchant specific, and it's really working with the merchants in terms of what they're expecting to sell and what their history of sales have been.
Thank you. Next question will be from Matt Pfau of William Blair. Please go ahead.
Thanks Brent for fitting me in guys appreciate it. Wanted to just follow up RA and your comments around competition. Was there any changes in competition that drove those comments and then if there are any changes, are they specific to any of your segments? Thanks.
Yeah, I don't think the usual suspects are still the same. I think what we're finding with the omnichannel, you know, partner program that we've launched is we're finding ways to allow merchants and our partners to leverage our omnichannel capabilities, that's platform agnostic. So you don't even have to be on big commerce to take advantage of that. And I think it's for us, what we're seeing is there's a high demand.
If you're a, if you're on an old legacy e-commerce platform if you're on a platform that doesn't have the capabilities to optimize feeds and drive great transaction flow through all the different channels you're very frustrated because you need to grow your business and you want to look for ways to do that. And Feedonomics is I think a clear leader in their ability to help merchants with that.
And so our ability to work with them, our ability to open up our ecosystem, have our partners sell Feedonomics into their base of merchants is I think for us just a really pleasant surprise. It's not something that we thought we would have an opportunity to do 12 months ago, but we have a strong opportunity to do that today.
Thank you. Next question will come from Keith Weiss - Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.
Hi, this is actually Ryan [ph] for Keith Weiss. Thanks for taking my question. Maybe just first you've talked before about that cross-selling feed doo's into your install base provides an average lift of 20 to 40%. And then at the time of the acquisition you had maybe 1000 customers overlapping how has this trended since and where could this go over time now? You've got a better view in the business.
Yeah, we still feel really good about those stats. I would say that the teams have really leaned in are, couldn't be more proud of our big commerce team leaning in with Feedonomics I'll tell you, you know, 12 months after the acquisition, it's pretty rare that the teams are intact, are excited, are motivated. The culture at Feedonomics is real, super strong. The excitement within big commerce to self EDOs is incredibly high and merchants, our enterprise merchants are, are, are really interested.
So we're seeing good pipeline, we're seeing good adoption but we had to build the cross sell motions. So operationally, we had to get that motion in place, the system in place. And, once we did that, I feel like we're seeing some, really good demand signals to stand behind those stats that you mentioned.
I'd add to that. I'd add that the other big opportunity is when we release selfer versions of Feedonomics, which are targeted at small and mid-market merchants, but frankly, even a larger merchant could start taking advantage of a subset of Feedonomics capabilities at reasonable initial cost. Once we have that version out. So when we have self-serve for Feedonomics.
we'll target a few initial channels to be announced, probably advertising channels that are most popular and most widely used, and that could drive the count of adoption up very substantially once it's released.
Oh, thank you. And maybe on that kind of same line of thought, have you kind of evaluated what the average uplift is for cross selling multi-store front omnichannel B2B in those other areas you talked about that could drive growth of 10% of revenue over time?
I don't think we have a number off the top of our heads to share or even if we've thought about it exactly that way but…
No, nothing, no, no specifics to share there on that front. What we are seeing is continued strong pipeline in B2B. We often see merchants that come to big commerce for B2B and they realize how strong our B2C offering is, and they can run everything on one platform.
So, we still see a large number of opportunities that, that fit that use case. I thought we've talked a lot about omnichannel headless typically is a new deal, new sale, new opportunity when we respond to RFPs or when merchants really want a headless solution. But I'd say overall across kind of all those initiatives, we're, we're really seeing, you know, strong demand and signals that, that supply us a confidence that those are areas we'll, we'll need to continue to invest in.
Thank you. Helpful. Appreciate your time.
Thank you. Next question will be coming from Brian Peterson, Raymond James. Please go ahead.
Hi, thanks for taking the question. This is John on for Brian. Just a follow up on the international expansion question asked earlier, given you've officially expanded into call it 11 plus nations over the last year, as we think about 2023 and beyond. How should we think about the pace of international expansion and the investments there?
And then just as a quick follow up, maybe clarify a bit of the comments from earlier on longer sales cycles thus far, are you seeing any length fitting in sales cycles? And if so, are they tied to any specific geos? Thank you.
In 2023, I think the balance of our emphasis and investment will be growth in the markets that we have already expanded into building out personnel potentially in language customer support in, in select countries and building our marketing and sales effectiveness in those countries.
We have a weight model that we call test and learn, which can involve putting up a marketing website that doesn't involve the same investment in real people and infrastructure in market. And I think we will ramp more of that up relative to big full country launches in 2023.
So the rate of announcing countries will determine as we finalize our plan, but I'm looking at geographies like Asia and Africa, where we don't have many flags planted and still see a lot of long term opportunity there. All right. You want to take the second question?
Yeah. In terms of our sales cycles, we look at it with our mid-market team and our enterprise team. We're not seeing a lengthening of cycles. Some of the deals that we are now working on are just much larger deals. So the nature of those deals likely take a little longer, but when we kind of take a step back and think about alright, if we are going to have to face that headwind, could there be a little bit longer sales cycles potentially.
But, if that happens, if those sales cycles lengthen for those reasons, then there's also reasons where our TCO advantage is really going to shine. So I think what we're hearing and what we're seeing from our agency partners and the merchants that we're working with that, that TCO advantage is, is really, really powerful in a tight spinning environment.
Like I know at BigCommerce, we're looking at our, our spend on software and the mission critical software. And if you can provide me software that is 30, 50% cheaper and is better and more flexible and more modern than, you got my attention. So I think who knows what, how it's going to play out, but I think any lengthening of sales cycles could be balanced out with, maybe even higher pipeline.
Perfect. Thank you very much.
The next question will be from Ken Wong of Oppenheimer. Please go ahead.
Hi, this is Nancy [ph] on for Ken. Thanks for squeezing me in here at the end. Just one quick test question from me. You highlighted it Analyst Day that had list sales through 34% last year and accounted for about 9% of new sales MRR in the year. Can you supply us a little color on how headless is trending in 2022 and our new sales for headless still growing around three times faster than other use cases?
That was a one-time disclosure. I'm not sure we'll update it on a quarterly basis, but I can absolutely confirm that headless demand stays very strong at BigCommerce and it's at all sizes. It's both at the low end of the market. Maybe customers are creating a front end on WordPress to the high end of the market where they're using leading CMSs like content stack content, full bloom reach, or sort of custom frameworks in react. And next.
It's really fantastic. The user experiences that businesses are creating. And it's our belief that this approach to composable or headless is viewed as sort of the leading edge and the most modern approach for companies that are capable of pulling it off. And certainly the tech analysts are saying the same thing. So, demand is strong and I'll leave it to RA when we next provide formal data updates on that. Thanks for the question.
That concludes our question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn to call back over to Mr. Brent Bellm, President, CEO and Chairman for closing remarks.
Great, thanks everybody who listened in. I want to conclude with three quick takeaways worth emphasizing. The first is Q2 again was our largest and best ever quarter of subscription ARR growth and we did that in a market environment that's not the most favorable. I think that's a great indication of just how strong our core business momentum is.
We also now have posted two quarters where we're so far this year where we've beat on the top line and bottom line guidance while holding firm to our full year guidance to the street. This is in a context where many other eCommerce players have disappointed or seen their own trend lines fall behind. And so we're really confidence in the underlying strength of our business and the things we have done to adapt to it, to stay true to our full year guidance because we certainly see headwinds in parts of our P&L as we outlined in the prepared remarks.
And then the third thing is we're really excited about the increasing recognition we're getting from tech analysts and experts that BigCommerce is today, the world's most modern enterprise eCommerce platform. We're hoping that increasingly leads to ever more consideration and adoption in the quarters ahead. So thanks again everybody for joining in. we thought it was a good quarter and we look forward to talking to you again in three months.
Thank you. The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.
Jamie Burke is founder and CEO of Outlier Ventures, an incubator and investor in decentralised, AI and IoT technologies.
Outlier is building a portfolio of startups to create what it calls a ‘convergence stack', ranging from the hardware layer, through distribution, routing, verification, interfacing and up to applications. Projects funded so far include Fetch.AI, Agoric, IOTA, Sovrin, Haja Networks, SEED and Ocean Protocol.
This stack is designed to form a viable basis for the next-generation web. Web 3 will be characterised by bots trading with bots and intelligent agents making economic decisions based on smart contracts, with human interaction playing an ever smaller part. It will also be decentralised to mitigate the worst aspects of the current web, such as surveillance capitalism, the easy spread of disinformation and the growing number of malicious bots.
Part of the blame for the current online malaise must be laid at the door of creators of the internet and web which for reasons of expediency and ideology had very little governance built in, according to Burke.
"It was designed very much with a kind of libertarian free market capitalism framing, and we're dealing with the consequences today," he said.
"We're now in a place where we have surveillance capitalism as a consequence, with a huge gap left open for stateless corporations to exploit that niche to the detriment to society."
At least one of those originators is well aware of these issues. Tim Berners-Lee has long railed against the fencing off of the web by corporations and their government sponsors. Indeed, he is working on Solid, a project designed to allow individuals to manage their personal data and that resulting from their online interactions in their own stores, outside of the corporate walled gardens. Solid was launched with some fanfare last year by Berners-Lee and Inrupt, a startup created to commercialise the project.
However, says Burke, it's missing a trick.
The key innovation of bitcoin was the idea of digital scarcity, he believes, the use of cryptography to supply value to a digital asset on a network and control its distribution. Digital scarcity allows such assets to be spent and traded online like a currency as cryptotokens - and can also be used to exact a cost on those who would attack or abuse the network.
"I find it quite intriguing is he is deliberately not tokenised anything," he said. "I hate to say this about the Godfather of the Web, but there still seems to be a lot of naivety and dogma that is driving the decisions."
Burke continued: "My view of Web 3 is that with the innovation of digital scarcity we can make machines not just read the web but also have economic agency. And so that's why tokenisation is important because to facilitate economic agency by machines there needs to be a digital form of value that is scarce that can be transferred.
"I don't think everything has to be tokenised. But when I think about what he's trying to achieve, if it's not tokenised then what is the cost to abusing it?
"We now have the ability to hard-code cost into the internet, but I think there's just this resistance, this idea that the internet should be totally free. I don't think it should be totally free; I think it should be almost to the point of free, but with a cost whereby bad activity at scale isn't worth the reward."
The lack of built-in disincentives for malicious behaviour risks replicating the past, or worse he added.
"The reason why there's such a high volume of malicious activity is because there's no cost to it, or at least the cost of doing it at scale is negligible because the web doesn't really have any rules."
Watch out for a longer interview with Burke and others involved with decentralised technologies to appear shortly, in which they explore some of the promises and challenges of Web 3.0.
20/05/2019 Bluzelle takes aim at Redis with its decentralised cache network
Decentralised database-as-a-service startup Bluzelle has released an early iteration of its decentralised database as a globally distributed cache.
The fully operational decentralised, in-memory, NoSQL key-value store is planned for early 2020, but, explained CEO Pavel Bains, with the caching layer in place Bluzelle can already provide global access to data at extremely low latency for applications such as online multiplayer gaming, ecommerce and ad bidding.
Currently in beta and installed on 25 globally dispersed datacentre servers, the Bluzelle network replicates data across its nodes with a high level of redundancy, so it's always close to where it's needed. As a potential use case, Bains gave a hypothetical example of an online gaming firm based in Seattle where suddenly a large number of players join from India and then the UK. Instead of urgently having to provision extra servers and cache in those locations to void unacceptable lag, the data would already be nearby on the network and extra resources provisioned instantly. This is similar to the way content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai and Cloudflare work, and Bains dubbed Bluzelle cache a 'DDN' - or data delivery network.
A live, load-testing demonstration by Bains appeared to show response times between the US West Coast and Singapore of 19 milliseconds using the Bluzelle network compared to more than 700 milliseconds going through a datacentre fitted with Redis cache located on the US East Coast. (The firm publishes a video of this same demo on its website.)
The Bluzelle network is based on a Kademlia distributed hash table (DHT) architecture with a blockchain (ethereum) to manage identity, smart contracts and token payments. Storage networks Sia and Storj have a similar setup, but Bains insisted they are working in a different area.
"Sia and Storj are more focused on file storage, whereas our target customers are those who require real-time data access across multiple regions, so the competition would be Redis and Couchbase," he said.
Ultimately, as with those storage networks, the datacentre servers will be replaced by users' machines with their owners rewarded for donating spare capacity. According to Bains, any standard laptop with 50GB of storage and "a few gigs of RAM" should suffice. It remains to be seen what effect that will have on latency, of course. The full database, once released, should allow for CRUD (create, read, update, delete) operations and protection against common attacks, according to the company's whitepaper (PDF).
13/05/2019 Microsoft's blockchain-based decentralised identity system unveiled
Microsoft is working an open-source, blockchain-based decentralised identitity system.
Decentralised IDs (DIDs) are a cryptographic means by which people can identify themselves to an online service while remaining in full control of their credentials and without requiring a centralised registry, identity provider or certificate authority.
Microsoft's project is called ION. Its GitHub page describes it as "public, permissionless, Decentralised Identifier (DID) network that implements the blockchain-agnostic Sidetree protocol on top of bitcoin."
It continues: "By leveraging the blockchain-agnostic Sidetree protocol, ION makes it possible to anchor tens of thousands of DID/PKI operations on a target chain (in ION's case, bitcoin) using a single on-chain transaction. "
Yorke Rhodes, a programme manager on Microsoft's blockchain engineering team, told CoinDesk that his team has been working on ways to make use of the secure inmmutibility of blockchains like bitcoin and ethereum while overcoming some of their scalability problems.
"To have Microsoft say they are not scared of bitcoin, and in fact, it has some very good properties and we are willing to take advantage of those properties, is, I think, a step in the right direction," Rhodes said, adding that the DIDs could be used alongside Active Directory, Microsoft's system for managing identities within an enterprise setting. DIDs could thus be used across the very wide range of Microsoft enterprise services and beyond, allowing authentication and verification while leaving the user in control of their identity.
Microsoft has been interested in this area for some time. In January 2018, the company published a decentralised identity portal and promoted the benefits of individuals being able to create, own and manage their online identities independent of any third-party. The company is also a founding member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group for decentralised identity.
In the CoinDesk article, Rhodes likened the possible impact of ION on decentralised technologies and self-sovereign identity to that of Windows 95 on consumer computing. "Networking stacks were very tied to logins to existing networks," Rhodes said, describing how IDs were managed in the pre-internet era. "Like that, I think [ION] is pretty significant."
03/04/2019 Blockchain not dead as Facebook and PayPal announce further investments
No doubt about it, last year blockchain hopes crashed down to earth with an almighty bang. Closely tied up with get-rich-quick cryptocurrency schemes (and scams), when that market lost 75 per cent of its value blockchain lost a lot of its lustre, with some analysts and pundits writing it off altogether. It was too much too soon, they said.
But now that the balloon has popped a welcome pragmatism has taken place of all the guff and bluster, with many decentralised projects (those that are still solvent) and companies just quietly getting on with it.
Two high-profile companies have announced they'd be investing more in blockchain technologies over the past few days. First, PayPal made its first blockchain investment in the shape of Cambridge Blockchain Inc, a digital identity enterprise software provider. PayPal joined other investors including Foxconn and Omidyar Network in the extended investment round.
Meanwhile, Facebook, which is working on a cryptocurrency of its own and has been poaching high-profile blockchain researchers, posted an additional five Silicon Valley blockchain vacancies on top of the 20 it had advertised earlier.
And recruitment site Indeed.com revealed that US bank JPMorgan Chase (which announced its own digital currency in February, see below) was behind only technology and consultancy firms IBM and Cisco, Accenture, EY, KPMG and Deloitte in its snapping up of blockchain talent, according to Forbes - although thenews site did say interest from applicants had dropped in line with the bitcoin price.
While venture capital investment on blockchain startups is unlikely to reach the $5.5 bn of the bubble year of 2018, it looks set to match or exceed 2017's $1 bn.
In some cases this will be about keeping a hand in, in case of some big development - or fear of missing out (FOMO). In others (maybe Facebook's), covering bases may be mixed with a large dollop of PR. However, with much of the hype behind it and the technology maturing, there's certainly life in the old dog yet. Coincidentally, for reasons that are as yet unclear, the price of Bitcoin surged 15 per cent on Tuesday.
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13/03/2019 Energy firm Ovo invests in blockchain startup Electron in move towards zero-carbon smart grid
As covered by our sister publication Business Green, UK energy supplier Ovo has taken a minority stake in blockchain company Electron in a bid to accelerate the development of a smart electricity grid.
London-based Electron develops blockchain solutions specificially for the energy sector.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ovo, which focuses on supplying energy from renewable sources, said that the investment comes through Kaluza, a new division within the Ovo that develops "software and hardware to support the integration of electric vehicles, electric heating and battery storage onto the grid."
In a blog post Ovo explained the strategy further.
"The integration of technologies such as blockchain and IoT, is essential to support the transition to a highly distributed, complex energy system, made up of multi-agents and millions of connected devices. The development of Electron's shared asset register will be crucial to supporting the growth of Kaluza and deliver on its mission to securely connect all devices to an intelligent zero-carbon grid," the company said.
A smart grid could to allow people to buy solar power from their neighbours and enable domestic appliances to exchange information and co-ordinate electricity use.
The move follows Mitsubishi's acquisition of a 20 per cent stake in Ovo last month.
Bank JP Morgan bets on blockchain, unveils its own digital currency
Jamie Dimon, CEO of Wall Street investment bank JP Morgan, has spent an inordinate amount of time bashing bitcoin and banning employees from trading in cryptocurrencies. But now the bank has announced it's been testing its own digital (not crypto-) currency for use in its wholesale payments business.
The digital currency is called the JPM Coin and has been trialled so far with one corporate client. It is pegged 1:1 against the US dollar, in the manner of so called stablecoins such as tether, and is instantly redeemable against that currency. There are plans to deploy it against other fiat currencies too.
The bank envisages three main uses for the JPM coin. The first is to offer corporate clients a real-time alternative to money transfer systems like Swift and wire transfers. Transfers can take hours or even days, whereas a trusted blockchain-based digital currency could allow the process to be virtually instantaneous.
Another is for securities transactions, reducing the time between settling the transaction and money changing hands. Again, wire transfers can introduce a significant delay.
The third use-case is to allow corporations that use J.P Morgan's treasury services to replace the dollars they hold in subsidiaries across the world with JPM Coin.
These use cases are just the start, said Umar Farooq, head of the bank's blockchain projects.
"So anything that currently exists in the world, as that moves onto the blockchain, this would be the payment leg for that transaction," Farooq said on the bank's website.
"The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this."
Farooq drew a distinction between the cryptocurrency markets and the sort of private blockchain applications represented by JPM Coin.
"We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated," he said.
"As a globally regulated bank, we believe we have a unique opportunity to develop the capability in a responsible way with the oversight of our regulators."
The pilot programme will be expanded later this year to include other corporate clients.
JP Morgan has also been involved in a consorteum developing the Ethereum-based Quorum blockchain. See earlier in this blog.
Next page: Facebook's crypto rumours, WWF-Australia launches food-tracking blockchain, China cracks down, Ethereum Classic hacked, New standards group for private blockchains, Hyperledger adds members, Blockchain too immature for government use, finds Australia, China mulls anonymity ban
If anyone ever stole a package from your porch or broke into your car while it was in your driveway, the perpetrator likely disappeared long before you even knew you were a victim. You also likely never found out who committed the deed. If this sounds familiar, you should consider investing in an outdoor security camera.
These rugged smart home devices, designed to withstand rain, snow, and extreme temperatures, typically connect to your home Wi-Fi network and allow you to view live video footage of activities occurring outside your home. They can also send an alert to your phone when someone or something is out there, record video of the event, and, depending on features, let you speak with whomever is on your property, all without requiring you to open your door (or even be inside your house).
Read on to find out what features to consider when choosing an outdoor security camera, and check out our top picks. Note that several of the cameras on this list are suitable for use both indoors and outdoors. If you want a model specifically for keeping tabs on what goes on inside your home, head over to our list of the best indoor home security cameras.
Most smart outdoor security cameras use a Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network, enabling you to access them from anywhere via mobile app. Some models even use Ethernet, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, or a proprietary wireless technology to connect to a mobile app or a dedicated hub.
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Wi-Fi cameras are easier to install than their wired counterparts because you don't have to place them near an Ethernet port or set up any wiring. Battery-powered Wi-Fi cameras are the easiest to install because you can put them just about anywhere (as long as they can connect to your router) without having to snake a power cable around your home to plug into an outlet. These types of cameras typically use batteries that you can easily pop out and recharge with a USB cable, but they tend to drain quickly in colder weather. Bluetooth cameras are also simple to install, but you have to stay within 30 feet or so to connect to them via your phone.
Look for an outdoor Wi-Fi camera that can connect to either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio band to alleviate network congestion. If you have trouble getting a good signal outside, try boosting it with a wireless range extender.
Google Nest Cam (Outdoor or Indoor, Battery)
Any outdoor camera worth its salt must be able to withstand exposure to the elements and should carry an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. IP ratings contain two digits that tell you just how well the camera holds up under most weather conditions. The first digit following the IP prefix tells you how resistant the camera is to the ingress of solid objects such as wind-blown dust and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (total protection against dust and dirt). The second describes how resistant the camera is to moisture and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 9 (protected against close-range, high-pressure sprays from all angles).
Most outdoor security cameras have an IP66 rating, which means they offer complete protection from dust ingress and can handle water jets from any direction. Although you shouldn't submerge them in water, they are typically safe from rain, snow, heat, and cold.
An outdoor security camera isn't very useful if you can't recognize who or what the camera captures. A 720p camera typically offers a fairly sharp picture, but 1080p video offers more detail and is the most popular resolution for these devices; 1080p recordings don't require a lot of storage and are viewable on nearly every phone, tablet, and PC.
Cameras that capture 4K (Ultra HD) video are also available, but you need a very strong network connection to stream such high-res video without choppiness or lag, plus lots of room to store recordings; that last requirement may result in expensive cloud storage fees.
No matter the resolution, try to choose a camera with a relatively wide field of view and make sure it can capture clear night-vision video. Most cameras use IR (infrared) LEDs to deliver black-and-white night video, but a few use white light to deliver full-color night video. Look for a camera with a night vision range of at least 30 feet.
Nearly all outdoor security cameras feature a sensor that triggers the camera to record video when it detects motion. Most sensors can also send a push alert to your phone (or an email) when the activity occurs. For an extra layer of security, look for a camera that can detect sound; those cameras can alert you if somebody is out there even if they're out of range of the camera lens and the motion sensor. Fair warning: You probably have to tweak the sound sensitivity settings to avoid alerts from barking dogs, loud cars, and other random noises.
Some security cameras include a floodlight, automatically lighting up driveways, pools, and other parts of your property when they detect motion. Some floodlight models are included in this roundup, but check out our story on the best floodlight cameras for a wider selection.
If the camera has a microphone for sound detection, it likely has a speaker with two-way audio capabilities that lets you speak with (and listen to) whomever is outside. This is useful for dealing with annoying solicitors as well as scaring off porch pirates and other unwanted visitors. For more ways to see and communicate directly with the person at your door, check out our list of the best video doorbells.
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro
Cameras store video recordings in several ways. Many cameras offer free cloud storage for a limited number of days (typically seven) before it is overwritten or deleted, while others are strictly subscription-based. If you require more than a week's worth of video storage, you can subscribe to a 30-day plan to avoid worrying about losing important footage before you get to review and download it.
If you're concerned about privacy and would rather not store your video in the cloud, look for a camera that offers a local storage option via a microSD card slot. A few cameras let you save video recordings to a portable USB or NAS drive, but these devices are rare.
And if you want the ability to go back and see everything, look for a camera that offers a CVR (Continuous Video Recording) plan. With this option, the camera records continuously and stores up to 30 days of 24/7 video in the cloud.
Many outdoor cameras do more than just record video and send alerts; they also integrate with other smart devices. Many accurate outdoor Wi-Fi cameras support IFTTT, an internet service that lets you create applets that link the camera with other IFTTT-enabled devices. For example, you can configure a smart plug to turn on a lamp indoors or activate an external siren when the camera detects motion.
Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands is also increasingly common. These integrations allow you to, for example, display video from the camera on a compatible smart display. If you have a home automation hub, look for a camera that works with your existing setup. That way you can integrate your security camera with even more smart devices like door locks.
Outdoor security cameras are generally more expensive than their indoor counterparts. They can range in price from around $50 up to a few hundred dollars or more depending on features. Plenty of affordable cameras offer good video performance, but, as with just about any smart device, you typically pay more for features such as motion-tracking, facial recognition, cellular connectivity, time-lapse recording, additional storage options, and rechargeable battery power.
Check out our Readers' Choice Awards to see which security cameras and brands other PCMag readers trust most. Once you find the camera for your home, check out our tips for setting it up.
For an even more advanced way to keep a set of eyes on your home, both indoors and out, explore our picks for the best smart home security systems. And if you prefer to go the DIY route, check out our tips for building your own home security system.