Davis Mountains State Park, Texas; photo by the author

This is my fiftieth post. I thought I’d take the opportunity to thank you for reading, and to reflect on my five most-viewed posts, as well as five honorable mentions that I wish would receive more views.

My 5 Most-Viewed Posts


Acadia National Park, Maine; photo by the author

Everyone in SaaS sales has seen it: the dreaded termination for convenience clause (often abbreviated TFC), typically inserted by a buyer during redlines without fanfare and almost always without comment. The clause is short, but packs a wallop. It looks something like this:

Customer may terminate this agreement for any or no reason upon thirty (30) days written notice to Vendor.

Unlike many contract clauses, this one has no hidden meaning: the customer can walk away from the contract whenever it wants, and for whatever reason, and the vendor gets nothing.

There are many reasons that SaaS companies dislike termination…


Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania; photo by the author

Recently I’ve been receiving an average of two consulting requests per day from expert networks like AlphaSights, Apex Leaders, GLG, Guidepoint, and Tegus. Occasionally I agree to a 60-minute engagement, although never about my current company or industry. Doing so keeps me sharp and has sometimes resulted in new relationships with investors.

By far the number one area of questioning is around whether or not a particular market development, actual or hypothetical, would represent an existential threat to the business.

For Atypon (scientific publishing content delivery software) the question is about the (hypothetical) decline of peer review or the (real)…


Serralunga d’Alba, Italy; photo by the author

Today, the day before Thanksgiving, is my favorite day of the year. It has been for as long as I can remember. There are a few reasons why:

But these reasons are all icing on the cake, so to speak. The real reason today is my favorite day of the year is an annual tradition of going to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated around the Museum of Natural History. …


El Paso–Juárez, Texas and Mexico; photo by the author

Business and technology are filled with gendered, racist, and otherwise insidious words that we should stop using. I am not the first to point this out, nor will I write the most comprehensive post on the topic. Nevertheless, it is helpful for me, and hopefully the team at Brightflag, to maintain this list and refer to it as we work to eliminate biases and change deeply ingrained behaviors.

I will update this list over time, noting when I do so. The absence of a word on this list doesn’t mean that I endorse its continued use. …


Acadia National Park, Maine; photo by the author

Last week I interviewed a candidate who asked me what I like most about Brightflag. It’s an easy question for me to answer: our values and how deeply ingrained they are in everything we do.

Literally not a day goes by where someone doesn’t make reference to one of our values during a meeting. We made stickers for each of them, and they adorn our laptops and notebooks. They exist as custom emoji in our Slack workspace. We nominate our hero of the week each Friday based on how team members have exemplified them.

I can say with confidence that…


Arches National Park, Utah; photo by the author

This is a post that I intended to write in May 2019 shortly after I joined Brightflag as Chief Customer Officer. But a funny thing happened: what little free headspace I had disappeared quickly. In the intervening time, Dave Kellogg wrote about what to look for in and things to avoid in selecting a job at a software startup. Both posts are insightful, as usual, and I felt there was little I could add to the topic.

After more than a year of recruiting and supporting friends and former colleagues with their own job searches, I’ve changed my mind. It…


Acadia National Park, Maine; photo by the author

Many have written about how the coronavirus pandemic has not resulted in new trends so much as it has accelerated existing trends. The shift to e-commerce from in-store shopping. Broader acceptance of work from anywhere for the knowledge economy. Valuing more livable spaces (this coming from a born-and-raised Manhattanite!). These trends began before the pandemic but have picked up speed (rapidly, in many cases) over the course of the last five months.

Here’s another trend that the pandemic has accelerated: too many meetings, and in particular, too many bad meetings.

From March 16 through August 14 of this year, I…


Antelope Canyon, Arizona; photo by the author

I was a tri-varsity athlete in high school: cross country in the fall, indoor track and field in the winter, and track and field in the spring.

The first two teams were coached by history and English teachers, and while accomplished runners, they weren’t exactly competitive spirits. The track and field team was another story altogether. It was led by the (American) football coach, because sprinting short distances and throwing heavy objects in awkward ways is what football players do to keep in shape when not on the gridiron. This was a completely different environment, one that valued results above…


Horseshoe Bend, Arizona; photo by the author

I’ve joined Brightflag as Chief Customer Officer. This is the short story of how I came to choose my next adventure.

When I stepped away from Smartling at the end of last year I had no preconceptions about what would come next. All I knew was that I wanted (to borrow a friend’s expression) to experience the luxury of time off, and for whatever was next to push me outside of my comfort zone.

This intentional lack of focus flummoxed more than a few founders, CEOs, investors, and recruiters, not to mention family and friends, most of whom assumed I…

Kevin Cohn

Chief Customer Officer at Brightflag. I write about issues relevant to and situations faced by SaaS companies as they scale.

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