4 months ago
Because of this covert investment that Bezos made, Amazon became what it is today.
He kept it under wraps for years until he legally couldn’t.
His shirt is incomplete. I can’t stop thinking about this…
Actually, ignore the article. Look at it. JUST LOOK at it… It’s quite disturbing, isn’t it?
Me: “Hey, what up?” Friend: “All good, watching lord of the rings on amazon prime video.” Me: “Oh, do you know how Amazon grew and became famous?” Friend: “Geek alert…Can I just watch in peace?” Me: “But… Bezos?” Friend: “Let it go, just let it go…”
I can question you, the reader, and start answering instantly without his consent. This far.
Reader, how did Amazon succeed? You'll say, Of course, it was an internet bookstore, then it sold everything.
Mistaken. They moved from zero to one because of this. How did they get from one to thousand? AWS-some. Understand? It's geeky and lame. If not, I'll explain my geekiness.
Over an extended period of time, Amazon was not profitable.
Business basics. You want customers if you own a bakery, right?
Well, 100 clients per day order $5 cheesecakes (because cheesecakes are awesome.)
$5 x 100 consumers x 30 days Equals $15,000 monthly revenue. You proudly work here.
Now you have to pay the barista (unless ChatGPT is doing it haha? Nope..)
The barista is requesting $5000 a month.
Each cheesecake costs the cheesecake maker $2.5 ($2.5 × 100 x 30 = $7500).
The monthly cost of running your bakery, including power, is about $5000.
Assume no extra charges. Your operating costs are $17,500.
Just $15,000? You have income but no profit. You might make money selling coffee with your cheesecake next month.
Is losing money bad? You're broke. Losing money. It's bad for financial statements.
It's almost a business ultimatum. Most startups fail. Amazon took nine years.
I'm reading Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Creation of a Global Empire to comprehend how a company has a $1 trillion market cap.
Many things made Amazon big. The book claims that Bezos and Amazon kept a specific product secret for a long period.
Clouds above the bald head.
In 2006, Bezos started a cloud computing initiative. They believed many firms like Snapchat would pay for reliable servers.
In 2006, cloud computing was not what it is today. I'll simplify. 2006 had no iPhone.
Bezos invested in Amazon Web Services (AWS) without disclosing its revenue. That's permitted till a certain degree.
Google and Microsoft would realize Amazon is heavily investing in this market and worry.
Bezos anticipated high demand for this product. Microsoft built its cloud in 2010, and Google in 2008.
If you managed Google or Microsoft, you wouldn't know how much Amazon makes from their cloud computing service. It's enough. Yet, Amazon is an internet store, so they'll focus on that.
All but Bezos were wrong.
Time to come clean now.
They revealed AWS revenue in 2015. Two things were apparent:
Bezos made the proper decision to bet on the cloud and keep it a secret.
In this race, Amazon is in the lead.
They continued. Let me list some AWS users today.
More. Amazon was unprofitable for nine years, remember? This article's main graph.
AWS accounted for 74% of Amazon's profit in 2021. This 74% might not exist if they hadn't invested in AWS.
Bring this with you home.
Amazon predated AWS. Yet, it helped the giant reach $1 trillion. Bezos' secrecy? Perhaps, until a time machine is invented (they might host the time machine software on AWS, though.)
Without AWS, Amazon would have been profitable but unimpressive. They may have invested in anything else that would have returned more (like crypto? No? Ok.)
Bezos has business flaws. His success. His failures include:
introducing the Fire Phone and suffering a $170 million loss.
Amazon's failure in China In 2011, Amazon had a about 15% market share in China. 2019 saw a decrease of about 1%.
not offering a higher price to persuade the creator of Netflix to sell the company to him. He offered a rather reasonable $15 million in his proposal. But what if he had offered $30 million instead (Amazon had over $100 million in revenue at the time)? He might have owned Netflix, which has a $156 billion market valuation (and saved billions rather than invest in Amazon Prime Video).
Some he could control. Some were uncontrollable. Nonetheless, every action he made in the foregoing circumstances led him to invest in AWS.
6 months ago
Is it bad of me to want our portfolio companies to generate greater returns for outside investors than they did for us as venture capitalists?
Wishing for Lasting Companies, Not Penny Stocks or Goodwill Write-Downs
Get me a NASCAR-style company-logoed cremation urn (notice to the executor of my will, theres gonna be a lot of weird requests). I believe in working on projects that would be on your tombstone. As the Homebrew logo is tattooed on my shoulder, expanding the portfolio to my posthumous commemoration is easy. But this isn't an IRR victory lap; it's a hope that the firms we worked for would last beyond my lifetime.
Venture investors too often take credit or distance themselves from startups based on circumstances. Successful companies tell stories of crucial introductions, strategy conversations, and other value. Defeats Even whether our term involves Board service or systematic ethical violations, I'm just a little investment, so there's not much I can do. Since I'm guilty, I'm tossing stones from within the glass home (although we try to own our decisions through the lifecycle).
Post-exit company trajectories are usually unconfounded. Off the cap table, no longer a shareholder (or a diminishing one as you sell off/distribute), eventually leaving the Board. You can cheer for the squad or forget about it, but you've freed the corporation and it's back to portfolio work.
As I look at the downward track of most SPACs and other tarnished IPOs from the last few years, I wonder how I would feel if those were my legacy. Is my job done? Yes. When investing in a business, the odds are against it surviving, let alone thriving and being able to find sunlight. SPAC sponsors, institutional buyers, retail investments. Free trade in an open market is their right. Risking and losing capital is the system working! But
We were lead or co-lead investors in our first three funds, but as additional VCs joined the company, we were pushed down the cap table. Voting your shares rarely matters; supporting the firm when they need it does. Being valuable, consistent, and helping the company improve builds trust with the founders.
I hope every startup we sponsor becomes a successful public company before, during, and after we benefit. My perspective of American capitalism. Well, a stock ticker has a lot of garbage, and I support all types of regulation simplification (in addition to being a person investor in the Long-Term Stock Exchange). Yet being owned by a large group of investors and making actual gains for them is great. Likewise does seeing someone you met when they were just starting out become a public company CEO without losing their voice, leadership, or beliefs.
I'm just thinking about what we can do from the start to realize value from our investments and build companies with bright futures. Maybe seed venture financing shouldn't impact those outcomes, but I'm not comfortable giving up that obligation.
7 months ago
Understanding several Value Proposition kinds will help you create better goods.
Fixing problems isn't enough.
Numerous articles and how-to guides on value propositions focus on fixing consumer concerns.
Contrary to popular opinion, addressing customer pain rarely suffices. Win your market category too.
Core Value Statement
Value proposition usually means a product's main value.
Its how your product solves client problems. The product's core.
Answering these questions creates a relevant core value proposition:
What tasks is your customer trying to complete? (Jobs for clients)
How much discomfort do they feel while they perform this? (pains)
What would they like to see improved or changed? (gains)
After that, you create products and services that alleviate those pains and give value to clients.
Value Proposition by Category
Your product belongs to a market category and must follow its regulations, regardless of its value proposition.
Creating a new market category is challenging. Fitting into customers' product perceptions is usually better than trying to change them.
New product users simplify market categories. Products are labeled.
Your product will likely be associated with a collection of products people already use.
Example: IT experts will use your communication and management app.
If your target clients think it's an advanced mail software, they'll compare it to others and expect things like:
adequate storage space
list of contacts
If your target users view your product as a task management app, things change. You can survive without a contact list, but not status management.
Find out what your customers compare your product to and if it fits your value offer. If so, adapt your product plan to dominate this market. If not, try different value propositions and messaging to put the product in the right context.
Finished Value Proposition
A comprehensive value proposition is when your solution addresses user problems and wins its market category.
Addressing simply the primary value proposition may produce a valuable and original product, but it may struggle to cross the chasm into the mainstream market. Meeting expectations is easier than changing views.
Without a unique value proposition, you will drown in the red sea of competition.
Find out who your target consumer is and what their demands and problems are.
To meet these needs, develop and test a primary value proposition.
Speak with your most devoted customers. Recognize the alternatives they use to compare you against and the market segment they place you in.
Recognize the requirements and expectations of the market category.
To meet or surpass category standards, modify your goods.
Great products solve client problems and win their category.
7 months ago
Comparing poor and excellent managers
carrying out 1:1s
7 months ago
Changing Your Mindset From a Project to a Product
Product game mindsets? How do these vary from Project mindset?
1950s spawned the Iron Triangle. Project people everywhere know and live by it. In stakeholder meetings, it is used to stretch the timeframe, request additional money, or reduce scope.
Quality was added to this triangle as things matured.
Quality was intended to be transformative, but none of these principles addressed why we conduct projects.
Value and benefits are key.
Product value is quantified by ROI, revenue, profit, savings, or other metrics. For me, every project or product delivery is about value.
Most project managers, especially those schooled 5-10 years or more ago (thousands working in huge corporations worldwide), understand the world in terms of the iron triangle. What does that imply? They worry about:
a) enough time to get the thing done.
b) have enough resources (budget) to get the thing done.
c) have enough scope to fit within (a) and (b) >> note, they never have too little scope, not that I have ever seen! although, theoretically, this could happen.
To make the triangle function, project managers will utilize formal governance (Steering) to move those things. Increase money, scope, or both if time is short. Lacking funds? Increase time, scope, or both.
In current product development, shifting each item considerably may not yield value/benefit.
Even terrible. This approach will fail because it deprioritizes Value/Benefit by focusing the major stakeholders (Steering participants) and delivery team(s) on Time, Scope, and Budget restrictions.
Pre-agile, this problem was terrible. IT projects failed wildly. History is here.
Value, or benefit, is central to the product method. Product managers spend most of their time planning value-delivery paths.
Product people consider risk, schedules, scope, and budget, but value comes first. Let me illustrate.
Imagine managing internal products in an enterprise. Your core customer team needs a rapid text record of a chat to fix a problem. The consumer wants a feature/features added to a product you're producing because they think it's the greatest spot.
Project-minded, I may say;
Ok, I have budget as this is an existing project, due to run for a year. This is a new requirement to add to the features we’re already building. I think I can keep the deadline, and include this scope, as it sounds related to the feature set we’re building to give the desired result”.
This attitude repeats Scope, Time, and Budget.
Since it meets those standards, a project manager will likely approve it. If they have a backlog, they may add it and start specking it out assuming it will be built.
Instead, think like a product;
What problem does this feature idea solve? Is that problem relevant to the product I am building? Can that problem be solved quicker/better via another route ? Is it the most valuable problem to solve now? Is the problem space aligned to our current or future strategy? or do I need to alter/update the strategy?
A product mindset allows you to focus on timing, resource/cost, feasibility, feature detail, and so on after answering the aforementioned questions.
The above oversimplifies because
Leadership in discovery
Project managers are facilitators of ideas. This is as far as they normally go in the ‘idea’ space.
Business Requirements collection in classic project delivery requires extensive upfront documentation.
Agile project delivery analyzes requirements iteratively.
However, the project manager is a facilitator/planner first and foremost, therefore topic knowledge is not expected.
I mean business domain, not technical domain (to confuse matters, it is true that in some instances, it can be both technical and business domains that are important for a single individual to master).
Product managers are domain experts. They will become one if they are training/new.
They lead discovery.
Product Manager-led discovery is much more than requirements gathering.
Requirements gathering involves a Business Analyst interviewing people and documenting their requests.
The project manager calculates what fits and what doesn't using their Iron Triangle (presumably in their head) and reports back to Steering.
If this requirements-gathering exercise failed to identify requirements, what would a project manager do? or bewildered by project requirements and scope?
They would tell Steering they need a Business SME or Business Lead assigning or more of their time.
Product discovery requires the Product Manager's subject knowledge and a new mindset.
How should a Product Manager handle confusing requirements?
Product Managers handle these challenges with their talents and tools. They use their own knowledge to fill in ambiguity, but they have the discipline to validate those assumptions.
To define the problem, they may perform qualitative or quantitative primary research.
They might discuss with UX and Engineering on a whiteboard and test assumptions or hypotheses.
Do Product Managers escalate confusing requirements to Steering/Senior leaders? They would fix that themselves.
Product managers raise unclear strategy and outcomes to senior stakeholders. Open talks, soft skills, and data help them do this. They rarely raise requirements since they have their own means of handling them without top stakeholder participation.
Discovery is greenfield, exploratory, research-based, and needs higher-order stakeholder management, user research, and UX expertise.
Product Managers also aid discovery. They lead discovery. They will not leave customer/user engagement to a Business Analyst. Administratively, a business analyst could aid. In fact, many product organizations discourage business analysts (rely on PM, UX, and engineer involvement with end-users instead).
The Product Manager must drive user interaction, research, ideation, and problem analysis, therefore a Product professional must be skilled and confident.
Creating vs. receiving and having an entrepreneurial attitude
Product novices and project managers focus on details rather than the big picture. Project managers prefer spreadsheets to strategy whiteboards and vision statements.
These folks ask their manager or senior stakeholders, "What should we do?"
They then elaborate (in Jira, in XLS, in Confluence or whatever).
They want that plan populated fast because it reduces uncertainty about what's going on and who's supposed to do what.
Skilled Product Managers don't only ask folks Should we?
They're suggesting this, or worse, Senior stakeholders, here are some options. After asking and researching, they determine what value this product adds, what problems it solves, and what behavior it changes.
Therefore, to move into Product, you need to broaden your view and have courage in your ability to discover ideas, find insightful pieces of information, and collate them to form a valuable plan of action. You are constantly defining RoI and building Business Cases, so much so that you no longer create documents called Business Cases, it is simply ingrained in your work through metrics, intelligence, and insights.
Product Management is not a free lunch.
Plates and food must be prepared.
In conclusion, Product Managers must make at least three mentality shifts:
You put value first in all things. Time, money, and scope are not as important as knowing what is valuable.
You have faith in the field and have the ability to direct the search. YYou facilitate, but you don’t just facilitate. You wouldn't want to limit your domain expertise in that manner.
You develop concepts, strategies, and vision. You are not a waiter or an inbox where other people can post suggestions; you don't merely ask folks for opinion and record it. However, you excel at giving things that aren't clearly spoken or written down physical form.