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M.G. Siegler

M.G. Siegler

23 days ago

Apple: Showing Ads on Your iPhone

This report from Mark Gurman has stuck with me:

In the News and Stocks apps, the display ads are no different than what you might get on an ad-supported website. In the App Store, the ads are for actual apps, which are probably more useful for Apple users than mortgage rates. Some people may resent Apple putting ads in the News and Stocks apps. After all, the iPhone is supposed to be a premium device. Let’s say you shelled out $1,000 or more to buy one, do you want to feel like Apple is squeezing more money out of you just to use its standard features? Now, a portion of ad revenue from the News app’s Today tab goes to publishers, but it’s not clear how much. Apple also lets publishers advertise within their stories and keep the vast majority of that money. Surprisingly, Today ads also appear if you subscribe to News+ for $10 per month (though it’s a smaller number).

I use Apple News often. It's a good general news catch-up tool, like Twitter without the BS. Customized notifications are helpful. Fast and lovely. Except for advertisements. I have Apple One, which includes News+, and while I understand why the magazines still have brand ads, it's ridiculous to me that Apple enables web publishers to introduce awful ads into this experience. Apple's junky commercials are ridiculous.

We know publishers want and probably requested this. Let's keep Apple News ad-free for the much smaller percentage of paid users, and here's your portion. (Same with Stocks, which is more sillier.)

Paid app placement in the App Store is a wonderful approach for developers to find new users (though far too many of those ads are trying to trick users, in my opinion).

Apple is also planning to increase ads in its Maps app. This sounds like Google Maps, and I don't like it. I never find these relevant, and they clutter up the user experience. Apple Maps now has a UI advantage (though not a data/search one, which matters more).

Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers. We spend thousands for their products and premium services like Apple One. We all know why: income must rise, and new firms are needed to scale. This will eventually backfire.

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 month ago

I Posted Six Times a Day for 210 Days on Twitter. Here's What Happened.

I'd spend hours composing articles only to find out they were useless. Twitter solved the problem.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Twitter is wrinkled, say critics.

Nope. Writing is different. It won't make sense until you write there.

Twitter is resurgent. People are reading again. 15-second TikToks overloaded our senses.

After nuking my 20,000-follower Twitter account and starting again, I wrote every day for 210 days.

I'll explain.

I came across the strange world of microblogging.

Traditional web writing is filler-heavy.

On Twitter, you must be brief. I played Wordle.

Twitter Threads are the most popular writing format. Like a blog post. It reminds me of the famous broetry posts on LinkedIn a few years ago.

Image Credit: Josh Fetcher via LinkedIn

Threads combine tweets into an article.

  • Sharp, concise sentences

  • No regard for grammar

  • As important as the information is how the text looks.

Twitter Threads are like Michael Angelo's David monument. He chipped away at an enormous piece of marble until a man with a big willy appeared.

That's Twitter Threads.

I tried to remove unnecessary layers from several of my Wordpress blog posts. Then I realized something.

Tweeting from scratch is easier and more entertaining. It's quicker and makes you think more concisely.

Superpower: saying much with little words. My long-form writing has improved. My article sentences resemble tweets.

You never know what will happen.

Twitter's subcultures are odd. Best-performing tweets are strange.

Unusual trend: working alone and without telling anyone. It's a rebellion against Instagram influencers who share their every moment.

Early on, random thoughts worked:

My friend’s wife is Ukrainian. Her family are trapped in the warzone. He is devastated. And here I was complaining about my broken garage door. War puts everything in perspective. Today is a day to be grateful for peace.

Documenting what's happening triggers writing. It's not about viral tweets. Helping others matters.

There are numerous anonymous users.

Twitter uses pseudonyms.

You don't matter. On sites like LinkedIn, you must use your real name. Welcome to the Cyberpunk metaverse of Twitter :)

One daily piece of writing is a powerful habit.

Habits build creator careers. Read that again.

Twitter is an easy habit to pick up. If you can't tweet in one sentence, something's wrong. Easy-peasy-japanese.

Not what I tweeted, but my constancy, made the difference.

Daily writing is challenging, especially if your supervisor is on your back. Twitter encourages writing.

Tweets evolved as the foundation of all other material.

During my experiment, I enjoyed Twitter's speed.

Tweets get immediate responses, comments, and feedback. My popular tweets become newspaper headlines. I've also written essays from tweet discussions.

Sometimes the tweet and article were clear. Twitter sometimes helped me overcome writer's block.

I used to spend hours composing big things that had little real-world use.

Twitter helped me. No guessing. Data guides my coverage and validates concepts.

Test ideas on Twitter.

It took some time for my email list to grow.

Subscribers are a writer's lifeblood.

Without them, you're broke and homeless when Mark Zuckerberg tweaks the algorithms for ad dollars. Twitter has three ways to obtain email subscribers:

1. Add a link to your bio.

Twitter allows bio links (LinkedIn now does too). My eBook's landing page is linked. I collect emails there.

2. Start an online newsletter.

Twitter bought newsletter app Revue. They promote what they own.

I just established up a Revue email newsletter. I imported them weekly into my ConvertKit email list.

3. Create Twitter threads and include a link to your email list in the final tweet.

Write Twitter Threads and link the last tweet to your email list (example below).

Initial email subscribers were modest.

Numbers are growing. Twitter provides 25% of my new email subscribers. Some days, 50 people join.

Without them, my writing career is over. I'd be back at a 9-5 job begging for time off to spend with my newborn daughter. Nope.

Collect email addresses or die trying.

As insurance against unsubscribes and Zucks, use a second email list or Discord community.

What I still need to do

Twitter's fun. I'm wiser. I need to enable auto-replies and auto-DMs (direct messages).

This adds another way to attract subscribers. I schedule tweets with Tweet Hunter.

It’s best to go slow. People assume you're an internet marketer if you spam them with click requests.

A human internet marketer is preferable to a robot. My opinion.

210 days on Twitter taught me that. I plan to use the platform until I'm a grandfather unless Elon ruins it.

Dung Claire Tran

Dung Claire Tran

1 month ago

Is the future of brand marketing with virtual influencers?

Digital influences that mimic humans are rising.

Lil Miquela has 3M Instagram followers, 3.6M TikTok followers, and 30K Twitter followers. She's been on the covers of Prada, Dior, and Calvin Klein magazines. Miquela released Not Mine in 2017 and launched Hard Feelings at Lollapazoolas this year. This isn't surprising, given the rise of influencer marketing.

This may be unexpected. Miquela's fake. Brud, a Los Angeles startup, produced her in 2016.

Lil Miquela is one of many rising virtual influencers in the new era of social media marketing. She acts like a real person and performs the same tasks as sports stars and models.

The emergence of online influencers

Before 2018, computer-generated characters were rare. Since the virtual human industry boomed, they've appeared in marketing efforts worldwide.

In 2020, the WHO partnered up with Atlanta-based virtual influencer Knox Frost (@knoxfrost) to gather contributions for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Lu do Magalu (@magazineluiza) has been the virtual spokeswoman for Magalu since 2009, using social media to promote reviews, product recommendations, unboxing videos, and brand updates. Magalu's 10-year profit was $552M.

In 2020, PUMA partnered with Southeast Asia's first virtual model, Maya (@mayaaa.gram). She joined Singaporean actor Tosh Zhang in the PUMA campaign. Local virtual influencer Ava Lee-Graham (@avagram.ai) partnered with retail firm BHG to promote their in-house labels.

Maya and Tosh Zhang in PUMA Rider campaign. Credits to Vulcan Post

In Japan, Imma (@imma.gram) is the face of Nike, PUMA, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, and Valentino. Imma's bubblegum pink bob and ultra-fine fashion landed her on the cover of Grazia magazine.

Imma on Grazia cover. Credits to aww.tokyo

Lotte Home Shopping created Lucy (@here.me.lucy) in September 2020. She made her TV debut as a Christmas show host in 2021. Since then, she has 100K Instagram followers and 13K TikTok followers.

Liu Yiexi gained 3 million fans in five days on Douyin, China's TikTok, in 2021. Her two-minute video went viral overnight. She's posted 6 videos and has 830 million Douyin followers.

Liu Yiexi’s video on Douyin. Credits to Ji Yuqiao on Global Times

China's virtual human industry was worth $487 million in 2020, up 70% year over year, and is expected to reach $875.9 million in 2021.

Investors worldwide are interested. Immas creator Aww Inc. raised $1 million from Coral Capital in September 2020, according to Bloomberg. Superplastic Inc., the Vermont-based startup behind influencers Janky and Guggimon, raised $16 million by 2020. Craft Ventures, SV Angels, and Scooter Braun invested. Crunchbase shows the company has raised $47 million.

The industries they represent, including Augmented and Virtual reality, were worth $14.84 billion in 2020 and are projected to reach $454.73 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 40.7%, according to PR Newswire.

Advantages for brands

Forbes suggests brands embrace computer-generated influencers. Examples:

  1. Unlimited creative opportunities: Because brands can personalize everything—from a person's look and activities to the style of their content—virtual influencers may be suited to a brand's needs and personalities.

  2. 100% brand control: Brand managers now have more influence over virtual influencers, so they no longer have to give up and rely on content creators to include brands into their storytelling and style. Virtual influencers can constantly produce social media content to promote a brand's identity and ideals because they are completely scandal-free.

  3. Long-term cost savings: Because virtual influencers are made of pixels, they may be reused endlessly and never lose their beauty. Additionally, they can move anywhere around the world and even into space to fit a brand notion. They are also always available. Additionally, the expense of creating their content will not rise in step with their expanding fan base.

  4. Introduction to the metaverse: Statista reports that 75% of American consumers between the ages of 18 and 25 follow at least one virtual influencer. As a result, marketers that support virtual celebrities may now interact with younger audiences that are more tech-savvy and accustomed to the digital world. Virtual influencers can be included into any digital space, including the metaverse, as they are entirely computer-generated 3D personas. Virtual influencers can provide brands with a smooth transition into this new digital universe to increase brand trust and develop emotional ties, in addition to the young generations' rapid adoption of the metaverse.

  5. Better engagement than in-person influencers: A Hype Auditor study found that online influencers have roughly three times the engagement of their conventional counterparts. Virtual influencers should be used to boost brand engagement even though the data might not accurately reflect the entire sector.

Concerns about influencers created by computers

Virtual influencers could encourage excessive beauty standards in South Korea, which has a $10.7 billion plastic surgery industry.

A classic Korean beauty has a small face, huge eyes, and pale, immaculate skin. Virtual influencers like Lucy have these traits. According to Lee Eun-hee, a professor at Inha University's Department of Consumer Science, this could make national beauty standards more unrealistic, increasing demand for plastic surgery or cosmetic items.

Lucy by Lotte Home Shopping. Credits to Lotte Home Shopping on CNN

Other parts of the world raise issues regarding selling items to consumers who don't recognize the models aren't human and the potential of cultural appropriation when generating influencers of other ethnicities, called digital blackface by some.

Meta, Facebook and Instagram's parent corporation, acknowledges this risk.

“Like any disruptive technology, synthetic media has the potential for both good and harm. Issues of representation, cultural appropriation and expressive liberty are already a growing concern,” the company stated in a blog post. “To help brands navigate the ethical quandaries of this emerging medium and avoid potential hazards, (Meta) is working with partners to develop an ethical framework to guide the use of (virtual influencers).”

Despite theoretical controversies, the industry will likely survive. Companies think virtual influencers are the next frontier in the digital world, which includes the metaverse, virtual reality, and digital currency.

In conclusion

Virtual influencers may garner millions of followers online and help marketers reach youthful audiences. According to a YouGov survey, the real impact of computer-generated influencers is yet unknown because people prefer genuine connections. Virtual characters can supplement brand marketing methods. When brands are metaverse-ready, the author predicts virtual influencer endorsement will continue to expand.

Yucel F. Sahan

Yucel F. Sahan

1 month ago

How I Created the Day's Top Product on Product Hunt

In this article, I'll describe a weekend project I started to make something. It was Product Hunt's #1 of the Day, #2 Weekly, and #4 Monthly product.

How did I make Landing Page Checklist so simple? Building and launching took 3 weeks. I worked 3 hours a day max. Weekends were busy.

It's sort of a long story, so scroll to the bottom of the page to see what tools I utilized to create Landing Page Checklist :x ‍

As a matter of fact, it all started with the startups-investments blog; Startup Bulletin, that I started writing in 2018. No, don’t worry, I won’t be going that far behind. The twitter account where I shared the blog posts of this newsletter was inactive for a looong time. I was holding this Twitter account since 2009, I couldn’t bear to destroy it. At the same time, I was thinking how to evaluate this account.

So I looked for a weekend assignment.

Weekend undertaking: Generate business names

Barash and I established a weekend effort to stay current. Building things helped us learn faster.

Simple. Startup Name Generator The utility generated random startup names. After market research for SEO purposes, we dubbed it Business Name Generator.

Backend developer Barash dislikes frontend work. He told me to write frontend code. Chakra UI and Tailwind CSS were recommended.

It was the first time I have heard about Tailwind CSS.

Before this project, I made mobile-web app designs in Sketch and shared them via Zeplin. I can read HTML-CSS or React code, but not write it. I didn't believe myself but followed Barash's advice.

My home page wasn't responsive when I started. Here it was:)

And then... Product Hunt had something I needed. Me-only! A website builder that gives you clean Tailwind CSS code and pre-made web components (like Elementor). Incredible.

I bought it right away because it was so easy to use. Best part: It's not just index.html. It includes all needed files. Like

  • postcss.config.js

  • README.md

  • package.json

  • among other things, tailwind.config.js

This is for non-techies.

Tailwind.build; which is Shuffle now, allows you to create and export projects for free (with limited features). You can try it by visiting their website.

After downloading the project, you can edit the text and graphics in Visual Studio (or another text editor). This HTML file can be hosted whenever.

Github is an easy way to host a landing page.

  1. your project via Shuffle for export

  2. your website's content, edit

  3. Create a Gitlab, Github, or Bitbucket account.

  4. to Github, upload your project folder.

  5. Integrate Vercel with your Github account (or another platform below)

  6. Allow them to guide you in steps.

Finally. If you push your code to Github using Github Desktop, you'll do it quickly and easily.

Speaking of; here are some hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites for you host your landing pages for FREE!

I host landingpage.fyi on Vercel but all is fine. You can choose any platform below with peace in mind.

  • Vercel

  • Render

  • Netlify

After connecting your project/repo to Vercel, you don’t have to do anything on Vercel. Vercel updates your live website when you update Github Desktop. Wow!

Tails came out while I was using tailwind.build. Although it's prettier, tailwind.build is more mobile-friendly. I couldn't resist their lovely parts. Tails :)

Tails have several well-designed parts. Some components looked awful on mobile, but this bug helped me understand Tailwind CSS.

Unlike Shuffle, Tails does not include files when you export such as config.js, main.js, README.md. It just gives you the HTML code. Suffle.dev is a bit ahead in this regard and with mobile-friendly blocks if you ask me. Of course, I took advantage of both.

creativebusinessnames.co is inactive, but I'll leave a deployment link :)

Adam Wathan's YouTube videos and Tailwind's official literature helped me, but I couldn't have done it without Tails and Shuffle. These tools helped me make landing pages. I shouldn't have started over.

So began my Tailwind CSS adventure. I didn't build landingpage. I didn't plan it to be this long; sorry.

I learnt a lot while I was playing around with Shuffle and Tails Builders.

Long story short I built landingpage.fyi with the help of these tools;

Learning, building, and distribution

That's all. A few things:

The Outcome

.fyi Domain: Why?

I'm often asked this.

I don't know, but I wanted to include the landing page term. Popular TLDs are gone. I saw my alternatives. brief and catchy.

CSS Tailwind Resources

I'll share project resources like Tails and Shuffle.

Thanks for reading my blog's first post. Please share if you like it.

Michael Salim

Michael Salim

1 month ago

300 Signups, 1 Landing Page, 0 Products

I placed a link on HackerNews and got 300 signups in a week. This post explains what happened.

Product Concept

The product is DbSchemaLibrary. A library of Database Schema.

I'm not sure where this idea originated from. Very fast. Build fast, fail fast, test many ideas, and one will be a hit. I tried it. Let's try it anyway, even though it'll probably fail. I finished The Lean Startup book and wanted to use it.

Database job bores me. Important! I get drowsy working on it. Someone must do it. I remember this happening once. I needed examples at the time. Something similar to Recall (my other project) that I can copy — or at least use as a reference.

Frequently googled. Many tabs open. The results were useless. I raised my hand and agreed to construct the database myself.

It resurfaced. I decided to do something.

Due Diligence

Lean Startup emphasizes validated learning. Everything the startup does should result in learning. I may build something nobody wants otherwise. That's what happened to Recall.

So, I wrote a business plan document. This happens before I code. What am I solving? What is my proposed solution? What is the leap of faith between the problem and solution? Who would be my target audience?

My note:

Note of the exact problem and solutions I’m trying to solve

In my previous project, I did the opposite!

I wrote my expectations after reading the book's advice.

“Failure is a prerequisite to learning. The problem with the notion of shipping a product and then seeing what happens is that you are guaranteed to succeed — at seeing what happens.” — The Lean Startup book

These are successful metrics. If I don't reach them, I'll drop the idea and try another. I didn't understand numbers then. Below are guesses. But it’s a start!

Metrics I set before starting anything

I then wrote the project's What and Why. I'll use this everywhere. Before, I wrote a different pitch each time. I thought certain words would be better. I felt the audience might want something unusual.

Occasionally, this works. I'm unsure if it's a good idea. No stats, just my writing-time opinion. Writing every time is time-consuming and sometimes hazardous. Having a copy saved me duplication.

I can measure and learn from performance.

Copy of the product’s What and Why’s

Last, I identified communities that might demand the product. This became an exercise in creativity.

List of potential marketing channels

The MVP

So now it’s time to build.

A MVP can test my assumptions. Business may learn from it. Not low-quality. We should learn from the tiniest thing.

I like the example of how Dropbox did theirs. They assumed that if the product works, people will utilize it. How can this be tested without a quality product? They made a movie demonstrating the software's functionality. Who knows how much functionality existed?

So I tested my biggest assumption. Users want schema references. How can I test if users want to reference another schema? I'd love this. Recall taught me that wanting something doesn't mean others do.

I made an email-collection landing page. Describe it briefly. Reference library. Each email sender wants a reference. They're interested in the product. Few other reasons exist.

Header and footer were skipped. No name or logo. DbSchemaLibrary is a name I thought of after the fact. 5-minute logo. I expected a flop. Recall has no users after months of labor. What could happen to a 2-day project?

I didn't compromise learning validation. How many visitors sign up? To draw a conclusion, I must track these results.

Landing page

Posting Time

Now that the job is done, gauge interest. The next morning, I posted on all my channels. I didn't want to be spammy, therefore it required more time.

I made sure each channel had at least one fan of this product. I also answer people's inquiries in the channel.

My list stinks. Several channels wouldn't work. The product's target market isn't there. Posting there would waste our time. This taught me to create marketing channels depending on my persona.

Statistics! What actually happened

My favorite part! 23 channels received the link.

Results across the marketing channels

I stopped posting to Discord despite its high conversion rate. I eliminated some channels because they didn't fit. According to the numbers, some users like it. Most users think it's spam.

I was skeptical. And 12 people viewed it.

I didn't expect much attention on a startup subreddit. I'll likely examine Reddit further in the future. As I have enough info, I didn't post much. Time for the next validated learning

No comment. The post had few views, therefore the numbers are low.

The targeted people come next.

I'm a Toptal freelancer. There's a member-only Slack channel. Most people can't use this marketing channel, but you should! It's not as spectacular as discord's 27% conversion rate. But I think the users here are better.

I don’t really have a following anywhere so this isn’t something I can leverage.

The best yet. 10% is converted. With more data, I expect to attain a 10% conversion rate from other channels. Stable number.

This number required some work. Did you know that people use many different clients to read HN?

Unknowns

Untrackable views and signups abound. 1136 views and 135 signups are untraceable. It's 11%. I bet much of that came from Hackernews.

Overall Statistics

The 7-day signup-to-visit ratio was 17%. (Hourly data points)

Signup to Views percentageSignup to Views count

First-day percentages were lower, which is noteworthy. Initially, it was little above 10%. The HN post started getting views then.

Percentage of signups to views for the first 2 days

When traffic drops, the number reaches just around 20%. More individuals are interested in the connection. hn.algolia.com sent 2 visitors. This means people are searching and finding my post.

Percentage of signups after the initial traffic

Interesting discoveries

1. HN post struggled till the US woke up.

11am UTC. After an hour, it lost popularity. It seemed over. 7 signups converted 13%. Not amazing, but I would've thought ahead.

After 4pm UTC, traffic grew again. 4pm UTC is 9am PDT. US awakened. 10am PDT saw 512 views.

Signup to views count during the first few hours

2. The product was highlighted in a newsletter.

I found Revue references when gathering data. Newsletter platform. Someone posted the newsletter link. 37 views and 3 registrations.

3. HN numbers are extremely reliable

I don't have a time-lapse graph (yet). The statistics were constant all day.

  • 2717 views later 272 new users, or 10.1%

  • With 293 signups at 2856 views, 10.25%

  • At 306 signups at 2965 views, 10.32%

Learnings

1. My initial estimations were wildly inaccurate

I wrote 30% conversion. Reading some articles, looks like 10% is a good number to aim for.

2. Paying attention to what matters rather than vain metrics

The Lean Startup discourages vanity metrics. Feel-good metrics that don't measure growth or traction. Considering the proportion instead of the total visitors made me realize there was something here.

What’s next?

There are lots of work to do. Data aggregation, display, website development, marketing, legal issues. Fun! It's satisfying to solve an issue rather than investigate its cause.

In the meantime, I’ve already written the first project update in another post. Continue reading it if you’d like to know more about the project itself! Shifting from Quantity to Quality — DbSchemaLibrary