Isaac Benson

Isaac Benson

7 months ago

What's the difference between Proof-of-Time and Proof-of-History?

More on Web3 & Crypto

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

1 year ago

A quick guide to formatting your text on INTΞGRITY

[06/20/2022 update] We have now implemented a powerful text editor, but you can still use markdown.




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[Int3grity website](


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> Human beings face ever more complex and urgent problems, and their effectiveness in dealing with these problems is a matter that is critical to the stability and continued progress of society. \- Doug Engelbart, 1961


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Nabil Alouani

Nabil Alouani

1 month ago

Why Cryptocurrency Is Not Dead Despite the FTX Scam

A fraud, free-market, antifragility tale

Crypto's only rival is public opinion.

In less than a week, mainstream media, bloggers, and TikTokers turned on FTX's founder.

While some were surprised, almost everyone with a keyboard and a Twitter account predicted the FTX collapse. These financial oracles should have warned the 1.2 million people Sam Bankman-Fried duped.

After happening, unexpected events seem obvious to our brains. It's a bug and a feature because it helps us cope with disasters and makes our reasoning suck.

Nobody predicted the FTX debacle. Bloomberg? Politicians. Non-famous. No cryptologists. Who?

When FTX imploded, taking billions of dollars with it, an outrage bomb went off, and the resulting shockwave threatens the crypto market's existence.

As someone who lost more than $78,000 in a crypto scam in 2020, I can only understand people’s reactions.  When the dust settles and rationality returns, we'll realize this is a natural occurrence in every free market.

What specifically occurred with FTX? (Skip if you are aware.)

FTX is a cryptocurrency exchange where customers can trade with cash. It reached #3 in less than two years as the fastest-growing platform of its kind.

FTX's performance helped make SBF the crypto poster boy. Other reasons include his altruistic public image, his support for the Democrats, and his company Alameda Research.

Alameda Research made a fortune arbitraging Bitcoin.

Arbitrage trading uses small price differences between two markets to make money. Bitcoin costs $20k in Japan and $21k in the US. Alameda Research did that for months, making $1 million per day.

Later, as its capital grew, Alameda expanded its trading activities and began investing in other companies.

Let's now discuss FTX.

SBF's diabolic master plan began when he used FTX-created FTT coins to inflate his trading company's balance sheets. He used inflated Alameda numbers to secure bank loans.

SBF used money he printed himself as collateral to borrow billions for capital. Coindesk exposed him in a report.

One of FTX's early investors tweeted that he planned to sell his FTT coins over the next few months. This would be a minor event if the investor wasn't Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ).

The crypto space saw a red WARNING sign when CZ cut ties with FTX. Everyone with an FTX account and a brain withdrew money. Two events followed. FTT fell from $20 to $4 in less than 72 hours, and FTX couldn't meet withdrawal requests, spreading panic.

SBF reassured FTX users on Twitter. Good assets.

He lied.

SBF falsely claimed FTX had a liquidity crunch. At the time of his initial claims, FTX owed about $8 billion to its customers. Liquidity shortages are usually minor. To get cash, sell assets. In the case of FTX, the main asset was printed FTT coins.

Sam wouldn't get out of trouble even if he slashed the discount (from $20 to $4) and sold every FTT. He'd flood the crypto market with his homemade coins, causing the price to crash.

SBF was trapped. He approached Binance about a buyout, which seemed good until Binance looked at FTX's books.

The original tweet has been removed.

Binance's tweet ended SBF, and he had to apologize, resign as CEO, and file for bankruptcy.

Bloomberg estimated Sam's net worth to be zero by the end of that week. 0!

But that's not all. Twitter investigations exposed fraud at FTX and Alameda Research. SBF used customer funds to trade and invest in other companies.

Thanks to the Twitter indie reporters who made the mainstream press look amateurish. Some Twitter detectives didn't sleep for 30 hours to find answers. Others added to existing threads. Memes were hilarious.

One question kept repeating in my bald head as I watched the Blue Bird. Sam, WTF?

Then I understood.

SBF wanted that FTX becomes a bank.

Think about this. FTX seems healthy a few weeks ago. You buy 2 bitcoins using FTX. You'd expect the platform to take your dollars and debit your wallet, right?

No. They give I-Owe-Yous.

FTX records owing you 2 bitcoins in its internal ledger but doesn't credit your account. Given SBF's tricks, I'd bet on nothing.

What happens if they don't credit my account with 2 bitcoins? Your money goes into FTX's capital, where SBF and his friends invest in marketing, political endorsements, and buying other companies.

Over its two-year existence, FTX invested in 130 companies. Once they make a profit on their purchases, they'll pay you and keep the rest.

One detail makes their strategy dumb. If all FTX customers withdraw at once, everything collapses.

Financially savvy people think FTX's collapse resembles a bank run, and they're right. SBF designed FTX to operate like a bank.

You expect your bank to open a drawer with your name and put $1,000 in it when you deposit $1,000. They deposit $100 in your drawer and create an I-Owe-You for $900. What happens to $900?

Let's sum it up: It's boring and headache-inducing.

When you deposit money in a bank, they can keep 10% and lend the rest. Fractional Reserve Banking is a popular method. Fractional reserves operate within and across banks.

Image by Lukertina Sihombing from Research Gate.

Fractional reserve banking generates $10,000 for every $1,000 deposited. People will pay off their debt plus interest.

As long as banks work together and the economy grows, their model works well.

SBF tried to replicate the system but forgot two details. First, traditional banks need verifiable collateral like real estate, jewelry, art, stocks, and bonds, not digital coupons. Traditional banks developed a liquidity buffer. The Federal Reserve (or Central Bank) injects massive cash into troubled banks.

Massive cash injections come from taxpayers. You and I pay for bankers' mistakes and annual bonuses. Yes, you may think banking is rigged. It's rigged, but it's the best financial game in 150 years. We accept its flaws, including bailouts for too-big-to-fail companies.


SBF wanted Binance's bailout. Binance said no, which was good for the crypto market.

Free markets are resilient.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined the term antifragility.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

The easiest way to understand how antifragile systems behave is to compare them with other types of systems.

  • Glass is like a fragile system. It snaps when shocked.

  • Similar to rubber, a resilient system. After a stressful episode, it bounces back.

  • A system that is antifragile is similar to a muscle. As it is torn in the gym, it gets stronger.

Stress response of fragile, resilient, and antifragile systems.

Time-changed things are antifragile. Culture, tech innovation, restaurants, revolutions, book sales, cuisine, economic success, and even muscle shape. These systems benefit from shocks and randomness in different ways, but they all pay a price for antifragility.

Same goes for the free market and financial institutions. Taleb's book uses restaurants as an example and ends with a reference to the 2008 crash.

“Restaurants are fragile. They compete with each other. But the collective of local restaurants is antifragile for that very reason. Had restaurants been individually robust, hence immortal, the overall business would be either stagnant or weak and would deliver nothing better than cafeteria food — and I mean Soviet-style cafeteria food. Further, it [the overall business] would be marred with systemic shortages, with once in a while a complete crisis and government bailout.”

Imagine the same thing with banks.

Independent banks would compete to offer the best services. If one of these banks fails, it will disappear. Customers and investors will suffer, but the market will recover from the dead banks' mistakes.

This idea underpins a free market. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies say this when criticizing traditional banking.

The traditional banking system's components never die. When a bank fails, the Federal Reserve steps in with a big taxpayer-funded check. This hinders bank evolution. If you don't let banking cells die and be replaced, your financial system won't be antifragile.

The interdependence of banks (centralization) means that one bank's mistake can sink the entire fleet, which brings us to SBF's ultimate travesty with FTX.

FTX has left the cryptocurrency gene pool.

FTX should be decentralized and independent. The super-star scammer invested in more than 130 crypto companies and linked them, creating a fragile banking-like structure. FTX seemed to say, "We exist because centralized banks are bad." But we'll be good, unlike the centralized banking system.

FTX saved several companies, including BlockFi and Voyager Digital.

FTX wanted to be a crypto bank conglomerate and Federal Reserve. SBF wanted to monopolize crypto markets. FTX wanted to be in bed with as many powerful people as possible, so SBF seduced politicians and celebrities.

Worst? People who saw SBF's plan flaws praised him. Experts, newspapers, and crypto fans praised FTX. When billions pour in, it's hard to realize FTX was acting against its nature.

Then, they act shocked when they realize FTX's fall triggered a domino effect. Some say the damage could wipe out the crypto market, but that's wrong.

Cell death is different from body death.

FTX is out of the game despite its size. Unfit, it fell victim to market natural selection.


The challengers keep coming. The crypto economy will improve with each failure.

Free markets are antifragile because their fragile parts compete, fostering evolution. With constructive feedback, evolution benefits customers and investors.

FTX shows that customers don't like being scammed, so the crypto market's health depends on them. Charlatans and con artists are eliminated quickly or slowly.

Crypto isn't immune to collapse. Cryptocurrencies can go extinct like biological species. Antifragility isn't immortality. A few more decades of evolution may be enough for humans to figure out how to best handle money, whether it's bitcoin, traditional banking, gold, or something else.

Keep your BS detector on. Start by being skeptical of this article's finance-related claims. Even if you think you understand finance, join the conversation.

We build a better future through dialogue. So listen, ask, and share. When you think you can't find common ground with the opposing view, remember:

Sam Bankman-Fried lied.

Max Parasol

Max Parasol

10 months ago

Are DAOs the future or just a passing fad?

How do you DAO? Can DAOs scale?

DAO: Decentralized Autonomous. Organization.

“The whole phrase is a misnomer. They're not decentralized, autonomous, or organizations,” says Monsterplay blockchain consultant David Freuden.

As part of the DAO initiative, Freuden coauthored a 51-page report in May 2020. “We need DAOs,” he says. “‘Shareholder first' is a 1980s/90s concept. Profits became the focus, not products.”

His predictions for DAOs have come true nearly two years later. DAOs had over 1.6 million participants by the end of 2021, up from 13,000 at the start of the year. Wyoming, in the US, will recognize DAOs and the Marshall Islands in 2021. Australia may follow that example in 2022.

But what is a DAO?

Members buy (or are rewarded with) governance tokens to vote on how the DAO operates and spends its money. “DeFi spawned DAOs as an investment vehicle. So a DAO is tokenomics,” says Freuden.

DAOs are usually built around a promise or a social cause, but they still want to make money. “If you can't explain why, the DAO will fail,” he says. “A co-op without tokenomics is not a DAO.”

Operating system DAOs, protocol DAOs, investment DAOs, grant DAOs, service DAOs, social DAOs, collector DAOs, and media DAOs are now available.

Freuden liked the idea of people rallying around a good cause. Speculators and builders make up the crypto world, so it needs a DAO for them.

,Speculators and builders, or both, have mismatched expectations, causing endless, but sometimes creative friction.

Organisms that boost output

Launching a DAO with an original product such as a cryptocurrency, an IT protocol or a VC-like investment fund like FlamingoDAO is common. DAOs enable distributed open-source contributions without borders. The goal is vital. Sometimes, after a product is launched, DAOs emerge, leaving the company to eventually transition to a DAO, as Uniswap did.

Doing things together is a DAO. So it's a way to reward a distributed workforce. DAOs are essentially productivity coordination organisms.

“Those who work for the DAO make permissionless contributions and benefit from fragmented employment,” argues Freuden. DAOs are, first and foremost, a new form of cooperation.

DAO? Distributed not decentralized

In decentralized autonomous organizations, words have multiple meanings. DAOs can emphasize one aspect over another. Autonomy is a trade-off for decentralization.

DAOstack CEO Matan Field says a DAO is a distributed governance system. Power is shared. However, there are two ways to understand a DAO's decentralized nature. This clarifies the various DAO definitions.

A decentralized infrastructure allows a DAO to be decentralized. It could be created on a public permissionless blockchain to prevent a takeover.

As opposed to a company run by executives or shareholders, a DAO is distributed. Its leadership does not wield power

Option two is clearly distributed.

But not all of this is “automated.”

Think quorum, not robot.

DAOs can be autonomous in the sense that smart contracts are self-enforcing and self-executing. So every blockchain transaction is a simplified smart contract.

Dao landscape

The DAO landscape is evolving.

Consider how Ethereum's smart contracts work. They are more like self-executing computer code, which Vitalik Buterin calls “persistent scripts”.

However, a DAO is self-enforcing once its members agree on its rules. As such, a DAO is “automated upon approval by the governance committee.” This distinguishes them from traditional organizations whose rules must be interpreted and applied.

Why a DAO? They move fast

A DAO can quickly adapt to local conditions as a governance mechanism. It's a collaborative decision-making tool.

Like UkraineDAO, created in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine by Ukrainian expat Alona Shevchenko, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Trippy Labs, and PleasrDAO. The DAO sought to support Ukrainian charities by selling Ukrainian flag NFTs. With a single mission, a DAO can quickly raise funds for a country accepting crypto where banks are distrusted.

This could be a watershed moment for DAOs.

ConstitutionDAO was another clever use case for DAOs for Freuden. In a failed but “beautiful experiment in a single-purpose DAO,” ConstitutionDAO tried to buy a copy of the US Constitution from a Sotheby's auction. In November 2021, ConstitutionDAO raised $47 million from 19,000 people, but a hedge fund manager outbid them.

Contributions were returned or lost if transactional gas fees were too high. The ConstitutionDAO, as a “beautiful experiment,” proved exceptionally fast at organizing and crowdsourcing funds for a specific purpose.

We may soon be applauding UkraineDAO's geopolitical success in support of the DAO concept.

Some of the best use cases for DAOs today, according to Adam Miller, founder of and MIDAO Directory Services, involve DAO structures.

That is, a “flat community is vital.” Prototyping by the crowd is a good example.  To succeed,  members must be enthusiastic about DAOs as an alternative to starting a company. Because DAOs require some hierarchy, he agrees that "distributed is a better acronym."

Miller sees DAOs as a “new way of organizing people and resources.” He started, a DAO tooling advisery that is currently transitioning to a DAO due to the “woeful tech options for running a DAO,” which he says mainly comprises of just “multisig admin keys and a voting system.” So today he's advising on DAO tech stacks.

Miller identifies three key elements.

Tokenization is a common method and tool. Second, governance mechanisms connected to the DAO's treasury. Lastly, community.”

How a DAO works...

They can be more than glorified Discord groups if they have a clear mission. This mission is a mix of financial speculation and utopianism. The spectrum is vast.

The founder of Dash left the cryptocurrency project in 2017. It's the story of a prophet without an heir. So creating a global tokenized evangelical missionary community via a DAO made sense.

Evan Duffield, a “libertarian/anarchist” visionary, forked Bitcoin in January 2014 to make it instant and essentially free. He went away for a while, and DASH became a DAO.

200,000 US retailers, including Walmart and Barnes & Noble, now accept Dash as payment. This payment system works like a gift card.

Arden Goldstein, Dash's head of crypto, DAO, and blockchain marketing, claims Dash is the “first successful DAO.” It was founded in 2016 and disbanded after a hack, an Ethereum hard fork and much controversy. But what are the success metrics?

Crypto success is measured differently, says Goldstein. To achieve common goals, people must participate or be motivated in a healthy DAO. People are motivated to complete tasks in a successful DAO. And, crucially, when tasks get completed.

“Yes or no, 1 or 0, voting is not a new idea. The challenge is getting people to continue to participate and keep building a community.” A DAO motivates volunteers: Nothing keeps people from building. The DAO “philosophy is old news. You need skin in the game to play.”

MasterNodes must stake 1000 Dash. Those members are rewarded with DASH for marketing (and other tasks). It uses an outsourced team to onboard new users globally.

Joining a DAO is part of the fun of meeting crazy or “very active” people on Discord. No one gets fired (usually). If your work is noticed, you may be offered a full-time job.

DAO community members worldwide are rewarded for brand building. Dash is also a great product for developing countries with high inflation and undemocratic governments. The countries with the most Dash DAO members are Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, India, China, France, Italy, and the Philippines.

Grassroots activism makes this DAO work. A DAO is local. Venezuelans can't access, so DAO members help them use a VPN. DAO members are investors, fervent evangelicals, and local product experts.

Every month, proposals and grant applications are voted on via the Dash platform. However, the DAO may decide not to fund you. For example, the DAO once hired a PR firm, but the community complained about the lack of press coverage. This raises a great question: How are real-world contractual obligations met by a DAO?

Does the DASH DAO work?

“I see the DAO defund projects I thought were valuable,” Goldstein says. Despite working full-time, I must submit a funding proposal. “Much faster than other companies I've worked on,” he says.

Dash DAO is a headless beast. Ryan Taylor is the CEO of the company overseeing the DASH Core Group project. 

The issue is that “we don't know who has the most tokens [...] because we don't know who our customers are.” As a result, “the loudest voices usually don't have the most MasterNodes and aren't the most invested.”

Goldstein, the only female in the DAO, says she worked hard. “I was proud of the DAO when I made the logo pink for a day and got great support from the men.” This has yet to entice a major influx of female DAO members.

Many obstacles stand in the way of utopian dreams.

Governance problems remain

And what about major token holders behaving badly?

In early February, a heated crypto Twitter debate raged on about inclusion, diversity, and cancel culture in relation to decentralized projects. In this case, the question was how a DAO addresses alleged inappropriate behavior.

In a corporation, misconduct can result in termination. In a DAO, founders usually hold a large number of tokens and the keys to the blockchain (multisignature) or otherwise.

Brantly Millegan, the director of operations of Ethereum Name Service (ENS), made disparaging remarks about the LGBTQ community and other controversial topics. The screenshotted comments were made in 2016 and brought to the ENS board's attention in early 2022.

His contract with ENS has expired. But what of his large DAO governance token holdings?

Members of the DAO proposed a motion to remove Millegan from the DAO. His “delegated” votes net 370,000. He was and is the DAO's largest delegate.

What if he had refused to accept the DAO's decision?

Freuden says the answer is not so simple.

“Can a DAO kick someone out who built the project?”

The original mission “should be dissolved” if it no longer exists. “Does a DAO fail and return the money? They must r eturn the money with interest if the marriage fails.”

Before an IPO, VCs might try to remove a problematic CEO.

While DAOs use treasury as a governance mechanism, it is usually controlled (at least initially) by the original project creators. Or, in the case of Uniswap, the venture capital firm a16z has so much voting power that it has delegated it to student-run blockchain organizations.

So, can DAOs really work at scale? How to evolve voting paradigms beyond token holdings?

The whale token holder issue has some solutions. Multiple tokens, such as a utility token on top of a governance token, and quadratic voting for whales, are now common. Other safeguards include multisignature blockchain keys and decision time locks that allow for any automated decision to be made. The structure of each DAO will depend on the assets at stake.

In reality, voter turnout is often a bigger issue.

Is DAO governance scalable?

Many DAOs have low participation. Due to a lack of understanding of technology, apathy, or busy lives. “The bigger the DAO, the fewer voters who vote,” says Freuden.

Freuden's report cites British anthropologist Dunbar's Law, who argued that people can only maintain about 150 relationships.

"As the DAO grows in size, the individual loses influence because they perceive their voting power as being diminished or insignificant. The Ringelmann Effect and Dunbar's Rule show that as a group grows in size, members become lazier, disenfranchised, and detached.

Freuden says a DAO requires “understanding human relationships.” He believes DAOs work best as investment funds rooted in Cryptoland and small in scale. In just three weeks, SyndicateDAO enabled the creation of 450 new investment group DAOs.

Due to SEC regulations, FlamingoDAO, a famous NFT curation investment DAO, could only have 100 investors. The “LAO” is a member-directed venture capital fund and a US LLC. To comply with US securities law, they only allow 100 members with a 120ETH minimum staking contribution.

But how did FlamingoDAO make investment decisions? How often did all 70 members vote? Art and NFTs are highly speculative.

So, investment DAOs are thought to work well in a small petri dish environment. This is due to a crypto-native club's pooled capital (maximum 7% per member) and crowdsourced knowledge.

While scalability is a concern, each DAO will operate differently depending on the goal, technology stage, and personalities. Meetups and hackathons are common ways for techies to collaborate on a cause or test an idea. But somebody still organizes the hack.

Holographic consensus voting

But clever people are working on creative solutions to every problem.

Miller of cites DXdao as a successful DAO. Decentralized product and service creator DXdao runs the DAO entirely on-chain. “You earn voting rights by contributing to the community.”

DXdao, a DAOstack fork, uses holographic consensus, a voting algorithm invented by DAOstack founder Matan Field. The system lets a random or semi-random subset make group-wide decisions.

By acting as a gatekeeper for voters, DXdao's Luke Keenan explains that “a small predictions market economy emerges around the likely outcome of a proposal as tokens are staked on it.” Also, proposals that have been financially boosted have fewer requirements to be successful, increasing system efficiency.” DXdao “makes decisions by removing voting power as an economic incentive.”

Field explains that holographic consensus “does not require a quorum to render a vote valid.”

“Rather, it provides a parallel process. It is a game played (for profit) by ‘predictors' who make predictions about whether or not a vote will be approved by the voters. The voting process is valid even when the voting quorum is low if enough stake is placed on the outcome of the vote.

“In other words, a quorum is not a scalable DAO governance strategy,” Field says.

You don't need big votes on everything. If only 5% vote, fine. To move significant value or make significant changes, you need a longer voting period (say 30 days) and a higher quorum,” says Miller.

Clearly, DAOs are maturing. The emphasis is on tools like Orca and processes that delegate power to smaller sub-DAOs, committees, and working groups.

Miller also claims that “studies in psychology show that rewarding people too much for volunteering disincentivizes them.” So, rather than giving out tokens for every activity, you may want to offer symbolic rewards like POAPs or contributor levels.

“Free lunches are less rewarding. Random rewards can boost motivation.”

Culture and motivation

DAOs (and Web3 in general) can give early adopters a sense of ownership. In theory, they encourage early participation and bootstrapping before network effects.

"A double-edged sword," says Goldstein. In the developing world, they may not be fully scalable.

“There must always be a leader,” she says. “People won't volunteer if they don't want to.”

DAO members sometimes feel entitled. “They are not the boss, but they think they should be able to see my calendar or get a daily report,” Goldstein gripes. Say, “I own three MasterNodes and need to know X, Y, and Z.”

In most decentralized projects, strong community leaders are crucial to influencing culture.

Freuden says “the DAO's community builder is the cryptoland influencer.” They must “disseminate the DAO's culture, cause, and rally the troops” in English, not tech.

They must keep members happy.

So the community builder is vital. Building a community around a coin that promises riches is simple, but keeping DAO members motivated is difficult.

It's a human job. But tools like SourceCred or coordinate that measure contributions and allocate tokens are heavily marketed. Large growth funds/community funds/grant programs are common among DAOs.

The Future?

Onboarding, committed volunteers, and an iconic community builder may be all DAOs need.

It takes a DAO just one day to bring together a passionate (and sometimes obsessive) community. For organizations with a common goal, managing stakeholder expectations is critical.

A DAO's core values are community and cause, not scalable governance. “DAOs will work at scale like gaming communities, but we will have sub-DAOs everywhere like committees,” says Freuden.

So-called holographic consensuses “can handle, in principle, increasing rates of proposals by turning this tension between scale and resilience into an economical cost,” Field writes. Scalability is not guaranteed.

The DAO's key innovation is the fragmented workplace. “Voting is a subset of engagement,” says Freuden. DAO should allow for permissionless participation and engagement. DAOs allow for remote work.”

In 20 years, DAOs may be the AI-powered self-organizing concept. That seems far away now. But a new breed of productivity coordination organisms is maturing.

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Benjamin Lin

Benjamin Lin

5 months ago

I sold my side project for $20,000: 6 lessons I learned

How I monetized and sold an abandoned side project for $20,000

Unfortunately, there was no real handshake as the sale was transacted entirely online

The Origin Story

I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never succeeded. I often had business ideas, made a landing page, and told my buddies. Never got customers.

In April 2021, I decided to try again with a new strategy. I noticed that I had trouble acquiring an initial set of customers, so I wanted to start by acquiring a product that had a small user base that I could grow.

I found a SaaS marketplace called where you could buy and sell SaaS products. I liked, an online Loom-like screen recorder. didn't generate revenue, but 50 people visited daily to record screencasts.

Purchasing a Failed Side Project

I eventually bought for $12,000 from its owner.

$12,000 was probably too much for a website without revenue or registered users.

I thought time was most important. I could have recreated the website, but it would take months. $12,000 would give me an organized code base and a working product with a few users to monetize.

You should always ask yourself the build vs buy decision when starting a new project

I considered buying a screen recording website and trying to grow it versus buying a new car or investing in crypto with the $12K.

Buying the website would make me a real entrepreneur, which I wanted more than anything.

Putting down so much money would force me to commit to the project and prevent me from quitting too soon.

A Year of Development

I rebranded the website to be called RecordJoy and worked on it with my cousin for about a year. Within a year, we made $5000 and had 3000 users.

We spent $3500 on ads, hosting, and software to run the business.

AppSumo promoted our $120 Life Time Deal in exchange for 30% of the revenue.

We put RecordJoy on maintenance mode after 6 months because we couldn't find a scalable user acquisition channel.

We improved SEO and redesigned our landing page, but nothing worked.

Growth flatlined, so we put the project on maintenance mode

Despite not being able to grow RecordJoy any further, I had already learned so much from working on the project so I was fine with putting it on maintenance mode. RecordJoy still made $500 a month, which was great lunch money.

Getting Taken Over

One of our customers emailed me asking for some feature requests and I replied that we weren’t going to add any more features in the near future. They asked if we'd sell.

We got on a call with the customer and I asked if he would be interested in buying RecordJoy for 15k. The customer wanted around $8k but would consider it.

Since we were negotiating with one buyer, we put RecordJoy on MicroAcquire to see if there were other offers.

Everything is negotiable, including how long the buyer can remain an exclusive buyer and what the payment schedule should be.

We quickly received 10+ offers. We got 18.5k. There was also about $1000 in AppSumo that we could not withdraw, so we agreed to transfer that over for $600 since about 40% of our sales on AppSumo usually end up being refunded.

Lessons Learned

First, create an acquisition channel

We couldn't discover a scalable acquisition route for RecordJoy. If I had to start another project, I'd develop a robust acquisition channel first. It might be LinkedIn, Medium, or YouTube.

Purchase Power of the Buyer Affects Acquisition Price

Some of the buyers we spoke to were individuals looking to buy side projects, as well as companies looking to launch a new product category. Individual buyers had less budgets than organizations.

Customers of AppSumo vary.

AppSumo customers value lifetime deals and low prices, which may not be a good way to build a business with recurring revenue. Designed for AppSumo users, your product may not connect with other users.

Try to increase acquisition trust

Acquisition often fails. The buyer can go cold feet, cease communicating, or run away with your stuff. Trusting the buyer ensures a smooth asset exchange. First acquisition meeting was unpleasant and price negotiation was tight. In later meetings, we spent the first few minutes trying to get to know the buyer’s motivations and background before jumping into the negotiation, which helped build trust.

Operating expenses can reduce your earnings.

Monitor operating costs. We were really happy when we withdrew the $5000 we made from AppSumo and Stripe until we realized that we had spent $3500 in operating fees. Spend money on software and consultants to help you understand what to build.

Don't overspend on advertising

We invested $1500 on Google Ads but made little money. For a side project, it’s better to focus on organic traffic from SEO rather than paid ads unless you know your ads are going to have a positive ROI.

Michelle Teheux

Michelle Teheux

1 month ago

Get Real, All You Grateful Laid-Off LinkedIn Users

WTF is wrong with you people?

She looks so happy. She was probably just fired. Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

When I was laid off as editor of my town's daily newspaper, I went silent on social media. I knew it was coming and had been quietly removing personal items each day, but the pain was intense.

I posted a day later. I didn't bad-mouth GateHouse Media but expressed my sadness at leaving the newspaper industry, pride in my accomplishments, and hope for success in another industry.

Normal job-loss response.

What do you recognize as abnormal?

The bullshit I’ve been reading from laid-off folks on LinkedIn.

If you're there, you know. Many Twitter or Facebook/Meta employees recently lost their jobs.

Well, many of them did not “lose their job,” actually. They were “impacted by the layoffs” at their former employer. I keep seeing that phrase.

Why don’t they want to actually say it? Why the euphemism?

Many are excited about the opportunities ahead. The jobless deny being sad.

They're ecstatic! They have big plans.

Hope so. Sincerely! Being laid off stinks, especially if, like me, your skills are obsolete. It's worse if, like me, you're too old to start a new career. Ageism exists despite denials.

Nowadays, professionalism seems to demand psychotic levels of fake optimism.

Why? Life is unpredictable. That's indisputable. You shouldn't constantly complain or cry in public, but you also shouldn't pretend everything's great.

It makes you look psychotic, not positive. It's like saying at work:

“I was impacted by the death of my spouse of 20 years this week, and many of you have reached out to me, expressing your sympathy. However, I’m choosing to remember the amazing things we shared. I feel confident that there is another marriage out there for me, and after taking a quiet weekend trip to reset myself, I’ll be out there looking for the next great marital adventure! #staypositive #available #opentolove


“Now looking for our next #dreamhome after our entire neighborhood was demolished by a wildfire last night. We feel so lucky to have lived near so many amazing and inspirational neighbors, all of whom we will miss as we go on our next housing adventure. The best house for us is yet to come! If you have a great neighborhood you’d recommend, please feel free to reach out and touch base with us! #newhouse #newneighborhood #newlife

Admit it. That’s creepy.

The constant optimism makes me feel sick to my stomach.


I hate fakes.

Imagine a fake wood grain desk. Wouldn't it be better if the designer accepted that it's plastic and went with that?

Real is better but not always nice. When something isn't nice, you don't have to go into detail, but you also shouldn't pretend it's great.

How to announce your job loss to the world.

Do not pretend to be happy, but don't cry and drink vodka all afternoon.

Say you loved your job, and that you're looking for new opportunities.

Yes, if you'll miss your coworkers. Otherwise, don't badmouth. No bridge-burning!

Please specify the job you want. You may want to pivot.

Alternatively, try this.

You could always flame out.

If you've pushed yourself too far into toxic positivity, you may be ready to burn it all down. If so, make it worthwhile by writing something like this:

Well, I was shitcanned by the losers at #Acme today. That bitch Linda in HR threw me under the bus just because she saw that one of my “friends” tagged me in some beach pics on social media after I called in sick with Covid. The good thing is I will no longer have to watch my ass around that #asspincher Ron in accounting, but I’m sad that I will no longer have a cushy job with high pay or access to the primo office supplies I’ve been sneaking home for the last five years. (Those gel pens were the best!) I am going to be taking some time off to enjoy my unemployment and hammer down shots of Jägermeister but in about five months I’ll be looking for anything easy with high pay and great benefits. Reach out if you can help! #officesupplies #unemploymentrocks #drinkinglikeagirlboss #acmesucks

It beats the fake positivity.

Sean Bloomfield

Sean Bloomfield

4 months ago

How Jeff Bezos wins meetings over

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

We've all been there: You propose a suggestion to your team at a meeting, and most people appear on board, but a handful or small minority aren't. How can we achieve collective buy-in when we need to go forward but don't know how to deal with some team members' perceived intransigence?


  1. Investigate the divergent opinions: Begin by sincerely attempting to comprehend the viewpoint of your disagreeing coworkers. Maybe it makes sense to switch horses in the middle of the race. Have you completely overlooked a blind spot, such as a political concern that could arise as an unexpected result of proceeding? This is crucial to ensure that the person or people feel heard as well as to advance the goals of the team. Sometimes all individuals need is a little affirmation before they fully accept your point of view.

  • It says a lot about you as a leader to be someone who always lets the perceived greatest idea win, regardless of the originating channel, if after studying and evaluating you see the necessity to align with the divergent position.

  • If, after investigation and assessment, you determine that you must adhere to the original strategy, we go to Step 2.

2. Disagree and Commit: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has had this experience, and Julie Zhuo describes how he handles it in her book The Making of a Manager.

It's OK to disagree when the team is moving in the right direction, but it's not OK to accidentally or purposefully damage the team's efforts because you disagree. Let the team know your opinion, but then help them achieve company goals even if they disagree. Unknown. You could be wrong in today's ever-changing environment.

So next time you have a team member who seems to be dissenting and you've tried the previous tactics, you may ask the individual in the meeting I understand you but I don't want us to leave without you on board I need your permission to commit to this approach would you give us your commitment?