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Athirah Syamimi

Athirah Syamimi

1 year ago

Here's How I Built A Business Offering Unlimited Design Services in Just One Weekend.

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Aaron Dinin, PhD

1 year ago

Are You Unintentionally Creating the Second Difficult Startup Type?

Most don't understand the issue until it's too late.

Image courtesy Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

My first startup was what entrepreneurs call the hardest. A two-sided marketplace.

Two-sided marketplaces are the hardest startups because founders must solve the chicken or the egg conundrum.

A two-sided marketplace needs suppliers and buyers. Without suppliers, buyers won't come. Without buyers, suppliers won't come. An empty marketplace and a founder striving to gain momentum result.

My first venture made me a struggling founder seeking to achieve traction for a two-sided marketplace. The company failed, and I vowed never to start another like it.

I didn’t. Unfortunately, my second venture was almost as hard. It failed like the second-hardest startup.

What kind of startup is the second-hardest?

The second-hardest startup, which is almost as hard to develop, is rarely discussed in the startup community. Because of this, I predict more founders fail each year trying to develop the second-toughest startup than the hardest.

Fairly, I have no proof. I see many startups, so I have enough of firsthand experience. From what I've seen, for every entrepreneur developing a two-sided marketplace, I'll meet at least 10 building this other challenging startup.

I'll describe a startup I just met with its two co-founders to explain the second hardest sort of startup and why it's so hard. They created a financial literacy software for parents of high schoolers.

The issue appears plausible. Children struggle with money. Parents must teach financial responsibility. Problems?

It's possible.

Buyers and users are different.

Buyer-user mismatch.

The financial literacy app I described above targets parents. The parent doesn't utilize the app. Child is end-user. That may not seem like much, but it makes customer and user acquisition and onboarding difficult for founders.

The difficulty of a buyer-user imbalance

The company developing a product faces a substantial operational burden when the buyer and end customer are different. Consider classic firms where the buyer is the end user to appreciate that responsibility.

Entrepreneurs selling directly to end users must educate them about the product's benefits and use. Each demands a lot of time, effort, and resources.

Imagine selling a financial literacy app where the buyer and user are different. To make the first sale, the entrepreneur must establish all the items I mentioned above. After selling, the entrepreneur must supply a fresh set of resources to teach, educate, or train end-users.

Thus, a startup with a buyer-user mismatch must market, sell, and train two organizations at once, requiring twice the work with the same resources.

The second hardest startup is hard for reasons other than the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. It takes a lot of creativity and luck to solve the chicken-or-egg conundrum.

The buyer-user mismatch problem cannot be overcome by innovation or luck. Buyer-user mismatches must be solved by force. Simply said, when a product buyer is different from an end-user, founders have a lot more work. If they can't work extra, their companies fail.

Keagan Stokoe

Keagan Stokoe

1 year ago

Generalists Create Startups; Specialists Scale Them

There’s a funny part of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson where Jobs says that Bill Gates was more a copier than an innovator:

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas….He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Gates lacked flavor. Nobody ever got excited about a Microsoft launch, despite their good products. Jobs had the world's best product taste. Apple vs. Microsoft.

A CEO's core job functions are all driven by taste: recruiting, vision, and company culture all require good taste. Depending on the type of company you want to build, know where you stand between Microsoft and Apple.

How can you improve your product judgment? How to acquire taste?

Test and refine

Product development follows two parallel paths: the ‘customer obsession’ path and the ‘taste and iterate’ path.

The customer obsession path involves solving customer problems. Lean Startup frameworks show you what to build at each step.

Taste-and-iterate doesn't involve the customer. You iterate internally and rely on product leaders' taste and judgment.

Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda explains this method. In Creative Selection, demos are iterated and presented to product leaders. Your boss presents to their boss, and so on up to Steve Jobs. If you have good product taste, you can be a panelist.

The iPhone follows this path. Before seeing an iPhone, consumers couldn't want one. Customer obsession wouldn't have gotten you far because iPhone buyers didn't know they wanted one.

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes:

“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about — figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. As a result, innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.“

One path solves a problem the customer knows they have, and the other doesn't. Instead of asking a person what they want, observe them and give them something they didn't know they needed.

It's much harder. Apple is the world's most valuable company because it's more valuable. It changes industries permanently.

If you want to build superior products, use the iPhone of your industry.

How to Improve Your Taste

I. Work for a company that has taste.

People with the best taste in products, markets, and people are rewarded for building great companies. Tasteful people know quality even when they can't describe it. Taste isn't writable. It's feel-based.

Moving into a community that's already doing what you want to do may be the best way to develop entrepreneurial taste. Most company-building knowledge is tacit.

Joining a company you want to emulate allows you to learn its inner workings. It reveals internal patterns intuitively. Many successful founders come from successful companies.

Consumption determines taste. Excellence will refine you. This is why restauranteurs visit the world's best restaurants and serious painters visit Paris or New York. Joining a company with good taste is beneficial.

2. Possess a wide range of interests

“Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place… The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves.” — Steve Jobs

I recently discovered Edwin Land. Jobs modeled much of his career after Land's. It makes sense that Apple was inspired by Land.

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War notes:

“Land was introverted in person, but supremely confident when he came to his ideas… Alongside his scientific passions, lay knowledge of art, music, and literature. He was a cultured person growing even more so as he got older, and his interests filtered into the ethos of Polaroid.”

Founders' philosophies shape companies. Jobs and Land were invested. It showed in the products their companies made. Different. His obsession was spreading Microsoft software worldwide. Microsoft's success is why their products are bland and boring.

Experience is important. It's probably why startups are built by generalists and scaled by specialists.

Jobs combined design, typography, storytelling, and product taste at Apple. Some of the best original Mac developers were poets and musicians. Edwin Land liked broad-minded people, according to his biography. Physicist-musicians or physicist-photographers.

Da Vinci was a master of art, engineering, architecture, anatomy, and more. He wrote and drew at the same desk. His genius is remembered centuries after his death. Da Vinci's statue would stand at the intersection of humanities and science.

We find incredibly creative people here. Superhumans. Designers, creators, and world-improvers. These are the people we need to navigate technology and lead world-changing companies. Generalists lead.

Mircea Iosif

Mircea Iosif

1 year ago

How To Start An Online Business That Will Be Profitable Without Investing A Lot Of Time

Don't know how to start an online business? Here's a guide. By following these recommendations, you can build a lucrative and profitable online business.

What Are Online Businesses Used For?

Most online businesses are websites. A self-created, self-managed website. You may sell things and services online.

To establish an internet business, you must locate a host and set up accounts with numerous companies. Once your accounts are set up, you may start publishing content and selling products or services.

How to Make Money from Your Online Business

Advertising and marketing are the best ways to make money online. You must develop strategies to contact new customers and generate leads. Make sure your website is search engine optimized so people can find you online.

Top 5 Online Business Tips for Startups:

1. Know your target audience's needs.

2. Make your website as appealing as possible.

3. Generate leads and sales with marketing.

4. Track your progress and learn from your mistakes to improve.

5. Be prepared to expand into new markets or regions.

How to Launch a Successful Online Business Without Putting in a Lot of Work

Build with a solid business model to start a profitable online business. By using these tips, you can start your online business without paying much.

First, develop a user-friendly website. You can use an internet marketing platform or create your own website. Once your website is live, optimize it for search engines and add relevant content.

Second, sell online. This can be done through ads or direct sales to website visitors. Finally, use social media to advertise your internet business. By accomplishing these things, you'll draw visitors to your website and make money.

When launching a business, invest long-term. This involves knowing your goals and how you'll pay for them. Volatility can have several effects on your business. If you offer things online, you may need to examine if the market is ready for them.

Invest wisely

Investing all your money in one endeavor can lead to too much risk and little ROI. Diversify your investments to take advantage of all available chances. So, your investments won't encounter unexpected price swings and you'll be immune to economic upheavals.

Financial news updates

When launching or running a thriving online business, financial news is crucial. By knowing current trends and upcoming developments, you can keep your business lucrative.

Keeping up with financial news can also help you avoid potential traps that could harm your bottom line. If you don't know about new legislation that could affect your industry, potential customers may choose another store when they learn about your business's problems.

Volatility ahead

You should expect volatility in the financial sector. Without a plan for coping with volatility, you could run into difficulty. If your organization relies on client input, you may not be able to exploit customer behavior shifts.

Your company could go bankrupt if you don't understand how fickle the stock market can be. By preparing for volatility, you can ensure your organization survives difficult times and market crashes.

Conclusion

Many internet businesses can be profitable. Start quickly with a few straightforward steps. Diversify your investments, follow financial news, and be prepared for volatility to develop a successful business.

Thanks for reading!

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CNET

CNET

2 years ago

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. A collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among their star-studded owners. Right now the price of entry is 52 ether, or $210,000.

Which is why it's so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT for $3,066.

Unusual trades are often a sign of funny business, as in the case of the person who spent $530 million to buy an NFT from themselves. In Saturday's case, the cause was a simple, devastating "fat-finger error." That's when people make a trade online for the wrong thing, or for the wrong amount. Here the owner, real name Max or username maxnaut, meant to list his Bored Ape for 75 ether, or around $300,000. Instead he accidentally listed it for 0.75. One hundredth the intended price.

It was bought instantaneously. The buyer paid an extra $34,000 to speed up the transaction, ensuring no one could snap it up before them. The Bored Ape was then promptly listed for $248,000. The transaction appears to have been done by a bot, which can be coded to immediately buy NFTs listed below a certain price on behalf of their owners in order to take advantage of these exact situations.

"How'd it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess," Max told me. "I list a lot of items every day and just wasn't paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone."

"And here within the beauty of the Blockchain you can see that it is both honest and unforgiving," he added.

Fat finger trades happen sporadically in traditional finance -- like the Japanese trader who almost bought 57% of Toyota's stock in 2014 -- but most financial institutions will stop those transactions if alerted quickly enough. Since cryptocurrency and NFTs are designed to be decentralized, you essentially have to rely on the goodwill of the buyer to reverse the transaction.

Fat finger errors in cryptocurrency trades have made many a headline over the past few years. Back in 2019, the company behind Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, nearly doubled its own coin supply when it accidentally created $5 billion-worth of new coins. In March, BlockFi meant to send 700 Gemini Dollars to a set of customers, worth roughly $1 each, but mistakenly sent out millions of dollars worth of bitcoin instead. Last month a company erroneously paid a $24 million fee on a $100,000 transaction.

Similar incidents are increasingly being seen in NFTs, now that many collections have accumulated in market value over the past year. Last month someone tried selling a CryptoPunk NFT for $19 million, but accidentally listed it for $19,000 instead. Back in August, someone fat finger listed their Bored Ape for $26,000, an error that someone else immediately capitalized on. The original owner offered $50,000 to the buyer to return the Bored Ape -- but instead the opportunistic buyer sold it for the then-market price of $150,000.

"The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it's your fault or the tech," Max said. "Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on."

The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched back in April 2021, with 10,000 NFTs being sold for 0.08 ether each -- about $190 at the time. While NFTs are often associated with individual digital art pieces, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which allow owners to flaunt their NFTs by using them as profile pictures on social media, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has since become the second biggest NFT collection in the world, second only to CryptoPunks, which launched in 2017 and is considered the "original" NFT collection.

Katharine Valentino

Katharine Valentino

1 year ago

A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison

Pink or blue AR-15s?

A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.

Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.

Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.

And lots more profit.

Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.

Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.

So now at school, we want to arm teachers.

Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?

Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.

Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.

Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.

Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.

Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).


This post is a summary. Read the full one here.

Leon Ho

Leon Ho

1 year ago

Digital Brainbuilding (Your Second Brain)

The human brain is amazing. As more scientists examine the brain, we learn how much it can store.

The human brain has 1 billion neurons, according to Scientific American. Each neuron creates 1,000 connections, totaling over a trillion. If each neuron could store one memory, we'd run out of room. [1]

What if you could store and access more info, freeing up brain space for problem-solving and creativity?

Build a second brain to keep up with rising knowledge (what I refer to as a Digital Brain). Effectively managing information entails realizing you can't recall everything.

Every action requires information. You need the correct information to learn a new skill, complete a project at work, or establish a business. You must manage information properly to advance your profession and improve your life.

How to construct a second brain to organize information and achieve goals.

What Is a Second Brain?

How often do you forget an article or book's key point? Have you ever wasted hours looking for a saved file?

If so, you're not alone. Information overload affects millions of individuals worldwide. Information overload drains mental resources and causes anxiety.

This is when the second brain comes in.

Building a second brain doesn't involve duplicating the human brain. Building a system that captures, organizes, retrieves, and archives ideas and thoughts. The second brain improves memory, organization, and recall.

Digital tools are preferable to analog for building a second brain.

Digital tools are portable and accessible. Due to these benefits, we'll focus on digital second-brain building.

Brainware

Digital Brains are external hard drives. It stores, organizes, and retrieves. This means improving your memory won't be difficult. 

Memory has three components in computing:

Recording — storing the information

Organization — archiving it in a logical manner

Recall — retrieving it again when you need it

For example:

Due to rigorous security settings, many websites need you to create complicated passwords with special characters.

You must now memorize (Record), organize (Organize), and input this new password the next time you check in (Recall).

Even in this simple example, there are many pieces to remember. We can't recognize this new password with our usual patterns. If we don't use the password every day, we'll forget it. You'll type the wrong password when you try to remember it.

It's common. Is it because the information is complicated? Nope. Passwords are basically letters, numbers, and symbols.

It happens because our brains aren't meant to memorize these. Digital Brains can do heavy lifting.

Why You Need a Digital Brain

Dual minds are best. Birth brain is limited.

The cerebral cortex has 125 trillion synapses, according to a Stanford Study. The human brain can hold 2.5 million terabytes of digital data. [2]

Building a second brain improves learning and memory.

Learn and store information effectively

Faster information recall

Organize information to see connections and patterns

Build a Digital Brain to learn more and reach your goals faster. Building a second brain requires time and work, but you'll have more time for vital undertakings. 

Why you need a Digital Brain:

1. Use Brainpower Effectively

Your brain has boundaries, like any organ. This is true while solving a complex question or activity. If you can't focus on a work project, you won't finish it on time.

Second brain reduces distractions. A robust structure helps you handle complicated challenges quickly and stay on track. Without distractions, it's easy to focus on vital activities.

2. Staying Organized

Professional and personal duties must be balanced. With so much to do, it's easy to neglect crucial duties. This is especially true for skill-building. Digital Brain will keep you organized and stress-free.

Life success requires action. Organized people get things done. Organizing your information will give you time for crucial tasks.

You'll finish projects faster with good materials and methods. As you succeed, you'll gain creative confidence. You can then tackle greater jobs.

3. Creativity Process

Creativity drives today's world. Creativity is mysterious and surprising for millions worldwide. Immersing yourself in others' associations, triggers, thoughts, and ideas can generate inspiration and creativity.

Building a second brain is crucial to establishing your creative process and building habits that will help you reach your goals. Creativity doesn't require perfection or overthinking.

4. Transforming Your Knowledge Into Opportunities

This is the age of entrepreneurship. Today, you can publish online, build an audience, and make money.

Whether it's a business or hobby, you'll have several job alternatives. Knowledge can boost your economy with ideas and insights.

5. Improving Thinking and Uncovering Connections

Modern career success depends on how you think. Instead of overthinking or perfecting, collect the best images, stories, metaphors, anecdotes, and observations.

This will increase your creativity and reveal connections. Increasing your imagination can help you achieve your goals, according to research. [3]

Your ability to recognize trends will help you stay ahead of the pack.

6. Credibility for a New Job or Business

Your main asset is experience-based expertise. Others won't be able to learn without your help. Technology makes knowledge tangible.

This lets you use your time as you choose while helping others. Changing professions or establishing a new business become learning opportunities when you have a Digital Brain.

7. Using Learning Resources

Millions of people use internet learning materials to improve their lives. Online resources abound. These include books, forums, podcasts, articles, and webinars.

These resources are mostly free or inexpensive. Organizing your knowledge can save you time and money. Building a Digital Brain helps you learn faster. You'll make rapid progress by enjoying learning.

How does a second brain feel?

Digital Brain has helped me arrange my job and family life for years.

No need to remember 1001 passwords. I never forget anything on my wife's grocery lists. Never miss a meeting. I can access essential information and papers anytime, anywhere.

Delegating memory to a second brain reduces tension and anxiety because you'll know what to do with every piece of information.

No information will be forgotten, boosting your confidence. Better manage your fears and concerns by writing them down and establishing a strategy. You'll understand the plethora of daily information and have a clear head.

How to Develop Your Digital Brain (Your Second Brain)

It's cheap but requires work.

Digital Brain development requires:

Recording — storing the information

Organization — archiving it in a logical manner

Recall — retrieving it again when you need it

1. Decide what information matters before recording.

To succeed in today's environment, you must manage massive amounts of data. Articles, books, webinars, podcasts, emails, and texts provide value. Remembering everything is impossible and overwhelming.

What information do you need to achieve your goals?

You must consolidate ideas and create a strategy to reach your aims. Your biological brain can imagine and create with a Digital Brain.

2. Use the Right Tool

We usually record information without any preparation - we brainstorm in a word processor, email ourselves a message, or take notes while reading.

This information isn't used. You must store information in a central location.

Different information needs different instruments.

Evernote is a top note-taking program. Audio clips, Slack chats, PDFs, text notes, photos, scanned handwritten pages, emails, and webpages can be added.

Pocket is a great software for saving and organizing content. Images, videos, and text can be sorted. Web-optimized design

Calendar apps help you manage your time and enhance your productivity by reminding you of your most important tasks. Calendar apps flourish. The best calendar apps are easy to use, have many features, and work across devices. These calendars include Google, Apple, and Outlook.

To-do list/checklist apps are useful for managing tasks. Easy-to-use, versatility, budget, and cross-platform compatibility are important when picking to-do list apps. Google Keep, Google Tasks, and Apple Notes are good to-do apps.

3. Organize data for easy retrieval

How should you organize collected data?

When you collect and organize data, you'll see connections. An article about networking can assist you comprehend web marketing. Saved business cards can help you find new clients.

Choosing the correct tools helps organize data. Here are some tools selection criteria:

  • Can the tool sync across devices?

  • Personal or team?

  • Has a search function for easy information retrieval?

  • Does it provide easy data categorization?

  • Can users create lists or collections?

  • Does it offer easy idea-information connections?

  • Does it mind map and visually organize thoughts?

Conclusion

Building a Digital Brain (second brain) helps us save information, think creatively, and implement ideas. Your second brain is a biological extension. It prevents amnesia, allowing you to tackle bigger creative difficulties.

People who love learning often consume information without using it. Every day, they postpone life-improving experiences until they're forgotten. Useful information becomes strength. 

Reference

[1] ^ Scientific American: What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?

[2] ^ Clinical Neurology Specialists: What is the Memory Capacity of a Human Brain?

[3] ^ National Library of Medicine: Imagining Success: Multiple Achievement Goals and the Effectiveness of Imagery