More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
8 months ago
I met a man who in just 18 months scaled his startup to $100 million.
A fascinating business conversation.
This week at Web Summit, I had mentor hour.
Mentor hour connects startups with experienced entrepreneurs.
The YC-selected founder who mentored me had grown his company to $100 million in 18 months.
I had 45 minutes to question him.
I've compiled this.
Founder's name is Zack.
After working in private equity, Zack opted to acquire an MBA.
Surrounded by entrepreneurs at a prominent school, he decided to become one himself.
Unsure how to proceed, he bet on two horses.
On one side, he received an offer from folks who needed help running their startup owing to lack of time. On the other hand, he had an idea for a SaaS to start himself.
He just needed to validate it.
Since Zack's proposal helped companies, he contacted university entrepreneurs for comments.
He contacted university founders.
Once he knew he'd correctly identified the problem and that people were willing to pay to address it, he started developing.
He earned $100k in a university entrepreneurship competition.
His plan was evident by then.
The other startup's founders saw his potential and granted him $400k to launch his own SaaS.
He started looking for a tech co-founder because he lacked IT skills.
He interviewed dozens and picked the finest.
As he didn't want to wait for his program to be ready, he contacted hundreds of potential clients and got 15 letters of intent promising they'd join up when it was available.
YC accepted him by then.
He had enough positive signals to raise.
He didn't say how many VCs he called, but he indicated 50 were interested.
He jammed meetings into two weeks to generate pressure and encourage them to invest.
Seed raise: $11 million.
His objective was to contact as many entrepreneurs as possible to promote his product.
He first contacted startups by scraping CrunchBase data.
Once he had more money, he started targeting companies with ZoomInfo.
His VC urged him not to hire salespeople until he closed 50 clients himself.
He closed 100 and hired a CRO through a headhunter.
Three persons started the business.
He primarily works in sales.
Coding the product was done by his co-founder.
Another person performing operational duties.
He regretted recruiting the third co-founder, who was ineffective (could have hired an employee instead).
He wanted his company to be big, so he hired two young marketing people from a competing company.
After validating several marketing channels, he chose PR.
$100 Million and under
He developed a sales team and now employs 30 individuals.
He raised a $100 million Series A.
Additionally, he stated
He’s been rejected a lot. Like, a lot.
Two great books to read: Steve Jobs by Isaacson, and Why Startups Fail by Tom Eisenmann.
The best skill to learn for non-tech founders is “telling stories”, which means sales. A founder’s main job is to convince: co-founders, employees, investors, and customers. Learn code, or learn sales.
I often read about these stories but hardly take them seriously.
Zack was amazing.
Three things about him stand out:
His vision. He possessed a certain amount of fire.
His vitality. The man had a lot of enthusiasm and spoke quickly and decisively. He takes no chances and pushes the envelope in all he does.
He didn't do all this in 18 months.
He couldn't launch his company without private equity experience.
These accounts disregard entrepreneurs' original knowledge.
Hormozi will tell you how he founded Gym Launch, but he won't tell you how he had a gym first, how he worked at uni to pay for his gym, or how he went to the gym and learnt about fitness, which gave him the idea to open his own.
Nobody knows nothing. If you scale quickly, it's probable because you gained information early.
Lincoln said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend four sharpening the axe."
Sharper axes cut trees faster.
8 months ago
2 pitfalls to stay away from when launching a YouTube channel
You do not want to miss these
Stop! Stop it! Two things to avoid when starting a YouTube channel. Critical. Possible channel-killers Its future revenue.
I'll tell you now, so don't say "I wish I knew."
The Notorious Copyright Allegation
My YouTube channel received a copyright claim before I sold it. This claim was on a one-minute video I thought I'd changed enough to make mine, but the original owner disagreed.
It cost me thousands in ad revenue. Original owner got the profits.
Well, it wasn't your video, you say.
I've learned. Sorta
I couldn't stop looking at the video's views. The video got 1,000,000 views without any revenue. I made 4 more similar videos.
If they didn't get copyrighted, I'd be rolling in dough.
You've spent a week editing and are uploading to YouTube. You're thrilled as you stand and stretch your back. You see the video just before publishing.
The red exclamation point on checks.
YouTube lets you publish, but you won't make money.
Sounds fair? Well, it is.
Copyright claims mean you stole someone's work. Song, image, or video clip.
We wouldn't want our content used for money.
The only problem with this is that almost everything belongs to someone else. I doubt some of the biggest creators are sitting down and making their music for their videos. That just seems really excessive when you could make a quick search on YouTube and download a song (I definitely don’t do this because that would be stealing).
So how do you defeat a copyright defense?
Even copyright-free songs on YouTube aren't guaranteed. Some copyrighted songs claim to be free.
Use YouTube's free music library or pay for a subscription to adobe stock, epidemic sound, or artlist.io.
Most of my videos have Nintendo music. Almost all game soundtracks are copyright-free and offer a variety of songs.
Restriction on age
Age restrictions are a must-avoid. A channel dies.
YouTube never suggests age-restricted videos.
Shadow banning means YouTube hides your content from subscribers and non-subscribers.
Keeping your channel family-friendly can help.
I hear you complaining that your channel isn't for kids. I agree. Not everyone has a clean mouth or creates content for minors.
YouTube has changed rapidly in recent years. Focusing on kids. Fewer big creators are using profanity or explicit content in videos. Not YouTube-worthy.
Youtube wants to be family-friendly. A family-friendly movie. It won't promote illegal content. Yes, it allows profanity.
Do I recommend avoiding no-no words in videos? Never. Okay. YouTube's policies are shaky. YouTube uses video content to determine ad suitability.
No joke. If you're serious about becoming a content creator, avoid profanity and inappropriate topics.
If your channel covers 18+ topics, like crime or commentary, censor as much as possible.
YouTube can be like walking on eggshells. You never know what is gonna upset the boss. So play it safe and try to avoid getting on their bad side.
Mr. Beast, Dream, Markplier, Faze Rug, and PewDewPie are popular creators. They maintain it family-friendly while entertaining fans.
You got this.
8 months ago
How Will You Generate $100 Million in Revenue? The Startup Business Plan
A top-down company plan facilitates decision-making and impresses investors.
A startup business plan starts with the product, the target customers, how to reach them, and how to grow the business.
Bottom-up is terrific unless venture investors fund it.
If it can prove how it can exceed $100M in sales, investors will invest. If not, the business may be wonderful, but it's not venture capital-investable.
As a rule, venture investors only fund firms that expect to reach $100M within 5 years.
Investors get nothing until an acquisition or IPO. To make up for 90% of failed investments and still generate 20% annual returns, portfolio successes must exit with a 25x return. A $20M-valued company must be acquired for $500M or more.
This requires $100M in sales (or being on a nearly vertical trajectory to get there). The company has 5 years to attain that milestone and create the requisite ROI.
This motivates venture investors (venture funds and angel investors) to hunt for $100M firms within 5 years. When you pitch investors, you outline how you'll achieve that aim.
I'm wary of pitches after seeing a million hockey sticks predicting $5M to $100M in year 5 that never materialized. Doubtful.
Startups fail because they don't have enough clients, not because they don't produce a great product. That jump from $5M to $100M never happens. The company reaches $5M or $10M, growing at 10% or 20% per year. That's great, but not enough for a $500 million deal.
Once it becomes clear the company won’t reach orbit, investors write it off as a loss. When a corporation runs out of money, it's shut down or sold in a fire sale. The company can survive if expenses are trimmed to match revenues, but investors lose everything.
When I hear a pitch, I'm not looking for bright income projections but a viable plan to achieve them. Answer these questions in your pitch.
Is the market size sufficient to generate $100 million in revenue?
Will the initial beachhead market serve as a springboard to the larger market or as quicksand that hinders progress?
What marketing plan will bring in $100 million in revenue? Is the market diffuse and will cost millions of dollars in advertising, or is it one, focused market that can be tackled with a team of salespeople?
Will the business be able to bridge the gap from a small but fervent set of early adopters to a larger user base and avoid lock-in with their current solution?
Will the team be able to manage a $100 million company with hundreds of people, or will hypergrowth force the organization to collapse into chaos?
Once the company starts stealing market share from the industry giants, how will it deter copycats?
The requirement to reach $100M may be onerous, but it provides a context for difficult decisions: What should the product be? Where should we concentrate? who should we hire? Every strategic choice must consider how to reach $100M in 5 years.
Focusing on $100M streamlines investor pitches. Instead of explaining everything, focus on how you'll attain $100M.
As an investor, I know I'll lose my money if the startup doesn't reach this milestone, so the revenue prediction is the first thing I look at in a pitch deck.
Reaching the $100M goal needs to be the first thing the entrepreneur thinks about when putting together the business plan, the central story of the pitch, and the criteria for every important decision the company makes.
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9 months ago Draft
12 practices of the zenith individuals I know
Calmness is a vital life skill.
It aids communication. It boosts creativity and performance.
I've studied calm people's habits for years. Commonalities:
Have learned to laugh at themselves.
Those who have something to protect can’t help but make it a very serious business, which drains the energy out of the room.
They are fixated on positive pursuits like making cool things, building a strong physique, and having fun with others rather than on depressing influences like the news and gossip.
Every day, spend at least 20 minutes moving, whether it's walking, yoga, or lifting weights.
Discover ways to take pleasure in life's challenges.
Since perspective is malleable, they change their view.
Set your own needs first.
Stressed people neglect themselves and wonder why they struggle.
Don't ruin your life to please others.
Calm people create more than react.
They love creating beautiful things—paintings, children, relationships, and projects.
Hold your breath, please.
If you're stressed or angry, you may be surprised how much time you spend holding your breath and tightening your belly.
Release, breathe, and relax to find calm.
Rushing is disadvantageous.
Calm people handle life better.
Are attuned to their personal dietary needs.
They avoid junk food and eat foods that keep them healthy, happy, and calm.
Don’t take anything personally.
Stressed people control everything.
Calm people put others and their work first.
Keep their surroundings neat.
Maintaining an uplifting and clutter-free environment daily calms the mind.
Minimise negative people.
Calm people are ruthless with their boundaries and avoid negative and drama-prone people.
1 year ago
Why Is Blockchain So Popular?
What is Bitcoin?
The blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that helps businesses record transactions and track assets. The blockchain can track tangible assets like cars, houses, and land. Tangible assets like intellectual property can also be tracked on the blockchain.
Imagine a blockchain as a distributed database split among computer nodes. A blockchain stores data in blocks. When a block is full, it is closed and linked to the next. As a result, all subsequent information is compiled into a new block that will be added to the chain once it is filled.
The blockchain is designed so that adding a transaction requires consensus. That means a majority of network nodes must approve a transaction. No single authority can control transactions on the blockchain. The network nodes use cryptographic keys and passwords to validate each other's transactions.
The blockchain was not as popular in 1991 when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta worked on it. The blocks were designed to prevent tampering with document timestamps. Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta improved their work in 1992 by using Merkle trees to increase efficiency and collect more documents on a single block.
In 2004, he developed Reusable Proof of Work. This system allows users to verify token transfers in real time. Satoshi Nakamoto invented distributed blockchains in 2008. He improved the blockchain design so that new blocks could be added to the chain without being signed by trusted parties.
Satoshi Nakomoto mined the first Bitcoin block in 2009, earning 50 Bitcoins. Then, in 2013, Vitalik Buterin stated that Bitcoin needed a scripting language for building decentralized applications. He then created Ethereum, a new blockchain-based platform for decentralized apps. Since the Ethereum launch in 2015, different blockchain platforms have been launched: from Hyperledger by Linux Foundation, EOS.IO by block.one, IOTA, NEO and Monero dash blockchain. The block chain industry is still growing, and so are the businesses built on them.
The Blockchain is made up of many parts:
1. Node: The node is split into two parts: full and partial. The full node has the authority to validate, accept, or reject any transaction. Partial nodes or lightweight nodes only keep the transaction's hash value. It doesn't keep a full copy of the blockchain, so it has limited storage and processing power.
2. Ledger: A public database of information. A ledger can be public, decentralized, or distributed. Anyone on the blockchain can access the public ledger and add data to it. It allows each node to participate in every transaction. The distributed ledger copies the database to all nodes. A group of nodes can verify transactions or add data blocks to the blockchain.
3. Wallet: A blockchain wallet allows users to send, receive, store, and exchange digital assets, as well as monitor and manage their value. Wallets come in two flavors: hardware and software. Online or offline wallets exist. Online or hot wallets are used when online. Without an internet connection, offline wallets like paper and hardware wallets can store private keys and sign transactions. Wallets generally secure transactions with a private key and wallet address.
4. Nonce: A nonce is a short term for a "number used once''. It describes a unique random number. Nonces are frequently generated to modify cryptographic results. A nonce is a number that changes over time and is used to prevent value reuse. To prevent document reproduction, it can be a timestamp. A cryptographic hash function can also use it to vary input. Nonces can be used for authentication, hashing, or even electronic signatures.
5. Hash: A hash is a mathematical function that converts inputs of arbitrary length to outputs of fixed length. That is, regardless of file size, the hash will remain unique. A hash cannot generate input from hashed output, but it can identify a file. Hashes can be used to verify message integrity and authenticate data. Cryptographic hash functions add security to standard hash functions, making it difficult to decipher message contents or track senders.
Blockchain: Pros and Cons
The blockchain provides a trustworthy, secure, and trackable platform for business transactions quickly and affordably. The blockchain reduces paperwork, documentation errors, and the need for third parties to verify transactions.
Blockchain security relies on a system of unaltered transaction records with end-to-end encryption, reducing fraud and unauthorized activity. The blockchain also helps verify the authenticity of items like farm food, medicines, and even employee certification. The ability to control data gives users a level of privacy that no other platform can match.
In the case of Bitcoin, the blockchain can only handle seven transactions per second. Unlike Hyperledger and Visa, which can handle ten thousand transactions per second. Also, each participant node must verify and approve transactions, slowing down exchanges and limiting scalability.
The blockchain requires a lot of energy to run. In addition, the blockchain is not a hugely distributable system and it is destructible. The security of the block chain can be compromised by hackers; it is not completely foolproof. Also, since blockchain entries are immutable, data cannot be removed. The blockchain's high energy consumption and limited scalability reduce its efficiency.
Why Is Blockchain So Popular?
The blockchain is a technology giant. In 2018, 90% of US and European banks began exploring blockchain's potential. In 2021, 24% of companies are expected to invest $5 million to $10 million in blockchain. By the end of 2024, it is expected that corporations will spend $20 billion annually on blockchain technical services.
Blockchain is used in cryptocurrency, medical records storage, identity verification, election voting, security, agriculture, business, and many other fields. The blockchain offers a more secure, decentralized, and less corrupt system of making global payments, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts love. Users who want to save time and energy prefer it because it is faster and less bureaucratic than banking and healthcare systems.
Most organizations have jumped on the blockchain bandwagon, and for good reason: the blockchain industry has never had more potential. The launch of IBM's Blockchain Wire, Paystack, Aza Finance and Bloom are visible proof of the wonders that the blockchain has done. The blockchain's cryptocurrency segment may not be as popular in the future as the blockchain's other segments, as evidenced by the various industries where it is used. The blockchain is here to stay, and it will be discussed for a long time, not just in tech, but in many industries.
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1 year ago
Because of regulations, the $3 million Mercedes-AMG ONE will not (officially) be available in the United States or Canada.
We asked Mercedes to clarify whether "customers" refers to people who have expressed interest in buying the AMG ONE but haven't made a down payment or paid in full for a production slot, and a company spokesperson told that it's the latter – "Actual customers for AMG ONE in the United States and Canada."
The Mercedes-AMG ONE has finally arrived in manufacturing form after numerous delays. This may be the most complicated and magnificent hypercar ever created, but according to Mercedes, those roads will not be found in the United States or Canada.
Despite all of the well-deserved excitement around the gorgeous AMG ONE, there was no word on when US customers could expect their cars. Our Editor-in-Chief became aware of this and contacted Mercedes to clarify the matter. Mercedes-hypercar AMG's with the F1-derived 1,049 HP 1.6-liter V6 engine will not be homologated for the US market, they've confirmed.
Mercedes has informed its customers in the United States and Canada that the ONE will not be arriving to North America after all, as of today, June 1, 2022. The whole text of the letter is included below, so sit back and wait for Mercedes to explain why we (or they) won't be getting (or seeing) the hypercar. Mercedes claims that all 275 cars it wants to produce have already been reserved, with net pricing in Europe starting at €2.75 million (about US$2.93 million at today's exchange rates), before country-specific taxes.
"The AMG-ONE was created with one purpose in mind: to provide a straight technology transfer of the World Championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 E PERFORMANCE drive unit to the road." It's the first time a complete Formula 1 drive unit has been integrated into a road car.
Every component of the AMG ONE has been engineered to redefine high performance, with 1,000+ horsepower, four electric motors, and a blazing top speed of more than 217 mph. While the engine's beginnings are in competition, continuous research and refinement has left us with a difficult choice for the US market.
We determined that following US road requirements would considerably damage its performance and overall driving character in order to preserve the distinctive nature of its F1 powerplant. We've made the strategic choice to make the automobile available for road use in Europe, where it complies with all necessary rules."
If this is the first time US customers have heard about it, which it shouldn't be, we understand if it's a bit off-putting. The AMG ONE could very probably be Mercedes' final internal combustion hypercar of this type.
Nonetheless, we wouldn't be surprised if a few make their way to the United States via the federal government's "Show and Display" exemption provision. This legislation permits the importation of automobiles such as the AMG ONE, but only for a total of 2,500 miles per year.
The McLaren Speedtail, the Koenigsegg One:1, and the Bugatti EB110 are among the automobiles that have been imported under this special rule. We just hope we don't have to wait too long to see the ONE in the United States.