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1 year ago

Instagram NFTs Are Here… How does this affect artists?

Instagram (IG) is officially joining NFT. With the debut of new in-app NFT functionalities, influential producers can interact with blockchain tech on the social media platform.

Meta unveiled intentions for an Instagram NFT marketplace in March, but these latest capabilities focus more on content sharing than commerce. And why shouldn’t they? IG's entry into the NFT market is overdue, given that Twitter and Discord are NFT hotspots.

The NFT marketplace/Web3 social media race has continued to expand, with the expected Coinbase NFT Beta now live and blazing a trail through the NFT ecosystem.

IG's focus is on visual art. It's unlike any NFT marketplace or platform. IG NFTs and artists: what's the deal? Let’s take a look.

What are Instagram’s NFT features anyways?

As said, not everyone has Instagram's new features. 16 artists, NFT makers, and collectors can now post NFTs on IG by integrating third-party digital wallets (like Rainbow or MetaMask) in-app. IG doesn't charge to publish or share digital collectibles.

NFTs displayed on the app have a "shimmer" aesthetic effect. NFT posts also have a "digital collectable" badge that lists metadata such as the creator and/or owner, the platform it was created on, a brief description, and a blockchain identification.

Meta's social media NFTs have launched on Instagram, but the company is also preparing to roll out digital collectibles on Facebook, with more on the way for IG. Currently, only Ethereum and Polygon are supported, but Flow and Solana will be added soon.

How will artists use these new features?

Artists are publishing NFTs they developed or own on IG by linking third-party digital wallets. These features have no NFT trading aspects built-in, but are aimed to let authors share NFTs with IG audiences.

Creators, like IG-native aerial/street photographer Natalie Amrossi (@misshattan), are discovering novel uses for IG NFTs.

Amrossi chose to not only upload his own NFTs but also encourage other artists in the field. "That's the beauty of connecting your wallet and sharing NFTs. It's not just what you make, but also what you accumulate."

Amrossi has been producing and posting Instagram art for years. With IG's NFT features, she can understand Instagram's importance in supporting artists.

Web2 offered Amrossi the tools to become an artist and make a life. "Before 'influencer' existed, I was just making art. Instagram helped me reach so many individuals and brands, giving me a living.

Even artists without millions of viewers are encouraged to share NFTs on IG. Wilson, a relatively new name in the NFT space, seems to have already gone above and beyond the scope of these new IG features. By releasing "Losing My Mind" via IG NFT posts, she has evaded the lack of IG NFT commerce by using her network to market her multi-piece collection.

"'Losing My Mind' is a long-running photo series. Wilson was preparing to release it as NFTs before IG approached him, so it was a perfect match.

Wilson says the series is about Black feminine figures and media depiction. Respectable effort, given POC artists have been underrepresented in NFT so far.

“Over the past year, I've had mental health concerns that made my emotions so severe it was impossible to function in daily life, therefore that prompted this photo series. Every Wednesday and Friday for three weeks, I'll release a new Meta photo for sale.

Wilson hopes these new IG capabilities will help develop a connection between the NFT community and other internet subcultures that thrive on Instagram.

“NFTs can look scary as an outsider, but seeing them on your daily IG feed makes it less foreign,” adds Wilson. I think Instagram might become a hub for NFT aficionados, making them more accessible to artists and collectors.

What does it all mean for the NFT space?

Meta's NFT and metaverse activities will continue to impact Instagram's NFT ecosystem. Many think it will be for the better, as IG NFT frauds are another problem hurting the NFT industry.

IG's new NFT features seem similar to Twitter's PFP NFT verifications, but Instagram's tools should help cut down on scams as users can now verify the creation and ownership of whole NFT collections included in IG posts.

Given the number of visual artists and NFT creators on IG, it might become another hub for NFT fans, as Wilson noted. If this happens, it raises questions about Instagram success. Will artists be incentivized to distribute NFTs? Or will those with a large fanbase dominate?

Elise Swopes (@swopes) believes these new features should benefit smaller artists. Swopes was one of the first profiles placed to Instagram's original suggested user list in 2012.

Swopes says she wants IG to be a magnet for discovery and understands the value of NFT artists and producers.

"I'd love to see IG become a focus of discovery for everyone, not just the Beeples and Apes and PFPs. That's terrific for them, but [IG NFT features] are more about using new technology to promote emerging artists, Swopes added.

“Especially music artists. It's everywhere. Dancers, writers, painters, sculptors, musicians. My element isn't just for digital artists; it can be anything. I'm delighted to witness people's creativity."

Swopes, Wilson, and Amrossi all believe IG's new features can help smaller artists. It remains to be seen how these new features will effect the NFT ecosystem once unlocked for the rest of the IG NFT community, but we will likely see more social media NFT integrations in the months and years ahead.

Read the full article here

More on NFTs & Art

Yogita Khatri

Yogita Khatri

1 year ago

Moonbirds NFT sells for $1 million in first week

On Saturday, Moonbird #2642, one of the collection's rarest NFTs, sold for a record 350 ETH (over $1 million) on OpenSea.

The Sandbox, a blockchain-based gaming company based in Hong Kong, bought the piece. The seller, "oscuranft" on OpenSea, made around $600,000 after buying the NFT for 100 ETH a week ago.

Owl avatars

Moonbirds is a 10,000 owl NFT collection. It is one of the quickest collections to achieve bluechip status. Proof, a media startup founded by renowned VC Kevin Rose, launched Moonbirds on April 16.

Rose is currently a partner at True Ventures, a technology-focused VC firm. He was a Google Ventures general partner and has 1.5 million Twitter followers.

Rose has an NFT podcast on Proof. It follows Proof Collective, a group of 1,000 NFT collectors and artists, including Beeple, who hold a Proof Collective NFT and receive special benefits.

These include early access to the Proof podcast and in-person events.

According to the Moonbirds website, they are "the official Proof PFP" (picture for proof).

Moonbirds NFTs sold nearly $360 million in just over a week, according to The Block Research and Dune Analytics. Its top ten sales range from $397,000 to $1 million.

In the current market, Moonbirds are worth 33.3 ETH. Each NFT is 2.5 ETH. Holders have gained over 12 times in just over a week.

Why was it so popular?

The Block Research's NFT analyst, Thomas Bialek, attributes Moonbirds' rapid rise to Rose's backing, the success of his previous Proof Collective project, and collectors' preference for proven NFT projects.

Proof Collective NFT holders have made huge gains. These NFTs were sold in a Dutch auction last December for 5 ETH each. According to OpenSea, the current floor price is 109 ETH.

According to The Block Research, citing Dune Analytics, Proof Collective NFTs have sold over $39 million to date.

Rose has bigger plans for Moonbirds. Moonbirds is introducing "nesting," a non-custodial way for holders to stake NFTs and earn rewards.

Holders of NFTs can earn different levels of status based on how long they keep their NFTs locked up.

"As you achieve different nest status levels, we can offer you different benefits," he said. "We'll have in-person meetups and events, as well as some crazy airdrops planned."

Rose went on to say that Proof is just the start of "a multi-decade journey to build a new media company."

Protos

Protos

1 year ago

Plagiarism on OpenSea: humans and computers

OpenSea, a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, is fighting plagiarism. A new “two-pronged” approach will aim to root out and remove copies of authentic NFTs and changes to its blue tick verified badge system will seek to enhance customer confidence.

According to a blog post, the anti-plagiarism system will use algorithmic detection of “copymints” with human reviewers to keep it in check.

Last year, NFT collectors were duped into buying flipped images of the popular BAYC collection, according to The Verge. The largest NFT marketplace had to remove its delay pay minting service due to an influx of copymints.

80% of NFTs removed by the platform were minted using its lazy minting service, which kept the digital asset off-chain until the first purchase.

NFTs copied from popular collections are opportunistic money-grabs. Right-click, save, and mint the jacked JPEGs that are then flogged as an authentic NFT.

The anti-plagiarism system will scour OpenSea's collections for flipped and rotated images, as well as other undescribed permutations. The lack of detail here may be a deterrent to scammers, or it may reflect the new system's current rudimentary nature.

Thus, human detectors will be needed to verify images flagged by the detection system and help train it to work independently.

“Our long-term goal with this system is two-fold: first, to eliminate all existing copymints on OpenSea, and second, to help prevent new copymints from appearing,” it said.

“We've already started delisting identified copymint collections, and we'll continue to do so over the coming weeks.”

It works for Twitter, why not OpenSea

OpenSea is also changing account verification. Early adopters will be invited to apply for verification if their NFT stack is worth $100 or more. OpenSea plans to give the blue checkmark to people who are active on Twitter and Discord.

This is just the beginning. We are committed to a future where authentic creators can be verified, keeping scammers out.

Also, collections with a lot of hype and sales will get a blue checkmark. For example, a new NFT collection sold by the verified BAYC account will have a blue badge to verify its legitimacy.

New requests will be responded to within seven days, according to OpenSea.

These programs and products help protect creators and collectors while ensuring our community can confidently navigate the world of NFTs.

By elevating authentic content and removing plagiarism, these changes improve trust in the NFT ecosystem, according to OpenSea.

OpenSea is indeed catching up with the digital art economy. Last August, DevianArt upgraded its AI image recognition system to find stolen tokenized art on marketplaces like OpenSea.

It scans all uploaded art and compares it to “public blockchain events” like Ethereum NFTs to detect stolen art.

shivsak

shivsak

1 year ago

A visual exploration of the REAL use cases for NFTs in the Future

In this essay, I studied REAL NFT use examples and their potential uses.

Knowledge of the Hype Cycle

Gartner's Hype Cycle.

It proposes 5 phases for disruptive technology.

1. Technology Trigger: the emergence of potentially disruptive technology.

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity creates hype. (Ex: 2021 Bubble)

3. Trough of Disillusionment: Early projects fail to deliver on promises and the public loses interest. I suspect NFTs are somewhere around this trough of disillusionment now.

4. Enlightenment slope: The tech shows successful use cases.

5. Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption has arrived and broader market applications have proven themselves. Here’s a more detailed visual of the Gartner Hype Cycle from Wikipedia.

In the speculative NFT bubble of 2021, @beeple sold Everydays: the First 5000 Days for $69 MILLION in 2021's NFT bubble.

@nbatopshot sold millions in video collectibles.

This is when expectations peaked.

Let's examine NFTs' real-world applications.

Watch this video if you're unfamiliar with NFTs.

Online Art

Most people think NFTs are rich people buying worthless JPEGs and MP4s.

Digital artwork and collectibles are revolutionary for creators and enthusiasts.

NFT Profile Pictures

You might also have seen NFT profile pictures on Twitter.

My profile picture is an NFT I coined with @skogards factoria app, which helps me avoid bogus accounts.

Profile pictures are a good beginning point because they're unique and clearly yours.

NFTs are a way to represent proof-of-ownership. It’s easier to prove ownership of digital assets than physical assets, which is why artwork and pfps are the first use cases.

They can do much more.

NFTs can represent anything with a unique owner and digital ownership certificate. Domains and usernames.

Usernames & Domains

@unstoppableweb, @ensdomains, @rarible sell NFT domains.

NFT domains are transferable, which is a benefit.

Godaddy and other web2 providers have difficult-to-transfer domains. Domains are often leased instead of purchased.

Tickets

NFTs can also represent concert tickets and event passes.

There's a limited number, and entry requires proof.

NFTs can eliminate the problem of forgery and make it easy to verify authenticity and ownership.

NFT tickets can be traded on the secondary market, which allows for:

  1. marketplaces that are uniform and offer the seller and buyer security (currently, tickets are traded on inefficient markets like FB & craigslist)

  2. unbiased pricing

  3. Payment of royalties to the creator

4. Historical ticket ownership data implies performers can airdrop future passes, discounts, etc.

5. NFT passes can be a fandom badge.

The $30B+ online tickets business is increasing fast.

NFT-based ticketing projects:

Gaming Assets

NFTs also help in-game assets.

Imagine someone spending five years collecting a rare in-game blade, then outgrowing or quitting the game. Gamers value that collectible.

The gaming industry is expected to make $200 BILLION in revenue this year, a significant portion of which comes from in-game purchases.

Royalties on secondary market trading of gaming assets encourage gaming businesses to develop NFT-based ecosystems.

Digital assets are the start. On-chain NFTs can represent real-world assets effectively.

Real estate has a unique owner and requires ownership confirmation.

Real Estate

Tokenizing property has many benefits.

1. Can be fractionalized to increase access, liquidity

2. Can be collateralized to increase capital efficiency and access to loans backed by an on-chain asset

3. Allows investors to diversify or make bets on specific neighborhoods, towns or cities +++

I've written about this thought exercise before.

I made an animated video explaining this.

We've just explored NFTs for transferable assets. But what about non-transferrable NFTs?

SBTs are Soul-Bound Tokens. Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum co-founder) blogged about this.

NFTs are basically verifiable digital certificates.

Diplomas & Degrees

That fits Degrees & Diplomas. These shouldn't be marketable, thus they can be non-transferable SBTs.

Anyone can verify the legitimacy of on-chain credentials, degrees, abilities, and achievements.

The same goes for other awards.

For example, LinkedIn could give you a verified checkmark for your degree or skills.

Authenticity Protection

NFTs can also safeguard against counterfeiting.

Counterfeiting is the largest criminal enterprise in the world, estimated to be $2 TRILLION a year and growing.

Anti-counterfeit tech is valuable.

This is one of @ORIGYNTech's projects.

Identity

Identity theft/verification is another real-world problem NFTs can handle.

In the US, 15 million+ citizens face identity theft every year, suffering damages of over $50 billion a year.

This isn't surprising considering all you need for US identity theft is a 9-digit number handed around in emails, documents, on the phone, etc.

Identity NFTs can fix this.

  • NFTs are one-of-a-kind and unforgeable.

  • NFTs offer a universal standard.

  • NFTs are simple to verify.

  • SBTs, or non-transferrable NFTs, are tied to a particular wallet.

  • In the event of wallet loss or theft, NFTs may be revoked.

This could be one of the biggest use cases for NFTs.

Imagine a global identity standard that is standardized across countries, cannot be forged or stolen, is digital, easy to verify, and protects your private details.

Since your identity is more than your government ID, you may have many NFTs.

@0xPolygon and @civickey are developing on-chain identity.

Memberships

NFTs can authenticate digital and physical memberships.

Voting

NFT IDs can verify votes.

If you remember 2020, you'll know why this is an issue.

Online voting's ease can boost turnout.

Informational property

NFTs can protect IP.

This can earn creators royalties.

NFTs have 2 important properties:

  • Verifiability IP ownership is unambiguously stated and publicly verified.

  • Platforms that enable authors to receive royalties on their IP can enter the market thanks to standardization.

Content Rights

Monetization without copyrighting = more opportunities for everyone.

This works well with the music.

Spotify and Apple Music pay creators very little.

Crowdfunding

Creators can crowdfund with NFTs.

NFTs can represent future royalties for investors.

This is particularly useful for fields where people who are not in the top 1% can’t make money. (Example: Professional sports players)

Mirror.xyz allows blog-based crowdfunding.

Financial NFTs

This introduces Financial NFTs (fNFTs). Unique financial contracts abound.

Examples:

  • a person's collection of assets (unique portfolio)

  • A loan contract that has been partially repaid with a lender

  • temporal tokens (ex: veCRV)

Legal Agreements

Not just financial contracts.

NFT can represent any legal contract or document.

Messages & Emails

What about other agreements? Verbal agreements through emails and messages are likewise unique, but they're easily lost and fabricated.

Health Records

Medical records or prescriptions are another types of documentation that has to be verified but isn't.

Medical NFT examples:

  • Immunization records

  • Covid test outcomes

  • Prescriptions

  • health issues that may affect one's identity

  • Observations made via health sensors

Existing systems of proof by paper / PDF have photoshop-risk.

I tried to include most use scenarios, but this is just the beginning.

NFTs have many innovative uses.

For example: @ShaanVP minted an NFT called “5 Minutes of Fame” 👇

Here are 2 Twitter threads about NFTs:

  1. This piece of gold by @chriscantino

2. This conversation between @punk6529 and @RaoulGMI on @RealVision“The World According to @punk6529

If you're wondering why NFTs are better than web2 databases for these use scenarios, see this Twitter thread I wrote:

If you liked this, please share it.

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Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 year ago

After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips

Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.

Write A Lot

Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:

Write + Write + Write = possible success

Writing more improves your skills.

The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.

If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.

Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.

80% is publishable

Many writers battle perfectionism. 

To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.

Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.

Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.

Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.

Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.

Make Your Headline Irresistible

We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.

Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.

Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.

As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:

Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...

  • Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud

Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?

  • Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel

Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.

  • Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar

Concise paragraphs

Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.

Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.

A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'

Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.

Work And Move On

I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:

The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.

This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.

Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.

Disregard Haters

Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?

As a web content creator, I learned:

Don't debate haters. Never.

It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.

I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.

Use Grammarly

Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.

As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.

Put The Reader First, Not Yourself

Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.

Ask yourself:

This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?

Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.

It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.

Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others

I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.

Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.

When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.

As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.

You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.

Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.

Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.

Rachel Greenberg

Rachel Greenberg

1 year ago

6 Causes Your Sales Pitch Is Unintentionally Repulsing Customers

Skip this if you don't want to discover why your lively, no-brainer pitch isn't making $10k a month.

Photo by Chase Chappell on Unsplash

You don't want to be repulsive as an entrepreneur or anyone else. Making friends, influencing people, and converting strangers into customers will be difficult if your words evoke disgust, distrust, or disrespect. You may be one of many entrepreneurs who do this obliviously and involuntarily.

I've had to master selling my skills to recruiters (to land 6-figure jobs on Wall Street), selling companies to buyers in M&A transactions, and selling my own companies' products to strangers-turned-customers. I probably committed every cardinal sin of sales repulsion before realizing it was me or my poor salesmanship strategy.

If you're launching a new business, frustrated by low conversion rates, or just curious if you're repelling customers, read on to identify (and avoid) the 6 fatal errors that can kill any sales pitch.

1. The first indication

So many people fumble before they even speak because they assume their role is to convince the buyer. In other words, they expect to pressure, arm-twist, and combat objections until they convert the buyer. Actuality, the approach stinks of disgust, and emotionally-aware buyers would feel "gross" immediately.

Instead of trying to persuade a customer to buy, ask questions that will lead them to do so on their own. When a customer discovers your product or service on their own, they need less outside persuasion. Why not position your offer in a way that leads customers to sell themselves on it?

2. A flawless performance

Are you memorizing a sales script, tweaking video testimonials, and expunging historical blemishes before hitting "publish" on your new campaign? If so, you may be hurting your conversion rate.

Perfection may be a step too far and cause prospects to mistrust your sincerity. Become a great conversationalist to boost your sales. Seriously. Being charismatic is hard without being genuine and showing a little vulnerability.

People like vulnerability, even if it dents your perfect facade. Show the customer's stuttering testimonial. Open up about your or your company's past mistakes (and how you've since improved). Make your sales pitch a two-way conversation. Let the customer talk about themselves to build rapport. Real people sell, not canned scripts and movie-trailer testimonials.

If marketing or sales calls feel like a performance, you may be doing something wrong or leaving money on the table.

3. Your greatest phobia

Three minutes into prospect talks, I'd start sweating. I was talking 100 miles per hour, covering as many bases as possible to avoid the ones I feared. I knew my then-offering was inadequate and my firm had fears I hadn't addressed. So I word-vomited facts, features, and everything else to avoid the customer's concerns.

Do my prospects know I'm insecure? Maybe not, but it added an unnecessary and unhelpful layer of paranoia that kept me stressed, rushed, and on edge instead of connecting with the prospect. Skirting around a company, product, or service's flaws or objections is a poor, temporary, lazy (and cowardly) decision.

How can you project confidence and trust if you're afraid? Before you make another sales call, face your shortcomings, weak points, and objections. Your company won't be everyone's cup of tea, but you should have answers to every question or objection. You should be your business's top spokesperson and defender.

4. The unintentional apologies

Have you ever begged for a sale? I'm going to say no, however you may be unknowingly emitting sorry, inferior, insecure energy.

Young founders, first-time entrepreneurs, and those with severe imposter syndrome may elevate their target customer. This is common when trying to get first customers for obvious reasons.

  • Since you're truly new at this, you naturally lack experience.

  • You don't have the self-confidence boost of thousands or hundreds of closed deals or satisfied client results to remind you that your good or service is worthwhile.

  • Getting those initial few clients seems like the most difficult task, as if doing so will decide the fate of your company as a whole (it probably won't, and you shouldn't actually place that much emphasis on any one transaction).

Customers can smell fear, insecurity, and anxiety just like they can smell B.S. If you believe your product or service improves clients' lives, selling it should feel like a benevolent act of service, not a sleazy money-grab. If you're a sincere entrepreneur, prospects will believe your proposition; if you're apprehensive, they'll notice.

Approach every sale as if you're fine with or without it. This has improved my salesmanship, marketing skills, and mental health. When you put pressure on yourself to close a sale or convince a difficult prospect "or else" (your company will fail, your rent will be late, your electricity will be cut), you emit desperation and lower the quality of your pitch. There's no point.

5. The endless promises

We've all read a million times how to answer or disprove prospects' arguments and add extra incentives to speed or secure the close. Some objections shouldn't be refuted. What if I told you not to offer certain incentives, bonuses, and promises? What if I told you to walk away from some prospects, even if it means losing your sales goal?

If you market to enough people, make enough sales calls, or grow enough companies, you'll encounter prospects who can't be satisfied. These prospects have endless questions, concerns, and requests for more, more, more that you'll never satisfy. These people are a distraction, a resource drain, and a test of your ability to cut losses before they erode your sanity and profit margin.

To appease or convert these insatiably needy, greedy Nellies into customers, you may agree with or acquiesce to every request and demand — even if you can't follow through. Once you overpromise and answer every hole they poke, their trust in you may wane quickly.

Telling a prospect what you can't do takes courage and integrity. If you're honest, upfront, and willing to admit when a product or service isn't right for the customer, you'll gain respect and positive customer experiences. Sometimes honesty is the most refreshing pitch and the deal-closer.

6. No matter what

Have you ever said, "I'll do anything to close this sale"? If so, you've probably already been disqualified. If a prospective customer haggles over a price, requests a discount, or continues to wear you down after you've made three concessions too many, you have a metal hook in your mouth, not them, and it may not end well. Why?

If you're so willing to cut a deal that you cut prices, comp services, extend payment plans, waive fees, etc., you betray your own confidence that your product or service was worth the stated price. They wonder if anyone is paying those prices, if you've ever had a customer (who wasn't a blood relative), and if you're legitimate or worth your rates.

Once a prospect senses that you'll do whatever it takes to get them to buy, their suspicions rise and they wonder why.

  • Why are you cutting pricing if something is wrong with you or your service?

  • Why are you so desperate for their sale?

  • Why aren't more customers waiting in line to pay your pricing, and if they aren't, what on earth are they doing there?

That's what a prospect thinks when you reveal your lack of conviction, desperation, and willingness to give up control. Some prospects will exploit it to drain you dry, while others will be too frightened to buy from you even if you paid them.

Walking down a two-way street. Be casual.

If we track each act of repulsion to an uneasiness, fear, misperception, or impulse, it's evident that these sales and marketing disasters were forced communications. Stiff, imbalanced, divisive, combative, bravado-filled, and desperate. They were unnatural and accepted a power struggle between two sparring, suspicious, unequal warriors, rather than a harmonious oneness of two natural, but opposite parties shaking hands.

Sales should be natural, harmonious. Sales should feel good for both parties, not like one party is having their arm twisted.

You may be doing sales wrong if it feels repulsive, icky, or degrading. If you're thinking cringe-worthy thoughts about yourself, your product, service, or sales pitch, imagine what you're projecting to prospects. Don't make it unpleasant, repulsive, or cringeworthy.

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

Sofien Kaabar, CFA

1 year ago

How to Make a Trading Heatmap

Python Heatmap Technical Indicator

Heatmaps provide an instant overview. They can be used with correlations or to predict reactions or confirm the trend in trading. This article covers RSI heatmap creation.

The Market System

Market regime:

  • Bullish trend: The market tends to make higher highs, which indicates that the overall trend is upward.

  • Sideways: The market tends to fluctuate while staying within predetermined zones.

  • Bearish trend: The market has the propensity to make lower lows, indicating that the overall trend is downward.

Most tools detect the trend, but we cannot predict the next state. The best way to solve this problem is to assume the current state will continue and trade any reactions, preferably in the trend.

If the EURUSD is above its moving average and making higher highs, a trend-following strategy would be to wait for dips before buying and assuming the bullish trend will continue.

Indicator of Relative Strength

J. Welles Wilder Jr. introduced the RSI, a popular and versatile technical indicator. Used as a contrarian indicator to exploit extreme reactions. Calculating the default RSI usually involves these steps:

  • Determine the difference between the closing prices from the prior ones.

  • Distinguish between the positive and negative net changes.

  • Create a smoothed moving average for both the absolute values of the positive net changes and the negative net changes.

  • Take the difference between the smoothed positive and negative changes. The Relative Strength RS will be the name we use to describe this calculation.

  • To obtain the RSI, use the normalization formula shown below for each time step.

GBPUSD in the first panel with the 13-period RSI in the second panel.

The 13-period RSI and black GBPUSD hourly values are shown above. RSI bounces near 25 and pauses around 75. Python requires a four-column OHLC array for RSI coding.

import numpy as np
def add_column(data, times):
    
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
    
        new = np.zeros((len(data), 1), dtype = float)
        
        data = np.append(data, new, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_column(data, index, times):
    
    for i in range(1, times + 1):
    
        data = np.delete(data, index, axis = 1)
    return data
def delete_row(data, number):
    
    data = data[number:, ]
    
    return data
def ma(data, lookback, close, position): 
    
    data = add_column(data, 1)
    
    for i in range(len(data)):
           
            try:
                
                data[i, position] = (data[i - lookback + 1:i + 1, close].mean())
            
            except IndexError:
                
                pass
            
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    
    return data
def smoothed_ma(data, alpha, lookback, close, position):
    
    lookback = (2 * lookback) - 1
    
    alpha = alpha / (lookback + 1.0)
    
    beta  = 1 - alpha
    
    data = ma(data, lookback, close, position)
    data[lookback + 1, position] = (data[lookback + 1, close] * alpha) + (data[lookback, position] * beta)
    for i in range(lookback + 2, len(data)):
        
            try:
                
                data[i, position] = (data[i, close] * alpha) + (data[i - 1, position] * beta)
        
            except IndexError:
                
                pass
            
    return data
def rsi(data, lookback, close, position):
    
    data = add_column(data, 5)
    
    for i in range(len(data)):
        
        data[i, position] = data[i, close] - data[i - 1, close]
     
    for i in range(len(data)):
        
        if data[i, position] > 0:
            
            data[i, position + 1] = data[i, position]
            
        elif data[i, position] < 0:
            
            data[i, position + 2] = abs(data[i, position])
            
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 1, position + 3)
    data = smoothed_ma(data, 2, lookback, position + 2, position + 4)
    data[:, position + 5] = data[:, position + 3] / data[:, position + 4]
    
    data[:, position + 6] = (100 - (100 / (1 + data[:, position + 5])))
    data = delete_column(data, position, 6)
    data = delete_row(data, lookback)
    return data

Make sure to focus on the concepts and not the code. You can find the codes of most of my strategies in my books. The most important thing is to comprehend the techniques and strategies.

My weekly market sentiment report uses complex and simple models to understand the current positioning and predict the future direction of several major markets. Check out the report here:

Using the Heatmap to Find the Trend

RSI trend detection is easy but useless. Bullish and bearish regimes are in effect when the RSI is above or below 50, respectively. Tracing a vertical colored line creates the conditions below. How:

  • When the RSI is higher than 50, a green vertical line is drawn.

  • When the RSI is lower than 50, a red vertical line is drawn.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

100-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[0].grid() 
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[1].grid()
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

100-period RSI heatmap.

Call RSI on your OHLC array's fifth column. 4. Adjusting lookback parameters reduces lag and false signals. Other indicators and conditions are possible.

Another suggestion is to develop an RSI Heatmap for Extreme Conditions.

Contrarian indicator RSI. The following rules apply:

  • Whenever the RSI is approaching the upper values, the color approaches red.

  • The color tends toward green whenever the RSI is getting close to the lower values.

Zooming out yields a basic heatmap, as shown below.

13-period RSI heatmap.

Plot code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
def indicator_plot(data, second_panel, window = 250):
    fig, ax = plt.subplots(2, figsize = (10, 5))
    sample = data[-window:, ]
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 2], ymax = sample[i, 1], color = 'black', linewidth = 1)  
        if sample[i, 3] > sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 0], ymax = sample[i, 3], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] < sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, 3] == sample[i, 0]:
            ax[0].vlines(x = i, ymin = sample[i, 3], ymax = sample[i, 0], color = 'black', linewidth = 1.5)  
    ax[0].grid() 
    for i in range(len(sample)):
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'red', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 80 and sample[i, second_panel] < 90:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'darkred', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 70 and sample[i, second_panel] < 80:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'maroon', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 60 and sample[i, second_panel] < 70:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'firebrick', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 50 and sample[i, second_panel] < 60:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 40 and sample[i, second_panel] < 50:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'grey', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 30 and sample[i, second_panel] < 40:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'lightgreen', linewidth = 1.5)
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 20 and sample[i, second_panel] < 30:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'limegreen', linewidth = 1.5) 
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 10 and sample[i, second_panel] < 20:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'seagreen', linewidth = 1.5)  
        if sample[i, second_panel] > 0 and sample[i, second_panel] < 10:
            ax[1].vlines(x = i, ymin = 0, ymax = 100, color = 'green', linewidth = 1.5)
    ax[1].grid()
indicator_plot(my_data, 4, window = 500)

13-period RSI heatmap.

Dark green and red areas indicate imminent bullish and bearish reactions, respectively. RSI around 50 is grey.

Summary

To conclude, my goal is to contribute to objective technical analysis, which promotes more transparent methods and strategies that must be back-tested before implementation.

Technical analysis will lose its reputation as subjective and unscientific.

When you find a trading strategy or technique, follow these steps:

  • Put emotions aside and adopt a critical mindset.

  • Test it in the past under conditions and simulations taken from real life.

  • Try optimizing it and performing a forward test if you find any potential.

  • Transaction costs and any slippage simulation should always be included in your tests.

  • Risk management and position sizing should always be considered in your tests.

After checking the above, monitor the strategy because market dynamics may change and make it unprofitable.