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Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

1 year ago

A 19-year-old dropped out of college to build a $2,300,000,000 company in 2 years.

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Sammy Abdullah

Sammy Abdullah

1 year ago

R&D, S&M, and G&A expense ratios for SaaS

SaaS spending is 40/40/20. 40% of operating expenses should be R&D, 40% sales and marketing, and 20% G&A. We wanted to see the statistics behind the rules of thumb. Since October 2017, 73 SaaS startups have gone public. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be 30/50/20. The data is below.

30/50/20. R&D accounts for 26% of opex, sales and marketing 48%, and G&A 22%. We think R&D/S&M/G&A should be 30/50/20.

There are outliers. There are exceptions to rules of thumb. Dropbox spent 45% on R&D whereas Zoom spent 13%. Zoom spent 73% on S&M, Dropbox 37%, and Bill.com 28%. Snowflake spent 130% of revenue on S&M, while their EBITDA margin is -192%.

G&A shouldn't stand out. Minimize G&A spending. Priorities should be product development and sales. Cloudflare, Sendgrid, Snowflake, and Palantir spend 36%, 34%, 37%, and 43% on G&A.

Another myth is that COGS is 20% of revenue. Median and averages are 29%.

Where is the profitability? Data-driven operating income calculations were simplified (Revenue COGS R&D S&M G&A). 20 of 73 IPO businesses reported operational income. Median and average operating income margins are -21% and -27%.

As long as you're growing fast, have outstanding retention, and marquee clients, you can burn cash since recurring income that doesn't churn is a valuable annuity.

The data was compelling overall. 30/50/20 is the new 40/40/20 for more established SaaS enterprises, unprofitability is alright as long as your business is expanding, and COGS can be somewhat more than 20% of revenue.

Victoria Kurichenko

Victoria Kurichenko

1 year ago

Here's what happened after I launched my second product on Gumroad.

One-hour ebook sales, affiliate relationships, and more.

Image credit: Karolina Grabovska. The image was edited in Canva

If you follow me, you may know I started a new ebook in August 2022.

Despite publishing on this platform, my website, and Quora, I'm not a writer.

My writing speed is slow, 2,000 words a day, and I struggle to communicate cohesively.

In April 2022, I wrote a successful guide on How to Write Google-Friendly Blog Posts.

I had no email list or social media presence. I've made $1,600+ selling ebooks.

Evidence:

My ebook sales on Gumroad

My first digital offering isn't a book.

It's an actionable guide with my tried-and-true process for writing Google-friendly content.

I'm not bragging.

Established authors like Tim Denning make more from my ebook sales with one newsletter.

This experience taught me writing isn't a privilege.

Writing a book and making money online doesn't require expertise.

Many don't consult experts. They want someone approachable.

Two years passed before I realized my own limits.

I have a brain, two hands, and Internet to spread my message.

I wrote and published a second ebook after the first's success.

On Gumroad, I released my second digital product.

Here's my complete Gumroad evaluation.

Gumroad is a marketplace for content providers to develop and sell sales pages.

Gumroad handles payments and client requests. It's helpful when someone sends a bogus payment receipt requesting an ebook (actual story!).

You'll forget administrative concerns after your first ebook sale.

After my first ebook sale, I did this: I made additional cash!

After every sale, I tell myself, "I built a new semi-passive revenue source."

This thinking shift helps me become less busy while increasing my income and quality of life.

Besides helping others, folks sell evergreen digital things to earn passive money.

It's in my second ebook.

I explain how I built and sold 50+ copies of my SEO writing ebook without being an influencer.

I show how anyone can sell ebooks on Gumroad and automate their sales process.

This is my ebook.

My second ebook on Gumroad

After publicizing the ebook release, I sold three copies within an hour.

Wow, or meh?

I don’t know.

The answer is different for everyone.

These three sales came from a small email list of 40 motivated fans waiting for my ebook release.

I had bigger plans.

I'll market my ebook on Medium, my website, Quora, and email.

I'm testing affiliate partnerships this time.

One of my ebook buyers is now promoting it for 40% commission.

Become my affiliate if you think your readers would like my ebook.

My ebook is a few days old, but I'm interested to see where it goes.

My SEO writing book started without an email list, affiliates, or 4,000 website visitors. I've made four figures.

I'm slowly expanding my communication avenues to have more impact.

Even a small project can open doors you never knew existed.

So began my writing career.

In summary

If you dare, every concept can become a profitable trip.

Before, I couldn't conceive of creating an ebook.

How to Sell eBooks on Gumroad is my second digital product.

Marketing and writing taught me that anything can be sold online.

Aure's Notes

Aure's Notes

1 year ago

I met a man who in just 18 months scaled his startup to $100 million.

A fascinating business conversation.

Photo by abhishek gaurav on Unsplash

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.

Context

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.

Validating

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.

Hiring

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.

Raising

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.

Selling

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.

Scaling

Three persons started the business.

  1. He primarily works in sales.

  2. Coding the product was done by his co-founder.

  3. 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.

Conclusion

I often read about these stories but hardly take them seriously.

Zack was amazing.

Three things about him stand out:

  1. His vision. He possessed a certain amount of fire.

  2. 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.

  3. His Rolex.

He didn't do all this in 18 months.

Not really.

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.

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Sylvain Saurel

Sylvain Saurel

1 year ago

A student trader from the United States made $110 million in one month and rose to prominence on Wall Street.

Genius or lucky?

Image: Getty Images

From the title, you might think I'm selling advertising for a financial influencer, a dubious trading site, or a training organization to attract clients. I'm suspicious. Better safe than sorry.

But not here.

Jake Freeman, 20, made $110 million in a month, according to the Financial Times. At 18, he ran for president. He made his name in markets, not politics. Two years later, he's Wall Street's prince. Interview requests flood the prodigy.

Jake Freeman bought 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond Group shares for $5.5 in July 2022 and sold them for $27 a month later. He thought the stock might double. Since speculation died down, he sold well. The stock fell 40.5% to 11 dollars on Friday, 19 August 2022. On August 22, 2022, it fell 16% to $9.

Smallholders have been buying the stock for weeks and will lose heavily if it falls further. Bed Bath & Beyond is the second most popular stock after Foot Locker, ahead of GameStop and Apple.

Jake Freeman earned $110 million thanks to a significant stock market flurry.

Online broker customers aren't the only ones with jitters. By June 2022, Ken Griffin's Citadel and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital held nearly a third of the company's capital. Did big managers sell before the stock plummeted?

Recent stock movements (derivatives) and rumors could prompt a SEC investigation.

Jake Freeman wrote to the board of directors after his investment to call for a turnaround, given the company's persistent problems and short sellers. The bathroom and kitchen products distribution group's stock soared in July 2022 due to renewed buying by private speculators, who made it one of their meme stocks with AMC and GameStop.

Second-quarter 2022 results and financial health worsened. He didn't celebrate his miraculous operation in a nightclub. He told a British newspaper, "I'm shocked." His parents dined in New York. He returned to Los Angeles to study math and economics.

Jake Freeman founded Freeman Capital Management with his savings and $25 million from family, friends, and acquaintances. They are the ones who are entitled to the $110 million he raised in one month. Will his investors pocket and withdraw all or part of their profits or will they trust the young prodigy for new stunts on Wall Street?

His operation should attract new clients. Well-known hedge funds may hire him.

Jake Freeman didn't listen to gurus or former traders. At 17, he interned at a quantitative finance and derivatives hedge fund, Volaris. At 13, he began investing with his pharmaceutical executive uncle. All countries have increased their Google searches for the young trader in the last week.

Naturally, his success has inspired resentment.

His success stirs jealousy, and he's attacked on social media. On Reddit, people who lost money on Bed Bath & Beyond, Jake Freeman's fortune, are mourning.

Several conspiracy theories circulate about him, including that he doesn't exist or is working for a Taiwanese amusement park.

If all 20 million American students had the same trading skills, they would have generated $1.46 trillion. Jake Freeman is unique. Apprentice traders' careers are often short, disillusioning, and tragic.

Two years ago, 20-year-old Robinhood client Alexander Kearns committed suicide after losing $750,000 trading options. Great traders start young. Michael Platt of BlueCrest invested in British stocks at age 12 under his grandmother's supervision and made a £30,000 fortune. Paul Tudor Jones started trading before he turned 18 with his uncle. Warren Buffett, at age 10, was discussing investments with Goldman Sachs' head. Oracle of Omaha tells all.

Shawn Mordecai

Shawn Mordecai

1 year ago

The Apple iPhone 14 Pill is Easier to Swallow

Is iPhone's Dynamic Island invention or a marketing ploy?

First of all, why the notch?

When Apple debuted the iPhone X with the notch, some were surprised, confused, and amused by the goof. Let the Brits keep the new meaning of top-notch.

Apple removed the bottom home button to enhance screen space. The tides couldn't overtake part of the top. This section contained sensors, a speaker, a microphone, and cameras for facial recognition. A town resisted Apple's new iPhone design.

iPhone X with a notch cutout housing cameras, sensors, speaker, and a microphone / Photo from Apple

From iPhone X to 13, the notch has gotten smaller. We expected this as technology and engineering progressed, but we hated the notch. Apple approved. They attached it to their other gadgets.

Apple accepted, owned, and ran with the iPhone notch, it has become iconic (or infamous); and that’s intentional.

The Island Where Apple Is

Apple needs to separate itself, but they know how to do it well. The iPhone 14 Pro finally has us oohing and aahing. Life-changing, not just higher pixel density or longer battery.

Dynamic Island turned a visual differentiation into great usefulness, which may not be life-changing. Apple always welcomes the controversy, whether it's $700 for iMac wheels, no charging block with a new phone, or removing the headphone jack.

Apple knows its customers will be loyal, even if they're irritated. Their odd design choices often cause controversy. It's calculated that people blog, review, and criticize Apple's products. We accept what works for them.

While the competition zigs, Apple zags. Sometimes they zag too hard and smash into a wall, but we talk about it anyways, and that’s great publicity for them.

Getting Dependent on the drug

The notch became a crop. Dynamic Island's design is helpful, intuitive, elegant, and useful. It increases iPhone usability, productivity (slightly), and joy. No longer unsightly.

The medication helps with multitasking. It's a compact version of the iPhone's Live Activities lock screen function. Dynamic Island enhances apps and activities with visual effects and animations whether you engage with it or not. As you use the pill, its usefulness lessens. It lowers user notifications and consolidates them with live and permanent feeds, delivering quick app statuses. It uses the black pixels on the iPhone 14's display, which looked like a poor haircut.

iPhone 14 Pro’s ‘Dynamic Island’ animations and effects / GIF from Tenor

The pill may be a gimmick to entice customers to use more Apple products and services. Apps may promote to their users like a live billboard.

Be prepared to get a huge dose of Dynamic Island’s “pill” like you never had before with the notch. It might become so satisfying and addicting to use, that every interaction with it will become habit-forming, and you’re going to forget that it ever existed.

WARNING: A Few Potential Side Effects

Vision blurred Dynamic Island's proximity to the front-facing camera may leave behind grease that blurs photos. Before taking a selfie, wipe the camera clean.

Strained thumb To fully use Dynamic Island, extend your thumb's reach 6.7 inches beyond your typical, comfortable range.

Happiness, contentment The Dynamic Island may enhance Endorphins and Dopamine. Multitasking, interactions, animations, and haptic feedback make you want to use this function again and again.

Motion-sickness Dynamic Island's motions and effects may make some people dizzy. If you can disable animations, you can avoid motion sickness.

I'm not a doctor, therefore they aren't established adverse effects.

Does Dynamic Island Include Multiple Tasks?

Dynamic Islands is a placebo for multitasking. Apple might have compromised on iPhone multitasking. It won't make you super productive, but it's a step up.

iPad’s Split View Multitasking / Photo from WinBuzzer

iPhone is primarily for personal use, like watching videos, messaging friends, sending money to friends, calling friends about the money you were supposed to send them, taking 50 photos of the same leaf, investing in crypto, driving for Uber because you lost all your money investing in crypto, listening to music and hailing an Uber from a deserted crop field because while you were driving for Uber your passenger stole your car and left you stranded, so you used Apple’s new SOS satellite feature to message your friend, who still didn’t receive their money, to hail you an Uber; now you owe them more money… karma?

We won't be watching videos on iPhones while perusing 10,000-row spreadsheets anytime soon. True multitasking and productivity aren't priorities for Apple's iPhone. Apple doesn't to preserve the iPhone's experience. Like why there's no iPad calculator. Apple doesn't want iPad users to do math, but isn't essential for productivity?

Digressing.

Apple will block certain functions so you must buy and use their gadgets and services, immersing yourself in their ecosystem and dictating how to use their goods.

Dynamic Island is a poor man’s multi-task for iPhone, and that’s fine it works for most iPhone users. For substantial productivity Apple prefers you to get an iPad or a MacBook. That’s part of the reason for restrictive features on certain Apple devices, but sometimes it’s based on principles to preserve the integrity of the product, according to Apple’s definition.

Is Apple using deception?

Dynamic Island may be distracting you from a design decision. The answer is kind of. Elegant distraction

When you pull down a smartphone webpage to refresh it or minimize an app, you get seamless animations. It's not simply because it appears better; it's due to iPhone and smartphone processing speeds. Such limits reduce the system's response to your activity, slowing the experience. Designers and developers use animations and effects to distract us from the time lag (most of the time) and sometimes because it looks cooler and smoother.

Dynamic Island makes apps more useable and interactive. It shows system states visually. Turn signal audio and visual cues, voice assistance, physical and digital haptic feedbacks, heads-up displays, fuel and battery level gauges, and gear shift indicators helped us overcome vehicle design problems.

Dynamic Island is a wonderfully delightful (and temporary) solution to a design “problem” until Apple or other companies can figure out a way to sink the cameras under the smartphone screen.

Tim Cook at an Apple Event in 2014 / Photo from The Verge

Apple Has Returned to Being an Innovative & Exciting Company

Now Apple's products are exciting. Next, bring back real Apple events, not pre-recorded demos.

Dynamic Island integrates hardware and software. What will this new tech do? How would this affect device use? Or is it just hype?

Dynamic Island may be an insignificant improvement to the iPhone, but it sure is promising for the future of bridging the human and computer interaction gap.

B Kean

B Kean

1 year ago

Russia's greatest fear is that no one will ever fear it again.

When everyone laughs at him, he's powerless.

Courtesy of Getty Images

1-2-3: Fold your hands and chuckle heartily. Repeat until you're really laughing.

We're laughing at Russia's modern-day shortcomings, if you hadn't guessed.

Watch Good Fellas' laughing scene on YouTube. Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and others laugh hysterically in a movie. Laugh at that scene, then think of Putin's macho guy statement on February 24 when he invaded Ukraine. It's cathartic to laugh at his expense.

Right? It makes me feel great that he was convinced the military action will be over in a week. I love reading about Putin's morning speech. Many stupid people on Earth supported him. Many loons hailed his speech historic.

Russia preys on the weak. Strong Ukraine overcame Russia. Ukraine's right. As usual, Russia is in the wrong.

A so-called thought leader recently complained on Russian TV that the West no longer fears Russia, which is why Ukraine is kicking Russia's ass.

Let's simplify for this Russian intellectual. Except for nuclear missiles, the West has nothing to fear from Russia. Russia is a weak, morally-empty country whose DNA has degraded to the point that evolution is already working to flush it out.

The West doesn't fear Russia since he heads a prominent Russian institution. Russian universities are intellectually barren. I taught at St. Petersburg University till June (since February I was virtually teaching) and was astounded by the lack of expertise.

Russians excel in science, math, engineering, IT, and anything that doesn't demand critical thinking or personal ideas.

Reflecting on many of the high-ranking individuals from around the West, Satanovsky said: “They are not interested in us. We only think we’re ‘big politics’ for them but for those guys we’re small politics. “We’re small politics, even though we think of ourselves as the descendants of the Russian Empire, of the USSR. We are not the Soviet Union, we don’t have enough weirdos and lunatics, we practically don’t have any (U.S. Has Stopped Fearing Us).”

Professor Dmitry Evstafiev, president of the Institute of the Middle East, praised Nikita Khrushchev's fiery nature because he made the world fear him, which made the Soviet Union great. If the world believes Putin is crazy, then Russia will be great, says this man. This is crazy.

Evstafiev covered his cowardice by saluting Putin. He praised his culture and Ukraine patience. This weakling professor ingratiates himself to Putin instead of calling him a cowardly, demonic shithead.

This is why we don't fear Russia, professor. Because you're all sycophantic weaklings who sold your souls to a Leningrad narcissist. Putin's nothing. He lacks intelligence. You've tied your country's fate and youth's future to this terrible monster. Disgraceful!

How can you loathe your country's youth so much to doom them to decades or centuries of ignominy? My son is half Russian and must now live with this portion of him.

We don't fear Russia because you don't realize that it should be appreciated, not frightened. That would need lobotomizing tens of millions of people like you.

Sadman. You let a Leningrad weakling castrate you and display your testicles. He shakes the container, saying, "Your balls are mine."

Why is Russia not feared?

Your self-inflicted national catastrophe is hilarious. Sadly, it's laugh-through-tears.