More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
After working at seven startups, here are the early-stage characteristics that contributed to profitability, unicorn status or successful acquisition.
I've worked in a People role at seven early-stage firms for over 15 years (I enjoy chasing a dream!). Few of the seven achieved profitability, including unicorn status or acquisition.
Did early-stage startups share anything? Was there a difference between winners and losers? YES.
I support founders and entrepreneurs building financially sustainable enterprises with a compelling cause. This isn't something everyone would do. A company's success demands more than guts. Founders drive startup success.
Six Qualities of Successful Startups
Successful startup founders either innately grasped the correlation between strong team engagement and a well-executed business model, or they knew how to ask and listen to others (executive coaches, other company leaders, the team itself) to learn about it.
1. Co-founders agreed and got along personally.
Multi-founder startups are common. When co-founders agree on strategic decisions and are buddies, there's less friction and politics at work.
As a co-founder, ask your team if you're aligned. They'll explain.
I've seen C-level leaders harbor personal resentments over disagreements. A co-departure founder's caused volatile leadership and work disruptions that the team struggled to manage during and after.
2. Team stayed.
Successful startups have low turnover. Nobody is leaving. There may be a termination for performance, but other team members will have observed the issues and agreed with the decision.
You don't want organizational turnover of 30%+, with leaders citing performance issues but the team not believing them. This breeds suspicion.
Something is wrong if many employees leave voluntarily or involuntarily. You may hear about lack of empowerment, support, or toxic leadership in exit interviews and from the existing team. Intellectual capital loss and resource instability harm success.
3. Team momentum.
A successful startup's team is excited about its progress. Consistently achieving goals and having trackable performance metrics. Some describe this period of productivity as magical, with great talents joining the team and the right people in the right places. Increasing momentum.
I've also seen short-sighted decisions where only some departments, like sales and engineering, had goals. Lack of a unified goals system created silos and miscommunication. Some employees felt apathetic because they didn't know how they contributed to team goals.
4. Employees advanced in their careers.
Even if you haven't created career pathing or professional development programs, early-stage employees will grow and move into next-level roles. If you hire more experienced talent and leaders, expect them to mentor existing team members. Growing companies need good performers.
New talent shouldn't replace and discard existing talent. This creates animosity and makes existing employees feel unappreciated for their early contributions to the company.
5. The company lived its values.
Culture and identity are built on lived values. A company's values affect hiring, performance management, rewards, and other processes. Identify, practice, and believe in company values. Starting with team values instead of management or consultants helps achieve this. When a company's words and actions match, it builds trust.
When company values are beautifully displayed on a wall but few employees understand them, the opposite is true. If an employee can't name the company values, they're useless.
6. Communication was clear.
When necessary information is shared with the team, they feel included, trusted, and like owners. Transparency means employees have the needed information to do their jobs. Disclosure builds trust. The founders answer employees' questions honestly.
Information accessibility decreases office politics. Without transparency, even basic information is guarded and many decisions are made in secret. I've seen founders who don't share financial, board meeting, or compensation and equity information. The founders' lack of trust in the team wasn't surprising, so it was reciprocated.
Finally. All six of the above traits (leadership alignment, minimal turnover, momentum, professional advancement, values, and transparency) were high in the profitable startups I've worked at, including unicorn status or acquisition.
I've seen these as the most common and constant signals of startup success or failure.
These characteristics are the product of founders' choices. These decisions lead to increased team engagement and business execution.
Here's something to consider for startup employees and want-to-bes. 90% of startups fail, despite the allure of building something new and gaining ownership. With the emotional and time investment in startup formation, look for startups with these traits to reduce your risk.
Both you and the startup will thrive in these workplaces.
1 year ago
Adam Neumanns is working to create the future of living in a classic example of a guy failing upward.
The comeback tour continues…
First, he founded a $47 billion co-working company (sorry, a “tech company”).
He established WeLive to disrupt apartment life.
Then he created WeGrow, a school that tossed aside the usual curriculum to feed children's souls and release their potential.
He raised the world’s consciousness.
Then he blew it all up (without raising the world’s consciousness). (He bought a wave pool.)
Adam Neumann's WeWork business burned investors' money. The founder sailed off with unimaginable riches, leaving long-time employees with worthless stocks and the company bleeding money. His track record, which includes a failing baby clothing company, should have stopped investors cold.
Once the dust settled, folks went on. We forgot about the Neumanns! We forgot about the private jets, company retreats, many houses, and WeWork's crippling. In that moment, the prodigal son of entrepreneurship returned, choosing the blockchain as his industry. His homecoming tour began with Flowcarbon, which sold Goddess Nature Tokens to lessen companies' carbon footprints.
Did it work?
Of course not.
Despite receiving $70 million from Andreessen Horowitz's a16z, the project has been halted just two months after its announcement.
This triumph should lower his grade.
Neumann seems to have moved on and has another revolutionary idea for the future of living. Flow (not Flowcarbon) aims to help people live in flow and will launch in 2023. It's the classic Neumann pitch: lofty goals, yogababble, and charisma to attract investors.
It's a winning formula for one investment fund. a16z has backed the project with its largest single check, $350 million. It has a splash page and 3,000 rental units, but is valued at over $1 billion. The blog post praised Neumann for reimagining the office and leading a paradigm-shifting global company.
Flow's mission is to solve the nation's housing crisis. How? Idk. It involves offering community-centric services in apartment properties to the same remote workforce he once wooed with free beer and a pingpong table. Revolutionary! It seems the goal is to apply WeWork's goals of transforming physical spaces and building community to apartments to solve many of today's housing problems.
The elevator pitch probably sounded great.
At least a16z knows it's a near-impossible task, calling it a seismic shift. Marc Andreessen opposes affordable housing in his wealthy Silicon Valley town. As details of the project emerge, more investors will likely throw ethics and morals out the window to go with the flow, throwing money at a man known for burning through it while building toxic companies, hoping he can bank another fantasy valuation before it all crashes.
Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. Everyone on the Neumann hype train needs to sober up.
Like WeWork, this venture Won’tWork.
Like before, it'll cause a shitstorm.
1 year ago
Why Now Is Your Chance To Create A Millionaire Career
People don’t believe in influencers anymore; they need people like you.
Social media influencers have dominated for years. We've seen videos, images, and articles of *famous* individuals unwrapping, reviewing, and endorsing things.
This industry generates billions. This year, marketers spent $2.23 billion on Instagram, $1 million on Youtube, and $775 million on Tiktok. This marketing has helped start certain companies.
Influencers are dying, so ordinary people like us may take over this billion-dollar sector. Why?
Why influencers are perishing
Most influencers lie to their fans, especially on Instagram. Influencers' first purpose was to make their lives so flawless that others would want to buy their stuff.
In 2015, an Australian influencer with 600,000 followers went viral for revealing all her photos and everything she did to seem great before deleting her account.
“I dramatically edited the pictures, I manipulated the environements, and made my life look perfect in social media… I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation … This was the reason why I quit social media: for me, personally, it consumed me. I wasn’t living in a 3D world.”
Influencers then lost credibility.
Influencers seem to live in a bubble, separate from us. Thanks to self-popularity love's and constant awareness campaigns, people find these people ridiculous.
Influencers are praised more for showing themselves as natural and common than for showing luxuries and lies.
Little by little, they are dying, making room for a new group to take advantage of this multi-million dollar business, which gives us (ordinary people) a big opportunity to grow on any content creation platform we want.
Why this is your chance to develop on any platform for creating content
In 2021, I wrote “Not everyone who talks about money is a Financial Advisor, be careful of who you take advice from,”. In it, I warned that not everyone with a large following is a reputable source of financial advice.
Other writers hated this post and said I was wrong.
People don't want Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk's counsel, they said. They prefer to hear about their neighbor's restroom problems or his closest friend's terrible business.
Real advice from regular folks.
And I found this was true when I returned to my independent YouTube channel and had more than 1000 followers after having abandoned it with fewer than 30 videos in 2021 since there were already many personal finance and travel channels and I thought mine wasn't special.
People appreciated my videos because I was a 20-something girl trying to make money online, and they believed my advice more than that of influencers with thousands of followers.
I think today is the greatest time to grow on any platform as an ordinary person. Normal individuals give honest recommendations about what works for them and look easier to make because they have the same options as us.
Nobody cares how a millionaire acquired a Lamborghini unless it's entertaining. Education works now. Real counsel from average people is replicable.
Many individuals don't appreciate how false influencers seem (unreal bodies and excessive surgery and retouching) since it makes them feel uneasy.
That's why body-positive advertisements have been so effective, but they've lost ground in places like Tiktok, where the audience wants more content from everyday people than influencers living amazing lives. More people will relate to your content if you appear genuine.
Influencers are dwindling. People want more real people to give real advice and demonstrate an ordinary life.
People will enjoy anything you tell about your daily life as long as you provide value, and you can build a following rapidly if you're honest.
This is a millionaire industry that is getting more expensive and will go with what works, so stand out immediately.
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11 months ago
When we want to return anything, why on earth do stores still require a receipt?
A friend told me of an incident she found particularly irritating: a retailer where she is a frequent client, with an account and loyalty card, asked for the item's receipt.
We all know that stores collect every bit of data they can on us, including our socio-demographic profile, address, shopping habits, and everything we've ever bought, so why would they need a fading receipt? Who knows? That their consumers try to pass off other goods? It's easy to verify past transactions to see when the item was purchased.
That's it. Why require receipts? Companies send us incentives, discounts, and other marketing, yet when we need something, we have to prove we're not cheating.
Why require us to preserve data and documents when our governments and governmental institutions already have them? Why do I need to carry documents like my driver's license if the authorities can check if I have one and what state it's in once I prove my identity?
We shouldn't be required to give someone data or documents they already have. The days of waiting up with our paperwork for a stern official to inform us something is missing are over.
How can retailers still ask if you have a receipt if we've made our slow, bureaucratic, and all-powerful government sensible? Then what? The shop may not accept your return (which has a two-year window, longer than most purchase tickets last) or they may just let you replace the item.
Isn't this an anachronism in the age of CRMs, customer files that know what we ate for breakfast, and loyalty programs? If government and bureaucracies have learnt to use its own files and make life easier for the consumer, why do retailers ask for a receipt?
They're adding friction to the system. They know we can obtain a refund, use our warranty, or get our money back. But if I ask for ludicrous criteria, like keeping the purchase receipt in your wallet (wallet? another anachronism, if I leave the house with only my smartphone! ), it will dissuade some individuals and tip the scales in their favor when it comes to limiting returns. Some manager will take credit for lowering returns and collect her annual bonus. Having the wrong metrics is common in management.
To slow things down, asking for a receipt is like asking us to perform a handstand and leap 20 times on one foot. You have my information, use it to send me everything, and know everything I've bought, yet when I need a two-way service, you refuse to utilize it and require that I keep it and prove it.
Refuse as customers. If retailers want our business, they should treat us well, not just when we spend money. If I come to return a product, claim its use or warranty, or be taught how to use it, I am the same person you treated wonderfully when I bought it. Remember that, and act accordingly.
A store should use my information for everything, not just what it wants. Keep my info, but don't sell me anything.
1 year ago
Apple WWDC 2022 Announcements
WWDC 2022 began early Tuesday morning. WWDC brought a ton of new features (which went for just shy of two hours).
With so many announcements, we thought we'd compile them. And now...
WWDC is Apple's developer conference. This includes iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS (all of its iPads). It's where Apple announces new features for developers to use. It's also where Apple previews new software.
Virtual WWDC runs June 6-10. You can rewatch the stream on Apple's website.
WWDC 2022 news:
Completely everything. Really. iOS 16 first.
iOS 16 is a major iPhone update. iOS 16 adds the ability to customize the Lock Screen's color/theme. And widgets. It also organizes notifications and pairs Lock Screen with Focus themes. Edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread. Apple gives us yet another reason to stay in its walled garden with iMessage.
New iOS includes family sharing. Parents can set up a child's account with parental controls to restrict apps, movies, books, and music. iOS 16 lets large families and friend pods share iCloud photos. Up to six people can contribute photos to a separate iCloud library.
Live Text is getting creepier. Users can interact with text in any video frame. Touch and hold an image's subject to remove it from its background and place it in apps like messages. Dictation offers a new on-device voice-and-touch experience. Siri can run app shortcuts without setup in iOS 16. Apple also unveiled a new iOS 16 feature to help people break up with abusive partners who track their locations or read their messages. Safety Check.
Apple Pay Later allows iPhone users to buy products and pay for them later. iOS 16 pushes Mail. Users can schedule emails and cancel delivery before it reaches a recipient's inbox (be quick!). Mail now detects if you forgot an attachment, as Gmail has for years. iOS 16's Maps app gets "Multi-Stop Routing," .
Apple News also gets an iOS 16 update. Apple News adds My Sports. With iOS 16, the Apple Watch's Fitness app is also coming to iOS and the iPhone, using motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
iOS 16 includes accessibility updates like Door Detection.
Many of Apple's software updates are designed to take advantage of the larger screens in recent models, but they also improve health and fitness tracking.
The most obvious reason to upgrade watchOS every year is to get new watch faces from Apple. WatchOS 9 will add four new faces.
Runners' workout metrics improve.
Apple quickly realized that fitness tracking would be the Apple Watch's main feature, even though it's been the killer app for wearables since their debut. For watchOS 9, the Apple Watch will use its accelerometer and gyroscope to track a runner's form, stride length, and ground contact time. It also introduces the ability to specify heart rate zones, distance, and time intervals, with vibrating haptic feedback and voice alerts.
The Apple Watch's Fitness app is coming to iOS and the iPhone, using the smartphone's motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
We'll get sleep tracking, medication reminders, and drug interaction alerts. Your watch can create calendar events. A new Week view shows what meetings or responsibilities stand between you and the weekend.
WWDC 2022 introduced iPad updates. iPadOS 16 is similar to iOS for the iPhone, but has features for larger screens and tablet accessories. The software update gives it many iPhone-like features.
iPadOS 16's Home app, like iOS 16, will have a new design language. iPad users who want to blame it on the rain finally have a Weather app. iPadOS 16 will have iCloud's Shared Photo Library, Live Text and Visual Look Up upgrades, and FaceTime Handoff, so you can switch between devices during a call.
Apple highlighted iPadOS 16's multitasking at WWDC 2022. iPad's Stage Manager sounds like a community theater app. It's a powerful multitasking tool for tablets and brings them closer to emulating laptops. Apple's iPadOS 16 supports multi-user collaboration. You can share content from Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and other third-party apps in Apple Messages.
WWDC 2022 revealed Apple's M2 chip. Apple has started the next generation of Apple Silicon for the Mac with M2. Apple says this device improves M1's performance.
M2's second-generation 5nm chip has 25% more transistors than M1's. 100GB/s memory bandwidth (50 per cent more than M1). M2 has 24GB of unified memory, up from 16GB but less than some ultraportable PCs' 32GB. The M2 chip has 10% better multi-core CPU performance than the M2, and it's nearly twice as fast as the latest 10-core PC laptop chip at the same power level (CPU performance is 18 per cent greater than M1).
Apple introduced the M2-powered MacBook Air. Apple's entry-level laptop has a larger display, a new processor, new colors, and a notch.
M2 also powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has 24GB of unified memory and 50% more memory bandwidth. New MacBook Pro batteries last 20 hours. As I type on the 2021 MacBook Pro, I can only imagine how much power the M2 will add.
macOS 13.0 (or, macOS Ventura)
macOS Ventura will take full advantage of M2 with new features like Stage Manager and Continuity Camera and Handoff for FaceTime. Safari, Mail, Messages, Spotlight, and more get updates in macOS Ventura.
Apple hasn't run out of California landmarks to name its OS after yet. macOS 13 will be called Ventura when it's released in a few months, but it's more than a name change and new wallpapers.
Stage Manager organizes windows
Stage Manager is a new macOS tool that organizes open windows and applications so they're still visible while focusing on a specific task. The main app sits in the middle of the desktop, while other apps and documents are organized and piled up to the side.
Spotlight is one of macOS's least appreciated features, but with Ventura, it's becoming even more useful. Live Text lets you extract text from Spotlight results without leaving the window, including images from the photo library and the web.
Mail lets you schedule or unsend emails.
We've all sent an email we regret, whether it contained regrettable words or was sent at the wrong time. In macOS Ventura, Mail users can cancel or reschedule a message after sending it. Mail will now intelligently determine if a person was forgotten from a CC list or if a promised attachment wasn't included. Procrastinators can set a reminder to read a message later.
Safari adds tab sharing and password passkeys
Apple is updating Safari to make it more user-friendly... mostly. Users can share a group of tabs with friends or family, a useful feature when researching a topic with too many tabs. Passkeys will replace passwords in Safari's next version. Instead of entering random gibberish when creating a new account, macOS users can use TouchID to create an on-device passkey. Using an iPhone's camera and a QR system, Passkey syncs and works across all Apple devices and Windows computers.
Continuity adds Facetime device switching and iPhone webcam.
With macOS Ventura, iPhone users can transfer a FaceTime call from their phone to their desktop or laptop using Handoff, or vice versa if they started a call at their desk and need to continue it elsewhere. Apple finally admits its laptop and monitor webcams aren't the best. Continuity makes the iPhone a webcam. Apple demonstrated a feature where the wide-angle lens could provide a live stream of the desk below, while the standard zoom lens could focus on the speaker's face. New iPhone laptop mounts are coming.
System Preferences is Now System Settings and Looks Like iOS
Ventura's System Preferences has been renamed System Settings and is much more similar in appearance to iOS and iPadOS. As the iPhone and iPad are gateway devices into Apple's hardware ecosystem, new Mac users should find it easier to adjust.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi
1 year ago
The Only Paid Resources I Turn to as a Solopreneur
4 Pricey Tools That Are Valuable
I pay based on ROI (return on investment).
If a $20/month tool or $500 online course doubles my return, I'm in.
Investing helps me build wealth.
I initially refused to pay.
My course content needed updating a few months ago. My Google Docs text looked cleaner and more professional in Canva.
I've used it to:
product cover pages
Product page infographics
See my Google Sheets vs. Canva product page graph.
Google Sheets vs Canva
Yesterday, I used it to make a LinkedIn video thumbnail. It took less than 5 minutes and improved my video.
In 30 hours, the video had 39,000 views.
It builds my brand as I sleep. What else?
Because I'm traveling this weekend, I planned tweets for 10 days. It took me 80 minutes.
So while I travel or am absent, my content mill keeps producing.
Also I like:
I can reach hundreds of people thanks to auto-DMs. I utilize it to advertise freebies; for instance, leave an emoji remark to receive my checklist. And they automatically receive a message in their DM.
Scheduled Retweets: By appearing in a different time zone, they give my tweet a second chance.
It helps me save time and expand my following, so that's my favorite part.
It’s also super neat:
My course involves weekly and monthly calls for alumni.
Google Meet isn't great for group calls. The interface isn't great.
Zoom Pro is expensive, and the monthly payments suck, but it's necessary.
It gives my students a smooth experience.
Previously, we'd do 40-minute meetings and then reconvene.
Zoom's free edition limits group calls to 40 minutes.
This wouldn't be a good online course if I paid hundreds of dollars.
So I felt obligated to help.
My laptop has an ad blocker.
I bought an iPad recently.
When you're self-employed and work from home, the line between the two blurs. My bed is only 5 steps away!
When I read or watched videos on my laptop, I'd slide into work mode. Only option was to view on phone, which is awkward.
YouTube premium handles it. No more advertisements and I can listen on the move.
3 Expensive Tools That Aren't Valuable
Marketing strategies are sometimes aimed to make you feel you need 38474 cool features when you don’t.
Certain tools are useless.
I found it useless.
Depending on your needs. As a writer and creator, I get no return.
They could for other jobs.
It tracks LinkedIn stats, like:
trend chart for impressions
Engagement, views, and comment stats for posts
and much more.
Middle-tier creator costs $12/month.
I got a 25% off coupon but canceled my free trial before writing this. It's not worth the discount.
LinkedIn provides free analytics. See:
Not thorough and won't show top posts.
I don't need to see my top posts because I love experimenting with writing.
Slack was my classroom. Slack provided me a premium trial during the prior cohort.
I skipped it.
Sure, voice notes are better than a big paragraph. I didn't require pro features.
Marketing methods sometimes make you think you need 38474 amazing features. Don’t fall for it.
This may be worth it if you get many calls.
I avoid calls. During my 9-5, I had too many pointless calls.
I don't need:
ability to schedule calls for 15, 30, or 60 minutes: I just distribute each link separately.
I have a Gumroad consultation page with a payment option.
follow-up emails: I hardly ever make calls, so
I just use one calendar, therefore I link to various calendars.
I'll admit, the integrations are cool. Not for me.
If you're a coach or consultant, the features may be helpful. Or book meetings.
Investing is spending to make money.
Use my technique — put money in tools that help you make money. This separates it from being an investment instead of an expense.
Try free versions of these tools before buying them since everyone else is.