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Jerry Keszka

Jerry Keszka

1 year ago

10 Crazy Useful Free Websites No One Told You About But You Needed

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

SAHIL SAPRU

SAHIL SAPRU

1 year ago

Growth tactics that grew businesses from 1 to 100

Source: Freshworks

Everyone wants a scalable startup.

Innovation helps launch a startup. The secret to a scalable business is growth trials (from 1 to 100).

Growth marketing combines marketing and product development for long-term growth.

Today, I'll explain growth hacking strategies popular startups used to scale.

1/ A Facebook user's social value is proportional to their friends.

Facebook built its user base using content marketing and paid ads. Mark and his investors feared in 2007 when Facebook's growth stalled at 90 million users.

Chamath Palihapitiya was brought in by Mark.

The team tested SEO keywords and MAU chasing. The growth team introduced “people you may know

This feature reunited long-lost friends and family. Casual users became power users as the retention curve flattened.

Growth Hack Insights: With social network effect the value of your product or platform increases exponentially if you have users you know or can relate with.

2/ Airbnb - Focus on your value propositions

Airbnb nearly failed in 2009. The company's weekly revenue was $200 and they had less than 2 months of runway.

Enter Paul Graham. The team noticed a pattern in 40 listings. Their website's property photos sucked.

Why?

Because these photos were taken with regular smartphones. Users didn't like the first impression.

Graham suggested traveling to New York to rent a camera, meet with property owners, and replace amateur photos with high-resolution ones.

A week later, the team's weekly revenue doubled to $400, indicating they were on track.

Growth Hack Insights: When selling an “online experience” ensure that your value proposition is aesthetic enough for users to enjoy being associated with them.

3/ Zomato - A company's smartphone push ensured growth.

Zomato delivers food. User retention was a challenge for the founders. Indian food customers are notorious for switching brands at the drop of a hat.

Zomato wanted users to order food online and repeat orders throughout the week.

Zomato created an attractive website with “near me” keywords for SEO indexing.

Zomato gambled to increase repeat orders. They only allowed mobile app food orders.

Zomato thought mobile apps were stickier. Product innovations in search/discovery/ordering or marketing campaigns like discounts/in-app notifications/nudges can improve user experience.

Zomato went public in 2021 after users kept ordering food online.

Growth Hack Insights: To improve user retention try to build platforms that build user stickiness. Your product and marketing team will do the rest for them.

4/ Hotmail - Signaling helps build premium users.

Ever sent or received an email or tweet with a sign — sent from iPhone?

Hotmail did it first! One investor suggested Hotmail add a signature to every email.

Overnight, thousands joined the company. Six months later, the company had 1 million users.

When serving an existing customer, improve their social standing. Signaling keeps the top 1%.

5/ Dropbox - Respect loyal customers

Dropbox is a company that puts people over profits. The company prioritized existing users.

Dropbox rewarded loyal users by offering 250 MB of free storage to anyone who referred a friend. The referral hack helped Dropbox get millions of downloads in its first few months.

Growth Hack Insights: Think of ways to improve the social positioning of your end-user when you are serving an existing customer. Signaling goes a long way in attracting the top 1% to stay.

These experiments weren’t hacks. Hundreds of failed experiments and user research drove these experiments. Scaling up experiments is difficult.

Contact me if you want to grow your startup's user base.

Rick Blyth

Rick Blyth

1 year ago

Looking for a Reliable Micro SaaS Niche

Niches are rich, as the adage goes.

Micro SaaS requires a great micro-niche; otherwise, it's merely plain old SaaS with a large audience.

Instead of targeting broad markets with few identifying qualities, specialise down to a micro-niche. How would you target these users?

Better go tiny. You'll locate and engage new consumers more readily and serve them better with a customized solution.

Imagine you're a real estate lawyer looking for a case management solution. Because it's so specific to you, you'd be lured to this link:

instead of below:

Next, locate mini SaaS niches that could work for you. You're not yet looking at the problems/solutions in these areas, merely shortlisting them.

The market should be growing, not shrinking

We shouldn't design apps for a declining niche. We intend to target stable or growing niches for the next 5 to 10 years.

If it's a developing market, you may be able to claim a stake early. You must balance this strategy with safer, longer-established niches (accountancy, law, health, etc).

First Micro SaaS apps I designed were for Merch By Amazon creators, a burgeoning niche. I found this niche when searching for passive income.

Graphic designers and entrepreneurs post their art to Amazon to sell on clothes. When Amazon sells their design, they get a royalty. Since 2015, this platform and specialty have grown dramatically.

Amazon doesn't publicize the amount of creators on the platform, but it's possible to approximate by looking at Facebook groups, Reddit channels, etc.

I could see the community growing week by week, with new members joining. Merch was an up-and-coming niche, and designers made money when their designs sold. All I had to do was create tools that let designers focus on making bestselling designs.

Look at the Google Trends graph below to see how this niche has evolved and when I released my apps and resigned my job.

Are the users able to afford the tools?

Who's your average user? Consumer or business? Is your solution budgeted?

If they're students, you'll struggle to convince them to subscribe to your study-system app (ahead of video games and beer).

Let's imagine you designed a Shopify plugin that emails customers when a product is restocked. If your plugin just needs 5 product sales a month to justify its cost, everyone wins (just be mindful that one day Shopify could potentially re-create your plugins functionality within its core offering making your app redundant ).

Do specialized users buy tools? If so, that's comforting. If not, you'd better have a compelling value proposition for your end customer if you're the first.

This should include how much time or money your program can save or make the user.

Are you able to understand the Micro SaaS market?

Ideally, you're already familiar about the industry/niche. Maybe you're fixing a challenge from your day job or freelance work.

If not, evaluate how long it would take to learn the niche's users. Health & Fitness is easier to relate to and understand than hedge fund derivatives trading.

Competing in these complex (and profitable) fields might offer you an edge.

B2C, B2M, or B2B?

Consider your user base's demographics. Will you target businesses, consumers, or both? Let's examine the different consumer types:

  • B2B refers to business-to-business transactions where customers are other businesses. UpVoty, Plutio, Slingshot, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Hubspot are a few examples of SaaS, ranging from Micro SaaS to SaaS.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C), in which your clients are people who buy things. For instance, Duolingo, Canva, and Nomad List.

  • For instance, my tool KDP Wizard has a mixed user base of publishing enterprises and also entrepreneurial consumers selling low-content books on Amazon. This is a case of business to many (B2M), where your users are a mixture of businesses and consumers. There is a large SaaS called Dropbox that offers both personal and business plans.

Targeting a B2B vs. B2C niche is very different. The sales cycle differs.

  • A B2B sales staff must make cold calls to potential clients' companies. Long sales, legal, and contractual conversations are typically required for each business to get the go-ahead. The cost of obtaining a new customer is substantially more than it is for B2C, despite the fact that the recurring fees are significantly higher.

  • Since there is typically only one individual making the purchasing decision, B2C signups are virtually always self-service with reduced recurring fees. Since there is typically no outbound sales staff in B2C, acquisition costs are significantly lower than in B2B.

User Characteristics for B2B vs. B2C

Consider where your niche's users congregate if you don't already have a presence there.

B2B users frequent LinkedIn and Twitter. B2C users are on Facebook/Instagram/Reddit/Twitter, etc.

Churn is higher in B2C because consumers haven't gone through all the hoops of a B2B sale. Consumers are more unpredictable than businesses since they let their bank cards exceed limitations or don't update them when they expire.

With a B2B solution, there's a contractual arrangement and the firm will pay the subscription as long as they need it.

Depending on how you feel about the above (sales team vs. income vs. churn vs. targeting), you'll know which niches to pursue.

You ought to respect potential customers.

Would you hang out with customers?

You'll connect with users at conferences (in-person or virtual), webinars, seminars, screenshares, Facebook groups, emails, support calls, support tickets, etc.

If talking to a niche's user base makes you shudder, you're in for a tough road. Whether they're demanding or dull, avoid them if possible.

Merch users are mostly graphic designers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs. These laid-back users embrace technologies that assist develop their Merch business.

I discovered there was only one annual conference for this specialty, held in Seattle, USA. I decided to organize a conference for UK/European Merch designers, despite never having done so before.

Hosting a conference for over 80 people was stressful, and it turned out to be much bigger than expected, with attendees from the US, Europe, and the UK.

I met many specialized users, built relationships, gained trust, and picked their brains in person. Many of the attendees were already Merch Wizard users, so hearing their feedback and ideas for future features was invaluable.

focused and specific

Instead of building for a generic, hard-to-reach market, target a specific group.

I liken it to fishing in a little, hidden pond. This small pond has only one species of fish, so you learn what bait it likes. Contrast that with trawling for hours to catch as many fish as possible, even if some aren't what you want.

In the case management scenario, it's difficult to target leads because several niches could use the app. Where do your potential customers hang out? Your generic solution: No.

It's easier to join a community of Real Estate Lawyers and see if your software can answer their pain points.

My Success with Micro SaaS

In my case, my Micro SaaS apps have been my chrome extensions. Since I launched them, they've earned me an average $10k MRR, allowing me to quit my lousy full-time job years ago.

I sold my apps after scaling them for a life-changing lump amount. Since then, I've helped unfulfilled software developers escape the 9-5 through Micro SaaS.

Whether it's a profitable side hustle or a liferaft to quit their job and become their own Micro SaaS boss.

Having built my apps to the point where I could quit my job, then scaled and sold them, I feel I can share my skills with software developers worldwide.

Read my free guide on self-funded SaaS to discover more about Micro SaaS, or download your own copy. 12 chapters cover everything from Idea to Exit.

Watch my YouTube video to learn how to construct a Micro SaaS app in 10 steps.

Navdeep Yadav

Navdeep Yadav

1 year ago

31 startup company models (with examples)

Many people find the internet's various business models bewildering.

This article summarizes 31 startup e-books.

Types of Startup

1. Using the freemium business model (free plus premium),

The freemium business model offers basic software, games, or services for free and charges for enhancements.

Examples include Slack, iCloud, and Google Drive

Provide a rudimentary, free version of your product or service to users.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Google Drive and Dropbox offer 15GB and 2GB of free space but charge for more.

Freemium business model details (Click here)

2. The Business Model of Subscription

Subscription business models sell a product or service for recurring monthly or yearly revenue.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Examples: Tinder, Netflix, Shopify, etc

It's the next step to Freemium if a customer wants to pay monthly for premium features.

Types of Subscription Business Models

Subscription Business Model (Click here)

3. A market-based business strategy

It's an e-commerce site or app where third-party sellers sell products or services.

Examples are Amazon and Fiverr.

Marketplace Business Model
  • On Amazon's marketplace, a third-party vendor sells a product.

  • Freelancers on Fiverr offer specialized skills like graphic design.

Marketplace's business concept is explained.

4. Business plans using aggregates

In the aggregator business model, the service is branded.

Uber, Airbnb, and other examples

Airbnb Aggregator Business Model

Marketplace and Aggregator business models differ.

Aggregators Vs Market Place

Amazon and Fiverr link merchants and customers and take a 10-20% revenue split.

Uber and Airbnb-style aggregator Join these businesses and provide their products.

5. The pay-as-you-go concept of business

This is a consumption-based pricing system. Cloud companies use it.

Example: Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) (AWS)

Pay-as-you-go pricing in AWS

AWS, an Amazon subsidiary, offers over 200 pay-as-you-go cloud services.

“In short, the more you use the more you pay”

Types of Pay-as-you-plan

When it's difficult to divide clients into pricing levels, pay-as-you is employed.

6. The business model known as fee-for-service (FFS)

FFS charges fixed and variable fees for each successful payment.

For instance, PayU, Paypal, and Stripe

Stripe charges 2.9% + 30 per payment.

Fee-for-service (FFS) business model

These firms offer a payment gateway to take consumer payments and deposit them to a business account.

Fintech business model

7. EdTech business strategy

In edtech, you generate money by selling material or teaching as a service.

Most popular revenue model in EdTech

edtech business models

Freemium When course content is free but certification isn't, e.g. Coursera

FREE TRIAL SkillShare offers free trials followed by monthly or annual subscriptions.

Self-serving marketplace approach where you pick what to learn.

Ad-revenue model The company makes money by showing adverts to its huge user base.

Lock-in business strategy

Lock in prevents customers from switching to a competitor's brand or offering.

It uses switching costs or effort to transmit (soft lock-in), improved brand experience, or incentives.

Apple, SAP, and other examples

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Apple offers an iPhone and then locks you in with extra hardware (Watch, Airpod) and platform services (Apple Store, Apple Music, cloud, etc.).

9. Business Model for API Licensing

APIs let third-party apps communicate with your service.

How do APIs work?

Uber and Airbnb use Google Maps APIs for app navigation.

Examples are Google Map APIs (Map), Sendgrid (Email), and Twilio (SMS).

Types of APIs business model

Business models for APIs

  1. Free: The simplest API-driven business model that enables unrestricted API access for app developers. Google Translate and Facebook are two examples.

  2. Developer Pays: Under this arrangement, service providers such as AWS, Twilio, Github, Stripe, and others must be paid by application developers.

  3. The developer receives payment: These are the compensated content producers or developers who distribute the APIs utilizing their work. For example, Amazon affiliate programs

10. Open-source enterprise

Open-source software can be inspected, modified, and improved by anybody.

For instance, use Firefox, Java, or Android.

Product with Open source business model

Google paid Mozilla $435,702 million to be their primary search engine in 2018.

Open-source software profits in six ways.

  1. Paid assistance The Project Manager can charge for customization because he is quite knowledgeable about the codebase.

  2. A full database solution is available as a Software as a Service (MongoDB Atlas), but there is a fee for the monitoring tool.

  3. Open-core design R studio is a better GUI substitute for open-source applications.

  4. sponsors of GitHub Sponsorships benefit the developers in full.

  5. demands for paid features Earn Money By Developing Open Source Add-Ons for Current Products

Open-source business model

11. The business model for data

If the software or algorithm collects client data to improve or monetize the system.

Open AI GPT3 gets smarter with use.

Graphic Credit: Business Model toolbox

Foursquare allows users to exchange check-in locations.

Later, they compiled large datasets to enable retailers like Starbucks launch new outlets.

12. Business Model Using Blockchain

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that allows firms to deploy smart contracts without a central authority.

Examples include Alchemy, Solana, and Ethereum.

blockchain business model

Business models using blockchain

  1. Economy of tokens or utility When a business uses a token business model, it issues some kind of token as one of the ways to compensate token holders or miners. For instance, Solana and Ethereum

  2. Bitcoin Cash P2P Business Model Peer-to-peer (P2P) blockchain technology permits direct communication between end users. as in IPFS

  3. Enterprise Blockchain as a Service (Baas) BaaS focuses on offering ecosystem services similar to those offered by Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) in the web 3 sector. Example: Ethereum Blockchain as a Service with Bitcoin (EBaaS).

  4. Blockchain-Based Aggregators With AWS for blockchain, you can use that service by making an API call to your preferred blockchain. As an illustration, Alchemy offers nodes for many blockchains.

13. The free-enterprise model

In the freeterprise business model, free professional accounts are led into the funnel by the free product and later become B2B/enterprise accounts.

For instance, Slack and Zoom

Freeterprise business model

Freeterprise companies flourish through collaboration.

Loom wants you to join your workspace for an enterprise account.

Start with a free professional account to build an enterprise.

14. Business plan for razor blades

It's employed in hardware where one piece is sold at a loss and profits are made through refills or add-ons.

Gillet razor & blades, coffee machine & beans, HP printer & cartridge, etc.

Razor blade/Bait and hook business model

Sony sells the Playstation console at a loss but makes up for it by selling games and charging for online services.

Advantages of the Razor-Razorblade Method

  1. lowers the risk a customer will try a product. enables buyers to test the goods and services without having to pay a high initial investment.

  2. The product's ongoing revenue stream has the potential to generate sales that much outweigh the original investments.

Razor blade business model

15. The business model of direct-to-consumer (D2C)

In D2C, the company sells directly to the end consumer through its website using a third-party logistic partner.

Examples include GymShark and Kylie Cosmetics.

Direct-to-consumer business Model

D2C brands can only expand via websites, marketplaces (Amazon, eBay), etc.

Traditional Retailer vs D2C business model

D2C benefits

  • Lower reliance on middlemen = greater profitability

  • You now have access to more precise demographic and geographic customer data.

  • Additional space for product testing

  • Increased customisation throughout your entire product line-Inventory Less

16. Business model: White Label vs. Private Label

Private label/White label products are made by a contract or third-party manufacturer.

Most amazon electronics are made in china and white-labeled.

Amazon supplements and electronics.

White-label business model

Contract manufacturers handle everything after brands select product quantities on design labels.

17. The franchise model

The franchisee uses the franchisor's trademark, branding, and business strategy (company).

For instance, KFC, Domino's, etc.

Master Franchise business model

Subway, Domino, Burger King, etc. use this business strategy.

Opening your restaurant vs Frenchies

Many people pick a franchise because opening a restaurant is risky.

18. Ad-based business model

Social media and search engine giants exploit search and interest data to deliver adverts.

Google, Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat are some examples.

Ad-based business model

Users don't pay for the service or product given, e.g. Google users don't pay for searches.

In exchange, they collected data and hyper-personalized adverts to maximize revenue.

19. Business plan for octopuses

Each business unit functions separately but is connected to the main body.

Instance: Oyo

OYO’s Octopus business model

OYO is Asia's Airbnb, operating hotels, co-working, co-living, and vacation houses.

20, Transactional business model, number

Sales to customers produce revenue.

E-commerce sites and online purchases employ SSL.

Goli is an ex-GymShark.

Transactional business model

21. The peer-to-peer (P2P) business model

In P2P, two people buy and sell goods and services without a third party or platform.

Consider OLX.

OLX Business Model

22. P2P lending as a manner of operation

In P2P lending, one private individual (P2P Lender) lends/invests or borrows money from another (P2P Borrower).

Instance: Kabbage

P2P Lending as a business model

Social lending lets people lend and borrow money directly from each other without an intermediary financial institution.

23. A business model for brokers

Brokerages charge a commission or fee for their services.

Examples include eBay, Coinbase, and Robinhood.

Brokerage business model

Brokerage businesses are common in Real estate, finance, and online and operate on this model.

Types of brokerage business model
  1. Buy/sell similar models Examples include financial brokers, insurance brokers, and others who match purchase and sell transactions and charge a commission.

  2. These brokers charge an advertiser a fee based on the date, place, size, or type of an advertisement. This is known as the classified-advertiser model. For instance, Craiglist

24. Drop shipping as an industry

Dropshipping allows stores to sell things without holding physical inventories.

Drop shipping Business model

When a customer orders, use a third-party supplier and logistic partners.

Retailer product portfolio and customer experience Fulfiller The consumer places the order.

Dropshipping advantages

  • Less money is needed (Low overhead-No Inventory or warehousing)

  • Simple to start (costs under $100)

  • flexible work environment

  • New product testing is simpler

25. Business Model for Space as a Service

It's centered on a shared economy that lets millennials live or work in communal areas without ownership or lease.

Consider WeWork and Airbnb.

WeWork business model

WeWork helps businesses with real estate, legal compliance, maintenance, and repair.

Space as a Service Business Model

26. The business model for third-party logistics (3PL)

In 3PL, a business outsources product delivery, warehousing, and fulfillment to an external logistics company.

Examples include Ship Bob, Amazon Fulfillment, and more.

Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

3PL partners warehouse, fulfill, and return inbound and outbound items for a charge.

Inbound logistics involves bringing products from suppliers to your warehouse.

Outbound logistics refers to a company's production line, warehouse, and customer.

Inbound and outbound in 3PL

27. The last-mile delivery paradigm as a commercial strategy

Last-mile delivery is the collection of supply chain actions that reach the end client.

Examples include Rappi, Gojek, and Postmates.

gojek business model

Last-mile is tied to on-demand and has a nighttime peak.

28. The use of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting other companies' products and charging commissions.

Examples include Hubspot, Amazon, and Skillshare.

Affiliate business model

Your favorite youtube channel probably uses these short amazon links to get 5% of sales.

affiliate link from a youtube video.

Affiliate marketing's benefits

  • In exchange for a success fee or commission, it enables numerous independent marketers to promote on its behalf.

  • Ensure system transparency by giving the influencers a specific tracking link and an online dashboard to view their profits.

  • Learn about the newest bargains and have access to promotional materials.

29. The business model for virtual goods

This is an in-app purchase for an intangible product.

Examples include PubG, Roblox, Candy Crush, etc.

virtual goods business model

Consumables are like gaming cash that runs out. Non-consumable products provide a permanent advantage without repeated purchases.

30. Business Models for Cloud Kitchens

Ghost, Dark, Black Box, etc.

Delivery-only restaurant.

These restaurants don't provide dine-in, only delivery.

For instance, NextBite and Faasos

Cloud kitchen business model

31. Crowdsourcing as a Business Model

Crowdsourcing = Using the crowd as a platform's source.

In crowdsourcing, you get support from people around the world without hiring them.

Crowdsourcing Business model

Crowdsourcing sites

  1. Open-Source Software gives access to the software's source code so that developers can edit or enhance it. Examples include Firefox browsers and Linux operating systems.

  2. Crowdfunding The oculus headgear would be an example of crowdfunding in essence, with no expectations.

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Johnny Harris

Johnny Harris

2 years ago

The REAL Reason Putin is Invading Ukraine [video with transcript]

Transcript:

[Reporter] The Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Momentum is building for a war between Ukraine and Russia.
[Reporter] Tensions between Russia and the West
are growing rapidly.
[Reporter] President Biden considering deploying
thousands of troops to Eastern Europe.
There are now 100,000 troops
on the Eastern border of Ukraine.
Russia is setting up field hospitals on this border.
Like this is what preparation for war looks like.
A legitimate war.
Ukrainian troops are watching and waiting,
saying they are preparing for a fight.
The U.S. has ordered the families of embassy staff
to leave Ukraine.
Britain has sent all of their nonessential staff home.
And now the U.S. is sending tons of weapons and munitions
to Ukraine's army.
And we're even considering deploying
our own troops to the region.
I mean, this thing is heating up.
Meanwhile, Russia and the West have been in Geneva
and Brussels trying to talk it out,
and sort of getting nowhere.
The message is very clear.
Should Russia take further aggressive actions
against Ukraine the costs will be severe
and the consequences serious.
It's a scary, grim momentum that is unpredictable.
And the chances of miscalculation
and escalation are growing.

I want to explain what's going on here,
but I want to show you that this isn't just
typical geopolitical behavior.
Stuff that can just be explained on the map.
Instead, to understand why 100,000 troops are camped out
on Ukraine's Eastern border, ready for war,
you have to understand Russia
and how it's been cut down over the ages
from the Slavic empire that dominated this whole region
to then the Soviet Union,
which was defeated in the nineties.
And what you really have to understand here
is how that history is transposed
onto the brain of one man.
This guy, Vladimir Putin.
This is a story about regional domination
and struggles between big powers,
but really it's the story about
what Vladimir Putin really wants.
[Reporter] Russian troops moving swiftly
to take control of military bases in Crimea.
[Reporter] Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops
and a lot of military hardware
at the border with Ukraine.

Let's dive back in.
Okay. Let's get up to speed on what's happening here.
And I'm just going to quickly give you the highlight version
of like the news that's happening,
because I want to get into the juicy part,
which is like why, the roots of all of this.
So let's go.
A few months ago, Russia started sending
more and more troops to this border.
It's this massive border between Ukraine and Russia.
They said they were doing a military exercise,
but the rest of the world was like,
"Yeah, we totally believe you Russia. Pshaw."
This was right before this big meeting
where North American and European countries
were coming together to talk about a lot
of different things, like these countries often do
in these diplomatic summits.
But soon, because of Russia's aggressive behavior
coming in and setting up 100,000 troops
on the border with Ukraine,
the entire summit turned into a whole, "WTF Russia,
what are you doing on the border of Ukraine," meeting.
Before the meeting Putin comes out and says,
"Listen, I have some demands for the West."
And everyone's like, "Okay, Russia, what are your demands?
You know, we have like, COVID19 right now.
And like, that's like surging.

So like, we don't need your like,
bluster about what your demands are."
And Putin's like, "No, here's my list of demands."
Putin's demands for the summit were this:
number one, that NATO, which is this big military alliance
between U.S., Canada, and Europe stop expanding,
meaning they don't let any new members in, okay.
So, Russia is like, "No more new members to your, like,
cool military club that I don't like.
You can't have any more members."
Number two, that NATO withdraw all of their troops
from anywhere in Eastern Europe.
Basically Putin is saying,
"I can veto any military cooperation
or troops going between countries
that have to do with Eastern Europe,
the place that used to be the Soviet Union."
Okay, and number three, Putin demands that America vow
not to protect its allies in Eastern Europe
with nuclear weapons.
"LOL," said all of the other countries,
"You're literally nuts, Vladimir Putin.
Like these are the most ridiculous demands, ever."
But there he is, Putin, with these demands.
These very, very aggressive demands.
And he sort of is implying that if his demands aren't met,
he's going to invade Ukraine.
I mean, it doesn't work like this.
This is not how international relations work.
You don't just show up and say like,
"I'm not gonna allow other countries to join your alliance
because it makes me feel uncomfortable."
But what I love about this list of demands
from Vladimir Putin for this summit
is that it gives us a clue
on what Vladimir Putin really wants.

What he's after here.
You read them closely and you can grasp his intentions.
But to grasp those intentions
you have to understand what NATO is.
and what Russia and Ukraine used to be.
(dramatic music)
Okay, so a while back I made this video
about why Russia is so damn big,
where I explain how modern day Russia started here in Kiev,
which is actually modern day Ukraine.
In other words, modern day Russia, as we know it,
has its original roots in Ukraine.
These places grew up together
and they eventually became a part
of the same mega empire called the Soviet Union.
They were deeply intertwined,
not just in their history and their culture,
but also in their economy and their politics.
So it's after World War II,
it's like the '50s, '60s, '70s, and NATO was formed,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
This was a military alliance between all of these countries,
that was meant to sort of deter the Soviet Union
from expanding and taking over the world.
But as we all know, the Soviet Union,
which was Russia and all of these other countries,
collapsed in 1991.
And all of these Soviet republics,
including Ukraine, became independent,
meaning they were not now a part
of one big block of countries anymore.
But just because the border's all split up,
it doesn't mean that these cultural ties actually broke.
Like for example, the Soviet leader at the time
of the collapse of the Soviet Union, this guy, Gorbachev,
he was the son of a Ukrainian mother and a Russian father.
Like he grew up with his mother singing him
Ukrainian folk songs.

In his mind, Ukraine and Russia were like one thing.
So there was a major reluctance to accept Ukraine
as a separate thing from Russia.
In so many ways, they are one.
There was another Russian at the time
who did not accept this new division.
This young intelligence officer, Vladimir Putin,
who was starting to rise up in the ranks
of postSoviet Russia.
There's this amazing quote from 2005
where Putin is giving this stateoftheunionlike address,
where Putin declares the collapse of the Soviet Union,
quote, "The greatest catastrophe of the 20th century.
And as for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy.
Tens of millions of fellow citizens and countrymen
found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory."
Do you see how he frames this?
The Soviet Union were all one people in his mind.
And after it collapsed, all of these people
who are a part of the motherland were now outside
of the fringes or the boundaries of Russian territory.
First off, fact check.
Greatest catastrophe of the 20th century?
Like, do you remember what else happened
in the 20th century, Vladimir?
(ominous music)

Putin's worry about the collapse of this one people
starts to get way worse when the West, his enemy,
starts showing up to his neighborhood
to all these exSoviet countries that are now independent.
The West starts selling their ideology
of democracy and capitalism and inviting them
to join their military alliance called NATO.
And guess what?
These countries are totally buying it.
All these exSoviet countries are now joining NATO.
And some of them, the EU.
And Putin is hating this.
He's like not only did the Soviet Union divide
and all of these people are now outside
of the Russia motherland,
but now they're being persuaded by the West
to join their military alliance.
This is terrible news.
Over the years, this continues to happen,
while Putin himself starts to chip away
at Russian institutions, making them weaker and weaker.
He's silencing his rivals
and he's consolidating power in himself.
(triumphant music)

And in the past few years,
he's effectively silenced anyone who can challenge him;
any institution, any court,
or any political rival have all been silenced.
It's been decades since the Soviet Union fell,
but as Putin gains more power,
he still sees the region through the lens
of the old Cold War, Soviet, Slavic empire view.
He sees this region as one big block
that has been torn apart by outside forces.
"The greatest catastrophe of the 20th century."
And the worst situation of all of these,
according to Putin, is Ukraine,
which was like the gem of the Soviet Union.
There was tons of cultural heritage.
Again, Russia sort of started in Ukraine,
not to mention it was a very populous
and industrious, resourcerich place.
And over the years Ukraine has been drifting west.
It hasn't joined NATO yet, but more and more,
it's been electing proWestern presidents.
It's been flirting with membership in NATO.
It's becoming less and less attached
to the Russian heritage that Putin so adores.
And more than half of Ukrainians say
that they'd be down to join the EU.
64% of them say that it would be cool joining NATO.
But Putin can't handle this. He is in total denial.
Like an exboyfriend who handle his exgirlfriend
starting to date someone else,
Putin can't let Ukraine go.
He won't let go.

So for the past decade,
he's been trying to keep the West out
and bring Ukraine back into the motherland of Russia.
This usually takes the form of Putin sending
secret soldiers from Russia into Ukraine
to help the people in Ukraine who want to like separate
from Ukraine and join Russia.
It also takes the form of, oh yeah,
stealing entire parts of Ukraine for Russia.
Russian troops moving swiftly to take control
of military bases in Crimea.
Like in 2014, Putin just did this.
To what America is officially calling
a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He went down and just snatched this bit of Ukraine
and folded it into Russia.
So you're starting to see what's going on here.
Putin's life's work is to salvage what he calls
the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century,
the division and the separation
of the Soviet republics from Russia.
So let's get to present day. It's 2022.
Putin is at it again.
And honestly, if you really want to understand
the mind of Vladimir Putin and his whole view on this,
you have to read this.
"On the History of Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,"
by Vladimir Putin.
A blog post that kind of sounds
like a ninth grade history essay.
In this essay, Vladimir Putin argues
that Russia and Ukraine are one people.
He calls them essentially the same historical
and spiritual space.

Kind of beautiful writing, honestly.
Anyway, he argues that the division
between the two countries is due to quote,
"a deliberate effort by those forces
that have always sought to undermine our unity."
And that the formula they use, these outside forces,
is a classic one: divide and rule.
And then he launches into this super indepth,
like 10page argument, as to every single historical beat
of Ukraine and Russia's history
to make this argument that like,
this is one people and the division is totally because
of outside powers, i.e. the West.
Okay, but listen, there's this moment
at the end of the post,
that actually kind of hit me in a big way.
He says this, "Just have a look at Austria and Germany,
or the U.S. and Canada, how they live next to each other.
Close in ethnic composition, culture,
and in fact, sharing one language,
they remain sovereign states with their own interests,
with their own foreign policy.
But this does not prevent them
from the closest integration or allied relations.
They have very conditional, transparent borders.
And when crossing them citizens feel at home.
They create families, study, work, do business.
Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine
who now live in Russia.
We see them as our own close people."
I mean, listen, like,
I'm not in support of what Putin is doing,
but like that, it's like a pretty solid like analogy.
If China suddenly showed up and started like
coaxing Canada into being a part of its alliance,
I would be a little bit like, "What's going on here?"
That's what Putin feels.
And so I kind of get what he means there.
There's a deep heritage and connection between these people.
And he's seen that falter and dissolve
and he doesn't like it.
He clearly genuinely feels a brotherhood
and this deep heritage connection
with the people of Ukraine.
Okay, okay, okay, okay. Putin, I get it.
Your essay is compelling there at the end.
You're clearly very smart and wellread.
But this does not justify what you've been up to. Okay?
It doesn't justify sending 100,000 troops to the border
or sending cyber soldiers to sabotage
the Ukrainian government, or annexing territory,
fueling a conflict that has killed
tens of thousands of people in Eastern Ukraine.
No. Okay.

No matter how much affection you feel for Ukrainian heritage
and its connection to Russia, this is not okay.
Again, it's like the boyfriend
who genuinely loves his girlfriend.
They had a great relationship,
but they broke up and she's free to see whomever she wants.
But Putin is not ready to let go.
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell's wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica.
What the hell is wrong with you?
Dude, don't fucking touch me.
I love you. Worldstar!
What is wrong with you? Just stop!
Putin has constructed his own reality here.
One in which Ukraine is actually being controlled
by shadowy Western forces
who are holding the people of Ukraine hostage.
And if that he invades, it will be a swift victory
because Ukrainians will accept him with open arms.
The great liberator.
(triumphant music)

Like, this guy's a total romantic.
He's a history buff and a romantic.
And he has a hill to die on here.
And it is liberating the people
who have been taken from the Russian motherland.
Kind of like the abusive boyfriend, who's like,
"She actually really loves me,
but it's her annoying friends
who were planting all these ideas in her head.
That's why she broke up with me."
And it's like, "No, dude, she's over you."
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell is wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica.
I mean, maybe this video should be called
Putin is just like your abusive exboyfriend.
[Man In Blue Shirt] What the hell is wrong with you?
I love you, Jessica!
Worldstar! What's wrong with you?
Okay. So where does this leave us?
It's 2022, Putin is showing up to these meetings in Europe
to tell them where he stands.
He says, "NATO, you cannot expand anymore. No new members.
And you need to withdraw all your troops
from Eastern Europe, my neighborhood."
He knows these demands will never be accepted
because they're ludicrous.
But what he's doing is showing a false effort to say,
"Well, we tried to negotiate with the West,
but they didn't want to."
Hence giving a little bit more justification
to a Russian invasion.
So will Russia invade? Is there war coming?
Maybe; it's impossible to know
because it's all inside of the head of this guy.
But, if I were to make the best argument
that war is not coming tomorrow,
I would look at a few things.
Number one, war in Ukraine would be incredibly costly
for Vladimir Putin.
Russia has a far superior army to Ukraine's,
but still, Ukraine has a very good army
that is supported by the West
and would give Putin a pretty bad bloody nose
in any invasion.

Controlling territory in Ukraine would be very hard.
Ukraine is a giant country.
They would fight back and it would be very hard
to actually conquer and take over territory.
Another major point here is that if Russia invades Ukraine,
this gives NATO new purpose.
If you remember, NATO was created because of the Cold War,
because the Soviet Union was big and nuclear powered.
Once the Soviet Union fell,
NATO sort of has been looking for a new purpose
over the past couple of decades.
If Russia invades Ukraine,
NATO suddenly has a brand new purpose to unite
and to invest in becoming more powerful than ever.
Putin knows that.
And it would be very bad news for him if that happened.
But most importantly, perhaps the easiest clue
for me to believe that war isn't coming tomorrow
is the Russian propaganda machine
is not preparing the Russian people for an invasion.
In 2014, when Russia was about to invade
and take over Crimea, this part of Ukraine,
there was a barrage of state propaganda
that prepared the Russian people
that this was a justified attack.
So when it happened, it wasn't a surprise
and it felt very normal.

That isn't happening right now in Russia.
At least for now. It may start happening tomorrow.
But for now, I think Putin is showing up to the border,
flexing his muscles and showing the West that he is earnest.
I'm not sure that he's going to invade tomorrow,
but he very well could.
I mean, read the guy's blog post
and you'll realize that he is a romantic about this.
He is incredibly idealistic about the glory days
of the Slavic empires, and he wants to get it back.
So there is dangerous momentum towards war.
And the way war works is even a small little, like, fight,
can turn into the other guy
doing something bigger and crazier.
And then the other person has to respond
with something a little bit bigger.
That's called escalation.
And there's not really a ceiling
to how much that momentum can spin out of control.
That is why it's so scary when two nuclear countries
go to war with each other,
because there's kind of no ceiling.
So yeah, it's dangerous. This is scary.
I'm not sure what happens next here,
but the best we can do is keep an eye on this.
At least for now, we better understand
what Putin really wants out of all of this.

Thanks for watching.

James White

James White

1 year ago

I read three of Elon Musk's suggested books (And His Taste Is Incredible)

A reading list for successful people

Daniel Oberhaus via Flickr

Elon Musk reads and talks. So, one learns. Many brilliant individuals & amazing literature.

This article recommends 3 Elon Musk novels. All of them helped me succeed. Hope they'll help you.

Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Page Count: 193
Rating on Goodreads: 4.23

Arthur Dent is pulled off Earth by a buddy seconds before it's razed for a cosmic motorway. The trio hitchhikes through space and gets into problems.

I initially read Hitchhiker's as a child. To evade my mum, I'd read with a flashlight under the covers. She'd scold at me for not sleeping on school nights when she found out. Oops.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is lighthearted science fiction.

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “Space is big. You won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

  • “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

  • “On planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars, and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.”

the Sun Tzu book The Art Of War

Page Count: 273
Rating on Goodreads: 3.97

It's a classic. You may apply The Art of War's ideas to (nearly) every facet of life. Ex:

  • Pick your fights.

  • Keep in mind that timing is crucial.

  • Create a backup plan in case something goes wrong.

  • Obstacles provide us a chance to adapt and change.

This book was my first. Since then, I'm a more strategic entrepreneur. Excellent book. And read it ASAP!

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

  • “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

  • “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Peter Thiel's book Zero to One

Page Count: 195
Rating on Goodreads: 4.18

Peter argues the best money-making strategies are typically unproven. Entrepreneurship should never have a defined path to success. Whoever says differently is lying.

Zero to One explores technology and society. Peter is a philosophy major and law school graduate, which informs the work.

Peters' ideas, depth, and intellect stood out in Zero to One. It's a top business book.

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”

  • “The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”

  • “If your goal is to never make a mistake in your life, you shouldn’t look for secrets. The prospect of being lonely but right — dedicating your life to something that no one else believes in — is already hard. The prospect of being lonely and wrong can be unbearable.”

Michael Hunter, MD

Michael Hunter, MD

1 year ago

5 Drugs That May Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

While our genes can't be changed easily, you can avoid some dementia risk factors. Today we discuss dementia and five drugs that may increase risk.

Memory loss appears to come with age, but we're not talking about forgetfulness. Sometimes losing your car keys isn't an indication of dementia. Dementia impairs the capacity to think, remember, or make judgments. Dementia hinders daily tasks.

Alzheimers is the most common dementia. Dementia is not normal aging, unlike forgetfulness. Aging increases the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias. A family history of the illness increases your risk, according to the Mayo Clinic (USA).

Given that our genes are difficult to change (I won't get into epigenetics), what are some avoidable dementia risk factors? Certain drugs may cause cognitive deterioration.

Today we look at four drugs that may cause cognitive decline.

Dementia and benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine sedatives increase brain GABA levels. Example benzodiazepines:

  • Diazepam (Valium) (Valium)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax) (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) (Klonopin)

Addiction and overdose are benzodiazepine risks. Yes! These medications don't raise dementia risk.

USC study: Benzodiazepines don't increase dementia risk in older adults.

Benzodiazepines can produce short- and long-term amnesia. This memory loss hinders memory formation. Extreme cases can permanently impair learning and memory. Anterograde amnesia is uncommon.

2. Statins and dementia

Statins reduce cholesterol. They prevent a cholesterol-making chemical. Examples:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor) (Lipitor)

  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL) (Lescol XL)

  • Lovastatin (Altoprev) (Altoprev)

  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag) (Livalo, Zypitamag)

  • Pravastatin (Pravachol) (Pravachol)

  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor) (Crestor, Ezallor)

  • Simvastatin (Zocor) (Zocor)

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This finding is contentious. Harvard's Brigham and Womens Hospital's Dr. Joann Manson says:

“I think that the relationship between statins and cognitive function remains controversial. There’s still not a clear conclusion whether they help to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, have neutral effects, or increase risk.”

This one's off the dementia list.

3. Dementia and anticholinergic drugs

Anticholinergic drugs treat many conditions, including urine incontinence. Drugs inhibit acetylcholine (a brain chemical that helps send messages between cells). Acetylcholine blockers cause drowsiness, disorientation, and memory loss.

First-generation antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and overactive bladder antimuscarinics are common anticholinergics among the elderly.

Anticholinergic drugs may cause dementia. One study found that taking anticholinergics for three years or more increased the risk of dementia by 1.54 times compared to three months or less. After stopping the medicine, the danger may continue.

4. Drugs for Parkinson's disease and dementia

Cleveland Clinic (USA) on Parkinson's:

Parkinson's disease causes age-related brain degeneration. It causes delayed movements, tremors, and balance issues. Some are inherited, but most are unknown. There are various treatment options, but no cure.

Parkinson's medications can cause memory loss, confusion, delusions, and obsessive behaviors. The drug's effects on dopamine cause these issues.

A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found powerful anticholinergic medications enhance dementia risk.

Those who took anticholinergics had a 1.5 times higher chance of dementia. Individuals taking antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, overactive bladder drugs, and anti-epileptic drugs had the greatest risk of dementia.

Anticholinergic medicines can lessen Parkinson's-related tremors, but they slow cognitive ability. Anticholinergics can cause disorientation and hallucinations in those over 70.

Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

5. Antiepileptic drugs and dementia

The risk of dementia from anti-seizure drugs varies with drugs. Levetiracetam (Keppra) improves Alzheimer's cognition.

One study linked different anti-seizure medications to dementia. Anti-epileptic medicines increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 1.15 times in the Finnish sample and 1.3 times in the German population. Depakote, Topamax are drugs.