More on Personal Growth
1 month ago
My Work at a $1.2 Billion Startup That Failed
Sometimes doing everything correctly isn't enough.
In 2020, I could fix my life.
After failing to start a business, I owed $40,000 and had no work.
A $1.2 billion startup on the cusp of going public pulled me up.
Ironically, it was getting ready for an epic fall — with the world watching.
Life sometimes helps. Without a base, even the strongest fall. A corporation that did everything right failed 3 months after going public.
Apple is the creator of Adore.
Out of respect, I've altered the company and employees' names in this account, despite their failure.
Although being a publicly traded company, it may become obvious.
We’ll call it “Adore” — a revolutionary concept in retail shopping.
Two Apple execs established Adore in 2014 with a focus on people-first purchasing.
Jon and Tim:
The concept for the stylish Apple retail locations you see today was developed by retail expert Jon Swanson, who collaborated closely with Steve Jobs.
Tim Cruiter is a graphic designer who produced the recognizable bouncing lamp video that appears at the start of every Pixar film.
The dynamic duo realized their vision.
“What if you could combine the convenience of online shopping with the confidence of the conventional brick-and-mortar store experience.”
Adore's mobile store concept combined traditional retail with online shopping.
Adore brought joy to 70+ cities and 4 countries over 7 years, including the US, Canada, and the UK.
Being employed on the ground floor, with world dominance and IPO on the horizon, was exciting.
I started as an Adore Expert.
I delivered cell phones, helped consumers set them up, and sold add-ons.
As the company grew, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator and trained new employees across North America using Zoom.
In this capacity, I gained corporate insider knowledge. I worked with the creative team and Jon and Tim.
It's where I saw company foundation fissures. Despite appearances, investors were concerned.
The business strategy was ground-breaking.
Even after seeing my employee stocks fall from a home down payment to $0 (when Adore filed for bankruptcy), it's hard to pinpoint what went wrong.
Solid business model, well-executed.
Jon and Tim's chase for public funding ended in glory.
Here’s the business model in a nutshell:
Buying cell phones is cumbersome. You have two choices:
Online purchase: not knowing what plan you require or how to operate your device.
Enter a store, which can be troublesome and stressful.
Apple, AT&T, and Rogers offered Adore as a free delivery add-on. Customers could:
Have their phone delivered by UPS or Canada Post in 1-2 weeks.
Alternately, arrange for a person to visit them the same day (or sometimes even the same hour) to assist them set up their phone and demonstrate how to use it (transferring contacts, switching the SIM card, etc.).
Each Adore Expert brought a van with extra devices and accessories to customers.
Here’s how Adore and its partners made money:
Adores partners appreciated sending Experts to consumers' homes since they improved customer satisfaction, average sale, and gadget returns.
**Telecom enterprises have low customer satisfaction. The average NPS is 30/100. Adore's global NPS was 80.
Adore made money by:
a set cost for each delivery
commission on sold warranties and extras
Consumer product applications seemed infinite.
A proprietary scheduling system (“The Adore App”), allowed for same-day, even same-hour deliveries.
It differentiates Adore.
They treated staff generously by:
Options on stock
high rates per hour
Four-day workweeks were set by experts.
Being hired early felt like joining Uber, Netflix, or Tesla. We hoped the company's stocks would rise.
I smiled as I greeted more than 1,000 new staff.
I spent a decade in retail before joining Adore. I needed a change.
After a leap of faith, I needed a lifeline. So, I applied for retail sales jobs in the spring of 2019.
The universe typically offers you what you want after you accept what you need. I needed a job to settle my debt and reach $0 again.
And the universe listened.
After being hired as an Adore Expert, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator. Enough said.
After weeks of economic damage from the pandemic.
This employment let me work from home during the pandemic. It taught me excellent business skills.
I was active in brainstorming, onboarding new personnel, and expanding communication as we grew.
This job gave me vital skills and a regular paycheck during the pandemic.
It wasn’t until January of 2022 that I left on my own accord to try to work for myself again — this time, it’s going much better.
Adore was perfect. We valued:
Everything we did centered on compassion, and we held frequent Justice Calls to discuss diversity and work culture.
The last day of onboarding typically ended in tears as employees felt like they'd found a home, as I had.
Like all nice things, the wonderful vibes ended.
First indication of distress
My first day at the workplace was great.
Fun, intuitive, and they wanted creative individuals, not salesman.
While sales were important, the company's vision was more important.
“To deliver joy through life-changing mobile retail experiences.”
Thorough, forward-thinking training. We had a module on intuition. It gave us role ownership.
We were flown cross-country for training, gave feedback, and felt like we made a difference. Multiple contacts responded immediately and enthusiastically.
The atmosphere was genuine.
Making money was secondary, though. Incredible service was a priority.
Jon and Tim answered new hires' questions during Zoom calls during onboarding. CEOs seldom meet new hires this way, but they seemed to enjoy it.
All appeared well.
But in late 2021, things started changing.
Adore's leadership changed after its IPO. From basic values to sales maximization. We lost communication and were forced to fend for ourselves.
Removed the training wheels.
It got tougher to gain instructions from those above me, and new employees told me their roles weren't as advertised.
External money-focused managers were hired.
Instead of creative types, we hired salespeople.
With a new focus on numbers, Adore's uniqueness began to crumble.
Via Zoom, hundreds of workers were let go.
Early in 2022, mass Zoom firings were trending. A CEO firing 900 workers over Zoom went viral.
Adore was special to me, but it became a headline.
30 June 2022, Vice Motherboard published Watch as Adore's CEO Fires Hundreds.
It described a leaked video of Jon Swanson laying off all staff in Canada and the UK.
They called it a “notice of redundancy”.
The corporation couldn't pay its employees.
I loved Adore's underlying ideals, among other things. We called clients Adorers and sold solutions, not add-ons.
But, like anything, a company is only as strong as its weakest link. And obviously, the people-first focus wasn’t making enough money.
There were signs. The expansion was presumably a race against time and money.
Adore finally declared bankruptcy.
Adore declared bankruptcy 3 months after going public. It happened in waves, like any large-scale fall.
Initial key players to leave were
Then, communication deteriorated.
Lastly, the corporate culture disintegrated.
6 months after leaving Adore, I received a letter in the mail from a Law firm — it was about my stocks.
Adore filed Chapter 11. I had to sue to collect my worthless investments.
I hoped those stocks will be valuable someday. Nope. Nope.
Sad, I sighed.
$1.2 billion firm gone.
I left the workplace 3 months before starting a writing business. Despite being mediocre, I'm doing fine.
I got up as Adore fell.
Finally, can we scale kindness?
I trust my gut. Changes at Adore made me leave before it sank.
Adores' unceremonious slide from a top startup to bankruptcy is astonishing to me.
The company did everything perfectly, in my opinion.
first to market,
provided excellent service
paid their staff handsomely.
was responsible and attentive to criticism
The company wasn't led by an egotistical eccentric. The crew had centuries of cumulative space experience.
I'm optimistic about the future of work culture, but is compassion scalable?
1 month ago
The best lesson from Sundar Pichai is that success and stress don't mix.
His regular regimen teaches stress management.
In 1995, an Indian graduate visited the US. He obtained a scholarship to Stanford after graduating from IIT with a silver medal. First flight. His ticket cost a year's income. His head was full.
Pichai Sundararajan is his full name. He became Google's CEO and a world leader. Mr. Pichai transformed technology and inspired millions to dream big.
This article reveals his daily schedule.
While many of us dread Mondays, Mr. Pichai uses the day to contemplate.
A typical Indian morning. He awakens between 6:30 and 7 a.m. He avoids working out in the mornings.
Mr. Pichai oversees the internet, but he reads a real newspaper every morning.
Pichai mentioned that he usually enjoys a quiet breakfast during which he reads the news to get a good sense of what’s happening in the world. Pichai often has an omelet for breakfast and reads while doing so. The native of Chennai, India, continues to enjoy his daily cup of tea, which he describes as being “very English.”
Pichai starts his day. BuzzFeed's Mat Honan called the CEO Banana Republic dad.
Overthinking in the morning is a bad idea. It's crucial to clear our brains and give ourselves time in the morning before we hit traffic.
Mr. Pichai's morning ritual shows how to stay calm. Wharton Business School found that those who start the day calmly tend to stay that way. It's worth doing regularly.
And he didn't forget his roots.
He has a busy work schedule, as you can imagine. Running one of the world's largest firm takes time, energy, and effort. He prioritizes his work. Monitoring corporate performance and guaranteeing worker efficiency.
Sundar Pichai spends 7-8 hours a day to improve Google. He's noted for changing the company's culture. He wants to boost employee job satisfaction and performance.
His work won him recognition within the company.
Pichai received a 96% approval rating from Glassdoor users in 2017.
Mr. Pichai stresses work satisfaction. Each day is a new canvas for him to find ways to enrich people's job and personal lives.
His work offers countless lessons. According to several profiles and press sources, the Google CEO is a savvy negotiator. Mr. Pichai's success came from his strong personality, work ethic, discipline, simplicity, and hard labor.
His evenings are spent with family after a busy day. Sundar Pichai's professional and personal lives are balanced. Sundar Pichai is a night owl who re-energizes about 9 p.m.
However, he claims to be most productive after 10 p.m., and he thinks doing a lot of work at that time is really useful. But he ensures he sleeps for around 7–8 hours every day. He enjoys long walks with his dog and enjoys watching NSDR on YouTube. It helps him in relaxing and sleep better.
His regular routine teaches us what? Work wisely, not hard, discipline, vision, etc. His stress management is key. Leading one of the world's largest firm with 85,000 employees is scary.
The pressure to achieve may ruin a day. Overworked employees are more likely to make mistakes or be angry with coworkers, according to the Family Work Institute. They can't handle daily problems, making the house more stressful than the office.
Walking your dog, having fun with friends, and having hobbies are as vital as your office.
1 month ago
Activating Your Vagus Nerve
11 science-backed ways to improve health, happiness, healing, relaxation, and mental clarity.
Vagus nerve is the main parasympathetic nervous system component.
It helps us rest and digest by slowing and stabilizing a resting heart rate, slowing and stabilizing the breath, promoting digestion, improving recovery and healing times, producing saliva, releasing endorphins and hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, and boosting the immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems.
The vagus nerve sends anti-inflammatory signals to other parts of the body and is located behind the tongue, in the throat, neck, heart, lungs, abdomen, and brainstem.
Vagus means wandering in Latin. So, it's bold.
Here are 11 proven ways to boost health, happiness, and the vagus nerve.
“Yoga stimulates different nerves in your body, especially the vagus nerve that carries information from the brain to most of the body’s major organs, slows everything down and allows self-regulation. It’s the nerve that is associated with the parasympathetic system and emotions like love, joy, and compassion.” — Deepak Chopra
Stretching doesn't require a yoga background.
Listen to your body and ease into simple poses. This connects the mind and body.
If you're new to yoga or don't have access to an in-person class, try Yoga with Adrienne. Over 600 YouTube videos give her plenty of material.
Because inhaling and exhaling activate the autonomic nervous system, we can breathe to relax.
Exhaling activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). One inhales stress, the other exhales it.
So, faster or more intense breathing increases stress. Slower breathing relaxes us.
Breathe slowly, smoothly, and less.
Rhythmic breathing helps me relax.
What to do is as follows:
1. Take 4 smooth, forceless nose breaths.
2. Exhale smoothly and forcefully for 4 seconds
3. Don't pause at the inhale or exhale.
4. Continue for 5 minutes/40 breaths
5. Hold your breath as long as comfortable.
6. Breathe normally.
If four seconds is too long, try breathing in and out for two seconds, or in and out for three seconds, until your breath naturally relaxes. Once calmer, extend your breath.
Any consistent rhythm without force is good. Your heart will follow your lead and become coherent.
Singing, chanting, or humming activate the vagus nerve through the back of the throat.
Humming emits nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide improves blood circulation, blood flow, heart health, and blood pressure.
Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties kill viruses and bacteria in the nose and throat.
Gargling water stimulates the vagus nerve.
Simple ways to heal, boost energy, and boost mood are often the healthiest. They're free and can be done anywhere.
4. Have more fun
Laughing stimulates the throat muscles, activating the vagus nerve. What's not to like? It releases dopamine.
Take time to enjoy life. Maybe it's a book, podcast, movie, socializing with friends, or laughing yoga.
Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell says.
Laugh at yourself
Gagging activates vagus nerve-connected muscles. Some doctors use the gag reflex to test the vagus nerve.
Grossness isn't required. While brushing, gag quickly. My girlfriend's brother always does it.
I'm done brushing when I gag, he says.
6. Take in the outdoors
Nature relaxes body and mind. Better if you can walk barefoot.
Earthing is associated with hippies dancing in daisies.
Science now supports hippies.
7. Enter some chilly water.
The diving reflex activates the vagus nerve when exposed to cold water.
The diving reflex involves holding your breath in cold water. Cold showers work best.
Within minutes of being in cold water, parasympathetic nervous system activity, which calms the body, increases.
Exercise increases dopamine, blood circulation, and breathing. So we feel energized, calm, and well-rested.
After resting, the parasympathetic nervous system engages.
It's worth waiting for, though.
9. Play music with brainwaves
Brainwave music harmonizes brainwave activity, boosts productivity and mental clarity, and promotes peace and relaxation by stimulating the vagus nerve.
Simply play a song.
10. Make gentle eyes
Eyes, like breath, often reflect inner state. Sharp, dilated, focused eyes indicate alertness.
Soft, open eyes reflect relaxation and ease. Soft eyes relax the nervous system.
This practice reduces stress, anxiety, and body tension. It's a quick and effective way to enter a calm, peaceful state.
Wild animals can be hunted one minute and graze the next.
Put it into action:
Relax while seated.
Gaze at a distant object
Use peripheral vision while looking straight ahead
Without moving your eyes, look up and down. Connect side spaces to your vision.
Focus on everything as your eyes soften.
Stay as long as you like
11. Be intimate
We kiss, moan, and breathe deeper during love. We get dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and vagus nerve stimulation.
To sum up
Here are 11 vagus nerve resets:
Spend time outdoors
Leap into chilly water
Play music with brainwaves.
Make gentle eyes.
If these words have inspired you, try my favorite breathwork technique. Combining breathing, chanting, and brainwave music. Win-win-win :)
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7 months ago
NFT was used to serve a restraining order on an anonymous hacker.
The international law firm Holland & Knight used an NFT built and airdropped by its asset recovery team to serve a defendant in a hacking case.
The law firms Holland & Knight and Bluestone used a nonfungible token to serve a defendant in a hacking case with a temporary restraining order, marking the first documented legal process assisted by an NFT.
The so-called "service token" or "service NFT" was served to an unknown defendant in a hacking case involving LCX, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Liechtenstein that was hacked for over $8 million in January. The attack compromised the platform's hot wallets, resulting in the loss of Ether (ETH), USD Coin (USDC), and other cryptocurrencies, according to Cointelegraph at the time.
On June 7, LCX claimed that around 60% of the stolen cash had been frozen, with investigations ongoing in Liechtenstein, Ireland, Spain, and the United States. Based on a court judgment from the New York Supreme Court, Centre Consortium, a company created by USDC issuer Circle and crypto exchange Coinbase, has frozen around $1.3 million in USDC.
The monies were laundered through Tornado Cash, according to LCX, but were later tracked using "algorithmic forensic analysis." The organization was also able to identify wallets linked to the hacker as a result of the investigation.
In light of these findings, the law firms representing LCX, Holland & Knight and Bluestone, served the unnamed defendant with a temporary restraining order issued on-chain using an NFT. According to LCX, this system "was allowed by the New York Supreme Court and is an example of how innovation can bring legitimacy and transparency to a market that some say is ungovernable."
1 year ago
LCX is the latest CEX to have suffered a private key exploit.
The attack began around 10:30 PM +UTC on January 8th.
We’ve said it before; if established companies holding millions of dollars of users’ funds can’t manage their own hot wallet security, what purpose do they serve?
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of centralised finance grows smaller by the day.
The official incident report states that 7.94M USD were stolen in total, and that deposits and withdrawals to the platform have been paused.
LCX hot wallet: 0x4631018f63d5e31680fb53c11c9e1b11f1503e6f
Hacker’s wallet: 0x165402279f2c081c54b00f0e08812f3fd4560a05
- 162.68 ETH (502,671 USD)
- 3,437,783.23 USDC (3,437,783 USD)
- 761,236.94 EURe (864,840 USD)
- 101,249.71 SAND Token (485,995 USD)
- 1,847.65 LINK (48,557 USD)
- 17,251,192.30 LCX Token (2,466,558 USD)
- 669.00 QNT (115,609 USD)
- 4,819.74 ENJ (10,890 USD)
- 4.76 MKR (9,885 USD)
**~$1M worth of $LCX remains in the address, along with 611k EURe which has been frozen by Monerium.
The rest, a total of 1891 ETH (~$6M) was sent to Tornado Cash.**
Why can’t they keep private keys private?
Is it really that difficult for a traditional corporate structure to maintain good practice?
CeFi hacks leave us with little to say - we can only go on what the team chooses to tell us.
Next time, they can write this article themselves.
See below for a template.
1 month ago
These new DeFi protocols are just amazing.
I've never seen this before.
Focus on native crypto development, not price activity or turmoil.
CT is boring now. Either folks are still angry about FTX or they're distracted by AI. Plus, it's year-end, and people rest for the holidays. 2022 was rough.
So DeFi fans can get inspired by something fresh. Who's building? As I read the Defillama daily roundup, many updates are still on FTX and its contagion.
I've used the same method on their Raises page. Not much happened :(. Maybe my high standards are to fault, but the business may be resting. OK.
The handful I locate might last us till the end of the year. (If another big blowup occurs.)
An on-chain monitor account I follow reported a huge transfer of $HFT from Binance to Jump Tradings.
I was intrigued. Stacking? So I checked and discovered out the project was launched through Binance Launchpad, which has introduced many 100x tokens (although momentarily) in the past, such as GALA and STEPN.
Hashflow appears to be pumpable. Binance launchpad, VC backers, CEX listing immediately. What's the protocol?
Hasflow is intriguing and timely, I discovered. After the FTX collapse, people looked more at DEXs.
Hashflow is a decentralized exchange that connects traders with professional market makers, according to its Binance launchpad description. Post-FTX, market makers lost their MM-ing chance with the collapse of the world's third-largest exchange. Jump and Wintermute back them?
Why is that the case? Hashflow doesn't use bonding curves like standard AMM. On AMMs, you pay more for the following trade because the prior trade reduces liquidity (supply and demand). With market maker quotations, you get a CEX-like experience (fewer coins in the pool, higher price). Stable prices, no MEV frontrunning.
Hashflow is innovative because...
DEXs gained from the FTX crash, but let's be honest: DEXs aren't as good as CEXs. Hashflow will change this.
Hashflow offers MEV protection, which major dealers seek in DEXs. You can trade large amounts without front running and sandwich assaults.
Hasflow offers a user-friendly swapping platform besides MEV. Any chain can be traded smoothly. This is a benefit because DEXs lag CEXs in UX.
Wintermute wrote in August that prominent market makers will work on Hashflow. Binance launched a month-long farming session in December. Jump probably participated in this initial sell, therefore we witnessed a significant transfer after the introduction.
Binance began trading HFT token on November 11 (the day FTX imploded). coincidence?)
Tokens are used for community rewards. Perhaps they'd copy dYdX. (Airdrop?). Read their documents about their future plans. Tokenomics doesn't impress me. Governance, rewards, and NFT.
Their stat page details their activity. First came Ethereum, then Arbitrum. For a new protocol in a bear market, they handled a lot of unique users daily.
It’s interesting to see their future. Will they be thriving? Not only against DEXs, but also among the CEXs too.
I forget how I found STFX. Possibly a Twitter thread concerning Arbitrum applications. STFX was the only new protocol I found interesting.
STFX is a new concept and trader problem-solver. I've never seen this protocol.
STFX allows you copy trades. You give someone your money to trade for you.
It's a marketplace. Traders are everywhere. You put your entry, exit, liquidation point, and trading theory. Twitter has a verification system for socials. Leaderboards display your trading skill.
This service could be popular. Staying disciplined is the hardest part of trading. Sometimes you take-profit too early or too late, or sell at a loss when an asset dumps, then it soon recovers (often happens in crypto.) It's hard to stick to entry-exit and liquidation plans.
What if you could hire someone to run your trade for a little commission? Set-and-forget.
Trading money isn't easy. Trust how? How do you know they won't steal your money?
STFX's trader is a vault maker/manager. One trade=one vault. User sets long/short, entrance, exit, and liquidation point. Anyone who agrees can exchange instantly. The smart contract will keep the fund during the trade and limit the manager's actions.
Here's STFX's transaction flow.
Managers and the treasury receive fees. It's a sustainable business strategy that benefits everyone.
I'm impressed by $STFX's planned use. Brilliant priority access. A crypto dealer opens a vault here. Many would join. STFX tokens offer VIP access over those without tokens.
STFX provides short-term trading, which is mind-blowing to me. I agree with their platform's purpose. Crypto market pricing actions foster short-termism. When you trade, the turnover could be larger than long-term holding or trading. 2017 BTC buyers waited 5 years to complete their holdings.
STFX teams simply adapted. Volatility aids trading.
All things about STFX scream Degen. The protocol fully embraces the degen nature of some, if not most, crypto natives.
An enjoyable dApp. Leaderboards are fun for reputation-building. FLEXING COMPETITIONS. You can join for as low as $10. STFX uses Arbitrum, therefore gas costs are low. Alpha procedure completes the degen feeling.
Despite looking like they don't take themselves seriously, I sense a strong business plan below. There is a real demand for the solution STFX offers.