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Bradley Vangelder

Bradley Vangelder

1 year ago

How we started and then quickly sold our startup

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Antonio Neto

Antonio Neto

1 year ago

What's up with tech?

Massive Layoffs, record low VC investment, debate over crash... why is it happening and what’s the endgame?

This article generalizes a diverse industry. For objectivity, specific tech company challenges like growing competition within named segments won't be considered. Please comment on the posts.

According to Layoffs.fyi, nearly 120.000 people have been fired from startups since March 2020. More than 700 startups have fired 1% to 100% of their workforce. "The tech market is crashing"

Venture capital investment dropped 19% QoQ in the first four months of 2022, a 2018 low. Since January 2022, Nasdaq has dropped 27%. Some believe the tech market is collapsing.

It's bad, but nothing has crashed yet. We're about to get super technical, so buckle up!

I've written a follow-up article about what's next. For a more optimistic view of the crisis' aftermath, see: Tech Diaspora and Silicon Valley crisis

What happened?

Insanity reigned. Last decade, everyone became a unicorn. Seed investments can be made without a product or team. While the "real world" economy suffered from the pandemic for three years, tech companies enjoyed the "new normal."

COVID sped up technology adoption on several fronts, but this "new normal" wasn't so new after many restrictions were lifted. Worse, it lived with disrupted logistics chains, high oil prices, and WW3. The consumer market has felt the industry's boom for almost 3 years. Inflation, unemployment, mental distress...what looked like a fast economic recovery now looks like unfulfilled promises.

People rethink everything they eat. Paying a Netflix subscription instead of buying beef is moronic if you can watch it for free on your cousin’s account. No matter how great your real estate app's UI is, buying a house can wait until mortgage rates drop. PLGProduct Led Growth (PLG) isn't the go-to strategy when consumers have more basic expense priorities.

Exponential growth and investment

Until recently, tech companies believed that non-exponential revenue growth was fatal. Exponential growth entails doing more with less. From Salim Ismail words:

An Exponential Organization (ExO) has 10x the impact of its peers.

Many tech companies' theories are far from reality.

Investors have funded (sometimes non-exponential) growth. Scale-driven companies throw people at problems until they're solved. Need an entire closing team because you’ve just bought a TV prime time add? Sure. Want gold-weight engineers to colorize buttons? Why not?

Tech companies don't need cash flow to do it; they can just show revenue growth and get funding. Even though it's hard to get funding, this was the market's momentum until recently.

The graph at the beginning of this section shows how industry heavyweights burned money until 2020, despite being far from their market-share seed stage. Being big and being sturdy are different things, and a lot of the tech startups out there are paper tigers. Without investor money, they have no foundation.

A little bit about interest rates

Inflation-driven high interest rates are said to be causing tough times. Investors would rather leave money in the bank than spend it (I myself said it some days ago). It’s not wrong, but it’s also not that simple.

The USA central bank (FED) is a good proxy of global economics. Dollar treasury bonds are the safest investment in the world. Buying U.S. debt, the only country that can print dollars, guarantees payment.

The graph above shows that FED interest rates are low and 10+ year bond yields are near 2018 levels. Nobody was firing at 2018. What’s with that then?

Full explanation is too technical for this article, so I'll just summarize: Bond yields rise due to lack of demand or market expectations of longer-lasting inflation. Safe assets aren't a "easy money" tactic for investors. If that were true, we'd have seen the current scenario before.

Long-term investors are protecting their capital from inflation.

Not a crash, a landing

I bombarded you with info... Let's review:

  • Consumption is down, hurting revenue.

  • Tech companies of all ages have been hiring to grow revenue at the expense of profit.

  • Investors expect inflation to last longer, reducing future investment gains.

Inflation puts pressure on a wheel that was rolling full speed not long ago. Investment spurs hiring, growth, and more investment. Worried investors and consumers reduce the cycle, and hiring follows.

Long-term investors back startups. When the invested company goes public or is sold, it's ok to burn money. What happens when the payoff gets further away? What if all that money sinks? Investors want immediate returns.

Why isn't the market crashing? Technology is not losing capital. It’s expecting change. The market realizes it threw moderation out the window and is reversing course. Profitability is back on the menu.

People solve problems and make money, but they also cost money. Huge cost for the tech industry. Engineers, Product Managers, and Designers earn up to 100% more than similar roles. Businesses must be careful about who they keep and in what positions to avoid wasting money.

What the future holds

From here on, it's all speculation. I found many great articles while researching this piece. Some are cited, others aren't (like this and this). We're in an adjustment period that may or may not last long.

Big companies aren't laying off many workers. Netflix firing 100 people makes headlines, but it's only 1% of their workforce. The biggest seem to prefer not hiring over firing.

Smaller startups beyond the seeding stage may be hardest hit. Without structure or product maturity, many will die.

I expect layoffs to continue for some time, even at Meta or Amazon. I don't see any industry names falling like they did during the .com crisis, but the market will shrink.

If you are currently employed, think twice before moving out and where to.
If you've been fired, hurry, there are still many opportunities.
If you're considering a tech career, wait.
If you're starting a business, I respect you. Good luck.

Jenn Leach

Jenn Leach

1 year ago

In November, I made an effort to pitch 10 brands per day. Here's what I discovered.

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

I pitched 10 brands per workday for a total of 200.

How did I do?

It was difficult.

I've never pitched so much.

What did this challenge teach me?

  • the superiority of quality over quantity

  • When you need help, outsource

  • Don't disregard burnout in order to complete a challenge because it exists.

First, pitching brands for brand deals requires quality. Find firms that align with your brand to expose to your audience.

If you associate with any company, you'll lose audience loyalty. I didn't lose sight of that, but I couldn't resist finishing the task.

Outsourcing.

Delegating work to teammates is effective.

I wish I'd done it.

Three people can pitch 200 companies a month significantly faster than one.

One person does research, one to two do outreach, and one to two do follow-up and negotiating.

Simple.

In 2022, I'll outsource everything.

Burnout.

I felt this, so I slowed down at the end of the month.

Thanksgiving week in November was slow.

I was buying and decorating for Christmas. First time putting up outdoor holiday lights was fun.

Much was happening.

I'm not perfect.

I'm being honest.

The Outcomes

Less than 50 brands pitched.

Result: A deal with 3 brands.

I hoped for 4 brands with reaching out to 200 companies, so three with under 50 is wonderful.

That’s a 6% conversion rate!

Whoo-hoo!

I needed 2%.

Here's a screenshot from one of the deals I booked.

These companies fit my company well. Each campaign is different, but I've booked $2,450 in brand work with a couple of pending transactions for December and January.

$2,450 in brand work booked!

How did I do? You tell me.

Is this something you’d try yourself?

Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan

1 year ago

How to Make $1,037,100 in 4 Months with This Weird Website

One great idea might make you rich.

Author Screenshot | Source

Imagine having a million-dollar concept in college that made a million.

2005 precisely.

Alex Tew, 21, from Wiltshire, England, created The Million Dollar Homepage in August 2005. The idea is basic but beyond the ordinary, which is why it worked.

Alex built a 1,000,000-pixel webpage.

Each website pixel would cost $1. Since pixels are hard to discern, he sold 10x10 squares for $100.

He'd make a million if all the spots sold.

He may have thought about NFTs and the Metaverse decades ago.

MillionDollarHomepage.com launched in 2005.

Businesses and individuals could buy a website spot and add their logo, website link, and tagline. You bought an ad, but nobody visited the website.

If a few thousand people visited the website, it could drive traffic to your business's site.

Alex promised buyers the website would be up for 5 years, so it was a safe bet.

Alex's friend with a music website was the first to buy real estate on the site. Within two weeks, 4,700 pixels sold, and a tracker showed how many were sold and available.

Screenshot from: Source

Word-of-mouth marketing got the press's attention quickly. Everyone loves reading about new ways to make money, so it was a good news story.

By September, over 250,000 pixels had been sold, according to a BBC press release.

Alex and the website gained more media and public attention, so traffic skyrocketed. Two months after the site launched, 1,400 customers bought more than 500,000 pixels.

Businesses bought online real estate. They heard thousands visited the site, so they could get attention cheaply.

Unless you bought a few squares, I'm not sure how many people would notice your ad or click your link.

A sponge website owner emailed Alex:

“We tried Million Dollar Homepage because we were impressed at the level of ingenuity and the sheer simplicity of it. If we’re honest, we didn’t expect too much from it. Now, as a direct result, we are pitching for £18,000 GBP worth of new clients and have seen our site traffic increase over a hundred-fold. We’re even going to have to upgrade our hosting facility! It’s been exceptional.”

Web.archive.org screenshots show how the website changed.

GIF from web.archive.org

“The idea is to create something of an internet time capsule: a homepage that is unique and permanent. Everything on the internet keeps changing so fast, it will be nice to have something that stays solid and permanent for many years. You can be a part of that!” Alex Tew, 2005

The last 1,000 pixels were sold on January 1, 2006.

By then, the homepage had hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. Alex put the last space on eBay due to high demand.

MillionDollarWeightLoss.com won the last pixels for $38,100, bringing revenue to $1,037,100 in 4 months.

Made in Canva

Many have tried to replicate this website's success. They've all failed.

This idea only worked because no one had seen this website before.

This winner won't be repeated, but it should inspire you to try something new and creative.

Still popular, you could buy one of the linked domains. You can't buy pixels, but you can buy an expired domain.

One link I clicked costs $59,888.

Screenshot from DomainMarket.com

You'd own a piece of internet history if you spent that much on a domain.

Someone bought stablesgallery.co.uk after the domain expired and restored it.

Many of the linked websites have expired or been redirected, but some still link to the original. I couldn't find sponge's website. Can you?

This is a great example of how a simple creative idea can go viral.

Comment on this amazing success story.

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Yucel F. Sahan

Yucel F. Sahan

1 year ago

How I Created the Day's Top Product on Product Hunt

In this article, I'll describe a weekend project I started to make something. It was Product Hunt's #1 of the Day, #2 Weekly, and #4 Monthly product.

How did I make Landing Page Checklist so simple? Building and launching took 3 weeks. I worked 3 hours a day max. Weekends were busy.

It's sort of a long story, so scroll to the bottom of the page to see what tools I utilized to create Landing Page Checklist :x ‍

As a matter of fact, it all started with the startups-investments blog; Startup Bulletin, that I started writing in 2018. No, don’t worry, I won’t be going that far behind. The twitter account where I shared the blog posts of this newsletter was inactive for a looong time. I was holding this Twitter account since 2009, I couldn’t bear to destroy it. At the same time, I was thinking how to evaluate this account.

So I looked for a weekend assignment.

Weekend undertaking: Generate business names

Barash and I established a weekend effort to stay current. Building things helped us learn faster.

Simple. Startup Name Generator The utility generated random startup names. After market research for SEO purposes, we dubbed it Business Name Generator.

Backend developer Barash dislikes frontend work. He told me to write frontend code. Chakra UI and Tailwind CSS were recommended.

It was the first time I have heard about Tailwind CSS.

Before this project, I made mobile-web app designs in Sketch and shared them via Zeplin. I can read HTML-CSS or React code, but not write it. I didn't believe myself but followed Barash's advice.

My home page wasn't responsive when I started. Here it was:)

And then... Product Hunt had something I needed. Me-only! A website builder that gives you clean Tailwind CSS code and pre-made web components (like Elementor). Incredible.

I bought it right away because it was so easy to use. Best part: It's not just index.html. It includes all needed files. Like

  • postcss.config.js

  • README.md

  • package.json

  • among other things, tailwind.config.js

This is for non-techies.

Tailwind.build; which is Shuffle now, allows you to create and export projects for free (with limited features). You can try it by visiting their website.

After downloading the project, you can edit the text and graphics in Visual Studio (or another text editor). This HTML file can be hosted whenever.

Github is an easy way to host a landing page.

  1. your project via Shuffle for export

  2. your website's content, edit

  3. Create a Gitlab, Github, or Bitbucket account.

  4. to Github, upload your project folder.

  5. Integrate Vercel with your Github account (or another platform below)

  6. Allow them to guide you in steps.

Finally. If you push your code to Github using Github Desktop, you'll do it quickly and easily.

Speaking of; here are some hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites for you host your landing pages for FREE!

I host landingpage.fyi on Vercel but all is fine. You can choose any platform below with peace in mind.

  • Vercel

  • Render

  • Netlify

After connecting your project/repo to Vercel, you don’t have to do anything on Vercel. Vercel updates your live website when you update Github Desktop. Wow!

Tails came out while I was using tailwind.build. Although it's prettier, tailwind.build is more mobile-friendly. I couldn't resist their lovely parts. Tails :)

Tails have several well-designed parts. Some components looked awful on mobile, but this bug helped me understand Tailwind CSS.

Unlike Shuffle, Tails does not include files when you export such as config.js, main.js, README.md. It just gives you the HTML code. Suffle.dev is a bit ahead in this regard and with mobile-friendly blocks if you ask me. Of course, I took advantage of both.

creativebusinessnames.co is inactive, but I'll leave a deployment link :)

Adam Wathan's YouTube videos and Tailwind's official literature helped me, but I couldn't have done it without Tails and Shuffle. These tools helped me make landing pages. I shouldn't have started over.

So began my Tailwind CSS adventure. I didn't build landingpage. I didn't plan it to be this long; sorry.

I learnt a lot while I was playing around with Shuffle and Tails Builders.

Long story short I built landingpage.fyi with the help of these tools;

Learning, building, and distribution

That's all. A few things:

The Outcome

.fyi Domain: Why?

I'm often asked this.

I don't know, but I wanted to include the landing page term. Popular TLDs are gone. I saw my alternatives. brief and catchy.

CSS Tailwind Resources

I'll share project resources like Tails and Shuffle.

Thanks for reading my blog's first post. Please share if you like it.

Michelle Teheux

Michelle Teheux

1 year ago

Get Real, All You Grateful Laid-Off LinkedIn Users

WTF is wrong with you people?

She looks so happy. She was probably just fired. Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

When I was laid off as editor of my town's daily newspaper, I went silent on social media. I knew it was coming and had been quietly removing personal items each day, but the pain was intense.

I posted a day later. I didn't bad-mouth GateHouse Media but expressed my sadness at leaving the newspaper industry, pride in my accomplishments, and hope for success in another industry.

Normal job-loss response.

What do you recognize as abnormal?

The bullshit I’ve been reading from laid-off folks on LinkedIn.

If you're there, you know. Many Twitter or Facebook/Meta employees recently lost their jobs.

Well, many of them did not “lose their job,” actually. They were “impacted by the layoffs” at their former employer. I keep seeing that phrase.

Why don’t they want to actually say it? Why the euphemism?

Many are excited about the opportunities ahead. The jobless deny being sad.

They're ecstatic! They have big plans.

Hope so. Sincerely! Being laid off stinks, especially if, like me, your skills are obsolete. It's worse if, like me, you're too old to start a new career. Ageism exists despite denials.

Nowadays, professionalism seems to demand psychotic levels of fake optimism.

Why? Life is unpredictable. That's indisputable. You shouldn't constantly complain or cry in public, but you also shouldn't pretend everything's great.

It makes you look psychotic, not positive. It's like saying at work:

“I was impacted by the death of my spouse of 20 years this week, and many of you have reached out to me, expressing your sympathy. However, I’m choosing to remember the amazing things we shared. I feel confident that there is another marriage out there for me, and after taking a quiet weekend trip to reset myself, I’ll be out there looking for the next great marital adventure! #staypositive #available #opentolove

Also:

“Now looking for our next #dreamhome after our entire neighborhood was demolished by a wildfire last night. We feel so lucky to have lived near so many amazing and inspirational neighbors, all of whom we will miss as we go on our next housing adventure. The best house for us is yet to come! If you have a great neighborhood you’d recommend, please feel free to reach out and touch base with us! #newhouse #newneighborhood #newlife

Admit it. That’s creepy.

The constant optimism makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Viscerally.

I hate fakes.

Imagine a fake wood grain desk. Wouldn't it be better if the designer accepted that it's plastic and went with that?

Real is better but not always nice. When something isn't nice, you don't have to go into detail, but you also shouldn't pretend it's great.

How to announce your job loss to the world.

Do not pretend to be happy, but don't cry and drink vodka all afternoon.

Say you loved your job, and that you're looking for new opportunities.

Yes, if you'll miss your coworkers. Otherwise, don't badmouth. No bridge-burning!

Please specify the job you want. You may want to pivot.

Alternatively, try this.

You could always flame out.

If you've pushed yourself too far into toxic positivity, you may be ready to burn it all down. If so, make it worthwhile by writing something like this:

Well, I was shitcanned by the losers at #Acme today. That bitch Linda in HR threw me under the bus just because she saw that one of my “friends” tagged me in some beach pics on social media after I called in sick with Covid. The good thing is I will no longer have to watch my ass around that #asspincher Ron in accounting, but I’m sad that I will no longer have a cushy job with high pay or access to the primo office supplies I’ve been sneaking home for the last five years. (Those gel pens were the best!) I am going to be taking some time off to enjoy my unemployment and hammer down shots of Jägermeister but in about five months I’ll be looking for anything easy with high pay and great benefits. Reach out if you can help! #officesupplies #unemploymentrocks #drinkinglikeagirlboss #acmesucks

It beats the fake positivity.

Jayden Levitt

Jayden Levitt

1 year ago

Starbucks' NFT Project recently defeated its rivals.

The same way Amazon killed bookstores. You just can’t see it yet.

Photo by Jason Redmond | AFP | Getty Images

Shultz globalized coffee. Before Starbucks, coffee sucked.

All accounts say 1970s coffee was awful.

Starbucks had three stores selling ground Indonesian coffee in the 1980s.

What a show!

A year after joining the company at 29, Shultz traveled to Italy for R&D.

He noticed the coffee shops' sense of theater and community and realized Starbucks was in the wrong business.

Integrating coffee and destination created a sense of community in the store.

Brilliant!

He told Starbucks' founders about his experience.

They disapproved.

For two years.

Shultz left and opened an Italian coffee shop chain like any good entrepreneur.

Starbucks ran into financial trouble, so the founders offered to sell to Shultz.

Shultz bought Starbucks in 1987 for $3.8 million, including six stores and a payment plan.

Starbucks is worth $100.79Billion, per Google Finance.

26,500 times Shultz's initial investment

Starbucks is releasing its own NFT Platform under Shultz and his early Vision.

This year, Starbucks Odyssey launches. The new digital experience combines a Loyalty Rewards program with NFT.

The side chain Polygon-based platform doesn't require a Crypto Wallet. Customers can earn and buy digital assets to unlock incentives and experiences.

They've removed all friction, making it more immersive and convenient than a coffee shop.

Brilliant!

NFTs are the access coupon to their digital community, but they don't highlight the technology.

They prioritize consumer experience by adding non-technical users to Web3. Their collectables are called journey stamps, not NFTs.

No mention of bundled gas fees.

Brady Brewer, Starbucks' CMO, said;

“It happens to be built on blockchain and web3 technologies, but the customer — to be honest — may very well not even know that what they’re doing is interacting with blockchain technology. It’s just the enabler,”

Rewards members will log into a web app using their loyalty program credentials to access Starbucks Odyssey. They won't know about blockchain transactions.

Join the waitlist here

Starbucks has just dealt its rivals a devastating blow.

It generates more than ten times the revenue of its closest competitor Costa Coffee.

The coffee giant is booming.

Credit — Statista.com

Starbucks is ahead of its competitors. No wonder.

They have an innovative, adaptable leadership team.

Starbucks' DNA challenges the narrative, especially when others reject their ideas.

I’m off for a cappuccino.