More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
7 months ago
Easiest and fastest way to test your startup idea!
Here's the fastest way to validate company concepts.
I squandered a year after dropping out of Stanford designing a product nobody wanted.
But today, I’m at 100k!
I was designing a consumer product when I dropped out.
I coded MVP, got 1k users, and got YC interview.
Still coding and getting users 12 months later
WOULD PEOPLE PAY FOR IT? was the riskiest assumption I hadn't tested.
When asked why I didn't verify payment, I said,
Not-ready products. Now, nobody cares. The website needs work. Include this. Increase usage…
I feared people would say no.
After 1 year of pushing it off, my team told me they were really worried about the Business Model. Then I asked my audience if they'd buy my product.
I felt like I wasted a year building a product no one would buy.
Founders Cafe was the opposite.
Before building anything, I requested payment.
40 founders were interviewed.
Then we emailed Stanford, YC, and other top founders, asking them to join our community.
BOOM! 10/12 paid!
Without building anything, in 1 day I validated my startup's riskiest assumption. NOT 1 year.
Asking people to pay is one of the scariest things.
I asked Stanford queer women to pay before joining my gay sorority.
I was afraid I'd turn them off or no one would pay.
Gay women, like those founders, were in such excruciating pain that they were willing to pay me upfront to help.
You can ask for payment (before you build) to see if people have the burning pain. Then they'll pay!
Examples from Founders Cafe members:
😮 Using a fake landing page, a college dropout tested a product. Paying! He built it and made $3m!
😮 YC solo founder faked a Powerpoint demo. 5 Enterprise paid LOIs. $1.5m raised, built, and in YC!
😮 A Harvard founder can convert Figma to React. 1 day, 10 customers. Built a tool to automate Figma -> React after manually fulfilling requests. 1m+
😭 Stanford Dropout Spends 1 Year Building Product Without Payment Validation
Some people build for a year and then get paying customers.
What I'm sharing is my experience and what Founders Cafe members have told me about validating startup ideas.
Don't waste a year like I did.
After my first startup failed, I planned to re-enroll at Stanford/work at Facebook.
After people paid, I quit for good.
I've hit $100k!
Hope this inspires you to request upfront payment! It'll change your life
8 months ago
Here's How I Built A Business Offering Unlimited Design Services in Just One Weekend.
Weekend project: limitless design service. It was fun to see whether I could start a business quickly.
I use no-code apps to save time and resources.
TL;DR I started a business utilizing EditorX for my website, Notion for client project management, and a few favors to finish my portfolio.
First step: research (Day 1)
I got this concept from a Kimp Instagram ad. The Minimalist Hustler Daily newsletter mentioned a similar and cheaper service (Graphically).
I Googled other unlimited design companies. Many provide different costs and services. Some supplied solely graphic design, web development, or copywriting.
Step 2: Brainstorming (Day 1)
I did something simple.
What benefits and services to provide
Price to charge
Since it's a one-person performance (for now), I'm focusing on graphic design. I can charge less.
So I don't overwhelm myself and can accommodate budget-conscious clientele.
Step 3: Construction (Day 1 & 2)
This project includes a management tool, a website, and a team procedure.
I built a project management tool and flow first. Once I had the flow and a Notion board, I tested it with design volunteers. They fake-designed while I built the website.
Tool for Project Management
I modified a Notion template. My goal is to keep clients and designers happy.
My sister, my partner, and I kept this business lean. I tweaked the Notion board to make the process smooth. By the end of Sunday, I’d say it’s perfect!
I created the website after they finished the fake design demands. EditorX's drag-and-drop builder attracted me. I didn't need to learn code, and there are templates.
I used a template wireframe.
This project's hardest aspect is developing the site. It's my first time using EditorX and I'm no developer.
People answer all your inquiries in a large community forum.
As a first-time user developing a site in two days, I think I performed OK. Here's the site for feedback.
4th step: testing (Day 2)
Testing is frustrating because it works or doesn't. My testing day was split in two.
testing the workflow from payment to onboarding to the website
the demand being tested
It's working so far. If someone gets the trial, they can request design work.
I've gotten a couple of inquiries about demand. I’ll be working with them as a start.
Finally! I built my side project in one weekend. It's too early to tell if this is successful. I liked that I didn't squander months of resources testing out an idea.
Aaron Dinin, PhD
8 months ago
I'll Never Forget the Day a Venture Capitalist Made Me Feel Like a Dunce
Are you an idiot at fundraising?
Humans undervalue what they don't grasp. Consider NASCAR. How is that a sport? ask uneducated observers. Circular traffic. Driving near a car's physical limits is different from daily driving. When driving at 200 mph, seemingly simple things like changing gas weight or asphalt temperature might be life-or-death.
Venture investors do something similar in entrepreneurship. Most entrepreneurs don't realize how complex venture finance is.
In my early startup days, I didn't comprehend venture capital's intricacy. I thought VCs were rich folks looking for the next Mark Zuckerberg. I was meant to be a sleek, enthusiastic young entrepreneur who could razzle-dazzle investors.
Finally, one of the VCs I was trying to woo set me straight. He insulted me.
How I learned that I was approaching the wrong investor
I was constructing a consumer-facing, pre-revenue marketplace firm. I looked for investors in my old university's alumni database. My city had one. After some research, I learned he was a partner at a growth-stage, energy-focused VC company with billions under management.
Billions? I thought. Surely he can write a million-dollar cheque. He'd hardly notice.
I emailed the VC about our shared alumni status, explaining that I was building a startup in the area and wanted advice. When he agreed to meet the next week, I prepared my pitch deck.
The meeting seemed like a funding request. Imagine the awkwardness.
His assistant walked me to the firm's conference room and told me her boss was running late. While waiting, I prepared my pitch. I connected my computer to the projector, queued up my PowerPoint slides, and waited for the VC.
He didn't say hello or apologize when he entered a few minutes later. What are you doing?
Hi! I said, Confused but confident. Dinin Aaron. My startup's pitch.
Who? Suspicious, he replied. Your email says otherwise. You wanted help.
I said, "Isn't that a euphemism for contacting investors?" Fundraising I figured I should pitch you.
As he sat down, he smiled and said, "Put away your computer." You need to study venture capital.
Recognizing the business aspects of venture capital
The VC taught me venture capital in an hour. Young entrepreneur me needed this lesson. I assume you need it, so I'm sharing it.
Most people view venture money from an entrepreneur's perspective, he said. They envision a world where venture capital serves entrepreneurs and startups.
As my VC indicated, VCs perceive their work differently. Venture investors don't serve entrepreneurs. Instead, they run businesses. Their product doesn't look like most products. Instead, the VCs you're proposing have recognized an undervalued market segment. By investing in undervalued companies, they hope to profit. It's their investment thesis.
Your company doesn't fit my investment thesis, the venture capitalist told me. Your pitch won't beat my investing theory. I invest in multimillion-dollar clean energy companies. Asking me to invest in you is like ordering a breakfast burrito at a fancy steakhouse. They could, but why? They don't do that.
Yeah, I’m not a fine steak yet, I laughed, feeling like a fool for pitching a growth-stage VC used to looking at energy businesses with millions in revenues on my pre-revenue, consumer startup.
He stressed that it's not necessary. There are investors targeting your company. Not me. Find investors and pitch them.
Remember this when fundraising. Your investors aren't philanthropists who want to help entrepreneurs realize their company goals. Venture capital is a sophisticated investment strategy, and VC firm managers are industry experts. They're looking for companies that meet their investment criteria. As a young entrepreneur, I didn't grasp this, which is why I struggled to raise money. In retrospect, I probably seemed like an idiot. Hopefully, you won't after reading this.
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6 months ago
Apple: Showing Ads on Your iPhone
This report from Mark Gurman has stuck with me:
In the News and Stocks apps, the display ads are no different than what you might get on an ad-supported website. In the App Store, the ads are for actual apps, which are probably more useful for Apple users than mortgage rates. Some people may resent Apple putting ads in the News and Stocks apps. After all, the iPhone is supposed to be a premium device. Let’s say you shelled out $1,000 or more to buy one, do you want to feel like Apple is squeezing more money out of you just to use its standard features? Now, a portion of ad revenue from the News app’s Today tab goes to publishers, but it’s not clear how much. Apple also lets publishers advertise within their stories and keep the vast majority of that money. Surprisingly, Today ads also appear if you subscribe to News+ for $10 per month (though it’s a smaller number).
I use Apple News often. It's a good general news catch-up tool, like Twitter without the BS. Customized notifications are helpful. Fast and lovely. Except for advertisements. I have Apple One, which includes News+, and while I understand why the magazines still have brand ads, it's ridiculous to me that Apple enables web publishers to introduce awful ads into this experience. Apple's junky commercials are ridiculous.
We know publishers want and probably requested this. Let's keep Apple News ad-free for the much smaller percentage of paid users, and here's your portion. (Same with Stocks, which is more sillier.)
Paid app placement in the App Store is a wonderful approach for developers to find new users (though far too many of those ads are trying to trick users, in my opinion).
Apple is also planning to increase ads in its Maps app. This sounds like Google Maps, and I don't like it. I never find these relevant, and they clutter up the user experience. Apple Maps now has a UI advantage (though not a data/search one, which matters more).
Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers. We spend thousands for their products and premium services like Apple One. We all know why: income must rise, and new firms are needed to scale. This will eventually backfire.
6 months ago
7 LinkedIn Tips That Will Help in Audience Growth
In 8 months, I doubled my audience with them.
LinkedIn's buzz isn't over.
People dream of social proof every day. They want clients, interesting jobs, and field recognition.
LinkedIn coaches will benefit greatly. Sell learning? Probably. Can you use it?
Consistency has been key in my eight-month study of LinkedIn. However, I'll share seven of my tips. 700 to 4500 people followed me.
1. Communication, communication, communication
LinkedIn is a social network. I like to think of it as a cafe. Here, you can share your thoughts, meet friends, and discuss life and work.
Do not treat LinkedIn as if it were a board for your post-its.
More socializing improves relationships. It's about people, like any network.
Consider interactions. Three main areas:
Respond to criticism left on your posts.
Comment on other people's posts
Start and maintain conversations through direct messages.
Engage people. You spend too much time on Facebook if you only read your wall. Keeping in touch and having meaningful conversations helps build your network.
Every day, start a new conversation to make new friends.
2. Stick with those you admire
Choose your contacts. Build your tribe is a term. Respectful networking.
I only had past colleagues, family, and friends in my network at the start of this year. Not business-friendly. Since then, I've sought out people I admire or can learn from.
Finding a few will help you. As they connect you to their networks. Friendships can lead to clients.
Don't underestimate network power. Cafe-style. Meet people at each table. But avoid people who sell SEO, web redesign, VAs, mysterious job opportunities, etc.
3. Share eye-catching infographics
Daily infographics flood LinkedIn. Visuals are popular. Use Canva's free templates if you can't draw them.
It's a fun way to visualize your topic.
You can repost and comment on infographics. Involve your network. I prefer making my own because I build my brand around certain designs.
My friend posted infographics consistently for four months and grew his network to 30,000.
If you start, credit the authors. As you steal someone's work.
4. Invite some friends over.
LinkedIn alone can be lonely. Having a few friends who support your work daily will boost your growth.
I was lucky to be invited to a group of networkers. We share knowledge and advice.
Having a few regulars who can discuss your posts is helpful. It's artificial, but it works and engages others.
Consider who you'd support if they were in your shoes.
You can pay for an engagement group, but you risk supporting unrelated people with rubbish posts.
Help each other out.
5. Don't let your feed or algorithm divert you.
LinkedIn's algorithm is magical.
Which time is best? How fast do you need to comment? Which days are best?
Overemphasize algorithms. Consider the user. No need to worry about the best time.
Remember to spend time on LinkedIn actively. Not passively. That is what Facebook is for.
Surely someone would find a LinkedIn recipe. Don't beat the algorithm yet. Consider your audience.
6. The more personal, the better
Personalization isn't limited to selfies. Share your successes and failures.
The more personality you show, the better.
People relate to others, not theories or quotes. Why should they follow you? Everyone posts the same content?
Consider your friends. What's their appeal?
Because they show their work and identity. It's simple. Medium and Linkedin are your platforms. Find out what works.
You can copy others' hooks and structures. You decide how simple to make it, though.
7. Have fun with those who have various post structures.
I like writing, infographics, videos, and carousels. Because you can:
Repurpose your content!
Out of one blog post I make:
Infographics (positive and negative points of view)
Create less but more variety. Since LinkedIn posts last 24 hours, you can rotate the same topics for weeks without anyone noticing.
The final LI snippet to think about
LinkedIn is about consistency. Some say 15 minutes. If you're serious about networking, spend more time there.
The good news is that it is worth it. The bad news is that it takes time.
11 months ago
What is headline inflation?
Headline inflation is the raw Consumer price index (CPI) reported monthly by the Bureau of labour statistics (BLS). CPI measures inflation by calculating the cost of a fixed basket of goods. The CPI uses a base year to index the current year's prices.
As it includes all aspects of an economy that experience inflation, headline inflation is not adjusted to remove volatile figures. Headline inflation is often linked to cost-of-living changes, which is useful for consumers.
The headline figure doesn't account for seasonality or volatile food and energy prices, which are removed from the core CPI. Headline inflation is usually annualized, so a monthly headline figure of 4% inflation would equal 4% inflation for the year if repeated for 12 months. Top-line inflation is compared year-over-year.
Inflation erodes future dollar values, can stifle economic growth, and can raise interest rates. Core inflation is often considered a better metric than headline inflation. Investors and economists use headline and core results to set growth forecasts and monetary policy.
Core inflation removes volatile CPI components that can distort the headline number. Food and energy costs are commonly removed. Environmental shifts that affect crop growth can affect food prices outside of the economy. Political dissent can affect energy costs, such as oil production.
From 1957 to 2018, the U.S. averaged 3.64 percent core inflation. In June 1980, the rate reached 13.60%. May 1957 had 0% inflation. The Fed's core inflation target for 2022 is 3%.
A central bank has privileged control over a nation's or group's money and credit. Modern central banks are responsible for monetary policy and bank regulation. Central banks are anti-competitive and non-market-based. Many central banks are not government agencies and are therefore considered politically independent. Even if a central bank isn't government-owned, its privileges are protected by law. A central bank's legal monopoly status gives it the right to issue banknotes and cash. Private commercial banks can only issue demand deposits.
What are living costs?
The cost of living is the amount needed to cover housing, food, taxes, and healthcare in a certain place and time. Cost of living is used to compare the cost of living between cities and is tied to wages. If expenses are higher in a city like New York, salaries must be higher so people can live there.
What's U.S. bureau of labor statistics?
BLS collects and distributes economic and labor market data about the U.S. Its reports include the CPI and PPI, both important inflation measures.