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Evgenii Nelepko

Evgenii Nelepko

2 months ago

My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Aaron Dinin, PhD

2 months ago

I'll Never Forget the Day a Venture Capitalist Made Me Feel Like a Dunce

Are you an idiot at fundraising?

Image courtesy Inzmam Khan via Pexels

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.

First error.

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.

Nick

Nick

3 months ago

This Is How Much Quora Paid Me For 23 Million Content Views

You’ll be surprised; I sure was

Photo by Burst from Pexels

Blogging and writing online as a side income has now been around for a significant amount of time. Nowadays, it is a continuously rising moneymaker for prospective writers, with several writing platforms existing online. At the top of the list are Medium, Vocal Media, Newsbreak, and the biggest one of them, Quora, with 300 million active users.

Quora, unlike Medium, is a question-and-answer format platform. On Medium you are permitted to write what you want, while on Quora, you answer questions on topics that you have expertise about. Quora, like Medium, now compensates its authors for the answers they provide in comparison to the previous, in which you had to be admitted to the partner program and were paid to ask questions.

Quora just recently went live with this new partner program, Quora Plus, and the way it works is that it is a subscription for $5 a month which provides you access to metered/monetized stories, in turn compensating the writers for part of that subscription for their answers.

I too on Quora have found a lot of success on the platform, gaining 23 Million Content Views, and 300,000 followers for my space, which is kind of the Quora equivalent of a Medium article. The way in which I was able to do this was entirely thanks to a hack that I uncovered to the Quora algorithm.

In this article, I plan on discussing how much money I received from 23 million content views on Quora, and I bet you’ll be shocked; I know I was.

A Brief Explanation of How I Got 23 Million Views and How You Can Do It Too

On Quora, everything in terms of obtaining views is about finding the proper question, which I only understood quite late into the game. I published my first response in 2019 but never actually wrote on Quora until the summer of 2020, and about a month into posting consistently I found out how to find the perfect question. Here’s how:

The Process

Go to your Home Page and start scrolling… While browsing, check for the following things…

  1. Answers from people you follow or your followers.

  2. Advertisements

These two things are the two things you want to ignore, you don’t want to answer those questions or look at the ads. You should now be left with a couple of recommended answers. To discover which recommended answer is the best to answer as well, look at these three important aspects.

  1. Date of the answer: Was it in the past few days, preferably 2–3 days, even better, past 24 hours?

  2. Views: Are they in the ten thousands or hundred thousands?

  3. Upvotes: Are they in the hundreds or thousands?

Now, choose an answer to a question which you think you could answer as well that satisfies the requirements above. Once you click on it, as all answers on Quora works, it will redirect you to the page for that question, in which you will have to select once again if you should answer the question.

  1. Amount of answers: How many responses are there to the given question? This tells you how much competition you have. My rule is beyond 25 answers, you shouldn’t answer, but you can change it anyway you’d like.

  2. Answerers: Who did the answering for the question? If the question includes a bunch of renowned, extremely well-known people on Quora, there’s a good possibility your essay is going to get drowned out.

  3. Views: Check for a constant quantity of high views on each answer for the question; this is what will guarantee that your answer gets a lot of views!

The Income Reveal! How Much I Made From 23 Million Content Views

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!

8.97 USD. Yes, not even ten dollars, not even nine. Just eight dollars and ninety-seven cents.

Possible Reasons for My Low Earnings

  • Quora Plus and the answering partner program are newer than my Quora views.

  • Few people use Quora+, therefore revenues are low.

  • I haven't been writing much on Quora, so I'm only making money from old answers and a handful since Quora Plus launched.

  • Quora + pays poorly...

Should You Try Quora and Quora For Money?

My answer depends on your needs. I never got invited to Quora's question partner program due to my late start, but other writers have made hundreds. Due to Quora's new and competitive answering partner program, you may not make much money.

If you want a fun writing community, try Quora. Quora was fun when I only made money from my space. Quora +'s paywalls and new contributors eager to make money have made the platform less fun for me.


This article is a summary to save you time. You can read my full, more detailed article, here.

Edward Williams

Edward Williams

2 days ago

I currently manage 4 profitable online companies. I find all the generic advice and garbage courses very frustrating. The only advice you need is this.

A man playing chess.

This is for young entrepreneurs, especially in tech.

People give useless success advice on TikTok and Reddit. Early risers, bookworms, etc. Entrepreneurship courses. Work hard and hustle.

False. These aren't successful traits.

I mean, organization is good. As someone who founded several businesses and now works at a VC firm, I find these tips to be clichés.

Based on founding four successful businesses and working with other successful firms, here's my best actionable advice:

1. Choose a sector or a niche and become an expert in it.

This is more generic than my next tip, but it's a must-do that's often overlooked. Become an expert in the industry or niche you want to enter. Discover everything.

Buy (future) competitors' products. Understand consumers' pain points. Market-test. Target keyword combos. Learn technical details.

The most successful businesses I've worked with were all formed by 9-5 employees. They knew the industry's pain points. They started a business targeting these pain points.

2. Choose a niche or industry crossroads to target.

How do you choose an industry or niche? What if your industry is too competitive?

List your skills and hobbies. Randomness is fine. Find an intersection between two interests or skills.

Say you build websites well. You like cars.

Web design is a *very* competitive industry. Cars and web design?

Instead of web design, target car dealers and mechanics. Build a few fake demo auto mechanic websites, then cold call shops with poor websites. Verticalize.

I've noticed a pattern:

  • Person works in a particular industry for a corporation.

  • Person gains expertise in the relevant industry.

  • Person quits their job and launches a small business to address a problem that their former employer was unwilling to address.

I originally posted this on Reddit and it seemed to have taken off so I decided to share it with you all.

Focus on the product. When someone buys from you, you convince them the product's value exceeds the price. It's not fair and favors the buyer.

Creating a superior product or service will win. Narrowing this helps you outcompete others.

You may be their only (lucky) option.

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Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

3 months ago

Reasons Why AI-Generated Images Remind Me of Nightmares

AI images are like funhouse mirrors.

Google's AI Blog introduced the puppy-slug in the summer of 2015.

Vice / DeepDream

Puppy-slug isn't a single image or character. "Puppy-slug" refers to Google's DeepDream's unsettling psychedelia. This tool uses convolutional neural networks to train models to recognize dataset entities. If researchers feed the model millions of dog pictures, the network will learn to recognize a dog.

DeepDream used neural networks to analyze and classify image data as well as generate its own images. DeepDream's early examples were created by training a convolutional network on dog images and asking it to add "dog-ness" to other images. The models analyzed images to find dog-like pixels and modified surrounding pixels to highlight them.

Puppy-slugs and other DeepDream images are ugly. Even when they don't trigger my trypophobia, they give me vertigo when my mind tries to reconcile familiar features and forms in unnatural, physically impossible arrangements. I feel like I've been poisoned by a forbidden mushroom or a noxious toad. I'm a Lovecraft character going mad from extradimensional exposure. They're gross!

Is this really how AIs see the world? This is possibly an even more unsettling topic that DeepDream raises than the blatant abjection of the images.

When these photographs originally circulated online, many friends were startled and scandalized. People imagined a computer's imagination would be literal, accurate, and boring. We didn't expect vivid hallucinations and organic-looking formations.

DeepDream's images didn't really show the machines' imaginations, at least not in the way that scared some people. DeepDream displays data visualizations. DeepDream reveals the "black box" of convolutional network training.

Some of these images look scary because the models don't "know" anything, at least not in the way we do.

These images are the result of advanced algorithms and calculators that compare pixel values. They can spot and reproduce trends from training data, but can't interpret it. If so, they'd know dogs have two eyes and one face per head. If machines can think creatively, they're keeping it quiet.

You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given OpenAI's Dall-impressive E's results. From a technological perspective, it's incredible.

Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Dall-magic E's requires a lot of math, computer science, processing power, and research. OpenAI did a great job, and we should applaud them.

Dall-E and similar tools match words and phrases to image data to train generative models. Matching text to images requires sorting and defining the images. Untold millions of low-wage data entry workers, content creators optimizing images for SEO, and anyone who has used a Captcha to access a website make these decisions. These people could live and die without receiving credit for their work, even though the project wouldn't exist without them.

This technique produces images that are less like paintings and more like mirrors that reflect our own beliefs and ideals back at us, albeit via a very complex prism. Due to the limitations and biases that these models portray, we must exercise caution when viewing these images.

The issue was succinctly articulated by artist Mimi Onuoha in her piece "On Algorithmic Violence":

As we continue to see the rise of algorithms being used for civic, social, and cultural decision-making, it becomes that much more important that we name the reality that we are seeing. Not because it is exceptional, but because it is ubiquitous. Not because it creates new inequities, but because it has the power to cloak and amplify existing ones. Not because it is on the horizon, but because it is already here.

Matt Nutsch

Matt Nutsch

11 days ago

Most people are unaware of how artificial intelligence (A.I.) is changing the world.

Image created by MidjourneyAI user Dreamland3K

Recently, I saw an interesting social media post. In an entrepreneurship forum. A blogger asked for help because he/she couldn't find customers. I now suspect that the writer’s occupation is being disrupted by A.I.

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been a hot topic since the 1950s. With recent advances in machine learning, A.I. will touch almost every aspect of our lives. This article will discuss A.I. technology and its social and economic implications.

What's AI?

A computer program or machine with A.I. can think and learn. In general, it's a way to make a computer smart. Able to understand and execute complex tasks. Machine learning, NLP, and robotics are common types of A.I.

AI's global impact

MidjourneyAI image generated by user Desmesne

AI will change the world, but probably faster than you think. A.I. already affects our daily lives. It improves our decision-making, efficiency, and productivity.

A.I. is transforming our lives and the global economy. It will create new business and job opportunities but eliminate others. Affected workers may face financial hardship.

AI examples:

OpenAI's GPT-3 text-generation

MidjourneyAI generated image of robot typing

Developers can train, deploy, and manage models on GPT-3. It handles data preparation, model training, deployment, and inference for machine learning workloads. GPT-3 is easy to use for both experienced and new data scientists.

My team conducted an experiment. We needed to generate some blog posts for a website. We hired a blogger on Upwork. OpenAI created a blog post. The A.I.-generated blog post was of higher quality and lower cost.

MidjourneyAI's Art Contests

Théâtre D’opéra Spatial by Jason M. Allen via MidjourneyAI

AI already affects artists. Artists use A.I. to create realistic 3D images and videos for digital art. A.I. is also used to generate new art ideas and methods.

MidjourneyAI and GigapixelAI won a contest last month. It's AI. created a beautiful piece of art that captured the contest's spirit. AI triumphs. It could open future doors.

After the art contest win, I registered to try out these new image generating A.I.s. In the MidjourneyAI chat forum, I noticed an artist's plea. The artist begged others to stop flooding RedBubble with AI-generated art.

Shutterstock and Getty Images have halted user uploads. AI-generated images flooded online marketplaces.

Imagining Videos with Meta

AI generated video example from Meta AI

Meta released Make-a-Video this week. It's an A.I. app that creates videos from text. What you type creates a video.

This technology will impact TV, movies, and video games greatly. Imagine a movie or game that's personalized to your tastes. It's closer than you think.

Uses and Abuses of Deepfakes

Carrie Fischer’s likeness in the movie The Rise of Skywalker

Deepfake videos are computer-generated images of people. AI creates realistic images and videos of people.

Deepfakes are entertaining but have social implications. Porn introduced deepfakes in 2017. People put famous faces on porn actors and actresses without permission.

Soon, deepfakes were used to show dead actors/actresses or make them look younger. Carrie Fischer was included in films after her death using deepfake technology.

Deepfakes can be used to create fake news or manipulate public opinion, according to an AI.

Voices for Darth Vader and Iceman

James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader, sold his voice rights this week. Aged actor won't be in those movies. Respeecher will use AI to mimic Jones's voice. This technology could change the entertainment industry. One actor can now voice many characters.

Val Kilmer in Top Gun as imagined by MidjourneyAI

AI can generate realistic voice audio from text. Top Gun 2 actor Val Kilmer can't speak for medical reasons. Sonantic created Kilmer's voice from the movie script. This entertaining technology has social implications. It blurs authentic recordings and fake media.

Medical A.I. fights viruses

MidjourneyAI generated image of virus

A team of Chinese scientists used machine learning to predict effective antiviral drugs last year. They started with a large dataset of virus-drug interactions. Researchers combined that with medication and virus information. Finally, they used machine learning to predict effective anti-virus medicines. This technology could solve medical problems.

AI ideas AI-generated Itself

MidjourneyAI image generated by user SubjectChunchunmaru

OpenAI's GPT-3 predicted future A.I. uses. Here's what it told me:

AI will affect the economy. Businesses can operate more efficiently and reinvest resources with A.I.-enabled automation. AI can automate customer service tasks, reducing costs and improving satisfaction.

A.I. makes better pricing, inventory, and marketing decisions. AI automates tasks and makes decisions. A.I.-powered robots could help the elderly or disabled. Self-driving cars could reduce accidents.

A.I. predictive analytics can predict stock market or consumer behavior trends and patterns. A.I. also personalizes recommendations. sways. A.I. recommends products and movies. AI can generate new ideas based on data analysis.

Conclusion

Image generated from MidjourneyAI by user PuddingPants.”

A.I. will change business as it becomes more common. It will change how we live and work by creating growth and prosperity.

Exciting times,  but also one which should give us all pause. Technology can be good or evil. We must use new technologies ethically, fairly, and honestly.

“The author generated some sentences in this text in part with GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication. The text of this post was further edited using HemingWayApp. Many of the images used were generated using A.I. as described in the captions.”

Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

16 days ago   Draft

12 practices of the zenith individuals I know

Follow Alex’s Instagram for his drawings and bonus ideas.

Calmness is a vital life skill.

It aids communication. It boosts creativity and performance.

I've studied calm people's habits for years. Commonalities:

Have learned to laugh at themselves.

Those who have something to protect can’t help but make it a very serious business, which drains the energy out of the room.

They are fixated on positive pursuits like making cool things, building a strong physique, and having fun with others rather than on depressing influences like the news and gossip.

Every day, spend at least 20 minutes moving, whether it's walking, yoga, or lifting weights.

Discover ways to take pleasure in life's challenges.

Since perspective is malleable, they change their view.

Set your own needs first.

Stressed people neglect themselves and wonder why they struggle.

Prioritize self-care.

Don't ruin your life to please others.

Make something.

Calm people create more than react.

They love creating beautiful things—paintings, children, relationships, and projects.

Hold your breath, please.

If you're stressed or angry, you may be surprised how much time you spend holding your breath and tightening your belly.

Release, breathe, and relax to find calm.

Stopped rushing.

Rushing is disadvantageous.

Calm people handle life better.

Are attuned to their personal dietary needs.

They avoid junk food and eat foods that keep them healthy, happy, and calm.

Don’t take anything personally.

Stressed people control everything.

Self-conscious.

Calm people put others and their work first.

Keep their surroundings neat.

Maintaining an uplifting and clutter-free environment daily calms the mind.

Minimise negative people.

Calm people are ruthless with their boundaries and avoid negative and drama-prone people.