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Evgenii Nelepko

Evgenii Nelepko

1 year ago

My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Nik Nicholas

Nik Nicholas

1 year ago

A simple go-to-market formula

Poor distribution, not poor goods, is the main reason for failure” — Peter Thiel.

Here's an easy way to conceptualize "go-to-market" for your distribution plan.

One equation captures the concept:

Distribution = Ecosystem Participants + Incentives

Draw your customers' ecosystem. Set aside your goods and consider your consumer's environment. Who do they deal with daily? 

  1. First, list each participant. You want an exhaustive list, but here are some broad categories.

  • In-person media services

  • Websites

  • Events\Networks

  • Financial education and banking

  • Shops

  • Staff

  • Advertisers

  • Twitter influencers

  1. Draw influence arrows. Who's affected? I'm not just talking about Instagram selfie-posters. Who has access to your consumer and could promote your product if motivated?

The thicker the arrow, the stronger the relationship. Include more "influencers" if needed. Customer ecosystems are complex.

3. Incentivize ecosystem players. “Show me the incentive and I will show you the result.“, says Warren Buffet's business partner Charlie Munger.

Strong distribution strategies encourage others to promote your product to your target market by incentivizing the most prominent players. Incentives can be financial or non-financial.

Financial rewards

Usually, there's money. If you pay Facebook, they'll run your ad. Salespeople close deals for commission. Giving customers bonus credits will encourage referrals.

Most businesses underuse non-financial incentives.

Non-cash incentives

Motivate key influencers without spending money to expand quickly and cheaply. What can you give a client-connector for free?

Here are some ideas:

Are there any other features or services available?

Titles or status? Tinder paid college "ambassadors" for parties to promote its dating service.

Can I get early/free access? Facebook gave a select group of developers "exclusive" early access to their AR platform.

Are you a good host? Pharell performed at YPlan's New York launch party.

Distribution? Apple's iPod earphones are white so others can see them.

Have an interesting story? PR rewards journalists by giving them a compelling story to boost page views.

Prioritize distribution.

More time spent on distribution means more room in your product design and business plan. Once you've identified the key players in your customer's ecosystem, talk to them.

Money isn't your only resource. Creative non-monetary incentives may be more effective and scalable. Give people something useful and easy to deliver.

Emils Uztics

Emils Uztics

1 year ago

This billionaire created a side business that brings around $90,000 per month.

Dharmesh Shah, the co-founder of Hubspot. Photo credit: The Hustle.

Dharmesh Shah co-founded HubSpot. WordPlay reached $90,000 per month in revenue without utilizing any of his wealth.

His method:

Take Advantage Of An Established Trend

Remember Wordle? Dharmesh was instantly hooked. As was the tech world.

Wordle took the world by the storm. Photo credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

HubSpot's co-founder noted inefficiencies in a recent My First Million episode. He wanted to play daily. Dharmesh, a tinkerer and software engineer, decided to design a word game.

He's a billionaire. How could he?

  1. Wordle had limitations in his opinion;

  2. Dharmesh is fundamentally a developer. He desired to start something new and increase his programming knowledge;

  3. This project may serve as an excellent illustration for his son, who had begun learning about software development.

Better It Up

Building a new Wordle wasn't successful.

WordPlay lets you play with friends and family. You could challenge them and compare the results. It is a built-in growth tool.

WordPlay features:

  • the capacity to follow sophisticated statistics after creating an account;

  • continuous feedback on your performance;

  • Outstanding domain name (wordplay.com).

Project Development

WordPlay has 9.5 million visitors and 45 million games played since February.

HubSpot co-founder credits tremendous growth to flywheel marketing, pushing the game through his own following.

With Flywheel marketing, each action provides a steady stream of inertia.

Choosing an exploding specialty and making sharing easy also helped.

Shah enabled Google Ads on the website to test earning potential. Monthly revenue was $90,000.

That's just Google Ads. If monetization was the goal, a specialized ad network like Ezoic could double or triple the amount.

Wordle was a great buy for The New York Times at $1 million.

Woo

Woo

1 year ago

How To Launch A Business Without Any Risk

> Say Hello To The Lean-Hedge Model

People think starting a business requires significant debt and investment. Like Shark Tank, you need a world-changing idea. I'm not saying to avoid investors or brilliant ideas.

Investing is essential to build a genuinely profitable company. Think Apple or Starbucks.

Entrepreneurship is risky because many people go bankrupt from debt. As starters, we shouldn't do it. Instead, use lean-hedge.

Simply defined, you construct a cash-flow business to hedge against long-term investment-heavy business expenses.

What the “fx!$rench-toast” is the lean-hedge model?

When you start a business, your money should move down, down, down, then up when it becomes profitable.

Example: Starbucks

Many people don't survive the business's initial losses and debt. What if, we created a cash-flow business BEFORE we started our Starbucks to hedge against its initial expenses?

Cash Flow business hedges against

Lean-hedge has two sections. Start a cash-flow business. A cash-flow business takes minimal investment and usually involves sweat and time.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

A Translation company

Personal portfolio website (you make a site then you do cold e-mail marketing)

FREELANCE (UpWork, Fiverr).

Educational business.

Infomarketing. (You design a knowledge-based product. You sell the info).

Online fitness/diet/health coaching ($50-$300/month, calls, training plan)

Amazon e-book publishing. (Medium writers do this)

YouTube, cash-flow channel

A web development agency (I'm a dev, but if you're not, a graphic design agency, etc.) (Sell your time.)

Digital Marketing

Online paralegal (A million lawyers work in the U.S).

Some dropshipping (Organic Tik Tok dropshipping, where you create content to drive traffic to your shopify store instead of spend money on ads).

(Disclaimer: My first two cash-flow enterprises, which were language teaching, failed terribly. My translation firm is now booming because B2B e-mail marketing is easy.)

Crossover occurs. Your long-term business starts earning more money than your cash flow business.

My cash-flow business (freelancing, translation) makes $7k+/month.

I’ve decided to start a slightly more investment-heavy digital marketing agency

Here are the anticipated business's time- and money-intensive investments:

  1. ($$$) Top Front-End designer's Figma/UI-UX design (in negotiation)

  2. (Time): A little copywriting (I will do this myself)

  3. ($$) Creating an animated webpage with HTML (in negotiation)

  4. Backend Development (Duration) (I'll carry out this myself using Laravel.)

  5. Logo Design ($$)

  6. Logo Intro Video for $

  7. Video Intro (I’ll edit this myself with Premiere Pro)

etc.

Then evaluate product, place, price, and promotion. Consider promotion and pricing.

The lean-hedge model's point is:

Don't gamble. Avoid debt. First create a cash-flow project, then grow it steadily.

Check read my previous posts on “Nightmare Mode” (which teaches you how to make work as interesting as video games) and Why most people can't escape a 9-5 to learn how to develop a cash-flow business.

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Asha Barbaschow

Asha Barbaschow

2 years ago

Apple WWDC 2022 Announcements

WWDC 2022 began early Tuesday morning. WWDC brought a ton of new features (which went for just shy of two hours).

With so many announcements, we thought we'd compile them. And now...

WWDC?

WWDC is Apple's developer conference. This includes iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS (all of its iPads). It's where Apple announces new features for developers to use. It's also where Apple previews new software.

Virtual WWDC runs June 6-10.  You can rewatch the stream on Apple's website.

WWDC 2022 news:

Completely everything. Really. iOS 16 first.

iOS 16.

iOS 16 is a major iPhone update. iOS 16 adds the ability to customize the Lock Screen's color/theme. And widgets. It also organizes notifications and pairs Lock Screen with Focus themes. Edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread. Apple gives us yet another reason to stay in its walled garden with iMessage.

New iOS includes family sharing. Parents can set up a child's account with parental controls to restrict apps, movies, books, and music. iOS 16 lets large families and friend pods share iCloud photos. Up to six people can contribute photos to a separate iCloud library.

Live Text is getting creepier. Users can interact with text in any video frame. Touch and hold an image's subject to remove it from its background and place it in apps like messages. Dictation offers a new on-device voice-and-touch experience. Siri can run app shortcuts without setup in iOS 16. Apple also unveiled a new iOS 16 feature to help people break up with abusive partners who track their locations or read their messages. Safety Check.

Apple Pay Later allows iPhone users to buy products and pay for them later. iOS 16 pushes Mail. Users can schedule emails and cancel delivery before it reaches a recipient's inbox (be quick!). Mail now detects if you forgot an attachment, as Gmail has for years. iOS 16's Maps app gets "Multi-Stop Routing," .

Apple News also gets an iOS 16 update. Apple News adds My Sports. With iOS 16, the Apple Watch's Fitness app is also coming to iOS and the iPhone, using motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person). 

iOS 16 includes accessibility updates like Door Detection.

watchOS9

Many of Apple's software updates are designed to take advantage of the larger screens in recent models, but they also improve health and fitness tracking.

The most obvious reason to upgrade watchOS every year is to get new watch faces from Apple. WatchOS 9 will add four new faces.

Runners' workout metrics improve.
Apple quickly realized that fitness tracking would be the Apple Watch's main feature, even though it's been the killer app for wearables since their debut. For watchOS 9, the Apple Watch will use its accelerometer and gyroscope to track a runner's form, stride length, and ground contact time. It also introduces the ability to specify heart rate zones, distance, and time intervals, with vibrating haptic feedback and voice alerts.

The Apple Watch's Fitness app is coming to iOS and the iPhone, using the smartphone's motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).

We'll get sleep tracking, medication reminders, and drug interaction alerts. Your watch can create calendar events. A new Week view shows what meetings or responsibilities stand between you and the weekend.

iPadOS16

WWDC 2022 introduced iPad updates. iPadOS 16 is similar to iOS for the iPhone, but has features for larger screens and tablet accessories. The software update gives it many iPhone-like features.

iPadOS 16's Home app, like iOS 16, will have a new design language. iPad users who want to blame it on the rain finally have a Weather app. iPadOS 16 will have iCloud's Shared Photo Library, Live Text and Visual Look Up upgrades, and FaceTime Handoff, so you can switch between devices during a call.

Apple highlighted iPadOS 16's multitasking at WWDC 2022. iPad's Stage Manager sounds like a community theater app. It's a powerful multitasking tool for tablets and brings them closer to emulating laptops. Apple's iPadOS 16 supports multi-user collaboration. You can share content from Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and other third-party apps in Apple Messages.

M2-chip

WWDC 2022 revealed Apple's M2 chip. Apple has started the next generation of Apple Silicon for the Mac with M2. Apple says this device improves M1's performance.

M2's second-generation 5nm chip has 25% more transistors than M1's. 100GB/s memory bandwidth (50 per cent more than M1). M2 has 24GB of unified memory, up from 16GB but less than some ultraportable PCs' 32GB. The M2 chip has 10% better multi-core CPU performance than the M2, and it's nearly twice as fast as the latest 10-core PC laptop chip at the same power level (CPU performance is 18 per cent greater than M1).

New MacBooks

Apple introduced the M2-powered MacBook Air. Apple's entry-level laptop has a larger display, a new processor, new colors, and a notch.

M2 also powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has 24GB of unified memory and 50% more memory bandwidth. New MacBook Pro batteries last 20 hours. As I type on the 2021 MacBook Pro, I can only imagine how much power the M2 will add.

macOS 13.0 (or, macOS Ventura)

macOS Ventura will take full advantage of M2 with new features like Stage Manager and Continuity Camera and Handoff for FaceTime. Safari, Mail, Messages, Spotlight, and more get updates in macOS Ventura.

Apple hasn't run out of California landmarks to name its OS after yet. macOS 13 will be called Ventura when it's released in a few months, but it's more than a name change and new wallpapers. 

Stage Manager organizes windows

Stage Manager is a new macOS tool that organizes open windows and applications so they're still visible while focusing on a specific task. The main app sits in the middle of the desktop, while other apps and documents are organized and piled up to the side.

Improved Searching

Spotlight is one of macOS's least appreciated features, but with Ventura, it's becoming even more useful. Live Text lets you extract text from Spotlight results without leaving the window, including images from the photo library and the web.

Mail lets you schedule or unsend emails.

We've all sent an email we regret, whether it contained regrettable words or was sent at the wrong time. In macOS Ventura, Mail users can cancel or reschedule a message after sending it. Mail will now intelligently determine if a person was forgotten from a CC list or if a promised attachment wasn't included. Procrastinators can set a reminder to read a message later.

Safari adds tab sharing and password passkeys

Apple is updating Safari to make it more user-friendly... mostly. Users can share a group of tabs with friends or family, a useful feature when researching a topic with too many tabs. Passkeys will replace passwords in Safari's next version. Instead of entering random gibberish when creating a new account, macOS users can use TouchID to create an on-device passkey. Using an iPhone's camera and a QR system, Passkey syncs and works across all Apple devices and Windows computers.

Continuity adds Facetime device switching and iPhone webcam.

With macOS Ventura, iPhone users can transfer a FaceTime call from their phone to their desktop or laptop using Handoff, or vice versa if they started a call at their desk and need to continue it elsewhere. Apple finally admits its laptop and monitor webcams aren't the best. Continuity makes the iPhone a webcam. Apple demonstrated a feature where the wide-angle lens could provide a live stream of the desk below, while the standard zoom lens could focus on the speaker's face. New iPhone laptop mounts are coming.

System Preferences

System Preferences is Now System Settings and Looks Like iOS
Ventura's System Preferences has been renamed System Settings and is much more similar in appearance to iOS and iPadOS. As the iPhone and iPad are gateway devices into Apple's hardware ecosystem, new Mac users should find it easier to adjust.


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Taher Batterywala

Taher Batterywala

1 year ago

Do You Have Focus Issues? Use These 5 Simple Habits

Many can't concentrate. The first 20% of the day isn't optimized.

Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates share something:

Morning Routines.

A repeatable morning ritual saves time.

The result?

Time for hobbies.

I'll discuss 5 easy morning routines you can use.

1. Stop pressing snooze

Waking up starts the day. You disrupt your routine by hitting snooze.

One sleep becomes three. Your morning routine gets derailed.

Fix it:

Hide your phone. This disables snooze and wakes you up.

Once awake, staying awake is 10x easier. Simple trick, big results.

2. Drink water

Chronic dehydration is common. Mostly urban, air-conditioned workers/residents.

2% cerebral dehydration causes short-term memory loss.

Dehydration shrinks brain cells.

Drink 3-4 liters of water daily to avoid this.

3. Improve your focus

How to focus better?

Meditation.

  • Improve your mood

  • Enhance your memory

  • increase mental clarity

  • Reduce blood pressure and stress

Headspace helps with the habit.

Here's a meditation guide.

  1. Sit comfortably

  2. Shut your eyes.

  3. Concentrate on your breathing

  4. Breathe in through your nose

  5. Breathe out your mouth.

5 in, 5 out.

Repeat for 1 to 20 minutes.

Here's a beginner's video:

4. Workout

Exercise raises:

  • Mental Health

  • Effort levels

  • focus and memory

15-60 minutes of fun:

  • Exercise Lifting

  • Running

  • Walking

  • Stretching and yoga

This helps you now and later.

5. Keep a journal

You have countless thoughts daily. Many quietly steal your focus.

Here’s how to clear these:

Write for 5-10 minutes.

You'll gain 2x more mental clarity.

Recap

5 morning practices for 5x more productivity:

  1. Say no to snoozing

  2. Hydrate

  3. Improve your focus

  4. Exercise

  5. Journaling

Conclusion

One step starts a thousand-mile journey. Try these easy yet effective behaviors if you have trouble concentrating or have too many thoughts.

Start with one of these behaviors, then add the others. Its astonishing results are instant.

Theresa W. Carey

Theresa W. Carey

2 years ago

How Payment for Order Flow (PFOF) Works

What is PFOF?

PFOF is a brokerage firm's compensation for directing orders to different parties for trade execution. The brokerage firm receives fractions of a penny per share for directing the order to a market maker.

Each optionable stock could have thousands of contracts, so market makers dominate options trades. Order flow payments average less than $0.50 per option contract.

Order Flow Payments (PFOF) Explained

The proliferation of exchanges and electronic communication networks has complicated equity and options trading (ECNs) Ironically, Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi schemer, pioneered pay-for-order-flow.

In a December 2000 study on PFOF, the SEC said, "Payment for order flow is a method of transferring trading profits from market making to brokers who route customer orders to specialists for execution."

Given the complexity of trading thousands of stocks on multiple exchanges, market making has grown. Market makers are large firms that specialize in a set of stocks and options, maintaining an inventory of shares and contracts for buyers and sellers. Market makers are paid the bid-ask spread. Spreads have narrowed since 2001, when exchanges switched to decimals. A market maker's ability to play both sides of trades is key to profitability.

Benefits, requirements

A broker receives fees from a third party for order flow, sometimes without a client's knowledge. This invites conflicts of interest and criticism. Regulation NMS from 2005 requires brokers to disclose their policies and financial relationships with market makers.

Your broker must tell you if it's paid to send your orders to specific parties. This must be done at account opening and annually. The firm must disclose whether it participates in payment-for-order-flow and, upon request, every paid order. Brokerage clients can request payment data on specific transactions, but the response takes weeks.

Order flow payments save money. Smaller brokerage firms can benefit from routing orders through market makers and getting paid. This allows brokerage firms to send their orders to another firm to be executed with other orders, reducing costs. The market maker or exchange benefits from additional share volume, so it pays brokerage firms to direct traffic.

Retail investors, who lack bargaining power, may benefit from order-filling competition. Arrangements to steer the business in one direction invite wrongdoing, which can erode investor confidence in financial markets and their players.

Pay-for-order-flow criticism

It has always been controversial. Several firms offering zero-commission trades in the late 1990s routed orders to untrustworthy market makers. During the end of fractional pricing, the smallest stock spread was $0.125. Options spreads widened. Traders found that some of their "free" trades cost them a lot because they weren't getting the best price.

The SEC then studied the issue, focusing on options trades, and nearly decided to ban PFOF. The proliferation of options exchanges narrowed spreads because there was more competition for executing orders. Options market makers said their services provided liquidity. In its conclusion, the report said, "While increased multiple-listing produced immediate economic benefits to investors in the form of narrower quotes and effective spreads, these improvements have been muted with the spread of payment for order flow and internalization." 

The SEC allowed payment for order flow to continue to prevent exchanges from gaining monopoly power. What would happen to trades if the practice was outlawed was also unclear. SEC requires brokers to disclose financial arrangements with market makers. Since then, the SEC has watched closely.

2020 Order Flow Payment

Rule 605 and Rule 606 show execution quality and order flow payment statistics on a broker's website. Despite being required by the SEC, these reports can be hard to find. The SEC mandated these reports in 2005, but the format and reporting requirements have changed over the years, most recently in 2018.

Brokers and market makers formed a working group with the Financial Information Forum (FIF) to standardize order execution quality reporting. Only one retail brokerage (Fidelity) and one market maker remain (Two Sigma Securities). FIF notes that the 605/606 reports "do not provide the level of information that allows a retail investor to gauge how well a broker-dealer fills a retail order compared to the NBBO (national best bid or offer’) at the time the order was received by the executing broker-dealer."

In the first quarter of 2020, Rule 606 reporting changed to require brokers to report net payments from market makers for S&P 500 and non-S&P 500 equity trades and options trades. Brokers must disclose payment rates per 100 shares by order type (market orders, marketable limit orders, non-marketable limit orders, and other orders).

Richard Repetto, Managing Director of New York-based Piper Sandler & Co., publishes a report on Rule 606 broker reports. Repetto focused on Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-TRADE, and Robinhood in Q2 2020. Repetto reported that payment for order flow was higher in the second quarter than the first due to increased trading activity, and that options paid more than equities.

Repetto says PFOF contributions rose overall. Schwab has the lowest options rates, while TD Ameritrade and Robinhood have the highest. Robinhood had the highest equity rating. Repetto assumes Robinhood's ability to charge higher PFOF reflects their order flow profitability and that they receive a fixed rate per spread (vs. a fixed rate per share by the other brokers).

Robinhood's PFOF in equities and options grew the most quarter-over-quarter of the four brokers Piper Sandler analyzed, as did their implied volumes. All four brokers saw higher PFOF rates.

TD Ameritrade took the biggest income hit when cutting trading commissions in fall 2019, and this report shows they're trying to make up the shortfall by routing orders for additional PFOF. Robinhood refuses to disclose trading statistics using the same metrics as the rest of the industry, offering only a vague explanation on their website.

Summary

Payment for order flow has become a major source of revenue as brokers offer no-commission equity (stock and ETF) orders. For retail investors, payment for order flow poses a problem because the brokerage may route orders to a market maker for its own benefit, not the investor's.

Infrequent or small-volume traders may not notice their broker's PFOF practices. Frequent traders and those who trade larger quantities should learn about their broker's order routing system to ensure they're not losing out on price improvement due to a broker prioritizing payment for order flow.


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