More on Leadership
Jano le Roux
5 days ago
Quit worrying about Twitter: Elon moves quickly before refining
Elon's rides start rough, but then...
Elon Musk has never been so hated.
They don’t get Elon.
He began using PayPal in this manner.
He began with SpaceX in a similar manner.
He began with Tesla in this manner.
Elon had rocky starts. His creativity requires it. Just like writing a first draft.
His fastest way to find the way is to avoid it.
PayPal's pricey launch
PayPal was a 1999 business flop.
They were considered insane.
Elon and his co-founders had big plans for PayPal. They adopted the popular philosophy of the time, exchanging short-term profit for growth, and pulled off a miracle just before the bubble burst.
PayPal was created as a dollar alternative. Original PayPal software allowed PalmPilot money transfers. Unfortunately, there weren't enough PalmPilot users.
Since everyone had email, the company emailed payments. Costs rose faster than sales.
The startup wanted to get a million subscribers by paying $10 to sign up and $10 for each referral. Elon thought the price was fair because PayPal made money by charging transaction fees. They needed to make money quickly.
A Wall Street Journal article valuing PayPal at $500 million attracted investors. The dot-com bubble burst soon after they rushed to get financing.
Musk and his partners sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. Musk's most successful company was PayPal.
SpaceX's start-up error
Elon and his friends bought a reconditioned ICBM in Russia in 2002.
He planned to invest much of his wealth in a stunt to promote NASA and space travel.
Many called Elon crazy.
The goal was to buy a cheap Russian rocket to launch mice or plants to Mars and return them. He thought SpaceX would revive global space interest. After a bad meeting in Moscow, Elon decided to build his own rockets to undercut launch contracts.
Then SpaceX was founded.
Elon’s plan was harder than expected.
Explosions followed explosions.
Millions lost on cargo.
Millions lost on the rockets.
Investors thought Elon was crazy, but he wasn't.
NASA's biggest competitor became SpaceX. NASA hired SpaceX to handle many of its missions.
Tesla's shaky beginning
Tesla began shakily.
Clients detested their roadster.
They continued to miss deadlines.
Lotus would handle the car while Tesla focused on the EV component, easing Tesla's entry. The business experienced elegance creep. Modifying specific parts kept the car from getting worse.
Cost overruns, delays, and other factors changed the Elise-like car's appearance. Only 7% of the Tesla Roadster's parts matched its Lotus twin.
Tesla was about to die.
Elon saved the mess as CEO.
He fired 25% of the workforce to reduce costs.
Elon Musk transformed Tesla into the world's most valuable automaker by running it like a startup.
Tesla hasn't spent a dime on advertising. They let the media do the talking by investing in innovation.
Elon sheds. Elon tries. Elon learns. Elon refines.
Twitter doesn't worry me.
The media is shocked. I’m not.
This is just Elon being Elon.
Elon makes lean.
Elon tries new things.
Elon listens to feedback.
Besides Twitter will always be Twitter.
3 months ago
The Great Organizational Conundrum
Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance
Someone told me that growing from 30 to 60 is the biggest adjustment for a team or business.
I remember thinking, That's random. Each company is unique. I've seen teams of all types confront the same issues during development periods. With new enterprises starting every year, we should be better at navigating growing difficulties.
As a team grows, its processes and systems break down, requiring reorganization or declining results. Why always? Why isn't there a perfect scaling model? Why hasn't that been found?
The Three Things Productive Organizations Must Have
Any company should be efficient and productive. Three items are needed:
First, it must verify that no two team members have conflicting information about the roadmap, strategy, or any input that could affect execution. Teamwork is required.
Second, it must ensure that everyone can receive the information they need from everyone else quickly, especially as teams become more specialized (an inevitability in a developing organization). It requires everyone's accessibility.
Third, it must ensure that the organization can operate efficiently even if a piece is unavailable. It's partition-tolerant.
From my experience with the many teams I've been on, invested in, or advised, achieving all three is nearly impossible. Why a perfect organization model cannot exist is clear after analysis.
The CAP Theorem: What is it?
Eric Brewer of Berkeley discovered the CAP Theorem, which argues that a distributed data storage should have three benefits. One can only have two at once.
The three benefits are consistency, availability, and partition tolerance, which implies that even if part of the system is offline, the remainder continues to work.
This notion is usually applied to computer science, but I've realized it's also true for human organizations. In a post-COVID world, many organizations are hiring non-co-located staff as they grow. CAP Theorem is more important than ever. Growing teams sometimes think they can develop ways to bypass this law, dooming themselves to a less-than-optimal team dynamic. They should adopt CAP to maximize productivity.
Path 1: Consistency and availability equal no tolerance for partitions
Let's imagine you want your team to always be in sync (i.e., for someone to be the source of truth for the latest information) and to be able to share information with each other. Only division into domains will do.
Numerous developing organizations do this, especially after the early stage (say, 30 people) when everyone may wear many hats and be aware of all the moving elements. After a certain point, it's tougher to keep generalists aligned than to divide them into specialized tasks.
In a specialized, segmented team, leaders optimize consistency and availability (i.e. every function is up-to-speed on the latest strategy, no one is out of sync, and everyone is able to unblock and inform everyone else).
Partition tolerance suffers. If any component of the organization breaks down (someone goes on vacation, quits, underperforms, or Gmail or Slack goes down), productivity stops. There's no way to give the team stability, availability, and smooth operation during a hiccup.
Path 2: Partition Tolerance and Availability = No Consistency
Some businesses avoid relying too heavily on any one person or sub-team by maximizing availability and partition tolerance (the organization continues to function as a whole even if particular components fail). Only redundancy can do that. Instead of specializing each member, the team spreads expertise so people can work in parallel. I switched from Path 1 to Path 2 because I realized too much reliance on one person is risky.
What happens after redundancy? Unreliable. The more people may run independently and in parallel, the less anyone can be the truth. Lack of alignment or updated information can lead to people executing slightly different strategies. So, resources are squandered on the wrong work.
Path 3: Partition and Consistency "Tolerance" equates to "absence"
The third, least-used path stresses partition tolerance and consistency (meaning answers are always correct and up-to-date). In this organizational style, it's most critical to maintain the system operating and keep everyone aligned. No one is allowed to read anything without an assurance that it's up-to-date (i.e. there’s no availability).
Always short-lived. In my experience, a business that prioritizes quality and scalability over speedy information transmission can get bogged down in heavy processes that hinder production. Large-scale, this is unsustainable.
When two puzzle pieces fit, the third won't. I've watched developing teams try to tackle these difficulties, only to find, as their ancestors did, that they can never be entirely solved. Idealized solutions fail in reality, causing lost effort, confusion, and lower production.
As teams develop and change, they should embrace CAP, acknowledge there is a limit to productivity in a scaling business, and choose the best two-out-of-three path.
Jano le Roux
17 days ago
The Real Reason Adobe Just Paid $20 billion for Figma
Sketch or Figma?
Designers are pissed.
The beast ate the beauty.
Figma deserves $20B.
Do designers deserve Adobe?
Adobe devours new creative tools and spits them out with a slimy Adobe aftertaste.
Frame.io — $1.3B
Magento — $1.7B
Macromedia — $3.6B
Nothing compares to the risky $20B acquisition.
If they can't be beaten, buy them.
And then make them boring.
Like that friend who dabbles in everything creatively, there's not enough time to master one thing.
Figma was Adobe's thigh-mounted battle axe.
a UX design instrument with a sizable free tier.
a UX design tool with a simple and quick user interface.
a tool for fluid collaboration in user experience design.
a web-based UX design tool that functions well.
a UX design tool with a singular goal of perfection.
UX design software that replaced Adobe XD.
Adobe XD could do many of Figma's things, but it didn't focus on the details. This is a major issue when working with detail-oriented professionals.
Design enthusiasts first used Figma. More professionals used it. Institutions taught it. Finally, major brands adopted Figma.
Adobe hated that.
Adobe dispatched a team of lawyers to resolve the Figma issue, as big companies do. Figma didn’t bite for months.
Figma helped designers leave Adobe. Figma couldn't replace Photoshop, but most designers used it to remove backgrounds.
Online background removal tools improved.
The Figma problem grew into a thorn, a knife, and a battle ax in Adobe's soft inner thigh.
Figma appeared to be going public. Adobe couldn’t allow that. It bought Figma for $20B during the IPO drought.
Adobe has a new issue—investors are upset.
The actual cause of investors' ire toward Adobe
Spoiler: The math just doesn’t add up.
According to Adobe's press release, Figma's annual recurring revenue (ARR) is $400M and growing rapidly.
The $20B valuation requires a 50X revenue multiple, which is unheard of.
Venture capitalists typically use:
10% to 29% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 1 to 5
30% to 99% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 6 to 10
100% to 400% growth per year: ARR multiplied by 10 to 20
Showing an investor a 50x multiple is like telling friends you saw a UFO. They'll think you're crazy.
Adobe's stock fell immediately after the acquisition because it didn't make sense to a number-cruncher.
Designers started a Tweet storm in the digital town hall where VCs and designers often meet.
Adobe acquired Workfront for $1.5 billion at the end of 2020. This purchase made sense for investors.
Many investors missed the fact that Adobe is acquiring Figma not only for its ARR but also for its brilliant collaboration tech.
Adobe could use Figmas web app technology to make more products web-based to compete with Canva.
Figma's high-profile clients could switch to Adobe's enterprise software.
However, questions arise:
Will Adobe make Figma boring?
Will Adobe tone down Figma to boost XD?
Would you ditch Adobe and Figma for Sketch?
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7 months ago
Token taxonomy: Utility vs Security vs NFT
Let's examine the differences between the three main token types and their functions.
As Ethereum grew, the term "token" became a catch-all term for all assets built on the Ethereum blockchain. However, different tokens were grouped based on their applications and features, causing some confusion. Let's examine the modification of three main token types: security, utility, and non-fungible.
They provide a specific utility benefit (or a number of such). A utility token is similar to a casino chip, a table game ticket, or a voucher. Depending on the terms of issuing, they can be earned and used in various ways. A utility token is a type of token that represents a tool or mechanism required to use the application in question. Like a service, a utility token's price is determined by supply and demand. Tokens can also be used as a bonus or reward mechanism in decentralized systems: for example, if you like someone's work, give them an upvote and they get a certain number of tokens. This is a way for authors or creators to earn money indirectly.
The most common way to use a utility token is to pay with them instead of cash for discounted goods or services.
Utility tokens are the most widely used by blockchain companies. Most cryptocurrency exchanges accept fees in native utility tokens.
Utility tokens can also be used as a reward. Companies tokenize their loyalty programs so that points can be bought and sold on blockchain exchanges. These tokens are widely used in decentralized companies as a bonus system. You can use utility tokens to reward creators for their contributions to a platform, for example. It also allows members to exchange tokens for specific bonuses and rewards on your site.
Unlike security tokens, which are subject to legal restrictions, utility tokens can be freely traded.
Security tokens are essentially traditional securities like shares, bonds, and investment fund units in a crypto token form.
The key distinction is that security tokens are typically issued by private firms (rather than public companies) that are not listed on stock exchanges and in which you can not invest right now. Banks and large venture funds used to be the only sources of funding. A person could only invest in private firms if they had millions of dollars in their bank account. Privately issued security tokens outperform traditional public stocks in terms of yield. Private markets grew 50% faster than public markets over the last decade, according to McKinsey Private Equity Research.
A security token is a crypto token whose value is derived from an external asset or company. So it is governed as security (read about the Howey test further in this article). That is, an ownership token derives its value from the company's valuation, assets on the balance sheet, or dividends paid to token holders.
Why are Security Tokens Important?
Cryptocurrency is a lucrative investment. Choosing from thousands of crypto assets can mean the difference between millionaire and bankrupt. Without security tokens, crypto investing becomes riskier and generating long-term profits becomes difficult. These tokens have lower risk than other cryptocurrencies because they are backed by real assets or business cash flows. So having them helps to diversify a portfolio and preserve the return on investment in riskier assets.
Security tokens open up new funding avenues for businesses. As a result, investors can invest in high-profit businesses that are not listed on the stock exchange.
The distinction between utility and security tokens isn't as clear as it seems. However, this increases the risk for token issuers, especially in the USA. The Howey test is the main pillar regulating judicial precedent in this area.
What is a Howey Test?
An "investment contract" is determined by the Howey Test, a lawsuit settled by the US Supreme Court. If it does, it's a security and must be disclosed and registered under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
If the SEC decides that a cryptocurrency token is a security, a slew of issues arise. In practice, this ensures that the SEC will decide when a token can be offered to US investors and if the project is required to file a registration statement with the SEC.
Due to the Howey test's extensive wording, most utility tokens will be classified as securities, even if not intended to be. Because of these restrictions, most ICOs are not available to US investors. When asked about ICOs in 2018, then-SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said they were securities. The given statement adds to the risk. If a company issues utility tokens without registering them as securities, the regulator may impose huge fines or even criminal charges.
What other documents regulate tokens?
Securities Act (1993) or Securities Exchange Act (1934) in the USA; MiFID directive and Prospectus Regulation in the EU. These laws require registering the placement of security tokens, limiting their transfer, but protecting investors.
Utility tokens have much less regulation. The Howey test determines whether a given utility token is a security. Tokens recognized as securities are now regulated as such. Having a legal opinion that your token isn't makes the implementation process much easier. Most countries don't have strict regulations regarding utility tokens except KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti Money-Laundering).
As cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies evolve, more countries create UT regulations. If your company is based in the US, be aware of the Howey test and the Bank Secrecy Act. It classifies UTs and their issuance as money transmission services in most states, necessitating a license and strict regulations. Due to high regulatory demands, UT issuers try to avoid the United States as a whole. A new law separating utility tokens from bank secrecy act will be introduced in the near future, giving hope to American issuers.
The rest of the world has much simpler rules requiring issuers to create basic investor disclosures. For example, the latest European legislation (MiCA) allows businesses to issue utility tokens without regulator approval. They must also prepare a paper with all the necessary information for the investors.
A payment token is a utility token that is used to make a payment. They may be subject to electronic money laws.
Because non-fungible tokens are a new instrument, there is no regulating paper yet. However, if the NFT is fractionalized, the smaller tokens acquired may be seen as securities.
Collectible tokens are also known as non-fungible tokens. Their distinctive feature is that they denote unique items such as artwork, merch, or ranks. Unlike utility tokens, which are fungible, meaning that two of the same tokens are identical, NFTs represent a unit of possession that is strictly one of a kind. In a way, NFTs are like baseball cards, each one unique and valuable.
As for today, the most recognizable NFT function is to preserve the fact of possession. Owning an NFT with a particular gif, meme, or sketch does not transfer the intellectual right to the possessor, but is analogous to owning an original painting signed by the author.
Collectible tokens can also be used as digital souvenirs, so to say. Businesses can improve their brand image by issuing their own branded NFTs, which represent ranks or achievements within the corporate ecosystem. Gamifying business ecosystems would allow people to connect with a brand and feel part of a community.
Which type of tokens is right for you as a business to raise capital?
For most businesses, it's best to raise capital with security tokens by selling existing shares to global investors. Utility tokens aren't meant to increase in value over time, so leave them for gamification and community engagement. In a blockchain-based business, however, a utility token is often the lifeblood of the operation, and its appreciation potential is directly linked to the company's growth. You can issue multiple tokens at once, rather than just one type. It exposes you to various investors and maximizes the use of digital assets.
Which tokens should I buy?
There are no universally best tokens. Their volatility, industry, and risk-reward profile vary. This means evaluating tokens in relation to your overall portfolio and personal preferences: what industries do you understand best, what excites you, how do you approach taxes, and what is your planning horizon? To build a balanced portfolio, you need to know these factors.
The three most common types of tokens today are security, utility, and NFT. Security tokens represent stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. Utility tokens can be perceived as an inside-product "currency" or "ignition key" that grants you access to goods and services or empowers with other perks. NFTs are unique collectible units that identify you as the owner of something.
4 months ago
Here is why 90.63% of Pages Get No Traffic From Google.
The web adds millions or billions of pages per day.
How much Google traffic does this content get?
In 2017, we studied 2 million randomly-published pages to answer this question. Only 5.7% of them ranked in Google's top 10 search results within a year of being published.
94.3 percent of roughly two million pages got no Google traffic.
Two million pages is a small sample compared to the entire web. We did another study.
We analyzed over a billion pages to see how many get organic search traffic and why.
How many pages get search traffic?
90% of pages in our index get no Google traffic, and 5.2% get ten visits or less.
90% of google pages get no organic traffic
How can you join the minority that gets Google organic search traffic?
There are hundreds of SEO problems that can hurt your Google rankings. If we only consider common scenarios, there are only four.
Reason #1: No backlinks
I hate to repeat what most SEO articles say, but it's true:
Backlinks boost Google rankings.
Google's "top 3 ranking factors" include them.
Why don't we divide our studied pages by the number of referring domains?
66.31 percent of pages have no backlinks, and 26.29 percent have three or fewer.
Did you notice the trend already?
Most pages lack search traffic and backlinks.
But are these the same pages?
Let's compare monthly organic search traffic to backlinks from unique websites (referring domains):
More backlinks equals more Google organic traffic.
Referring domains and keyword rankings are correlated.
It's important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and none of these graphs prove backlinks boost Google rankings. Most SEO professionals agree that it's nearly impossible to rank on the first page without backlinks.
You'll need high-quality backlinks to rank in Google and get search traffic.
Is organic traffic possible without links?
Here are the numbers:
Four million pages get organic search traffic without backlinks. Only one in 20 pages without backlinks has traffic, which is 5% of our sample.
Most get 300 or fewer organic visits per month.
What happens if we exclude high-Domain-Rating pages?
The numbers worsen. Less than 4% of our sample (1.4 million pages) receive organic traffic. Only 320,000 get over 300 monthly organic visits, or 0.1% of our sample.
This suggests high-authority pages without backlinks are more likely to get organic traffic than low-authority pages.
Internal links likely pass PageRank to new pages.
Two other reasons:
Our crawler's blocked. Most shady SEOs block backlinks from us. This prevents competitors from seeing (and reporting) PBNs.
They choose low-competition subjects. Low-volume queries are less competitive, requiring fewer backlinks to rank.
If the idea of getting search traffic without building backlinks excites you, learn about Keyword Difficulty and how to find keywords/topics with decent traffic potential and low competition.
Reason #2: The page has no long-term traffic potential.
Some pages with many backlinks get no Google traffic.
Why? I filtered Content Explorer for pages with no organic search traffic and divided them into four buckets by linking domains.
Almost 70k pages have backlinks from over 200 domains, but no search traffic.
By manually reviewing these (and other) pages, I noticed two general trends that explain why they get no traffic:
They overdid "shady link building" and got penalized by Google;
They're not targeting a Google-searched topic.
I won't elaborate on point one because I hope you don't engage in "shady link building"
#2 is self-explanatory:
If nobody searches for what you write, you won't get search traffic.
Consider one of our blog posts' metrics:
No organic traffic despite 337 backlinks from 132 sites.
The page is about "organic traffic research," which nobody searches for.
News articles often have this. They get many links from around the web but little Google traffic.
People can't search for things they don't know about, and most don't care about old events and don't search for them.
Some news articles rank in the "Top stories" block for relevant, high-volume search queries, generating short-term organic search traffic.
The Guardian's top "Donald Trump" story:
Ahrefs caught on quickly:
"Donald Trump" gets 5.6M monthly searches, so this page got a lot of "Top stories" traffic.
I bet traffic has dropped if you check now.
One of the quickest and most effective SEO wins is:
Find your website's pages with the most referring domains;
Do keyword research to re-optimize them for relevant topics with good search traffic potential.
Bryan Harris shared this "quick SEO win" during a course interview:
He suggested using Ahrefs' Site Explorer's "Best by links" report to find your site's most-linked pages and analyzing their search traffic. This finds pages with lots of links but little organic search traffic.
The guide has 67 backlinks but no organic traffic.
We could fix this by re-optimizing the page for "SERP"
A similar guide with 26 backlinks gets 3,400 monthly organic visits, so we should easily increase our traffic.
Don't do this with all low-traffic pages with backlinks. Choose your battles wisely; some pages shouldn't be ranked.
Reason #3: Search intent isn't met
Google returns the most relevant search results.
That's why blog posts with recommendations rank highest for "best yoga mat."
Google knows that most searchers aren't buying.
It's also why this yoga mats page doesn't rank, despite having seven times more backlinks than the top 10 pages:
The page ranks for thousands of other keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. Not being the "best yoga mat" isn't a big deal.
If you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic, re-optimizing them for search intent can be a quick SEO win.
It was originally a boring landing page describing our product's benefits and offering a 7-day trial.
We realized the problem after analyzing search intent.
People wanted a free tool, not a landing page.
In September 2018, we published a free tool at the same URL. Organic traffic and rankings skyrocketed.
Reason #4: Unindexed page
Google can’t rank pages that aren’t indexed.
If you think this is the case, search Google for site:[url]. You should see at least one result; otherwise, it’s not indexed.
A rogue noindex meta tag is usually to blame. This tells search engines not to index a URL.
Rogue canonicals, redirects, and robots.txt blocks prevent indexing.
Check the "Excluded" tab in Google Search Console's "Coverage" report to see excluded pages.
Google doesn't index broken pages, even with backlinks.
In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, the Best by Links report for a popular content marketing blog shows many broken pages.
One dead page has 131 backlinks:
According to the URL, the page defined content marketing. —a keyword with a monthly search volume of 5,900 in the US.
Luckily, another page ranks for this keyword. Not a huge loss.
At least redirect the dead page's backlinks to a working page on the same topic. This may increase long-tail keyword traffic.
This post is a summary. See the original post here
5 months ago
The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups
The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups
These startups, and how they used growth-hack marketing to flourish, are some of the more ethical ones, while others are less so.
Before the 1970 World Cup began, Puma paid footballer Pele $120,000 to tie his shoes. The cameras naturally focused on Pele and his Pumas, causing people to realize that Puma was the top football brand in the world.
Early workers of Uber canceled over 5,000 taxi orders made on competing applications in an effort to financially hurt any of their rivals.
PayPal developed a bot that advertised cheap goods on eBay, purchased them, and paid for them with PayPal, fooling eBay into believing that customers preferred this payment option. Naturally, Paypal became eBay's primary method of payment.
Anyone renting a space on Craigslist had their emails collected by AirBnB, who then urged them to use their service instead. A one-click interface was also created to list immediately on AirBnB from Craigslist.
To entice potential single people looking for love, Tinder developed hundreds of bogus accounts of attractive people. Additionally, for at least a year, users were "accidentally" linked.
Reddit initially created a huge number of phony accounts and forced them all to communicate with one another. It eventually attracted actual users—the real meaning of "fake it 'til you make it"! Additionally, this gave Reddit control over the tone of voice they wanted for their site, which is still present today.
To disrupt the conferences of their main rival, Salesforce recruited fictitious protestors. The founder then took over all of the event's taxis and gave a 45-minute pitch for his startup. No place to hide!
When a wholesaler required a minimum purchase of 10, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wanted a way to purchase only one book from them. A wholesaler would deliver the one book he ordered along with an apology for the other eight books after he discovered a loophole and bought the one book before ordering nine books about lichens. On Amazon, he increased this across all of the users.
Original post available here