More on Leadership
5 months ago
Provide a product roadmap that can withstand startup velocities
This is how to build a car while driving.
Building a high-growth startup is compared to building a car while it's speeding down the highway.
How to plan without going crazy? Or, without losing team, board, and investor buy-in?
I just delivered our company's product roadmap for the rest of the year. Complete. Thorough. Page-long. I'm optimistic about its chances of surviving as everything around us changes, from internal priorities to the global economy.
It's tricky. This isn't the first time I've created a startup roadmap. I didn't invent a document. It took time to deliver a document that will be relevant for months.
Although they never change, goals are rarely understood.
This is the third in a series about a startup's unique roadmapping needs. Velocity is the intensity at which a startup must produce to survive.
A high-growth startup moves at breakneck speed, which I alluded to when I said priorities and economic factors can change daily or weekly.
At that speed, a startup's roadmap must be flexible, bend but not break, and be brief and to the point. I can't tell you how many startups and large companies develop a product roadmap every quarter and then tuck it away.
Big, wealthy companies can do this. It's suicide for a startup.
The drawer thing happens because startup product roadmaps are often valid for a short time. The roadmap is a random list of features prioritized by different company factions and unrelated to company goals.
It's not because the goals changed that a roadmap is shelved or ignored. Because the company's goals were never communicated or documented in the context of its product.
In the previous post, I discussed how to turn company goals into a product roadmap. In this post, I'll show you how to make a one-page startup roadmap.
In a future post, I'll show you how to follow this roadmap. This roadmap helps you track company goals, something a roadmap must do.
Be vague for growth, but direct for execution.
Here's my plan. The real one has more entries and more content in each.
Let's discuss smaller boxes.
Product developers and engineers know that the further out they predict, the more wrong they'll be. When developing the product roadmap, this rule is ignored. Then it bites us three, six, or nine months later when we haven't even started.
Why do we put everything in a product roadmap like a project plan?
Yes, I know. We use it when the product roadmap isn't goal-based.
A goal-based roadmap begins with a document that outlines each goal's idea, execution, growth, and refinement.
Once the goals are broken down into epics, initiatives, projects, and programs, only the idea and execution phases should be modeled. Any goal growth or refinement items should be vague and loosely mapped.
Why? First, any idea or execution-phase goal will result in growth initiatives that are unimaginable today. Second, internal priorities and external factors will change, but the goals won't. Locking items into calendar slots reduces flexibility and forces deviation from the single source of truth.
No soothsayers. Predicting the future is pointless; just prepare.
A map is useless if you don't know where you're going.
As we speed down the road, the car and the road will change. Goals define the destination.
This quarter and next quarter's roadmap should be set. After that, you should track destination milestones, not how to get there.
When you do that, even the most critical investors will understand the roadmap and buy in. When you track progress at the end of the quarter and revise your roadmap, the destination won't change.
Jano le Roux
6 months 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.
8 months ago
Why Google's Hiring Process is Brilliant for Top Tech Talent
Without a degree and experience, you can get a high-paying tech job.
Most organizations follow this hiring rule: you chat with HR, interview with your future boss and other senior managers, and they make the final hiring choice.
If you've ever applied for a job, you know how arduous it can be. A newly snapped photo and a glossy resume template can wear you out. Applying to Google can change this experience.
According to an Universum report, Google is one of the world's most coveted employers. It's not simply the search giant's name and reputation that attract candidates, but its role requirements or lack thereof.
Candidates no longer need a beautiful resume, cover letter, Ivy League laurels, or years of direct experience. The company requires no degree or experience.
Elon Musk started it. He employed the two-hands test to uncover talented non-graduates. The billionaire eliminated the requirement for experience.
Google is deconstructing traditional employment with programs like the Google Project Management Degree, a free online and self-paced professional credential course.
Google's hiring is interesting. After its certification course, applicants can work in project management. Instead of academic degrees and experience, the company analyzes coursework.
Google finds the best project managers and technical staff in exchange. Google uses three strategies to find top talent.
Chase down the innovators
Google eliminates restrictions like education, experience, and others to find the polar bear amid the snowfall. Google's free project management education makes project manager responsibilities accessible to everyone.
Many jobs don't require a degree. Overlooking individuals without a degree can make it difficult to locate a candidate who can provide value to a firm.
Firsthand knowledge follows the same rule. A lack of past information might be an employer's benefit. This is true for creative teams or businesses that prefer to innovate.
Or when corporations conduct differently from the competition. No-experience candidates can offer fresh perspectives. Fast Company reports that people with no sales experience beat those with 10 to 15 years of experience.
Give the aptitude test first priority.
Google wants the best candidates. Google wouldn't be able to receive more applications if it couldn't screen them for fit. Its well-organized online training program can be utilized as a portfolio.
Google learns a lot about an applicant through completed assignments. It reveals their ability, leadership style, communication capability, etc. The course mimics the job to assess candidates' suitability.
Basic screening questions might provide information to compare candidates. Any size small business can use screening questions and test projects to evaluate prospective employees.
Effective training for employees
Businesses must train employees regardless of their hiring purpose. Formal education and prior experience don't guarantee success. Maintaining your employees' professional knowledge gaps is key to their productivity and happiness. Top-notch training can do that. Learning and development are key to employee engagement, says Bob Nelson, author of 1,001 Ways to Engage Employees.
Google's online certification program isn't available everywhere. Improving the recruiting process means emphasizing aptitude over experience and a degree. Instead of employing new personnel and having them work the way their former firm trained them, train them how you want them to function.
If you want to know more about Google’s recruiting process, we recommend you watch the movie “Internship.”
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10 months ago
What's the difference between Proof-of-Time and Proof-of-History?
Blockchain validates transactions with consensus algorithms. Bitcoin and Ethereum use Proof-of-Work, while Polkadot and Cardano use Proof-of-Stake.
Other consensus protocols are used to verify transactions besides these two. This post focuses on Proof-of-Time (PoT), used by Analog, and Proof-of-History (PoH), used by Solana as a hybrid consensus protocol.
PoT and PoH may seem similar to users, but they are actually very different protocols.
Analog developed Proof-of-Time (PoT) based on Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS). Users select "delegates" to validate the next block in DPoS. PoT uses a ranking system, and validators stake an equal amount of tokens. Validators also "self-select" themselves via a verifiable random function."
The ranking system gives network validators a performance score, with trustworthy validators with a long history getting higher scores. System also considers validator's fixed stake. PoT's ledger is called "Timechain."
Voting on delegates borrows from DPoS, but there are changes. PoT's first voting stage has validators (or "time electors" putting forward a block to be included in the ledger).
Validators are chosen randomly based on their ranking score and fixed stake. One validator is chosen at a time using a Verifiable Delay Function (VDF).
Validators use a verifiable delay function to determine if they'll propose a Timechain block. If chosen, they validate the transaction and generate a VDF proof before submitting both to other Timechain nodes.
This leads to the second process, where the transaction is passed through 1,000 validators selected using the same method. Each validator checks the transaction to ensure it's valid.
If the transaction passes, validators accept the block, and if over 2/3 accept it, it's added to the Timechain.
Proof-of-History is a consensus algorithm that proves when a transaction occurred. PoH uses a VDF to verify transactions, like Proof-of-Time. Similar to Proof-of-Work, VDFs use a lot of computing power to calculate but little to verify transactions, similar to (PoW).
This shows users and validators how long a transaction took to verify.
PoH uses VDFs to verify event intervals. This process uses cryptography to prevent determining output from input.
The outputs of one transaction are used as inputs for the next. Timestamps record the inputs' order. This checks if data was created before an event.
PoT vs. PoH
PoT and PoH differ in that:
PoT uses VDFs to select validators (or time electors), while PoH measures time between events.
PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions, while PoT uses a ranking system.
PoT's VDF-elected validators verify transactions proposed by a previous validator. PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions and data.
Both Proof-of-Time (PoT) and Proof-of-History (PoH) validate blockchain transactions differently. PoT uses a ranking system to randomly select validators to verify transactions.
PoH uses a Verifiable Delay Function to validate transactions, verify how much time has passed between two events, and allow validators to quickly verify a transaction without malicious actors knowing the input.
Jim Clyde Monge
9 months ago
Can You Sell Images Created by AI?
Some AI-generated artworks sell for enormous sums of money.
But can you sell AI-Generated Artwork?
Simple answer: yes.
However, not all AI services enable allow usage and redistribution of images.
Let's check some of my favorite AI text-to-image generators:
Dall-E2 by OpenAI
The AI art generator Dall-E2 is powerful. Since it’s still in beta, you can join the waitlist here.
OpenAI DOES NOT allow the use and redistribution of any image for commercial purposes.
Here's the policy as of April 6, 2022.
Here are some images from Dall-E2’s webpage to show its art quality.
Several Reddit users reported receiving pricing surveys from OpenAI.
This suggests the company may bring out a subscription-based tier and a commercial license to sell images soon.
I like Midjourney's art generator. It makes great AI images. Here are some samples:
Standard Licenses are available for $10 per month.
Standard License allows you to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, and/or sell copies of the images, except for blockchain technologies.
If you utilize or distribute the Assets using blockchain technology, you must pay MidJourney 20% of revenue above $20,000 a month or engage in an alternative agreement.
Here's their copyright and trademark page.
Dream by Wombo
Dream is one of the first public AI art generators.
This AI program is free, easy to use, and Wombo gives a royalty-free license to copy or share artworks.
Users own all artworks generated by the tool. Including all related copyrights or intellectual property rights.
Here’s Wombos' intellectual property policy.
AI is creating a new sort of art that's selling well. It’s becoming popular and valued, despite some skepticism.
Now that you know MidJourney and Wombo let you sell AI-generated art, you need to locate buyers. There are several ways to achieve this, but that’s for another story.
1 year ago
The Jordan 6 Rings Reintroduce Classic Bulls
The Jordan 6 Rings return in Bulls colors, a deviation from previous releases. The signature red color is used on the midsole and heel, as well as the chenille patch and pull tab. The rest of the latter fixture is black, matching the outsole and adjacent Jumpman logos. Finally, white completes the look, from the leather mudguard to the lace unit. Here's a closer look at the Jordan 6 Rings. Sizes should be available soon on Nike.com and select retailers. Also, official photos of the Air Jordan 1 Denim have surfaced.
Jordan 6 Rings
Release Date: 2022
Style Code: 322992-126