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Victoria Kurichenko

Victoria Kurichenko

1 year ago

Updates From Google For Content Producers What You Should Know Is This

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Kaitlin Fritz

Kaitlin Fritz

1 year ago

The Entrepreneurial Chicken and Egg

University entrepreneurship is like a Willy Wonka Factory of ideas. Classes, roommates, discussions, and the cafeteria all inspire new ideas. I've seen people establish a business without knowing its roots.

Chicken or egg? On my mind: I've asked university founders around the world whether the problem or solution came first.

The Problem

One African team I met started with the “instant noodles” problem in their academic ecosystem. Many of us have had money issues in college, which may have led to poor nutritional choices.

Many university students in a war-torn country ate quick noodles or pasta for dinner.

Noodles required heat, water, and preparation in the boarding house. Unreliable power from one hot plate per blue moon. What's healthier, easier, and tastier than sodium-filled instant pots?

BOOM. They were fixing that. East African kids need affordable, nutritious food.

This is a real difficulty the founders faced every day with hundreds of comrades.

This sparked their serendipitous entrepreneurial journey and became their business's cornerstone.

The Solution

I asked a UK team about their company idea. They said the solution fascinated them.

The crew was fiddling with social media algorithms. Why are some people more popular? They were studying platforms and social networks, which offered a way for them.

Solving a problem? Yes. Long nights of university research lead them to it. Is this like world hunger? Social media influencers confront this difficulty regularly.

It made me ponder something. Is there a correct response?

In my heart, yes, but in my head…maybe?

I believe you should lead with empathy and embrace the problem, not the solution. Big or small, businesses should solve problems. This should be your focus. This is especially true when building a social company with an audience in mind.

Philosophically, invention and innovation are occasionally accidental. Also not penalized. Think about bugs and the creation of Velcro, or the inception of Teflon. They tackle difficulties we overlook. The route to the problem may look different, but there is a path there.

There's no golden ticket to the Chicken-Egg debate, but I'll keep looking this summer.

Rick Blyth

Rick Blyth

1 year ago

Looking for a Reliable Micro SaaS Niche

Niches are rich, as the adage goes.

Micro SaaS requires a great micro-niche; otherwise, it's merely plain old SaaS with a large audience.

Instead of targeting broad markets with few identifying qualities, specialise down to a micro-niche. How would you target these users?

Better go tiny. You'll locate and engage new consumers more readily and serve them better with a customized solution.

Imagine you're a real estate lawyer looking for a case management solution. Because it's so specific to you, you'd be lured to this link:

instead of below:

Next, locate mini SaaS niches that could work for you. You're not yet looking at the problems/solutions in these areas, merely shortlisting them.

The market should be growing, not shrinking

We shouldn't design apps for a declining niche. We intend to target stable or growing niches for the next 5 to 10 years.

If it's a developing market, you may be able to claim a stake early. You must balance this strategy with safer, longer-established niches (accountancy, law, health, etc).

First Micro SaaS apps I designed were for Merch By Amazon creators, a burgeoning niche. I found this niche when searching for passive income.

Graphic designers and entrepreneurs post their art to Amazon to sell on clothes. When Amazon sells their design, they get a royalty. Since 2015, this platform and specialty have grown dramatically.

Amazon doesn't publicize the amount of creators on the platform, but it's possible to approximate by looking at Facebook groups, Reddit channels, etc.

I could see the community growing week by week, with new members joining. Merch was an up-and-coming niche, and designers made money when their designs sold. All I had to do was create tools that let designers focus on making bestselling designs.

Look at the Google Trends graph below to see how this niche has evolved and when I released my apps and resigned my job.

Are the users able to afford the tools?

Who's your average user? Consumer or business? Is your solution budgeted?

If they're students, you'll struggle to convince them to subscribe to your study-system app (ahead of video games and beer).

Let's imagine you designed a Shopify plugin that emails customers when a product is restocked. If your plugin just needs 5 product sales a month to justify its cost, everyone wins (just be mindful that one day Shopify could potentially re-create your plugins functionality within its core offering making your app redundant ).

Do specialized users buy tools? If so, that's comforting. If not, you'd better have a compelling value proposition for your end customer if you're the first.

This should include how much time or money your program can save or make the user.

Are you able to understand the Micro SaaS market?

Ideally, you're already familiar about the industry/niche. Maybe you're fixing a challenge from your day job or freelance work.

If not, evaluate how long it would take to learn the niche's users. Health & Fitness is easier to relate to and understand than hedge fund derivatives trading.

Competing in these complex (and profitable) fields might offer you an edge.

B2C, B2M, or B2B?

Consider your user base's demographics. Will you target businesses, consumers, or both? Let's examine the different consumer types:

  • B2B refers to business-to-business transactions where customers are other businesses. UpVoty, Plutio, Slingshot, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Hubspot are a few examples of SaaS, ranging from Micro SaaS to SaaS.

  • Business to Consumer (B2C), in which your clients are people who buy things. For instance, Duolingo, Canva, and Nomad List.

  • For instance, my tool KDP Wizard has a mixed user base of publishing enterprises and also entrepreneurial consumers selling low-content books on Amazon. This is a case of business to many (B2M), where your users are a mixture of businesses and consumers. There is a large SaaS called Dropbox that offers both personal and business plans.

Targeting a B2B vs. B2C niche is very different. The sales cycle differs.

  • A B2B sales staff must make cold calls to potential clients' companies. Long sales, legal, and contractual conversations are typically required for each business to get the go-ahead. The cost of obtaining a new customer is substantially more than it is for B2C, despite the fact that the recurring fees are significantly higher.

  • Since there is typically only one individual making the purchasing decision, B2C signups are virtually always self-service with reduced recurring fees. Since there is typically no outbound sales staff in B2C, acquisition costs are significantly lower than in B2B.

User Characteristics for B2B vs. B2C

Consider where your niche's users congregate if you don't already have a presence there.

B2B users frequent LinkedIn and Twitter. B2C users are on Facebook/Instagram/Reddit/Twitter, etc.

Churn is higher in B2C because consumers haven't gone through all the hoops of a B2B sale. Consumers are more unpredictable than businesses since they let their bank cards exceed limitations or don't update them when they expire.

With a B2B solution, there's a contractual arrangement and the firm will pay the subscription as long as they need it.

Depending on how you feel about the above (sales team vs. income vs. churn vs. targeting), you'll know which niches to pursue.

You ought to respect potential customers.

Would you hang out with customers?

You'll connect with users at conferences (in-person or virtual), webinars, seminars, screenshares, Facebook groups, emails, support calls, support tickets, etc.

If talking to a niche's user base makes you shudder, you're in for a tough road. Whether they're demanding or dull, avoid them if possible.

Merch users are mostly graphic designers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs. These laid-back users embrace technologies that assist develop their Merch business.

I discovered there was only one annual conference for this specialty, held in Seattle, USA. I decided to organize a conference for UK/European Merch designers, despite never having done so before.

Hosting a conference for over 80 people was stressful, and it turned out to be much bigger than expected, with attendees from the US, Europe, and the UK.

I met many specialized users, built relationships, gained trust, and picked their brains in person. Many of the attendees were already Merch Wizard users, so hearing their feedback and ideas for future features was invaluable.

focused and specific

Instead of building for a generic, hard-to-reach market, target a specific group.

I liken it to fishing in a little, hidden pond. This small pond has only one species of fish, so you learn what bait it likes. Contrast that with trawling for hours to catch as many fish as possible, even if some aren't what you want.

In the case management scenario, it's difficult to target leads because several niches could use the app. Where do your potential customers hang out? Your generic solution: No.

It's easier to join a community of Real Estate Lawyers and see if your software can answer their pain points.

My Success with Micro SaaS

In my case, my Micro SaaS apps have been my chrome extensions. Since I launched them, they've earned me an average $10k MRR, allowing me to quit my lousy full-time job years ago.

I sold my apps after scaling them for a life-changing lump amount. Since then, I've helped unfulfilled software developers escape the 9-5 through Micro SaaS.

Whether it's a profitable side hustle or a liferaft to quit their job and become their own Micro SaaS boss.

Having built my apps to the point where I could quit my job, then scaled and sold them, I feel I can share my skills with software developers worldwide.

Read my free guide on self-funded SaaS to discover more about Micro SaaS, or download your own copy. 12 chapters cover everything from Idea to Exit.

Watch my YouTube video to learn how to construct a Micro SaaS app in 10 steps.

Jenn Leach

Jenn Leach

1 year ago

I created a faceless TikTok account. Six months later.

Follower count, earnings, and more

Photo by Jenna Day on Unsplash

I created my 7th TikTok account six months ago. TikTok's great. I've developed accounts for Amazon products, content creators/brand deals education, website flipping, and more.

Introverted or shy people use faceless TikTok accounts.

Maybe they don't want millions of people to see their face online, or they want to remain anonymous so relatives and friends can't locate them.

Going faceless on TikTok can help you grow a following, communicate your message, and make money online.

Here are 6 steps I took to turn my Tik Tok account into a $60,000/year side gig.

From nothing to $60K in 6 months

It's clickbait, but it’s true. Here’s what I did to get here.

Quick context:

I've used social media before. I've spent years as a social creator and brand.

I've built Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube accounts to nearly 100K.

How I did it

First, select a niche.

If you can focus on one genre on TikTok, you'll have a better chance of success, however lifestyle creators do well too.

Niching down is easier, in my opinion.

Examples:

  • Travel

  • Food

  • Kids

  • Earning cash

  • Finance

You can narrow these niches if you like.

During the pandemic, a travel blogger focused on Texas-only tourism and gained 1 million subscribers.

Couponing might be a finance specialization.

One of my finance TikTok accounts gives credit tips and grants and has 23K followers.

Tons of ways you can get more specific.

Consider how you'll monetize your TikTok account. I saw many enormous TikTok accounts that lose money.

Why?

They can't monetize their niche. Not impossible to commercialize, but tough enough to inhibit action.

First, determine your goal.

In this first step, consider what your end goal is.

Are you trying to promote your digital products or social media management services?

You want brand deals or e-commerce sales.

This will affect your TikTok specialty.

This is the first step to a TikTok side gig.

Step 2: Pick a content style

Next, you want to decide on your content style.

Do you do voiceover and screenshots?

You'll demonstrate a product?

Will you faceless vlog?

Step 3: Look at the competition

Find anonymous accounts and analyze what content works, where they thrive, what their audience wants, etc.

This can help you make better content.

Like the skyscraper method for TikTok.

Step 4: Create a content strategy.

Your content plan is where you sit down and decide:

  • How many videos will you produce each day or each week?

  • Which links will you highlight in your biography?

  • What amount of time can you commit to this project?

You may schedule when to post videos on a calendar. Make videos.

5. Create videos.

No video gear needed.

Using a phone is OK, and I think it's preferable than posting drafts from a computer or phone.

TikTok prefers genuine material.

Use their app, tools, filters, and music to make videos.

And imperfection is preferable. Tik okers like to see videos made in a bedroom, not a film studio.

Make sense?

When making videos, remember this.

I personally use my phone and tablet.

Step 6: Monetize

Lastly, it’s time to monetize How will you make money? You decided this in step 1.

Time to act!

For brand agreements

  • Include your email in the bio.

  • Share several sites and use a beacons link in your bio.

  • Make cold calls to your favorite companies to get them to join you in a TikTok campaign.

For e-commerce

  • Include a link to your store's or a product's page in your bio.

For client work

  • Include your email in the bio.

  • Use a beacons link to showcase your personal website, portfolio, and other resources.

For affiliate marketing

  • Include affiliate product links in your bio.

  • Join the Amazon Influencer program and provide a link to your storefront in your bio.

$60,000 per year from Tik Tok?

Yes, and some creators make much more.

Tori Dunlap (herfirst100K) makes $100,000/month on TikTok.

My TikTok adventure took 6 months, but by month 2 I was making $1,000/month (or $12K/year).

By year's end, I want this account to earn $100K/year.

Imagine if my 7 TikTok accounts made $100K/year.

7 Tik Tok accounts X $100K/yr = $700,000/year

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Nir Zicherman

Nir Zicherman

1 year ago

The Great Organizational Conundrum

Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance

A DALL-E 2 generated “photograph of a teddy bear who is frustrated because it can’t finish a jigsaw puzzle”

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.

Accepting CAP

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.

Ari Joury, PhD

Ari Joury, PhD

1 year ago

7 ways to turn into a major problem-solver

Frustration is normal when faced with unsolvable problems. Image by author

For some people, the glass is half empty. For others, it’s half full. And for some, the question is, How do I get this glass totally full again?

Problem-solvers are the last group. They're neutral. Pragmatists.

Problems surround them. They fix things instead of judging them. Problem-solvers improve the world wherever they go.

Some fail. Sometimes their good intentions have terrible results. Like when they try to help a grandma cross the road because she can't do it alone but discover she never wanted to.

Most programmers, software engineers, and data scientists solve problems. They use computer code to fix problems they see.

Coding is best done by understanding and solving the problem.

Despite your best intentions, building the wrong solution may have negative consequences. Helping an unwilling grandma cross the road.

How can you improve problem-solving?

1. Examine your presumptions.

Don’t think There’s a grandma, and she’s unable to cross the road. Therefore I must help her over the road. Instead think This grandma looks unable to cross the road. Let’s ask her whether she needs my help to cross it.

Maybe the grandma can’t cross the road alone, but maybe she can. You can’t tell for sure just by looking at her. It’s better to ask.

Maybe the grandma wants to cross the road. But maybe she doesn’t. It’s better to ask!

Building software is similar. Do only I find this website ugly? Who can I consult?

We all have biases, mental shortcuts, and worldviews. They simplify life.

Problem-solving requires questioning all assumptions. They might be wrong!

Think less. Ask more.

Secondly, fully comprehend the issue.

Grandma wants to cross the road? Does she want flowers from the shop across the street?

Understanding the problem advances us two steps. Instead of just watching people and their challenges, try to read their intentions.

Don't ask, How can I help grandma cross the road? Why would this grandma cross the road? What's her goal?

Understand what people want before proposing solutions.

3. Request more information. This is not a scam!

People think great problem solvers solve problems immediately. False!

Problem-solvers study problems. Understanding the problem makes solving it easy.

When you see a grandma struggling to cross the road, you want to grab her elbow and pull her over. However, a good problem solver would ask grandma what she wants. So:

Problem solver: Excuse me, ma’am? Do you wish to get over the road? Grandma: Yes indeed, young man! Thanks for asking. Problem solver: What do you want to do on the other side? Grandma: I want to buy a bouquet of flowers for my dear husband. He loves flowers! I wish the shop wasn’t across this busy road… Problem solver: Which flowers does your husband like best? Grandma: He loves red dahlia. I usually buy about 20 of them. They look so pretty in his vase at the window! Problem solver: I can get those dahlia for you quickly. Go sit on the bench over here while you’re waiting; I’ll be back in five minutes. Grandma: You would do that for me? What a generous young man you are!

A mediocre problem solver would have helped the grandma cross the road, but he might have forgotten that she needs to cross again. She must watch out for cars and protect her flowers on the way back.

A good problem solver realizes that grandma's husband wants 20 red dahlias and completes the task.

4- Rapid and intense brainstorming

Understanding a problem makes solutions easy. However, you may not have all the information needed to solve the problem.

Additionally, retrieving crucial information can be difficult.

You could start a blog. You don't know your readers' interests. You can't ask readers because you don't know who they are.

Brainstorming works here. Set a stopwatch (most smartphones have one) to ring after five minutes. In the remaining time, write down as many topics as possible.

No answer is wrong. Note everything.

Sort these topics later. Programming or data science? What might readers scroll past—are these your socks this morning?

Rank your ideas intuitively and logically. Write Medium stories using the top 35 ideas.

5 - Google it.

Doctor Google may answer this seemingly insignificant question. If you understand your problem, try googling or binging.

Someone has probably had your problem before. The problem-solver may have posted their solution online.

Use others' experiences. If you're social, ask a friend or coworker for help.

6 - Consider it later

Rest your brain.

Reread. Your brain needs rest to function.

Hustle culture encourages working 24/7. It doesn't take a neuroscientist to see that this is mental torture.

Leave an unsolvable problem. Visit friends, take a hot shower, or do whatever you enjoy outside of problem-solving.

Nap.

I get my best ideas in the morning after working on a problem. I couldn't have had these ideas last night.

Sleeping subconsciously. Leave it alone and you may be surprised by the genius it produces.

7 - Learn to live with frustration

There are problems that you’ll never solve.

Mathematicians are world-class problem-solvers. The brightest minds in history have failed to solve many mathematical problems.

A Gordian knot problem can frustrate you. You're smart!

Frustration-haters don't solve problems well. They choose simple problems to avoid frustration.

No. Great problem solvers want to solve a problem but know when to give up.

Frustration initially hurts. You adapt.

Famous last words

If you read this article, you probably solve problems. We've covered many ways to improve, so here's a summary:

  1. Test your presumptions. Is the issue the same for everyone else when you see one? Or are your prejudices and self-judgments misguiding you?

  2. Recognize the issue completely. On the surface, a problem may seem straightforward, but what's really going on? Try to see what the current situation might be building up to by thinking two steps ahead of the current situation.

  3. Request more information. You are no longer a high school student. A two-sentence problem statement is not sufficient to provide a solution. Ask away if you need more details!

  4. Think quickly and thoroughly. In a constrained amount of time, try to write down all your thoughts. All concepts are worthwhile! Later, you can order them.

  5. Google it. There is a purpose for the internet. Use it.

  6. Consider it later at night. A rested mind is more creative. It might seem counterintuitive to leave a problem unresolved. But while you're sleeping, your subconscious will handle the laborious tasks.

  7. Accept annoyance as a normal part of life. Don't give up if you're feeling frustrated. It's a step in the procedure. It's also perfectly acceptable to give up on a problem because there are other, more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

You might feel stupid sometimes, but that just shows that you’re human. You care about the world and you want to make it better.

At the end of the day, that’s all there is to problem solving — making the world a little bit better.

Gill Pratt

Gill Pratt

2 years ago

War's Human Cost

War's Human Cost
I didn't start crying until I was outside a McDonald's in an Olempin, Poland rest area on highway S17.


Children pick toys at a refugee center, Olempin, Poland, March 4, 2022.

Refugee children, mostly alone with their mothers, but occasionally with a gray-haired grandfather or non-Ukrainian father, were coaxed into picking a toy from boxes provided by a kind-hearted company and volunteers.
I went to Warsaw to continue my research on my family's history during the Holocaust. In light of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, I asked former colleagues in the US Department of Defense and Intelligence Community if it was safe to travel there. They said yes, as Poland was a NATO member.
I stayed in a hotel in the Warsaw Ghetto, where 90% of my mother's family was murdered in the Holocaust. Across the street was the first Warsaw Judenrat. It was two blocks away from the apartment building my mother's family had owned and lived in, now dilapidated and empty.


Building of my great-grandfather, December 2021.

A mass grave of thousands of rocks for those killed in the Warsaw Ghetto, I didn't cry when I touched its cold walls.


Warsaw Jewish Cemetery, 200,000–300,000 graves.


Mass grave, Warsaw Jewish Cemetery.

My mother's family had two homes, one in Warszawa and the rural one was a forest and sawmill complex in Western Ukraine. For the past half-year, a local Ukrainian historian had been helping me discover faint traces of her family’s life there — in fact, he had found some people still alive who remembered the sawmill and that it belonged to my mother’s grandfather. The historian was good at his job, and we had become close.


My historian friend, December 2021, talking to a Ukrainian.

With war raging, my second trip to Warsaw took on a different mission. To see his daughter and one-year-old grandson, I drove east instead of to Ukraine. They had crossed the border shortly after the war began, leaving men behind, and were now staying with a friend on Poland's eastern border.
I entered after walking up to the house and settling with the dog. The grandson greeted me with a huge smile and the Ukrainian word for “daddy,” “Tato!” But it was clear he was awaiting his real father's arrival, and any man he met would be so tentatively named.
After a few moments, the boy realized I was only a stranger. He had musical talent, like his mother and grandfather, both piano teachers, as he danced to YouTube videos of American children's songs dubbed in Ukrainian, picking the ones he liked and crying when he didn't.


Songs chosen by my historian friend's grandson, March 4, 2022

He had enough music and began crying regardless of the song. His mother picked him up and started nursing him, saying she was worried about him. She had no idea where she would live or how she would survive outside Ukraine. She showed me her father's family history of losses in the Holocaust, which matched my own research.
After an hour of drinking tea and trying to speak of hope, I left for the 3.5-hour drive west to Warsaw.
It was unlike my drive east. It was reminiscent of the household goods-filled carts pulled by horses and people fleeing war 80 years ago.


Jewish refugees relocating, USHMM Holocaust Encyclopaedia, 1939.

The carefully chosen trinkets by children to distract them from awareness of what is really happening and the anxiety of what lies ahead, made me cry despite all my research on the Holocaust. There is no way for them to communicate with their mothers, who are worried, absent, and without their fathers.
It's easy to see war as a contest of nations' armies, weapons, and land. The most costly aspect of war is its psychological toll. My father screamed in his sleep from nightmares of his own adolescent trauma in Warsaw 80 years ago.


Survivor father studying engineering, 1961.

In the airport, I waited to return home while Ukrainian public address systems announced refugee assistance. Like at McDonald's, many mothers were alone with their children, waiting for a flight to distant relatives.
That's when I had my worst trip experience.
A woman near me, clearly a refugee, answered her phone, cried out, and began wailing.
The human cost of war descended like a hammer, and I realized that while I was going home, she never would

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