More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
What prevents companies from disclosing salary information?
Yes, salary details ought to be mentioned in job postings. Recruiters and candidates both agree, so why doesn't it happen?
The short answer is “Unfortunately, it’s not the Recruiter’s decision”. The longer answer is well… A LOT.
Starting in November 2022, NYC employers must include salary ranges in job postings. It should have started in May, but companies balked.
I'm thrilled about salary transparency. This decision will promote fair, inclusive, and equitable hiring practices, and I'm sure other states will follow suit. Good news!
Candidates, recruiters, and ED&I practitioners have advocated for pay transparency for years. Why the opposition?
Let's quickly review why companies have trouble sharing salary bands.
💰 Pay Parity
Many companies and leaders still oppose pay parity. Yes, even in 2022.
💰 Pay Equity
Many companies believe in pay parity and have reviewed their internal processes and systems to ensure equality.
However, Pay Equity affects who gets roles/promotions/salary raises/bonuses and when. Enter the pay gap!
💰Pay Transparency and its impact on Talent Retention
Sharing salary bands with external candidates (and the world) means current employees will have access to that information, which is one of the main reasons companies don't share salary data.
If a company has Pay Parity and Pay Equity issues, they probably have a Pay Transparency policy as well.
Sharing salary information with external candidates without ensuring current employees understand their own salary bands and how promotions/raises are decided could impact talent retention strategies.
This information should help clarify recent conversations.
1 year ago
100-day SaaS buildout.
We're opening up Maki through a series of Medium posts. We'll describe what Maki is building and how. We'll explain how we built a SaaS in 100 days. This isn't a step-by-step guide to starting a business, but a product philosophy to help you build quickly.
Focus on end-users.
This may seem obvious, but it's important to talk to users first. When we started thinking about Maki, we interviewed 100 HR directors from SMBs, Next40 scale-ups, and major Enterprises to understand their concerns. We initially thought about the future of employment, but most of their worries centered on Recruitment. We don't have a clear recruiting process, it's time-consuming, we recruit clones, we don't support diversity, etc. And as hiring managers, we couldn't help but agree.
Co-create your product with your end-users.
We went to the drawing board, read as many books as possible (here, here, and here), and when we started getting a sense for a solution, we questioned 100 more operational HR specialists to corroborate the idea and get a feel for our potential answer. This confirmed our direction to help hire more objectively and efficiently.
Back to the drawing board, we designed our first flows and screens. We organized sessions with certain survey respondents to show them our early work and get comments. We got great input that helped us build Maki, and we met some consumers. Obsess about users and execute alongside them.
Don’t shoot for the moon, yet. Make pragmatic choices first.
Once we were convinced, we began building. To launch a SaaS in 100 days, we needed an operating principle that allowed us to accelerate while still providing a reliable, secure, scalable experience. We focused on adding value and outsourced everything else. Example:
Concentrate on adding value. Reuse existing bricks.
When determining which technology to use, we looked at our strengths and the future to see what would last. Node.js for backend, React for frontend, both with typescript. We thought this technique would scale well since it would attract more talent and the surrounding mature ecosystem would help us go quicker.
We explored for ways to bootstrap services while setting down strong foundations that might support millions of users. We built our backend services on NestJS so we could extend into microservices later. Hasura, a GraphQL APIs engine, automates Postgres data exposing through a graphQL layer. MUI's ready-to-use components powered our design-system. We used well-maintained open-source projects to speed up certain tasks.
We outsourced important components of our platform (Auth0 for authentication, Stripe for billing, SendGrid for notifications) because, let's face it, we couldn't do better. We choose to host our complete infrastructure (SQL, Cloud run, Logs, Monitoring) on GCP to simplify our work between numerous providers.
Focus on your business, use existing bricks for the rest. For the curious, we'll shortly publish articles detailing each stage.
Most importantly, empower people and step back.
We couldn't have done this without the incredible people who have supported us from the start. Since Powership is one of our key values, we provided our staff the power to make autonomous decisions from day one. Because we believe our firm is its people, we hired smart builders and let them build.
Nicolas left Spendesk to create scalable interfaces using react-router, react-queries, and MUI. JD joined Swile and chose Hasura as our GraphQL engine. Jérôme chose NestJS to build our backend services. Since then, Justin, Ben, Anas, Yann, Benoit, and others have followed suit.
If you consider your team a collective brain, you should let them make decisions instead of directing them what to do. You'll make mistakes, but you'll go faster and learn faster overall.
Invest in great talent and develop a strong culture from the start. Here's how to establish a SaaS in 100 days.
1 year ago
How We Just Raised $6M At An $80M Valuation From 100+ Investors Using A Link (Without Pitching)
Lawtrades nearly failed three years ago.
We couldn't raise Series A or enthusiasm from VCs.
We raised $6M (at a $80M valuation) from 100 customers and investors using a link and no pitching.
We refocused our business first.
Lawtrades raised $3.7M while Atrium raised $75M. By comparison, we seemed unimportant.
We had to close the company or try something new.
As I've written previously, a pivot saved us. Our initial focus on SMBs attracted many unprofitable customers. SMBs needed one-off legal services, meaning low fees and high turnover.
Tech startups were different. Their General Councels (GCs) needed near-daily support, resulting in higher fees and lower churn than SMBs.
We stopped unprofitable customers and focused on power users. To avoid dilution, we borrowed against receivables. We scaled our revenue 10x, from $70k/mo to $700k/mo.
Then, we reconsidered fundraising (and do it differently)
This time was different. Lawtrades was cash flow positive for most of last year, so we could dictate our own terms. VCs were still wary of legaltech after Atrium's shutdown (though they were thinking about the space).
We neither wanted to rely on VCs nor dilute more than 10% equity. So we didn't compete for in-person pitch meetings.
AngelList Roll-Up Vehicle (RUV). Up to 250 accredited investors can invest in a single RUV. First, we emailed customers the RUV. Why? Because I wanted to help the platform's users.
Imagine if Uber or Airbnb let all drivers or Superhosts invest in an RUV. Humans make the platform, theirs and ours. Giving people a chance to invest increases their loyalty.
We expanded after initial interest.
We created a Journey link, containing everything that would normally go in an investor pitch:
- Trailer (from me)
- Product demo
We could also link to our AngelList RUV and send the pitch to an unlimited number of people. Instead of 1:1, we had 1:10,000 pitches-to-investors.
We posted Journey's link in RUV Alliance Discord. 600 accredited investors noticed it immediately. Within days, we raised $250,000 from customers-turned-investors.
Stonks, which live-streamed our pitch to thousands of viewers, was interested in our grassroots enthusiasm. We got $1.4M from people I've never met.
These updates on Pump generated more interest. Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Robinhood executives all wanted to invest. Sahil Lavingia, who had rejected us, gave us $100k.
We closed the round with public support.
Without a single pitch meeting, we'd raised $2.3M. It was a result of natural enthusiasm: taking care of the people who made us who we are, letting them move first, and leveraging their enthusiasm with VCs, who were interested.
We used network effects to raise $3.7M from a founder-turned-VC, bringing the total to $6M at a $80M valuation (which, by the way, I set myself).
What flipping the fundraising script allowed us to do:
We started with private investors instead of 2–3 VCs to show VCs what we were worth. This gave Lawtrades the ability to:
- Without meetings, share our vision. Many people saw our Journey link. I ended up taking meetings with people who planned to contribute $50k+, but still, the ratio of views-to-meetings was outrageously good for us.
- Leverage ourselves. Instead of us selling ourselves to VCs, they did. Some people with large checks or late arrivals were turned away.
- Maintain voting power. No board seats were lost.
- Utilize viral network effects. People-powered.
- Preemptively halt churn by turning our users into owners. People are more loyal and respectful to things they own. Our users make us who we are — no matter how good our tech is, we need human beings to use it. They deserve to be owners.
I don't blame founders for being hesitant about this approach. Pump and RUVs are new and scary. But it won’t be that way for long. Our approach redistributed some of the power that normally lies entirely with VCs, putting it into our hands and our network’s hands.
This is the future — another way power is shifting from centralized to decentralized.
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1 year ago
Did volcanic 'glasses' play a role in igniting early life?
Quenched lava may have aided in the formation of long RNA strands required by primitive life.
It took a long time for life to emerge. Microbes were present 3.7 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the 4.5-billion-year-old Earth had cooled enough to sustain biochemistry, according to fossils, and many scientists believe RNA was the genetic material for these first species. RNA, while not as complicated as DNA, would be difficult to forge into the lengthy strands required to transmit genetic information, raising the question of how it may have originated spontaneously.
Researchers may now have a solution. They demonstrate how basaltic glasses assist individual RNA letters, also known as nucleoside triphosphates, join into strands up to 200 letters long in lab studies. The glasses are formed when lava is quenched in air or water, or when melted rock generated by asteroid strikes cools rapidly, and they would have been plentiful in the early Earth's fire and brimstone.
The outcome has caused a schism among top origin-of-life scholars. "This appears to be a great story that finally explains how nucleoside triphosphates react with each other to create RNA strands," says Thomas Carell, a scientist at Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University. However, Harvard University's Jack Szostak, an RNA expert, says he won't believe the results until the study team thoroughly describes the RNA strands.
Researchers interested in the origins of life like the idea of a primordial "RNA universe" since the molecule can perform two different functions that are essential for life. It's made up of four chemical letters, just like DNA, and can carry genetic information. RNA, like proteins, can catalyze chemical reactions that are necessary for life.
However, RNA can cause headaches. No one has yet discovered a set of plausible primordial conditions that would cause hundreds of RNA letters—each of which is a complicated molecule—to join together into strands long enough to support the intricate chemistry required to kick-start evolution.
Basaltic glasses may have played a role, according to Stephen Mojzsis, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They're high in metals like magnesium and iron, which help to trigger a variety of chemical reactions. "Basaltic glass was omnipresent on Earth at the time," he adds.
He provided the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution samples of five different basalt glasses. Each sample was ground into a fine powder, sanitized, and combined with a solution of nucleoside triphosphates by molecular biologist Elisa Biondi and her colleagues. The RNA letters were unable to link up without the presence of glass powder. However, when the molecules were mixed with the glass particles, they formed long strands of hundreds of letters, according to the researchers, who published their findings in Astrobiology this week. There was no need for heat or light. Biondi explains, "All we had to do was wait." After only a day, little RNA strands produced, yet the strands continued to grow for months. Jan Paek, a molecular biologist at Firebird Biomolecular Sciences, says, "The beauty of this approach is its simplicity." "Mix the components together, wait a few days, and look for RNA."
Nonetheless, the findings pose a slew of problems. One of the questions is how nucleoside triphosphates came to be in the first place. Recent study by Biondi's colleague Steven Benner suggests that the same basaltic glasses may have aided in the creation and stabilization of individual RNA letters.
The form of the lengthy RNA strands, according to Szostak, is a significant challenge. Enzymes in modern cells ensure that most RNAs form long linear chains. RNA letters, on the other hand, can bind in complicated branching sequences. Szostak wants the researchers to reveal what kind of RNA was produced by the basaltic glasses. "It irritates me that the authors made an intriguing initial finding but then chose to follow the hype rather than the research," Szostak says.
Biondi acknowledges that her team's experiment almost probably results in some RNA branching. She does acknowledge, however, that some branched RNAs are seen in species today, and that analogous structures may have existed before the origin of life. Other studies carried out by the study also confirmed the presence of lengthy strands with connections, indicating that they are most likely linear. "It's a healthy argument," says Dieter Braun, a Ludwig Maximilian University origin-of-life chemist. "It will set off the next series of tests."
1 year ago
You can learn more about marketing from these 8 copywriting frameworks than from a college education.
Email, landing pages, and digital content
Today's most significant skill:
Unfortunately, most people don't know how to write successful copy because they weren't taught in school.
I've been obsessed with copywriting for two years. I've read 15 books, completed 3 courses, and studied internet's best digital entrepreneurs.
Here are 8 copywriting frameworks that educate more than a four-year degree.
1. Feature — Advantage — Benefit (F.A.B)
This is the most basic copywriting foundation. Email marketing, landing page copy, and digital video ads can use it.
How it works (feature)
which is helpful (advantage)
What's at stake (benefit)
The Hustle uses this framework on their landing page to convince people to sign up:
2. P. A. S. T. O. R.
This framework is for longer-form copywriting. PASTOR uses stories to engage with prospects. It explains why people should buy this offer.
Dan Koe's landing page is a great example. It shows PASTOR frame-by-frame.
3. Before — After — Bridge
Before-after-bridge is a copywriting framework that draws attention and shows value quickly.
This framework highlights:
where you are
where you want to be
how to get there
Works great for: Email threads/landing pages
Zain Kahn utilizes this framework to write viral threads.
QUEST is about empathetic writing. You know their issues, obstacles, and headaches. This allows coverups.
Tom Hirst's landing page uses the QUEST framework.
5. The 4P’s model
The 4P’s approach pushes your prospect to action. It educates and persuades quickly.
The problem the visitor is dealing with
The promise that will help them
The proof the promise works
A push towards action
Mark Manson is a bestselling author, digital creator, and pop-philosopher. He's also a great copywriter, and his membership offer uses the 4P’s framework.
6. Problem — Agitate — Solution (P.A.S)
Up-and-coming marketers should understand problem-agitate-solution copywriting. Once you understand one structure, others are easier. It drives passion and presents a clear solution.
The issue the visitor is having
It then intensifies this issue through emotion.
finally offers an answer to that issue (the offer)
The customer's story loops. Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush use PAS to promote Ship 30 for 30.
7. Star — Story — Solution (S.S.S)
PASTOR + PAS = star-solution-story. Like PAS, it employs stories to persuade.
S.S.S. is effective storytelling:
Star: (Person had a problem)
Story: (until they had a breakthrough)
Solution: (That created a transformation)
Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber with a great S.S.S copy.
8. Attention — Interest — Desire — Action
AIDA is another classic. This copywriting framework is great for fast-paced environments (think all digital content on Linkedin, Twitter, Medium, etc.).
It works with:
writing on thread
It's a good structure since it's concise, attention-grabbing, and action-oriented.
Shane Martin, Twitter's creator, uses this approach to create viral content.
8 copywriting frameworks that teach marketing better than a four-year degree
Yucel F. Sahan
1 year ago
How I Created the Day's Top Product on Product Hunt
In this article, I'll describe a weekend project I started to make something. It was Product Hunt's #1 of the Day, #2 Weekly, and #4 Monthly product.
How did I make Landing Page Checklist so simple? Building and launching took 3 weeks. I worked 3 hours a day max. Weekends were busy.
It's sort of a long story, so scroll to the bottom of the page to see what tools I utilized to create Landing Page Checklist :x
As a matter of fact, it all started with the startups-investments blog; Startup Bulletin, that I started writing in 2018. No, don’t worry, I won’t be going that far behind. The twitter account where I shared the blog posts of this newsletter was inactive for a looong time. I was holding this Twitter account since 2009, I couldn’t bear to destroy it. At the same time, I was thinking how to evaluate this account.
So I looked for a weekend assignment.
Weekend undertaking: Generate business names
Barash and I established a weekend effort to stay current. Building things helped us learn faster.
Simple. Startup Name Generator The utility generated random startup names. After market research for SEO purposes, we dubbed it Business Name Generator.
Backend developer Barash dislikes frontend work. He told me to write frontend code. Chakra UI and Tailwind CSS were recommended.
It was the first time I have heard about Tailwind CSS.
Before this project, I made mobile-web app designs in Sketch and shared them via Zeplin. I can read HTML-CSS or React code, but not write it. I didn't believe myself but followed Barash's advice.
My home page wasn't responsive when I started. Here it was:)
And then... Product Hunt had something I needed. Me-only! A website builder that gives you clean Tailwind CSS code and pre-made web components (like Elementor). Incredible.
I bought it right away because it was so easy to use. Best part: It's not just index.html. It includes all needed files. Like
among other things, tailwind.config.js
This is for non-techies.
Tailwind.build; which is Shuffle now, allows you to create and export projects for free (with limited features). You can try it by visiting their website.
After downloading the project, you can edit the text and graphics in Visual Studio (or another text editor). This HTML file can be hosted whenever.
Github is an easy way to host a landing page.
your project via Shuffle for export
your website's content, edit
Create a Gitlab, Github, or Bitbucket account.
to Github, upload your project folder.
Integrate Vercel with your Github account (or another platform below)
Allow them to guide you in steps.
Finally. If you push your code to Github using Github Desktop, you'll do it quickly and easily.
Speaking of; here are some hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites for you host your landing pages for FREE!
I host landingpage.fyi on Vercel but all is fine. You can choose any platform below with peace in mind.
After connecting your project/repo to Vercel, you don’t have to do anything on Vercel. Vercel updates your live website when you update Github Desktop. Wow!
Tails came out while I was using tailwind.build. Although it's prettier, tailwind.build is more mobile-friendly. I couldn't resist their lovely parts. Tails :)
Tails have several well-designed parts. Some components looked awful on mobile, but this bug helped me understand Tailwind CSS.
Unlike Shuffle, Tails does not include files when you export such as config.js, main.js, README.md. It just gives you the HTML code. Suffle.dev is a bit ahead in this regard and with mobile-friendly blocks if you ask me. Of course, I took advantage of both.
creativebusinessnames.co is inactive, but I'll leave a deployment link :)
Adam Wathan's YouTube videos and Tailwind's official literature helped me, but I couldn't have done it without Tails and Shuffle. These tools helped me make landing pages. I shouldn't have started over.
So began my Tailwind CSS adventure. I didn't build landingpage. I didn't plan it to be this long; sorry.
I learnt a lot while I was playing around with Shuffle and Tails Builders.
Long story short I built landingpage.fyi with the help of these tools;
Learning, building, and distribution
Shuffle (Started with a Shuffle Template)
Tails (Used components from here)
Sketch (to handle icons, logos, and .svg’s)
metatags.io (Auto Generator Meta Tags)
Github Desktop (Pushing code to Github -super easy-)
Visual Studio Code (Edit my code)
Mailerlite (Capture Emails)
CookieHub (Consent Management)
That's all. A few things:
.fyi Domain: Why?
I'm often asked this.
I don't know, but I wanted to include the landing page term. Popular TLDs are gone. I saw my alternatives. brief and catchy.
CSS Tailwind Resources
I'll share project resources like Tails and Shuffle.
Beginner Tailwind (I lately enrolled in this course but haven’t completed it yet.)
Thanks for reading my blog's first post. Please share if you like it.