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Solomon Ayanlakin

Solomon Ayanlakin

1 year ago

Metrics for product management and being a good leader

More on Leadership

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

1 year ago

The Real Reason Adobe Just Paid $20 billion for Figma

Sketch or Figma?

Illustration

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.

Adobe's everywhere.

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.

UX designers.

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.

Oh no.

Figma resisted.

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?

Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk

11 months ago

Is it bad of me to want our portfolio companies to generate greater returns for outside investors than they did for us as venture capitalists?

Wishing for Lasting Companies, Not Penny Stocks or Goodwill Write-Downs

Get me a NASCAR-style company-logoed cremation urn (notice to the executor of my will, theres gonna be a lot of weird requests). I believe in working on projects that would be on your tombstone. As the Homebrew logo is tattooed on my shoulder, expanding the portfolio to my posthumous commemoration is easy. But this isn't an IRR victory lap; it's a hope that the firms we worked for would last beyond my lifetime.

a little boy planting a dollar bill in the ground and pouring a watering can out on it, digital art [DALL-E]

Venture investors too often take credit or distance themselves from startups based on circumstances. Successful companies tell stories of crucial introductions, strategy conversations, and other value. Defeats Even whether our term involves Board service or systematic ethical violations, I'm just a little investment, so there's not much I can do. Since I'm guilty, I'm tossing stones from within the glass home (although we try to own our decisions through the lifecycle).

Post-exit company trajectories are usually unconfounded. Off the cap table, no longer a shareholder (or a diminishing one as you sell off/distribute), eventually leaving the Board. You can cheer for the squad or forget about it, but you've freed the corporation and it's back to portfolio work.

As I look at the downward track of most SPACs and other tarnished IPOs from the last few years, I wonder how I would feel if those were my legacy. Is my job done? Yes. When investing in a business, the odds are against it surviving, let alone thriving and being able to find sunlight. SPAC sponsors, institutional buyers, retail investments. Free trade in an open market is their right. Risking and losing capital is the system working! But

We were lead or co-lead investors in our first three funds, but as additional VCs joined the company, we were pushed down the cap table. Voting your shares rarely matters; supporting the firm when they need it does. Being valuable, consistent, and helping the company improve builds trust with the founders.

I hope every startup we sponsor becomes a successful public company before, during, and after we benefit. My perspective of American capitalism. Well, a stock ticker has a lot of garbage, and I support all types of regulation simplification (in addition to being a person investor in the Long-Term Stock Exchange). Yet being owned by a large group of investors and making actual gains for them is great. Likewise does seeing someone you met when they were just starting out become a public company CEO without losing their voice, leadership, or beliefs.

I'm just thinking about what we can do from the start to realize value from our investments and build companies with bright futures. Maybe seed venture financing shouldn't impact those outcomes, but I'm not comfortable giving up that obligation.

William Anderson

William Anderson

1 year ago

When My Remote Leadership Skills Took Off

4 Ways To Manage Remote Teams & Employees

The wheels hit the ground as I landed in Rochester.

Our six-person satellite office was now part of my team.

Their manager only reported to me the day before, but I had my ticket booked ahead of time.

I had managed remote employees before but this was different. Engineers dialed into headquarters for every meeting.

So when I learned about the org chart change, I knew a strong first impression would set the tone for everything else.

I was either their boss, or their boss's boss, and I needed them to know I was committed.

Managing a fleet of satellite freelancers or multiple offices requires treating others as more than just a face behind a screen.

You must comprehend each remote team member's perspective and daily interactions.

The good news is that you can start using these techniques right now to better understand and elevate virtual team members.

1. Make Visits To Other Offices

If budgeted, visit and work from offices where teams and employees report to you. Only by living alongside them can one truly comprehend their problems with communication and other aspects of modern life.

2. Have Others Come to You

• Having remote, distributed, or satellite employees and teams visit headquarters every quarter or semi-quarterly allows the main office culture to rub off on them.

When remote team members visit, more people get to meet them, which builds empathy.

If you can't afford to fly everyone, at least bring remote managers or leaders. Hopefully they can resurrect some culture.

3. Weekly Work From Home

No home office policy?

Make one.

WFH is a team-building, problem-solving, and office-viewing opportunity.

For dial-in meetings, I started working from home on occasion.

It also taught me which teams “forget” or “skip” calls.

As a remote team member, you experience all the issues first hand.

This isn't as accurate for understanding teams in other offices, but it can be done at any time.

4. Increase Contact Even If It’s Just To Chat

Don't underestimate office banter.

Sometimes it's about bonding and trust, other times it's about business.

If you get all this information in real-time, please forward it.

Even if nothing critical is happening, call remote team members to check in and chat.

I guarantee that building relationships and rapport will increase both their job satisfaction and yours.

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Grace Huang

Grace Huang

1 year ago

I sold 100 copies of my book when I had anticipated selling none.

After a decade in large tech, I know how software engineers were interviewed. I've seen outstanding engineers fail interviews because their responses were too vague.

So I wrote Nail A Coding Interview: Six-Step Mental Framework. Give candidates a mental framework for coding questions; help organizations better prepare candidates so they can calibrate traits.

Recently, I sold more than 100 books, something I never expected.

In this essay, I'll describe my publication journey, which included self-doubt and little triumphs. I hope this helps if you want to publish.

It was originally a Medium post.

How did I know to develop a coding interview book? Years ago, I posted on Medium.

Six steps to ace a coding interview Inhale. blog.devgenius.io

This story got a lot of attention and still gets a lot of daily traffic. It indicates this domain's value.

Converted the Medium article into an ebook

The Medium post contains strong bullet points, but it is missing the “flesh”. How to use these strategies in coding interviews, for example. I filled in the blanks and made a book.

I made the book cover for free. It's tidy.

Shared the article with my close friends on my social network WeChat.

I shared the book on Wechat's Friend Circle (朋友圈) after publishing it on Gumroad. Many friends enjoyed my post. It definitely triggered endorphins.

In Friend Circle, I presented a 100% off voucher. No one downloaded the book. Endorphins made my heart sink.

Several days later, my Apple Watch received a Gumroad notification. A friend downloaded it. I majored in finance, he subsequently said. My brother-in-law can get it? He downloaded it to cheer me up.

I liked him, but was disappointed that he didn't read it.

The Tipping Point: Reddit's Free Giving

I trusted the book. It's based on years of interviewing. I felt it might help job-hunting college students. If nobody wants it, it can still have value.

I posted the book's link on /r/leetcode. I told them to DM me for a free promo code.

Momentum shifted everything. Gumroad notifications kept coming when I was out with family. Following orders.

As promised, I sent DMs a promo code. Some consumers ordered without asking for a promo code. Some readers finished the book and posted reviews.

My book was finally on track.

A 5-Star Review, plus More

A reader afterwards DMed me and inquired if I had another book on system design interviewing. I said that was a good idea, but I didn't have one. If you write one, I'll be your first reader.

Later, I asked for a book review. Yes, but how? That's when I learned readers' reviews weren't easy. I built up an email pipeline to solicit customer reviews. Since then, I've gained credibility through ratings.

Learnings

I wouldn't have gotten 100 if I gave up when none of my pals downloaded. Here are some lessons.

  • Your friends are your allies, but they are not your clients.

  • Be present where your clients are

  • Request ratings and testimonials

  • gain credibility gradually

I did it, so can you. Follow me on Twitter @imgracehuang for my publishing and entrepreneurship adventure.

Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 year ago

In 5 minutes, you can tell if a startup will succeed.

Or the “lie to me” method.

I can predict a startup's success in minutes.

Just interview its founder.

Ask "why?"

I question "why" till I sense him.

I need to feel the person I have in front of me. I need to know if he or she can deliver. Startups aren't easy. Without abilities, a brilliant idea will fail.

Good entrepreneurs have these qualities: He's a leader, determined, and resilient.

For me, they can be split in two categories.

The first entrepreneur aspires to live meaningfully. The second wants to get rich. The second is communicative. He wants to wow the crowd. He's motivated by the thought of one day sailing a boat past palm trees and sunny beaches.

What drives the first entrepreneur is evident in his speech, face, and voice. He will not speak about his product. He's (nearly) uninterested. He's not selling anything. He's not a salesman. He wants to succeed. The product is his fuel.

He'll explain his decision. He'll share his motivations. His desire. And he'll use meaningful words.

Paul Ekman has shown that face expressions aren't cultural. His study influenced the American TV series "lie to me" about body language and speech.

Passionate entrepreneurs are obvious. It's palpable. Faking passion is tough. Someone who wants your favor and money will expose his actual motives through his expressions and language.

The good liar will be able to fool you for a while, but not for long if you pay attention to his body language and how he expresses himself.

And also, if you look at his business plan.

His business plan reveals his goals. Read between the lines.

Entrepreneur 1 will focus on his "why", whereas Entrepreneur 2 will focus on the "how".

Entrepreneur 1 will develop a vision-driven culture.

The second, on the other hand, will focus on his EBITDA.

Why is the culture so critical? Because it will allow entrepreneur 1 to develop a solid team that can tackle his problems and trials. His team's "why" will keep them together in tough times.

"Give me a terrific start-up team with a mediocre idea over a weak one any day." Because a great team knows when to pivot and trusts each other. Weak teams fail.” — Bernhard Schroeder

Closings thoughts

Every VC must ask Why. Entrepreneur's motivations. This "why" will create the team's culture. This culture will help the team adjust to any setback.

Jerry Keszka

Jerry Keszka

1 year ago

10 Crazy Useful Free Websites No One Told You About But You Needed

The internet is a massive information resource. With so much stuff, it's easy to forget about useful websites. Here are five essential websites you may not have known about.

Image from Canva selected by the author. The author assumes responsibility for the copyright

1. Companies.tools

Companies.tools are what successful startups employ. This website offers a curated selection of design, research, coding, support, and feedback resources. Ct has the latest app development platform and greatest client feedback method.

2. Excel Formula Bot

Excel Formula Bot can help if you forget a formula. Formula Bot uses AI to convert text instructions into Excel formulas, so you don't have to remember them.

Just tell the Bot what to do, and it will do it. Excel Formula Bot can calculate sales tax and vacation days. When you're stuck, let the Bot help.

3.TypeLit

TypeLit helps you improve your typing abilities while reading great literature.

TypeLit.io lets you type any book or dozens of preset classics. TypeLit provides real-time feedback on accuracy and speed.

Goals and progress can be tracked. Why not improve your typing and learn great literature with TypeLit?

4. Calm Schedule

Finding a meeting time that works for everyone is difficult. Personal and business calendars might be difficult to coordinate.

Synchronize your two calendars to save time and avoid problems. You may avoid searching through many calendars for conflicts and keep your personal information secret. Having one source of truth for personal and work occasions will help you never miss another appointment.
https://calmcalendar.com/

5. myNoise

myNoise makes the outside world quieter. myNoise is the right noise for a noisy office or busy street.

If you can't locate the right noise, make it. MyNoise unlocks the world. Shut out distractions. Thank your ears.

6. Synthesia

Professional videos require directors, filmmakers, editors, and animators. Now, thanks to AI, you can generate high-quality videos without video editing experience.

AI avatars are crucial. You can design a personalized avatar using a web-based software like synthesia.io. Our avatars can lip-sync in over 60 languages, so you can make worldwide videos. There's an AI avatar for every video goal.

Not free. Amazing service, though.

7. Cleaning-up-images

Have you shot a wonderful photo just to notice something in the background? You may have a beautiful headshot but wish to erase an imperfection.

Cleanup.pictures removes undesirable objects from photos. Our algorithms will eliminate the selected object.

Cleanup.pictures can help you obtain the ideal shot every time. Next time you take images, let Cleanup.pictures fix any flaws.

8. PDF24 Tools

Editing a PDF can be a pain. Most of us don't know Adobe Acrobat's functionalities. Why buy something you'll rarely use? Better options exist.

PDF24 is an online PDF editor that's free and subscription-free. Rotate, merge, split, compress, and convert PDFs in your browser. PDF24 makes document signing easy.

Upload your document, sign it (or generate a digital signature), and download it. It's easy and free. PDF24 is a free alternative to pricey PDF editing software.

9. Class Central

Finding online classes is much easier. Class Central has classes from Harvard, Stanford, Coursera, Udemy, and Google, Amazon, etc. in one spot.

Whether you want to acquire a new skill or increase your knowledge, you'll find something. New courses bring variety.

10. Rome2rio

Foreign travel offers countless transport alternatives. How do you get from A to B? It’s easy!

Rome2rio will show you the best method to get there, including which mode of transport is ideal.

  • Plane

  • Car

  • Train

  • Bus

  • Ferry

  • Driving

  • Shared bikes

  • Walking

Do you know any free, useful websites?