More on Society & Culture
3 months ago
A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison
Pink or blue AR-15s?
A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.
Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.
Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.
And lots more profit.
Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.
Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.
So now at school, we want to arm teachers.
Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?
Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.
Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.
Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.
Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.
Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).
This post is a summary. Read the full one here.
1 month ago
ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE
Amazon's purchase of One Medical could speed up American healthcare
The U.S. healthcare industry is a 7-ton seal bleeding at sea. Predators are circling. Unearned margin: price increases relative to inflation without quality improvements. Amazon is the 11-foot megalodon with 7-inch teeth. Amazon is no longer circling... but attacking.
In 2020 dollars, per capita U.S. healthcare spending increased from $2,968 in 1980 to $12,531. The result is a massive industry with 13% of the nation's workers and a fifth of GDP.
In 40 years, healthcare has made progress. From 73.7 in 1980 to 78.8 in 2019, life expectancy rose (before Covid knocked it back down a bit). Pharmacological therapies have revolutionized, and genetic research is paying off. The financial return, improvement split by cost increases, is terrible. No country has expense rises like the U.S., and no one spends as much per capita as we do. Developed countries have longer life expectancies, healthier populations, and less economic hardship.
Two-thirds of U.S. personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses and/or missed work. Mom or Dad getting cancer could bankrupt many middle-class American families. 40% of American adults delayed or skipped needed care due to cost. Every healthcare improvement seems to have a downside. Same pharmacological revolution that helped millions caused opioid epidemic. Our results are poor in many areas: The U.S. has a high infant mortality rate.
Healthcare is the second-worst retail industry in the country. Gas stations are #1. Imagine walking into a Best Buy to buy a TV and a Blue Shirt associate requests you fill out the same 14 pages of paperwork you filled out yesterday. Then you wait in a crowded room until they call you, 20 minutes after the scheduled appointment you were asked to arrive early for, to see the one person in the store who can talk to you about TVs, who has 10 minutes for you. The average emergency room wait time in New York is 6 hours and 10 minutes.
If it's bad for the customer, it's worse for the business. Physicians spend 27% of their time helping patients; 49% on EHRs. Documentation, order entry, billing, and inbox management. Spend a decade getting an M.D., then become a bureaucrat.
No industry better illustrates scale diseconomies. If we got the same return on healthcare spending as other countries, we'd all live to 100. We could spend less, live longer and healthier, and pay off the national debt in 15 years. U.S. healthcare is the worst ever.
What now? Competition is at the heart of capitalism, the worst system of its kind.
Amazon is buying One Medical for $3.9 billion. I think this deal will liberate society. Two years in, I think One Medical is great. When I got Covid, I pressed the One Medical symbol on my phone; a nurse practitioner prescribed Paxlovid and told me which pharmacies had it in stock.
Amazon enables the company's vision. One Medical's stock is down to $10 from $40 at the start of 2021. Last year, it lost $250 million and needs cash (Amazon has $60 billion). ONEM must grow. The service has 736,000 members. Half of U.S. households have Amazon Prime. Finally, delivery. One Medical is a digital health/physical office hybrid, but you must pick up medication at the pharmacy. Upgrade your Paxlovid delivery time after a remote consultation. Amazon's core competency means it'll happen. Healthcare speed and convenience will feel alien.
It's been a long, winding road to disruption. Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway formed Haven four years ago to provide better healthcare for their 1.5 million employees. It rocked healthcare stocks the morning of the press release, but folded in 2021.
Amazon Care is an employee-focused service. Home-delivered virtual health services and nurses. It's doing well, expanding nationwide, and providing healthcare for other companies. Hilton is Amazon Care's biggest customer. The acquisition of One Medical will bring 66 million Prime households capital, domain expertise, and billing infrastructure. Imagine:
"Alexa, I'm hot and my back hurts."
"Connecting you to a Prime doctor now."
Want to vs. Have to
I predicted Amazon entering healthcare years ago. Why? For the same reason Apple is getting into auto. Amazon's P/E is 56, double Walmart's. The corporation must add $250 billion in revenue over the next five years to retain its share price. White-label clothes or smart home products won't generate as much revenue. It must enter a huge market without scale, operational competence, and data skills.
Healthcare reform benefits both consumers and investors. In 2015, healthcare services had S&P 500-average multiples. The market is losing faith in public healthcare businesses' growth. Healthcare services have lower EV/EBITDA multiples than the S&P 500.
Amazon isn't the only prey-hunter. Walmart and Alibaba are starting pharmacies. Uber is developing medical transportation. Private markets invested $29 billion in telehealth last year, up 95% from 2020.
The pandemic accelerated telehealth, the immediate unlock. After the first positive Covid case in the U.S., services that had to be delivered in person shifted to Zoom... We lived. We grew. Video house calls continued after in-person visits were allowed. McKinsey estimates telehealth visits are 38 times pre-pandemic levels. Doctors adopted the technology, regulators loosened restrictions, and patients saved time. We're far from remote surgery, but many patient visits are unnecessary. A study of 40 million patients during lockdown found that for chronic disease patients, online visits didn't affect outcomes. This method of care will only improve.
Amazon's disruption will be significant and will inspire a flood of capital, startups, and consumer brands. Mark Cuban launched a pharmacy that eliminates middlemen in January. Outcome? A 90-day supply of acid-reflux medication costs $17. Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion by buying generic drugs from Cuban's pharmacy. Other apex predators will look at different limbs of the carcass for food. Nike could enter healthcare via orthopedics, acupuncture, and chiropractic. LVMH, L'Oréal, and Estée Lauder may launch global plastic surgery brands. Hilton and Four Seasons may open hospitals. Lennar and Pulte could build "Active Living" communities that Nana would leave feet first, avoiding the expense and tragedy of dying among strangers.
Privacy matters: HIV status is different from credit card and billing address. Most customers (60%) feel fine sharing personal health data via virtual technologies, though. Unavoidable. 85% of doctors believe data-sharing and interoperability will become the norm. Amazon is the most trusted tech company for handling personal data. Not Meta: Amazon.
What about antitrust, then?
Amazon should be required to spin off AWS and/or Amazon Fulfillment and banned from promoting its own products. It should be allowed to acquire hospitals. One Medical's $3.9 billion acquisition is a drop in the bucket compared to UnitedHealth's $498 billion market valuation.
Antitrust enforcement shouldn't assume some people/firms are good/bad. It should recognize that competition is good and focus on making markets more competitive in each deal. The FTC should force asset divestitures in e-commerce, digital marketing, and social media. These companies can also promote competition in a social ill.
U.S. healthcare makes us fat, depressed, and broke. Competition has produced massive value and prosperity across most of our economy.
Dear Amazon … bring it.
2 months ago
Is TikTok slowly destroying a new generation?
It's kids' digital crack
TikTok is a destructive social media platform.
The interface shortens attention spans and dopamine receptors.
TikTok shares more data than other apps.
Seeing an endless stream of dancing teens on my glowing box makes me feel like a Blade Runner extra.
TikTok did in one year what MTV, Hollywood, and Warner Music tried to do in 20 years. TikTok has psychotized the two-thirds of society Aldous Huxley said were hypnotizable.
Millions of people, mostly kids, are addicted to learning a new dance, lip-sync, or prank, and those who best dramatize this collective improvisation get likes, comments, and shares.
TikTok is a great app. So what?
The Commercial Magnifying Glass TikTok made me realize my generation's time was up and the teenage Zoomers were the target.
I told my 14-year-old sister, "Enjoy your time under the commercial magnifying glass."
TikTok sells your every move, gesture, and thought. Data is the new oil. If you tell someone, they'll say, "Yeah, they collect data, but who cares? I have nothing to hide."
It's a George Orwell novel's beginning. Look up Big Brother Award winners to see if TikTok won.
TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app, and where it goes is unclear. TikTok uses third-party trackers to monitor your activity after you leave the app.
Consumers can't see what data is shared or how it will be used. — Genius URL
32.5 percent of Tiktok's users are 10 to 19 and 29.5% are 20 to 29.
TikTok is the greatest digital marketing opportunity in history, and they'll use it to sell you things, track you, and control your thoughts. Any of its users will tell you, "I don't care, I just want to be famous."
TikTok manufactures mental illness
TikTok's effect on dopamine and the brain is absurd. Dopamine controls the brain's pleasure and reward centers. It's like a switch that tells your brain "this feels good, repeat."
Dr. Julie Albright, a digital culture and communication sociologist, said TikTok users are "carried away by dopamine." It's hypnotic, you'll keep watching."
TikTok constantly releases dopamine. A guy on TikTok recently said he didn't like books because they were slow and boring.
The US didn't ban Tiktok.
Biden and Trump agree on bad things. Both agree that TikTok threatens national security and children's mental health.
The Chinese Communist Party owns and operates TikTok, but that's not its only problem.
There’s borderline child porn on TikTok
It's unsafe for children and violated COPPA.
It's also Chinese spyware. I'm not a Trump supporter, but I was glad he wanted TikTok regulated and disappointed when he failed.
Full-on internet censorship is rare outside of China, so banning it may be excessive. US should regulate TikTok more.
We must reject a low-quality present for a high-quality future.
TikTok vs YouTube
People got mad when I wrote about YouTube's death.
They didn't like when I said TikTok was YouTube's first real challenger.
Indeed. TikTok is the fastest-growing social network. In three years, the Chinese social media app TikTok has gained over 1 billion active users. In the first quarter of 2020, it had the most downloads of any app in a single quarter.
TikTok is the perfect social media app in many ways. It's brief and direct.
Can you believe they had a YouTube vs TikTok boxing match? We are doomed as a species.
YouTube hosts my favorite videos. That’s why I use it. That’s why you use it. New users expect more. They want something quicker, more addictive.
TikTok's impact on other social media platforms frustrates me. YouTube copied TikTok to compete.
It's all about short, addictive content.
I'll admit I'm probably wrong about TikTok. My friend says his feed is full of videos about food, cute animals, book recommendations, and hot lesbians.
TikTok makes us bad
TikTok is the opposite of what the Ancient Greeks believed about wisdom.
It encourages people to be fake. It's like a never-ending costume party where everyone competes.
It does not mean that Gen Z is doomed.
They could be the saviors of the world for all I know.
TikTok feels like a step towards Mike Judge's "Idiocracy," where the average person is a pleasure-seeking moron.
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17 days ago
Do You Have Focus Issues? Use These 5 Simple Habits
Many can't concentrate. The first 20% of the day isn't optimized.
Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates share something:
A repeatable morning ritual saves time.
Time for hobbies.
I'll discuss 5 easy morning routines you can use.
1. Stop pressing snooze
Waking up starts the day. You disrupt your routine by hitting snooze.
One sleep becomes three. Your morning routine gets derailed.
Hide your phone. This disables snooze and wakes you up.
Once awake, staying awake is 10x easier. Simple trick, big results.
2. Drink water
Chronic dehydration is common. Mostly urban, air-conditioned workers/residents.
2% cerebral dehydration causes short-term memory loss.
Dehydration shrinks brain cells.
Drink 3-4 liters of water daily to avoid this.
3. Improve your focus
How to focus better?
Improve your mood
Enhance your memory
increase mental clarity
Reduce blood pressure and stress
Headspace helps with the habit.
Here's a meditation guide.
Shut your eyes.
Concentrate on your breathing
Breathe in through your nose
Breathe out your mouth.
5 in, 5 out.
Repeat for 1 to 20 minutes.
Here's a beginner's video:
focus and memory
15-60 minutes of fun:
Stretching and yoga
This helps you now and later.
5. Keep a journal
You have countless thoughts daily. Many quietly steal your focus.
Here’s how to clear these:
Write for 5-10 minutes.
You'll gain 2x more mental clarity.
5 morning practices for 5x more productivity:
Say no to snoozing
Improve your focus
One step starts a thousand-mile journey. Try these easy yet effective behaviors if you have trouble concentrating or have too many thoughts.
Start with one of these behaviors, then add the others. Its astonishing results are instant.
3 months ago
6 Rules to build a successful NFT Community in 2022
Too much NFT, Discord, and shitposting.
How do you choose?
How do you recruit more members to join your NFT project?
In 2021, a successful NFT project required:
Twitter and Discord bot-filled
Goal was quick cash.
2022 and the years after will change that.
These are 6 Rules for a Strong NFT Community in 2022:
THINK LONG TERM
This relates to roadmap planning. Hype and dumb luck may drive NFT projects (ahem, goblins) but rarely will your project soar.
Instead, consider sustainability.
Plan your roadmap based on your team's abilities.
Do what you're already doing, but with NFTs, make it bigger and better.
You shouldn't copy a project's roadmap just because it was profitable.
This will lead to over-promising, team burnout, and an RUG NFT project.
Building a great community starts with giving.
Why are musicians popular?
Because they offer entertainment for everyone, a random person becomes a fan, and more fans become a cult.
That's how you should approach your community.
A great team helps.
An NFT project could have 3 or 2 people.
Credibility trumps team size.
Make sure your team can answer community questions, resolve issues, and constantly attend to them.
Don't overwork and burn out.
Your community will be able to recognize that you are trying too hard and give up on the project.
BUILD A GREAT PRODUCT
Bored Ape Yacht Club altered the NFT space.
Cryptopunks transformed NFTs.
Many others did, including Okay Bears.
What made them that way?
Because they answered a key question.
What is my NFT supposed to be?
Before planning art, this question must be answered.
NFTs can't be just jpegs.
What does it represent?
Is it a Metaverse-ready project?
What blockchain are you going to be using and why?
Set some ground rules for yourself. This helps your project's direction.
These questions will help you and your team set a direction for blockchain, NFT, and Web3 technology.
EDUCATE ON WEB3
The more the team learns about Web3 technology, the more they can offer their community.
Think tokens, metaverse, cross-chain interoperability and more.
BUILD A GREAT COMMUNITY
Several projects mistreat their communities.
They treat their community like "customers" and try to sell them NFT.
Providing Whitelists and giveaways aren't your only community-building options.
Consider them family and friends, not wallets.
Consider them fans.
These are some tips to start your NFT project.
24 days ago
Growth tactics that grew businesses from 1 to 100
Everyone wants a scalable startup.
Innovation helps launch a startup. The secret to a scalable business is growth trials (from 1 to 100).
Growth marketing combines marketing and product development for long-term growth.
Today, I'll explain growth hacking strategies popular startups used to scale.
1/ A Facebook user's social value is proportional to their friends.
Facebook built its user base using content marketing and paid ads. Mark and his investors feared in 2007 when Facebook's growth stalled at 90 million users.
Chamath Palihapitiya was brought in by Mark.
The team tested SEO keywords and MAU chasing. The growth team introduced “people you may know”
This feature reunited long-lost friends and family. Casual users became power users as the retention curve flattened.
Growth Hack Insights: With social network effect the value of your product or platform increases exponentially if you have users you know or can relate with.
2/ Airbnb - Focus on your value propositions
Airbnb nearly failed in 2009. The company's weekly revenue was $200 and they had less than 2 months of runway.
Enter Paul Graham. The team noticed a pattern in 40 listings. Their website's property photos sucked.
Because these photos were taken with regular smartphones. Users didn't like the first impression.
Graham suggested traveling to New York to rent a camera, meet with property owners, and replace amateur photos with high-resolution ones.
A week later, the team's weekly revenue doubled to $400, indicating they were on track.
Growth Hack Insights: When selling an “online experience” ensure that your value proposition is aesthetic enough for users to enjoy being associated with them.
3/ Zomato - A company's smartphone push ensured growth.
Zomato delivers food. User retention was a challenge for the founders. Indian food customers are notorious for switching brands at the drop of a hat.
Zomato wanted users to order food online and repeat orders throughout the week.
Zomato created an attractive website with “near me” keywords for SEO indexing.
Zomato gambled to increase repeat orders. They only allowed mobile app food orders.
Zomato thought mobile apps were stickier. Product innovations in search/discovery/ordering or marketing campaigns like discounts/in-app notifications/nudges can improve user experience.
Zomato went public in 2021 after users kept ordering food online.
Growth Hack Insights: To improve user retention try to build platforms that build user stickiness. Your product and marketing team will do the rest for them.
4/ Hotmail - Signaling helps build premium users.
Ever sent or received an email or tweet with a sign — sent from iPhone?
Hotmail did it first! One investor suggested Hotmail add a signature to every email.
Overnight, thousands joined the company. Six months later, the company had 1 million users.
When serving an existing customer, improve their social standing. Signaling keeps the top 1%.
5/ Dropbox - Respect loyal customers
Dropbox is a company that puts people over profits. The company prioritized existing users.
Dropbox rewarded loyal users by offering 250 MB of free storage to anyone who referred a friend. The referral hack helped Dropbox get millions of downloads in its first few months.
Growth Hack Insights: Think of ways to improve the social positioning of your end-user when you are serving an existing customer. Signaling goes a long way in attracting the top 1% to stay.
These experiments weren’t hacks. Hundreds of failed experiments and user research drove these experiments. Scaling up experiments is difficult.
Contact me if you want to grow your startup's user base.