More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year ago
In 2022, can a lone developer be able to successfully establish a SaaS product?
In the early 2000s, I began developing SaaS. I helped launch an internet fax service that delivered faxes to email inboxes. Back then, it saved consumers money and made the procedure easier.
Google AdWords was young then. Anyone might establish a new website, spend a few hundred dollars on keywords, and see dozens of new paying clients every day. That's how we launched our new SaaS, and these clients stayed for years. Our early ROI was sky-high.
The situation changed dramatically after 15 years. Our paid advertising cost $200-$300 for every new customer. Paid advertising takes three to four years to repay.
Fortunately, we still had tens of thousands of loyal clients. Good organic rankings gave us new business. We needed less sponsored traffic to run a profitable SaaS firm.
Is it still possible?
Since selling our internet fax firm, I've dreamed about starting a SaaS company. One I could construct as a lone developer and progressively grow a dedicated customer base, as I did before in a small team.
It seemed impossible to me. Solo startups couldn't afford paid advertising. SEO was tough. Even the worst SaaS startup ideas attracted VC funding. How could I compete with startups that could hire great talent and didn't need to make money for years (or ever)?
The One and Only Way to Learn
After years of talking myself out of SaaS startup ideas, I decided to develop and launch one. I needed to know if a solitary developer may create a SaaS app in 2022.
Thus, I did. I invented webwriter.ai, an AI-powered writing tool for website content, from hero section headlines to blog posts, this year. I soft-launched an MVP in July.
Considering the Issue
Now that I've developed my own fully capable SaaS app for site builders and developers, I wonder if it's still possible. Can webwriter.ai be successful?
I know webwriter.ai's proposal is viable because Jasper.ai and Grammarly are also AI-powered writing tools. With competition comes validation.
To Win, Differentiate
To compete with well-funded established brands, distinguish to stand out to a portion of the market. So I can speak directly to a target user, unlike larger competition.
I created webwriter.ai to help web builders and designers produce web content rapidly. This may be enough differentiation for now.
When paid search isn't an option, we get inventive. There are more tools than ever to promote a new website.
on social media (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn)
Marketing with content that is compelling
Listings in directories
references made in blog articles and on other websites
The Beginning of the Journey
As I've labored to construct my software, I've pondered a new mantra. Not sure where that originated from, but I like it. I'll live by it and teach my kids:
“Do the work.”
1 year ago
How Will You Generate $100 Million in Revenue? The Startup Business Plan
A top-down company plan facilitates decision-making and impresses investors.
A startup business plan starts with the product, the target customers, how to reach them, and how to grow the business.
Bottom-up is terrific unless venture investors fund it.
If it can prove how it can exceed $100M in sales, investors will invest. If not, the business may be wonderful, but it's not venture capital-investable.
As a rule, venture investors only fund firms that expect to reach $100M within 5 years.
Investors get nothing until an acquisition or IPO. To make up for 90% of failed investments and still generate 20% annual returns, portfolio successes must exit with a 25x return. A $20M-valued company must be acquired for $500M or more.
This requires $100M in sales (or being on a nearly vertical trajectory to get there). The company has 5 years to attain that milestone and create the requisite ROI.
This motivates venture investors (venture funds and angel investors) to hunt for $100M firms within 5 years. When you pitch investors, you outline how you'll achieve that aim.
I'm wary of pitches after seeing a million hockey sticks predicting $5M to $100M in year 5 that never materialized. Doubtful.
Startups fail because they don't have enough clients, not because they don't produce a great product. That jump from $5M to $100M never happens. The company reaches $5M or $10M, growing at 10% or 20% per year. That's great, but not enough for a $500 million deal.
Once it becomes clear the company won’t reach orbit, investors write it off as a loss. When a corporation runs out of money, it's shut down or sold in a fire sale. The company can survive if expenses are trimmed to match revenues, but investors lose everything.
When I hear a pitch, I'm not looking for bright income projections but a viable plan to achieve them. Answer these questions in your pitch.
Is the market size sufficient to generate $100 million in revenue?
Will the initial beachhead market serve as a springboard to the larger market or as quicksand that hinders progress?
What marketing plan will bring in $100 million in revenue? Is the market diffuse and will cost millions of dollars in advertising, or is it one, focused market that can be tackled with a team of salespeople?
Will the business be able to bridge the gap from a small but fervent set of early adopters to a larger user base and avoid lock-in with their current solution?
Will the team be able to manage a $100 million company with hundreds of people, or will hypergrowth force the organization to collapse into chaos?
Once the company starts stealing market share from the industry giants, how will it deter copycats?
The requirement to reach $100M may be onerous, but it provides a context for difficult decisions: What should the product be? Where should we concentrate? who should we hire? Every strategic choice must consider how to reach $100M in 5 years.
Focusing on $100M streamlines investor pitches. Instead of explaining everything, focus on how you'll attain $100M.
As an investor, I know I'll lose my money if the startup doesn't reach this milestone, so the revenue prediction is the first thing I look at in a pitch deck.
Reaching the $100M goal needs to be the first thing the entrepreneur thinks about when putting together the business plan, the central story of the pitch, and the criteria for every important decision the company makes.
1 year ago
Elon Musk’s Rich Life Is a Nightmare
I'm sure you haven't read about Elon's other side.
Elon divorced badly.
Imagine you're a parent. Someone isn't home year-round. What's next?
That’s what happened to YOLO Elon.
He can do anything. He can intervene in wars, shoot his mouth off, bang anyone he wants, avoid tax, make cool tech, buy anything his ego desires, and live anywhere exotic.
Few know his billionaire backstory. I'll tell you so you don't worship his lifestyle. It’s a cult.
Only his career succeeds. His life is a nightmare otherwise.
Elon has said he works 120-hour weeks.
As he told the reporter about his job, he choked up, which was unusual for him.
His crazy workload and lack of sleep forced him to scold innocent Wall Street analysts. Later, he apologized.
In the same interview, he admits he hadn't taken more than a week off since 2001, when he was bedridden with malaria. Elon stays home after a near-death experience.
He's rarely outside.
Elon says he sometimes works 3 or 4 days straight.
He admits his crazy work schedule has cost him time with his kids and friends.
Elon's a slave
Elon's birthday description made him emotional.
Elon worked his entire birthday.
"No friends, nothing," he said, stuttering.
His brother's wedding in Catalonia was 48 hours after his birthday. That meant flying there from Tesla's factory prison.
He arrived two hours before the big moment, barely enough time to eat and change, let alone see his brother.
Elon had to leave after the bouquet was tossed to a crowd of billionaire lovers. He missed his brother's first dance with his wife.
He went straight to Tesla's prison.
The looming health crisis
Elon was asked if overworking affected his health.
Not great. Friends are worried.
Now you know why Elon tweets dumb things. Working so hard has probably caused him mental health issues.
Mental illness removed my reality filter. You do stupid things because you're tired.
Astronauts pelted Elon
Elon's overwork isn't the first time his life has made him emotional.
When asked about Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan criticizing his SpaceX missions, he got emotional. Elon's heroes.
They're why he started the company, and they mocked his work. In another interview, we see how Elon’s business obsession has knifed him in the heart.
Once you have a company, you must feed, nurse, and care for it, even if it destroys you.
"Yep," Elon says, tearing up.
In the same interview, he's asked how Tesla survived the 2008 recession. Elon stopped the interview because he was crying. When Tesla and SpaceX filed for bankruptcy in 2008, he nearly had a nervous breakdown. He called them his "children."
All the time, he's risking everything.
Jack Raines explains best:
Too much money makes you a slave to your net worth.
Elon's emotions are admirable. It's one of the few times he seems human, not like an alien Cyborg.
Stop idealizing Elon's lifestyle
Building a side business that becomes a billion-dollar unicorn startup is a nightmare.
"Billionaire" means financially wealthy but otherwise broke. A rich life includes more than business and money.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
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11 months ago
The stunning new free AI image tool is called Leonardo AI.
Leonardo—The New Midjourney?
Users are comparing the new cowboy to Midjourney.
Leonardo.AI creates great photographs and has several unique capabilities I haven't seen in other AI image systems.
Midjourney's quality photographs are evident in the community feed.
Create Pictures Using Models
You can make graphics using platform models when you first enter the app (website):
Luma, Leonardo creative, Deliberate 1.1.
Clicking a model displays its description and samples:
Click Generate With This Model.
Then you can add your prompt, alter models, photos, sizes, and guide scale in a sleek UI.
Leonardo's Canvas editor lets you change created images by hovering over them:
The editor opens with masking, erasing, and picture download.
Develop Your Own Models
I've never seen anything like Leonardo's model training feature.
Upload a handful of similar photographs and save them as a model for future images. Share your model with the community.
You can make photos using your own model and a community-shared set of fine-tuned models:
Obtain Leonardo access
Leonardo is currently free.
Visit Leonardo.ai and click "Get Early Access" to receive access.
Add your email to receive a link to join the discord channel. Simply describe yourself and fill out a form to join the discord channel.
Please go to 👑│introductions to make an introduction and ✨│priority-early-access will be unlocked, you must fill out a form and in 24 hours or a little more (due to demand), the invitation will be sent to you by email.
I got access in two hours, so hopefully you can too.
I know there are many AI generative platforms, some free and some expensive, but Midjourney produces the most artistically stunning images and art.
Leonardo is the closest I've seen to Midjourney, but Midjourney is still the leader.
It's free now.
Leonardo's fine-tuned model selections, model creation, image manipulation, and output speed and quality make it a great AI image toolbox addition.
1 year ago
Apple WWDC 2022 Announcements
WWDC 2022 began early Tuesday morning. WWDC brought a ton of new features (which went for just shy of two hours).
With so many announcements, we thought we'd compile them. And now...
WWDC is Apple's developer conference. This includes iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS (all of its iPads). It's where Apple announces new features for developers to use. It's also where Apple previews new software.
Virtual WWDC runs June 6-10. You can rewatch the stream on Apple's website.
WWDC 2022 news:
Completely everything. Really. iOS 16 first.
iOS 16 is a major iPhone update. iOS 16 adds the ability to customize the Lock Screen's color/theme. And widgets. It also organizes notifications and pairs Lock Screen with Focus themes. Edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread. Apple gives us yet another reason to stay in its walled garden with iMessage.
New iOS includes family sharing. Parents can set up a child's account with parental controls to restrict apps, movies, books, and music. iOS 16 lets large families and friend pods share iCloud photos. Up to six people can contribute photos to a separate iCloud library.
Live Text is getting creepier. Users can interact with text in any video frame. Touch and hold an image's subject to remove it from its background and place it in apps like messages. Dictation offers a new on-device voice-and-touch experience. Siri can run app shortcuts without setup in iOS 16. Apple also unveiled a new iOS 16 feature to help people break up with abusive partners who track their locations or read their messages. Safety Check.
Apple Pay Later allows iPhone users to buy products and pay for them later. iOS 16 pushes Mail. Users can schedule emails and cancel delivery before it reaches a recipient's inbox (be quick!). Mail now detects if you forgot an attachment, as Gmail has for years. iOS 16's Maps app gets "Multi-Stop Routing," .
Apple News also gets an iOS 16 update. Apple News adds My Sports. With iOS 16, the Apple Watch's Fitness app is also coming to iOS and the iPhone, using motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
iOS 16 includes accessibility updates like Door Detection.
Many of Apple's software updates are designed to take advantage of the larger screens in recent models, but they also improve health and fitness tracking.
The most obvious reason to upgrade watchOS every year is to get new watch faces from Apple. WatchOS 9 will add four new faces.
Runners' workout metrics improve.
Apple quickly realized that fitness tracking would be the Apple Watch's main feature, even though it's been the killer app for wearables since their debut. For watchOS 9, the Apple Watch will use its accelerometer and gyroscope to track a runner's form, stride length, and ground contact time. It also introduces the ability to specify heart rate zones, distance, and time intervals, with vibrating haptic feedback and voice alerts.
The Apple Watch's Fitness app is coming to iOS and the iPhone, using the smartphone's motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
We'll get sleep tracking, medication reminders, and drug interaction alerts. Your watch can create calendar events. A new Week view shows what meetings or responsibilities stand between you and the weekend.
WWDC 2022 introduced iPad updates. iPadOS 16 is similar to iOS for the iPhone, but has features for larger screens and tablet accessories. The software update gives it many iPhone-like features.
iPadOS 16's Home app, like iOS 16, will have a new design language. iPad users who want to blame it on the rain finally have a Weather app. iPadOS 16 will have iCloud's Shared Photo Library, Live Text and Visual Look Up upgrades, and FaceTime Handoff, so you can switch between devices during a call.
Apple highlighted iPadOS 16's multitasking at WWDC 2022. iPad's Stage Manager sounds like a community theater app. It's a powerful multitasking tool for tablets and brings them closer to emulating laptops. Apple's iPadOS 16 supports multi-user collaboration. You can share content from Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and other third-party apps in Apple Messages.
WWDC 2022 revealed Apple's M2 chip. Apple has started the next generation of Apple Silicon for the Mac with M2. Apple says this device improves M1's performance.
M2's second-generation 5nm chip has 25% more transistors than M1's. 100GB/s memory bandwidth (50 per cent more than M1). M2 has 24GB of unified memory, up from 16GB but less than some ultraportable PCs' 32GB. The M2 chip has 10% better multi-core CPU performance than the M2, and it's nearly twice as fast as the latest 10-core PC laptop chip at the same power level (CPU performance is 18 per cent greater than M1).
Apple introduced the M2-powered MacBook Air. Apple's entry-level laptop has a larger display, a new processor, new colors, and a notch.
M2 also powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has 24GB of unified memory and 50% more memory bandwidth. New MacBook Pro batteries last 20 hours. As I type on the 2021 MacBook Pro, I can only imagine how much power the M2 will add.
macOS 13.0 (or, macOS Ventura)
macOS Ventura will take full advantage of M2 with new features like Stage Manager and Continuity Camera and Handoff for FaceTime. Safari, Mail, Messages, Spotlight, and more get updates in macOS Ventura.
Apple hasn't run out of California landmarks to name its OS after yet. macOS 13 will be called Ventura when it's released in a few months, but it's more than a name change and new wallpapers.
Stage Manager organizes windows
Stage Manager is a new macOS tool that organizes open windows and applications so they're still visible while focusing on a specific task. The main app sits in the middle of the desktop, while other apps and documents are organized and piled up to the side.
Spotlight is one of macOS's least appreciated features, but with Ventura, it's becoming even more useful. Live Text lets you extract text from Spotlight results without leaving the window, including images from the photo library and the web.
Mail lets you schedule or unsend emails.
We've all sent an email we regret, whether it contained regrettable words or was sent at the wrong time. In macOS Ventura, Mail users can cancel or reschedule a message after sending it. Mail will now intelligently determine if a person was forgotten from a CC list or if a promised attachment wasn't included. Procrastinators can set a reminder to read a message later.
Safari adds tab sharing and password passkeys
Apple is updating Safari to make it more user-friendly... mostly. Users can share a group of tabs with friends or family, a useful feature when researching a topic with too many tabs. Passkeys will replace passwords in Safari's next version. Instead of entering random gibberish when creating a new account, macOS users can use TouchID to create an on-device passkey. Using an iPhone's camera and a QR system, Passkey syncs and works across all Apple devices and Windows computers.
Continuity adds Facetime device switching and iPhone webcam.
With macOS Ventura, iPhone users can transfer a FaceTime call from their phone to their desktop or laptop using Handoff, or vice versa if they started a call at their desk and need to continue it elsewhere. Apple finally admits its laptop and monitor webcams aren't the best. Continuity makes the iPhone a webcam. Apple demonstrated a feature where the wide-angle lens could provide a live stream of the desk below, while the standard zoom lens could focus on the speaker's face. New iPhone laptop mounts are coming.
System Preferences is Now System Settings and Looks Like iOS
Ventura's System Preferences has been renamed System Settings and is much more similar in appearance to iOS and iPadOS. As the iPhone and iPad are gateway devices into Apple's hardware ecosystem, new Mac users should find it easier to adjust.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
1 year ago
Focus: The Deadly Strategic Idea You've Never Heard Of (But Definitely Need To Know!
Steve Jobs' initial mission at Apple in 1997 was to destroy. He killed the Newton PDA and Macintosh clones. Apple stopped trying to please everyone under Jobs.
Afterward, there were few highly targeted moves. First, the pink iMac. Modest success. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad made Apple the world's most valuable firm. Each maneuver changed the company's center of gravity and won.
That's the idea behind Schwerpunkt, a German military term meaning "focus." Jobs didn't need to win everywhere, just where it mattered, so he focused Apple's resources on a few key goods. Finding your Schwerpunkt is more important than charts and analysis for excellent strategy.
Comparison of Relative Strength and Relative Weakness
The iPod, Apple's first major hit after Jobs' return, didn't damage Microsoft and the PC, but instead focused Apple's emphasis on a fledgling, fragmented market that generated "sucky" products. Apple couldn't have taken on the computer titans at this stage, yet it beat them.
The move into music players used Apple's particular capabilities, especially its ability to build simple, easy-to-use interfaces. Jobs' charisma and stature, along his understanding of intellectual property rights from Pixar, helped him build up iTunes store, which was a quagmire at the time.
In Good Strategy | Bad Strategy, management researcher Richard Rumelt argues that good strategy uses relative strength to counter relative weakness. To discover your main point, determine your abilities and where to effectively use them.
Steve Jobs did that at Apple. Microsoft and Dell, who controlled the computer sector at the time, couldn't enter the music player business. Both sought to produce iPod competitors but failed. Apple's iPod was nobody else's focus.
Finding The Center of Attention
In a military engagement, leaders decide where to focus their efforts by assessing commanders intent, the situation on the ground, the topography, and the enemy's posture on that terrain. Officers spend their careers learning about schwerpunkt.
Business executives must assess internal strengths including personnel, technology, and information, market context, competitive environment, and external partner ecosystems. Steve Jobs was a master at analyzing forces when he returned to Apple.
He believed Apple could integrate technology and design for the iPod and that the digital music player industry sucked. By analyzing competitors' products, he was convinced he could produce a smash by putting 1000 tunes in my pocket.
The only difficulty was there wasn't the necessary technology. External ecosystems were needed. On a trip to Japan to meet with suppliers, a Toshiba engineer claimed the company had produced a tiny memory drive approximately the size of a silver dollar.
Jobs knew the memory drive was his focus. He wrote a $10 million cheque and acquired exclusive technical rights. For a time, none of his competitors would be able to recreate his iPod with the 1000 songs in my pocket.
How to Enter the OODA Loop
John Boyd invented the OODA loop as a pilot to better his own decision-making. First OBSERVE your surroundings, then ORIENT that information using previous knowledge and experiences. Then you DECIDE and ACT, which changes the circumstance you must observe, orient, decide, and act on.
Steve Jobs used the OODA loop to decide to give Toshiba $10 million for a technology it had no use for. He compared the new information with earlier observations about the digital music market.
Then something much more interesting happened. The iPod was an instant hit, changing competition. Other computer businesses that competed in laptops, desktops, and servers created digital music players. Microsoft's Zune came out in 2006, Dell's Digital Jukebox in 2004. Both flopped.
By then, Apple was poised to unveil the iPhone, which would cause its competitors to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Boyd named this OODA Loop infiltration. They couldn't gain the initiative by constantly reacting to Apple.
Microsoft and Dell were titans back then, but it's hard to recall. Apple went from near bankruptcy to crushing its competition via Schwerpunkt.
Rather than a destination, it is a journey
Trying to win everywhere is a strategic blunder. Win significant fights, not trivial skirmishes. Identifying a focal point to direct resources and efforts is the essence of Schwerpunkt.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, PC firms were competing, but he focused on digital music players, and the iPod made Apple a player. He launched the iPhone when his competitors were still reacting. When Steve Jobs said, "One more thing," at the end of a product presentation, he had a new focus.
Schwerpunkt isn't static; it's dynamic. Jobs' ability to observe, refocus, and modify the competitive backdrop allowed Apple to innovate consistently. His strategy was tailored to Apple's capabilities, customers, and ecosystem. Microsoft or Dell, better suited for the enterprise sector, couldn't succeed with a comparable approach.
There is no optimal strategy, only ones suited to a given environment, when relative strength might be used against relative weakness. Discovering the center of gravity where you can break through is more of a journey than a destination; it will become evident after you reach.