More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
6 months ago
SaaS payback period data
It's ok and even desired to be unprofitable if you're gaining revenue at a reasonable cost and have 100%+ net dollar retention, meaning you never lose customers and expand them. To estimate the acceptable cost of new SaaS revenue, we compare new revenue to operating loss and payback period. If you pay back the customer acquisition cost in 1.5 years and never lose them (100%+ NDR), you're doing well.
To evaluate payback period, we compared new revenue to net operating loss for the last 73 SaaS companies to IPO since October 2017. (55 out of 73). Here's the data. 1/(new revenue/operating loss) equals payback period. New revenue/operating loss equals cost of new revenue.
Payback averages a year. 55 SaaS companies that weren't profitable at IPO got a 1-year payback. Outstanding. If you pay for a customer in a year and never lose them (100%+ NDR), you're establishing a valuable business. The average was 1.3 years, which is within the 1.5-year range.
New revenue costs $0.96 on average. These SaaS companies lost $0.96 every $1 of new revenue last year. Again, impressive. Average new revenue per operating loss was $1.59.
Loss-in-operations definition. Operating loss revenue COGS S&M R&D G&A (technical point: be sure to use the absolute value of operating loss). It's wrong to only consider S&M costs and ignore other business costs. Operating loss and new revenue are measured over one year to eliminate seasonality.
Operating losses are desirable if you never lose a customer and have a quick payback period, especially when SaaS enterprises are valued on ARR. The payback period should be under 1.5 years, the cost of new income < $1, and net dollar retention 100%.
MAJESTY AliNICOLE WOW!
3 months ago
YouTube's faceless videos are growing in popularity, but this is nothing new.
I've always bucked social media norms. YouTube doesn't compare. Traditional video made me zig when everyone zagged. Audio, picture personality animation, thought movies, and slide show videos are most popular and profitable.
YouTube's business is shifting. While most video experts swear by the idea that YouTube success is all about making personal and professional Face-Share-Videos, those who use YouTube for business know things are different.
In this article, I will share concepts from my mini master class Figures to Followers: Prioritizing Purposeful Profits Over Popularity on YouTube to Create the Win-Win for You, Your Audience & More and my forthcoming publication The WOWTUBE-PRENEUR FACTOR EVOLUTION: The Basics of Powerfully & Profitably Positioning Yourself as a Video Communications Authority to Broadcast Your WOW Effect as a Video Entrepreneur.
I've researched the psychology, anthropology, and anatomy of significant social media platforms as an entrepreneur and social media marketing expert. While building my YouTube empire, I've paid particular attention to what works for short, mid, and long-term success, whether it's a niche-focused, lifestyle, or multi-interest channel.
Most new, semi-new, and seasoned YouTubers feel vlog-style or live-on-camera videos are popular. Faceless, animated, music-text-based, and slideshow videos do well for businesses.
Buyer-consumer vs. content-consumer thinking is totally different when absorbing content. Profitability and popularity are closely related, however most people become popular with traditional means but not profitable.
In my experience, Faceless videos are more profitable, although it depends on the channel's style. Several professionals are now teaching in their courses that non-traditional films are making the difference in their business success and popularity.
Face-Share-Personal-Touch videos make audiences feel like they know the personality, but they're not profitable.
Most spend hours creating articles, videos, and thumbnails to seem good. That's how most YouTubers gained their success in the past, but not anymore.
Looking the part and performing a typical role in videos doesn't convert well, especially for newbie channels.
Working with video marketers and YouTubers for years, I've noticed that most struggle to be consistent with content publishing since they exclusively use formats that need extensive development. Camera and green screen set ups, shooting/filming, and editing for post productions require their time, making it less appealing to post consistently, especially if they're doing all the work themselves.
Because they won't make simple format videos or audio videos with an overlay image, they overcomplicate the procedure (even with YouTube Shorts), and they leave their channels for weeks or months. Again, they believe YouTube only allows specific types of videos. Even though this procedure isn't working, they plan to keep at it.
A successful YouTube channel needs multiple video formats to suit viewer needs, I teach. Face-Share-Personal Touch and Faceless videos are both useful.
How people engage with YouTube content has changed over the years, and the average customer is no longer interested in an all-video channel.
Face-Share-Personal-Touch videos are great
Giving listeners a different way to access your podcast that is being broadcast on sites like Anchor, BlogTalkRadio, Spreaker, Google, Apple Store, and others Many people enjoy using a video camera to record themselves while performing the internet radio, Facebook, or Instagram Live versions of their podcasts.
Video Blog Updates
Faceless videos are popular for business and benefit both entrepreneurs and audiences.
For the business owner/entrepreneur…
Less production time results in time dollar savings.
enables the business owner to demonstrate the diversity of content development
For the Audience…
The channel offers a variety of appealing content options.
The same format is not monotonous or overly repetitive for the viewers.
Below are a couple videos from YouTube guru Make Money Matt's channel, which has over 347K subscribers.
24 Best Niches to Make Money on YouTube Without Showing Your Face
Make Money on YouTube Without Making Videos (Free Course)
In conclusion, you have everything it takes to build your own YouTube brand and empire. Learn the rules, then adapt them to succeed.
Please reread this and the other suggested articles for optimal benefit.
I hope this helped. How has this article helped you? Follow me for more articles like this and more multi-mission expressions.
4 months ago
Meet a Programmer Who Turned Down Microsoft's $10,000,000,000 Acquisition Offer
Failures inspire young developers
Jason citron created many products.
These products flopped.
Microsoft offered $10 billion for one of these products.
He rejected the offer since he was so confident in his success.
Let’s find out how he built a product that is currently valued at $15 billion.
Early in his youth, Jason began learning to code.
Jason's father taught him programming and IT.
His father wanted to help him earn money when he needed it.
Jason created video games and websites in high school.
Jason realized early on that his IT and programming skills could make him money.
Jason's parents misjudged his aptitude for programming.
Jason frequented online programming communities.
He looked for web developers. He created websites for those people.
His parents suspected Jason sold drugs online. When he said he used programming to make money, they were shocked.
They helped him set up a PayPal account.
Florida higher education to study video game creation
Jason never attended an expensive university.
He studied game design in Florida.
“Higher Education is an interesting part of society… When I work with people, the school they went to never comes up… only thing that matters is what can you do…At the end of the day, the beauty of silicon valley is that if you have a great idea and you can bring it to the life, you can convince a total stranger to give you money and join your project… This notion that you have to go to a great school didn’t end up being a thing for me.”
Jason's life was altered by Steve Jobs' keynote address.
After graduating, Jason joined an incubator.
Jason created a video-dating site first.
Nobody wanted to use it when it was released, so they shut it down.
He made a multiplayer game.
It was released on Bebo. 10,000 people played it.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple app store, he stopped playing.
The introduction of the app store resembled that of a new gaming console.
Jason's life altered after Steve Jobs' 2008 address.
“Whenever a new video game console is launched, that’s the opportunity for a new video game studio to get started, it’s because there aren’t too many games available…When a new PlayStation comes out, since it’s a new system, there’s only a handful of titles available… If you can be a launch title you can get a lot of distribution.”
Apple's app store provided a chance to start a video game company.
They released an app after 5 months of work.
Aurora Feint is the game.
Jason believed 1000 players in a week would be wonderful. A thousand players joined in the first hour.
Over time, Aurora Feints' game didn't gain traction. They don't make enough money to keep playing.
They could only make enough for one month.
Instead of buying video games, buy technology
Jason saw that they established a leaderboard, chat rooms, and multiplayer capabilities and believed other developers would want to use these.
They opted to sell the prior game's technology.
Assisting other game developers
They had no money in the bank to create everything needed to make the technology user-friendly.
Jason and Daniel designed a website saying:
“If you’re making a video game and want to have a drop in multiplayer support, you can use our system”
TechCrunch covered their website launch, and they gained a few hundred mailing list subscribers.
They raised seed funding with the mailing list.
Nearly all iPhone game developers started adopting the Open Feint logo.
“It was pretty wild… It was really like a whole social platform for people to play with their friends.”
What kind of a business model was it?
OpenFeint originally planned to make the software free for all games. As the game gained popularity, they demanded payment.
They later concluded it wasn't a good business concept.
It became free eventually.
Acquired for $104 million
Open Feint's users and employees grew tremendously.
GREE bought OpenFeint for $104 million in April 2011.
GREE initially committed to helping Jason and his team build a fantastic company.
Three or four months after the acquisition, Jason recognized they had a different vision.
Jason's Original Vision for the iPad
Jason focused on distribution in 2012 to help businesses stand out.
The iPad market and user base were growing tremendously.
Jason said the iPad may replace mobile gadgets.
iPad gamers behaved differently than mobile gamers.
People sat longer and experienced more using an iPad.
“The idea I had was what if we built a gaming business that was more like traditional video games but played on tablets as opposed to some kind of mobile game that I’ve been doing before.”
Unexpected insight after researching the video game industry
Jason learned from studying the gaming industry that long-standing companies had advantages beyond a single release.
Previously, long-standing video game firms had their own distribution system. This distribution strategy could buffer time between successful titles.
Sony, Microsoft, and Valve all have gaming consoles and online stores.
So he built a distribution system.
He created a group chat app for gamers.
He envisioned a team-based multiplayer game with text and voice interaction.
His objective was to develop a communication network, release more games, and start a game distribution business.
Remaking the video game League of Legends
Jason and his crew reimagined a League of Legends game mode for 12-inch glass.
They adapted the game for tablets.
League of Legends was PC-only.
So they rebuilt it.
They overhauled the game and included native mobile experiences to stand out.
Hammer and Chisel was the company's name.
18 people worked on the game.
The game was funded. The game took 2.5 years to make.
Was the game a success?
July 2014 marked the game's release. The team's hopes were dashed.
Critics initially praised the game.
Initial installation was widespread.
The game failed.
As time passed, the team realized iPad gaming wouldn't increase much and mobile would win.
Jason was given a fresh idea by Stan Vishnevskiy.
Stan Vishnevskiy was a corporate engineer.
He told Jason about his plan to design a communication app without a game.
This concept seeded modern strife.
“The insight that he really had was to put a couple of dots together… we’re seeing our customers communicating around our own game with all these different apps and also ourselves when we’re playing on PC… We should solve that problem directly rather than needing to build a new game…we should start making it on PC.”
So began Discord.
Online socializing with pals was the newest trend.
Jason grew up playing video games with his friends.
He never played outside.
Jason had many great moments playing video games with his closest buddy, wife, and brother.
Discord was about providing a location for you and your group to speak and hang out.
Like a private cafe, bedroom, or living room.
Discord was developed for you and your friends on computers and phones.
You can quickly call your buddies during a game to conduct a conference call. Put the call on speaker and talk while playing.
Discord wanted to give every player a unique experience. Because coordinating across apps was a headache.
The entire team started concentrating on Discord.
Jason decided Hammer and Chisel would focus on their chat app.
Jason didn't want to make a video game.
How Discord attracted the appropriate attention
During the first five months, the entire team worked on the game and got feedback from friends.
This ensures product improvement. As a result, some teammates' buddies started utilizing Discord.
The team knew it would become something, but the result was buggy. App occasionally crashed.
Jason persuaded a gamer friend to write on Reddit about the software.
New people would find Discord. Why not?
Reddit users discovered Discord and 50 started using it frequently.
Discord was launched.
Rejecting the $10 billion acquisition proposal
Discord has increased in recent years.
It sends billions of messages.
Discord's users aren't tracked. They're privacy-focused.
Covid boosted Discord's user base.
Weekly, billions of messages were transmitted.
Microsoft offered $10 billion for Discord in 2021.
Jason sold Open Feint for $104m in 2011.
This time, he believed in the product so much that he rejected Microsoft's offer.
“I was talking to some people in the team about which way we could go… The good thing was that most of the team wanted to continue building.”
Last time, Discord was valued at $15 billion.
Discord raised money on March 12, 2022.
The $15 billion corporation raised $500 million in 2021.
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8 months ago
5 Tips for Concise Writing
Here's how to be clear.
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal
People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.
Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.
“Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser
How do you write succinctly?
Here are three ways to polish your writing.
Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.
Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.
For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”
Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.
2. Just Do It
Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?
Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.
Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.
Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.
3. Cut Overlap
You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.
Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.
If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.
Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.
Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.
Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.
Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.
5. Active voice
Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.
For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.
Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.
Bringing It All Together
Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.
Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.
Adding words costs.
Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.
“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau
3 months ago
An Approach to Product Strategy
I've been pondering product strategy and how to articulate it. Frameworks helped guide our thinking.
If your teams aren't working together or there's no clear path to victory, your product strategy may not be well-articulated or communicated (if you have one).
Before diving into a product strategy's details, it's important to understand its role in the bigger picture — the pieces that move your organization forward.
the overall picture
A product strategy is crucial, in my opinion. It's part of a successful product or business. It's the showpiece.
To simplify, we'll discuss four main components:
Your company's mission? Your company/product in 35 years? Which headlines?
The vision defines everything your organization will do in the long term. It shows how your company impacted the world. It's your organization's rallying cry.
An ambitious but realistic vision is needed.
Without a clear vision, your product strategy may be inconsistent.
Our main subject. Product strategy connects everything. It fulfills the vision.
In Part 2, we'll discuss product strategy.
This component can be goals, objectives, key results, targets, milestones, or whatever goal-tracking framework works best for your organization.
These product strategy metrics will help your team prioritize strategies and roadmaps.
Your company's goals should be unified. This fuels success.
The roadmap is your product strategy's timeline. It provides a prioritized view of your team's upcoming deliverables.
A roadmap is time-bound and includes measurable goals for your company. Your team's steps and capabilities for executing product strategy.
If your team has trouble prioritizing or defining a roadmap, your product strategy or vision is likely unclear.
Formulation of a Product Strategy
Now that we've discussed where your product strategy fits in the big picture, let's look at a framework.
A product strategy should include challenges, an approach, and actions.
First, analyze the problems/situations you're solving. It can be customer- or company-focused.
The analysis should explain the problems and why they're important. Try to simplify the situation and identify critical aspects.
What issues are we attempting to resolve?
What obstacles—internal or otherwise—are we attempting to overcome?
What is the opportunity, and why should we pursue it, in your opinion?
Second, describe your approach. This can be a set of company policies for handling the challenge. It's the overall approach to the first part's analysis.
The approach can be your company's bets, the solutions you've found, or how you'll solve the problems you've identified.
Again, these questions can help:
What is the value that we hope to offer to our clients?
Which market are we focusing on first?
What makes us stand out? Our benefit over rivals?
Third, identify actions that result from your approach. Second-part actions should be these.
Coordinate these actions. You may need to add products or features to your roadmap, acquire new capabilities through partnerships, or launch new marketing campaigns. Whatever fits your challenges and strategy.
What skills do we need to develop or obtain?
What is the chosen remedy? What are the main outputs?
What else ought to be added to our road map?
Put everything together
… and iterate!
Strategy isn't one-and-done. Changes occur. Economies change. Competitors emerge. Customer expectations change.
One unexpected event can make strategies obsolete quickly. Muscle it. Review, evaluate, and course-correct your strategies with your teams. Quarterly works. In a new or unstable industry, more often.
7 months ago
Since I'm a scientist, I oppose biohacking
Understanding your own energy depletion and restoration is how to truly optimize
Hack has meant many bad things for centuries. In the 1800s, a hack was a meager horse used to transport goods.
Modern usage describes a butcher or ax murderer's cleaver chop. The 1980s programming boom distinguished elegant code from "hacks". Both got you to your goal, but the latter made any programmer cringe and mutter about changing the code. From this emerged the hacker trope, the friendless anti-villain living in a murky hovel lit by the computer monitor, eating junk food and breaking into databases to highlight security system failures or steal hotdog money.
Now, start-a-billion-dollar-business-from-your-garage types have shifted their sights from app development to DIY biology, coining the term "bio-hack". This is a required keyword and meta tag for every fitness-related podcast, book, conference, app, or device.
Bio-hacking involves bypassing your body and mind's security systems to achieve a goal. Many biohackers' initial goals were reasonable, like lowering blood pressure and weight. Encouraged by their own progress, self-determination, and seemingly exquisite control of their biology, they aimed to outsmart aging and death to live 180 to 1000 years (summarized well in this vox.com article).
With this grandiose north star, the hunt for novel supplements and genetic engineering began.
Companies selling do-it-yourself biological manipulations cite lab studies in mice as proof of their safety and success in reversing age-related diseases or promoting longevity in humans (the goal changes depending on whether a company is talking to the federal government or private donors).
The FDA is slower than science, they say. Why not alter your biochemistry by buying pills online, editing your DNA with a CRISPR kit, or using a sauna delivered to your home? How about a microchip or electrical stimulator?
What could go wrong?
I'm not the neo-police, making citizen's arrests every time someone introduces a new plumbing gadget or extrapolates from animal research on resveratrol or catechins that we should drink more red wine or eat more chocolate. As a scientist who's spent her career asking, "Can we get better?" I've come to view bio-hacking as misguided, profit-driven, and counterproductive to its followers' goals.
We're creatures of nature. Despite all the new gadgets and bio-hacks, we still use Roman plumbing technology, and the best way to stay fit, sharp, and happy is to follow a recipe passed down since the beginning of time. Bacteria, plants, and all natural beings are rhythmic, with alternating periods of high activity and dormancy, whether measured in seconds, hours, days, or seasons. Nature repeats successful patterns.
During the Upstate, every cell in your body is naturally primed and pumped full of glycogen and ATP (your cells' energy currencies), as well as cortisol, which supports your muscles, heart, metabolism, cognitive prowess, emotional regulation, and general "get 'er done" attitude. This big energy release depletes your batteries and requires the Downstate, when your subsystems recharge at the cellular level.
Downstates are when you give your heart a break from pumping nutrient-rich blood through your body; when you give your metabolism a break from inflammation, oxidative stress, and sympathetic arousal caused by eating fast food — or just eating too fast; or when you give your mind a chance to wander, think bigger thoughts, and come up with new creative solutions. When you're responding to notifications, emails, and fires, you can't relax.
Downstates aren't just for consistently recharging your battery. By spending time in the Downstate, your body and brain get extra energy and nutrients, allowing you to grow smarter, faster, stronger, and more self-regulated. This state supports half-marathon training, exam prep, and mediation. As we age, spending more time in the Downstate is key to mental and physical health, well-being, and longevity.
When you prioritize energy-demanding activities during Upstate periods and energy-replenishing activities during Downstate periods, all your subsystems, including cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, cognitive, and emotional, hum along at their optimal settings. When you synchronize the Upstates and Downstates of these individual rhythms, their functioning improves. A hard workout causes autonomic stress, which triggers Downstate recovery.
By choosing the right timing and type of exercise during the day, you can ensure a deeper recovery and greater readiness for the next workout by working with your natural rhythms and strengthening your autonomic and sleep Downstates.
Morning cardio workouts increase deep sleep compared to afternoon workouts. Timing and type of meals determine when your sleep hormone melatonin is released, ushering in sleep.
Rhythm isn't a hack. It's not a way to cheat the system or the boss. Nature has honed its optimization wisdom over trillions of days and nights. Stop looking for quick fixes. You're a whole system made of smaller subsystems that must work together to function well. No one pill or subsystem will make it all work. Understanding and coordinating your rhythms is free, easy, and only benefits you.
Dr. Sara C. Mednick is a cognitive neuroscientist at UC Irvine and author of The Power of the Downstate (HachetteGO)