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Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 year ago

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

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Aaron Dinin, PhD

1 year ago

There Are Two Types of Entrepreneurs in the World Make sure you are aware of your type!

Know why it's important.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

The entrepreneur I was meeting with said, "I should be doing crypto, or maybe AI? Aren't those the hot spots? I should look there for a startup idea.”

I shook my head. Yes, they're exciting, but that doesn't mean they're best for you and your business.

“There are different types of entrepreneurs?” he asked.

I said "obviously." Two types, actually. Knowing what type of entrepreneur you are helps you build the right startup.

The two types of businesspeople

The best way for me to describe the two types of entrepreneurs is to start by telling you exactly the kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities I never get excited about: future opportunities.

In the early 1990s, my older brother showed me the World Wide Web and urged me to use it. Unimpressed, I returned to my Super Nintendo.

My roommate tried to get me to join Facebook as a senior in college. I remember thinking, This is dumb. Who'll use it?

In 2011, my best friend tried to convince me to buy bitcoin and I laughed.

Heck, a couple of years ago I had to buy a new car, and I never even considered buying something that didn’t require fossilized dinosaur bones.

I'm no visionary. I don't anticipate the future. I focus on the present.

This tendency makes me a problem-solving entrepreneur. I identify entrepreneurial opportunities by spotting flaws and/or inefficiencies in the world and devising solutions.

There are other ways to find business opportunities. Visionary entrepreneurs also exist. I don't mean visionary in the hyperbolic sense that implies world-changing impact. I mean visionary as an entrepreneur who identifies future technological shifts that will change how people work and live and create new markets.

Problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurs are equally good. But the two approaches to building companies are very different. Knowing the type of entrepreneur you are will help you build a startup that fits your worldview.

What is the distinction?

Let's use some simple hypotheticals to compare problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurship.

Imagine a city office building without nearby restaurants. Those office workers love to eat. Sometimes they'd rather eat out than pack a lunch. As an entrepreneur, you can solve the lack of nearby restaurants. You'd open a restaurant near that office, say a pizza parlor, and get customers because you solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Problem-solving entrepreneurship.

Imagine a new office building in a developing area with no residents or workers. In this scenario, a large office building is coming. The workers will need to eat then. As a visionary entrepreneur, you're excited about the new market and decide to open a pizzeria near the construction to meet demand.

Both possibilities involve the same product. You opened a pizzeria. How you launched that pizza restaurant and what will affect its success are different.

Why is the distinction important?

Let's say you opened a pizzeria near an office. You'll probably get customers. Because people are nearby and demand isn't being met, someone from a nearby building will stop in within the first few days of your pizzeria's grand opening. This makes solving the problem relatively risk-free. You'll get customers unless you're a fool.

The market you're targeting existed before you entered it, so you're not guaranteed success. This means people in that market solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Those office workers are used to bringing their own lunches. Why should your restaurant change their habits? Even when they eat out, they're used to traveling far. They've likely developed pizza preferences.

To be successful with your problem-solving startup, you must convince consumers to change their behavior, which is difficult.

Unlike opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site. Once the building opens, workers won't have many preferences or standardized food-getting practices. Your pizza restaurant can become the incumbent quickly. You'll be the first restaurant in the area, so you'll gain a devoted following that makes your food a routine.

Great, right? It's easier than changing people's behavior. The benefit comes with a risk. Opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site increases future risk. What if builders run out of money? No one moves in? What if the building's occupants are the National Association of Pizza Haters? Then you've opened a pizza restaurant next to pizza haters.

Which kind of businessperson are you?

This isn't to say one type of entrepreneur is better than another. Each type of entrepreneurship requires different skills.

As my simple examples show, a problem-solving entrepreneur must operate in markets with established behaviors and habits. To be successful, you must be able to teach a market a new way of doing things.

Conversely, the challenge of being a visionary entrepreneur is that you have to be good at predicting the future and getting in front of that future before other people.

Both are difficult in different ways. So, smart entrepreneurs don't just chase opportunities. Smart entrepreneurs pursue opportunities that match their skill sets.

Maddie Wang

Maddie Wang

1 year ago

Easiest and fastest way to test your startup idea!

Here's the fastest way to validate company concepts.

I squandered a year after dropping out of Stanford designing a product nobody wanted.

But today, I’m at 100k!

Differences:

I was designing a consumer product when I dropped out.

I coded MVP, got 1k users, and got YC interview.

Nice, huh?

WRONG!

Still coding and getting users 12 months later

WOULD PEOPLE PAY FOR IT? was the riskiest assumption I hadn't tested.

When asked why I didn't verify payment, I said,

Not-ready products. Now, nobody cares. The website needs work. Include this. Increase usage…

I feared people would say no.

After 1 year of pushing it off, my team told me they were really worried about the Business Model. Then I asked my audience if they'd buy my product.

So?

No, overwhelmingly.

I felt like I wasted a year building a product no one would buy.

Founders Cafe was the opposite.

Before building anything, I requested payment.

40 founders were interviewed.

Then we emailed Stanford, YC, and other top founders, asking them to join our community.

BOOM! 10/12 paid!

Without building anything, in 1 day I validated my startup's riskiest assumption. NOT 1 year.

Asking people to pay is one of the scariest things.

I understand.

I asked Stanford queer women to pay before joining my gay sorority.

I was afraid I'd turn them off or no one would pay.

Gay women, like those founders, were in such excruciating pain that they were willing to pay me upfront to help.

You can ask for payment (before you build) to see if people have the burning pain. Then they'll pay!

Examples from Founders Cafe members:

😮 Using a fake landing page, a college dropout tested a product. Paying! He built it and made $3m!

😮 YC solo founder faked a Powerpoint demo. 5 Enterprise paid LOIs. $1.5m raised, built, and in YC!

😮 A Harvard founder can convert Figma to React. 1 day, 10 customers. Built a tool to automate Figma -> React after manually fulfilling requests. 1m+

Bad example:

😭 Stanford Dropout Spends 1 Year Building Product Without Payment Validation

Some people build for a year and then get paying customers.

What I'm sharing is my experience and what Founders Cafe members have told me about validating startup ideas.

Don't waste a year like I did.

After my first startup failed, I planned to re-enroll at Stanford/work at Facebook.

After people paid, I quit for good.

I've hit $100k!

Hope this inspires you to request upfront payment! It'll change your life

Eitan Levy

Eitan Levy

1 year ago

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

These startups, and how they used growth-hack marketing to flourish, are some of the more ethical ones, while others are less so.

Before the 1970 World Cup began, Puma paid footballer Pele $120,000 to tie his shoes. The cameras naturally focused on Pele and his Pumas, causing people to realize that Puma was the top football brand in the world.

Early workers of Uber canceled over 5,000 taxi orders made on competing applications in an effort to financially hurt any of their rivals.

PayPal developed a bot that advertised cheap goods on eBay, purchased them, and paid for them with PayPal, fooling eBay into believing that customers preferred this payment option. Naturally, Paypal became eBay's primary method of payment.

Anyone renting a space on Craigslist had their emails collected by AirBnB, who then urged them to use their service instead. A one-click interface was also created to list immediately on AirBnB from Craigslist.

To entice potential single people looking for love, Tinder developed hundreds of bogus accounts of attractive people. Additionally, for at least a year, users were "accidentally" linked.

Reddit initially created a huge number of phony accounts and forced them all to communicate with one another. It eventually attracted actual users—the real meaning of "fake it 'til you make it"! Additionally, this gave Reddit control over the tone of voice they wanted for their site, which is still present today.

To disrupt the conferences of their main rival, Salesforce recruited fictitious protestors. The founder then took over all of the event's taxis and gave a 45-minute pitch for his startup. No place to hide!

When a wholesaler required a minimum purchase of 10, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wanted a way to purchase only one book from them. A wholesaler would deliver the one book he ordered along with an apology for the other eight books after he discovered a loophole and bought the one book before ordering nine books about lichens. On Amazon, he increased this across all of the users.


Original post available here

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Dr Mehmet Yildiz

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

1 year ago

How I train my brain daily for clarity and productivity.

I use a conceptual and practical system I developed decades ago as an example.

Since childhood, I've been interested in the brain-mind connection, so I developed a system using scientific breakthroughs, experiments, and the experiences of successful people in my circles.

This story provides a high-level overview of a custom system to inform and inspire readers. Creating a mind gym was one of my best personal and professional investments.

Such a complex system may not be possible for everyone or appear luxurious at first. However, the process and approach may help you find more accessible and viable solutions.

Visualizing the brain as a muscle, I learned to stimulate it with physical and mental exercises, applying a new mindset and behavioral changes.

My methods and practices may not work for others because we're all different. I focus on the approach's principles and highlights so you can create your own program.

Some create a conceptual and practical system intuitively, and others intellectually. Both worked. I see intellect and intuition as higher selves.

The mental tools I introduce are based on lifestyle changes and can be personalized by anyone, barring physical constraints or underlying health conditions.

Some people can't meditate despite wanting to due to mental constraints. This story lacks exceptions.

People's systems may vary. Many have used my tools successfully. All have scientific backing because their benefits attracted scientists. None are unethical or controversial.

My focus is cognition, which is the neocortex's ability. These practices and tools can affect the limbic and reptilian brain regions.

A previous article discussed brain health's biological aspects. This article focuses on psychology.

Thinking, learning, and remembering are cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities determine our health and performance.

Cognitive health is the ability to think, concentrate, learn, and remember. Cognitive performance boosting involves various tools and processes. My system and protocols address cognitive health and performance.

As a biological organ, the brain's abilities decline with age, especially if not used regularly. Older people have more neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.

As aging is inevitable, I focus on creating cognitive reserves to remain mentally functional as we age and face mental decline or cognitive impairment.

My protocols focus on neurogenesis, or brain growth and maintenance. Neurons and connections can grow at any age.

Metacognition refers to knowing our cognitive abilities, like thinking about thinking and learning how to learn.

In the following sections, I provide an overview of my system, mental tools, and protocols.

This system summarizes my 50-year career. Some may find it too abstract, so I give examples.

First, explain the system. Section 2 introduces activities. Third, how to measure and maintain mental growth.

1 — Developed a practical mental gym.

The mental gym is a metaphor for the physical fitness gym to improve our mental muscles.

This concept covers brain and mind functionality. Integrated biological and psychological components.

I'll describe my mental gym so my other points make sense. My mental gym has physical and mental tools.

Mindfulness, meditation, visualization, self-conversations, breathing exercises, expressive writing, working in a flow state, reading, music, dance, isometric training, barefoot walking, cold/heat exposure, CBT, and social engagements are regular tools.

Dancing, walking, and thermogenesis are body-related tools. As the brain is part of the body and houses the mind, these tools can affect mental abilities such as attention, focus, memory, task switching, and problem-solving.

Different people may like different tools. I chose these tools based on my needs, goals, and lifestyle. They're just examples. You can choose tools that fit your goals and personality.

2 — Performed tasks regularly.

These tools gave me clarity. They became daily hobbies. Some I did alone, others with others.

Some examples: I meditate daily. Even though my overactive mind made daily meditation difficult at first, I now enjoy it. Meditation three times a day sharpens my mind.

Self-talk is used for self-therapy and creativity. Self-talk was initially difficult, but neurogenesis rewired my brain to make it a habit.

Cold showers, warm baths with Epsom salts, fasting, barefoot walks on the beach or grass, dancing, calisthenics, trampoline hopping, and breathing exercises increase my mental clarity, creativity, and productivity.

These exercises can increase BDNF, which promotes nervous system growth. They improve mental capacity and performance by increasing blood flow and brain oxygenation.

I use weekly and occasional activities like dry saunas, talking with others, and community activities.

These activities stimulate the brain and mind, improving performance and cognitive capacity.

3 — Measured progress, set growth goals.

Measuring progress helps us stay on track. Without data, it's hard to stay motivated. When we face inevitable setbacks, we may abandon our dreams.

I created a daily checklist for a spreadsheet with macros. I tracked how often and long I did each activity.

I measured my progress objectively and subjectively. In the progress spreadsheet, I noted my meditation hours and subjective feelings.

In another column, I used good, moderate, and excellent to get qualitative data. It took time and effort. Later, I started benefiting from this automated structure.

Creating a page for each activity, such as meditation, self-talk, cold showers, walking, expressive writing, personal interactions, etc., gave me empirical data I could analyze, modify, and graph to show progress.

Colored charts showed each area's strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths motivate me to continue them. Identifying weaknesses helped me improve them.

As the system matured, data recording became a habit and took less time. I saw the result immediately because I automated the charts when I entered daily data. Early time investment paid off later.

Mind Gym Benefits, Effective Use, and Progress Measuring

This concept helped me move from comfort to risk. I accept things as they are.

Turnarounds were made. I stopped feeling "Fight-Flight-Freeze" and maintained self-control.

I tamed my overactive amygdala by strengthening my brain. Stress and anxiety decreased. With these shifts, I accepted criticism and turned envy into admiration. Clarity improved.

When the cognitive part of the brain became stronger and the primitive part was tamed, managing thoughts and emotions became easier. My AQ increased. I learned to tolerate people, physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.

Accessing vast information sources in my subconscious mind through an improved RAS allowed me to easily tap into my higher self and recognize flaws in my lower self.

Summary

The brain loves patterns and routines, so habits help. Observing, developing, and monitoring habits mindfully can be beneficial. Mindfulness helps us achieve this goal systematically.

As body and mind are connected, we must consider both when building habits. Consistent and joyful practices can strengthen neurons and neural connections.

Habits help us accomplish more with less effort. Regularly using mental tools and processes can improve our cognitive health and performance as we age.

Creating daily habits to improve cognitive abilities can sharpen our minds and boost our well-being.

Some apps monitor our activities and behavior to help build habits. If you can't replicate my system, try these apps. Some smartwatches and fitness devices include them.

Set aside time each day for mental activities you enjoy. Regular scheduling and practice can strengthen brain regions and form habits. Once you form habits, tasks become easy.

Improving our minds is a lifelong journey. It's easier and more sustainable to increase our efforts daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.

Despite life's ups and downs, many want to remain calm and cheerful.

This valuable skill is unrelated to wealth or fame. It's about our mindset, fueled by our biological and psychological needs.

Here are some lessons I've learned about staying calm and composed despite challenges and setbacks.

1 — Tranquillity starts with observing thoughts and feelings.

2 — Clear the mental clutter and emotional entanglements with conscious breathing and gentle movements.

3 — Accept situations and events as they are with no resistance.

4 — Self-love can lead to loving others and increasing compassion.

5 — Count your blessings and cultivate gratitude.

Clear thinking can bring joy and satisfaction. It's a privilege to wake up with a healthy body and clear mind, ready to connect with others and serve them.

Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.

Tim Soulo

Tim Soulo

1 year ago

Here is why 90.63% of Pages Get No Traffic From Google. 

The web adds millions or billions of pages per day.

How much Google traffic does this content get?

In 2017, we studied 2 million randomly-published pages to answer this question. Only 5.7% of them ranked in Google's top 10 search results within a year of being published.

94.3 percent of roughly two million pages got no Google traffic.

Two million pages is a small sample compared to the entire web. We did another study.

We analyzed over a billion pages to see how many get organic search traffic and why.

How many pages get search traffic?

90% of pages in our index get no Google traffic, and 5.2% get ten visits or less.

90% of google pages get no organic traffic

How can you join the minority that gets Google organic search traffic?

There are hundreds of SEO problems that can hurt your Google rankings. If we only consider common scenarios, there are only four.

Reason #1: No backlinks

I hate to repeat what most SEO articles say, but it's true:

Backlinks boost Google rankings.

Google's "top 3 ranking factors" include them.

Why don't we divide our studied pages by the number of referring domains?

66.31 percent of pages have no backlinks, and 26.29 percent have three or fewer.

Did you notice the trend already?

Most pages lack search traffic and backlinks.

But are these the same pages?

Let's compare monthly organic search traffic to backlinks from unique websites (referring domains):

More backlinks equals more Google organic traffic.

Referring domains and keyword rankings are correlated.

It's important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and none of these graphs prove backlinks boost Google rankings. Most SEO professionals agree that it's nearly impossible to rank on the first page without backlinks.

You'll need high-quality backlinks to rank in Google and get search traffic. 

Is organic traffic possible without links?

Here are the numbers:

Four million pages get organic search traffic without backlinks. Only one in 20 pages without backlinks has traffic, which is 5% of our sample.

Most get 300 or fewer organic visits per month.

What happens if we exclude high-Domain-Rating pages?

The numbers worsen. Less than 4% of our sample (1.4 million pages) receive organic traffic. Only 320,000 get over 300 monthly organic visits, or 0.1% of our sample.

This suggests high-authority pages without backlinks are more likely to get organic traffic than low-authority pages.

Internal links likely pass PageRank to new pages.

Two other reasons:

  1. Our crawler's blocked. Most shady SEOs block backlinks from us. This prevents competitors from seeing (and reporting) PBNs.

  2. They choose low-competition subjects. Low-volume queries are less competitive, requiring fewer backlinks to rank.

If the idea of getting search traffic without building backlinks excites you, learn about Keyword Difficulty and how to find keywords/topics with decent traffic potential and low competition.

Reason #2: The page has no long-term traffic potential.

Some pages with many backlinks get no Google traffic.

Why? I filtered Content Explorer for pages with no organic search traffic and divided them into four buckets by linking domains.

Almost 70k pages have backlinks from over 200 domains, but no search traffic.

By manually reviewing these (and other) pages, I noticed two general trends that explain why they get no traffic:

  1. They overdid "shady link building" and got penalized by Google;

  2. They're not targeting a Google-searched topic.

I won't elaborate on point one because I hope you don't engage in "shady link building"

#2 is self-explanatory:

If nobody searches for what you write, you won't get search traffic.

Consider one of our blog posts' metrics:

No organic traffic despite 337 backlinks from 132 sites.

The page is about "organic traffic research," which nobody searches for.

News articles often have this. They get many links from around the web but little Google traffic.

People can't search for things they don't know about, and most don't care about old events and don't search for them.


Note:

Some news articles rank in the "Top stories" block for relevant, high-volume search queries, generating short-term organic search traffic.

The Guardian's top "Donald Trump" story:

Ahrefs caught on quickly:

"Donald Trump" gets 5.6M monthly searches, so this page got a lot of "Top stories" traffic.

I bet traffic has dropped if you check now.


One of the quickest and most effective SEO wins is:

  1. Find your website's pages with the most referring domains;

  2. Do keyword research to re-optimize them for relevant topics with good search traffic potential.

Bryan Harris shared this "quick SEO win" during a course interview:

He suggested using Ahrefs' Site Explorer's "Best by links" report to find your site's most-linked pages and analyzing their search traffic. This finds pages with lots of links but little organic search traffic.

We see:

The guide has 67 backlinks but no organic traffic.

We could fix this by re-optimizing the page for "SERP"

A similar guide with 26 backlinks gets 3,400 monthly organic visits, so we should easily increase our traffic.

Don't do this with all low-traffic pages with backlinks. Choose your battles wisely; some pages shouldn't be ranked.

Reason #3: Search intent isn't met

Google returns the most relevant search results.

That's why blog posts with recommendations rank highest for "best yoga mat."

Google knows that most searchers aren't buying.

It's also why this yoga mats page doesn't rank, despite having seven times more backlinks than the top 10 pages:

The page ranks for thousands of other keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. Not being the "best yoga mat" isn't a big deal.

If you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic, re-optimizing them for search intent can be a quick SEO win.

It was originally a boring landing page describing our product's benefits and offering a 7-day trial.

We realized the problem after analyzing search intent.

People wanted a free tool, not a landing page.

In September 2018, we published a free tool at the same URL. Organic traffic and rankings skyrocketed.

Reason #4: Unindexed page

Google can’t rank pages that aren’t indexed.

If you think this is the case, search Google for site:[url]. You should see at least one result; otherwise, it’s not indexed.

A rogue noindex meta tag is usually to blame. This tells search engines not to index a URL.

Rogue canonicals, redirects, and robots.txt blocks prevent indexing.

Check the "Excluded" tab in Google Search Console's "Coverage" report to see excluded pages.

Google doesn't index broken pages, even with backlinks.

Surprisingly common.

In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, the Best by Links report for a popular content marketing blog shows many broken pages.

One dead page has 131 backlinks:

According to the URL, the page defined content marketing. —a keyword with a monthly search volume of 5,900 in the US.

Luckily, another page ranks for this keyword. Not a huge loss.

At least redirect the dead page's backlinks to a working page on the same topic. This may increase long-tail keyword traffic.


This post is a summary. See the original post here

Christianlauer

Christianlauer

1 year ago

Looker Studio Pro is now generally available, according to Google.

Great News about the new Google Business Intelligence Solution

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Google has renamed Data Studio to Looker Studio and Looker Studio Pro.

Now, Google releases Looker Studio Pro. Similar to the move from Data Studio to Looker Studio, Looker Studio Pro is basically what Looker was previously, but both solutions will merge. Google says the Pro edition will acquire new enterprise management features, team collaboration capabilities, and SLAs.

Dashboard Example in Looker Studio Pro — Image Source: Google[2]

In addition to Google's announcements and sales methods, additional features include:

Looker Studio assets can now have organizational ownership. Customers can link Looker Studio to a Google Cloud project and migrate existing assets once. This provides:

  • Your users' created Looker Studio assets are all kept in a Google Cloud project.

  • When the users who own assets leave your organization, the assets won't be removed.

  • Using IAM, you may provide each Looker Studio asset in your company project-level permissions.

  • Other Cloud services can access Looker Studio assets that are owned by a Google Cloud project.

Looker Studio Pro clients may now manage report and data source access at scale using team workspaces.

Google announcing these features for the pro version is fascinating. Both products will likely converge, but Google may only release many features in the premium version in the future. Microsoft with Power BI and its free and premium variants already achieves this.

Sources and Further Readings

Google, Release Notes (2022)

Google, Looker (2022)