Integrity
Write
Loading...
Raad Ahmed

Raad Ahmed

4 months ago

How We Just Raised $6M At An $80M Valuation From 100+ Investors Using A Link (Without Pitching)

Lawtrades nearly failed three years ago.

We couldn't raise Series A or enthusiasm from VCs.

We raised $6M (at a $80M valuation) from 100 customers and investors using a link and no pitching.

Step-by-step:

We refocused our business first.

Lawtrades raised $3.7M while Atrium raised $75M. By comparison, we seemed unimportant.

We had to close the company or try something new.

As I've written previously, a pivot saved us. Our initial focus on SMBs attracted many unprofitable customers. SMBs needed one-off legal services, meaning low fees and high turnover.

Tech startups were different. Their General Councels (GCs) needed near-daily support, resulting in higher fees and lower churn than SMBs.

We stopped unprofitable customers and focused on power users. To avoid dilution, we borrowed against receivables. We scaled our revenue 10x, from $70k/mo to $700k/mo.

Then, we reconsidered fundraising (and do it differently)
This time was different. Lawtrades was cash flow positive for most of last year, so we could dictate our own terms. VCs were still wary of legaltech after Atrium's shutdown (though they were thinking about the space).

We neither wanted to rely on VCs nor dilute more than 10% equity. So we didn't compete for in-person pitch meetings.

AngelList Roll-Up Vehicle (RUV). Up to 250 accredited investors can invest in a single RUV. First, we emailed customers the RUV. Why? Because I wanted to help the platform's users.

Imagine if Uber or Airbnb let all drivers or Superhosts invest in an RUV. Humans make the platform, theirs and ours. Giving people a chance to invest increases their loyalty.

We expanded after initial interest.

We created a Journey link, containing everything that would normally go in an investor pitch:

  • Slides
  • Trailer (from me)
  • Testimonials
  • Product demo
  • Financials

We could also link to our AngelList RUV and send the pitch to an unlimited number of people. Instead of 1:1, we had 1:10,000 pitches-to-investors.

We posted Journey's link in RUV Alliance Discord. 600 accredited investors noticed it immediately. Within days, we raised $250,000 from customers-turned-investors.

Stonks, which live-streamed our pitch to thousands of viewers, was interested in our grassroots enthusiasm. We got $1.4M from people I've never met.

These updates on Pump generated more interest. Facebook, Uber, Netflix, and Robinhood executives all wanted to invest. Sahil Lavingia, who had rejected us, gave us $100k.

We closed the round with public support.

Without a single pitch meeting, we'd raised $2.3M. It was a result of natural enthusiasm: taking care of the people who made us who we are, letting them move first, and leveraging their enthusiasm with VCs, who were interested.

We used network effects to raise $3.7M from a founder-turned-VC, bringing the total to $6M at a $80M valuation (which, by the way, I set myself).

What flipping the fundraising script allowed us to do:

We started with private investors instead of 2–3 VCs to show VCs what we were worth. This gave Lawtrades the ability to:

  • Without meetings, share our vision. Many people saw our Journey link. I ended up taking meetings with people who planned to contribute $50k+, but still, the ratio of views-to-meetings was outrageously good for us.
  • Leverage ourselves. Instead of us selling ourselves to VCs, they did. Some people with large checks or late arrivals were turned away.
  • Maintain voting power. No board seats were lost.
  • Utilize viral network effects. People-powered.
  • Preemptively halt churn by turning our users into owners. People are more loyal and respectful to things they own. Our users make us who we are — no matter how good our tech is, we need human beings to use it. They deserve to be owners.

I don't blame founders for being hesitant about this approach. Pump and RUVs are new and scary. But it won’t be that way for long. Our approach redistributed some of the power that normally lies entirely with VCs, putting it into our hands and our network’s hands.

This is the future — another way power is shifting from centralized to decentralized.

More on Entrepreneurship

Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan

6 days ago

In five years, starting a business won't be hip.

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

People are slowly recognizing entrepreneurship's downside.

Growing up, entrepreneurship wasn't common. High school class of 2012 had no entrepreneurs.

Businesses were different.

They had staff and a lengthy history of achievement.

I never wanted a business. It felt unattainable. My friends didn't care.

Weird.

People desired degrees to attain good jobs at big companies.

When graduated high school:

  • 9 out of 10 people attend college

  • Earn minimum wage (7%) working in a restaurant or retail establishment

  • Or join the military (3%)

Later, entrepreneurship became a thing.

2014-ish

I was in the military and most of my high school friends were in college, so I didn't hear anything.

Entrepreneurship soared in 2015, according to Google Trends.

Screenshot from Google Trends

Then more individuals were interested. Entrepreneurship went from unusual to cool.

In 2015, it was easier than ever to build a website, run Facebook advertisements, and achieve organic social media reach.

There were several online business tools.

You didn't need to spend years or money figuring it out. Most entry barriers were gone.

Everyone wanted a side gig to escape the 95.

Small company applications have increased during the previous 10 years.

Screenshot from Oberlo

2011-2014 trend continues.

2015 adds 150,000 applications. 2016 adds 200,000. Plus 300,000 in 2017.

The graph makes it look little, but that's a considerable annual spike with no indications of stopping.

By 2021, new business apps had doubled.

Entrepreneurship will return to its early 2010s level.

I think we'll go backward in 5 years.

Entrepreneurship is half as popular as it was in 2015.

In the late 2020s and 30s, entrepreneurship will again be obscure.

Entrepreneurship's decade-long splendor is fading. People will cease escaping 9-5 and launch fewer companies.

That’s not a bad thing.

I think people have a rose-colored vision of entrepreneurship. It's fashionable. People feel that they're missing out if they're not entrepreneurial.

Reality is showing up.

People say on social media, "I knew starting a business would be hard, but not this hard."

More negative posts on entrepreneurship:

Screenshot from LinkedIn

Luke adds:

Is being an entrepreneur ‘healthy’? I don’t really think so. Many like Gary V, are not role models for a well-balanced life. Despite what feel-good LinkedIn tells you the odds are against you as an entrepreneur. You have to work your face off. It’s a tough but rewarding lifestyle. So maybe let’s stop glorifying it because it takes a lot of (bleepin) work to survive a pandemic, mental health battles, and a competitive market.

Entrepreneurship is no longer a pipe dream.

It’s hard.

I went full-time in March 2020. I was done by April 2021. I had a good-paying job with perks.

When that fell through (on my start date), I had to continue my entrepreneurial path. I needed money by May 1 to pay rent.

Entrepreneurship isn't as great as many think.

Entrepreneurship is a serious business.

If you have a 9-5, the grass isn't greener here. Most people aren't telling the whole story when they post on social media or quote successful entrepreneurs.

People prefer to communicate their victories than their defeats.

Is this a bad thing?

I don’t think so.

Over the previous decade, entrepreneurship went from impossible to the finest thing ever.

It peaked in 2020-21 and is returning to reality.

Startups aren't for everyone.

If you like your job, don't quit.

Entrepreneurship won't amaze people if you quit your job.

It's irrelevant.

You're doomed.

And you'll probably make less money.

If you hate your job, quit. Change jobs and bosses. Changing jobs could net you a greater pay or better perks.

When you go solo, your paycheck and perks vanish. Did I mention you'll fail, sleep less, and stress more?

Nobody will stop you from pursuing entrepreneurship. You'll face several challenges.

Possibly.

Entrepreneurship may be romanticized for years.

Based on what I see from entrepreneurs on social media and trends, entrepreneurship is challenging and few will succeed.

Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin

26 days ago

I've Never Seen a Sales Deck This Good

Photo by Olu Eletu

It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.

My friend Tim got a sales position at a Series-C software company that garnered $60 million from A-list investors. He's one of the best salespeople I know, yet he emailed me after starting to struggle.

Tim has a few modest clients. “Big companies ignore my pitch”. Tim said.

I love helping teams write the strategic story that drives sales, marketing, and fundraising. Tim and I had lunch at Amber India on Market Street to evaluate his deck.

After a feast, I asked Tim when prospects tune out.

He said, “several slides in”.

Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.

“What’s this?” Tim asked.

“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”

Five Essentials of a Great Sales Narrative

I showed Tim a sales slide from IPO-bound Zuora, which sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. Zuora supports recurring payments (e.g. enterprise software).

Ex-Zuora salesman gave me the deck, saying it helped him close his largest business. (I don't know anyone who works at Zuora.) After reading this, a few Zuora employees contacted me.)

Tim abandoned his naan in a pool of goat curry and took notes while we discussed the Zuora deck.

We remarked how well the deck led prospects through five elements:

(The ex-Zuora salesperson begged me not to release the Zuora deck publicly.) All of the images below originate from Zuora's website and SlideShare channel.)

#1. Name a Significant Change in the World

Don't start a sales presentation with mentioning your product, headquarters, investors, clients, or yourself.

Name the world shift that raises enormous stakes and urgency for your prospect.

Every Zuora sales deck begins with this slide:

Zuora coined the term subscription economy to describe a new market where purchasers prefer regular service payments over outright purchases. Zuora then shows a slide with the change's history.

Most pitch recommendation advises starting with the problem. When you claim a problem, you put prospects on the defensive. They may be unaware of or uncomfortable admitting the situation.

When you highlight a global trend, prospects open up about how it affects them, worries them, and where they see opportunity. You capture their interest. Robert McKee says:

…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.

#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

Loss aversion affects all prospects. They avoid a loss by sticking with the status quo rather than risking a gain by changing.

To fight loss aversion, show how the change will create winners and losers. You must show both

  1. that if the prospect can adjust to the modification you mentioned, the outcome will probably be quite favorable; and

  2. That failing to do so is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact on the prospect's future

Zuora shows a mass extinction among Fortune 500 firms.

…and then showing how the “winners” have shifted from product ownership to subscription services. Those include upstarts…

…as well as rejuvenated incumbents:

To illustrate, Zuora asks:

Winners utilize Zuora's subscription service models.

#3. Tease the Promised Land

It's tempting to get into product or service details now. Resist that urge.

Prospects won't understand why product/service details are crucial if you introduce them too soon, therefore they'll tune out.

Instead, providing a teaser image of the happily-ever-after your product/service will assist the prospect reach.

Your Promised Land should be appealing and hard to achieve without support. Otherwise, why does your company exist?

Zuora shows this Promised Land slide after explaining that the subscription economy will have winners and losers.

Not your product or service, but a new future state.

(I asked my friend Tim to describe his Promised Land, and he answered, "You’ll have the most innovative platform for ____." Nope: the Promised Land isn't possessing your technology, but living with it.)

Your Promised Land helps prospects market your solution to coworkers after your sales meeting. Your coworkers will wonder what you do without you. Your prospects are more likely to provide a persuasive answer with a captivating Promised Land.

#4. Present Features as “Mystic Gifts” for Overcoming Difficulties on the Road to the Promised Land

Successful sales decks follow the same format as epic films and fairy tales. Obi Wan gives Luke a lightsaber to help him destroy the Empire. You're Gandalf, helping Frodo destroy the ring. Your prospect is Cinderella, and you're her fairy godmother.

Position your product or service's skills as mystical gifts to aid your main character (prospect) achieve the Promised Land.

Zuora's client record slide is shown above. Without context, even the most technical prospect would be bored.

Positioned in the context of shifting from an “old” to a “new world”, it's the foundation for a compelling conversation with prospects—technical and otherwise—about why traditional solutions can't reach the Promised Land.

#5. Show Proof That You Can Make the Story True.

In this sense, you're promising possibilities that if they follow you, they'll reach the Promised Land.

The journey to the Promised Land is by definition rocky, so prospects are right to be cautious. The final part of the pitch is proof that you can make the story come true.

The most convincing proof is a success story about how you assisted someone comparable to the prospect. Zuora's sales people use a deck of customer success stories, but this one gets the essence.

I particularly appreciate this one from an NCR exec (a Zuora customer), which relates more strongly to Zuora's Promised Land:

Not enough successful customers? Product demos are the next best evidence, but features should always be presented in the context of helping a prospect achieve the Promised Land.

The best sales narrative is one that is told by everyone.

Success rarely comes from a fantastic deck alone. To be effective, salespeople need an organization-wide story about change, Promised Land, and Magic Gifts.

Zuora exemplifies this. If you hear a Zuora executive, including CEO Tien Tzuo, talk, you'll likely hear about the subscription economy and its winners and losers. This is the theme of the company's marketing communications, campaigns, and vision statement.

According to the ex-Zuora salesperson, company-wide story alignment made him successful.

The Zuora marketing folks ran campaigns and branding around this shift to the subscription economy, and [CEO] Tien [Tzuo] talked it up all the time. All of that was like air cover for my in-person sales ground attack. By the time I arrived, prospects were already convinced they had to act. It was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to sales nirvana.

The largest deal ever

Tim contacted me three weeks after our lunch to tell me that prospects at large organizations were responding well to his new deck, which we modeled on Zuora's framework. First, prospects revealed their obstacles more quickly. The new pitch engages CFOs and other top gatekeepers better, he said.

A week later, Tim emailed that he'd signed his company's biggest agreement.

Next week, we’re headed back to Amber India to celebrate.

cdixon

cdixon

2 months ago

2000s Toys, Secrets, and Cycles

During the dot-com bust, I started my internet career. People used the internet intermittently to check email, plan travel, and do research. The average internet user spent 30 minutes online a day, compared to 7 today. To use the internet, you had to "log on" (most people still used dial-up), unlike today's always-on, high-speed mobile internet. In 2001, Amazon's market cap was $2.2B, 1/500th of what it is today. A study asked Americans if they'd adopt broadband, and most said no. They didn't see a need to speed up email, the most popular internet use. The National Academy of Sciences ranked the internet 13th among the 100 greatest inventions, below radio and phones. The internet was a cool invention, but it had limited uses and wasn't a good place to build a business. 

A small but growing movement of developers and founders believed the internet could be more than a read-only medium, allowing anyone to create and publish. This is web 2. The runner up name was read-write web. (These terms were used in prominent publications and conferences.) 

Web 2 concepts included letting users publish whatever they want ("user generated content" was a buzzword), social graphs, APIs and mashups (what we call composability today), and tagging over hierarchical navigation. Technical innovations occurred. A seemingly simple but important one was dynamically updating web pages without reloading. This is now how people expect web apps to work. Mobile devices that could access the web were niche (I was an avid Sidekick user). 

The contrast between what smart founders and engineers discussed over dinner and on weekends and what the mainstream tech world took seriously during the week was striking. Enterprise security appliances, essentially preloaded servers with security software, were a popular trend. Many of the same people would talk about "serious" products at work, then talk about consumer internet products and web 2. It was tech's biggest news. Web 2 products were seen as toys, not real businesses. They were hobbies, not work-related. 

There's a strong correlation between rich product design spaces and what smart people find interesting, which took me some time to learn and led to blog posts like "The next big thing will start out looking like a toy" Web 2's novel product design possibilities sparked dinner and weekend conversations. Imagine combining these features. What if you used this pattern elsewhere? What new product ideas are next? This excited people. "Serious stuff" like security appliances seemed more limited. 

The small and passionate web 2 community also stood out. I attended the first New York Tech meetup in 2004. Everyone fit in Meetup's small conference room. Late at night, people demoed their software and chatted. I have old friends. Sometimes I get asked how I first met old friends like Fred Wilson and Alexis Ohanian. These topics didn't interest many people, especially on the east coast. We were friends. Real community. Alex Rampell, who now works with me at a16z, is someone I met in 2003 when a friend said, "Hey, I met someone else interested in consumer internet." Rare. People were focused and enthusiastic. Revolution seemed imminent. We knew a secret nobody else did. 

My web 2 startup was called SiteAdvisor. When my co-founders and I started developing the idea in 2003, web security was out of control. Phishing and spyware were common on Internet Explorer PCs. SiteAdvisor was designed to warn users about security threats like phishing and spyware, and then, using web 2 concepts like user-generated reviews, add more subjective judgments (similar to what TrustPilot seems to do today). This staged approach was common at the time; I called it "Come for the tool, stay for the network." We built APIs, encouraged mashups, and did SEO marketing. 

Yahoo's 2005 acquisitions of Flickr and Delicious boosted web 2 in 2005. By today's standards, the amounts were small, around $30M each, but it was a signal. Web 2 was assumed to be a fun hobby, a way to build cool stuff, but not a business. Yahoo was a savvy company that said it would make web 2 a priority. 

As I recall, that's when web 2 started becoming mainstream tech. Early web 2 founders transitioned successfully. Other entrepreneurs built on the early enthusiasts' work. Competition shifted from ideation to execution. You had to decide if you wanted to be an idealistic indie bar band or a pragmatic stadium band. 

Web 2 was booming in 2007 Facebook passed 10M users, Twitter grew and got VC funding, and Google bought YouTube. The 2008 financial crisis tested entrepreneurs' resolve. Smart people predicted another great depression as tech funding dried up. 

Many people struggled during the recession. 2008-2011 was a golden age for startups. By 2009, talented founders were flooding Apple's iPhone app store. Mobile apps were booming. Uber, Venmo, Snap, and Instagram were all founded between 2009 and 2011. Social media (which had replaced web 2), cloud computing (which enabled apps to scale server side), and smartphones converged. Even if social, cloud, and mobile improve linearly, the combination could improve exponentially. 

This chart shows how I view product and financial cycles. Product and financial cycles evolve separately. The Nasdaq index is a proxy for the financial sentiment. Financial sentiment wildly fluctuates. 

Next row shows iconic startup or product years. Bottom-row product cycles dictate timing. Product cycles are more predictable than financial cycles because they follow internal logic. In the incubation phase, enthusiasts build products for other enthusiasts on nights and weekends. When the right mix of technology, talent, and community knowledge arrives, products go mainstream. (I show the biggest tech cycles in the chart, but smaller ones happen, like web 2 in the 2000s and fintech and SaaS in the 2010s.) 

Tech has changed since the 2000s. Few tech giants dominate the internet, exerting economic and cultural influence. In the 2000s, web 2 was ignored or dismissed as trivial. Entrenched interests respond aggressively to new movements that could threaten them. Creative patterns from the 2000s continue today, driven by enthusiasts who see possibilities where others don't. Know where to look. Crypto and web 3 are where I'd start. 

Today's negative financial sentiment reminds me of 2008. If we face a prolonged downturn, we can learn from 2008 by preserving capital and focusing on the long term. Keep an eye on the product cycle. Smart people are interested in things with product potential. This becomes true. Toys become necessities. Hobbies become mainstream. Optimists build the future, not cynics.


Full article is available here

You might also like

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

4 months ago

Improving collaboration with the Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats was written by Dr. Edward de Bono. "Six Thinking Hats" and parallel thinking allow groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, improving collaboration.

Fundamental ideas

In order to develop strategies for thinking about specific issues, the method assumes that the human brain thinks in a variety of ways that can be intentionally challenged. De Bono identifies six brain-challenging directions. In each direction, the brain brings certain issues into conscious thought (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgement, neutral facts). Some may find wearing hats unnatural, uncomfortable, or counterproductive.

The example of "mismatch" sensitivity is compelling. In the natural world, something out of the ordinary may be dangerous. This mode causes negative judgment and critical thinking.

Colored hats represent each direction. Putting on a colored hat symbolizes changing direction, either literally or metaphorically. De Bono first used this metaphor in his 1971 book "Lateral Thinking for Management" to describe a brainstorming framework. These metaphors allow more complete and elaborate thought separation. Six thinking hats indicate ideas' problems and solutions.

Similarly, his CoRT Thinking Programme introduced "The Five Stages of Thinking" method in 1973.

HATOVERVIEWTECHNIQUE
BLUE"The Big Picture" & ManagingCAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)
WHITE"Facts & Information"Information
RED"Feelings & Emotions"Emotions and Ego
BLACK"Negative"PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation
YELLOW"Positive"PMI
GREEN"New Ideas"Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po

Strategies and programs

After identifying the six thinking modes, programs can be created. These are groups of hats that encompass and structure the thinking process. Several of these are included in the materials for franchised six hats training, but they must often be adapted. Programs are often "emergent," meaning the group plans the first few hats and the facilitator decides what to do next.

The group agrees on how to think, then thinks, then evaluates the results and decides what to do next. Individuals or groups can use sequences (and indeed hats). Each hat is typically used for 2 minutes at a time, although an extended white hat session is common at the start of a process to get everyone on the same page. The red hat is recommended to be used for a very short period to get a visceral gut reaction – about 30 seconds, and in practice often takes the form of dot-voting.

ACTIVITYHAT SEQUENCE
Initial IdeasBlue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternativesBlue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying SolutionsBlue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick FeedbackBlue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic PlanningBlue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process ImprovementBlue, White, White (Other People's Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving ProblemsBlue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance ReviewBlue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue

Use

Speedo's swimsuit designers reportedly used the six thinking hats. "They used the "Six Thinking Hats" method to brainstorm, with a green hat for creative ideas and a black one for feasibility.

Typically, a project begins with extensive white hat research. Each hat is used for a few minutes at a time, except the red hat, which is limited to 30 seconds to ensure an instinctive gut reaction, not judgement. According to Malcolm Gladwell's "blink" theory, this pace improves thinking.

De Bono believed that the key to a successful Six Thinking Hats session was focusing the discussion on a particular approach. A meeting may be called to review and solve a problem. The Six Thinking Hats method can be used in sequence to explore the problem, develop a set of solutions, and choose a solution through critical examination.

Everyone may don the Blue hat to discuss the meeting's goals and objectives. The discussion may then shift to Red hat thinking to gather opinions and reactions. This phase may also be used to determine who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. The discussion may then shift to the (Yellow then) Green hat to generate solutions and ideas. The discussion may move from White hat thinking to Black hat thinking to develop solution set criticisms.

Because everyone is focused on one approach at a time, the group is more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat), another is trying to be objective (White hat), and another is critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat). The hats help people approach problems from different angles and highlight problem-solving flaws.

Katharine Valentino

Katharine Valentino

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.

Thomas Huault

Thomas Huault

17 days ago

A Mean Reversion Trading Indicator Inspired by Classical Mechanics Is The Kinetic Detrender

DATA MINING WITH SUPERALGORES

Old pots produce the best soup.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Science has always inspired indicator design. From physics to signal processing, many indicators use concepts from mechanical engineering, electronics, and probability. In Superalgos' Data Mining section, we've explored using thermodynamics and information theory to construct indicators and using statistical and probabilistic techniques like reduced normal law to take advantage of low probability events.

An asset's price is like a mechanical object revolving around its moving average. Using this approach, we could design an indicator using the oscillator's Total Energy. An oscillator's energy is finite and constant. Since we don't expect the price to follow the harmonic oscillator, this energy should deviate from the perfect situation, and the maximum of divergence may provide us valuable information on the price's moving average.

Definition of the Harmonic Oscillator in Few Words

Sinusoidal function describes a harmonic oscillator. The time-constant energy equation for a harmonic oscillator is:

With

Time saves energy.

In a mechanical harmonic oscillator, total energy equals kinetic energy plus potential energy. The formula for energy is the same for every kind of harmonic oscillator; only the terms of total energy must be adapted to fit the relevant units. Each oscillator has a velocity component (kinetic energy) and a position to equilibrium component (potential energy).

The Price Oscillator and the Energy Formula

Considering the harmonic oscillator definition, we must specify kinetic and potential components for our price oscillator. We define oscillator velocity as the rate of change and equilibrium position as the price's distance from its moving average.

Price kinetic energy:

It's like:

With

and

L is the number of periods for the rate of change calculation and P for the close price EMA calculation.

Total price oscillator energy =

Given that an asset's price can theoretically vary at a limitless speed and be endlessly far from its moving average, we don't expect this formula's outcome to be constrained. We'll normalize it using Z-Score for convenience of usage and readability, which also allows probabilistic interpretation.

Over 20 periods, we'll calculate E's moving average and standard deviation.

We calculated Z on BTC/USDT with L = 10 and P = 21 using Knime Analytics.

The graph is detrended. We added two horizontal lines at +/- 1.6 to construct a 94.5% probability zone based on reduced normal law tables. Price cycles to its moving average oscillate clearly. Red and green arrows illustrate where the oscillator crosses the top and lower limits, corresponding to the maximum/minimum price oscillation. Since the results seem noisy, we may apply a non-lagging low-pass or multipole filter like Butterworth or Laguerre filters and employ dynamic bands at a multiple of Z's standard deviation instead of fixed levels.

Kinetic Detrender Implementation in Superalgos

The Superalgos Kinetic detrender features fixed upper and lower levels and dynamic volatility bands.

The code is pretty basic and does not require a huge amount of code lines.

It starts with the standard definitions of the candle pointer and the constant declaration :

let candle = record.current
let len = 10
let P = 21
let T = 20
let up = 1.6
let low = 1.6

Upper and lower dynamic volatility band constants are up and low.

We proceed to the initialization of the previous value for EMA :

if (variable.prevEMA === undefined) {
    variable.prevEMA = candle.close
}

And the calculation of EMA with a function (it is worth noticing the function is declared at the end of the code snippet in Superalgos) :

variable.ema = calculateEMA(P, candle.close, variable.prevEMA)
//EMA calculation
function calculateEMA(periods, price, previousEMA) {
    let k = 2 / (periods + 1)
    return price * k + previousEMA * (1 - k)
}

The rate of change is calculated by first storing the right amount of close price values and proceeding to the calculation by dividing the current close price by the first member of the close price array:

variable.allClose.push(candle.close)
if (variable.allClose.length > len) {
    variable.allClose.splice(0, 1)
}
if (variable.allClose.length === len) {
    variable.roc = candle.close / variable.allClose[0]
} else {
    variable.roc = 1
}

Finally, we get energy with a single line:

variable.E = 1 / 2 * len * variable.roc + 1 / 2 * P * candle.close / variable.ema

The Z calculation reuses code from Z-Normalization-based indicators:

variable.allE.push(variable.E)
if (variable.allE.length > T) {
    variable.allE.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allE.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allE[i]
    }
    variable.MA = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allE[i] - variable.MA, 2)
    }
    variable.sigma = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
variable.Z = (variable.E - variable.MA) / variable.sigma
} else {
    variable.Z = 0
}
variable.allZ.push(variable.Z)
if (variable.allZ.length > T) {
    variable.allZ.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allZ.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allZ[i]
    }
    variable.MAZ = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allZ[i] - variable.MAZ, 2)
    }
    variable.sigZ = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
} else {
    variable.MAZ = variable.Z
    variable.sigZ = variable.MAZ * 0.02
}
variable.upper = variable.MAZ + up * variable.sigZ
variable.lower = variable.MAZ - low * variable.sigZ

We also update the EMA value.

variable.prevEMA = variable.EMA
BTD/USDT candle chart at 01-hs timeframe with the Kinetic detrender and its 2 red fixed level and black dynamic levels

Conclusion

We showed how to build a detrended oscillator using simple harmonic oscillator theory. Kinetic detrender's main line oscillates between 2 fixed levels framing 95% of the values and 2 dynamic levels, leading to auto-adaptive mean reversion zones.

Superalgos' Normalized Momentum data mine has the Kinetic detrender indication.

All the material here can be reused and integrated freely by linking to this article and Superalgos.

This post is informative and not financial advice. Seek expert counsel before trading. Risk using this material.