More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
22 years ago
400 articles later, nobody bothered to read them.
Writing for readers:
14 years of daily writing.
I post practically everything on social media. I authored hundreds of articles, thousands of tweets, and numerous volumes to almost no one.
Tens of thousands of readers regularly praise me.
I despised writing. I'm stuck now.
I've learned what readers like and what doesn't.
Here are some essential guidelines for writing with impact:
Readers won't understand your work if you can't.
Though obvious, this slipped me up. Share your truths.
Stories engage human brains.
Showing the journey of a person from worm to butterfly inspires the human spirit.
Overthinking hinders powerful writing.
The best ideas come from inner understanding in between thoughts.
Avoid writing to find it. Write.
Writing a masterpiece isn't motivating.
Write for five minutes to simplify. Step-by-step, entertaining, easy steps.
Good writing requires a willingness to make mistakes.
So write loads of garbage that you can edit into a good piece.
A courageous story will move readers. Personal experience is best.
Go where few dare.
Templates, outlines, and boundaries help.
Limitations enhance writing.
Excellent writing is straightforward and readable, removing all the unnecessary fat.
Use five words instead of nine.
Use ordinary words instead of uncommon ones.
Readers desire relatability.
Too much perfection will turn it off.
Write to solve an issue if you can't think of anything to write.
Instead, read to inspire. Best authors read.
Every tweet, thread, and novel must have a central idea.
What's its point?
This can make writing confusing.
️ Don't direct your reader.
Readers quit reading. Demonstrate, describe, and relate.
Even if no one responds, have fun. If you hate writing it, the reader will too.
3 months ago
My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO
Reflections on the closed company Hola! Dating app
I'll discuss my fuckups as an entrepreneur and CEO. All of them refer to the dating app Hola!, which I co-founded and starred in.
Spring 2021 was when we started. Two techies and two non-techies created a dating app. Pokemon Go and Tinder were combined.
Online dating is a business, and it takes two weeks from a like to a date. We questioned online dating app users if they met anyone offline last year.
75% replied yes, 50% sometimes, 25% usually.
Offline dating is popular, yet people have concerns.
Men are reluctant to make mistakes in front of others.
Women are curious about the background of everyone who approaches them.
We designed unique mechanics that let people date after a match. No endless chitchat. Women would be safe while men felt like cowboys.
I wish to emphasize three faults that lead to founders' estrangement.
This detachment ultimately led to us shutting down the company.
The wrong technology stack
Instead of generating a faster MVP and designing an app in a universal stack for iOS and Android, I argued we should pilot the app separately for iOS and Android. Technical founders' expertise made this possible.
Mistaken strategy. We lost time and resources developing two apps at once. We chose iOS since it's more profitable. Apple took us out after the release, citing Guideline 4.3 Spam. After 4 months, we had nothing. We had a long way to go to get the app on Android and the Store.
I suggested creating a uniform platform for the company's growth. This makes parallel product development easier. The strategist's lack of experience and knowledge made it a piece of crap.
What would I have changed if I could?
We should have designed an Android universal stack. I expected Apple to have issues with a dating app.
Our approach should have been to launch something and subsequently improve it, but prejudice won.
Discuss the IT stack with your CTO. It saves time and money. Choose the easiest MVP method.
2. A tardy search for investments
Though the universe and other founders encouraged me to locate investors first, I started pitching when we almost had an app.
When angels arrived, it was time to close. The app was banned, war broke out, I left the country, and the other co-founders stayed. We had no savings.
I loved interviewing users. I'm proud of having done 1,000 interviews. I wanted to understand people's pain points and improve the product.
Interview results no longer affected the product. I was terrified to start pitching. I filled out accelerator applications and redid my presentation. You must go through that so you won't be terrified later.
What would I have changed if I could?
Get an external or internal mentor to help me with my first pitch as soon as possible. I'd be supported if criticized. He'd cheer with me if there was enthusiasm.
In 99% of cases, I'm comfortable jumping into the unknown, but there are exceptions. The mentor's encouragement would have prompted me to act sooner.
Begin fundraising immediately. Months may pass. Show investors your pre-MVP project. Draw inferences from feedback.
3. Role ambiguity
My technical co-founders were also part-time lead developers, which produced communication issues. As co-founders, we communicated well and recognized the problems. Stakes, vesting, target markets, and approach were agreed upon.
We were behind schedule. Technical debt and strategic gap grew.
Bi-daily and weekly reviews didn't help. Each time, there were explanations. Inside, I was freaking out.
I am a fairly easy person to talk to. I always try to stick to agreements; otherwise, my head gets stuffed with unnecessary information, interpretations, and emotions.
Sit down -> talk -> decide -> do -> evaluate the results. Repeat it.
If I don't get detailed comments, I start ruining everyone's mood. If there's a systematic violation of agreements without a good justification, I won't join the project or I'll end the collaboration.
What would I have done otherwise?
This is where it’s scariest to draw conclusions. Probably the most logical thing would have been not to start the project as we started it. But that was already a completely different project. So I would not have done anything differently and would have failed again.
But I drew conclusions for the future.
First-time founders should find an adviser or team coach for a strategic session. It helps split the roles and responsibilities.
4 months ago
10 Crazy Useful Free Websites No One Told You About But You Needed
The internet is a massive information resource. With so much stuff, it's easy to forget about useful websites. Here are five essential websites you may not have known about.
Companies.tools are what successful startups employ. This website offers a curated selection of design, research, coding, support, and feedback resources. Ct has the latest app development platform and greatest client feedback method.
2. Excel Formula Bot
Excel Formula Bot can help if you forget a formula. Formula Bot uses AI to convert text instructions into Excel formulas, so you don't have to remember them.
Just tell the Bot what to do, and it will do it. Excel Formula Bot can calculate sales tax and vacation days. When you're stuck, let the Bot help.
TypeLit helps you improve your typing abilities while reading great literature.
TypeLit.io lets you type any book or dozens of preset classics. TypeLit provides real-time feedback on accuracy and speed.
Goals and progress can be tracked. Why not improve your typing and learn great literature with TypeLit?
4. Calm Schedule
Finding a meeting time that works for everyone is difficult. Personal and business calendars might be difficult to coordinate.
Synchronize your two calendars to save time and avoid problems. You may avoid searching through many calendars for conflicts and keep your personal information secret. Having one source of truth for personal and work occasions will help you never miss another appointment.
myNoise makes the outside world quieter. myNoise is the right noise for a noisy office or busy street.
If you can't locate the right noise, make it. MyNoise unlocks the world. Shut out distractions. Thank your ears.
Professional videos require directors, filmmakers, editors, and animators. Now, thanks to AI, you can generate high-quality videos without video editing experience.
AI avatars are crucial. You can design a personalized avatar using a web-based software like synthesia.io. Our avatars can lip-sync in over 60 languages, so you can make worldwide videos. There's an AI avatar for every video goal.
Not free. Amazing service, though.
Have you shot a wonderful photo just to notice something in the background? You may have a beautiful headshot but wish to erase an imperfection.
Cleanup.pictures removes undesirable objects from photos. Our algorithms will eliminate the selected object.
Cleanup.pictures can help you obtain the ideal shot every time. Next time you take images, let Cleanup.pictures fix any flaws.
8. PDF24 Tools
Editing a PDF can be a pain. Most of us don't know Adobe Acrobat's functionalities. Why buy something you'll rarely use? Better options exist.
PDF24 is an online PDF editor that's free and subscription-free. Rotate, merge, split, compress, and convert PDFs in your browser. PDF24 makes document signing easy.
Upload your document, sign it (or generate a digital signature), and download it. It's easy and free. PDF24 is a free alternative to pricey PDF editing software.
9. Class Central
Finding online classes is much easier. Class Central has classes from Harvard, Stanford, Coursera, Udemy, and Google, Amazon, etc. in one spot.
Whether you want to acquire a new skill or increase your knowledge, you'll find something. New courses bring variety.
Foreign travel offers countless transport alternatives. How do you get from A to B? It’s easy!
Rome2rio will show you the best method to get there, including which mode of transport is ideal.
Do you know any free, useful websites?
You might also like
4 months ago
Here's what to expect from NASA Artemis 1 and why it's significant.
NASA's Artemis 1 mission will help return people to the Moon after a half-century break. The mission is a shakedown cruise for NASA's Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule.
The spaceship will visit the Moon, deploy satellites, and enter orbit. NASA wants to practice operating the spacecraft, test the conditions people will face on the Moon, and ensure a safe return to Earth.
We asked Jack Burns, a space scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder and former member of NASA's Presidential Transition Team, to describe the mission, explain what the Artemis program promises for space exploration, and reflect on how the space program has changed in the half-century since humans last set foot on the moon.
What distinguishes Artemis 1 from other rockets?
Artemis 1 is the Space Launch System's first launch. NASA calls this a "heavy-lift" vehicle. It will be more powerful than Apollo's Saturn V, which transported people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
It's a new sort of rocket system with two strap-on solid rocket boosters from the space shuttle. It's a mix of the shuttle and Saturn V.
The Orion Crew Capsule will be tested extensively. It'll spend a month in the high-radiation Moon environment. It will also test the heat shield, which protects the capsule and its occupants at 25,000 mph. The heat shield must work well because this is the fastest capsule descent since Apollo.
This mission will also carry miniature Moon-orbiting satellites. These will undertake vital precursor science, including as examining further into permanently shadowed craters where scientists suspect there is water and measuring the radiation environment to see long-term human consequences.
Artemis 1 will launch, fly to the Moon, place satellites, orbit it, return to Earth, and splash down in the ocean. NASA.
What's Artemis's goal? What launches are next?
The mission is a first step toward Artemis 3, which will lead to the first human Moon missions since 1972. Artemis 1 is unmanned.
Artemis 2 will have astronauts a few years later. Like Apollo 8, it will be an orbital mission that circles the Moon and returns. The astronauts will orbit the Moon longer and test everything with a crew.
Eventually, Artemis 3 will meet with the SpaceX Starship on the Moon's surface and transfer people. Orion will stay in orbit while the lunar Starship lands astronauts. They'll go to the Moon's south pole to investigate the water ice there.
Artemis is reminiscent of Apollo. What's changed in 50 years?
Kennedy wanted to beat the Soviets to the Moon with Apollo. The administration didn't care much about space flight or the Moon, but the goal would place America first in space and technology.
You live and die by the sword if you do that. When the U.S. reached the Moon, it was over. Russia lost. We planted flags and did science experiments. Richard Nixon canceled the program after Apollo 11 because the political goals were attained.
Large rocket with two boosters between two gates
NASA's new Space Launch System is brought to a launchpad. NASA
50 years later... It's quite different. We're not trying to beat the Russians, Chinese, or anyone else, but to begin sustainable space exploration.
Artemis has many goals. It includes harnessing in-situ resources like water ice and lunar soil to make food, fuel, and building materials.
SpaceX is part of this first journey to the Moon's surface, therefore the initiative is also helping to develop a lunar and space economy. NASA doesn't own the Starship but is buying seats for astronauts. SpaceX will employ Starship to transport cargo, private astronauts, and foreign astronauts.
Fifty years of technology advancement has made getting to the Moon cheaper and more practical, and computer technology allows for more advanced tests. 50 years of technological progress have changed everything. Anyone with enough money can send a spacecraft to the Moon, but not humans.
Commercial Lunar Payload Services engages commercial companies to develop uncrewed Moon landers. We're sending a radio telescope to the Moon in January. Even 10 years ago, that was impossible.
Since humans last visited the Moon 50 years ago, technology has improved greatly.
What other changes does Artemis have in store?
The government says Artemis 3 will have at least one woman and likely a person of color.
I'm looking forward to seeing more diversity so young kids can say, "Hey, there's an astronaut that looks like me. I can do this. I can be part of the space program.”
6 months ago
10 Alternatives to Smartphone Scrolling
"Don't let technology control you; manage your phone."
"Don't become a slave to technology," said Richard Branson. "Manage your phone, don't let it manage you."
Unfortunately, most people are addicted to smartphones.
Worrying smartphone statistics:
46% of smartphone users spend 5–6 hours daily on their device.
The average adult spends 3 hours 54 minutes per day on mobile devices.
We check our phones 150–344 times per day (every 4 minutes).
During the pandemic, children's daily smartphone use doubled.
Having a list of productive, healthy, and fulfilling replacement activities is an effective way to reduce smartphone use.
The more you practice these smartphone replacements, the less time you'll waste.
Most people say they 'don't have time' to learn new skills or read more. Lazy justification. The issue isn't time, but time management. Distractions and low-quality entertainment waste hours every day.
The majority of time is spent in low-quality ways, according to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle.
What if you swapped daily phone scrolling for skill-building?
There are dozens of skills to learn, from high-value skills to make more money to new languages and party tricks.
Learning a new skill will last for years, if not a lifetime, compared to scrolling through your phone.
Love documentaries. It's educational and relaxing. A good documentary helps you understand the world, broadens your mind, and inspires you to change.
Recent documentaries I liked include:
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible
The Social Dilemma
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Make money online
If you've ever complained about not earning enough money, put away your phone and get to work.
Instead of passively consuming mobile content, start creating it. Create something worthwhile. Freelance.
Internet makes starting a business or earning extra money easier than ever.
(Grand)parents didn't have this. Someone made them work 40+ hours. Few alternatives existed.
Today, all you need is internet and a monetizable skill. Use the internet instead of letting it distract you. Profit from it.
Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, said, "Everyone spends 2–3 hours a day watching TV." If you read that much, you'll be in the top 1% of your field."
Few people have more than two hours per day to read.
If you read 15 pages daily, you'd finish 27 books a year (as the average non-fiction book is about 200 pages).
Jack Canfield's quote remains relevant even though 15 pages can be read in 20–30 minutes per day. Most spend this time watching TV or on their phones.
What if you swapped 20 minutes of mindless scrolling for reading? You'd gain knowledge and skills.
Favorite books include:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey
The War of Art — Steven Pressfield
The Psychology of Money — Morgan Housel
A New Earth — Eckart Tolle
All that screen time could've been spent organizing. It could have been used to clean, cook, or plan your week.
If you're always 'behind,' spend 15 minutes less on your phone to get organized.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend the first four sharpening the ax," said Abraham Lincoln. Getting organized is like sharpening an ax, making each day more efficient.
Why not be creative instead of consuming others'? Do something creative, like:
Creative projects boost happiness, cognitive functioning, and reduce stress and anxiety. Creative pursuits induce a flow state, a powerful mental state.
This contrasts with smartphones' effects. Heavy smartphone use correlates with stress, depression, and anxiety.
People spend 90% of their time indoors, according to research. This generation is the 'Indoor Generation'
We lack an active lifestyle, fresh air, and vitamin D3 due to our indoor lifestyle (generated through direct sunlight exposure). Mental and physical health issues result.
Put away your phone and get outside. Go on nature walks. Explore your city on foot (or by bike, as we do in Amsterdam) if you live in a city. Move around! Outdoors!
You can't spend your whole life staring at screens.
Okay, a smartphone is needed to listen to podcasts. When you use your phone to get smarter, you're more productive than 95% of people.
The Pomp Podcast (about cryptocurrencies)
The Joe Rogan Experience
Kwik Brain (by Jim Kwik)
Podcasts can be enjoyed while walking, cleaning, or doing laundry. Win-win.
I find journaling helpful for mental clarity. Writing helps organize thoughts.
Instead of reading internet opinions, comments, and discussions, look inward. Instead of Twitter or TikTok, look inward.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” — Marcus Aurelius
Give your mind free reign with pen and paper. It will highlight important thoughts, emotions, or ideas.
Never write for another person. You want unfiltered writing. So you get the best ideas.
Find your best hobbies
List your best hobbies. I guarantee 95% of people won't list smartphone scrolling.
It's often low-quality entertainment. The dopamine spike is short-lived, and it leaves us feeling emotionally 'empty'
High-quality leisure sparks happiness. They make us happy and alive. Everyone has different interests, so these activities vary.
My favorite quality hobbies are:
Nature walks (especially the mountains)
Video game party
Watching a film with my girlfriend
Complexity learning (such as the blockchain and the universe)
This brings me joy. They make me feel more fulfilled and 'rich' than social media scrolling.
Make a list of your best hobbies to refer to when you're spending too much time on your phone.
4 months ago
How TikTok helped us grow to 6 million users
This resulted to obimy's new audience.
Hi! obimy's official account. Here, we'll teach app developers and marketers. In 2022, our downloads increased dramatically, so we'll share what we learned.
obimy is what we call a ‘senseger’. It's a new method to communicate digitally. Instead of text, obimy users connect through senses and moods. Feeling playful? Flirt with your partner, pat a pal, or dump water on a classmate. Each feeling is an interactive animation with vibration. It's a wordless app. App Store and Google Play have obimy.
We had 20,000 users in 2022. Two to five thousand of them opened the app monthly. Our DAU metric was 500.
We have 6 million users after 6 months. 500,000 individuals use obimy daily. obimy was the top lifestyle app this week in the U.S.
And TikTok helped.
TikTok fuels obimys' growth. It's why our app exploded. How and what did we learn? Our Head of Marketing, Anastasia Avramenko, knows.
our actions prior to TikTok
We wanted to achieve product-market fit through organic expansion. Quora, Reddit, Facebook Groups, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Apple Search Ads, and social media activity were tested. Nothing worked. Our CPI was sometimes $4, so unit economics didn't work.
We studied our markets and made audience hypotheses. We promoted our goods and studied our audience through social media quizzes. Our target demographic was Americans in long-distance relationships. I designed quizzes like Test the Strength of Your Relationship to better understand the user base. After each quiz, we encouraged users to download the app to enhance their connection and bridge the distance.
We got 1,000 responses for $50. This helped us comprehend the audience's grief and coping strategies (aka our rivals). I based action items on answers given. If you can't embrace a loved one, use obimy.
We also tried Facebook and Google ads. From the start, we knew it wouldn't work.
We were desperate to discover a free way to get more users.
Our journey to TikTok
TikTok is a great venue for emerging creators. It also helped reach people. Before obimy, my TikTok videos garnered 12 million views without sponsored promotion.
We had to act. TikTok was required.
I wasn't a TikTok user before obimy. Initially, I uploaded promotional content. Call-to-actions appear strange next to dancing challenges and my money don't jiggle jiggle. I learned TikTok. Watch TikTok for an hour was on my to-do list. What a dream job!
Our most popular movies presented the app alongside text outlining what it does. We started promoting them in Europe and the U.S. and got a 16% CTR and $1 CPI, an improvement over our previous efforts.
Somehow, we were expanding. So we came up with new hypotheses, calls to action, and content.
Four months passed, yet we saw no organic growth.
Russia attacked Ukraine.
Our app aimed to be helpful. For now, we're focusing on our Ukrainian audience. I posted sloppy TikToks illustrating how obimy can help during shelling or air raids.
In two hours, Kostia sent me our visitor count. Our servers crashed.
Initially, we had several thousand daily users. Over 200,000 users joined obimy in a week. They posted obimy videos on TikTok, drawing additional users. We've also resumed U.S. video promotion.
We gained 2,000,000 new members with less than $100 in ads, primarily in the U.S. and U.K.
We were confident we'd chosen the ideal tool for organic growth.
Over 45 million people have viewed our own videos plus a ton of user-generated content with the hashtag #obimy.
About 375 thousand people have liked all of our individual videos.
The number of downloads and the virality of videos are directly correlated.
Where are we now?
TikTok fuels our organic growth. We post 56 videos every week and pay to promote viral content.
We use UGC and influencers. We worked with Universal Music Italy on Eurovision. They offered to promote us through their million-follower TikTok influencers. We thought their followers would improve our audience, but it didn't matter. Integration didn't help us. Users that share obimy videos with their followers can reach several million views, which affects our download rate.
After the dust settled, we determined our key audience was 13-18-year-olds. They want to express themselves, but it's sometimes difficult. We're searching for methods to better engage with our users. We opened a Discord server to discuss anime and video games and gather app and content feedback.
TikTok helps us test product updates and hypotheses. Example: I once thought we might raise MAU by prompting users to add strangers as friends. Instead of asking our team to construct it, I made a TikTok urging users to share invite URLs. Users share links under every video we upload, embracing people worldwide.
Don't direct-sell. TikTok isn't for Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube promo videos. Conventional advertisements don't fit. Most users will swipe up and watch humorous doggos.
More product videos are better. Finally. So what?
Encourage interaction. Tagging friends in comments or making videos with the app promotes it more than any marketing spend.
Be odd and risqué. A user mistakenly sent a French kiss to their mom in one of our most popular videos.
TikTok helps test hypotheses and build your user base. It also helps develop apps. In our upcoming blog, we'll guide you through obimy's design revisions based on TikTok. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.