More on Marketing
6 months ago
Apple: Showing Ads on Your iPhone
This report from Mark Gurman has stuck with me:
In the News and Stocks apps, the display ads are no different than what you might get on an ad-supported website. In the App Store, the ads are for actual apps, which are probably more useful for Apple users than mortgage rates. Some people may resent Apple putting ads in the News and Stocks apps. After all, the iPhone is supposed to be a premium device. Let’s say you shelled out $1,000 or more to buy one, do you want to feel like Apple is squeezing more money out of you just to use its standard features? Now, a portion of ad revenue from the News app’s Today tab goes to publishers, but it’s not clear how much. Apple also lets publishers advertise within their stories and keep the vast majority of that money. Surprisingly, Today ads also appear if you subscribe to News+ for $10 per month (though it’s a smaller number).
I use Apple News often. It's a good general news catch-up tool, like Twitter without the BS. Customized notifications are helpful. Fast and lovely. Except for advertisements. I have Apple One, which includes News+, and while I understand why the magazines still have brand ads, it's ridiculous to me that Apple enables web publishers to introduce awful ads into this experience. Apple's junky commercials are ridiculous.
We know publishers want and probably requested this. Let's keep Apple News ad-free for the much smaller percentage of paid users, and here's your portion. (Same with Stocks, which is more sillier.)
Paid app placement in the App Store is a wonderful approach for developers to find new users (though far too many of those ads are trying to trick users, in my opinion).
Apple is also planning to increase ads in its Maps app. This sounds like Google Maps, and I don't like it. I never find these relevant, and they clutter up the user experience. Apple Maps now has a UI advantage (though not a data/search one, which matters more).
Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers. We spend thousands for their products and premium services like Apple One. We all know why: income must rise, and new firms are needed to scale. This will eventually backfire.
9 months ago
My Blog Is in Google's Top 10—Here's How to Compete
"Competition" is beautiful and hateful.
Some people bury their dreams because they are afraid of competition. Others challenge themselves, shaping our world.
Competition is normal.
It spurs innovation and progress.
I wish more people agreed.
As a marketer, content writer, and solopreneur, my readers often ask:
"I want to create a niche website, but I have no ideas. Everything's done"
"Is a website worthwhile?"
I can't count how many times I said, "Yes, it makes sense, and you can succeed in a competitive market."
I encourage and share examples, but it's not enough to overcome competition anxiety.
I launched an SEO writing website for content creators a year ago, knowing it wouldn't beat Ahrefs, Semrush, Backlinko, etc.
Many of my website's pages rank highly on Google.
Everyone can eat the pie.
In a competitive niche, I took a different approach.
When chatting with bloggers that want a website, I discovered something fascinating.
They want to launch a website but have no ideas. As a next step, they start listing the interests they believe they should work on, like wellness, lifestyle, investments, etc. I could keep going.
Too many generalists who claim to know everything confuse many.
Generalists aren't trusted.
We want someone to fix our problems immediately.
I don't think broad-spectrum experts are undervalued. People have many demands that go beyond generalists' work. Narrow-niche experts can help.
I've done SEO for three years. I learned from experts and courses. I couldn't find a comprehensive SEO writing resource.
I read tons of articles before realizing that wasn't it. I took courses that covered SEO basics eventually.
I had a demand for learning SEO writing, but there was no solution on the market. My website fills this micro-niche.
Have you ever had trouble online?
Professional courses too general, boring, etc.?
You've bought off-topic books, right?
You're not alone.
Big players often disregard new opportunities. Too small. Individual content creators can succeed here.
In a competitive market:
Never choose wide subjects
Think about issues you can relate to and have direct experience with.
Be a consumer to discover both the positive and negative aspects of a good or service.
Merchandise your annoyances.
Consider ways to transform your frustrations into opportunities.
The right niche is half-success. Here is what else I did to hit the Google front page with my website.
An innovative method for choosing subjects
Why publish on social media and websites?
Want likes, shares, followers, or fame?
Some people do it for fun. No judgment.
I bet you want more.
You want to make decent money from blogging.
Writing about random topics, even if they are related to your niche, won’t help you attract an audience from organic search. I'm a marketer and writer.
I worked at companies with dead blogs because they posted for themselves, not readers. They did not follow SEO writing rules; that’s why most of their content flopped.
I learned these hard lessons and grew my website from 0 to 3,000+ visitors per month while working on it a few hours a week only. Evidence:
I choose website topics using these criteria:
- Business potential. The information should benefit my audience and generate revenue. There would be no use in having it otherwise.
My topics should help me:
Attract organic search traffic with my "fluff-free" content -> Subscribers > SEO ebook sales.
Simple and effective.
- traffic on search engines. The number of monthly searches reveals how popular my topic is all across the world. If I find that no one is interested in my suggested topic, I don't write a blog article.
- Competition. Every search term is up against rivals. Some are more popular (thus competitive) since more websites target them in organic search. A new website won't score highly for keywords that are too competitive. On the other side, keywords with moderate to light competition can help you rank higher on Google more quickly.
- Search purpose. The "why" underlying users' search requests is revealed. I analyze search intent to understand what users need when they plug various queries in the search bar and what content can perfectly meet their needs.
My specialty website produces money, ranks well, and attracts the target audience because I handpick high-traffic themes.
Following these guidelines, even a new website can stand out.
I wrote a 50-page SEO writing guide where I detailed topic selection and share my front-page Google strategy.
My guide can help you run a successful niche website.
You're not late to the niche-website party.
The Internet offers many untapped opportunities.
We need new solutions and are willing to listen.
There are unexplored niches in any topic.
Don't fight giants. They have their piece of the pie. They might overlook new opportunities while trying to keep that piece of the pie. You should act now.
9 months ago
Giving customers what they want or betraying the values of the brand?
A J.Crew collaboration for fashion label Eveliina Vintage is not a paradox; it is a solution.
Eveliina Vintage's capsule collection debuted yesterday at J.Crew. This J.Crew partnership stopped me in my tracks.
Eveliina Vintage sells vintage goods. Eeva Musacchia founded the shop in Finland in the 1970s. It's recognized for its one-of-a-kind slip dresses from the 1930s and 1940s.
I wondered why a vintage brand would partner with a mass shop. Fast fashion against vintage shopping? Will Eveliina Vintages customers be turned off?
But Eveliina Vintages customers don't care about sustainability. They want Eveliina's Instagram look. Eveliina Vintage collaborated with J.Crew to give customers what they wanted: more Eveliina at a lower price.
Vintage: A Fashion Option That Is Eco-Conscious
Secondhand shopping is a trendy response to quick fashion. J.Crew releases hundreds of styles annually. Waste and environmental damage have been criticized. A pair of jeans requires 1,800 gallons of water. J.Crew's limited-time deals promote more purchases. J.Crew items are likely among those Americans wear 7 times before discarding.
Consumers and designers have emphasized sustainability in recent years. Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher are popular eco-friendly brands. They've also flocked to ThredUp and similar sites.
Gap, Levis, and Allbirds have listened to consumer requests. They promote recycling, ethical sourcing, and secondhand shopping.
Secondhand shoppers feel good about reusing and recycling clothing that might have ended up in a landfill.
Eco-conscious fashionistas shop vintage. These shoppers enjoy the thrill of the hunt (that limited-edition Chanel bag!) and showing off a unique piece (nobody will have my look!). They also reduce their environmental impact.
Is Eveliina Vintage capitalizing on an aesthetic or is it a sustainable brand?
Eveliina Vintage emphasizes environmental responsibility. Vogue's Amanda Musacchia emphasized sustainability. Amanda, founder Eeva's daughter, is a company leader.
But Eveliina's press message doesn't address sustainability, unlike Instagram. Scarcity and fame rule.
Eveliina Vintages Instagram has see-through dresses and lace-trimmed slip dresses. Celebrities and influencers are often photographed in Eveliina's apparel, which has 53,000+ followers. Vogue appreciates Eveliina's style. Multiple publications discuss Alexa Chung's Eveliina dress.
Eveliina Vintage markets its one-of-a-kind goods. It teases future content, encouraging visitors to return. Scarcity drives demand and raises clothing prices. One dress is $1,600+, but most are $500-$1,000.
The catch: Eveliina can't monetize its expanding popularity due to exorbitant prices and limited quantity. Why?
Most people struggle to pay for their clothing. But Eveliina Vintage lacks those more affordable entry-level products, in contrast to other luxury labels that sell accessories or perfume.
Many people have trouble fitting into their clothing. The bodies of most women in the past were different from those for which vintage clothing was designed. Each Eveliina dress's specific measurements are mentioned alongside it. Be careful, you can fall in love with an ill-fitting dress.
No matter how many people can afford it and fit into it, there is only one item to sell. To get the item before someone else does, those people must be on the Eveliina Vintage website as soon as it becomes available.
A Way for Eveliina Vintage to Make Money (and Expand) with J.Crew Its following
Eveliina Vintages' cooperation with J.Crew makes commercial sense.
This partnership spreads Eveliina's style. Slightly better pricing The $390 outfits have multicolored slips and gauzy cotton gowns. Sizes range from 00 to 24, which is wider than vintage racks.
Eveliina Vintage customers like the combination. Excited comments flood the brand's Instagram launch post. Nobody is mocking the 50-year-old vintage brand's fast-fashion partnership.
Vintage may be a sustainable fashion trend, but that's not why Eveliina's clients love the brand. They only care about the old look.
And that is a tale as old as fashion.
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3 months ago
7 Mac Apps That Are Exorbitantly Priced But Totally Worth It
Wish you more bang for your buck
By ‘Cost a Bomb’ I didn’t mean to exaggerate. It’s an idiom that means ‘To be very expensive’. In fact, no app on the planet costs a bomb lol.
So, to the point.
(Freemium. For Pro, $24.99 | Available on Setapp)
You probably have trouble keeping track of dozens of bills and subscriptions each month.
Add payment due dates and receive reminders,
Save payment documentation,
Analyze your spending by season, year, and month.
Observe expenditure trends and create new budgets.
Best of all, Chronicle features an integrated browser for fast payment and logging.
iOS and macOS sync.
($39 for lifetime)
Background Music, a free macOS program, was featured in #6 of this post last month.
It controls per-app volume, stereo balance, and audio over its max level.
Background Music is fully supported. Additionally,
Connect various speakers to various apps (Wow! ),
change the audio sample rate for each app,
To facilitate access, add a floating SoundSource window.
Use its blocks in Shortcuts app,
On the menu bar, include meters for output/input devices and running programs.
($39 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)
This software is heaven for UI designers.
It aids you.
quickly calculate screen distances (in pixels) ,
Drag an area around an object to determine its borders,
Measure the distances between the additional guides,
screenshots should be pixel-perfect.
Adapt your tolerance for items with poor contrast and shadows.
Use your Touch Bar to perform important tasks, if you have one.
($3.99 a month / $29.99 a year | Available on Setapp)
Mate Translate resembles a roided-up version of BarTranslate, which I wrote about in #1 of this piece last month.
If you translate often, utilize Mate Translate on macOS and Safari.
I'm really vocal about it.
It stays on the menu bar, and is accessible with a click or ⌥+shift+T hotkey.
It lets you
Translate in 103 different languages,
To translate text, double-click or right-click on it.
Totally translate websites. Additionally, Netflix subtitles,
Listen to their pronunciation to see how close it is to human.
iPhone and Mac sync Mate-ing history.
($16 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)
Swish is awesome!
Swipe, squeeze, tap, and hold movements organize chaotic desktop windows. Swish operates with mouse and trackpad.
• Pinch Once: Close an app
• Pinch Twice: Quit an app
• Swipe down once: Minimise an app
• Pinch Out: Enter fullscreen mode
• Tap, Hold, & Swipe: Arrange apps in grids
and many more...
After getting acquainted to the movements, your multitasking will improve.
($24.99 for lifetime | Available on Setapp)
It turns webapps into macOS apps. The end.
Unite's functionality is a million times better.
Provide extensive customization (incl. its icon, light and dark modes)
make menu bar applications,
Get badges for web notifications and automatically refresh websites,
Replace any dock icon in the window with it (Wow!) by selecting that portion of the window.
Use PiP (Picture-in-Picture) on video sites that support it.
Throughout macOS, use floating windows
and many more…
I feel $24.99 one-off for this tool is a great deal, considering all these features. What do you think?
(Basic: $29 one-off. Pro: $8/month | Available on Setapp)
CleanShot X can achieve things the macOS screenshot tool cannot. Complete screenshot toolkit.
CleanShot X, like Pixel Snap 2 (#3), is fantastic.
Scroll to capture a long page,
With webcam on,
• With mic and system audio,
• Highlighting mouse clicks and hotkeys.
Maintain floating screenshots for reference
While capturing, conceal desktop icons and notifications.
Recognize text in screenshots (OCR),
You may upload and share screenshots using the built-in cloud.
These are just 6 in 50+ features, and you’re already saying Wow!
8 months ago
The Great Organizational Conundrum
Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance
Someone told me that growing from 30 to 60 is the biggest adjustment for a team or business.
I remember thinking, That's random. Each company is unique. I've seen teams of all types confront the same issues during development periods. With new enterprises starting every year, we should be better at navigating growing difficulties.
As a team grows, its processes and systems break down, requiring reorganization or declining results. Why always? Why isn't there a perfect scaling model? Why hasn't that been found?
The Three Things Productive Organizations Must Have
Any company should be efficient and productive. Three items are needed:
First, it must verify that no two team members have conflicting information about the roadmap, strategy, or any input that could affect execution. Teamwork is required.
Second, it must ensure that everyone can receive the information they need from everyone else quickly, especially as teams become more specialized (an inevitability in a developing organization). It requires everyone's accessibility.
Third, it must ensure that the organization can operate efficiently even if a piece is unavailable. It's partition-tolerant.
From my experience with the many teams I've been on, invested in, or advised, achieving all three is nearly impossible. Why a perfect organization model cannot exist is clear after analysis.
The CAP Theorem: What is it?
Eric Brewer of Berkeley discovered the CAP Theorem, which argues that a distributed data storage should have three benefits. One can only have two at once.
The three benefits are consistency, availability, and partition tolerance, which implies that even if part of the system is offline, the remainder continues to work.
This notion is usually applied to computer science, but I've realized it's also true for human organizations. In a post-COVID world, many organizations are hiring non-co-located staff as they grow. CAP Theorem is more important than ever. Growing teams sometimes think they can develop ways to bypass this law, dooming themselves to a less-than-optimal team dynamic. They should adopt CAP to maximize productivity.
Path 1: Consistency and availability equal no tolerance for partitions
Let's imagine you want your team to always be in sync (i.e., for someone to be the source of truth for the latest information) and to be able to share information with each other. Only division into domains will do.
Numerous developing organizations do this, especially after the early stage (say, 30 people) when everyone may wear many hats and be aware of all the moving elements. After a certain point, it's tougher to keep generalists aligned than to divide them into specialized tasks.
In a specialized, segmented team, leaders optimize consistency and availability (i.e. every function is up-to-speed on the latest strategy, no one is out of sync, and everyone is able to unblock and inform everyone else).
Partition tolerance suffers. If any component of the organization breaks down (someone goes on vacation, quits, underperforms, or Gmail or Slack goes down), productivity stops. There's no way to give the team stability, availability, and smooth operation during a hiccup.
Path 2: Partition Tolerance and Availability = No Consistency
Some businesses avoid relying too heavily on any one person or sub-team by maximizing availability and partition tolerance (the organization continues to function as a whole even if particular components fail). Only redundancy can do that. Instead of specializing each member, the team spreads expertise so people can work in parallel. I switched from Path 1 to Path 2 because I realized too much reliance on one person is risky.
What happens after redundancy? Unreliable. The more people may run independently and in parallel, the less anyone can be the truth. Lack of alignment or updated information can lead to people executing slightly different strategies. So, resources are squandered on the wrong work.
Path 3: Partition and Consistency "Tolerance" equates to "absence"
The third, least-used path stresses partition tolerance and consistency (meaning answers are always correct and up-to-date). In this organizational style, it's most critical to maintain the system operating and keep everyone aligned. No one is allowed to read anything without an assurance that it's up-to-date (i.e. there’s no availability).
Always short-lived. In my experience, a business that prioritizes quality and scalability over speedy information transmission can get bogged down in heavy processes that hinder production. Large-scale, this is unsustainable.
When two puzzle pieces fit, the third won't. I've watched developing teams try to tackle these difficulties, only to find, as their ancestors did, that they can never be entirely solved. Idealized solutions fail in reality, causing lost effort, confusion, and lower production.
As teams develop and change, they should embrace CAP, acknowledge there is a limit to productivity in a scaling business, and choose the best two-out-of-three path.
9 months ago
Adam Neumanns is working to create the future of living in a classic example of a guy failing upward.
The comeback tour continues…
First, he founded a $47 billion co-working company (sorry, a “tech company”).
He established WeLive to disrupt apartment life.
Then he created WeGrow, a school that tossed aside the usual curriculum to feed children's souls and release their potential.
He raised the world’s consciousness.
Then he blew it all up (without raising the world’s consciousness). (He bought a wave pool.)
Adam Neumann's WeWork business burned investors' money. The founder sailed off with unimaginable riches, leaving long-time employees with worthless stocks and the company bleeding money. His track record, which includes a failing baby clothing company, should have stopped investors cold.
Once the dust settled, folks went on. We forgot about the Neumanns! We forgot about the private jets, company retreats, many houses, and WeWork's crippling. In that moment, the prodigal son of entrepreneurship returned, choosing the blockchain as his industry. His homecoming tour began with Flowcarbon, which sold Goddess Nature Tokens to lessen companies' carbon footprints.
Did it work?
Of course not.
Despite receiving $70 million from Andreessen Horowitz's a16z, the project has been halted just two months after its announcement.
This triumph should lower his grade.
Neumann seems to have moved on and has another revolutionary idea for the future of living. Flow (not Flowcarbon) aims to help people live in flow and will launch in 2023. It's the classic Neumann pitch: lofty goals, yogababble, and charisma to attract investors.
It's a winning formula for one investment fund. a16z has backed the project with its largest single check, $350 million. It has a splash page and 3,000 rental units, but is valued at over $1 billion. The blog post praised Neumann for reimagining the office and leading a paradigm-shifting global company.
Flow's mission is to solve the nation's housing crisis. How? Idk. It involves offering community-centric services in apartment properties to the same remote workforce he once wooed with free beer and a pingpong table. Revolutionary! It seems the goal is to apply WeWork's goals of transforming physical spaces and building community to apartments to solve many of today's housing problems.
The elevator pitch probably sounded great.
At least a16z knows it's a near-impossible task, calling it a seismic shift. Marc Andreessen opposes affordable housing in his wealthy Silicon Valley town. As details of the project emerge, more investors will likely throw ethics and morals out the window to go with the flow, throwing money at a man known for burning through it while building toxic companies, hoping he can bank another fantasy valuation before it all crashes.
Insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. Everyone on the Neumann hype train needs to sober up.
Like WeWork, this venture Won’tWork.
Like before, it'll cause a shitstorm.