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Tim Denning

Tim Denning

3 months ago

Elon Musk’s Rich Life Is a Nightmare 

I'm sure you haven't read about Elon's other side.

Elon divorced badly.

Nobody's surprised.

Imagine you're a parent. Someone isn't home year-round. What's next?

That’s what happened to YOLO Elon.

He can do anything. He can intervene in wars, shoot his mouth off, bang anyone he wants, avoid tax, make cool tech, buy anything his ego desires, and live anywhere exotic.

Few know his billionaire backstory. I'll tell you so you don't worship his lifestyle. It’s a cult.

Only his career succeeds. His life is a nightmare otherwise.

Psychopaths' schedule

Elon has said he works 120-hour weeks.

As he told the reporter about his job, he choked up, which was unusual for him.

His crazy workload and lack of sleep forced him to scold innocent Wall Street analysts. Later, he apologized. 

In the same interview, he admits he hadn't taken more than a week off since 2001, when he was bedridden with malaria. Elon stays home after a near-death experience.

He's rarely outside.

Elon says he sometimes works 3 or 4 days straight.

He admits his crazy work schedule has cost him time with his kids and friends.

Elon's a slave

Elon's birthday description made him emotional.

Elon worked his entire birthday.

"No friends, nothing," he said, stuttering.

His brother's wedding in Catalonia was 48 hours after his birthday. That meant flying there from Tesla's factory prison.

He arrived two hours before the big moment, barely enough time to eat and change, let alone see his brother.

Elon had to leave after the bouquet was tossed to a crowd of billionaire lovers. He missed his brother's first dance with his wife.

Shocking.

He went straight to Tesla's prison.

The looming health crisis

Elon was asked if overworking affected his health.

Not great. Friends are worried.

Now you know why Elon tweets dumb things. Working so hard has probably caused him mental health issues.

Mental illness removed my reality filter. You do stupid things because you're tired.

Astronauts pelted Elon

Elon's overwork isn't the first time his life has made him emotional.

When asked about Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan criticizing his SpaceX missions, he got emotional. Elon's heroes.

They're why he started the company, and they mocked his work. In another interview, we see how Elon’s business obsession has knifed him in the heart.

Once you have a company, you must feed, nurse, and care for it, even if it destroys you.
"Yep," Elon says, tearing up.

In the same interview, he's asked how Tesla survived the 2008 recession. Elon stopped the interview because he was crying. When Tesla and SpaceX filed for bankruptcy in 2008, he nearly had a nervous breakdown. He called them his "children."

All the time, he's risking everything.

Jack Raines explains best:

Too much money makes you a slave to your net worth.

Elon's emotions are admirable. It's one of the few times he seems human, not like an alien Cyborg.

Stop idealizing Elon's lifestyle

Building a side business that becomes a billion-dollar unicorn startup is a nightmare.

"Billionaire" means financially wealthy but otherwise broke. A rich life includes more than business and money.


This post is a summary. Read full article here

More on Entrepreneurship

Benjamin Lin

Benjamin Lin

2 months ago

I sold my side project for $20,000: 6 lessons I learned

How I monetized and sold an abandoned side project for $20,000

Unfortunately, there was no real handshake as the sale was transacted entirely online

The Origin Story

I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur but never succeeded. I often had business ideas, made a landing page, and told my buddies. Never got customers.

In April 2021, I decided to try again with a new strategy. I noticed that I had trouble acquiring an initial set of customers, so I wanted to start by acquiring a product that had a small user base that I could grow.

I found a SaaS marketplace called MicroAcquire.com where you could buy and sell SaaS products. I liked Shareit.video, an online Loom-like screen recorder.

Shareit.video didn't generate revenue, but 50 people visited daily to record screencasts.

Purchasing a Failed Side Project

I eventually bought Shareit.video for $12,000 from its owner.

$12,000 was probably too much for a website without revenue or registered users.

I thought time was most important. I could have recreated the website, but it would take months. $12,000 would give me an organized code base and a working product with a few users to monetize.

You should always ask yourself the build vs buy decision when starting a new project

I considered buying a screen recording website and trying to grow it versus buying a new car or investing in crypto with the $12K.

Buying the website would make me a real entrepreneur, which I wanted more than anything.

Putting down so much money would force me to commit to the project and prevent me from quitting too soon.

A Year of Development

I rebranded the website to be called RecordJoy and worked on it with my cousin for about a year. Within a year, we made $5000 and had 3000 users.

We spent $3500 on ads, hosting, and software to run the business.

AppSumo promoted our $120 Life Time Deal in exchange for 30% of the revenue.

We put RecordJoy on maintenance mode after 6 months because we couldn't find a scalable user acquisition channel.

We improved SEO and redesigned our landing page, but nothing worked.

Growth flatlined, so we put the project on maintenance mode

Despite not being able to grow RecordJoy any further, I had already learned so much from working on the project so I was fine with putting it on maintenance mode. RecordJoy still made $500 a month, which was great lunch money.

Getting Taken Over

One of our customers emailed me asking for some feature requests and I replied that we weren’t going to add any more features in the near future. They asked if we'd sell.

We got on a call with the customer and I asked if he would be interested in buying RecordJoy for 15k. The customer wanted around $8k but would consider it.

Since we were negotiating with one buyer, we put RecordJoy on MicroAcquire to see if there were other offers.

Everything is negotiable, including how long the buyer can remain an exclusive buyer and what the payment schedule should be.

We quickly received 10+ offers. We got 18.5k. There was also about $1000 in AppSumo that we could not withdraw, so we agreed to transfer that over for $600 since about 40% of our sales on AppSumo usually end up being refunded.

Lessons Learned

First, create an acquisition channel

We couldn't discover a scalable acquisition route for RecordJoy. If I had to start another project, I'd develop a robust acquisition channel first. It might be LinkedIn, Medium, or YouTube.

Purchase Power of the Buyer Affects Acquisition Price

Some of the buyers we spoke to were individuals looking to buy side projects, as well as companies looking to launch a new product category. Individual buyers had less budgets than organizations.

Customers of AppSumo vary.

AppSumo customers value lifetime deals and low prices, which may not be a good way to build a business with recurring revenue. Designed for AppSumo users, your product may not connect with other users.

Try to increase acquisition trust

Acquisition often fails. The buyer can go cold feet, cease communicating, or run away with your stuff. Trusting the buyer ensures a smooth asset exchange. First acquisition meeting was unpleasant and price negotiation was tight. In later meetings, we spent the first few minutes trying to get to know the buyer’s motivations and background before jumping into the negotiation, which helped build trust.

Operating expenses can reduce your earnings.

Monitor operating costs. We were really happy when we withdrew the $5000 we made from AppSumo and Stripe until we realized that we had spent $3500 in operating fees. Spend money on software and consultants to help you understand what to build.

Don't overspend on advertising

We invested $1500 on Google Ads but made little money. For a side project, it’s better to focus on organic traffic from SEO rather than paid ads unless you know your ads are going to have a positive ROI.

Grace Huang

Grace Huang

1 month ago

I sold 100 copies of my book when I had anticipated selling none.

After a decade in large tech, I know how software engineers were interviewed. I've seen outstanding engineers fail interviews because their responses were too vague.

So I wrote Nail A Coding Interview: Six-Step Mental Framework. Give candidates a mental framework for coding questions; help organizations better prepare candidates so they can calibrate traits.

Recently, I sold more than 100 books, something I never expected.

In this essay, I'll describe my publication journey, which included self-doubt and little triumphs. I hope this helps if you want to publish.

It was originally a Medium post.

How did I know to develop a coding interview book? Years ago, I posted on Medium.

Six steps to ace a coding interview Inhale. blog.devgenius.io

This story got a lot of attention and still gets a lot of daily traffic. It indicates this domain's value.

Converted the Medium article into an ebook

The Medium post contains strong bullet points, but it is missing the “flesh”. How to use these strategies in coding interviews, for example. I filled in the blanks and made a book.

I made the book cover for free. It's tidy.

Shared the article with my close friends on my social network WeChat.

I shared the book on Wechat's Friend Circle (朋友圈) after publishing it on Gumroad. Many friends enjoyed my post. It definitely triggered endorphins.

In Friend Circle, I presented a 100% off voucher. No one downloaded the book. Endorphins made my heart sink.

Several days later, my Apple Watch received a Gumroad notification. A friend downloaded it. I majored in finance, he subsequently said. My brother-in-law can get it? He downloaded it to cheer me up.

I liked him, but was disappointed that he didn't read it.

The Tipping Point: Reddit's Free Giving

I trusted the book. It's based on years of interviewing. I felt it might help job-hunting college students. If nobody wants it, it can still have value.

I posted the book's link on /r/leetcode. I told them to DM me for a free promo code.

Momentum shifted everything. Gumroad notifications kept coming when I was out with family. Following orders.

As promised, I sent DMs a promo code. Some consumers ordered without asking for a promo code. Some readers finished the book and posted reviews.

My book was finally on track.

A 5-Star Review, plus More

A reader afterwards DMed me and inquired if I had another book on system design interviewing. I said that was a good idea, but I didn't have one. If you write one, I'll be your first reader.

Later, I asked for a book review. Yes, but how? That's when I learned readers' reviews weren't easy. I built up an email pipeline to solicit customer reviews. Since then, I've gained credibility through ratings.

Learnings

I wouldn't have gotten 100 if I gave up when none of my pals downloaded. Here are some lessons.

  • Your friends are your allies, but they are not your clients.

  • Be present where your clients are

  • Request ratings and testimonials

  • gain credibility gradually

I did it, so can you. Follow me on Twitter @imgracehuang for my publishing and entrepreneurship adventure.

Simone Basso

Simone Basso

29 days ago

How I set up my teams to be successful

After 10 years of working in scale-ups, I've embraced a few concepts for scaling Tech and Product teams.

First, cross-functionalize teams. Product Managers represent the business, Product Designers the consumer, and Engineers build.

I organize teams of 5-10 individuals, following AWS's two pizza teams guidelines, with a Product Trio guiding each.

If more individuals are needed to reach a goal, I group teams under a Product Trio.

With Engineering being the biggest group, Staff/Principal Engineers often support the Trio on cross-team technical decisions.

Product Managers, Engineering Managers, or Engineers in the team may manage projects (depending on the project or aim), but the trio is collectively responsible for the team's output and outcome.

Once the Product Trio model is created, roles, duties, team ceremonies, and cooperation models must be clarified.

Keep reporting lines by discipline. Line managers are accountable for each individual's advancement, thus it's crucial that they know the work in detail.

Cross-team collaboration becomes more important after 3 teams (15-30 people). Teams can easily diverge in how they write code, run ceremonies, and build products.

Establishing groups of people that are cross-team, but grouped by discipline and skills, sharing and agreeing on working practices becomes critical.

The “Spotify Guild” model has been where I’ve taken a lot of my inspiration from.

Last, establish a taxonomy for communication channels.

In Slack, I create one channel per team and one per guild (and one for me to have discussions with the team leads).

These are just some of the basic principles I follow to organize teams.

A book I particularly like about team types and how they interact with each other is https://teamtopologies.com/.

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Alex Bentley

Alex Bentley

3 months ago

Why Bill Gates thinks Bitcoin, crypto, and NFTs are foolish

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates assesses digital assets while the bull is caged.

Bill Gates is well-respected.

Reasonably. He co-founded and led Microsoft during its 1980s and 1990s revolution.

After leaving Microsoft, Bill Gates pursued other interests. He and his wife founded one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also supports immunizations, population control, and other global health programs.

When Gates criticized Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, it made news.

Bill Gates said at the 58th Munich Security Conference...

“You have an asset class that’s 100% based on some sort of greater fool theory that somebody’s going to pay more for it than I do.”

Gates means digital assets. Like many bitcoin critics, he says digital coins and tokens are speculative.

And he's not alone. Financial experts have dubbed Bitcoin and other digital assets a "bubble" for a decade.

Gates also made fun of Bored Ape Yacht Club and NFTs, saying, "Obviously pricey digital photographs of monkeys will help the world."

Why does Bill Gates dislike digital assets?

According to Gates' latest comments, Bitcoin, cryptos, and NFTs aren't good ways to hold value.

Bill Gates is a better investor than Elon Musk.

“I’m used to asset classes, like a farm where they have output, or like a company where they make products,” Gates said.

The Guardian claimed in April 2021 that Bill and Melinda Gates owned the most U.S. farms. Over 242,000 acres of farmland.

The Gates couple has enough farmland to cover Hong Kong.

Bill Gates is a classic investor. He wants companies with an excellent track record, strong fundamentals, and good management. Or tangible assets like land and property.

Gates prefers the "old economy" over the "new economy"

Gates' criticism of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ventures isn't surprising. These digital assets lack all of Gates's investing criteria.

Volatile digital assets include Bitcoin. Their costs might change dramatically in a day. Volatility scares risk-averse investors like Gates.

Gates has a stake in the old financial system. As Microsoft's co-founder, Gates helped develop a dominant tech company.

Because of his business, he's one of the world's richest men.

Bill Gates is invested in protecting the current paradigm.

He won't invest in anything that could destroy the global economy.

When Gates criticizes Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, he's suggesting they're a hoax. These soapbox speeches are one way he protects his interests.

Digital assets aren't a bad investment, though. Many think they're the future.

Changpeng Zhao and Brian Armstrong are two digital asset billionaires. Two crypto exchange CEOs. Binance/Coinbase.

Digital asset revolution won't end soon.

If you disagree with Bill Gates and plan to invest in Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or NFTs, do your own research and understand the risks.

But don’t take Bill Gates’ word for it.

He’s just an old rich guy with a lot of farmland.

He has a lot to lose if Bitcoin and other digital assets gain global popularity.


This post is a summary. Read the full article here.

CNET

CNET

8 months ago

How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was accidentally sold for $3K

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. A collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among their star-studded owners. Right now the price of entry is 52 ether, or $210,000.

Which is why it's so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT for $3,066.

Unusual trades are often a sign of funny business, as in the case of the person who spent $530 million to buy an NFT from themselves. In Saturday's case, the cause was a simple, devastating "fat-finger error." That's when people make a trade online for the wrong thing, or for the wrong amount. Here the owner, real name Max or username maxnaut, meant to list his Bored Ape for 75 ether, or around $300,000. Instead he accidentally listed it for 0.75. One hundredth the intended price.

It was bought instantaneously. The buyer paid an extra $34,000 to speed up the transaction, ensuring no one could snap it up before them. The Bored Ape was then promptly listed for $248,000. The transaction appears to have been done by a bot, which can be coded to immediately buy NFTs listed below a certain price on behalf of their owners in order to take advantage of these exact situations.

"How'd it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess," Max told me. "I list a lot of items every day and just wasn't paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone."

"And here within the beauty of the Blockchain you can see that it is both honest and unforgiving," he added.

Fat finger trades happen sporadically in traditional finance -- like the Japanese trader who almost bought 57% of Toyota's stock in 2014 -- but most financial institutions will stop those transactions if alerted quickly enough. Since cryptocurrency and NFTs are designed to be decentralized, you essentially have to rely on the goodwill of the buyer to reverse the transaction.

Fat finger errors in cryptocurrency trades have made many a headline over the past few years. Back in 2019, the company behind Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, nearly doubled its own coin supply when it accidentally created $5 billion-worth of new coins. In March, BlockFi meant to send 700 Gemini Dollars to a set of customers, worth roughly $1 each, but mistakenly sent out millions of dollars worth of bitcoin instead. Last month a company erroneously paid a $24 million fee on a $100,000 transaction.

Similar incidents are increasingly being seen in NFTs, now that many collections have accumulated in market value over the past year. Last month someone tried selling a CryptoPunk NFT for $19 million, but accidentally listed it for $19,000 instead. Back in August, someone fat finger listed their Bored Ape for $26,000, an error that someone else immediately capitalized on. The original owner offered $50,000 to the buyer to return the Bored Ape -- but instead the opportunistic buyer sold it for the then-market price of $150,000.

"The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it's your fault or the tech," Max said. "Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on."

The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched back in April 2021, with 10,000 NFTs being sold for 0.08 ether each -- about $190 at the time. While NFTs are often associated with individual digital art pieces, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which allow owners to flaunt their NFTs by using them as profile pictures on social media, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has since become the second biggest NFT collection in the world, second only to CryptoPunks, which launched in 2017 and is considered the "original" NFT collection.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

5 months ago

Token taxonomy: Utility vs Security vs NFT

Let's examine the differences between the three main token types and their functions.

As Ethereum grew, the term "token" became a catch-all term for all assets built on the Ethereum blockchain. However, different tokens were grouped based on their applications and features, causing some confusion. Let's examine the modification of three main token types: security, utility, and non-fungible.

Utility tokens

They provide a specific utility benefit (or a number of such). A utility token is similar to a casino chip, a table game ticket, or a voucher. Depending on the terms of issuing, they can be earned and used in various ways. A utility token is a type of token that represents a tool or mechanism required to use the application in question. Like a service, a utility token's price is determined by supply and demand. Tokens can also be used as a bonus or reward mechanism in decentralized systems: for example, if you like someone's work, give them an upvote and they get a certain number of tokens. This is a way for authors or creators to earn money indirectly.

The most common way to use a utility token is to pay with them instead of cash for discounted goods or services.

Utility tokens are the most widely used by blockchain companies. Most cryptocurrency exchanges accept fees in native utility tokens.

Utility tokens can also be used as a reward. Companies tokenize their loyalty programs so that points can be bought and sold on blockchain exchanges. These tokens are widely used in decentralized companies as a bonus system. You can use utility tokens to reward creators for their contributions to a platform, for example. It also allows members to exchange tokens for specific bonuses and rewards on your site.

Unlike security tokens, which are subject to legal restrictions, utility tokens can be freely traded.

Security tokens

Security tokens are essentially traditional securities like shares, bonds, and investment fund units in a crypto token form.

The key distinction is that security tokens are typically issued by private firms (rather than public companies) that are not listed on stock exchanges and in which you can not invest right now. Banks and large venture funds used to be the only sources of funding. A person could only invest in private firms if they had millions of dollars in their bank account. Privately issued security tokens outperform traditional public stocks in terms of yield. Private markets grew 50% faster than public markets over the last decade, according to McKinsey Private Equity Research.

A security token is a crypto token whose value is derived from an external asset or company. So it is governed as security (read about the Howey test further in this article). That is, an ownership token derives its value from the company's valuation, assets on the balance sheet, or dividends paid to token holders.

Why are Security Tokens Important?

Cryptocurrency is a lucrative investment. Choosing from thousands of crypto assets can mean the difference between millionaire and bankrupt. Without security tokens, crypto investing becomes riskier and generating long-term profits becomes difficult. These tokens have lower risk than other cryptocurrencies because they are backed by real assets or business cash flows. So having them helps to diversify a portfolio and preserve the return on investment in riskier assets.

Security tokens open up new funding avenues for businesses. As a result, investors can invest in high-profit businesses that are not listed on the stock exchange.

The distinction between utility and security tokens isn't as clear as it seems. However, this increases the risk for token issuers, especially in the USA. The Howey test is the main pillar regulating judicial precedent in this area.

What is a Howey Test?

An "investment contract" is determined by the Howey Test, a lawsuit settled by the US Supreme Court. If it does, it's a security and must be disclosed and registered under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

If the SEC decides that a cryptocurrency token is a security, a slew of issues arise. In practice, this ensures that the SEC will decide when a token can be offered to US investors and if the project is required to file a registration statement with the SEC.

Due to the Howey test's extensive wording, most utility tokens will be classified as securities, even if not intended to be. Because of these restrictions, most ICOs are not available to US investors. When asked about ICOs in 2018, then-SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said they were securities. The given statement adds to the risk. If a company issues utility tokens without registering them as securities, the regulator may impose huge fines or even criminal charges.

What other documents regulate tokens?

Securities Act (1993) or Securities Exchange Act (1934) in the USA; MiFID directive and Prospectus Regulation in the EU. These laws require registering the placement of security tokens, limiting their transfer, but protecting investors.

Utility tokens have much less regulation. The Howey test determines whether a given utility token is a security. Tokens recognized as securities are now regulated as such. Having a legal opinion that your token isn't makes the implementation process much easier. Most countries don't have strict regulations regarding utility tokens except KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti Money-Laundering).

As cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies evolve, more countries create UT regulations. If your company is based in the US, be aware of the Howey test and the Bank Secrecy Act. It classifies UTs and their issuance as money transmission services in most states, necessitating a license and strict regulations. Due to high regulatory demands, UT issuers try to avoid the United States as a whole. A new law separating utility tokens from bank secrecy act will be introduced in the near future, giving hope to American issuers.

The rest of the world has much simpler rules requiring issuers to create basic investor disclosures. For example, the latest European legislation (MiCA) allows businesses to issue utility tokens without regulator approval. They must also prepare a paper with all the necessary information for the investors.

A payment token is a utility token that is used to make a payment. They may be subject to electronic money laws. 

Because non-fungible tokens are a new instrument, there is no regulating paper yet. However, if the NFT is fractionalized, the smaller tokens acquired may be seen as securities.

NFT Tokens

Collectible tokens are also known as non-fungible tokens. Their distinctive feature is that they denote unique items such as artwork, merch, or ranks. Unlike utility tokens, which are fungible, meaning that two of the same tokens are identical, NFTs represent a unit of possession that is strictly one of a kind. In a way, NFTs are like baseball cards, each one unique and valuable.

As for today, the most recognizable NFT function is to preserve the fact of possession. Owning an NFT with a particular gif, meme, or sketch does not transfer the intellectual right to the possessor, but is analogous to owning an original painting signed by the author.

Collectible tokens can also be used as digital souvenirs, so to say. Businesses can improve their brand image by issuing their own branded NFTs, which represent ranks or achievements within the corporate ecosystem. Gamifying business ecosystems would allow people to connect with a brand and feel part of a community. 

Which type of tokens is right for you as a business to raise capital?

For most businesses, it's best to raise capital with security tokens by selling existing shares to global investors. Utility tokens aren't meant to increase in value over time, so leave them for gamification and community engagement. In a blockchain-based business, however, a utility token is often the lifeblood of the operation, and its appreciation potential is directly linked to the company's growth. You can issue multiple tokens at once, rather than just one type. It exposes you to various investors and maximizes the use of digital assets.

Which tokens should I buy?

There are no universally best tokens. Their volatility, industry, and risk-reward profile vary. This means evaluating tokens in relation to your overall portfolio and personal preferences: what industries do you understand best, what excites you, how do you approach taxes, and what is your planning horizon? To build a balanced portfolio, you need to know these factors.

Conclusion

The three most common types of tokens today are security, utility, and NFT. Security tokens represent stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. Utility tokens can be perceived as an inside-product "currency" or "ignition key" that grants you access to goods and services or empowers with other perks. NFTs are unique collectible units that identify you as the owner of something.