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Josh Chesler

2 years ago

10 Sneaker Terms Every Beginner Should Know

So you want to get into sneakers? Buying a few sneakers and figuring it out seems simple. Then you miss out on the weekend's instant-sellout releases, so you head to eBay, Twitter, or your local  sneaker group to see what's available, since you're probably not ready to pay Flight Club prices just yet.

That's when you're bombarded with new nicknames, abbreviations, and general sneaker slang. It would take months to explain every word and sneaker, so here's a starter kit of ten simple terms to get you started. (Yeah, mostly Jordan. Does anyone really start with Kith or Nike SB?)

10. Colorways

Colorways are a common term in fashion, design, and other visual fields. It's just the product's color scheme. In the case of sneakers, the colorway is often as important as the actual model. Are this year's "Chicago" Air Jordan 1s more durable than last year's "Black/Gum" colorway? Because of their colorway and rarity, the Chicagos are worth roughly three pairs of the Black/Gum kicks.

Pro Tip: A colorway with a well-known nickname is almost always worth more than one without, and the same goes for collaborations.

9. Beaters

A “beater” is a well-worn, likely older model of shoe that has significant wear and tear on it. Rarely sold with the original box or extra laces, beaters rarely sell for much. Unlike most “worn” sneakers, beaters are used for rainy days and the gym. It's exactly what it sounds like, a box full of beaters, and they're a good place to start if you're looking for some cheap old kicks.

Pro Tip: Know which shoes clean up nicely. The shape of lower top sneakers with wider profiles, like SB Dunk Lows and Air Jordan 3s, tends to hold better over time than their higher and narrower cousins.

8. Retro

In the world of Jordan Brand, a “Retro” release is simply a release (or re-release) of a colorway after the shoe model's initial release. For example, the original Air Jordan 7 was released in 1992, but the Bordeaux colorway was re-released in 2011 and recently (2015). An Air Jordan model is released every year, and while half of them are unpopular and unlikely to be Retroed soon, any of them could be re-released whenever Nike and Jordan felt like it.

Pro Tip: Now that the Air Jordan line has been around for so long, the model that tends to be heavily retroed in a year is whichever shoe came out 23 (Michael Jordan’s number during the prime of his career) years ago. The Air Jordan 6 (1991) got new colorways last year, the Air Jordan 7 this year, and more Air Jordan 8s will be released later this year and early next year (1993).

7. PP/Inv

In spite of the fact that eBay takes roughly 10% of the final price, many sneaker buyers and sellers prefer to work directly with PayPal. Selling sneakers for $100 via PayPal invoice or $100 via PayPal friends/family is common on social media. Because no one wants their eBay account suspended for promoting PayPal deals, many eBay sellers will simply state “Message me for a better price.”

Pro Tip: PayPal invoices protect buyers well, but gifting or using Google Wallet does not. Unless you're certain the seller is legitimate, only use invoiced goods/services payments.

6. Yeezy

Kanye West and his sneakers are known as Yeezys. The rapper's first two Yeezys were made by Nike before switching to Adidas. Everything Yeezy-related will be significantly more expensive (and therefore have significantly more fakes made). Not only is the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” one of the most sought-after sneakers, but the Yeezy influence can be seen everywhere.

Pro Tip: If you're going to buy Yeezys, make sure you buy them from a reputable retailer or reseller. With so many fakes out there, it's not worth spending a grand on something you're not 100% sure is real.

5. GR/Limited

Regardless of how visually repulsive, uncomfortable, and/or impractical a sneaker is, if it’s rare enough, people will still want it. GR stands for General Release, which means they're usually available at retail. Reselling a “Limited Edition” release is costly. Supply and demand, but in this case, the limited supply drives up demand. If you want to get some of the colorways made for rappers, NBA players (Player Exclusive or PE models), and other celebrities, be prepared to pay a premium.

Pro Tip: Limited edition sneakers, like the annual Doernbecher Freestyle sneakers Nike creates with kids from Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, will always be more expensive and limited. Or, you can use automated sneaker-buying software.

4. Grails

A “grail” is a pair of sneakers that someone desires above all others. To obtain their personal grails, people are willing to pay significantly more than the retail price. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason why someone chose a specific pair as their grails.

Pro Tip: For those who don't have them, the OG "Bred" or "Royal" Air Jordan 1s, the "Concord" Air Jordan 11s, etc., are all grails.

3. Bred

Anything released in “Bred” (black and red) will sell out quickly. Most resale Air Jordans (and other sneakers) come in the Bred colorway, which is a fan favorite. Bred is a good choice for a first colorway, especially on a solid sneaker silhouette.

Pro Tip: Apart from satisfying the world's hypebeasts, Bred sneakers will probably match a lot of your closet.

2. DS

DS = Deadstock = New. That's it. If something has been worn or tried on, it is no longer DS. Very Near Deadstock (VNDS) Pass As Deadstock It's a cute way of saying your sneakers have been worn but are still in good shape. In the sneaker world, “worn” means they are no longer new, but not too old or beat up.

Pro Tip: Ask for photos of any marks or defects to see what you’re getting before you buy used shoes, also find out if they come with the original box and extra laces, because that can be a sign that they’re in better shape.

1. Fake/Unauthorized

The words “Unauthorized,” “Replica,” “B-grades,” and “Super Perfect” all mean the shoes are fake. It means they aren't made by the actual company, no matter how close or how good the quality. If that's what you want, go ahead and get them. Do not wear them if you do not want the rest of the sneaker world to mock them.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if shoes are real or not, do a “Legit Check” on Twitter or Facebook. You'll get dozens of responses in no time.

More on Lifestyle

Sneaker News

Sneaker News

1 year ago

This Month Will See The Release Of Travis Scott x Nike Footwear

Following the catastrophes at Astroworld, Travis Scott was swiftly vilified by both media outlets and fans alike, and the names who had previously supported him were quickly abandoned. Nike, on the other hand, remained silent, only delaying the release of La Flame's planned collaborations, such as the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer 1, indefinitely. While some may believe it is too soon for the artist to return to the spotlight, the Swoosh has other ideas, as Nice Kicks reveals that these exact sneakers will be released in May.

Both the Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 and the Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 are set to come in two colorways this month. Tinker Hatfield's renowned runner will meet La Flame's "Baroque Brown" and "Saturn Gold" make-ups, which have been altered with backwards Swooshes and outdoors-themed webbing. The high-top trainer is being customized with Hatfield's "Wheat" and "Grey Haze" palettes, both of which include zippers across the heel, co-branded patches, and other details.

See below for a closer look at the four footwear. TravisScott.com is expected to release the shoes on May 20th, according to Nice Kicks. Following that, on May 27th, Nike SNKRS will release the shoe.

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Baroque Brown"
Release Date: 2022
Color: Baroque Brown/Lemon Drop/Wheat/Chile Red
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-200
Pre-School: $85
Style Code: DN4169-200
Infant & Toddler: $70
Style Code: DN4170-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Max 1 "Saturn Gold"
Release Date: 2022
Color: N/A
Mens: $160
Style Code: DO9392-700

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Wheat"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-200

Travis Scott x Nike Air Trainer 1 "Grey Haze"
Restock Date: May 27th, 2022 (Friday)
Original Release Date: May 20th, 2022 (Friday)
Color: N/A
Mens: $140
Style Code: DR7515-001

Michael Le

Michael Le

2 years ago

Union LA x Air Jordan 2 “Future Is Now” PREVIEW

With the help of Virgil Abloh and Union LA‘s Chris Gibbs, it's now clear that Jordan Brand intended to bring the Air Jordan 2 back in 2022.
The “Future Is Now” collection includes two colorways of MJ's second signature as well as an extensive range of apparel and accessories.

“We wanted to juxtapose what some futuristic gear might look like after being worn and patina'd,”
Union stated on the collaboration's landing page.

“You often see people's future visions that are crisp and sterile. We thought it would be cool to wear it in and make it organic...”

The classic co-branding appears on short-sleeve tees, hoodies, and sweat shorts/sweat pants, all lightly distressed at the hems and seams.
Also, a filtered black-and-white photo of MJ graces the adjacent long sleeves, labels stitch into the socks, and the Jumpman logo adorns the four caps.
Liner jackets and flight pants will also be available, adding reimagined militaria to a civilian ensemble.
The Union LA x Air Jordan 2 (Grey Fog and Rattan) shares many of the same beats. Vintage suedes show age, while perforations and detailing reimagine Bruce Kilgore's design for the future.
The “UN/LA” tag across the modified eye stays, the leather patch across the tongue, and the label that wraps over the lateral side of the collar complete the look.
The footwear will also include a Crater Slide in the “Grey Fog” color scheme.

BUYING

On 4/9 and 4/10 from 9am-3pm, Union LA will be giving away a pair of Air Jordan 2s at their La Brea storefront (110 S. LA BREA AVE. LA, CA 90036). The raffle is only open to LA County residents with a valid CA ID. You must enter by 11:59pm on 4/10 to win. Winners will be notified via email.



Joanna Henderson

Joanna Henderson

1 year ago

An Average Day in the Life of a 25-Year-Old -A Rich Man's At-Home Unemployed Girlfriend

And morning water bottle struggles.

svetlanasokolova via Freepik

Welcome to my TikTok, where I share my stay-at-home life! I'll show you my usual day from morning to night.

I rise early to prepare my guy iced coffee. I make matcha, my favorite drink. I also fill our water bottles, which takes time and effort, so I record and describe the procedure. As you see me perform the unthinkable by putting a water bottle in a soda machine, you'll see my magnificent but unowned condo. My lover has everything, including:

  1. In the living room, a sizable velvet alabaster divan. I was unable to use the words white or sofa in place of alabaster or a divan since they are insufficiently elegant and do not adequately convey how opulent the item is. The price tag on the divan was another huge feature; I'm sure my lover wouldn't purchase any furniture for less than $20k because it would be beneath him.

  2. A plush Swiss coffee-colored Tabriz carpet. Once more, white is a color associated with the underclass; for us, the wealthy, it's alabaster or swiss coffee. Sorry, my boyfriend is wealthy; I'm truly in the same situation. And yet, I’m the one whos freeloading off of him, not you haha!

  3. Soft translucent powder is the hue of the vinyl wallcoverings. I merely made up the name of that hue, but I have to maintain the online character I've established. There is no room for adopting language typical of peasant people; I must reiterate that I am wealthy while they are not.

I rest after filling our water bottles. I'm really fatigued from chores. My boyfriend is skeptical about hiring a housekeeper and cook. Does he assume I'm a servant or maid? I can't be overly demanding or throw a tantrum since he may replace me with a younger version. Leonardo Di Caprio's fault!

After the break, I bring my lover a water bottle. He's off to work with my best wishes. After cleaning the shower, I text my BF saying I broke a nail. He charged $675 for a crystal-topped shellac manicure. Lucky me!

After this morning's crazy choirs, especially the water bottle one, I'm famished. I dress quickly and go to the neighborhood organic-vegan-gluten-free-sugar-free-plasma-free-GMO-free-HBO-free breakfast place. Most folks can't afford $17.99 for a caffeine-free-mushroom-plus-mud-and-electrolytes morning beverage. It goes nicely with my matcha. Eggs Benedict cost $68. English muffins are off-limits. I can't make myself obese. My partner said he'd swap me for a 19-year-old Eastern European if I keep eating bacon.

I leave no tip since tipping is too much pressure and math for me, so I go shopping.

My shopping adventures have gotten monotonous. 47 designer bags and 114 bag covers Birkins need their own luggage. My babies! I've never caught my BF with a baby. I have sleeping medications and a turkey baster. Tatiana is much younger and thinner than me, so I can't lose him to her. The goal is to become a stay-at-home wife shortly. A turkey baster is essential.

After spending $955 on La Mer lotions and getting a crystal manicure, I nap. Before my boyfriend's return, I can nap for 5 hours.

I wake up around 4 pm — it’s time to prepare dinner. Yes, I said “prepare for dinner,” not “prepare dinner.” I have crystals on my nails! Do you really think I would cook? No way.

My husband's arrival still requires much work. I clean the kitchen, get cutlery and napkins. I order UberEats while my BF is 30-45 minutes away.

Wagyu steaks with Matsutake mushroom soup today. I pick desserts for my lover but not myself. Eastern European threat?

When my BF gets home from work, we eat. I don't believe in tipping UberEats drivers. If he wants to appreciate life's finer things, he should locate a rich woman.

After eating, we plan our getaway. I requested Aruba's fanciest hotel for winter and expect a butler. We're bickering over who gets the butler. We may need two.

Day's end, I'm exhausted. Stay-at-home girlfriends put in a lot of time and work. Work and duties are never-ending.

Before bed, I shower and use a liquid gold mask in my 27-step makeup procedure. It's a French luxury brand, not La Mer.

Here's my day.

Note: I like satire and absurd trends. Stay-at-home-girlfriend TikTok videos have become popular recently.

I don't shame or support such agreements; I'm just an observer. Thanks for reading.

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David G Chen

David G Chen

1 year ago

If you want to earn money, stop writing for entertainment.

When you stop blogging for a few weeks, your views and profits plummet.

Because you're writing fascinating posts for others. Everyone's done ithat…

My medium stats for May-June

If I keep writing, the graph should maintain velocity, you could say. If I wrote more, it could rise.

However, entertaining pieces still tend to roller coaster and jump.

this type of writing is like a candle. They burn out and must be replaced. You must continuously light new ones to maintain the illumination.

When you quit writing, your income stops.

A substitute

Instead of producing amusing articles, try solving people's issues. You should answer their search questions.

Here's what happens when you answer their searches.

Website stats by pageviews per day

My website's Google analytics. As a dentist, I answer oral health questions.

This chart vs. Medium is pretty glaring, right?

As of yesterday, it was averaging 15k page views each day.

How much would you make on Medium with 15k daily views?

Evergreen materials

In SEO, this is called evergreen content.

Your content is like a lush, evergreen forest, and by green I mean Benjamins.

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Do you have knowledge that you can leverage? Why not help your neighbors and the world?

Answer search inquiries and help others. You'll be well rewarded.

This is better than crafting candle-like content that fizzles out quickly.

Is beauty really ephemeral like how flowers bloom? Nah, I prefer watching forests grow instead (:

David Z. Morris

1 year ago

FTX's crash was no accident, it was a crime

Sam Bankman Fried (SDBF) is a legendary con man. But the NYT might not tell you that...

Since SBF's empire was revealed to be a lie, mainstream news organizations and commentators have failed to give readers a straightforward assessment. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have uncovered many key facts about the scandal, but they have also soft-peddled Bankman-Fried's intent and culpability.

It's clear that the FTX crypto exchange and Alameda Research committed fraud to steal money from users and investors. That’s why a recent New York Times interview was widely derided for seeming to frame FTX’s collapse as the result of mismanagement rather than malfeasance. A Wall Street Journal article lamented FTX's loss of charitable donations, bolstering Bankman's philanthropic pose. Matthew Yglesias, court chronicler of the neoliberal status quo, seemed to whitewash his own entanglements by crediting SBF's money with helping Democrats in 2020 – sidestepping the likelihood that the money was embezzled.

Many outlets have called what happened to FTX a "bank run" or a "run on deposits," but Bankman-Fried insists the company was overleveraged and disorganized. Both attempts to frame the fallout obscure the core issue: customer funds misused.

Because banks lend customer funds to generate returns, they can experience "bank runs." If everyone withdraws at once, they can experience a short-term cash crunch but there won't be a long-term problem.

Crypto exchanges like FTX aren't banks. They don't do bank-style lending, so a withdrawal surge shouldn't strain liquidity. FTX promised customers it wouldn't lend or use their crypto.

Alameda's balance sheet blurs SBF's crypto empire.

The funds were sent to Alameda Research, where they were apparently gambled away. This is massive theft. According to a bankruptcy document, up to 1 million customers could be affected.

In less than a month, reporting and the bankruptcy process have uncovered a laundry list of decisions and practices that would constitute financial fraud if FTX had been a U.S.-regulated entity, even without crypto-specific rules. These ploys may be litigated in U.S. courts if they enabled the theft of American property.

The list is very, very long.

The many crimes of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX

At the heart of SBF's fraud are the deep and (literally) intimate ties between FTX and Alameda Research, a hedge fund he co-founded. An exchange makes money from transaction fees on user assets, but Alameda trades and invests its own funds.

Bankman-Fried called FTX and Alameda "wholly separate" and resigned as Alameda's CEO in 2019. The two operations were closely linked. Bankman-Fried and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison were romantically linked.

These circumstances enabled SBF's sin.  Within days of FTX's first signs of weakness, it was clear the exchange was funneling customer assets to Alameda for trading, lending, and investing. Reuters reported on Nov. 12 that FTX sent $10 billion to Alameda. As much as $2 billion was believed to have disappeared after being sent to Alameda. Now the losses look worse.

It's unclear why those funds were sent to Alameda or when Bankman-Fried betrayed his depositors. On-chain analysis shows most FTX to Alameda transfers occurred in late 2021, and bankruptcy filings show both lost $3.7 billion in 2021.

SBF's companies lost millions before the 2022 crypto bear market. They may have stolen funds before Terra and Three Arrows Capital, which killed many leveraged crypto players.

FTT loans and prints

CoinDesk's report on Alameda's FTT holdings ignited FTX and Alameda Research. FTX created this instrument, but only a small portion was traded publicly; FTX and Alameda held the rest. These holdings were illiquid, meaning they couldn't be sold at market price. Bankman-Fried valued its stock at the fictitious price.

FTT tokens were reportedly used as collateral for loans, including FTX loans to Alameda. Close ties between FTX and Alameda made the FTT token harder or more expensive to use as collateral, reducing the risk to customer funds.

This use of an internal asset as collateral for loans between clandestinely related entities is similar to Enron's 1990s accounting fraud. These executives served 12 years in prison.

Alameda's margin liquidation exemption

Alameda Research had a "secret exemption" from FTX's liquidation and margin trading rules, according to legal filings by FTX's new CEO.

FTX, like other crypto platforms and some equity or commodity services, offered "margin" or loans for trades. These loans are usually collateralized, meaning borrowers put up other funds or assets. If a margin trade loses enough money, the exchange will sell the user's collateral to pay off the initial loan.

Keeping asset markets solvent requires liquidating bad margin positions. Exempting Alameda would give it huge advantages while exposing other FTX users to hidden risks. Alameda could have kept losing positions open while closing out competitors. Alameda could lose more on FTX than it could pay back, leaving a hole in customer funds.

The exemption is criminal in multiple ways. FTX was fraudulently marketed overall. Instead of a level playing field, there were many customers.

Above them all, with shotgun poised, was Alameda Research.

Alameda front-running FTX listings

Argus says there's circumstantial evidence that Alameda Research had insider knowledge of FTX's token listing plans. Alameda was able to buy large amounts of tokens before the listing and sell them after the price bump.

If true, these claims would be the most brazenly illegal of Alameda and FTX's alleged shenanigans. Even if the tokens aren't formally classified as securities, insider trading laws may apply.

In a similar case this year, an OpenSea employee was charged with wire fraud for allegedly insider trading. This employee faces 20 years in prison for front-running monkey JPEGs.

Huge loans to executives

Alameda Research reportedly lent FTX executives $4.1 billion, including massive personal loans. Bankman-Fried received $1 billion in personal loans and $2.3 billion for an entity he controlled, Paper Bird. Nishad Singh, director of engineering, was given $543 million, and FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame received $55 million.

FTX has more smoking guns than a Texas shooting range, but this one is the smoking bazooka – a sign of criminal intent. It's unclear how most of the personal loans were used, but liquidators will have to recoup the money.

The loans to Paper Bird were even more worrisome because they created another related third party to shuffle assets. Forbes speculates that some Paper Bird funds went to buy Binance's FTX stake, and Paper Bird committed hundreds of millions to outside investments.

FTX Inner Circle: Who's Who

That included many FTX-backed VC funds. Time will tell if this financial incest was criminal fraud. It fits Bankman-pattern Fried's of using secret flows, leverage, and funny money to inflate asset prices.

FTT or loan 'bailouts'

Also. As the crypto bear market continued in 2022, Bankman-Fried proposed bailouts for bankrupt crypto lenders BlockFi and Voyager Digital. CoinDesk was among those deceived, welcoming SBF as a J.P. Morgan-style sector backstop.

In a now-infamous interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box," Bankman-Fried referred to these decisions as bets that may or may not pay off.

But maybe not. Bloomberg's Matt Levine speculated that FTX backed BlockFi with FTT money. This Monopoly bailout may have been intended to hide FTX and Alameda liabilities that would have been exposed if BlockFi went bankrupt sooner. This ploy has no name, but it echoes other corporate frauds.

Secret bank purchase

Alameda Research invested $11.5 million in the tiny Farmington State Bank, doubling its net worth. As a non-U.S. entity and an investment firm, Alameda should have cleared regulatory hurdles before acquiring a U.S. bank.

In the context of FTX, the bank's stake becomes "ominous." Alameda and FTX could have done more shenanigans with bank control. Compare this to the Bank for Credit and Commerce International's failed attempts to buy U.S. banks. BCCI was even nefarious than FTX and wanted to buy U.S. banks to expand its money-laundering empire.

The mainstream's mistakes

These are complex and nuanced forms of fraud that echo traditional finance models. This obscurity helped Bankman-Fried masquerade as an honest player and likely kept coverage soft after the collapse.

Bankman-Fried had a scruffy, nerdy image, like Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Neumann. In interviews, he spoke nonsense about an industry full of jargon and complicated tech. Strategic donations and insincere ideological statements helped him gain political and social influence.

SBF' s'Effective' Altruism Blew Up FTX

Bankman-Fried has continued to muddy the waters with disingenuous letters, statements, interviews, and tweets since his con collapsed. He's tried to portray himself as a well-intentioned but naive kid who made some mistakes. This is a softer, more pernicious version of what Trump learned from mob lawyer Roy Cohn. Bankman-Fried doesn't "deny, deny, deny" but "confuse, evade, distort."

It's mostly worked. Kevin O'Leary, who plays an investor on "Shark Tank," repeats Bankman-SBF's counterfactuals.  O'Leary called Bankman-Fried a "savant" and "probably one of the most accomplished crypto traders in the world" in a Nov. 27 interview with Business Insider, despite recent data indicating immense trading losses even when times were good.

O'Leary's status as an FTX investor and former paid spokesperson explains his continued affection for Bankman-Fried despite contradictory evidence. He's not the only one promoting Bankman-Fried. The disgraced son of two Stanford law professors will defend himself at Wednesday's DealBook Summit.

SBF's fraud and theft rival those of Bernie Madoff and Jho Low. Whether intentionally or through malign ineptitude, the fraud echoes Worldcom and Enron.

The Perverse Impacts of Anti-Money-Laundering

The principals in all of those scandals wound up either sentenced to prison or on the run from the law. Sam Bankman-Fried clearly deserves to share their fate.

Read the full article here.

Khoi Ho

Khoi Ho

1 year ago

After working at seven startups, here are the early-stage characteristics that contributed to profitability, unicorn status or successful acquisition.

Image by Tim Mossholder

I've worked in a People role at seven early-stage firms for over 15 years (I enjoy chasing a dream!). Few of the seven achieved profitability, including unicorn status or acquisition.

Did early-stage startups share anything? Was there a difference between winners and losers? YES.

I support founders and entrepreneurs building financially sustainable enterprises with a compelling cause. This isn't something everyone would do. A company's success demands more than guts. Founders drive startup success.

Six Qualities of Successful Startups

Successful startup founders either innately grasped the correlation between strong team engagement and a well-executed business model, or they knew how to ask and listen to others (executive coaches, other company leaders, the team itself) to learn about it.

Successful startups:

1. Co-founders agreed and got along personally.

Multi-founder startups are common. When co-founders agree on strategic decisions and are buddies, there's less friction and politics at work.

As a co-founder, ask your team if you're aligned. They'll explain.

I've seen C-level leaders harbor personal resentments over disagreements. A co-departure founder's caused volatile leadership and work disruptions that the team struggled to manage during and after.

2. Team stayed.

Successful startups have low turnover. Nobody is leaving. There may be a termination for performance, but other team members will have observed the issues and agreed with the decision.

You don't want organizational turnover of 30%+, with leaders citing performance issues but the team not believing them. This breeds suspicion.

Something is wrong if many employees leave voluntarily or involuntarily. You may hear about lack of empowerment, support, or toxic leadership in exit interviews and from the existing team. Intellectual capital loss and resource instability harm success.

3. Team momentum.

A successful startup's team is excited about its progress. Consistently achieving goals and having trackable performance metrics. Some describe this period of productivity as magical, with great talents joining the team and the right people in the right places. Increasing momentum.

I've also seen short-sighted decisions where only some departments, like sales and engineering, had goals. Lack of a unified goals system created silos and miscommunication. Some employees felt apathetic because they didn't know how they contributed to team goals.

4. Employees advanced in their careers.

Even if you haven't created career pathing or professional development programs, early-stage employees will grow and move into next-level roles. If you hire more experienced talent and leaders, expect them to mentor existing team members. Growing companies need good performers.

New talent shouldn't replace and discard existing talent. This creates animosity and makes existing employees feel unappreciated for their early contributions to the company.

5. The company lived its values.

Culture and identity are built on lived values. A company's values affect hiring, performance management, rewards, and other processes. Identify, practice, and believe in company values. Starting with team values instead of management or consultants helps achieve this. When a company's words and actions match, it builds trust.

When company values are beautifully displayed on a wall but few employees understand them, the opposite is true. If an employee can't name the company values, they're useless.

6. Communication was clear.

When necessary information is shared with the team, they feel included, trusted, and like owners. Transparency means employees have the needed information to do their jobs. Disclosure builds trust. The founders answer employees' questions honestly.

Information accessibility decreases office politics. Without transparency, even basic information is guarded and many decisions are made in secret. I've seen founders who don't share financial, board meeting, or compensation and equity information. The founders' lack of trust in the team wasn't surprising, so it was reciprocated.

The Choices

Finally. All six of the above traits (leadership alignment, minimal turnover, momentum, professional advancement, values, and transparency) were high in the profitable startups I've worked at, including unicorn status or acquisition.

I've seen these as the most common and constant signals of startup success or failure.

These characteristics are the product of founders' choices. These decisions lead to increased team engagement and business execution.

Here's something to consider for startup employees and want-to-bes. 90% of startups fail, despite the allure of building something new and gaining ownership. With the emotional and time investment in startup formation, look for startups with these traits to reduce your risk.

Both you and the startup will thrive in these workplaces.