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?)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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1 year 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.
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.
1 year ago
The Jordan 6 Rings Reintroduce Classic Bulls
The Jordan 6 Rings return in Bulls colors, a deviation from previous releases. The signature red color is used on the midsole and heel, as well as the chenille patch and pull tab. The rest of the latter fixture is black, matching the outsole and adjacent Jumpman logos. Finally, white completes the look, from the leather mudguard to the lace unit. Here's a closer look at the Jordan 6 Rings. Sizes should be available soon on Nike.com and select retailers. Also, official photos of the Air Jordan 1 Denim have surfaced.
Jordan 6 Rings
Release Date: 2022
Style Code: 322992-126
Peter Steven Ho
9 months ago
Thank You for 21 Fantastic Years, iPod
Apple's latest revelation may shock iPod fans and former owners.
Apple discontinued the iPod touch on May 11, 2022. After 21 years, Apple killed the last surviving iPod, a device Steve Jobs believed would revolutionize the music industry.
Jobs was used to making bold predictions, but few expected Apple's digital music player to change the music industry. It did.
This chaos created new business opportunities. Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon are products of that chaotic era.
As the digital landscape changes, so do consumers, and the iPod has lost favor. I'm sure Apple realizes the importance of removing an icon. The iPod was Apple like the Mac and iPhone. I think it's bold to retire such a key Apple cornerstone. What would Jobs do?
iPod evolution across the ages
Here's an iPod family tree for all you enthusiasts.
iPod vintage (Oct 2001 to Sep 2014, 6 generations)
The original iPod had six significant upgrades since 2001. Apple announced an 80 GB ($249) and 160 GB ($349) iPod classic in 2007.
Apple updated the 80 GB model with a 120 GB device in September 2008. Apple upgraded the 120 GB model with a 160 GB variant a year later (2009). This was the last iteration, and Apple discontinued the classic in September 2014.
iPod nano (Jan 2004 to Sep 2005, 2 generations)
Apple debuted a smaller, brightly-colored iPod in 2004. The first model featured 4 GB, enough for 1,000 songs.
Apple produced a new 4 GB or 6 GB iPod mini in February 2005 and discontinued it in September when they released a better-looking iPod nano.
iTouch nano (Sep 2005 to July 2017, 7 generations)
I loved the iPod nano. It was tiny and elegant with enough tech to please most music aficionados, unless you carry around your complete music collection.
Apple owed much of the iPod nano's small form and success to solid-state flash memory. Flash memory doesn't need power because it has no moving parts. This makes the iPod nano more durable than the iPod classic and mini, which employ hard drives.
Apple manufactured seven generations of the iPod nano, improving its design, display screen, memory, battery, and software, but abandoned it in July 2017 due to dwindling demand.
Shuffle iPod (Jan 2005 to Jul 2017, 4 generations)
The iPod shuffle was entry-level. It was a simple, lightweight, tiny music player. The iPod shuffle was perfect for lengthy bike trips, runs, and hikes.
Apple sold 10 million iPod shuffles in the first year and kept making them for 12 years, through four significant modifications.
iOS device (Sep 2007 to May 2022, 7 generations)
The iPod touch's bigger touchscreen interface made it a curious addition to the iPod family. The iPod touch resembled an iPhone more than the other iPods, making them hard to tell apart.
Many were dissatisfied that Apple removed functionality from the iPod touch to avoid making it too similar to the iPhone. Seven design improvements over 15 years brought the iPod touch closer to the iPhone, but not completely.
The iPod touch uses the same iOS operating system as the iPhone, giving it access to many apps, including handheld games.
The iPod touch's long production run is due to the next generation of music-loving gamers.
What made the iPod cool
iPod revolutionized music listening. It was the first device to store and play MP3 music, allowing you to carry over 1,000 songs anywhere.
The iPod changed consumer electronics with its scroll wheel and touchscreen. Jobs valued form and function equally. He showed people that a product must look good to inspire an emotional response and ignite passion.
The elegant, tiny iPod was a tremendous sensation when it arrived for $399 in October 2001. Even at this price, it became a must-have for teens to CEOs.
It's hard to identify any technology that changed how music was downloaded and played like the iPod. Apple iPod and iTunes had 63% of the paid music download market in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The demise of the iPod was inevitable
Apple discontinuing the iPod touch after 21 years is sad. This ends a 00s music icon.
Jobs was a genius at anticipating market needs and opportunities, and Apple launched the iPod at the correct time.
Few consumer electronics items have had such a lasting impact on music lovers and the music industry as the iPod.
Smartphones and social media have contributed to the iPod's decline. Instead of moving to the music, the new generation of consumers is focused on social media. They're no longer passive content consumers; they're active content creators seeking likes and followers. Here, the smartphone has replaced the iPod.
It's hard not to feel a feeling of loss, another part of my adolescence now forgotten by the following generation.
So, if you’re lucky enough to have a working iPod, hang on to that relic and enjoy the music and the nostalgia.
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6 months ago
What I learned from my experience as a recent graduate working in venture capital
Every week I meet many people interested in VC. Many of them ask me what it's like to be a junior analyst in VC or what I've learned so far.
Looking back, I've learned many things as a junior VC, having gone through an almost-euphoric peak bull market, failed tech IPOs of 2019 including WeWorks' catastrophic fall, and the beginnings of a bearish market.
1. Network, network, network!
VCs spend 80% of their time networking. Junior VCs source deals or manage portfolios. You spend your time bringing startups to your fund or helping existing portfolio companies grow. Knowing stakeholders (corporations, star talent, investors) in your particular areas of investment helps you develop your portfolio.
Networking was one of my strengths. When I first started in the industry, I'd go to startup events and meet 50 people a month. Over time, I realized these relationships were shallow and I was only getting business cards. So I stopped seeing networking as a transaction. VC is a long-term game, so you should work with people you like. Now I know who I click with and can build deeper relationships with them. My network is smaller but more valuable than before.
2. The Most Important Metric Is Founder
People often ask how we pick investments. Why some companies can raise money and others can't is a mystery. The founder is the most important metric for VCs. When a company is young, the product, environment, and team all change, but the founder remains constant. VCs bet on the founder, not the company.
How do we decide which founders are best after 2-3 calls? When looking at a founder's profile, ask why this person can solve this problem. The founders' track record will tell. If the founder is a serial entrepreneur, you know he/she possesses the entrepreneur DNA and will likely succeed again. If it's his/her first startup, focus on industry knowledge to deliver the best solution.
3. A company's fate can be determined by macrotrends.
Macro trends are crucial. A company can have the perfect product, founder, and team, but if it's solving the wrong problem, it won't succeed. I've also seen average companies ride the wave to success. When you're on the right side of a trend, there's so much demand that more companies can get a piece of the pie.
In COVID-19, macro trends made or broke a company. Ed-tech and health-tech companies gained unicorn status and raised funding at inflated valuations due to sudden demand. With the easing of pandemic restrictions and the start of a bear market, many of these companies' valuations are in question.
4. Look for methods to ACTUALLY add value.
You only need to go on VC twitter (read: @vcstartterkit and @vcbrags) for 5 minutes or look at fin-meme accounts on Instagram to see how much VCs claim to add value but how little they actually do. VC is a long-term game, though. Long-term, founders won't work with you if you don't add value.
How can we add value when we're young and have no network? Leaning on my strengths helped me. Instead of viewing my age and limited experience as a disadvantage, I realized that I brought a unique perspective to the table.
As a VC, you invest in companies that will be big in 5-7 years, and millennials and Gen Z will have the most purchasing power. Because you can relate to that market, you can offer insights that most Partners at 40 can't. I added value by helping with hiring because I had direct access to university talent pools and by finding university students for product beta testing.
5. Develop your personal brand.
Generalists or specialists run most funds. This means that funds either invest across industries or have a specific mandate. Most funds are becoming specialists, I've noticed. Top-tier founders don't lack capital, so funds must find other ways to attract them. Why would a founder work with a generalist fund when a specialist can offer better industry connections and partnership opportunities?
Same for fund members. Founders want quality investors. Become a thought leader in your industry to meet founders. Create content and share your thoughts on industry-related social media. When I first started building my brand, I found it helpful to interview industry veterans to create better content than I could on my own. Over time, my content attracted quality founders so I didn't have to look for them.
These are my biggest VC lessons. This list isn't exhaustive, but it's my industry survival guide.
5 months ago
How Will You Generate $100 Million in Revenue? The Startup Business Plan
A top-down company plan facilitates decision-making and impresses investors.
A startup business plan starts with the product, the target customers, how to reach them, and how to grow the business.
Bottom-up is terrific unless venture investors fund it.
If it can prove how it can exceed $100M in sales, investors will invest. If not, the business may be wonderful, but it's not venture capital-investable.
As a rule, venture investors only fund firms that expect to reach $100M within 5 years.
Investors get nothing until an acquisition or IPO. To make up for 90% of failed investments and still generate 20% annual returns, portfolio successes must exit with a 25x return. A $20M-valued company must be acquired for $500M or more.
This requires $100M in sales (or being on a nearly vertical trajectory to get there). The company has 5 years to attain that milestone and create the requisite ROI.
This motivates venture investors (venture funds and angel investors) to hunt for $100M firms within 5 years. When you pitch investors, you outline how you'll achieve that aim.
I'm wary of pitches after seeing a million hockey sticks predicting $5M to $100M in year 5 that never materialized. Doubtful.
Startups fail because they don't have enough clients, not because they don't produce a great product. That jump from $5M to $100M never happens. The company reaches $5M or $10M, growing at 10% or 20% per year. That's great, but not enough for a $500 million deal.
Once it becomes clear the company won’t reach orbit, investors write it off as a loss. When a corporation runs out of money, it's shut down or sold in a fire sale. The company can survive if expenses are trimmed to match revenues, but investors lose everything.
When I hear a pitch, I'm not looking for bright income projections but a viable plan to achieve them. Answer these questions in your pitch.
Is the market size sufficient to generate $100 million in revenue?
Will the initial beachhead market serve as a springboard to the larger market or as quicksand that hinders progress?
What marketing plan will bring in $100 million in revenue? Is the market diffuse and will cost millions of dollars in advertising, or is it one, focused market that can be tackled with a team of salespeople?
Will the business be able to bridge the gap from a small but fervent set of early adopters to a larger user base and avoid lock-in with their current solution?
Will the team be able to manage a $100 million company with hundreds of people, or will hypergrowth force the organization to collapse into chaos?
Once the company starts stealing market share from the industry giants, how will it deter copycats?
The requirement to reach $100M may be onerous, but it provides a context for difficult decisions: What should the product be? Where should we concentrate? who should we hire? Every strategic choice must consider how to reach $100M in 5 years.
Focusing on $100M streamlines investor pitches. Instead of explaining everything, focus on how you'll attain $100M.
As an investor, I know I'll lose my money if the startup doesn't reach this milestone, so the revenue prediction is the first thing I look at in a pitch deck.
Reaching the $100M goal needs to be the first thing the entrepreneur thinks about when putting together the business plan, the central story of the pitch, and the criteria for every important decision the company makes.
11 months ago
Terra fiasco raises TRON's stablecoin backstop
After Terra's algorithmic stablecoin collapsed in May, TRON announced a plan to increase the capital backing its own stablecoin.
USDD, a near-carbon copy of Terra's UST, arrived on the TRON blockchain on May 5. TRON founder Justin Sun says USDD will be overcollateralized after initially being pegged algorithmically to the US dollar.
A reserve of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins will be kept at 130 percent of total USDD issuance, he said. TRON described the collateral ratio as "guaranteed" and said it would begin publishing real-time updates on June 5.
Currently, the reserve contains 14,040 bitcoin (around $418 million), 140 million USDT, 1.9 billion TRX, and 8.29 billion TRX in a burning contract.
Sun: "We want to hybridize USDD." We have an algorithmic stablecoin and TRON DAO Reserve.
USDD was designed to incentivize arbitrageurs to keep its price pegged to the US dollar by trading TRX, TRON's token, and USDD. Like Terra, TRON signaled its intent to establish a bitcoin and cryptocurrency reserve to support USDD in extreme market conditions.
Still, Terra's UST failed despite these safeguards. The stablecoin veered sharply away from its dollar peg in mid-May, bringing down Terra's LUNA and wiping out $40 billion in value in days. In a frantic attempt to restore the peg, billions of dollars in bitcoin were sold and unprecedented volumes of LUNA were issued.
Sun believes USDD, which has a total circulating supply of $667 million, can be backed up.
"Our reserve backing is diversified." Bitcoin and stablecoins are included. USDC will be a small part of Circle's reserve, he said.
TRON's news release lists the reserve's assets as bitcoin, TRX, USDC, USDT, TUSD, and USDJ.
All Bitcoin addresses will be signed so everyone knows they belong to us, Sun said.
Not giving in
Sun told that the crypto industry needs "decentralized" stablecoins that regulators can't touch.
Sun said the Luna Foundation Guard, a Singapore-based non-profit that raised billions in cryptocurrency to buttress UST, mismanaged the situation by trying to sell to panicked investors.
He said, "We must be ahead of the market." We want to stabilize the market and reduce volatility.
Currently, TRON finances most of its reserve directly, but Sun says the company hopes to add external capital soon.
Before its demise, UST holders could park the stablecoin in Terra's lending platform Anchor Protocol to earn 20% interest, which many deemed unsustainable. TRON's JustLend is similar. Sun hopes to raise annual interest rates from 17.67% to "around 30%."
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