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Jussi Luukkonen, MBA

Jussi Luukkonen, MBA

1 year ago

Is Apple Secretly Building A Disruptive Tsunami?

More on Technology

Al Anany

Al Anany

1 year ago

Notion AI Might Destroy Grammarly and Jasper

The trick Notion could use is simply Facebook-ing the hell out of them.

Notion Mobile Cowork Memo App by HS You, on Flickr

*Time travel to fifteen years ago.* Future-Me: “Hey! What are you up to?” Old-Me: “I am proofreading an article. It’s taking a few hours, but I will be done soon.” Future-Me: “You know, in the future, you will be using a google chrome plugin called Grammarly that will help you easily proofread articles in half that time.” Old-Me: “What is… Google Chrome?” Future-Me: “Gosh…”

I love Grammarly. It’s one of those products that I personally feel the effects of. I mean, Space X is a great company. But I am not a rocket writing this article in space (or am I?)

No, I’m not. So I don’t personally feel a connection to Space X. So, if a company collapse occurs in the morning, I might write about it. But I will have zero emotions regarding it.

Yet, if Grammarly fails tomorrow, I will feel 1% emotionally distressed. So looking at the title of this article, you’d realize that I am betting against them. This is how much I believe in the critical business model that’s taking over the world, the one of Notion.

Notion How frequently do you go through your notes?

Grammarly is everywhere, which helps its success. Grammarly is available when you update LinkedIn on Chrome. Grammarly prevents errors in Google Docs.

My internal concentration isn't apparent in the previous paragraph. Not Grammarly. I should have used Chrome to make a Google doc and LinkedIn update. Without this base, Grammarly will be useless.

So, welcome to this business essay.

  • Grammarly provides a solution.

  • Another issue is resolved by Jasper.

  • Your entire existence is supposed to be contained within Notion.

New Google Chrome is offline. It's an all-purpose notepad (in the near future.)

  • How should I start my blog? Enter it in Note.

  • an update on LinkedIn? If you mention it, it might be automatically uploaded there (with little help from another app.)

  • An advanced thesis? You can brainstorm it with your coworkers.

This ad sounds great! I won't cry if Notion dies tomorrow.

I'll reread the following passages to illustrate why I think Notion could kill Grammarly and Jasper.

Notion is a fantastic app that incubates your work.

Smartly, they began with note-taking.

Hopefully, your work will be on Notion. Grammarly and Jasper are still must-haves.

Grammarly will proofread your typing while Jasper helps with copywriting and AI picture development.

They're the best, therefore you'll need them. Correct? Nah.

Notion might bombard them with Facebook posts.

Notion: “Hi Grammarly, do you want to sell your product to us?” Grammarly: “Dude, we are more valuable than you are. We’ve even raised $400m, while you raised $342m. Our last valuation round put us at $13 billion, while yours put you at $10 billion. Go to hell.” Notion: “Okay, we’ll speak again in five years.”

Notion: “Jasper, wanna sell?” Jasper: “Nah, we’re deep into AI and the field. You can’t compete with our people.” Notion: “How about you either sell or you turn into a Snapchat case?” Jasper: “…”

Notion is your home. Grammarly is your neighbor. Your track is Jasper.

What if you grew enough vegetables in your backyard to avoid the supermarket? No more visits.

What if your home had a beautiful treadmill? You won't rush outside as much (I disagree with my own metaphor). (You get it.)

It's Facebooking. Instagram Stories reduced your Snapchat usage. Notion will reduce your need to use Grammarly.

The Final Piece of the AI Puzzle

Let's talk about Notion first, since you've probably read about it everywhere.

  • They raised $343 million, as I previously reported, and bought four businesses

  • According to Forbes, Notion will have more than 20 million users by 2022. The number of users is up from 4 million in 2020.

If raising $1.8 billion was impressive, FTX wouldn't have fallen.

This article compares the basic product to two others. Notion is a day-long app.

Notion has released Notion AI to support writers. It's early, so it's not as good as Jasper. Then-Jasper isn't now-Jasper. In five years, Notion AI will be different.

With hard work, they may construct a Jasper-like writing assistant. They have resources and users.

At this point, it's all speculation. Jasper's copywriting is top-notch. Grammarly's proofreading is top-notch. Businesses are constrained by user activities.

If Notion's future business movements are strategic, they might become a blue ocean shark (or get acquired by an unbelievable amount.)

I love business mental teasers, so tell me:

  • How do you feel? Are you a frequent Notion user?

  • Do you dispute my position? I enjoy hearing opposing viewpoints.

Ironically, I proofread this with Grammarly.

Liz Martin

Liz Martin

1 year ago

A Search Engine From Apple?

Apple's search engine has long been rumored. Recent Google developments may confirm the rumor. Is Apple about to become Google's biggest rival?

Here's a video:

People noted Apple's changes in 2020. AppleBot, a web crawler that downloads and caches Internet content, was more active than in the last five years.

Apple hired search engine developers, including ex-Googlers, such as John Giannandrea, Google's former search chief.

Apple also changed the way iPhones search. With iOS 14, Apple's search results arrived before Google's.

These facts fueled rumors that Apple was developing a search engine.

Apple and Google Have a Contract

Many skeptics said Apple couldn't compete with Google. This didn't affect the company's competitiveness.

Apple is the only business with the resources and scale to be a Google rival, with 1.8 billion active devices and a $2 trillion market cap.

Still, people doubted that due to a license deal. Google pays Apple $8 to $12 billion annually to be the default iPhone and iPad search engine.

Apple can't build an independent search product under this arrangement.

Why would Apple enter search if it's being paid to stay out?

Ironically, this partnership has many people believing Apple is getting into search.

A New Default Search Engine May Be Needed

Google was sued for antitrust in 2020. It is accused of anticompetitive and exclusionary behavior. Justice wants to end Google's monopoly.

Authorities could restrict Apple and Google's licensing deal due to its likely effect on market competitiveness. Hence Apple needs a new default search engine.

Apple Already Has a Search Engine

The company already has a search engine, Spotlight.

Since 2004, Spotlight has aired. It was developed to help users find photos, documents, apps, music, and system preferences.

Apple's search engine could do more than organize files, texts, and apps.

Spotlight Search was updated in 2014 with iOS 8. Web, App Store, and iTunes searches became available. You could find nearby places, movie showtimes, and news.

This search engine has subsequently been updated and improved. Spotlight added rich search results last year.

If you search for a TV show, movie, or song, photos and carousels will appear at the top of the page.

This resembles Google's rich search results.

When Will the Apple Search Engine Be Available?

When will Apple's search launch? Robert Scoble says it's near.

Scoble tweeted a number of hints before this year's Worldwide Developer Conference.

Scoble bases his prediction on insider information and deductive reasoning. January 2023 is expected.

Will you use Apple's search engine?

Gajus Kuizinas

Gajus Kuizinas

1 year ago

How a few lines of code were able to eliminate a few million queries from the database

I was entering tens of millions of records per hour when I first published Slonik PostgreSQL client for Node.js. The data being entered was usually flat, making it straightforward to use INSERT INTO ... SELECT * FROM unnset() pattern. I advocated the unnest approach for inserting rows in groups (that was part I).

Bulk inserting nested data into the database

However, today I’ve found a better way: jsonb_to_recordset.

jsonb_to_recordset expands the top-level JSON array of objects to a set of rows having the composite type defined by an AS clause.

jsonb_to_recordset allows us to query and insert records from arbitrary JSON, like unnest. Since we're giving JSON to PostgreSQL instead of unnest, the final format is more expressive and powerful.

SELECT *
FROM json_to_recordset('[{"name":"John","tags":["foo","bar"]},{"name":"Jane","tags":["baz"]}]')
AS t1(name text, tags text[]);
 name |   tags
------+-----------
 John | {foo,bar}
 Jane | {baz}
(2 rows)

Let’s demonstrate how you would use it to insert data.

Inserting data using json_to_recordset

Say you need to insert a list of people with attributes into the database.

const persons = [
  {
    name: 'John',
    tags: ['foo', 'bar']
  },
  {
    name: 'Jane',
    tags: ['baz']
  }
];

You may be tempted to traverse through the array and insert each record separately, e.g.

for (const person of persons) {
  await pool.query(sql`
    INSERT INTO person (name, tags)
    VALUES (
      ${person.name},
      ${sql.array(person.tags, 'text[]')}
    )
  `);
}

It's easier to read and grasp when working with a few records. If you're like me and troubleshoot a 2M+ insert query per day, batching inserts may be beneficial.

What prompted the search for better alternatives.

Inserting using unnest pattern might look like this:

await pool.query(sql`
  INSERT INTO public.person (name, tags)
  SELECT t1.name, t1.tags::text[]
  FROM unnest(
    ${sql.array(['John', 'Jane'], 'text')},
    ${sql.array(['{foo,bar}', '{baz}'], 'text')}
  ) AS t1.(name, tags);
`);

You must convert arrays into PostgreSQL array strings and provide them as text arguments, which is unsightly. Iterating the array to create slices for each column is likewise unattractive.

However, with jsonb_to_recordset, we can:

await pool.query(sql`
  INSERT INTO person (name, tags)
  SELECT *
  FROM jsonb_to_recordset(${sql.jsonb(persons)}) AS t(name text, tags text[])
`);

In contrast to the unnest approach, using jsonb_to_recordset we can easily insert complex nested data structures, and we can pass the original JSON document to the query without needing to manipulate it.

In terms of performance they are also exactly the same. As such, my current recommendation is to prefer jsonb_to_recordset whenever inserting lots of rows or nested data structures.

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Julie Plavnik

Julie Plavnik

1 year ago

Why the Creator Economy needs a Web3 upgrade

Looking back into the past can help you understand what's happening today and why.

The Creator Economy

"Creator economy" conjures up images of originality, sincerity, and passion. Where do Michelangelos and da Vincis push advancement with their gifts without battling for bread and proving themselves posthumously? 

Creativity has been as long as humanity, but it's just recently become a new economic paradigm. We even talk about Web3 now.

Let's examine the creative economy's history to better comprehend it. What brought us here? Looking back can help you understand what's happening now.

No yawning, I promise 😉.

Creator Economy's history

Long, uneven transition to creator economy. Let's examine the economic and societal changes that led us there.

1. Agriculture to industry

Mid-18th-century Industrial Revolution led to shift from agriculture to manufacturing. The industrial economy lasted until World War II.

The industrial economy's principal goal was to provide more affordable, accessible commodities.

Unlike today, products were scarce and inaccessible.

To fulfill its goals, industrialization triggered enormous economic changes, moving power from agrarians to manufacturers. Industrialization brought hard work, rivalry, and new ideas connected to production and automation. Creative thinkers focused on that then.

It doesn't mean music, poetry, or painting had no place back then. They weren't top priority. Artists were independent. The creative field wasn't considered a different economic subdivision.

2. The consumer economy

Manufacturers produced more things than consumers desired after World War II. Stuff was no longer scarce.

The economy must make customers want to buy what the market offers.

The consumer economic paradigm supplanted the industrial one. Customers (or consumers) replaced producers as the new economic center.

Salesmen, marketing, and journalists also played key roles (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.). Mass media greatly boosted demand for goods, defined trends, and changed views regarding nearly everything.

Mass media also gave rise to pop culture, which focuses on mass-market creative products. Design, printing, publishing, multi-media, audio-visual, cinematographic productions, etc. supported pop culture.

The consumer paradigm generated creative occupations and activities, unlike the industrial economy. Creativity was limited by the need for wide appeal.

Most creators were corporate employees.

Creating a following and making a living from it were difficult.

Paul Saffo said that only journalists and TV workers were known. Creators who wished to be known relied on producers, publishers, and other gatekeepers. To win their favor was crucial. Luck was the best tactic.

3. The creative economy

Consumer economy was digitized in the 1990s. IT solutions transformed several economic segments. This new digital economy demanded innovative, digital creativity.

Later, states declared innovation a "valuable asset that creates money and jobs." They also introduced the "creative industries" and the "creative economy" (not creator!) and tasked themselves with supporting them. Australia and the UK were early adopters.

Individual skill, innovation, and intellectual property fueled the creative economy. Its span covered design, writing, audio, video material, etc. The creative economy required IT-powered activity.

The new challenge was to introduce innovations to most economic segments and meet demand for digital products and services.

Despite what the title "creative economy" may imply, it was primarily oriented at meeting consumer needs. It didn't provide inventors any new options to become entrepreneurs. Instead of encouraging innovators to flourish on their own, the creative economy emphasized "employment-based creativity."

4. The creator economy

Next, huge IT platforms like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and others competed with traditional mainstream media.

During the 2008 global financial crisis, these mediums surpassed traditional media. People relied on them for information, knowledge, and networking. That was a digital media revolution. The creator economy started there.

The new economic paradigm aimed to engage and convert clients. The creator economy allowed customers to engage, interact, and provide value, unlike the consumer economy. It gave them instruments to promote themselves as "products" and make money.

Writers, singers, painters, and other creators have a great way to reach fans. Instead of appeasing old-fashioned gatekeepers (producers, casting managers, publishers, etc.), they can use the platforms to express their talent and gain admirers. Barriers fell.

It's not only for pros. Everyone with a laptop and internet can now create.

2022 creator economy:

Since there is no academic description for the current creator economy, we can freestyle.

The current (or Web2) creator economy is fueled by interactive digital platforms, marketplaces, and tools that allow users to access, produce, and monetize content.

No entry hurdles or casting in the creative economy. Sign up and follow platforms' rules. Trick: A platform's algorithm aggregates your data and tracks you. This is the payment for participation.

The platforms offer content creation, design, and ad distribution options. This is platforms' main revenue source.

The creator economy opens many avenues for creators to monetize their work. Artists can now earn money through advertising, tipping, brand sponsorship, affiliate links, streaming, and other digital marketing activities.

Even if your content isn't digital, you can utilize platforms to promote it, interact and convert your audience, and more. No limits. However, some of your income always goes to a platform (well, a huge one).

The creator economy aims to empower online entrepreneurship by offering digital marketing tools and reducing impediments.

Barriers remain. They are just different. Next articles will examine these.

Why update the creator economy for Web3?

I could address this question by listing the present creator economy's difficulties that led us to contemplate a Web3 upgrade.

I don't think these difficulties are the main cause. The mentality shift made us see these challenges and understand there was a better reality without them.

Crypto drove this thinking shift. It promoted disintermediation, independence from third-party service providers, 100% data ownership, and self-sovereignty. Crypto has changed the way we view everyday things.

Crypto's disruptive mission has migrated to other economic segments. It's now called Web3. Web3's creator economy is unique.

Here's the essence of the Web3 economy:

  • Eliminating middlemen between creators and fans.

  • 100% of creators' data, brand, and effort.

  • Business and money-making transparency.

  • Authentic originality above ad-driven content.

In the next several articles, I'll explain. We'll also discuss the creator economy and Web3's remedies.

Final thoughts

The creator economy is the organic developmental stage we've reached after all these social and economic transformations.

The Web3 paradigm of the creator economy intends to allow creators to construct their own independent "open economy" and directly monetize it without a third party.

If this approach succeeds, we may enter a new era of wealth creation where producers aren't only the products. New economies will emerge.


This article is a summary. To read the full post, click here.

DC Palter

DC Palter

1 year ago

How Will You Generate $100 Million in Revenue? The Startup Business Plan

A top-down company plan facilitates decision-making and impresses investors.

Photo by Andy Hermawan on Unsplash

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.

DC Palter

DC Palter

1 year ago

Is Venture Capital a Good Fit for Your Startup?

5 VC investment criteria

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I reviewed 200 startup business concepts last week. Brainache.

The enterprises sold various goods and services. The concepts were achingly similar: give us money, we'll produce a product, then get more to expand. No different from daily plans and pitches.

Most of those 200 plans sounded plausible. But 10% looked venture-worthy. 90% of startups need alternatives to venture finance.

With the success of VC-backed businesses and the growth of venture funds, a common misperception is that investors would fund any decent company idea. Finding investors that believe in the firm and founders is the key to funding.

Incorrect. Venture capital needs investing in certain enterprises. If your startup doesn't match the model, as most early-stage startups don't, you can revise your business plan or locate another source of capital.

Before spending six months pitching angels and VCs, make sure your startup fits these criteria.

Likely to generate $100 million in sales

First, I check the income predictions in a pitch deck. If it doesn't display $100M, don't bother.

The math doesn't work for venture financing in smaller businesses.

Say a fund invests $1 million in a startup valued at $5 million that is later acquired for $20 million. That's a win everyone should celebrate. Most VCs don't care.

Consider a $100M fund. The fund must reach $360M in 7 years with a 20% return. Only 20-30 investments are possible. 90% of the investments will fail, hence the 23 winners must return $100M-$200M apiece. $15M isn't worth the work.

Angel investors and tiny funds use the same ideas as venture funds, but their smaller scale affects the calculations. If a company can support its growth through exit on less than $2M in angel financing, it must have $25M in revenues before large companies will consider acquiring it.

Aiming for Hypergrowth

A startup's size isn't enough. It must expand fast.

Developing a great business takes time. Complex technology must be constructed and tested, a nationwide expansion must be built, or production procedures must go from lab to pilot to factories. These can be enormous, world-changing corporations, but venture investment is difficult.

The normal 10-year venture fund life. Investments are made during first 3–4 years.. 610 years pass between investment and fund dissolution. Funds need their investments to exit within 5 years, 7 at the most, therefore add a safety margin.

Longer exit times reduce ROI. A 2-fold return in a year is excellent. Loss at 2x in 7 years.

Lastly, VCs must prove success to raise their next capital. The 2nd fund is raised from 1st fund portfolio increases. Third fund is raised using 1st fund's cash return. Fund managers must raise new money quickly to keep their jobs.

Branding or technology that is protected

No big firm will buy a startup at a high price if they can produce a competing product for less. Their development teams, consumer base, and sales and marketing channels are large. Who needs you?

Patents, specialist knowledge, or brand name are the only answers. The acquirer buys this, not the thing.

I've heard of several promising startups. It's not a decent investment if there's no exit strategy.

A company that installs EV charging stations in apartments and shopping areas is an example. It's profitable, repeatable, and big. A terrific company. Not a startup.

This building company's operations aren't secret. No technology to protect, no special information competitors can't figure out, no go-to brand name. Despite the immense possibilities, a large construction company would be better off starting their own.

Most venture businesses build products, not services. Services can be profitable but hard to safeguard.

Probable purchase at high multiple

Once a software business proves its value, acquiring it is easy. Pharma and medtech firms have given up on their own research and instead acquire startups after regulatory permission. Many startups, especially in specialized areas, have this weakness.

That doesn't mean any lucrative $25M-plus business won't be acquired. In many businesses, the venture model requires a high exit premium.

A startup invents a new glue. 3M, BASF, Henkel, and others may buy them. Adding more adhesive to their catalogs won't boost commerce. They won't compete to buy the business. They'll only buy a startup at a profitable price. The acquisition price represents a moderate EBITDA multiple.

The company's $100M revenue presumably yields $10m in profits (assuming they’ve reached profitability at all). A $30M-$50M transaction is likely. Not terrible, but not what venture investors want after investing $25M to create a plant and develop the business.

Private equity buys profitable companies for a moderate profit multiple. It's a good exit for entrepreneurs, but not for investors seeking 10x or more what PE firms pay. If a startup offers private equity as an exit, the conversation is over.

Constructed for purchase

The startup wants a high-multiple exit. Unless the company targets $1B in revenue and does an IPO, exit means acquisition.

If they're constructing the business for acquisition or themselves, founders must decide.

If you want an indefinitely-running business, I applaud you. We need more long-term founders. Most successful organizations are founded around consumer demands, not venture capital's urge to grow fast and exit. Not venture funding.

if you don't match the venture model, what to do

VC funds moonshots. The 10% that succeed are extraordinary. Not every firm is a rocketship, and launching the wrong startup into space, even with money, will explode.

But just because your startup won't make $100M in 5 years doesn't mean it's a bad business. Most successful companies don't follow this model. It's not venture capital-friendly.

Although venture capital gets the most attention due to a few spectacular triumphs (and disasters), it's not the only or even most typical option to fund a firm.

Other ways to support your startup:

  • Personal and family resources, such as credit cards, second mortgages, and lines of credit

  • bootstrapping off of sales

  • government funding and honors

  • Private equity & project financing

  • collaborating with a big business

  • Including a business partner

Before pitching angels and VCs, be sure your startup qualifies. If so, include them in your pitch.