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Muthinja

Muthinja

1 year ago

Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Jenn Leach

Jenn Leach

1 year ago

How Much I Got Paid by YouTube for a 68 Million Views Video

My nameless, faceless channel case study

Photo by Sanni Sahil on Unsplash

The Numbers

I anonymize this YouTube channel.

It's in a trendy, crowded niche. Sharing it publicly will likely enhance competition.

I'll still share my dashboard numbers:

YouTube

A year ago, the video was released.

YouTubeYouTube

What I earned

I'll stop stalling. Here's a screenshot of my YouTube statistics page displaying Adsense profits.

YouTube

YouTube Adsense made me ZERO dollars.

OMG!

How is this possible?

YouTube Adsense can't monetize my niche. This is typical in faceless niches like TikTok's rain videos. If they were started a while ago, I'm sure certain rain accounts are monetized, but not today.

I actually started a soothing sounds faceless YouTube channel. This was another account of mine.

I looped Pexels films for hours. No background music, just wind, rain, etc.

People could watch these videos to relax or get ready for bed. They're ideal for background noise and relaxation.

They're long-lasting, too. It's easy to make a lot from YouTube Adsense if you insert ads.

Anyway, I tried to monetize it and couldn’t. This was about a year ago. That’s why I doubt new accounts in this genre would be able to get approved for ads.

Back to my faceless channel with 68 million views.

I received nothing from YouTube Adsense, but I made money elsewhere.

Getting paid by the gods of affiliate marketing

Place links in the video and other videos on the channel to get money. Visitors that buy through your affiliate link earn you a commission.

This video earned many clicks on my affiliate links.

I linked to a couple of Amazon products, a YouTube creator tool, my kofi link, and my subscribe link.

Sponsorships

Brands pay you to include ads in your videos.

This video led to many sponsorships.

I've done dozens of sponsorship campaigns that paid $40 to $50 for an end screen to $450 for a preroll ad.

Last word

Overall, I made less than $3,000.

If I had time, I'd be more proactive with sponsorships. You can pitch brand sponsorships. This actually works.

I'd do that if I could rewind time.

I still can, but I think the reaction rate would be higher closer to the viral video's premiere date.

Keagan Stokoe

Keagan Stokoe

1 year ago

Generalists Create Startups; Specialists Scale Them

There’s a funny part of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson where Jobs says that Bill Gates was more a copier than an innovator:

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas….He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Gates lacked flavor. Nobody ever got excited about a Microsoft launch, despite their good products. Jobs had the world's best product taste. Apple vs. Microsoft.

A CEO's core job functions are all driven by taste: recruiting, vision, and company culture all require good taste. Depending on the type of company you want to build, know where you stand between Microsoft and Apple.

How can you improve your product judgment? How to acquire taste?

Test and refine

Product development follows two parallel paths: the ‘customer obsession’ path and the ‘taste and iterate’ path.

The customer obsession path involves solving customer problems. Lean Startup frameworks show you what to build at each step.

Taste-and-iterate doesn't involve the customer. You iterate internally and rely on product leaders' taste and judgment.

Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda explains this method. In Creative Selection, demos are iterated and presented to product leaders. Your boss presents to their boss, and so on up to Steve Jobs. If you have good product taste, you can be a panelist.

The iPhone follows this path. Before seeing an iPhone, consumers couldn't want one. Customer obsession wouldn't have gotten you far because iPhone buyers didn't know they wanted one.

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes:

“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about — figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. As a result, innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.“

One path solves a problem the customer knows they have, and the other doesn't. Instead of asking a person what they want, observe them and give them something they didn't know they needed.

It's much harder. Apple is the world's most valuable company because it's more valuable. It changes industries permanently.

If you want to build superior products, use the iPhone of your industry.

How to Improve Your Taste

I. Work for a company that has taste.

People with the best taste in products, markets, and people are rewarded for building great companies. Tasteful people know quality even when they can't describe it. Taste isn't writable. It's feel-based.

Moving into a community that's already doing what you want to do may be the best way to develop entrepreneurial taste. Most company-building knowledge is tacit.

Joining a company you want to emulate allows you to learn its inner workings. It reveals internal patterns intuitively. Many successful founders come from successful companies.

Consumption determines taste. Excellence will refine you. This is why restauranteurs visit the world's best restaurants and serious painters visit Paris or New York. Joining a company with good taste is beneficial.

2. Possess a wide range of interests

“Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place… The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves.” — Steve Jobs

I recently discovered Edwin Land. Jobs modeled much of his career after Land's. It makes sense that Apple was inspired by Land.

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War notes:

“Land was introverted in person, but supremely confident when he came to his ideas… Alongside his scientific passions, lay knowledge of art, music, and literature. He was a cultured person growing even more so as he got older, and his interests filtered into the ethos of Polaroid.”

Founders' philosophies shape companies. Jobs and Land were invested. It showed in the products their companies made. Different. His obsession was spreading Microsoft software worldwide. Microsoft's success is why their products are bland and boring.

Experience is important. It's probably why startups are built by generalists and scaled by specialists.

Jobs combined design, typography, storytelling, and product taste at Apple. Some of the best original Mac developers were poets and musicians. Edwin Land liked broad-minded people, according to his biography. Physicist-musicians or physicist-photographers.

Da Vinci was a master of art, engineering, architecture, anatomy, and more. He wrote and drew at the same desk. His genius is remembered centuries after his death. Da Vinci's statue would stand at the intersection of humanities and science.

We find incredibly creative people here. Superhumans. Designers, creators, and world-improvers. These are the people we need to navigate technology and lead world-changing companies. Generalists lead.

Sammy Abdullah

Sammy Abdullah

1 year ago

R&D, S&M, and G&A expense ratios for SaaS

SaaS spending is 40/40/20. 40% of operating expenses should be R&D, 40% sales and marketing, and 20% G&A. We wanted to see the statistics behind the rules of thumb. Since October 2017, 73 SaaS startups have gone public. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be 30/50/20. The data is below.

30/50/20. R&D accounts for 26% of opex, sales and marketing 48%, and G&A 22%. We think R&D/S&M/G&A should be 30/50/20.

There are outliers. There are exceptions to rules of thumb. Dropbox spent 45% on R&D whereas Zoom spent 13%. Zoom spent 73% on S&M, Dropbox 37%, and Bill.com 28%. Snowflake spent 130% of revenue on S&M, while their EBITDA margin is -192%.

G&A shouldn't stand out. Minimize G&A spending. Priorities should be product development and sales. Cloudflare, Sendgrid, Snowflake, and Palantir spend 36%, 34%, 37%, and 43% on G&A.

Another myth is that COGS is 20% of revenue. Median and averages are 29%.

Where is the profitability? Data-driven operating income calculations were simplified (Revenue COGS R&D S&M G&A). 20 of 73 IPO businesses reported operational income. Median and average operating income margins are -21% and -27%.

As long as you're growing fast, have outstanding retention, and marquee clients, you can burn cash since recurring income that doesn't churn is a valuable annuity.

The data was compelling overall. 30/50/20 is the new 40/40/20 for more established SaaS enterprises, unprofitability is alright as long as your business is expanding, and COGS can be somewhat more than 20% of revenue.

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Caleb Naysmith

Caleb Naysmith

1 year ago   Draft

A Myth: Decentralization

It’s simply not conceivable, or at least not credible.

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

One of the most touted selling points of Crypto has always been this grandiose idea of decentralization. Bitcoin first arose in 2009 after the housing crisis and subsequent crash that came with it. It aimed to solve this supposed issue of centralization. Nobody “owns” Bitcoin in theory, so the idea then goes that it won’t be subject to the same downfalls that led to the 2008 crash or similarly speculative events that led to the 2008 disaster. The issue is the banks, not the human nature associated with the greedy individuals running them.

Subsequent blockchains have attempted to fix many of the issues of Bitcoin by increasing capacity, decreasing the costs and processing times associated with Bitcoin, and expanding what can be done with their blockchains. Since nobody owns Bitcoin, it hasn’t really been able to be expanded on. You have people like Vitalk Buterin, however, that actively work on Ethereum though.

The leap from Bitcoin to Ethereum was a massive leap toward centralization, and the trend has only gotten worse. In fact, crypto has since become almost exclusively centralized in recent years.

Decentralization is only good in theory

It’s a good idea. In fact, it’s a wonderful idea. However, like other utopian societies, individuals misjudge human nature and greed. In a perfect world, decentralization would certainly be a wonderful idea because sure, people may function as their own banks, move payments immediately, remain anonymous, and so on. However, underneath this are a couple issues:

  • You can already send money instantaneously today.

  • They are not decentralized.

  • Decentralization is a bad idea.

  • Being your own bank is a stupid move.

Let’s break these down. Some are quite simple, but lets have a look.

Sending money right away

One thing with crypto is the idea that you can send payments instantly. This has pretty much been entirely solved in current times. You can transmit significant sums of money instantly for a nominal cost and it’s instantaneously cleared. Venmo was launched in 2009 and has since increased to prominence, and currently is on most people's phones. I can directly send ANY amount of money quickly from my bank to another person's Venmo account.

Comparing that with ETH and Bitcoin, Venmo wins all around. I can send money to someone for free instantly in dollars and the only fee paid is optional depending on when you want it.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum are subject to demand. If the blockchains have a lot of people trying to process transactions fee’s go up, and the time that it takes to receive your crypto takes longer. When Ethereum gets bad, people have reported spending several thousand of dollars on just 1 transaction.

These transactions take place via “miners” bundling and confirming transactions, then recording them on the blockchain to confirm that the transaction did indeed happen. They charge fees to do this and are also paid in Bitcoin/ETH. When a transaction is confirmed, it's then sent to the other users wallet. This within itself is subject to lots of controversy because each transaction needs to be confirmed 6 times, this takes massive amounts of power, and most of the power is wasted because this is an adversarial system in which the person that mines the transaction gets paid, and everyone else is out of luck. Also, these could theoretically be subject to a “51% attack” in which anyone with over 51% of the mining hash rate could effectively control all of the transactions, and reverse transactions while keeping the BTC resulting in “double spending”.

There are tons of other issues with this, but essentially it means: They rely on these third parties to confirm the transactions. Without people confirming these transactions, Bitcoin stalls completely, and if anyone becomes too dominant they can effectively control bitcoin.

Not to mention, these transactions are in Bitcoin and ETH, not dollars. So, you need to convert them to dollars still, and that's several more transactions, and likely to take several days anyway as the centralized exchange needs to send you the money by traditional methods.

They are not distributed

That takes me to the following point. This isn’t decentralized, at all. Bitcoin is the closest it gets because Satoshi basically closed it to new upgrades, although its still subject to:

  • Whales

  • Miners

It’s vital to realize that these are often the same folks. While whales aren’t centralized entities typically, they can considerably effect the price and outcome of Bitcoin. If the largest wallets holding as much as 1 million BTC were to sell, it’d effectively collapse the price perhaps beyond repair. However, Bitcoin can and is pretty much controlled by the miners. Further, Bitcoin is more like an oligarchy than decentralized. It’s been effectively used to make the rich richer, and both the mining and price is impacted by the rich. The overwhelming minority of those actually using it are retail investors. The retail investors are basically never the ones generating money from it either.

As far as ETH and other cryptos go, there is realistically 0 case for them being decentralized. Vitalik could not only kill it but even walking away from it would likely lead to a significant decline. It has tons of issues right now that Vitalik has promised to fix with the eventual Ethereum 2.0., and stepping away from it wouldn’t help.

Most tokens as well are generally tied to some promise of future developments and creators. The same is true for most NFT projects. The reason 99% of crypto and NFT projects fail is because they failed to deliver on various promises or bad dev teams, or poor innovation, or the founders just straight up stole from everyone. I could go more in-depth than this but go find any project and if there is a dev team, company, or person tied to it then it's likely, not decentralized. The success of that project is directly tied to the dev team, and if they wanted to, most hold large wallets and could sell it all off effectively killing the project. Not to mention, any crypto project that doesn’t have a locked contract can 100% be completely rugged and they can run off with all of the money.

Decentralization is undesirable

Even if they were decentralized then it would not be a good thing. The graphic above indicates this is effectively a rich person’s unregulated playground… so it’s exactly like… the very issue it tried to solve?

Not to mention, it’s supposedly meant to prevent things like 2008, but is regularly subjected to 50–90% drawdowns in value? Back when Bitcoin was only known in niche parts of the dark web and illegal markets, it would regularly drop as much as 90% and has a long history of massive drawdowns.

The majority of crypto is blatant scams, and ALL of crypto is a “zero” or “negative” sum game in that it relies on the next person buying for people to make money. This is not a good thing. This has yet to solve any issues around what caused the 2008 crisis. Rather, it seemingly amplified all of the bad parts of it actually. Crypto is the ultimate speculative asset and realistically has no valuation metric. People invest in Apple because it has revenue and cash on hand. People invest in crypto purely for speculation. The lack of regulation or accountability means this is amplified to the most extreme degree where anything goes: Fraud, deception, pump and dumps, scams, etc. This results in a pure speculative madhouse where, unsurprisingly, only the rich win. Not only that but the deck is massively stacked in against the everyday investor because you can’t do a pump and dump without money.

At the heart of all of this is still the same issues: greed and human nature. However, in setting out to solve the issues that allowed 2008 to happen, they made something that literally took all of the bad parts of 2008 and then amplified it. 2008, similarly, was due to greed and human nature but was allowed to happen due to lack of oversite, rich people's excessive leverage over the poor, and excessive speculation. Crypto trades SOLELY on human emotion, has 0 oversite, is pure speculation, and the power dynamic is just as bad or worse.

Why should each individual be their own bank?

This is the last one, and it's short and basic. Why do we want people functioning as their own bank? Everything we do relies on another person. Without the internet, and internet providers there is no crypto. We don’t have people functioning as their own home and car manufacturers or internet service providers. Sure, you might specialize in some of these things, but masquerading as your own bank is a horrible idea.

I am not in the banking industry so I don’t know all the issues with banking. Most people aren’t in banking or crypto, so they don’t know the ENDLESS scams associated with it, and they are bound to lose their money eventually.

If you appreciate this article and want to read more from me and authors like me, without any limits, consider buying me a coffee: buymeacoffee.com/calebnaysmith

Tanya Aggarwal

Tanya Aggarwal

1 year 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.

Coinbase

Coinbase

2 years ago

10 Predictions for Web3 and the Cryptoeconomy for 2022

By Surojit Chatterjee, Chief Product Officer

2021 proved to be a breakout year for crypto with BTC price gaining almost 70% yoy, Defi hitting $150B in value locked, and NFTs emerging as a new category. Here’s my view through the crystal ball into 2022 and what it holds for our industry:

1. Eth scalability will improve, but newer L1 chains will see substantial growth — As we welcome the next hundred million users to crypto and Web3, scalability challenges for Eth are likely to grow. I am optimistic about improvements in Eth scalability with the emergence of Eth2 and many L2 rollups. Traction of Solana, Avalanche and other L1 chains shows that we’ll live in a multi-chain world in the future. We’re also going to see newer L1 chains emerge that focus on specific use cases such as gaming or social media.

2. There will be significant usability improvements in L1-L2 bridges — As more L1 networks gain traction and L2s become bigger, our industry will desperately seek improvements in speed and usability of cross-L1 and L1-L2 bridges. We’re likely to see interesting developments in usability of bridges in the coming year.

3. Zero knowledge proof technology will get increased traction — 2021 saw protocols like ZkSync and Starknet beginning to get traction. As L1 chains get clogged with increased usage, ZK-rollup technology will attract both investor and user attention. We’ll see new privacy-centric use cases emerge, including privacy-safe applications, and gaming models that have privacy built into the core. This may also bring in more regulator attention to crypto as KYC/AML could be a real challenge in privacy centric networks.

4. Regulated Defi and emergence of on-chain KYC attestation — Many Defi protocols will embrace regulation and will create separate KYC user pools. Decentralized identity and on-chain KYC attestation services will play key roles in connecting users’ real identity with Defi wallet endpoints. We’ll see more acceptance of ENS type addresses, and new systems from cross chain name resolution will emerge.

5. Institutions will play a much bigger role in Defi participation — Institutions are increasingly interested in participating in Defi. For starters, institutions are attracted to higher than average interest-based returns compared to traditional financial products. Also, cost reduction in providing financial services using Defi opens up interesting opportunities for institutions. However, they are still hesitant to participate in Defi. Institutions want to confirm that they are only transacting with known counterparties that have completed a KYC process. Growth of regulated Defi and on-chain KYC attestation will help institutions gain confidence in Defi.

6. Defi insurance will emerge — As Defi proliferates, it also becomes the target of security hacks. According to London-based firm Elliptic, total value lost by Defi exploits in 2021 totaled over $10B. To protect users from hacks, viable insurance protocols guaranteeing users’ funds against security breaches will emerge in 2022.

7. NFT Based Communities will give material competition to Web 2.0 social networks — NFTs will continue to expand in how they are perceived. We’ll see creator tokens or fan tokens take more of a first class seat. NFTs will become the next evolution of users’ digital identity and passport to the metaverse. Users will come together in small and diverse communities based on types of NFTs they own. User created metaverses will be the future of social networks and will start threatening the advertising driven centralized versions of social networks of today.

8. Brands will start actively participating in the metaverse and NFTs — Many brands are realizing that NFTs are great vehicles for brand marketing and establishing brand loyalty. Coca-Cola, Campbell’s, Dolce & Gabbana and Charmin released NFT collectibles in 2021. Adidas recently launched a new metaverse project with Bored Ape Yacht Club. We’re likely to see more interesting brand marketing initiatives using NFTs. NFTs and the metaverse will become the new Instagram for brands. And just like on Instagram, many brands may start as NFT native. We’ll also see many more celebrities jumping in the bandwagon and using NFTs to enhance their personal brand.

9. Web2 companies will wake up and will try to get into Web3 — We’re already seeing this with Facebook trying to recast itself as a Web3 company. We’re likely to see other big Web2 companies dipping their toes into Web3 and metaverse in 2022. However, many of them are likely to create centralized and closed network versions of the metaverse.

10. Time for DAO 2.0 — We’ll see DAOs become more mature and mainstream. More people will join DAOs, prompting a change in definition of employment — never receiving a formal offer letter, accepting tokens instead of or along with fixed salaries, and working in multiple DAO projects at the same time. DAOs will also confront new challenges in terms of figuring out how to do M&A, run payroll and benefits, and coordinate activities in larger and larger organizations. We’ll see a plethora of tools emerge to help DAOs execute with efficiency. Many DAOs will also figure out how to interact with traditional Web2 companies. We’re likely to see regulators taking more interest in DAOs and make an attempt to educate themselves on how DAOs work.

Thanks to our customers and the ecosystem for an incredible 2021. Looking forward to another year of building the foundations for Web3. Wagmi.