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Antonio Neto

Antonio Neto

1 year ago

What's up with tech?

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

SAHIL SAPRU

SAHIL SAPRU

1 year ago

Growth tactics that grew businesses from 1 to 100

Source: Freshworks

Everyone wants a scalable startup.

Innovation helps launch a startup. The secret to a scalable business is growth trials (from 1 to 100).

Growth marketing combines marketing and product development for long-term growth.

Today, I'll explain growth hacking strategies popular startups used to scale.

1/ A Facebook user's social value is proportional to their friends.

Facebook built its user base using content marketing and paid ads. Mark and his investors feared in 2007 when Facebook's growth stalled at 90 million users.

Chamath Palihapitiya was brought in by Mark.

The team tested SEO keywords and MAU chasing. The growth team introduced “people you may know

This feature reunited long-lost friends and family. Casual users became power users as the retention curve flattened.

Growth Hack Insights: With social network effect the value of your product or platform increases exponentially if you have users you know or can relate with.

2/ Airbnb - Focus on your value propositions

Airbnb nearly failed in 2009. The company's weekly revenue was $200 and they had less than 2 months of runway.

Enter Paul Graham. The team noticed a pattern in 40 listings. Their website's property photos sucked.

Why?

Because these photos were taken with regular smartphones. Users didn't like the first impression.

Graham suggested traveling to New York to rent a camera, meet with property owners, and replace amateur photos with high-resolution ones.

A week later, the team's weekly revenue doubled to $400, indicating they were on track.

Growth Hack Insights: When selling an “online experience” ensure that your value proposition is aesthetic enough for users to enjoy being associated with them.

3/ Zomato - A company's smartphone push ensured growth.

Zomato delivers food. User retention was a challenge for the founders. Indian food customers are notorious for switching brands at the drop of a hat.

Zomato wanted users to order food online and repeat orders throughout the week.

Zomato created an attractive website with “near me” keywords for SEO indexing.

Zomato gambled to increase repeat orders. They only allowed mobile app food orders.

Zomato thought mobile apps were stickier. Product innovations in search/discovery/ordering or marketing campaigns like discounts/in-app notifications/nudges can improve user experience.

Zomato went public in 2021 after users kept ordering food online.

Growth Hack Insights: To improve user retention try to build platforms that build user stickiness. Your product and marketing team will do the rest for them.

4/ Hotmail - Signaling helps build premium users.

Ever sent or received an email or tweet with a sign — sent from iPhone?

Hotmail did it first! One investor suggested Hotmail add a signature to every email.

Overnight, thousands joined the company. Six months later, the company had 1 million users.

When serving an existing customer, improve their social standing. Signaling keeps the top 1%.

5/ Dropbox - Respect loyal customers

Dropbox is a company that puts people over profits. The company prioritized existing users.

Dropbox rewarded loyal users by offering 250 MB of free storage to anyone who referred a friend. The referral hack helped Dropbox get millions of downloads in its first few months.

Growth Hack Insights: Think of ways to improve the social positioning of your end-user when you are serving an existing customer. Signaling goes a long way in attracting the top 1% to stay.

These experiments weren’t hacks. Hundreds of failed experiments and user research drove these experiments. Scaling up experiments is difficult.

Contact me if you want to grow your startup's user base.

Eitan Levy

Eitan Levy

1 year ago

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

These startups, and how they used growth-hack marketing to flourish, are some of the more ethical ones, while others are less so.

Before the 1970 World Cup began, Puma paid footballer Pele $120,000 to tie his shoes. The cameras naturally focused on Pele and his Pumas, causing people to realize that Puma was the top football brand in the world.

Early workers of Uber canceled over 5,000 taxi orders made on competing applications in an effort to financially hurt any of their rivals.

PayPal developed a bot that advertised cheap goods on eBay, purchased them, and paid for them with PayPal, fooling eBay into believing that customers preferred this payment option. Naturally, Paypal became eBay's primary method of payment.

Anyone renting a space on Craigslist had their emails collected by AirBnB, who then urged them to use their service instead. A one-click interface was also created to list immediately on AirBnB from Craigslist.

To entice potential single people looking for love, Tinder developed hundreds of bogus accounts of attractive people. Additionally, for at least a year, users were "accidentally" linked.

Reddit initially created a huge number of phony accounts and forced them all to communicate with one another. It eventually attracted actual users—the real meaning of "fake it 'til you make it"! Additionally, this gave Reddit control over the tone of voice they wanted for their site, which is still present today.

To disrupt the conferences of their main rival, Salesforce recruited fictitious protestors. The founder then took over all of the event's taxis and gave a 45-minute pitch for his startup. No place to hide!

When a wholesaler required a minimum purchase of 10, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wanted a way to purchase only one book from them. A wholesaler would deliver the one book he ordered along with an apology for the other eight books after he discovered a loophole and bought the one book before ordering nine books about lichens. On Amazon, he increased this across all of the users.


Original post available here

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.

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Chris Newman

Chris Newman

1 year ago

Clean Food: Get Over Yourself If You Want to Save the World.

From Salt Bae, via Facebook

I’m a permaculture farmer. I want to create food-producing ecosystems. My hope is a world with easy access to a cuisine that nourishes consumers, supports producers, and leaves the Earth joyously habitable.

Permaculturists, natural farmers, plantsmen, and foodies share this ambition. I believe this group of green thumbs, stock-folk, and food champions is falling to tribalism, forgetting that rescuing the globe requires saving all of its inhabitants, even those who adore cheap burgers and Coke. We're digging foxholes and turning folks who disagree with us or don't understand into monsters.

Take Dr. Daphne Miller's comments at the end of her Slow Money Journal interview:

“Americans are going to fall into two camps when all is said and done: People who buy cheap goods, regardless of quality, versus people who are willing and able to pay for things that are made with integrity. We are seeing the limits of the “buying cheap crap” approach.”

This is one of the most judgmental things I've read outside the Bible. Consequences:

  • People who purchase inexpensive things (food) are ignorant buffoons who prefer to choose fair trade coffee over fuel as long as the price is correct.

  • It all depends on your WILL to buy quality or cheaply. Both those who are WILLING and those who ARE NOT exist. And able, too.

  • People who are unwilling and unable are purchasing garbage. You're giving your kids bad food. Both the Earth and you are being destroyed by your actions. Your camp is the wrong one. You’re garbage! Disgrace to you.

Dr. Miller didn't say it, but words are worthless until interpreted. This interpretation depends on the interpreter's economic, racial, political, religious, family, and personal history. Complementary language insults another. Imagine how that Brown/Harvard M.D.'s comment sounds to a low-income household with no savings.

This just went from “cheap burger” to “political statement of blue-collar solidarity.” Thanks, Clean Food, for digging your own grave.

Dr. Miller's comment reflects the echo chamber into which nearly all clean food advocates speak. It asks easy questions and accepts non-solutions like raising food prices and eating less meat. People like me have cultivated an insular world unencumbered by challenges beyond the margins. We may disagree about technical details in rotationally-grazing livestock, but we short circuit when asked how our system could supply half the global beef demand. Most people have never seriously considered this question. We're so loved and affirmed that challenging ourselves doesn't seem necessary. Were generals insisting we don't need to study the terrain because God is on our side?

“Yes, the $8/lb ground beef is produced the way it should be. Yes, it’s good for my body. Yes it’s good for the Earth. But it’s eight freaking dollars, and my kid needs braces and protein. Bye Felicia, we’re going to McDonald’s.”

-Bobby Q. Homemaker

Funny clean foodies. People don't pay enough for food; they should value it more. Turn the concept of buying food with integrity into a wedge and drive it into the heart of America, dividing the willing and unwilling.

We go apeshit if you call our products high-end.

I've heard all sorts of gaslighting to defend a $10/lb pork chop as accessible (things I’ve definitely said in the past):

  • At Whole Foods, it costs more.

  • The steak at the supermarket is overly affordable.

  • Pay me immediately or the doctor gets paid later.

I spoke with Timbercreek Market and Local Food Hub in front of 60 people. We were asked about local food availability.

They came to me last, after my co-panelists gave the same responses I would have given two years before.

I grumbled, "Our food is inaccessible." Nope. It's beyond the wallets of nearly everyone, and it's the biggest problem with sustainable food systems. We're criminally unserious about being leaders in sustainability until we propose solutions beyond economic relativism, wishful thinking, and insisting that vulnerable, distracted people do all the heavy lifting of finding a way to afford our food. And until we talk about solutions, all this preserve the world? False.

The room fell silent as if I'd revealed a terrible secret. Long, thunderous applause followed my other remarks. But I’m probably not getting invited back to any VNRLI events.

I make pricey cuisine. It’s high-end. I have customers who really have to stretch to get it, and they let me know it. They're forgoing other creature comforts to help me make a living and keep the Earth of my grandmothers alive, and they're doing it as an act of love. They believe in us and our work.

I remember it when I'm up to my shoulders in frigid water, when my vehicle stinks of four types of shit, when I come home covered in blood and mud, when I'm hauling water in 100-degree heat, when I'm herding pigs in a rainstorm and dodging lightning bolts to close the chickens. I'm reminded I'm not alone. Their enthusiasm is worth more than money; it helps me make a life and a living. I won't label that gift less than it is to make my meal seem more accessible.

Not everyone can sacrifice.

Let's not pretend we want to go back to peasant fare, despite our nostalgia. Industrial food has leveled what rich and poor eat. How food is cooked will be the largest difference between what you and a billionaire eat. Rich and poor have access to chicken, pork, and beef. You might be shocked how recently that wasn't the case. This abundance, particularly of animal protein, has helped vulnerable individuals.

Especially when the mutton’s nice and lean (image from The Spruce)

Industrial food causes environmental damage, chronic disease, and distribution inequities. Clean food promotes non-industrial, artisan farming. This creates a higher-quality, more expensive product than the competition; we respond with aggressive marketing and the "people need to value food more" shtick geared at consumers who can spend the extra money.

The guy who is NOT able is rendered invisible by clean food's elitist marketing, which is bizarre given a.) clean food insists it's trying to save the world, yet b.) MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE THAT GUY. No one can help him except feel-good charities. That's crazy.

Also wrong: a foodie telling a kid he can't eat a 99-cent fast food hamburger because it lacks integrity. Telling him how easy it is to save his ducketts and maybe have a grass-fed house burger at the end of the month as a reward, but in the meantime get your protein from canned beans you can't bake because you don't have a stove and, even if you did, your mom works two jobs and moonlights as an Uber driver so she doesn't have time to heat that shitup anyway.

A wealthy person's attitude toward the poor is indecent. It's 18th-century Versailles.

“Let them eat cake. Oh, it’s not organic? Let them starve!”

Human rights include access to nutritious food without social or environmental costs. As a food-forest-loving permaculture farmer, I no longer balk at the concept of cultured beef and hydroponics. My food is out of reach for many people, but access to decent food shouldn't be. Cultures and hydroponics could scale to meet the clean food affordability gap without externalities. If technology can deliver great, affordable beef without environmental negative effects, I can't reject it because it's new, unusual, or might endanger my business.

Why is your farm needed if cultured beef and hydroponics can feed the world? Permaculture food forests with trees, perennial plants, and animals are crucial to economically successful environmental protection. No matter how advanced technology gets, we still need clean air, water, soil, greenspace, and food.

Clean Food cultivated in/on live soil, minimally processed, and eaten close to harvest is part of the answer, not THE solution. Clean food advocates must recognize the conflicts at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic sustainability, the disproportionate effects of those conflicts on the poor and lower-middle classes, and the immorality and impracticality of insisting vulnerable people address those conflicts on their own and judging them if they don't.

Our clients, relatives, friends, and communities need an honest assessment of our role in a sustainable future. If we're serious about preserving the world, we owe honesty to non-customers. We owe our goal and sanity to honesty. Future health and happiness of the world left to the average person's pocketbook and long-term moral considerations is a dismal proposition with few parallels.

Let's make soil and grow food. Let the lab folks do their thing. We're all interdependent.

Frank Andrade

Frank Andrade

1 year ago

I discovered a bug that allowed me to use ChatGPT to successfully web scrape. Here's how it operates.

This method scrapes websites with ChatGPT (demo with Amazon and Twitter)

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels

In a recent article, I demonstrated how to scrape websites using ChatGPT prompts like scrape website X using Python.

But that doesn’t always work.

After scraping dozens of websites with ChatGPT, I realized that simple prompts rarely work for web scraping.

Using ChatGPT and basic HTML, we can scrape any website.

First things first, use ChatGPT's advanced version (Playground)

ChatGPT Playground's enhanced version is needed to scrape websites quickly. It generates code faster and has less constraints.

Here’s how it looks.

The classic ChatGPT display just allows you to type a prompt. Playground is more customizable and generates code faster than the basic version.

No more delays or restrictions.

In this tutorial, we'll write prompts underneath Playground.

How to Use ChatGPT to Scrape Any Website

To show you how to utilize ChatGPT to scrape any website, we'll use subslikescript, which lists movies.

Later in this post, I'll show you how to scrape Amazon and Twitter, but let's start easy.

If we try a basic prompt like “scrape the movie titles on this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies” it won’t scrape anything. Here’s when we need some HTML knowledge to build the right prompt for ChatGPT.Let's scrape the above movie titles. First, check the webpage. Right-click any element and choose Inspect.

Then see below.

We identify the element to scrape (those in the red box). The data elements are ul, a, and scripts-list.

Here's the prompt for movie titles.

Scrape this website: https://subslikescript.com/movies with Python and Beautiful Soup. Locate the element with tag “ul” and class “scripts-list”. Scrape all the “a” elements inside. Get the text attribute and print it.

Code generated:

import requests
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

page = requests.get('https://subslikescript.com/movies/')

soup = BeautifulSoup(page.content, 'html.parser')

scripts_list = soup.find(class_="scripts-list")

all_a_elements = scripts_list.find_all('a')

for element in all_a_elements:
    print(element.get_text())

It extracts movie titles successfully.

Let's scrape Amazon and Twitter.

ChatGPT's Amazon scraping

Consider scraping Amazon for self-help books. First, copy the Amazon link for self-help books.

Here’s the link I got. Location-dependent connection. Use my link to replicate my results.

Now we'll check book titles. Here's our element.

If we want to extract the book titles, we need to use the tag name spanclass attribute name and a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normalattribute value.

This time I'll use Selenium. I'll add Selenium-specific commands like wait 5 seconds and generate an XPath.

Scrape this website https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10 with Python and Selenium.

Wait 5 seconds and locate all the elements with the following xpath: “span” tag, “class” attribute name, and “a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal” attribute value. Get the text attribute and print them.

Code generated: (I only had to manually add the path where my chromedriver is located).

from selenium import webdriver
from selenium.webdriver.common.by import By
from time import sleep

#initialize webdriver
driver = webdriver.Chrome('<add path of your chromedriver>')

#navigate to the website
driver.get("https://www.amazon.com/s?k=self+help+books&sprefix=self+help+%2Caps%2C158&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_2_10")

#wait 5 seconds to let the page load
sleep(5)

#locate all the elements with the following xpath
elements = driver.find_elements(By.XPATH, '//span[@class="a-size-base-plus a-color-base a-text-normal"]')

#get the text attribute of each element and print it
for element in elements:
    print(element.text)

#close the webdriver
driver.close()

It pulls Amazon book titles.

Utilizing ChatGPT to scrape Twitter

Say you wish to scrape ChatGPT tweets. Search Twitter for ChatGPT and copy the URL.

Here’s the link I got. We must check every tweet. Here's our element.

To extract a tweet, use the div tag and lang attribute.

Again, Selenium.

Scrape this website: https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query using Python, Selenium and chromedriver.

Maximize the window, wait 15 seconds and locate all the elements that have the following XPath: “div” tag, attribute name “lang”. Print the text inside these elements.

Code generated: (again, I had to add the path where my chromedriver is located)

from selenium import webdriver
import time

driver = webdriver.Chrome("/Users/frankandrade/Downloads/chromedriver")
driver.maximize_window()
driver.get("https://twitter.com/search?q=chatgpt&src=typed_query")
time.sleep(15)

elements = driver.find_elements_by_xpath("//div[@lang]")
for element in elements:
    print(element.text)

driver.quit()

You'll get the first 2 or 3 tweets from a search. To scrape additional tweets, click X times.

Congratulations! You scraped websites without coding by using ChatGPT.

Suzie Glassman

Suzie Glassman

1 year ago

How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol

Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.

This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.

My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.

Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.

I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.

What I largely get right about eating

I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.

My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.

I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.

My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.

Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.

Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.

Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.

If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.

I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.

Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.

I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability

Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.

Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.

Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).

Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.

Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.

I stay active.

I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.

Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.

After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.

I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.

I almost never forgo sleep.

I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.

I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.

Prioritize sleep.

Last thoughts

Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.

I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.

If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).

You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.