More on Marketing
9 months ago
Giving customers what they want or betraying the values of the brand?
A J.Crew collaboration for fashion label Eveliina Vintage is not a paradox; it is a solution.
Eveliina Vintage's capsule collection debuted yesterday at J.Crew. This J.Crew partnership stopped me in my tracks.
Eveliina Vintage sells vintage goods. Eeva Musacchia founded the shop in Finland in the 1970s. It's recognized for its one-of-a-kind slip dresses from the 1930s and 1940s.
I wondered why a vintage brand would partner with a mass shop. Fast fashion against vintage shopping? Will Eveliina Vintages customers be turned off?
But Eveliina Vintages customers don't care about sustainability. They want Eveliina's Instagram look. Eveliina Vintage collaborated with J.Crew to give customers what they wanted: more Eveliina at a lower price.
Vintage: A Fashion Option That Is Eco-Conscious
Secondhand shopping is a trendy response to quick fashion. J.Crew releases hundreds of styles annually. Waste and environmental damage have been criticized. A pair of jeans requires 1,800 gallons of water. J.Crew's limited-time deals promote more purchases. J.Crew items are likely among those Americans wear 7 times before discarding.
Consumers and designers have emphasized sustainability in recent years. Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher are popular eco-friendly brands. They've also flocked to ThredUp and similar sites.
Gap, Levis, and Allbirds have listened to consumer requests. They promote recycling, ethical sourcing, and secondhand shopping.
Secondhand shoppers feel good about reusing and recycling clothing that might have ended up in a landfill.
Eco-conscious fashionistas shop vintage. These shoppers enjoy the thrill of the hunt (that limited-edition Chanel bag!) and showing off a unique piece (nobody will have my look!). They also reduce their environmental impact.
Is Eveliina Vintage capitalizing on an aesthetic or is it a sustainable brand?
Eveliina Vintage emphasizes environmental responsibility. Vogue's Amanda Musacchia emphasized sustainability. Amanda, founder Eeva's daughter, is a company leader.
But Eveliina's press message doesn't address sustainability, unlike Instagram. Scarcity and fame rule.
Eveliina Vintages Instagram has see-through dresses and lace-trimmed slip dresses. Celebrities and influencers are often photographed in Eveliina's apparel, which has 53,000+ followers. Vogue appreciates Eveliina's style. Multiple publications discuss Alexa Chung's Eveliina dress.
Eveliina Vintage markets its one-of-a-kind goods. It teases future content, encouraging visitors to return. Scarcity drives demand and raises clothing prices. One dress is $1,600+, but most are $500-$1,000.
The catch: Eveliina can't monetize its expanding popularity due to exorbitant prices and limited quantity. Why?
Most people struggle to pay for their clothing. But Eveliina Vintage lacks those more affordable entry-level products, in contrast to other luxury labels that sell accessories or perfume.
Many people have trouble fitting into their clothing. The bodies of most women in the past were different from those for which vintage clothing was designed. Each Eveliina dress's specific measurements are mentioned alongside it. Be careful, you can fall in love with an ill-fitting dress.
No matter how many people can afford it and fit into it, there is only one item to sell. To get the item before someone else does, those people must be on the Eveliina Vintage website as soon as it becomes available.
A Way for Eveliina Vintage to Make Money (and Expand) with J.Crew Its following
Eveliina Vintages' cooperation with J.Crew makes commercial sense.
This partnership spreads Eveliina's style. Slightly better pricing The $390 outfits have multicolored slips and gauzy cotton gowns. Sizes range from 00 to 24, which is wider than vintage racks.
Eveliina Vintage customers like the combination. Excited comments flood the brand's Instagram launch post. Nobody is mocking the 50-year-old vintage brand's fast-fashion partnership.
Vintage may be a sustainable fashion trend, but that's not why Eveliina's clients love the brand. They only care about the old look.
And that is a tale as old as fashion.
7 months ago
300 Signups, 1 Landing Page, 0 Products
I placed a link on HackerNews and got 300 signups in a week. This post explains what happened.
The product is DbSchemaLibrary. A library of Database Schema.
I'm not sure where this idea originated from. Very fast. Build fast, fail fast, test many ideas, and one will be a hit. I tried it. Let's try it anyway, even though it'll probably fail. I finished The Lean Startup book and wanted to use it.
Database job bores me. Important! I get drowsy working on it. Someone must do it. I remember this happening once. I needed examples at the time. Something similar to Recall (my other project) that I can copy — or at least use as a reference.
Frequently googled. Many tabs open. The results were useless. I raised my hand and agreed to construct the database myself.
It resurfaced. I decided to do something.
Lean Startup emphasizes validated learning. Everything the startup does should result in learning. I may build something nobody wants otherwise. That's what happened to Recall.
So, I wrote a business plan document. This happens before I code. What am I solving? What is my proposed solution? What is the leap of faith between the problem and solution? Who would be my target audience?
In my previous project, I did the opposite!
I wrote my expectations after reading the book's advice.
“Failure is a prerequisite to learning. The problem with the notion of shipping a product and then seeing what happens is that you are guaranteed to succeed — at seeing what happens.” — The Lean Startup book
These are successful metrics. If I don't reach them, I'll drop the idea and try another. I didn't understand numbers then. Below are guesses. But it’s a start!
I then wrote the project's What and Why. I'll use this everywhere. Before, I wrote a different pitch each time. I thought certain words would be better. I felt the audience might want something unusual.
Occasionally, this works. I'm unsure if it's a good idea. No stats, just my writing-time opinion. Writing every time is time-consuming and sometimes hazardous. Having a copy saved me duplication.
I can measure and learn from performance.
Last, I identified communities that might demand the product. This became an exercise in creativity.
So now it’s time to build.
A MVP can test my assumptions. Business may learn from it. Not low-quality. We should learn from the tiniest thing.
I like the example of how Dropbox did theirs. They assumed that if the product works, people will utilize it. How can this be tested without a quality product? They made a movie demonstrating the software's functionality. Who knows how much functionality existed?
So I tested my biggest assumption. Users want schema references. How can I test if users want to reference another schema? I'd love this. Recall taught me that wanting something doesn't mean others do.
I made an email-collection landing page. Describe it briefly. Reference library. Each email sender wants a reference. They're interested in the product. Few other reasons exist.
Header and footer were skipped. No name or logo. DbSchemaLibrary is a name I thought of after the fact. 5-minute logo. I expected a flop. Recall has no users after months of labor. What could happen to a 2-day project?
I didn't compromise learning validation. How many visitors sign up? To draw a conclusion, I must track these results.
Now that the job is done, gauge interest. The next morning, I posted on all my channels. I didn't want to be spammy, therefore it required more time.
I made sure each channel had at least one fan of this product. I also answer people's inquiries in the channel.
My list stinks. Several channels wouldn't work. The product's target market isn't there. Posting there would waste our time. This taught me to create marketing channels depending on my persona.
Statistics! What actually happened
My favorite part! 23 channels received the link.
I stopped posting to Discord despite its high conversion rate. I eliminated some channels because they didn't fit. According to the numbers, some users like it. Most users think it's spam.
I was skeptical. And 12 people viewed it.
I didn't expect much attention on a startup subreddit. I'll likely examine Reddit further in the future. As I have enough info, I didn't post much. Time for the next validated learning
No comment. The post had few views, therefore the numbers are low.
The targeted people come next.
I'm a Toptal freelancer. There's a member-only Slack channel. Most people can't use this marketing channel, but you should! It's not as spectacular as discord's 27% conversion rate. But I think the users here are better.
I don’t really have a following anywhere so this isn’t something I can leverage.
The best yet. 10% is converted. With more data, I expect to attain a 10% conversion rate from other channels. Stable number.
This number required some work. Did you know that people use many different clients to read HN?
Untrackable views and signups abound. 1136 views and 135 signups are untraceable. It's 11%. I bet much of that came from Hackernews.
The 7-day signup-to-visit ratio was 17%. (Hourly data points)
First-day percentages were lower, which is noteworthy. Initially, it was little above 10%. The HN post started getting views then.
When traffic drops, the number reaches just around 20%. More individuals are interested in the connection. hn.algolia.com sent 2 visitors. This means people are searching and finding my post.
1. HN post struggled till the US woke up.
11am UTC. After an hour, it lost popularity. It seemed over. 7 signups converted 13%. Not amazing, but I would've thought ahead.
After 4pm UTC, traffic grew again. 4pm UTC is 9am PDT. US awakened. 10am PDT saw 512 views.
2. The product was highlighted in a newsletter.
I found Revue references when gathering data. Newsletter platform. Someone posted the newsletter link. 37 views and 3 registrations.
3. HN numbers are extremely reliable
I don't have a time-lapse graph (yet). The statistics were constant all day.
2717 views later 272 new users, or 10.1%
With 293 signups at 2856 views, 10.25%
At 306 signups at 2965 views, 10.32%
1. My initial estimations were wildly inaccurate
I wrote 30% conversion. Reading some articles, looks like 10% is a good number to aim for.
2. Paying attention to what matters rather than vain metrics
The Lean Startup discourages vanity metrics. Feel-good metrics that don't measure growth or traction. Considering the proportion instead of the total visitors made me realize there was something here.
There are lots of work to do. Data aggregation, display, website development, marketing, legal issues. Fun! It's satisfying to solve an issue rather than investigate its cause.
In the meantime, I’ve already written the first project update in another post. Continue reading it if you’d like to know more about the project itself! Shifting from Quantity to Quality — DbSchemaLibrary
9 months ago
Flywheels and Funnels
Traditional sales organizations used the concept of a sales “funnel” to describe the process through which potential customers move, ending up with sales at the end. Winners today have abandoned that way of thinking in favor of building flywheels — business models in which every element reinforces every other.
Ah, the marketing funnel…
Prospective clients go through a predictable set of experiences, students learn in business school marketing classes. It looks like this:
Understanding the funnel helps evaluate sales success indicators. Gail Goodwin, former CEO of small business direct mail provider Constant Contact, said managing the pipeline was key to escaping the sluggish SaaS ramp of death.
Like the funnel concept. To predict how well your business will do, measure how many potential clients are aware of it (awareness) and how many take the next step. If 1,000 people heard about your offering and 10% showed interest, you'd have 100 at that point. If 50% of these people made buyer-like noises, you'd know how many were, etc. It helped model buying trends.
TV, magazine, and radio advertising are pricey for B2C enterprises. Traditional B2B marketing involved armies of sales reps, which was expensive and a barrier to entry.
Cracks in the funnel model
Digital has exposed the funnel's limitations. Hubspot was born at a time when buyers and sellers had huge knowledge asymmetries, according to co-founder Brian Halligan. Those selling a product could use the buyer's lack of information to become a trusted partner.
As the world went digital, getting information and comparing offerings became faster, easier, and cheaper. Buyers didn't need a seller to move through a funnel. Interactions replaced transactions, and the relationship didn't end with a sale.
Instead, buyers and sellers interacted in a constant flow. In many modern models, the sale is midway through the process (particularly true with subscription and software-as-a-service models). Example:
You're creating a winding journey with many touch points, not a funnel (and lots of opportunities for customers to get lost).
From winding journey to flywheel
Beyond this revised view of an interactive customer journey, a company can create what Jim Collins famously called a flywheel. Imagine rolling a heavy disc on its axis. The first few times you roll it, you put in a lot of effort for a small response. The same effort yields faster turns as it gains speed. Over time, the flywheel gains momentum and turns without your help.
Modern digital organizations have created flywheel business models, in which any additional force multiplies throughout the business. The flywheel becomes a force multiplier, according to Collins.
Amazon is a famous flywheel example. Collins explained the concept to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a corporate retreat in 2001. In The Everything Store, Brad Stone describes in his book The Everything Store how he immediately understood Amazon's levers.
The result (drawn on a napkin):
Low prices and a large selection of products attracted customers, while a focus on customer service kept them coming back, increasing traffic. Third-party sellers then increased selection. Low-cost structure supports low-price commitment. It's brilliant! Every wheel turn creates acceleration.
Where from here?
Flywheel over sales funnel! Consider these business terms.
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9 months ago
Holographic concerts are the AI of the Future.
A few days ago, I was discussing dall-e with two art and tech pals. One artist acquaintance said she knew a frightened illustrator. Would the ability to create anything with a click derail her career? The artist feared this. My curator friend smiled and said this has always been a dread among artists. When the camera was invented, didn't painters say this? Even in the Instagram era, painting exists.
When art and technology collide, there's room for innovation, experimentation, and fear — especially if the technology replicates or replaces art making. What is art's future with dall-e? How does technology affect music, beyond visual art? Recently, I saw "ABBA Voyage," a holographic ABBA concert in London.
"Abba voyage?" my phone asked in early March. A Gen X friend I met through a fashion blogging ring texted me.
"What's abba Voyage?" I asked while opening my front door with keys and coffee.
We're going! Marti, visiting London, took me to a show.
"Absolutely no ABBA songs here." I responded.
My parents didn't play ABBA much, so I don't know much about them. Dad liked Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Deep Purple, and New Orleans jazz. Marti told me ABBA Voyage was a holographic ABBA show with a live band.
The show was fun, extraordinary fun. Nearly everyone on the dance floor wore wigs, ankle-breaking platforms, sequins, and bellbottoms. I saw some millennials and Zoomers among the boomers.
I was intoxicated by the experience.
Automatons date back to the 18th-century mechanical turk. The mechanical turk was a chess automaton operated by a person. The mechanical turk seemed to perform like a human without human intervention, but it required a human in the loop to work properly.
Humans have used non-humans in entertainment for centuries, such as puppets, shadow play, and smoke and mirrors. A show can have animatronic, technological, and non-technological elements, and a live show can blur real and illusion. From medieval puppet shows to mechanical turks to AI filters, bots, and holograms, entertainment has evolved over time.
I'm not a hologram skeptic, but I'm skeptical of technology, especially since I work with it. I love live performances, I love hearing singers breathe, forget lines, and make jokes. Live shows are my favorite because I love watching performers make mistakes or interact with the audience. ABBA Voyage was different.
Marti and I traveled to Manchester after ABBA Voyage to see Liam Gallagher. Similar but different vibe. Similar in that thousands dressed up for the show. ABBA's energy was dizzying. 90s chic replaced sequins in the crowd. Doc Martens, nylon jackets, bucket hats, shaggy hair. The Charlatans and Liam Gallagher opened and closed, respectively. Fireworks. Incredible. People went crazy. Yelling exhausted my voice.
This week in music featured AI-enabled holograms and a decades-old rocker. Both are warm and gooey in our memories.
After seeing both, I'm wondering if we need AI hologram shows. Why? Is it good?
Like everything tech-related, my answer is "maybe." Because context and performance matter. Liam Gallagher and ABBA both had great, different shows.
For a hologram to work, it must be impossible and big. It must be big, showy, and improbable to justify a hologram. It must feel...expensive, like a stadium pop show. According to a quick search, ABBA broke up on bad terms. Reuniting is unlikely. This is also why Prince or Tupac hologram shows work. We can only engage with their legacy through covers or...holograms.
I drove around listening to the radio a few weeks ago. "Dreaming of You" by Selena played. Selena's music defined my childhood. I sang along and turned up the volume (or as loud as my husband would allow me while driving on the highway).
I discovered Selena's music six months after her death, so I never saw her perform live. My babysitter Melissa played me her album after I moved to Houston. Melissa took me to see the Selena movie five times when it came out. I quickly wore out my VHS copy. I constantly sang "Bibi Bibi Bom Bom" and "Como la Flor." I love Selena. A Selena hologram? Yes, probably.
Instagram advertised a cellist's Arthur Russell tribute show. Russell is another deceased artist I love. I almost walked down the aisle to "This is How We Walk on the Moon," but our cellist couldn't find it. Instead, I walked to Magnetic Fields' "The Book of Love." I "discovered" Russell after a friend introduced me to his music a few years ago.
I use these as analogies for the Liam Gallagher and ABBA concerts.
You have no idea how much I'd pay to see a hologram of Selena's 1995 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert. Arthur Russell's hologram is unnecessary. Russell's work was intimate and performance-based. We can't separate his life from his legacy; popular audiences overlooked his genius. He died of AIDS broke. Like Selena, he died prematurely. Given his music and history, another performer would be a better choice than a hologram. He's no Selena. Selena could have rivaled Beyonce.
Pop shows' size works for holograms. Along with ABBA holograms, there was an anime movie and a light show that would put Tron to shame. ABBA created a tourable stadium show. The event was lavish, expensive, and well-planned. Pop, unlike rock, isn't gritty. Liam Gallagher hologram? No longer impossible, it wouldn't work. He's touring. I'm not sure if a rockstar alone should be rendered as a hologram; it was the show that made ABBA a hologram.
Holograms, like AI, are part of the future of entertainment, but not all of it. Because only modern interpretations of Arthur Russell's work reveal his legacy. That's his legacy.
Large-scale arena performers may use holograms in the future, but the experience must be impossible. A teacher once said that the only way to convey emotion in opera is through song, and I feel the same way about holograms, AR, VR, and mixed reality. A story's impossibility must make sense, like in opera. Impossibility and bombastic performance must be present for an immersive element to "work." ABBA was an impossible and improbable experience, which made it magical. It helped the holographic show work.
Marti told me about ABBA Voyage. She said it was a great concert. Marti has worked in music since the 1990s. She's a music expert; she's seen many shows.
Ai isn't a god or sentient, and the ABBA holograms aren't real. The renderings were glassy-eyed, flat, and robotic, like the Polar Express or the Jaws shark. Even today, the uncanny valley is insurmountable. We know it's not real because it's not about reality. It was about a suspended moment and performance feelings.
I knew this was impossible, an 'unreal' experience, but the emotions I felt were real, like watching a movie or tv show. Perhaps this is one of the better uses of AI, like CGI and special effects, like the beauty of entertainment- we were enraptured and entertained for hours. I've been playing ABBA since then.
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%."
This post is a summary. Read full article here
5 months ago
The Dogecoin millionaire mysteriously disappeared.
The American who bought a meme cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is the financial underground.
I love it. But there’s one thing I hate: scams. Over the last few years the Dogecoin cryptocurrency saw massive gains.
Glauber Contessoto overreacted. He shared his rags-to-riches cryptocurrency with the media.
He's only wealthy on paper. No longer Dogecoin millionaire.
Here's what he's doing now. It'll make you rethink cryptocurrency investing.
Glauber once had a $36,000-a-year job.
He grew up poor and wanted to make his mother proud. Tesla was his first investment. He bought GameStop stock after Reddit boosted it.
He bought whatever was hot.
He was a young investor. Memes, not research, influenced his decisions.
Elon Musk (aka Papa Elon) began tweeting about Dogecoin.
Doge is a 2013 cryptocurrency. One founder is Australian. He insists it's funny.
He was shocked anyone bought it LOL.
Doge is a Shiba Inu-themed meme. Now whenever I see a Shiba Inu, I think of Doge.
Elon helped drive up the price of Doge by talking about it in 2020 and 2021 (don't take investment advice from Elon; he's joking and gaslighting you).
Glauber caved. He invested everything in Doge. He borrowed from family and friends. He maxed out his credit card to buy more Doge. Yuck.
Internet dubbed him a genius. Slumdog millionaire and The Dogefather were nicknames. Elon pumped Doge on social media.
From $180,000 to $1,000,000+
TikTok skyrocketed Doge's price.
Reddit fueled up. Influencers recommended buying Doge because of its popularity. Glauber's motto:
Scared money doesn't earn.
Glauber was no broke ass anymore.
His $180,000 Dogecoin investment became $1M. He championed investing. He quit his dumb job like a rebellious millennial.
A puppy dog meme captivated the internet.
Rise and fall
Whenever I invest in anything I ask myself “what utility does this have?”
Dogecoin is useless.
You buy it for the cute puppy face and hope others will too, driving up the price. All cryptocurrencies fell in 2021's second half.
Central banks raised interest rates, and inflation became a pain.
Dogecoin fell more than others. 90% decline.
Glauber’s Dogecoin is now worth $323K. Still no sales. His dog god is unshakeable. Confidence rocks. Dogecoin millionaire recently said...
“I should have sold some.”
He now avoids speculative cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin and focuses on Bitcoin and Ethereum.
I've long said this. Starbucks is building on Ethereum.
It's useful. Useful. Developers use Ethereum daily. Investing makes you wiser over time, like the Dogecoin millionaire.
When risk b*tch slaps you, humility follows, as it did for me when I lost money.
You have to lose money to make money. Few understand.
You might be thinking Dogecoin is crap.
I'll take a contrarian stance. Dogecoin does nothing, but it has a strong community. Dogecoin dominates internet memes.
Not quite. The message of crypto that many people forget is that it’s a change in business model.
Businesses create products and services, then advertise to find customers. Crypto Web3 works backwards. A company builds a fanbase but sells them nothing.
Once the community reaches MVC (minimum viable community), a business can be formed.
Community members are relational versus transactional. They're invested in a cause and care about it (typically ownership in the business via crypto).
In this new world, Dogecoin has the most important feature.
While Dogecoin does have a community I still dislike it.
It's all shady. Anything Elon Musk recommends is a bad investment (except SpaceX & Tesla are great companies).
Dogecoin Millionaire has wised up and isn't YOLOing into more dog memes.
Don't follow the crowd or the hype. Investing is a long-term sport based on fundamentals and research.
Since Ethereum's inception, I've spent 10,000 hours researching.
Dogecoin will be the foundation of something new, like Pets.com at the start of the dot-com revolution. But I doubt Doge will boom.