More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
4 months ago
Billionaire who was disgraced lost his wealth more quickly than anyone in history
If you're not genuine, you'll be revealed.
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was called the Cryptocurrency Warren Buffet.
SBF's trading expertise, Blockchain knowledge, and ability to construct FTX attracted mainstream investors.
He had a fantastic worldview, donating much of his riches to charity.
As the onion layers peel back, it's clear he wasn't the altruistic media figure he portrayed.
SBF's mistakes were disastrous.
Customer deposits were traded and borrowed by him.
With ten other employees, he shared a $40 million mansion where they all had polyamorous relationships.
Tone-deaf and wasteful marketing expenditures, such as the $200 million spent to change the name of the Miami Heat stadium to the FTX Arena
Democrats received a $40 million campaign gift.
And now there seems to be no regret.
FTX was a 32-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange.
It went bankrupt practically overnight.
SBF, FTX's creator, exploited client funds to leverage trade.
FTX had $1 billion in customer withdrawal reserves against $9 billion in liabilities in sister business Alameda Research.
Bloomberg Billionaire Index says it's the largest and fastest net worth loss in history.
It gets worse.
SBF's net worth is $900 Million, however he must still finalize FTX's bankruptcy.
SBF's arrest in the Bahamas and SEC inquiry followed news that his cryptocurrency exchange had crashed, losing billions in customer deposits.
A journalist contacted him on Twitter D.M., and their exchange is telling.
His ideas are revealed.
Kelsey Piper says they didn't expect him to answer because people under investigation don't comment.
Bankman-Fried wanted to communicate, and the interaction shows he has little remorse.
SBF talks honestly about FTX gaming customers' money and insults his competition.
Reporter Kelsey Piper was outraged by what he said and felt the mistakes SBF says plague him didn't evident in the messages.
Before FTX's crash, SBF was a poster child for Cryptocurrency regulation and avoided criticizing U.S. regulators.
He tells Piper that his lobbying is just excellent PR.
It shows his genuine views and supports cynics' opinions that his attempts to win over U.S. authorities were good for his image rather than Crypto.
SBF’s responses are in Grey, and Pipers are in Blue.
It's unclear if SBF cut corners for his gain. In their Twitter exchange, Piper revisits an interview question about ethics.
SBF says, "All the foolish sh*t I said"
SBF claims FTX has never invested customer monies.
Piper challenged him on Twitter.
While he insisted FTX didn't use customer deposits, he said sibling business Alameda borrowed too much from FTX's balance sheet.
He did, basically.
When consumers tried to withdraw money, FTX was short.
SBF thought Alameda had enough money to cover FTX customers' withdrawals, but life sneaks up on you.
SBF believes most exchanges have done something similar to FTX, but they haven't had a bank run (a bunch of people all wanting to get their deposits out at the same time).
SBF believes he shouldn't have consented to the bankruptcy and kept attempting to raise more money because withdrawals would be open in a month with clients whole.
If additional money came in, he needed $8 billion to bridge the creditors' deficit, and there aren't many corporations with $8 billion to spare.
Once clients feel protected, they will continue to leave their assets on the exchange, according to one idea.
Kevin OLeary, a world-renowned hedge fund manager, says not all investors will walk through the open gate once the company is safe, therefore the $8 Billion wasn't needed immediately.
SBF claims the bankruptcy was his biggest error because he could have accumulated more capital.
Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, became the world's youngest billionaire in four years.
Never listen to what people say about investing; watch what they do.
SBF is a trader who gets wrecked occasionally.
Ten first-time entrepreneurs ran FTX, screwing each other with no risk management.
It prevents opposing or challenging perspectives and echo chamber highs.
Twitter D.M. conversation with a journalist is the final nail.
He lacks an experienced crew.
This event will surely speed up much-needed regulation.
It's also prompted cryptocurrency exchanges to offer proof of reserves to calm customers.
9 months ago
Facebook is going away. Here are two explanations for why it hasn't been replaced yet.
And tips for anyone trying.
We see the same story every few years.
BREAKING NEWS: [Platform X] launched a social network. With Facebook's reputation down, the new startup bets millions will switch.
Despite the excitement surrounding each new platform (Diaspora, Ello, Path, MeWe, Minds, Vero, etc.), no major exodus occurred.
Snapchat and TikTok attracted teens with fresh experiences (ephemeral messaging and rapid-fire videos). These features aren't Facebook, even if Facebook replicated them.
Facebook's core is simple: you publish items (typically text/images) and your friends (generally people you know IRL) can discuss them.
It's cool. Sometimes I don't want to, but sh*t. I like it.
Because, well, I like many folks I've met. I enjoy keeping in touch with them and their banter.
I dislike Facebook's corporation. I've been cautiously optimistic whenever a Facebook-killer surfaced.
Why? Two causes, I think:
People couldn't switch quickly enough, which is reason #1
Your buddies make a social network social.
Facebook started in self-contained communities (college campuses) then grew outward. But a new platform can't.
If we're expected to leave Facebook, we want to know that most of our friends will too.
Most Facebook-killers had bottlenecks. You have to waitlist or jump through hoops (e.g. setting up a server).
Same outcome. Upload. Chirp.
After a week or two of silence, individuals returned to Facebook.
Reason #2: The fundamental experience was different.
Even when many of our friends joined in the first few weeks, it wasn't the same.
There were missing features or a different UX.
Want to reply with a meme? No photos in comments yet. (Trying!)
Want to tag a friend? Nope, sorry. 2019!
Want your friends to see your post? You must post to all your friends' servers. Good luck!
It's difficult to introduce a platform with 100% of the same features as one that's been there for 20 years, yet customers want a core experience.
If you can't, they'll depart.
The causes that led to the causes
Having worked on software teams for 14+ years, I'm not surprised by these challenges. They are a natural development of a few tech sector meta-problems:
Lean startup methodology
Silicon Valley worships lean startup. It's a way of developing software that involves testing a stripped-down version with a limited number of people before selecting what to build.
Billion people use Facebook's functions. They aren't tested. It must work right away*
*This may seem weird to software people, but it's how non-software works! You can't sell a car without wheels.
Startup entrepreneurs build new things, not copies. I understand. Reinventing the wheel is boring.
We know what works. Different experiences raise adoption friction. Once millions have transferred, more features (and a friendlier UX) can be implemented.
3. Cost scaling
True. Building a product that can sustain hundreds of millions of users in weeks is expensive and complex.
Your lifeboats must have the same capacity as the ship you're evacuating. It's required.
4. Pure ideologies
People who work on Facebook-alternatives are (understandably) critical of Facebook.
They build an open-source, fully-distributed, data-portable, interface-customizable, offline-capable, censorship-proof platform.
Prioritizing these aims can prevent replicating the straightforward experience users expect. Github, not Facebook, is for techies only.
What about the business plan, though?
Facebook-killer attempts have followed three models.
Utilize VC funding to increase your user base, then monetize them later. (If you do this, you won't kill Facebook; instead, Facebook will become you.)
Users must pay to utilize it. (This causes a huge bottleneck and slows the required quick expansion, preventing it from seeming like a true social network.)
Make it a volunteer-run, open-source endeavor that is free. (This typically denotes that something is cumbersome, difficult to operate, and is only for techies.)
Wikipedia is a fourth way.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites and a charity. No ads. Donations support them.
A Facebook-killer managed by a good team may gather millions (from affluent contributors and the crowd) for their initial phase of development. Then it might sustain on regular donations, ethical transactions (e.g. fees on commerce, business sites, etc.), and government grants/subsidies (since it would essentially be a public utility).
When you're not aiming to make investors rich, it's remarkable how little money you need.
If you want to build a Facebook competitor, follow these tips:
Drop the lean startup philosophy. Wait until you have a finished product before launching. Build it, thoroughly test it for bugs, and then release it.
Delay innovating. Wait till millions of people have switched before introducing your great new features. Make it nearly identical for now.
Spend money climbing. Make sure that guests can arrive as soon as they are invited. Never keep them waiting. Make things easy for them.
Make it accessible to all. Even if doing so renders it less philosophically pure, it shouldn't require technical expertise to utilize.
Constitute a nonprofit. Additionally, develop community ownership structures. Profit maximization is not the only strategy for preserving valued assets.
Nobody has killed Facebook, but Facebook is killing itself.
The startup is burying the newsfeed to become a TikTok clone. Meta itself seems to be ditching the platform for the metaverse.
I wish I was happy, but I'm not. I miss (understandably) removed friends' postings and remarks. It could be a ghost town in a few years. My dance moves aren't TikTok-worthy.
Who will lead? It's time to develop a social network for the people.
Greetings if you're working on it. I'm not a company founder, but I like to help hard-working folks.
9 months ago
Trends in SaaS Funding from 2016 to 2022
Christopher Janz of Point Nine Capital created the SaaS napkin in 2016. This post shows how founders have raised cash in the last 6 years. View raw data.
Unsurprisingly, round sizes have expanded and will taper down in 2022. In 2016, pre-seed rounds were $200k to $500k; currently, they're $1-$2m. Despite the macroeconomic scenario, Series A have expanded from $3m to $12m in 2016 to $6m and $18m in 2022.
There are hints that valuations are rebounding this year. Pre-seed valuations in 2022 are $12m from $3m in 2016, and Series B prices are $270m from $100m in 2016.
Compared to public SaaS multiples, Series B valuations more closely reflect the market, but Seed and Series A prices seem to be inflated regardless of the market.
I'd like to know how each annual cohort performed for investors, based on the year they invested and the valuations. I can't access this information.
Seed firms' ARR forecasts have risen from $0 to $0.6m to $0 to $1m. 2016 expected $1.2m to $3m, 2021 $0.5m to $4m, and this year $0.5m to $2.5m, suggesting that Series A firms may raise with less ARR today. Series B minutes fell from $4.2m to $3m.
2022 is the year that VCs start discussing capital efficiency in portfolio meetings. Given the economic shift in the markets and the stealthy VC meltdown, it's not surprising. Christopher Janz added capital efficiency to the SaaS Napkin as a new statistic for Series A (3.5x) and Series B. (2.5x). Your investors must live under a rock if they haven't asked about capital efficiency. If you're unsure:
The Capital Efficiency Ratio is the ratio of how much a company has spent growing revenue and how much they’re receiving in return. It is the broadest measure of company effectiveness in generating ARR
No one knows what's next, including me. All startup and growing enterprises around me are tightening their belts and extending their runways in anticipation of a difficult fundraising ride. If you're wanting to raise money but can wait, wait till the market is more stable and access to money is easier.
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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
9 months ago
Jack Dorsey's Meeting Best Practice was something I tried. It Performs Exceptionally Well in Consulting Engagements.
Yes, client meetings are difficult. Especially when I'm alone.
Clients must tell us their problems so we can help.
In-meeting challenges contribute nothing to our work. Consider this:
Clients are unprepared.
Clients are distracted.
Clients are confused.
Introducing Jack Dorsey's Google Doc approach
I endorse his approach to meetings.
Not Google Doc-related. Jack uses it for meetings.
This is what his meetings look like.
Prior to the meeting, the Chair creates the agenda, structure, and information using Google Doc.
Participants in the meeting would have 5-10 minutes to read the Google Doc.
They have 5-10 minutes to type their comments on the document.
In-depth discussion begins
There is elegance in simplicity. Here's how Jack's approach is fantastic.
Unprepared clients are given time to read.
During the meeting, they think and work on it.
They can see real-time remarks from others.
Three months ago, I fell for this strategy. After trying it with a client, I got good results.
I conducted social control experiments in a few client workshops.
I am sure Jack Dorsey’s method works well in meetings. What about client workshops?
So, I tested Enterprise of the Future with a consulting client.
I sent multiple emails to client stakeholders describing the new approach.
No PowerPoints that day. I spent the night setting up the Google Doc with conversation topics, critical thinking questions, and a Before and After section.
The client was shocked. First, a Google Doc was projected. Second surprise was a verbal feedback.
“No pre-meeting materials?”
“Don’t worry. I know you are not reading it before our meeting, anyway.”
We laughed. The experiment started.
Observations throughout a 90-minute engagement workshop from beginning to end
For 10 minutes, the workshop was silent.
People read the Google Doc. For some, the silence was unnerving.
“Are you not going to present anything to us?”
I said everything's in Google Doc. I asked them to read, remark, and add relevant paragraphs.
As they unlocked their laptops, they were annoyed.
Ten client stakeholders are typing on the Google Doc. My laptop displays comment bubbles, red lines, new paragraphs, and strikethroughs.
The first 10 minutes were productive. Everyone has seen and contributed to the document.
I was silent.
The move to a classical workshop was smooth. I didn't stimulate dialogue. They did.
Stephanie asked Joe why a blended workforce hinders company productivity. She questioned his comments and additional paragraphs.
That is when a light bulb hit my head. Yes, you want to speak to the right person to resolve issues!
Not only that was discussed. Others discussed their remark bubbles with neighbors. Debate circles sprung up one after the other.
The best part? I asked everyone to add their post-discussion thoughts on a Google Doc.
After the workshop, I have:
An agreement-based working document
A post-discussion minutes that are prepared for publication
A record of the discussion points that were brought up, argued, and evaluated critically
It showed me how stakeholders viewed their Enterprise of the Future. It allowed me to align with them.
Client meetings are a hit-or-miss. I know that.
Jack Dorsey's meeting strategy works for consulting. It promotes session alignment.
It relieves clients of preparation.
I get the necessary information to advance this consulting engagement.
It is brilliant.
10 months ago
Here is why 90.63% of Pages Get No Traffic From Google.
The web adds millions or billions of pages per day.
How much Google traffic does this content get?
In 2017, we studied 2 million randomly-published pages to answer this question. Only 5.7% of them ranked in Google's top 10 search results within a year of being published.
94.3 percent of roughly two million pages got no Google traffic.
Two million pages is a small sample compared to the entire web. We did another study.
We analyzed over a billion pages to see how many get organic search traffic and why.
How many pages get search traffic?
90% of pages in our index get no Google traffic, and 5.2% get ten visits or less.
90% of google pages get no organic traffic
How can you join the minority that gets Google organic search traffic?
There are hundreds of SEO problems that can hurt your Google rankings. If we only consider common scenarios, there are only four.
Reason #1: No backlinks
I hate to repeat what most SEO articles say, but it's true:
Backlinks boost Google rankings.
Google's "top 3 ranking factors" include them.
Why don't we divide our studied pages by the number of referring domains?
66.31 percent of pages have no backlinks, and 26.29 percent have three or fewer.
Did you notice the trend already?
Most pages lack search traffic and backlinks.
But are these the same pages?
Let's compare monthly organic search traffic to backlinks from unique websites (referring domains):
More backlinks equals more Google organic traffic.
Referring domains and keyword rankings are correlated.
It's important to note that correlation does not imply causation, and none of these graphs prove backlinks boost Google rankings. Most SEO professionals agree that it's nearly impossible to rank on the first page without backlinks.
You'll need high-quality backlinks to rank in Google and get search traffic.
Is organic traffic possible without links?
Here are the numbers:
Four million pages get organic search traffic without backlinks. Only one in 20 pages without backlinks has traffic, which is 5% of our sample.
Most get 300 or fewer organic visits per month.
What happens if we exclude high-Domain-Rating pages?
The numbers worsen. Less than 4% of our sample (1.4 million pages) receive organic traffic. Only 320,000 get over 300 monthly organic visits, or 0.1% of our sample.
This suggests high-authority pages without backlinks are more likely to get organic traffic than low-authority pages.
Internal links likely pass PageRank to new pages.
Two other reasons:
Our crawler's blocked. Most shady SEOs block backlinks from us. This prevents competitors from seeing (and reporting) PBNs.
They choose low-competition subjects. Low-volume queries are less competitive, requiring fewer backlinks to rank.
If the idea of getting search traffic without building backlinks excites you, learn about Keyword Difficulty and how to find keywords/topics with decent traffic potential and low competition.
Reason #2: The page has no long-term traffic potential.
Some pages with many backlinks get no Google traffic.
Why? I filtered Content Explorer for pages with no organic search traffic and divided them into four buckets by linking domains.
Almost 70k pages have backlinks from over 200 domains, but no search traffic.
By manually reviewing these (and other) pages, I noticed two general trends that explain why they get no traffic:
They overdid "shady link building" and got penalized by Google;
They're not targeting a Google-searched topic.
I won't elaborate on point one because I hope you don't engage in "shady link building"
#2 is self-explanatory:
If nobody searches for what you write, you won't get search traffic.
Consider one of our blog posts' metrics:
No organic traffic despite 337 backlinks from 132 sites.
The page is about "organic traffic research," which nobody searches for.
News articles often have this. They get many links from around the web but little Google traffic.
People can't search for things they don't know about, and most don't care about old events and don't search for them.
Some news articles rank in the "Top stories" block for relevant, high-volume search queries, generating short-term organic search traffic.
The Guardian's top "Donald Trump" story:
Ahrefs caught on quickly:
"Donald Trump" gets 5.6M monthly searches, so this page got a lot of "Top stories" traffic.
I bet traffic has dropped if you check now.
One of the quickest and most effective SEO wins is:
Find your website's pages with the most referring domains;
Do keyword research to re-optimize them for relevant topics with good search traffic potential.
Bryan Harris shared this "quick SEO win" during a course interview:
He suggested using Ahrefs' Site Explorer's "Best by links" report to find your site's most-linked pages and analyzing their search traffic. This finds pages with lots of links but little organic search traffic.
The guide has 67 backlinks but no organic traffic.
We could fix this by re-optimizing the page for "SERP"
A similar guide with 26 backlinks gets 3,400 monthly organic visits, so we should easily increase our traffic.
Don't do this with all low-traffic pages with backlinks. Choose your battles wisely; some pages shouldn't be ranked.
Reason #3: Search intent isn't met
Google returns the most relevant search results.
That's why blog posts with recommendations rank highest for "best yoga mat."
Google knows that most searchers aren't buying.
It's also why this yoga mats page doesn't rank, despite having seven times more backlinks than the top 10 pages:
The page ranks for thousands of other keywords and gets tens of thousands of monthly organic visits. Not being the "best yoga mat" isn't a big deal.
If you have pages with lots of backlinks but no organic traffic, re-optimizing them for search intent can be a quick SEO win.
It was originally a boring landing page describing our product's benefits and offering a 7-day trial.
We realized the problem after analyzing search intent.
People wanted a free tool, not a landing page.
In September 2018, we published a free tool at the same URL. Organic traffic and rankings skyrocketed.
Reason #4: Unindexed page
Google can’t rank pages that aren’t indexed.
If you think this is the case, search Google for site:[url]. You should see at least one result; otherwise, it’s not indexed.
A rogue noindex meta tag is usually to blame. This tells search engines not to index a URL.
Rogue canonicals, redirects, and robots.txt blocks prevent indexing.
Check the "Excluded" tab in Google Search Console's "Coverage" report to see excluded pages.
Google doesn't index broken pages, even with backlinks.
In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, the Best by Links report for a popular content marketing blog shows many broken pages.
One dead page has 131 backlinks:
According to the URL, the page defined content marketing. —a keyword with a monthly search volume of 5,900 in the US.
Luckily, another page ranks for this keyword. Not a huge loss.
At least redirect the dead page's backlinks to a working page on the same topic. This may increase long-tail keyword traffic.
This post is a summary. See the original post here