More on Entrepreneurship
2 months ago
What's up with tech?
Massive Layoffs, record low VC investment, debate over crash... why is it happening and what’s the endgame?
This article generalizes a diverse industry. For objectivity, specific tech company challenges like growing competition within named segments won't be considered. Please comment on the posts.
According to Layoffs.fyi, nearly 120.000 people have been fired from startups since March 2020. More than 700 startups have fired 1% to 100% of their workforce. "The tech market is crashing"
Venture capital investment dropped 19% QoQ in the first four months of 2022, a 2018 low. Since January 2022, Nasdaq has dropped 27%. Some believe the tech market is collapsing.
It's bad, but nothing has crashed yet. We're about to get super technical, so buckle up!
I've written a follow-up article about what's next. For a more optimistic view of the crisis' aftermath, see: Tech Diaspora and Silicon Valley crisis
Insanity reigned. Last decade, everyone became a unicorn. Seed investments can be made without a product or team. While the "real world" economy suffered from the pandemic for three years, tech companies enjoyed the "new normal."
COVID sped up technology adoption on several fronts, but this "new normal" wasn't so new after many restrictions were lifted. Worse, it lived with disrupted logistics chains, high oil prices, and WW3. The consumer market has felt the industry's boom for almost 3 years. Inflation, unemployment, mental distress...what looked like a fast economic recovery now looks like unfulfilled promises.
People rethink everything they eat. Paying a Netflix subscription instead of buying beef is moronic if you can watch it for free on your cousin’s account. No matter how great your real estate app's UI is, buying a house can wait until mortgage rates drop. PLGProduct Led Growth (PLG) isn't the go-to strategy when consumers have more basic expense priorities.
Exponential growth and investment
Until recently, tech companies believed that non-exponential revenue growth was fatal. Exponential growth entails doing more with less. From Salim Ismail words:
An Exponential Organization (ExO) has 10x the impact of its peers.
Many tech companies' theories are far from reality.
Investors have funded (sometimes non-exponential) growth. Scale-driven companies throw people at problems until they're solved. Need an entire closing team because you’ve just bought a TV prime time add? Sure. Want gold-weight engineers to colorize buttons? Why not?
Tech companies don't need cash flow to do it; they can just show revenue growth and get funding. Even though it's hard to get funding, this was the market's momentum until recently.
The graph at the beginning of this section shows how industry heavyweights burned money until 2020, despite being far from their market-share seed stage. Being big and being sturdy are different things, and a lot of the tech startups out there are paper tigers. Without investor money, they have no foundation.
A little bit about interest rates
Inflation-driven high interest rates are said to be causing tough times. Investors would rather leave money in the bank than spend it (I myself said it some days ago). It’s not wrong, but it’s also not that simple.
The USA central bank (FED) is a good proxy of global economics. Dollar treasury bonds are the safest investment in the world. Buying U.S. debt, the only country that can print dollars, guarantees payment.
The graph above shows that FED interest rates are low and 10+ year bond yields are near 2018 levels. Nobody was firing at 2018. What’s with that then?
Full explanation is too technical for this article, so I'll just summarize: Bond yields rise due to lack of demand or market expectations of longer-lasting inflation. Safe assets aren't a "easy money" tactic for investors. If that were true, we'd have seen the current scenario before.
Long-term investors are protecting their capital from inflation.
Not a crash, a landing
I bombarded you with info... Let's review:
Consumption is down, hurting revenue.
Tech companies of all ages have been hiring to grow revenue at the expense of profit.
Investors expect inflation to last longer, reducing future investment gains.
Inflation puts pressure on a wheel that was rolling full speed not long ago. Investment spurs hiring, growth, and more investment. Worried investors and consumers reduce the cycle, and hiring follows.
Long-term investors back startups. When the invested company goes public or is sold, it's ok to burn money. What happens when the payoff gets further away? What if all that money sinks? Investors want immediate returns.
Why isn't the market crashing? Technology is not losing capital. It’s expecting change. The market realizes it threw moderation out the window and is reversing course. Profitability is back on the menu.
People solve problems and make money, but they also cost money. Huge cost for the tech industry. Engineers, Product Managers, and Designers earn up to 100% more than similar roles. Businesses must be careful about who they keep and in what positions to avoid wasting money.
What the future holds
From here on, it's all speculation. I found many great articles while researching this piece. Some are cited, others aren't (like this and this). We're in an adjustment period that may or may not last long.
Big companies aren't laying off many workers. Netflix firing 100 people makes headlines, but it's only 1% of their workforce. The biggest seem to prefer not hiring over firing.
Smaller startups beyond the seeding stage may be hardest hit. Without structure or product maturity, many will die.
I expect layoffs to continue for some time, even at Meta or Amazon. I don't see any industry names falling like they did during the .com crisis, but the market will shrink.
If you are currently employed, think twice before moving out and where to.
If you've been fired, hurry, there are still many opportunities.
If you're considering a tech career, wait.
If you're starting a business, I respect you. Good luck.
23 days 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.
1 month ago
How much did YouTube pay for 10 million views?
Ali's $1,054,053.74 YouTube Adsense haul.
YouTuber, entrepreneur, and former doctor Ali Abdaal. He began filming productivity and financial videos in 2017. Ali Abdaal has 3 million YouTube subscribers and has crossed $1 million in AdSense revenue. Crazy, no?
Ali will share the revenue of his top 5 youtube videos, things he's learned that you can apply to your side hustle, and how many views it takes to make a livelihood off youtube.
First, "The Long Game."
All good things take time to bear fruit. Compounding improves everything. Long-term work yields better returns. Ali made his first dollar after nine months and 85 videos.
Second, "One piece of content can transform your life, but you never know which one."
Had he abandoned YouTube at 84 videos without making any money, he wouldn't have filmed the 85th video that altered everything.
Third Lesson: Your Industry Choice Can Multiply.
The industry or niche you target as a business owner or side hustler can have a major impact on how much money you make.
Here are the top 5 videos.
1) 9.8m views: $191,258.16 for 9 passive income ideas
Ali made 2 points.
We should consider YouTube videos digital assets. They're investments, which make us money. His investments are yielding passive income.
Investing extra time and effort in your films can pay off.
2) How to Invest for Beginners — 5.2m Views: $87,200.08.
This video did poorly in the first several weeks after it was published; it was his tenth poorest performer. Don't worry about things you can't control. This applies to life, not just YouTube videos.
He stated we constantly have anxieties, fears, and concerns about things outside our control, but if we can find that line, life is easier and more pleasurable.
3) How to Build a Website in 2022— 866.3k views: $42,132.72.
The RPM was $48.86 per thousand views, making it his highest-earning video. Squarespace, Wix, and other website builders are trying to put ads on it and competing against one other, so ad rates go up.
Because it was beyond his niche, Ali almost didn't make the video. He made the video because he wanted to help at least one person.
4) How I take notes on my iPad in medical school — 5.9m views: $24,479.80
85th video. It's the video that affected Ali's YouTube channel and his life the most. The video's success wasn't certain.
5) How I Type Fast 156 Words Per Minute — 8.2M views: $25,143.17
Ali didn't know this video would perform well; he made it because he can type fast and has been practicing for 10 years. So he made a video with his best advice.
How many views to different wealth levels?
It depends on geography, niche, and other monetization sources. To keep things simple, he would solely utilize AdSense.
How many views to generate money?
To generate money on Youtube, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time. How much work do you need to make pocket money?
Ali's first 1,000 subscribers took 52 videos and 6 months. The typical channel with 1,000 subscribers contains 152 videos, according to Tubebuddy. It's time-consuming.
After monetizing, you'll need 15,000 views/month to make $5-$10/day.
How many views to go part-time?
Say you make $35,000/year at your day job. If you work 5 days/week, you make $7,000/year each day. If you want to drop down from 5 days to 4 days/week, you need to make an extra $7,000/year from YouTube, or $600/month.
What's the quit-your-job budget?
Silicon Valley Girl is in a highly successful niche targeting tech-focused folks in the west. When her channel had 500k views/month, she made roughly $3,000/month or $47,000/year, enough to quit your work.
Marina has another 1.5m subscriber channel in Russia, which has a lower rpm because fewer corporations advertise there than in the west. 2.3 million views/month is $4,000/month or $50,000/year, enough to quit your employment.
Marina is an intriguing example because she has three YouTube channels with the same skills, but one is 16x more profitable due to the niche she chose.
In Ali's case, he made 100+ videos when his channel was producing enough money to quit his job, roughly $4,000/month.
How many views make you rich?
Depending on how you define rich. Ali felt prosperous with over $100,000/year and 3–5m views/month.
YouTubers and artists don't treat their work like a company, which is a mistake. Businesses have been attempting to figure this out for decades, if not centuries.
We can learn from the business world how to monetize YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok and make them into sustainable enterprises where we can hire people and delegate tasks.
Watch Ali's video explaining all this:
This post is a summary. Read the full article here
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3 months ago
What is this Fed interest rate everybody is talking about that makes or breaks the stock market?
The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve System (Fed)'s policy-making body (FOMC). This target is the rate at which the Fed suggests commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves overnight to each other.
The FOMC meets 8 times a year to set the target FFR. This is supposed to promote economic growth. The overnight lending market sets the actual rate based on commercial banks' short-term reserves. If the market strays too far, the Fed intervenes.
Banks must keep a certain percentage of their deposits in a Federal Reserve account. A bank's reserve requirement is a percentage of its total deposits. End-of-day bank account balances averaged over two-week reserve maintenance periods are used to determine reserve requirements.
If a bank expects to have end-of-day balances above what's needed, it can lend the excess to another institution.
The FOMC adjusts interest rates based on economic indicators that show inflation, recession, or other issues that affect economic growth. Core inflation and durable goods orders are indicators.
In response to economic conditions, the FFR target has changed over time. In the early 1980s, inflation pushed it to 20%. During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the rate was slashed to 0.15 percent to encourage growth.
Inflation picked up in May 2022 despite earlier rate hikes, prompting today's 0.75 percent point increase. The largest increase since 1994. It might rise to around 3.375% this year and 3.1% by the end of 2024.
1 month ago
A Dog's Guide to Every Type of Zoom Call Participant
Are you one of these Zoom dogs?
The Person Who Is Apparently Always on Mute
Waffles thinks he can overpower the mute button by shouting loudly.
The person who believed their camera to be off
Barkley's used to remote work, but he hasn't mastered the "Stop Video" button. Everyone is affected.
Who is driving for some reason, exactly?
Why is Pumpkin always late? Who knows? Shouldn't she be driving? If you could hear her over the freeway, she'd answer these questions.
The Person With the Amazing Bookcase
Cicero likes to use SAT-words like "leverage" and "robust" in Zoom sessions, presumably from all the books he wants you to see behind him.
The Individual Who Is Unnecessarily Dressed
We hope Bandit is going somewhere beautiful after this meeting, or else he neglected the quarterly earnings report and is overcompensating to distract us.
The person who works through lunch in between zoom calls
Barksworth has back-to-back meetings all day, so you can watch her eat while she talks.
The Person Who Is A Little Too Comfy
Hercules thinks Zoom meetings happen between sleeps. He'd appreciate everyone speaking more quietly.
The Person Who Answered the Phone Outside
Frisbee has a gorgeous backyard and lives in a place with great weather year-round, and she wants you to think about that during the daily team huddle.
Who Wants You to Pay Attention to Their Pet
Snickers hasn't listened to you in 20 minutes unless you tell her how cute her kitten is.
One who is, for some reason, positioned incorrectly on the screen
Nelson's meetings consist primarily of attempting to figure out how he positioned his laptop so absurdly.
The person who says too many goodbyes
Zeus waves farewell like it's your first day of school while everyone else searches for the "Leave Meeting" button. It's nice.
He who has a poor internet connection
Ziggy's connectivity problems continue... She gives a long speech as everyone waits awkwardly to inform her they missed it.
The Clearly Multitasking Person
Tinkerbell can play fetch during the monthly staff meeting if she works from home, but that's not a good idea.
The Person Using Zoom as a Makeup and Hair Mirror
If Gail and Bob knew Zoom had a "hide self view" option, they'd be distraught.
The person who feels at ease with simply leaving
Rusty bails when a Zoom conference is over. Rusty's concept is decent.
21 days ago
The Pyramid of Coding Principles
A completely operating application requires many processes and technical challenges. Implementing coding standards can make apps right, work, and faster.
With years of experience working in software houses. Many client apps are scarcely maintained.
Why are these programs "barely maintainable"? If we're used to coding concepts, we can probably tell if an app is awful or good from its codebase.
This is how I coded much of my app.
Make It Work
Before adopting any concept, make sure the apps are completely functional. Why have a fully maintained codebase if the app can't be used?
The user doesn't care if the app is created on a super server or uses the greatest coding practices. The user just cares if the program helps them.
After the application is working, we may implement coding principles.
You Aren’t Gonna Need It
As a junior software engineer, I kept unneeded code, components, comments, etc., thinking I'd need them later.
In reality, I never use that code for weeks or months.
First, we must remove useless code from our primary codebase. If you insist on keeping it because "you'll need it later," employ version control.
If we remove code from our codebase, we can quickly roll back or copy-paste the previous code without preserving it permanently.
The larger the codebase, the more maintenance required.
Keep It Simple Stupid
Indeed. Keep things simple.
Why complicate something if we can make it simpler?
Our code improvements should lessen the server load and be manageable by others.
If our code didn't pass those benchmarks, it's too convoluted and needs restructuring. Using an open-source code critic or code smell library, we can quickly rewrite the code.
Simpler codebases and processes utilize fewer server resources.
Don't Repeat Yourself
Have you ever needed an action or process before every action, such as ensuring the user is logged in before accessing user pages?
As you can see from the above code, I try to call is user login? in every controller action, and it should be optimized, because if we need to rename the method or change the logic, etc. We can improve this method's efficiency.
We can write a constructor/middleware/before action that calls is_user_login?
The code is more maintainable and readable after refactoring.
Each programming language or framework handles this issue differently, so be adaptable.
Clean code is a broad notion that you've probably heard of before.
When creating a function, method, module, or variable name, the first rule of clean code is to be precise and simple.
The name should express its value or logic as a whole, and follow code rules because every programming language is distinct.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I recommend reading https://www.amazon.com/Clean-Code-Handbook-Software-Craftsmanship/dp/0132350882.
Standing On The Shoulder of Giants
Use industry standards and mature technologies, not your own(s).
There are several resources that explain how to build boilerplate code with tools, how to code with best practices, etc.
I propose following current conventions, best practices, and standardization since we shouldn't innovate on top of them until it gives us a competitive edge.
Boy Scout Rule
What reduces programmers' productivity?
When we have to maintain or build a project with messy code, our productivity decreases.
Having to cope with sloppy code will slow us down (shame of us).
How to cope? Uncle Bob's book says, "Always leave the campground cleaner than you found it."
When developing new features or maintaining current ones, we must improve our codebase. We can fix minor issues too. Renaming variables, deleting whitespace, standardizing indentation, etc.
Make It Fast
After making our code more maintainable, efficient, and understandable, we can speed up our app.
Whether it's database indexing, architecture, caching, etc.
A smart craftsman understands that refactoring takes time and it's preferable to balance all the principles simultaneously. Don't YAGNI phase 1.
Using these ideas in each iteration/milestone, while giving the bottom items less time/care.
You can check one of my articles for further information. https://medium.com/life-at-mekari/why-does-my-website-run-very-slowly-and-how-do-i-optimize-it-for-free-b21f8a2f0162