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Eitan Levy

Eitan Levy

1 year ago

The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups

More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan

1 year ago

In five years, starting a business won't be hip.

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

People are slowly recognizing entrepreneurship's downside.

Growing up, entrepreneurship wasn't common. High school class of 2012 had no entrepreneurs.

Businesses were different.

They had staff and a lengthy history of achievement.

I never wanted a business. It felt unattainable. My friends didn't care.

Weird.

People desired degrees to attain good jobs at big companies.

When graduated high school:

  • 9 out of 10 people attend college

  • Earn minimum wage (7%) working in a restaurant or retail establishment

  • Or join the military (3%)

Later, entrepreneurship became a thing.

2014-ish

I was in the military and most of my high school friends were in college, so I didn't hear anything.

Entrepreneurship soared in 2015, according to Google Trends.

Screenshot from Google Trends

Then more individuals were interested. Entrepreneurship went from unusual to cool.

In 2015, it was easier than ever to build a website, run Facebook advertisements, and achieve organic social media reach.

There were several online business tools.

You didn't need to spend years or money figuring it out. Most entry barriers were gone.

Everyone wanted a side gig to escape the 95.

Small company applications have increased during the previous 10 years.

Screenshot from Oberlo

2011-2014 trend continues.

2015 adds 150,000 applications. 2016 adds 200,000. Plus 300,000 in 2017.

The graph makes it look little, but that's a considerable annual spike with no indications of stopping.

By 2021, new business apps had doubled.

Entrepreneurship will return to its early 2010s level.

I think we'll go backward in 5 years.

Entrepreneurship is half as popular as it was in 2015.

In the late 2020s and 30s, entrepreneurship will again be obscure.

Entrepreneurship's decade-long splendor is fading. People will cease escaping 9-5 and launch fewer companies.

That’s not a bad thing.

I think people have a rose-colored vision of entrepreneurship. It's fashionable. People feel that they're missing out if they're not entrepreneurial.

Reality is showing up.

People say on social media, "I knew starting a business would be hard, but not this hard."

More negative posts on entrepreneurship:

Screenshot from LinkedIn

Luke adds:

Is being an entrepreneur ‘healthy’? I don’t really think so. Many like Gary V, are not role models for a well-balanced life. Despite what feel-good LinkedIn tells you the odds are against you as an entrepreneur. You have to work your face off. It’s a tough but rewarding lifestyle. So maybe let’s stop glorifying it because it takes a lot of (bleepin) work to survive a pandemic, mental health battles, and a competitive market.

Entrepreneurship is no longer a pipe dream.

It’s hard.

I went full-time in March 2020. I was done by April 2021. I had a good-paying job with perks.

When that fell through (on my start date), I had to continue my entrepreneurial path. I needed money by May 1 to pay rent.

Entrepreneurship isn't as great as many think.

Entrepreneurship is a serious business.

If you have a 9-5, the grass isn't greener here. Most people aren't telling the whole story when they post on social media or quote successful entrepreneurs.

People prefer to communicate their victories than their defeats.

Is this a bad thing?

I don’t think so.

Over the previous decade, entrepreneurship went from impossible to the finest thing ever.

It peaked in 2020-21 and is returning to reality.

Startups aren't for everyone.

If you like your job, don't quit.

Entrepreneurship won't amaze people if you quit your job.

It's irrelevant.

You're doomed.

And you'll probably make less money.

If you hate your job, quit. Change jobs and bosses. Changing jobs could net you a greater pay or better perks.

When you go solo, your paycheck and perks vanish. Did I mention you'll fail, sleep less, and stress more?

Nobody will stop you from pursuing entrepreneurship. You'll face several challenges.

Possibly.

Entrepreneurship may be romanticized for years.

Based on what I see from entrepreneurs on social media and trends, entrepreneurship is challenging and few will succeed.

Scrum Ventures

Scrum Ventures

1 year ago

Trends from the Winter 2022 Demo Day at Y Combinators

Y Combinators Winter 2022 Demo Day continues the trend of more startups engaging in accelerator Demo Days. Our team evaluated almost 400 projects in Y Combinator's ninth year.

After Winter 2021 Demo Day, we noticed a hurry pushing shorter rounds, inflated valuations, and larger batches.

Despite the batch size, this event's behavior showed a return to normalcy. Our observations show that investors evaluate and fund businesses more carefully. Unlike previous years, more YC businesses gave investors with data rooms and thorough pitch decks in addition to valuation data before Demo Day.

Demo Day pitches were virtual and fast-paced, limiting unplanned meetings. Investors had more time and information to do their due research before meeting founders. Our staff has more time to study diverse areas and engage with interesting entrepreneurs and founders.

This was one of the most regionally diversified YC cohorts to date. This year's Winter Demo Day startups showed some interesting tendencies.

Trends and Industries to Watch Before Demo Day

Demo day events at any accelerator show how investment competition is influencing startups. As startups swiftly become scale-ups and big success stories in fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, and other competitive industries, entrepreneurs and early-stage investors feel pressure to scale quickly and turn a notion into actual innovation.

Too much eagerness can lead founders to focus on market growth and team experience instead of solid concepts, technical expertise, and market validation. Last year, YC Winter Demo Day funding cycles ended too quickly and valuations were unrealistically high.

Scrum Ventures observed a longer funding cycle this year compared to last year's Demo Day. While that seems promising, many factors could be contributing to change, including:

  • Market patterns are changing and the economy is becoming worse.

  • the industries that investors are thinking about.

  • Individual differences between each event batch and the particular businesses and entrepreneurs taking part

The Winter 2022 Batch's Trends

Each year, we also wish to examine trends among early-stage firms and YC event participants. More international startups than ever were anticipated to present at Demo Day.

Less than 50% of demo day startups were from the U.S. For the S21 batch, firms from outside the US were most likely in Latin America or Europe, however this year's batch saw a large surge in startups situated in Asia and Africa.

YC Startup Directory

163 out of 399 startups were B2B software and services companies. Financial, healthcare, and consumer startups were common.

Our team doesn't plan to attend every pitch or speak with every startup's founders or team members. Let's look at cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startup trends.

Our Opinions Following Conversations with 87 Startups at Demo Day

In the lead-up to Demo Day, we spoke with 87 of the 125 startups going. Compared to B2C enterprises, B2B startups had higher average valuations. A few outliers with high valuations pushed B2B and B2C means above the YC-wide mean and median.

Many of these startups develop business and technology solutions we've previously covered. We've seen API, EdTech, creative platforms, and cybersecurity remain strong and increase each year.

While these persistent tendencies influenced the startups Scrum Ventures looked at and the founders we interacted with on Demo Day, new trends required more research and preparation. Let's examine cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startups.

Hardware and software that is green

Cleantech enterprises demand varying amounts of funding for hardware and software. Although the same overarching trend is fueling the growth of firms in this category, each subgroup has its own strategy and technique for investigation and identifying successful investments.

Many cleantech startups we spoke to during the YC event are focused on helping industrial operations decrease or recycle carbon emissions.

  • Carbon Crusher: Creating carbon negative roads

  • Phase Biolabs: Turning carbon emissions into carbon negative products and carbon neutral e-fuels

  • Seabound: Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from ships

  • Fleetzero: Creating electric cargo ships

  • Impossible Mining: Sustainable seabed mining

  • Beyond Aero: Creating zero-emission private aircraft

  • Verdn: Helping businesses automatically embed environmental pledges for product and service offerings, boost customer engagement

  • AeonCharge: Allowing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to more easily locate and pay for EV charging stations

  • Phoenix Hydrogen: Offering a hydrogen marketplace and a connected hydrogen hub platform to connect supply and demand for hydrogen fuel and simplify hub planning and partner program expansion

  • Aklimate: Allowing businesses to measure and reduce their supply chain’s environmental impact

  • Pina Earth: Certifying and tracking the progress of businesses’ forestry projects

  • AirMyne: Developing machines that can reverse emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the air

  • Unravel Carbon: Software for enterprises to track and reduce their carbon emissions

Web3: NFTs, the metaverse, and cryptocurrency

Web3 technologies handle a wide range of business issues. This category includes companies employing blockchain technology to disrupt entertainment, finance, cybersecurity, and software development.

Many of these startups overlap with YC's FinTech trend. Despite this, B2C and B2B enterprises were evenly represented in Web3. We examined:

  • Stablegains: Offering consistent interest on cash balance from the decentralized finance (DeFi) market

  • LiquiFi: Simplifying token management with automated vesting contracts, tax reporting, and scheduling. For companies, investors, and finance & accounting

  • NFTScoring: An NFT trading platform

  • CypherD Wallet: A multichain wallet for crypto and NFTs with a non-custodial crypto debit card that instantly converts coins to USD

  • Remi Labs: Allowing businesses to more easily create NFT collections that serve as access to products, memberships, events, and more

  • Cashmere: A crypto wallet for Web3 startups to collaboratively manage funds

  • Chaingrep: An API that makes blockchain data human-readable and tokens searchable

  • Courtyard: A platform for securely storing physical assets and creating 3D representations as NFTs

  • Arda: “Banking as a Service for DeFi,” an API that FinTech companies can use to embed DeFi products into their platforms

  • earnJARVIS: A premium cryptocurrency management platform, allowing users to create long-term portfolios

  • Mysterious: Creating community-specific experiences for Web3 Discords

  • Winter: An embeddable widget that allows businesses to sell NFTs to users purchasing with a credit card or bank transaction

  • SimpleHash: An API for NFT data that provides compatibility across blockchains, standardized metadata, accurate transaction info, and simple integration

  • Lifecast: Tools that address motion sickness issues for 3D VR video

  • Gym Class: Virtual reality (VR) multiplayer basketball video game

  • WorldQL: An asset API that allows NFT creators to specify multiple in-game interpretations of their assets, increasing their value

  • Bonsai Desk: A software development kit (SDK) for 3D analytics

  • Campfire: Supporting virtual social experiences for remote teams

  • Unai: A virtual headset and Visual World experience

  • Vimmerse: Allowing creators to more easily create immersive 3D experiences

Fitness and health

Scrum Ventures encountered fewer health and wellness startup founders than Web3 and Cleantech. The types of challenges these organizations solve are still diverse. Several of these companies are part of a push toward customization in healthcare, an area of biotech set for growth for companies with strong portfolios and experienced leadership.

Here are several startups we considered:

  • Syrona Health: Personalized healthcare for women in the workplace

  • Anja Health: Personalized umbilical cord blood banking and stem cell preservation

  • Alfie: A weight loss program focused on men’s health that coordinates medical care, coaching, and “community-based competition” to help users lose an average of 15% body weight

  • Ankr Health: An artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled telehealth platform that provides personalized side effect education for cancer patients and data collection for their care teams

  • Koko — A personalized sleep program to improve at-home sleep analysis and training

  • Condition-specific telehealth platforms and programs:

  • Reviving Mind: Chronic care management covered by insurance and supporting holistic, community-oriented health care

  • Equipt Health: At-home delivery of prescription medical equipment to help manage chronic conditions like obstructive sleep apnea

  • LunaJoy: Holistic women’s healthcare management for mental health therapy, counseling, and medication

12 Startups from YC's Winter 2022 Demo Day to Watch

Bobidi: 10x faster AI model improvement

Artificial intelligence (AI) models have become a significant tool for firms to improve how well and rapidly they process data. Bobidi helps AI-reliant firms evaluate their models, boosting data insights in less time and reducing data analysis expenditures. The business has created a gamified community that offers a bug bounty for AI, incentivizing community members to test and find weaknesses in clients' AI models.

Magna: DeFi investment management and token vesting

Magna delivers rapid, secure token vesting so consumers may turn DeFi investments into primitives. Carta for Web3 allows enterprises to effortlessly distribute tokens to staff or investors. The Magna team hopes to allow corporations use locked tokens as collateral for loans, facilitate secondary liquidity so investors can sell shares on a public exchange, and power additional DeFi applications.

Perl Street: Funding for infrastructure

This Fintech firm intends to help hardware entrepreneurs get financing by [democratizing] structured finance, unleashing billions for sustainable infrastructure and next-generation hardware solutions. This network has helped hardware entrepreneurs achieve more than $140 million in finance, helping companies working on energy storage devices, EVs, and creating power infrastructure.

CypherD: Multichain cryptocurrency wallet

CypherD seeks to provide a multichain crypto wallet so general customers can explore Web3 products without knowledge hurdles. The startup's beta app lets consumers access crypto from EVM blockchains. The founders have crypto, financial, and startup experience.

Unravel Carbon: Enterprise carbon tracking and offsetting

Unravel Carbon's AI-powered decarbonization technology tracks companies' carbon emissions. Singapore-based startup focuses on Asia. The software can use any company's financial data to trace the supply chain and calculate carbon tracking, which is used to make regulatory disclosures and suggest carbon offsets.

LunaJoy: Precision mental health for women

LunaJoy helped women obtain mental health support throughout life. The platform combines data science to create a tailored experience, allowing women to access psychotherapy, medication management, genetic testing, and health coaching.

Posh: Automated EV battery recycling

Posh attempts to solve one of the EV industry's largest logistical difficulties. Millions of EV batteries will need to be decommissioned in the next decade, and their precious metals and residual capacity will go unused for some time. Posh offers automated, scalable lithium battery disassembly, making EV battery recycling more viable.

Unai: VR headset with 5x higher resolution

Unai stands apart from metaverse companies. Its VR headgear has five times the resolution of existing options and emphasizes human expression and interaction in a remote world. Maxim Perumal's method of latency reduction powers current VR headsets.

Palitronica: Physical infrastructure cybersecurity

Palitronica blends cutting-edge hardware and software to produce networked electronic systems that support crucial physical and supply chain infrastructure. The startup's objective is to build solutions that defend national security and key infrastructure from cybersecurity threats.

Reality Defender: Deepfake detection

Reality Defender alerts firms to bogus users and changed audio, video, and image files. Reality Deference's API and web app score material in real time to prevent fraud, improve content moderation, and detect deception.

Micro Meat: Infrastructure for the manufacture of cell-cultured meat

MicroMeat promotes sustainable meat production. The company has created technologies to scale up bioreactor-grown meat muscle tissue from animal cells. Their goal is to scale up cultured meat manufacturing so cultivated meat products can be brought to market feasibly and swiftly, boosting worldwide meat consumption.

Fleetzero: Electric cargo ships

This startup's battery technology will make cargo ships more sustainable and profitable. Fleetzero's electric cargo ships have five times larger profit margins than fossil fuel ships. Fleetzeros' founder has marine engineering, ship operations, and enterprise sales and business experience.

Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

23 years ago

400 articles later, nobody bothered to read them.

Writing for readers:

14 years of daily writing.

I post practically everything on social media. I authored hundreds of articles, thousands of tweets, and numerous volumes to almost no one.

Tens of thousands of readers regularly praise me.

I despised writing. I'm stuck now.

I've learned what readers like and what doesn't.

Here are some essential guidelines for writing with impact:

Readers won't understand your work if you can't.

Though obvious, this slipped me up. Share your truths.

Stories engage human brains.

Showing the journey of a person from worm to butterfly inspires the human spirit.

Overthinking hinders powerful writing.

The best ideas come from inner understanding in between thoughts.

Avoid writing to find it. Write.

Writing a masterpiece isn't motivating.

Write for five minutes to simplify. Step-by-step, entertaining, easy steps.

Good writing requires a willingness to make mistakes.

So write loads of garbage that you can edit into a good piece.

Courageous writing.

A courageous story will move readers. Personal experience is best.

Go where few dare.

Templates, outlines, and boundaries help.

Limitations enhance writing.

Excellent writing is straightforward and readable, removing all the unnecessary fat.

Use five words instead of nine.

Use ordinary words instead of uncommon ones.

Readers desire relatability.

Too much perfection will turn it off.

Write to solve an issue if you can't think of anything to write.

Instead, read to inspire. Best authors read.

Every tweet, thread, and novel must have a central idea.

What's its point?

This can make writing confusing.

️ Don't direct your reader.

Readers quit reading. Demonstrate, describe, and relate.

Even if no one responds, have fun. If you hate writing it, the reader will too.

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Joseph Mavericks

Joseph Mavericks

1 year ago

5 books my CEO read to make $30M

Offices without books are like bodies without souls.

After 10 years, my CEO sold his company for $30 million. I've shared many of his lessons on medium. You could ask him anything at his always-open office. He also said we could use his office for meetings while he was away. When I used his office for work, I was always struck by how many books he had.

Books are useful in almost every aspect of learning. Building a business, improving family relationships, learning a new language, a new skill... Books teach, guide, and structure. Whether fiction or nonfiction, books inspire, give ideas, and develop critical thinking skills.

My CEO prefers non-fiction and attends a Friday book club. This article discusses 5 books I found in his office that impacted my life/business. My CEO sold his company for $30 million, but I've built a steady business through blogging and video making.

I recall events and lessons I learned from my CEO and how they relate to each book, and I explain how I applied the book's lessons to my business and life.

Note: This post has no affiliate links.

1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

Gary Keller, a real estate agent, wanted more customers. So he and his team brainstormed ways to get more customers. They decided to write a bestseller about work and productivity. The more people who saw the book, the more customers they'd get.

Gary Keller focused on writing the best book on productivity, work, and efficiency for months. His business experience. Keller's business grew after the book's release.

The author summarizes the book in one question.

"What's the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?"

When I started my blog and business alongside my 9–5, I quickly identified my one thing: writing. My business relied on it, so it had to be great. Without writing, there was no content, traffic, or business.

My CEO focused on funding when he started his business. Even in his final years, he spent a lot of time on the phone with investors, either to get more money or to explain what he was doing with it. My CEO's top concern was money, and the other super important factors were handled by separate teams.

  • Product tech and design

  • Incredible customer support team

  • Excellent promotion team

  • Profitable sales team

My CEO didn't always focus on one thing and ignore the rest. He was on all of those teams when I started my job. He'd start his day in tech, have lunch with marketing, and then work in sales. He was in his office on the phone at night.

He eventually realized his errors. Investors told him he couldn't do everything for the company. If needed, he had to change internally. He learned to let go, mind his own business, and focus for the next four years. Then he sold for $30 million.

The bigger your project/company/idea, the more you'll need to delegate to stay laser-focused. I started something new every few months for 10 years before realizing this. So much to do makes it easy to avoid progress. Once you identify the most important aspect of your project and enlist others' help, you'll be successful.

2. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

The author quote sums up book's essence:

Mark Twain said that if you eat a live frog in the morning, it's probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day. Your "frog" is the biggest, most important task you're most likely to procrastinate on.

"Frog" and "One Thing" are both about focusing on what's most important. Eat That Frog recommends doing the most important task first thing in the morning.

I shared my CEO's calendar in an article 10 months ago. Like this:

CEO's average week (some information crossed out for confidentiality)

Notice anything about 8am-8:45am? Almost every day is the same (except Friday). My CEO started his day with a management check-in for 2 reasons:

  • Checking in with all managers is cognitively demanding, and my CEO is a morning person.

  • In a young startup where everyone is busy, the morning management check-in was crucial. After 10 am, you couldn't gather all managers.

When I started my blog, writing was my passion. I'm a morning person, so I woke up at 6 am and started writing by 6:30 am every day for a year. This allowed me to publish 3 articles a week for 52 weeks to build my blog and audience. After 2 years, I'm not stopping.

3. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Deep work is focusing on a cognitively demanding task without distractions (like a morning management meeting). It helps you master complex information quickly and produce better results faster. In a competitive world 10 or 20 years ago, focus wasn't a huge advantage. Smartphones, emails, and social media made focus a rare, valuable skill.

Most people can't focus anymore. Screens light up, notifications buzz, emails arrive, Instagram feeds... Many people don't realize they're interrupted because it's become part of their normal workflow.

Cal Newport mentions Bill Gates' "Think Weeks" in Deep Work.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates would isolate himself (often in a lakeside cottage) twice a year to read and think big thoughts.

Inside Bill's Brain on Netflix shows Newport's lakeside cottage. I've always wanted a lakeside cabin to work in. My CEO bought a lakehouse after selling his company, but now he's retired.

As a company grows, you can focus less on it. In a previous section, I said investors told my CEO to get back to basics and stop micromanaging. My CEO's commitment and ability to get work done helped save the company. His deep work and new frameworks helped us survive the corona crisis (more on this later).

The ability to deep work will be a huge competitive advantage in the next century. Those who learn to work deeply will likely be successful while everyone else is glued to their screens, Bluetooth-synced to their watches, and playing Candy Crush on their tablets.

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

It took me a while to start reading this book because it seemed like another shallow self-help bible. I kept finding this book when researching self-improvement. I tried it because it was everywhere.

Stephen Covey taught me 2 years ago to have a personal mission statement.

A 7 Habits mission statement describes the life you want to lead, the character traits you want to embody, and the impact you want to have on others. shortform.com

I've had many lunches with my CEO and talked about Vipassana meditation and Sunday forest runs, but I've never seen his mission statement. I'm sure his family is important, though. In the above calendar screenshot, you can see he always included family events (in green) so we could all see those time slots. We couldn't book him then. Although he never spent as much time with his family as he wanted, he always made sure to be on time for his kid's birthday rather than a conference call.

My CEO emphasized his company's mission. Your mission statement should answer 3 questions.

  • What does your company do?

  • How does it do it?

  • Why does your company do it?

As a graphic designer, I had to create mission-statement posters. My CEO hung posters in each office.

5. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

This book is about Andrew Grove's OKR strategy, developed in 1968. When he joined Google's early investors board, he introduced it to Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google still uses OKR.

Objective Key Results

  • Objective: It explains your goals and desired outcome. When one goal is reached, another replaces it. OKR objectives aren't technical, measured, or numerical. They must be clear.

  • Key Result should be precise, technical, and measurable, unlike the Objective. It shows if the Goal is being worked on. Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly.

Our company almost sank several times. Sales goals were missed, management failed, and bad decisions were made. On a Monday, our CEO announced we'd implement OKR to revamp our processes.

This was a year before the pandemic, and I'm certain we wouldn't have sold millions or survived without this change. This book impacted the company the most, not just management but all levels. Organization and transparency improved. We reached realistic goals. Happy investors. We used the online tool Gtmhub to implement OKR across the organization.

My CEO's company went from near bankruptcy to being acquired for $30 million in 2 years after implementing OKR.


I hope you enjoyed this booklist. Here's a recap of the 5 books and the lessons I learned from each.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

Have a mission statement that outlines your goals, character traits, and impact on others.

  1. Deep Work — Cal Newport

Focus is a rare skill; master it. Deep workers will succeed in our hyper-connected, distracted world.

  1. The One Thing — Gary Keller

What can you do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary? Once you've identified it, focus on it.

  1. Eat That Frog — Brian Tracy

Identify your most important task the night before and do it first thing in the morning. You'll have a lighter day.

  1. Measure What Matters — John Doerr

On a timeline, divide each long-term goal into chunks. Divide those slices into daily tasks (your goals). Time-bound results are quarterly or yearly. Objectives aren't measured or numbered.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the ride!

Daniel Clery

1 year ago

Twisted device investigates fusion alternatives

German stellarator revamped to run longer, hotter, compete with tokamaks

Wendelstein 7-X’s complex geometry was a nightmare to build but, when fired up, worked from the start.

Tokamaks have dominated the search for fusion energy for decades. Just as ITER, the world's largest and most expensive tokamak, nears completion in southern France, a smaller, twistier testbed will start up in Germany.

If the 16-meter-wide stellarator can match or outperform similar-size tokamaks, fusion experts may rethink their future. Stellarators can keep their superhot gases stable enough to fuse nuclei and produce energy. They can theoretically run forever, but tokamaks must pause to reset their magnet coils.

The €1 billion German machine, Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), is already getting "tokamak-like performance" in short runs, claims plasma physicist David Gates, preventing particles and heat from escaping the superhot gas. If W7-X can go long, "it will be ahead," he says. "Stellarators excel" Eindhoven University of Technology theorist Josefine Proll says, "Stellarators are back in the game." A few of startup companies, including one that Gates is leaving Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, are developing their own stellarators.

W7-X has been running at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany, since 2015, albeit only at low power and for brief runs. W7-X's developers took it down and replaced all inner walls and fittings with water-cooled equivalents, allowing for longer, hotter runs. The team reported at a W7-X board meeting last week that the revised plasma vessel has no leaks. It's expected to restart later this month to show if it can get plasma to fusion-igniting conditions.

Wendelstein 7-X’s twisting inner surface is now water cooled, enabling longer runs

Wendelstein 7-X's water-cooled inner surface allows for longer runs.

HOSAN/IPP

Both stellarators and tokamaks create magnetic gas cages hot enough to melt metal. Microwaves or particle beams heat. Extreme temperatures create a plasma, a seething mix of separated nuclei and electrons, and cause the nuclei to fuse, releasing energy. A fusion power plant would use deuterium and tritium, which react quickly. Non-energy-generating research machines like W7-X avoid tritium and use hydrogen or deuterium instead.

Tokamaks and stellarators use electromagnetic coils to create plasma-confining magnetic fields. A greater field near the hole causes plasma to drift to the reactor's wall.

Tokamaks control drift by circulating plasma around a ring. Streaming creates a magnetic field that twists and stabilizes ionized plasma. Stellarators employ magnetic coils to twist, not plasma. Once plasma physicists got powerful enough supercomputers, they could optimize stellarator magnets to improve plasma confinement.

W7-X is the first large, optimized stellarator with 50 6- ton superconducting coils. Its construction began in the mid-1990s and cost roughly twice the €550 million originally budgeted.

The wait hasn't disappointed researchers. W7-X director Thomas Klinger: "The machine operated immediately." "It's a friendly machine." It did everything we asked." Tokamaks are prone to "instabilities" (plasma bulging or wobbling) or strong "disruptions," sometimes associated to halted plasma flow. IPP theorist Sophia Henneberg believes stellarators don't employ plasma current, which "removes an entire branch" of instabilities.

In early stellarators, the magnetic field geometry drove slower particles to follow banana-shaped orbits until they collided with other particles and leaked energy. Gates believes W7-X's ability to suppress this effect implies its optimization works.

W7-X loses heat through different forms of turbulence, which push particles toward the wall. Theorists have only lately mastered simulating turbulence. W7-X's forthcoming campaign will test simulations and turbulence-fighting techniques.

A stellarator can run constantly, unlike a tokamak, which pulses. W7-X has run 100 seconds—long by tokamak standards—at low power. The device's uncooled microwave and particle heating systems only produced 11.5 megawatts. The update doubles heating power. High temperature, high plasma density, and extensive runs will test stellarators' fusion power potential. Klinger wants to heat ions to 50 million degrees Celsius for 100 seconds. That would make W7-X "a world-class machine," he argues. The team will push for 30 minutes. "We'll move step-by-step," he says.

W7-X's success has inspired VCs to finance entrepreneurs creating commercial stellarators. Startups must simplify magnet production.

Princeton Stellarators, created by Gates and colleagues this year, has $3 million to build a prototype reactor without W7-X's twisted magnet coils. Instead, it will use a mosaic of 1000 HTS square coils on the plasma vessel's outside. By adjusting each coil's magnetic field, operators can change the applied field's form. Gates: "It moves coil complexity to the control system." The company intends to construct a reactor that can fuse cheap, abundant deuterium to produce neutrons for radioisotopes. If successful, the company will build a reactor.

Renaissance Fusion, situated in Grenoble, France, raised €16 million and wants to coat plasma vessel segments in HTS. Using a laser, engineers will burn off superconductor tracks to carve magnet coils. They want to build a meter-long test segment in 2 years and a full prototype by 2027.

Type One Energy in Madison, Wisconsin, won DOE money to bend HTS cables for stellarator magnets. The business carved twisting grooves in metal with computer-controlled etching equipment to coil cables. David Anderson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, claims advanced manufacturing technology enables the stellarator.

Anderson said W7-X's next phase will boost stellarator work. “Half-hour discharges are steady-state,” he says. “This is a big deal.”

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 year ago

5 ways to never run out of article ideas

Perfectionism is the enemy of the idea muscle. " — James Altucher

Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Writer's block is a typical explanation for low output. Success requires productivity.

In four years of writing, I've never had writer's block. And you shouldn't care.

You'll never run out of content ideas if you follow a few tactics. No, I'm not overpromising.


Take Note of Ideas

Brains are strange machines. Blank when it's time to write. Idiot. Nothing. We get the best article ideas when we're away from our workstation.

  • In the shower

  • Driving

  • In our dreams

  • Walking

  • During dull chats

  • Meditating

  • In the gym

No accident. The best ideas come in the shower, in nature, or while exercising.

(Your workstation is the worst place for creativity.)

The brain has time and space to link 'dots' of information during rest. It's eureka! New idea.

If you're serious about writing, capture thoughts as they come.

Immediately write down a new thought. Capture it. Don't miss it. Your future self will thank you.

As a writer, entrepreneur, or creative, letting ideas slide is bad.

I recommend using Evernote, Notion, or your device's basic note-taking tool to capture article ideas.

It doesn't matter whatever app you use as long as you collect article ideas.

When you practice 'idea-capturing' enough, you'll have an unending list of article ideas when writer's block hits.


High-Quality Content

More books, films, Medium pieces, and Youtube videos I consume, the more I'm inspired to write.

What you eat shapes who you are.

Celebrity gossip and fear-mongering news won't help your writing. It won't help you write regularly.

Instead, read expert-written books. Watch documentaries to improve your worldview. Follow amazing people online.

Develop your 'idea muscle' Daily creativity takes practice. The more you exercise your 'idea muscles,' the easier it is to generate article ideas.

I've trained my 'concept muscle' using James Altucher's exercise.


Write 10 ideas daily.

Write ten book ideas every day if you're an author. Write down 10 business ideas per day if you're an entrepreneur. Write down 10 investing ideas per day.

Write 10 article ideas per day. You become a content machine.

It doesn't state you need ten amazing ideas. You don't need 10 ideas. Ten ideas, regardless of quality.

Like at the gym, reps are what matter. With each article idea, you gain creativity. Writer's block is no match for this workout.


Quit Perfectionism

Perfectionism is bad for writers. You'll have bad articles. You'll have bad ideas. OK. It's creative.

Writing success requires prolificacy. You can't have 'perfect' articles.

Perfectionism is the enemy of the idea muscle. Perfectionism is your brain trying to protect you from harm.” — James Altucher

Vincent van Gogh painted 900 pieces. The Starry Night is the most famous.

Thomas Edison invented 1093 things, but not all were as important as the lightbulb or the first movie camera.

Mozart composed nearly 600 compositions, but only Serenade No13 became popular.

Always do your best. Perfectionism shouldn't stop you from working. Write! Publicize. Make. Even if imperfect.


Write Your Story

Living an interesting life gives you plenty to write about. If you travel a lot, share your stories or lessons learned.

Describe your business's successes and shortcomings.

Share your experiences with difficulties or addictions.

More experiences equal more writing material.

If you stay indoors, perusing social media, you won't be inspired to write.

Have fun. Travel. Strive. Build a business. Be bold. Live a life worth writing about, and you won't run out of material.