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Sea Launch

Sea Launch

2 years ago

A guide to NFT pre-sales and whitelists

Before we dig through NFT whitelists and pre-sales, if you know absolutely nothing about NFTs, check our NFT Glossary.

What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?

An NFT pre-sale, as the name implies, allows community members or early supporters of an NFT project to mint before the public, usually via a whitelist or mint pass.

Coin collectors can use mint passes to claim NFTs during the public sale. Because the mint pass is executed by “burning” an NFT into a specific crypto wallet, the collector is not concerned about gas price spikes.

A whitelist is used to approve a crypto wallet address for an NFT pre-sale. In a similar way to an early access list, it guarantees a certain number of crypto wallets can mint one (or more) NFT.

New NFT projects can do a pre-sale without a whitelist, but whitelists are good practice to avoid gas wars and a fair shot at minting an NFT before launching in competitive NFT marketplaces like Opensea, Magic Eden, or CNFT.

Should NFT projects do pre-sales or whitelists? 👇

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelist for NFT creators:

Time the market and gain traction.

Pre-sale or whitelists can help NFT projects gauge interest early on.

Whitelist spots filling up quickly is usually a sign of a successful launch, though it does not guarantee NFT longevity (more on that later). Also, full whitelists create FOMO and momentum for the public sale among non-whitelisted NFT collectors.

If whitelist signups are low or slow, projects may need to work on their vision, community, or product. Or the market is in a bear cycle. In either case, it aids NFT projects in market timing.

Reward the early NFT Community members.

Pre-sale and whitelists can help NFT creators reward early supporters.

First, by splitting the minting process into two phases, early adopters get a chance to mint one or more NFTs from their collection at a discounted or even free price.

Did you know that BAYC started at 0.08 eth each? A serum that allowed you to mint a Mutant Ape has become as valuable as the original BAYC.

(2) Whitelists encourage early supporters to help build a project's community in exchange for a slot or status. If you invite 10 people to the NFT Discord community, you get a better ranking or even a whitelist spot.

Pre-sale and whitelisting have become popular ways for new projects to grow their communities and secure future buyers.

Prevent gas wars.

Most new NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain, which has the highest transaction fees (also known as gas) (Solana, Cardano, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, etc).

An NFT public sale is a gas war when a large number of NFT collectors (or bots) try to mint an NFT at the same time.

Competing collectors are willing to pay higher gas fees to prioritize their transaction and out-price others when upcoming NFT projects are hyped and very popular.

Pre-sales and whitelisting prevent gas wars by breaking the minting process into smaller batches of members or season launches.

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:

How do I get on an NFT whitelist?

  1. Popular NFT collections act as a launchpad for other new or hyped NFT collections.

Example: Interfaces NFTs gives out 100 whitelist spots to Deadfellaz NFTs holders. Both NFT projects win. Interfaces benefit from Deadfellaz's success and brand equity.

In this case, to get whitelisted NFT collectors need to hold that specific NFT that is acting like a launchpad.

  1. A NFT studio or collection that launches a new NFT project and rewards previous NFT holders with whitelist spots or pre-sale access.

The whitelist requires previous NFT holders or community members.

NFT Alpha Groups are closed, small, tight-knit Discord servers where members share whitelist spots or giveaways from upcoming NFTs.

The benefit of being in an alpha group is getting information about new NFTs first and getting in on pre-sale/whitelist before everyone else.

There are some entry barriers to alpha groups, but if you're active in the NFT community, you'll eventually bump into, be invited to, or form one.

  1. A whitelist spot is awarded to members of an NFT community who are the most active and engaged.

This participation reward is the most democratic. To get a chance, collectors must work hard and play to their strengths.

Whitelisting participation examples:

  • Raffle, games and contest: NFT Community raffles, games, and contests. To get a whitelist spot, invite 10 people to X NFT Discord community.
  • Fan art: To reward those who add value and grow the community by whitelisting the best fan art and/or artists is only natural.
  • Giveaways: Lucky number crypto wallet giveaways promoted by an NFT community. To grow their communities and for lucky collectors, NFT projects often offer free NFT.
  • Activate your voice in the NFT Discord Community. Use voice channels to get NFT teams' attention and possibly get whitelisted.

The advantage of whitelists or NFT pre-sales.

Chainalysis's NFT stats quote is the best answer:

“Whitelisting isn’t just some nominal reward — it translates to dramatically better investing results. OpenSea data shows that users who make the whitelist and later sell their newly-minted NFT gain a profit 75.7% of the time, versus just 20.8% for users who do so without being whitelisted. Not only that, but the data suggests it’s nearly impossible to achieve outsized returns on minting purchases without being whitelisted.” Full report here.

Sure, it's not all about cash. However, any NFT collector should feel secure in their investment by owning a piece of a valuable and thriving NFT project. These stats help collectors understand that getting in early on an NFT project (via whitelist or pre-sale) will yield a better and larger return.

The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists for NFT creators.

Pre-sales and whitelist can cause issues for NFT creators and collectors.

NFT flippers

NFT collectors who only want to profit from early minting (pre-sale) or low mint cost (via whitelist). To sell the NFT in a secondary market like Opensea or Solanart, flippers go after the discounted price.

For example, a 1000 Solana NFT collection allows 100 people to mint 1 Solana NFT at 0.25 SOL. The public sale price for the remaining 900 NFTs is 1 SOL. If an NFT collector sells their discounted NFT for 0.5 SOL, the secondary market floor price is below the public mint.

This may deter potential NFT collectors. Furthermore, without a cap in the pre-sale minting phase, flippers can get as many NFTs as possible to sell for a profit, dumping them in secondary markets and driving down the floor price.

Hijacking NFT sites, communities, and pre-sales phase

People try to scam the NFT team and their community by creating oddly similar but fake websites, whitelist links, or NFT's Discord channel.

Established and new NFT projects must be vigilant to always make sure their communities know which are the official links, how a whitelist or pre-sale rules and how the team will contact (or not) community members.

Another way to avoid the scams around the pre-sale phase, NFT projects opt to create a separate mint contract for the whitelisted crypto wallets and then another for the public sale phase.

Scam NFT projects

We've seen a lot of mid-mint or post-launch rug pulls, indicating that some bad NFT projects are trying to scam NFT communities and marketplaces for quick profit. What happened to Magic Eden's launchpad recently will help you understand the scam.

We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of NFT pre-sales and whitelists for both projects and collectors. 

Finally, some practical tools and tips for finding new NFTs 👇

Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist:

In order to never miss an update, important pre-sale dates, or a giveaway, create a Tweetdeck or Tweeten Twitter dashboard with hyped NFT project pages, hashtags ( #NFTGiveaways , #NFTCommunity), or big NFT influencers.

Search for upcoming NFT launches that have been vetted by the marketplace and try to get whitelisted before the public launch.

Save-timing discovery platforms like sealaunch.xyz for NFT pre-sales and upcoming launches. How can we help 100x NFT collectors get projects? A project's official social media links, description, pre-sale or public sale dates, price and supply. We're also working with Dune on NFT data analysis to help NFT collectors make better decisions.

Don't invest what you can't afford to lose because a) the project may fail or become rugged. Find NFTs projects that you want to be a part of and support.

Read original post here

More on NFTs & Art

Yuga Labs

Yuga Labs

2 years ago

Yuga Labs (BAYC and MAYC) buys CryptoPunks and Meebits and gives them commercial rights

Yuga has acquired the CryptoPunks and Meebits NFT IP from Larva Labs. These include 423 CryptoPunks and 1711 Meebits.

We set out to create in the NFT space because we admired CryptoPunks and the founders' visionary work. A lot of their work influenced how we built BAYC and NFTs. We're proud to lead CryptoPunks and Meebits into the future as part of our broader ecosystem.

"Yuga Labs invented the modern profile picture project and are the best in the world at operating these projects. They are ideal CrytoPunk and Meebit stewards. We are confident that in their hands, these projects will thrive in the emerging decentralized web.”
–The founders of Larva Labs, CryptoPunks, and Meebits

This deal grew out of discussions between our partner Guy Oseary and the Larva Labs founders. One call led to another, and now we're here. This does not mean Matt and John will join Yuga. They'll keep running Larva Labs and creating awesome projects that help shape the future of web3.

Next steps

Here's what we plan to do with CryptoPunks and Meebits now that we own the IP. Owners of CryptoPunks and Meebits will soon receive commercial rights equal to those of BAYC and MAYC holders. Our legal teams are working on new terms and conditions for both collections, which we hope to share with the community soon. We expect a wide range of third-party developers and community creators to incorporate CryptoPunks and Meebits into their web3 projects. We'll build the brand alongside them.

We don't intend to cram these NFT collections into the BAYC club model. We see BAYC as the hub of the Yuga universe, and CryptoPunks as a historical collection. We will work to improve the CryptoPunks and Meebits collections as good stewards. We're not in a hurry. We'll consult the community before deciding what to do next.

For us, NFTs are about culture. We're deeply invested in the BAYC community, and it's inspiring to see them grow, collaborate, and innovate. We're excited to see what CryptoPunks and Meebits do with IP rights. Our goal has always been to create a community-owned brand that goes beyond NFTs, and now we can include CryptoPunks and Meebits.

Scott Duke Kominers

1 year ago

NFT Creators Go Creative Commons Zero (cc0)


On January 1, "Public Domain Day," thousands of creative works immediately join the public domain. The original creator or copyright holder loses exclusive rights to reproduce, adapt, or publish the work, and anybody can use it. It happens with movies, poems, music, artworks, books (where creative rights endure 70 years beyond the author's death), and sometimes source code.

Public domain creative works open the door to new uses. 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923, including Winnie-the-Pooh, were released this year.  With most of A.A. Milne's 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh characters now available, we're seeing innovative interpretations Milne likely never planned. The ancient hyphenated version of the honey-loving bear is being adapted for a horror movie: "Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey"... with Pooh and Piglet as the baddies.

Counterintuitively, experimenting and recombination can occasionally increase IP value. Open source movements allow the public to build on (or fork and duplicate) existing technologies. Permissionless innovation helps Android, Linux, and other open source software projects compete. Crypto's success at attracting public development is also due to its support of open source and "remix culture," notably in NFT forums.

Production memes

NFT projects use several IP strategies to establish brands, communities, and content. Some preserve regular IP protections; others offer NFT owners the opportunity to innovate on connected IP; yet others have removed copyright and other IP safeguards.

By using the "Creative Commons Zero" (cc0) license, artists can intentionally select for "no rights reserved." This option permits anyone to benefit from derivative works without legal repercussions. There's still a lot of confusion between copyrights and NFTs, so nothing here should be considered legal, financial, tax, or investment advice. Check out this post for an overview of copyright vulnerabilities with NFTs and how authors can protect owners' rights. This article focuses on cc0.

Nouns, a 2021 project, popularized cc0 for NFTs. Others followed, including: A Common Place, Anonymice, Blitmap, Chain Runners, Cryptoadz, CryptoTeddies, Goblintown, Gradis, Loot, mfers, Mirakai, Shields, and Terrarium Club are cc0 projects.

Popular crypto artist XCOPY licensed their 1-of-1 NFT artwork "Right-click and Save As Guy" under cc0 in January, exactly one month after selling it. cc0 has spawned many derivatives.

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

"Right-click Save As Guy" by XCOPY (1)/derivative works (2)

XCOPY said Monday he would apply cc0 to "all his existing art." "We haven't seen a cc0 summer yet, but I think it's approaching," said the artist. - predicting a "DeFi summer" in 2020, when decentralized finance gained popularity.

Why do so many NFT authors choose "no rights"?

Promoting expansions of the original project to create a more lively and active community is one rationale. This makes sense in crypto, where many value open sharing and establishing community.

Creativity depends on cultural significance. NFTs may allow verifiable ownership of any digital asset, regardless of license, but cc0 jumpstarts "meme-ability" by actively, not passively, inviting derivative works. As new derivatives are made and shared, attention might flow back to the original, boosting its reputation. This may inspire new interpretations, leading in a flywheel effect where each derivative adds to the original's worth - similar to platform network effects, where platforms become more valuable as more users join them.

cc0 licence allows creators "seize production memes."

"SEASON 1 MEME CARD 2"

Physical items are also using cc0 NFT assets, thus it's not just a digital phenomenon. The Nouns Vision initiative turned the square-framed spectacles shown on each new NounsDAO NFT ("one per day, forever") into luxury sunglasses. Blitmap's pixel-art has been used on shoes, apparel, and caps. In traditional IP regimes, a single owner controls creation, licensing, and production.

The physical "blitcap" (3rd level) is a descendant of the trait in the cc0 Chain Runners collection (2nd), which uses the "logo" from cc0 Blitmap (1st)! The Logo is Blitmap token #84 and has been used as a trait in various collections. The "Dom Rose" is another popular token. These homages reference Blitmap's influence as a cc0 leader, as one of the earliest NFT projects to proclaim public domain intents. A new collection, Citizens of Tajigen, emerged last week with a Blitcap characteristic.

These derivatives can be a win-win for everyone, not just the original inventors, especially when using NFT assets to establish unique brands. As people learn about the derivative, they may become interested in the original. If you see someone wearing Nouns glasses on the street (or in a Super Bowl ad), you may desire a pair, but you may also be interested in buying an original NounsDAO NFT or related derivative.

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Blitmap Logo Hat (1), Chain Runners #780 ft. Hat (2), and Blitmap Original "Logo #87" (3)

Co-creating open source

NFTs' power comes from smart contract technology's intrinsic composability. Many smart contracts can be integrated or stacked to generate richer applications.

"Money Legos" describes how decentralized finance ("DeFi") smart contracts interconnect to generate new financial use cases. Yearn communicates with MakerDAO's stablecoin $DAI and exchange liquidity provider Curve by calling public smart contract methods. NFTs and their underlying smart contracts can operate as the base-layer framework for recombining and interconnecting culture and creativity.

cc0 gives an NFT's enthusiast community authority to develop new value layers whenever, wherever, and however they wish.

Multiple cc0 projects are playable characters in HyperLoot, a Loot Project knockoff.

Open source and Linux's rise are parallels. When the internet was young, Microsoft dominated the OS market with Windows. Linux (and its developer Linus Torvalds) championed a community-first mentality, freely available the source code without restrictions. This led to developers worldwide producing new software for Linux, from web servers to databases. As people (and organizations) created world-class open source software, Linux's value proposition grew, leading to explosive development and industry innovation. According to Truelist, Linux powers 96.3% of the top 1 million web servers and 85% of smartphones.

With cc0 licensing empowering NFT community builders, one might hope for long-term innovation. Combining cc0 with NFTs "turns an antagonistic game into a co-operative one," says NounsDAO cofounder punk4156. It's important on several levels. First, decentralized systems from open source to crypto are about trust and coordination, therefore facilitating cooperation is crucial. Second, the dynamics of this cooperation work well in the context of NFTs because giving people ownership over their digital assets allows them to internalize the results of co-creation through the value that accrues to their assets and contributions, which incentivizes them to participate in co-creation in the first place.

Licensed to create

If cc0 projects are open source "applications" or "platforms," then NFT artwork, metadata, and smart contracts provide the "user interface" and the underlying blockchain (e.g., Ethereum) is the "operating system." For these apps to attain Linux-like potential, more infrastructure services must be established and made available so people may take advantage of cc0's remixing capabilities.

These services are developing. Zora protocol and OpenSea's open source Seaport protocol enable open, permissionless NFT marketplaces. A pixel-art-rendering engine was just published on-chain to the Ethereum blockchain and integrated into OKPC and ICE64. Each application improves blockchain's "out-of-the-box" capabilities, leading to new apps created from the improved building blocks.

Web3 developer growth is at an all-time high, yet it's still a small fraction of active software developers globally. As additional developers enter the field, prospective NFT projects may find more creative and infrastructure Legos for cc0 and beyond.

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Electric Capital Developer Report (2021), p. 122

Growth requires composability. Users can easily integrate digital assets developed on public standards and compatible infrastructure into other platforms. The Loot Project is one of the first to illustrate decentralized co-creation, worldbuilding, and more in NFTs. This example was low-fi or "incomplete" aesthetically, providing room for imagination and community co-creation.

Loot began with a series of Loot bag NFTs, each listing eight "adventure things" in white writing on a black backdrop (such as Loot Bag #5726's "Katana, Divine Robe, Great Helm, Wool Sash, Divine Slippers, Chain Gloves, Amulet, Gold Ring"). Dom Hofmann's free Loot bags served as a foundation for the community.

Several projects have begun metaphorical (lore) and practical (game development) world-building in a short time, with artists contributing many variations to the collective "Lootverse." They've produced games (Realms & The Crypt), characters (Genesis Project, Hyperloot, Loot Explorers), storytelling initiatives (Banners, OpenQuill), and even infrastructure (The Rift).

Why cc0 and composability? Because consumers own and control Loot bags, they may use them wherever they choose by connecting their crypto wallets. This allows users to participate in multiple derivative projects, such as  Genesis Adventurers, whose characters appear in many others — creating a decentralized franchise not owned by any one corporation.

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

Genesis Project's Genesis Adventurer (1) with HyperLoot (2) and Loot Explorer (3) versions

When to go cc0

There are several IP development strategies NFT projects can use. When it comes to cc0, it’s important to be realistic. The public domain won't make a project a runaway success just by implementing the license. cc0 works well for NFT initiatives that can develop a rich, enlarged ecosystem.

Many of the most successful cc0 projects have introduced flexible intellectual property. The Nouns brand is as obvious for a beer ad as for real glasses; Loot bags are simple primitives that make sense in all adventure settings; and the Goblintown visual style looks good on dwarfs, zombies, and cranky owls as it does on Val Kilmer.

The ideal cc0 NFT project gives builders the opportunity to add value:

  • vertically, by stacking new content and features directly on top of the original cc0 assets (for instance, as with games built on the Loot ecosystem, among others), and

  • horizontally, by introducing distinct but related intellectual property that helps propagate the original cc0 project’s brand (as with various Goblintown derivatives, among others).

These actions can assist cc0 NFT business models. Because cc0 NFT projects receive royalties from secondary sales, third-party extensions and derivatives can boost demand for the original assets.

Using cc0 license lowers friction that could hinder brand-reinforcing extensions or lead to them bypassing the original. Robbie Broome recently argued (in the context of his cc0 project A Common Place) that giving away his IP to cc0 avoids bad rehashes down the line. If UrbanOutfitters wanted to put my design on a tee, they could use the actual work instead of hiring a designer. CC0 can turn competition into cooperation.

Community agreement about core assets' value and contribution can help cc0 projects. Cohesion and engagement are key. Using the above examples: Developers can design adventure games around whatever themes and item concepts they desire, but many choose Loot bags because of the Lootverse's community togetherness. Flipmap shared half of its money with the original Blitmap artists in acknowledgment of that project's core role in the community. This can build a healthy culture within a cc0 project ecosystem. Commentator NiftyPins said it was smart to acknowledge the people that constructed their universe. Many OG Blitmap artists have popped into the Flipmap discord to share information.

cc0 isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; NFTs formed around well-established brands may prefer more restrictive licenses to preserve their intellectual property and reinforce exclusivity. cc0 has some superficial similarities to permitting NFT owners to market the IP connected with their NFTs (à la Bored Ape Yacht Club), but there is a significant difference: cc0 holders can't exclude others from utilizing the same IP. This can make it tougher for holders to develop commercial brands on cc0 assets or offer specific rights to partners. Holders can still introduce enlarged intellectual property (such as backstories or derivatives) that they control.


Blockchain technologies and the crypto ethos are decentralized and open-source. This makes it logical for crypto initiatives to build around cc0 content models, which build on the work of the Creative Commons foundation and numerous open source pioneers.

NFT creators that choose cc0 must select how involved they want to be in building the ecosystem. Some cc0 project leaders, like Chain Runners' developers, have kept building on top of the initial cc0 assets, creating an environment derivative projects can plug into. Dom Hofmann stood back from Loot, letting the community lead. (Dom is also working on additional cc0 NFT projects for the company he formed to build Blitmap.) Other authors have chosen out totally, like sartoshi, who announced his exit from the cc0 project he founded, mfers, and from the NFT area by publishing a final edition suitably named "end of sartoshi" and then deactivating his Twitter account. A multi-signature wallet of seven mfers controls the project's smart contract. 

cc0 licensing allows a robust community to co-create in ways that benefit all members, regardless of original creators' continuous commitment. We foresee more organized infrastructure and design patterns as NFT matures. Like open source software, value capture frameworks may see innovation. (We could imagine a variant of the "Sleepycat license," which requires commercial software to pay licensing fees when embedding open source components.) As creators progress the space, we expect them to build unique rights and licensing strategies. cc0 allows NFT producers to bootstrap ideas that may take off.

Ezra Reguerra

Ezra Reguerra

2 years ago

Yuga Labs’ Otherdeeds NFT mint triggers backlash from community

Unhappy community members accuse Yuga Labs of fraud, manipulation, and favoritism over Otherdeeds NFT mint.

Following the Otherdeeds NFT mint, disgruntled community members took to Twitter to criticize Yuga Labs' handling of the event.

Otherdeeds NFTs were a huge hit with the community, selling out almost instantly. Due to high demand, the launch increased Ethereum gas fees from 2.6 ETH to 5 ETH.

But the event displeased many people. Several users speculated that the mint was “planned to fail” so the group could advertise launching its own blockchain, as the team mentioned a chain migration in one tweet.

Others like Mark Beylin tweeted that he had "sold out" on all Ape-related NFT investments after Yuga Labs "revealed their true colors." Beylin also advised others to assume Yuga Labs' owners are “bad actors.”

Some users who failed to complete transactions claim they lost ETH. However, Yuga Labs promised to refund lost gas fees.

CryptoFinally, a Twitter user, claimed Yuga Labs gave BAYC members better land than non-members. Others who wanted to participate paid for shittier land, while BAYCS got the only worthwhile land.

The Otherdeed NFT drop also increased Ethereum's burn rate. Glassnode and Data Always reported nearly 70,000 ETH burned on mint day.

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Vanessa Karel

Vanessa Karel

1 year ago

10 hard lessons from founding a startup.

Here is the ugly stuff, read this if you have a founder in your life or are trying to become one. Your call.

#1 You'll try to talk yourself to sleep, but it won't always work.

As founders, we're all driven. Good and bad, you're restless. Success requires resistance and discipline. Your startup will be on your mind 24/7, and not everyone will have the patience to listen to your worries, ideas, and coffee runs. You become more self-sufficient than ever before.

#2 No one will understand what you're going through unless they've been a founder.

Some of my closest friends don't understand the work that goes into starting a business, and we can't blame them.

#3 You'll feel alienated.

Your problems aren't common; calling your bestie won't help. You must search hard for the right resources. It alienates you from conversations you no longer relate to. (No 4th of July, no long weekends!)

#4 Since you're your "own boss," people assume you have lots of free time.

Do you agree? I was on a webinar with lots of new entrepreneurs, and one woman said, "I started my own business so I could have more time for myself." This may be true for some lucky people, and you can be flexible with your schedule. If you want your business to succeed, you'll probably be its slave for a while.

#5 No time for illness or family emergencies.

Both last month. Oh, no! Physically and emotionally withdrawing at the worst times will give you perspective. I learned this the hard way because I was too stubborn to postpone an important interview. I thought if I rested all day and only took one call, I'd be fine. Nope. I had a fever and my mind wasn't as sharp, so my performance and audience interaction suffered. Nope. Better to delay than miss out.

Oh, and setting a "OoO" makes you cringe.

#6 Good luck with your mental health, perfectionists.

When building a startup, it's difficult to accept that there won't be enough time to do everything. You can't make them all, not perfectly. You must learn to accept things that are done but not perfect.

#7 As a founder, you'll make mistakes, but you'll want to make them quickly so you can learn.

Hard lessons are learned quicker. You'll need to pivot and try new things often; some won't work, and it's best to discover them sooner rather than later.

#8 Pyramid schemes abound.

I didn't realize how bad it was until I started a company. You must spy and constantly research. As a founder, you'll receive many emails from people claiming to "support" you. Be wary and keep your eyes open. When it's too good to be true. Some "companies" will try to get you to pay for "competitions" to "pitch at events." Don't do it.

#9 Keep your competitor research to a minimum.

Actually, competition is good. It means there's a market for those solutions. However, this can be mentally exhausting too. Learn about their geography and updates, but that's it.

#10 You'll feel guilty taking vacation.

I don't know what to say, but I no longer enjoy watching TV, and that's okay. Pay attention to things that enrich you, bring you joy, and have fun. It boosts creativity.

Being a startup founder may be one of the hardest professional challenges you face, but it's also a great learning experience. Your passion will take you places you never imagined and open doors to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. You'll meet amazing people. No regrets, no complaints. It's a roller coaster, but the good days are great.

Miss anything? Comment below

Muthinja

Muthinja

1 year ago

Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?

Open to ideas or acquisitions

Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.

I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.

Chess Bet (Betting)

As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.

While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.

Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.

People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.

It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.

We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.

We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.

We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.

BodaCare (Insure Tech)

‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.

We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.

Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.

Circle (Social Networking)

Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.

Suppose social media weren't virtual.

Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person

People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.

I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.

It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.

My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.

In conclusion

This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.

If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.

Happy reading until then!

Edward Williams

Edward Williams

1 year ago

I currently manage 4 profitable online companies. I find all the generic advice and garbage courses very frustrating. The only advice you need is this.

A man playing chess.

This is for young entrepreneurs, especially in tech.

People give useless success advice on TikTok and Reddit. Early risers, bookworms, etc. Entrepreneurship courses. Work hard and hustle.

False. These aren't successful traits.

I mean, organization is good. As someone who founded several businesses and now works at a VC firm, I find these tips to be clichés.

Based on founding four successful businesses and working with other successful firms, here's my best actionable advice:

1. Choose a sector or a niche and become an expert in it.

This is more generic than my next tip, but it's a must-do that's often overlooked. Become an expert in the industry or niche you want to enter. Discover everything.

Buy (future) competitors' products. Understand consumers' pain points. Market-test. Target keyword combos. Learn technical details.

The most successful businesses I've worked with were all formed by 9-5 employees. They knew the industry's pain points. They started a business targeting these pain points.

2. Choose a niche or industry crossroads to target.

How do you choose an industry or niche? What if your industry is too competitive?

List your skills and hobbies. Randomness is fine. Find an intersection between two interests or skills.

Say you build websites well. You like cars.

Web design is a *very* competitive industry. Cars and web design?

Instead of web design, target car dealers and mechanics. Build a few fake demo auto mechanic websites, then cold call shops with poor websites. Verticalize.

I've noticed a pattern:

  • Person works in a particular industry for a corporation.

  • Person gains expertise in the relevant industry.

  • Person quits their job and launches a small business to address a problem that their former employer was unwilling to address.

I originally posted this on Reddit and it seemed to have taken off so I decided to share it with you all.

Focus on the product. When someone buys from you, you convince them the product's value exceeds the price. It's not fair and favors the buyer.

Creating a superior product or service will win. Narrowing this helps you outcompete others.

You may be their only (lucky) option.