More on Society & Culture
1 year ago
From oil to attention.
Oil has been the most important commodity for a century. It's sparked wars. Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike to guarantee Japanese access to Indonesian oil, and it made desert tribes rich. Oil's heyday is over. From oil to attention.
We talked about an information economy. In an age of abundant information, what's scarce? Attention. Scale of the world's largest enterprises, wealth of its richest people, and power of governments all stem from attention extraction, monetization, and custody.
Attention-grabbing isn't new. Humans have competed for attention and turned content into wealth since Aeschylus' Oresteia. The internal combustion engine, industrial revolutions in mechanization and plastics, and the emergence of a mobile Western lifestyle boosted oil. Digitization has put wells in pockets, on automobile dashboards, and on kitchen counters, drilling for attention.
The most valuable firms are attention-seeking enterprises, not oil companies. Big Tech dominates the top 4. Tech and media firms are the sheikhs and wildcatters who capture our attention. Blood will flow as the oil economy rises.
Attention to Detail
More than IT and media companies compete for attention. Podcasting is a high-growth, low-barrier-to-entry chance for newbies to gain attention and (for around 1%) make money. Conferences are good for capturing in-person attention. Salesforce paid $30 billion for Slack's dominance of workplace attention, while Spotify is transforming music listening attention into a media platform.
Conferences, newsletters, and even music streaming are artisan projects. Even 130,000-person Comic Con barely registers on the attention economy's Richter scale. Big players have hundreds of millions of monthly users.
Even titans can be disrupted in the attention economy. TikTok is fracking king Chesapeake Energy, a rule-breaking insurgent with revolutionary extraction technologies. Attention must be extracted, processed, and monetized. Innovators disrupt the attention economy value chain.
Attention pre-digital Entrepreneurs commercialized intriguing or amusing stuff like a newspaper or TV show through subscriptions and ads. Digital storage and distribution's limitless capacity drove the initial wave of innovation. Netflix became dominant by releasing old sitcoms and movies. More ad-free content gained attention. By 2016, Netflix was greater than cable TV. Linear scale, few network effects.
Social media introduced two breakthroughs. First, users produced and paid for content. Netflix's economics are dwarfed by TikTok and YouTube, where customers create the content drill rigs that the platforms monetize.
Next, social media businesses expanded content possibilities. Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit offer traditional content, but they transform user comments into more valuable (addictive) emotional content. By emotional resonance, I mean they satisfy a craving for acceptance or anger us. Attention and emotion are mined from comments/replies, piss-fights, and fast-brigaded craziness. Exxon has turned exhaust into heroin. Should we be so linked without a commensurate presence? You wouldn't say this in person. Anonymity allows fraudulent accounts and undesirable actors, which platforms accept to profit from more pollution.
A new entrepreneur emerged as ad-driven social media anger contaminated the water table. TikTok is remaking the attention economy. Short-form video platform relies on user-generated content, although delivery is narrower and less social.
Netflix grew on endless options. Choice requires cognitive effort. TikTok is the least demanding platform since TV. App video plays when opened. Every video can be skipped with a swipe. An algorithm watches how long you watch, what you finish, and whether you like or follow to create a unique streaming network. You can follow creators and respond, but the app is passive. TikTok's attention economy recombination makes it apex predator. The app has more users than Facebook and Instagram combined. Among teens, it's overtaking the passive king, TV.
Now we understand fossil fuel externalities. A carbon-based economy has harmed the world. Fracking brought large riches and rebalanced the oil economy, but at a cost: flammable water, earthquakes, and chemical leaks.
TikTok has various concerns associated with algorithmically generated content and platforms. A Wall Street Journal analysis discovered new accounts listed as belonging to 13- to 15-year-olds would swerve into rabbitholes of sex- and drug-related films in mere days. TikTok has a unique externality: Chinese Communist Party ties. Our last two presidents realized the relationship's perils. Concerned about platform's propaganda potential.
No evidence suggests the CCP manipulated information to harm American interests. A headjack implanted on America's youth, who spend more time on TikTok than any other network, connects them to a neural network that may be modified by the CCP. If the product and ownership can't be separated, the app should be banned. Putting restrictions near media increases problems. We should have a reciprocal approach with China regarding media firms. Ban TikTok
It was a conference theme. I anticipated Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner to say, "We're watching them." (That's CEO protocol.) TikTok should be outlawed in every democracy as an espionage tool. Rumored regulations could lead to a ban, and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr pushes for app store prohibitions. Why not restrict Chinese propaganda? Some disagree: Several renowned tech writers argued my TikTok diatribe last week distracted us from privacy and data reform. The situation isn't zero-sum. I've warned about Facebook and other tech platforms for years. Chewing gum while walking is possible.
Is TikTok the attention-economy titans' final evolution? The attention economy acts like it. No original content. CNN+ was unplugged, Netflix is losing members and has lost 70% of its market cap, and households are canceling cable and streaming subscriptions in historic numbers. Snap Originals closed in August after YouTube Originals in January.
Everyone is outTik-ing the Tok. Netflix debuted Fast Laughs, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Snap Spotlight, Roku The Buzz, Pinterest Watch, and Twitter is developing a TikTok-like product. I think they should call it Vine. Just a thought.
Meta's internal documents show that users spend less time on Instagram Reels than TikTok. Reels engagement is dropping, possibly because a third of the videos were generated elsewhere (usually TikTok, complete with watermark). Meta has tried to downrank these videos, but they persist. Users reject product modifications. Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner posted a meme urging Meta to Make Instagram Instagram Again, resulting in 312,000 signatures. Mark won't hear the petition. Meta is the fastest follower in social (see Oculus and legless hellscape fever nightmares). Meta's stock is at a five-year low, giving those who opposed my demands to break it up a compelling argument.
TikTok's short-term dominance in attention extraction won't be stopped by anyone who doesn't hear Hail to the Chief every time they come in. Will TikTok still be a supermajor in five years? If not, YouTube will likely rule and protect Kings Landing.
56% of Americans regularly watch YouTube. Compared to Facebook and TikTok, 95% of teens use Instagram. YouTube users upload more than 500 hours of video per minute, a number that's likely higher today. Last year, the platform garnered $29 billion in advertising income, equivalent to Netflix's total.
Business and biology both value diversity. Oil can be found in the desert, under the sea, or in the Arctic. Each area requires a specific ability. Refiners turn crude into gas, lubricants, and aspirin. YouTube's variety is unmatched. One-second videos to 12-hour movies. Others are studio-produced. (My Bill Maher appearance was edited for YouTube.)
You can dispute in the comment section or just stream videos. YouTube is used for home improvement, makeup advice, music videos, product reviews, etc. You can load endless videos on a topic or creator, subscribe to your favorites, or let the suggestion algo take over. YouTube relies on user content, but it doesn't wait passively. Strategic partners advise 12,000 creators. According to a senior director, if a YouTube star doesn’t post once week, their manager is “likely to know why.”
YouTube's kevlar is its middle, especially for creators. Like TikTok, users can start with low-production vlogs and selfie videos. As your following expands, so does the scope of your production, bringing longer videos, broadcast-quality camera teams and performers, and increasing prices. MrBeast, a YouTuber, is an example. MrBeast made gaming videos and YouTube drama comments.
Donaldson's YouTube subscriber base rose. MrBeast invests earnings to develop impressive productions. His most popular video was a $3.5 million Squid Game reenactment (the cost of an episode of Mad Men). 300 million people watched. TikTok's attention-grabbing tech is too limiting for this type of material. Now, Donaldson is focusing on offline energy with a burger restaurant and cloud kitchen enterprise.
Steps to Take
Rapid wealth growth has externalities. There is no free lunch. OK, maybe caffeine. The externalities are opaque, and the parties best suited to handle them early are incentivized to construct weapons of mass distraction to postpone and obfuscate while achieving economic security for themselves and their families. The longer an externality runs unchecked, the more damage it causes and the more it costs to fix. Vanessa Pappas, TikTok's COO, didn't shine before congressional hearings. Her comms team over-consulted her and said ByteDance had no headquarters because it's scattered. Being full of garbage simply promotes further anger against the company and the awkward bond it's built between the CCP and a rising generation of American citizens.
This shouldn't distract us from the (still existent) harm American platforms pose to our privacy, teenagers' mental health, and civic dialogue. Leaders of American media outlets don't suffer from immorality but amorality, indifference, and dissonance. Money rain blurs eyesight.
Autocratic governments that undermine America's standing and way of life are immoral. The CCP has and will continue to use all its assets to harm U.S. interests domestically and abroad. TikTok should be spun to Western investors or treated the way China treats American platforms: kicked out.
1 year ago
Elon Musk Bets $44 Billion on Free Speech's Future
Musk’s purchase of Twitter has sealed his bond with the American right—whether the platform’s left-leaning employees and users like it or not.
Elon Musk's pursuit of Twitter Inc. began earlier this month as a joke. It started slowly, then spiraled out of control, culminating on April 25 with the world's richest man agreeing to spend $44 billion on one of the most politically significant technology companies ever. There have been bigger financial acquisitions, but Twitter's significance has always outpaced its balance sheet. This is a unique Silicon Valley deal.
To recap: Musk announced in early April that he had bought a stake in Twitter, citing the company's alleged suppression of free speech. His complaints were vague, relying heavily on the dog whistles of the ultra-right. A week later, he announced he'd buy the company for $54.20 per share, four days after initially pledging to join Twitter's board. Twitter's directors noticed the 420 reference as well, and responded with a “shareholder rights” plan (i.e., a poison pill) that included a 420 joke.
Musk - Patrick Pleul/Getty Images
No one knew if the bid was genuine. Musk's Twitter plans seemed implausible or insincere. In a tweet, he referred to automated accounts that use his name to promote cryptocurrency. He enraged his prospective employees by suggesting that Twitter's San Francisco headquarters be turned into a homeless shelter, renaming the company Titter, and expressing solidarity with his growing conservative fan base. “The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” he tweeted on April 19.
But Musk got funding, and after a frantic weekend of negotiations, Twitter said yes. Unlike most buyouts, Musk will personally fund the deal, putting up up to $21 billion in cash and borrowing another $12.5 billion against his Tesla stock.
Free Speech and Partisanship
Percentage of respondents who agree with the following
The deal is expected to replatform accounts that were banned by Twitter for harassing others, spreading misinformation, or inciting violence, such as former President Donald Trump's account. As a result, Musk is at odds with his own left-leaning employees, users, and advertisers, who would prefer more content moderation rather than less.
Dorsey - Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Previously, the company's leadership had similar issues. Founder Jack Dorsey stepped down last year amid concerns about slowing growth and product development, as well as his dual role as CEO of payments processor Block Inc. Compared to Musk, a father of seven who already runs four companies (besides Tesla and SpaceX), Dorsey is laser-focused.
Musk's motivation to buy Twitter may be political. Affirming the American far right with $44 billion spent on “free speech” Right-wing activists have promoted a series of competing upstart Twitter competitors—Parler, Gettr, and Trump's own effort, Truth Social—since Trump was banned from major social media platforms for encouraging rioters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But Musk can give them a social network with lax content moderation and a real user base. Trump said he wouldn't return to Twitter after the deal was announced, but he wouldn't be the first to do so.
Trump - Eli Hiller/Bloomberg
Conservative activists and lawmakers are already ecstatic. “A great day for free speech in America,” said Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. The day the deal was announced, Tucker Carlson opened his nightly Fox show with a 10-minute laudatory monologue. “The single biggest political development since Donald Trump's election in 2016,” he gushed over Musk.
But Musk's supporters and detractors misunderstand how much his business interests influence his political ideology. He marketed Tesla's cars as carbon-saving machines that were faster and cooler than gas-powered luxury cars during George W. Bush's presidency. Musk gained a huge following among wealthy environmentalists who reserved hundreds of thousands of Tesla sedans years before they were made during Barack Obama's presidency. Musk in the Trump era advocated for a carbon tax, but he also fought local officials (and his own workers) over Covid rules that slowed the reopening of his Bay Area factory.
Teslas at the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Central Station in April 2021. The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop was Musk's first commercial project. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Musk's rightward shift matched the rise of the nationalist-populist right and the desire to serve a growing EV market. In 2019, he unveiled the Cybertruck, a Tesla pickup, and in 2018, he announced plans to manufacture it at a new plant outside Austin. In 2021, he decided to move Tesla's headquarters there, citing California's "land of over-regulation." After Ford and General Motors beat him to the electric truck market, Musk reframed Tesla as a company for pickup-driving dudes.
Similarly, his purchase of Twitter will be entwined with his other business interests. Tesla has a factory in China and is friendly with Beijing. This could be seen as a conflict of interest when Musk's Twitter decides how to treat Chinese-backed disinformation, as Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos noted.
Musk has focused on Twitter's product and social impact, but the company's biggest challenges are financial: Either increase cash flow or cut costs to comfortably service his new debt. Even if Musk can't do that, he can still benefit from the deal. He has recently used the increased attention to promote other business interests: Boring has hyperloops and Neuralink brain implants on the way, Musk tweeted. Remember Tesla's long-promised robotaxis!
Musk may be comfortable saying he has no expectation of profit because it benefits his other businesses. At the TED conference on April 14, Musk insisted that his interest in Twitter was solely charitable. “I don't care about money.”
The rockets and weed jokes make it easy to see Musk as unique—and his crazy buyout will undoubtedly add to that narrative. However, he is a megabillionaire who is risking a small amount of money (approximately 13% of his net worth) to gain potentially enormous influence. Musk makes everything seem new, but this is a rehash of an old media story.
1 year ago
Don't underestimate the foolish
ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE
Big companies and wealthy people make stupid mistakes too.
Your ancestors kept snakes and drank bad water. You (probably) don't because you've learnt from their failures via instinct+, the ultimate life-lessons streaming network in your head. Instincts foretell the future. If you approach a lion, it'll eat you. Our society's nuanced/complex decisions have surpassed instinct. Human growth depends on how we handle these issues. 80% of people believe they are above-average drivers, yet few believe they make many incorrect mistakes that make them risky. Stupidity hurts others like death. Basic Laws of Human Stupidity by Carlo Cipollas:
Everyone underestimates the prevalence of idiots in our society.
Any other trait a person may have has no bearing on how likely they are to be stupid.
A dumb individual is one who harms someone without benefiting themselves and may even lose money in the process.
Non-dumb people frequently underestimate how destructively powerful stupid people can be.
The most dangerous kind of person is a moron.
Professor Cippola defines stupid as bad for you and others. We underestimate the corporate world's and seemingly successful people's ability to make bad judgments that harm themselves and others. Success is an intoxication that makes you risk-aggressive and blurs your peripheral vision.
Stupid companies and decisions:
Big-company bad ideas have more bulk and inertia. The world's most valuable company recently showed its board a VR headset. Jony Ive couldn't destroy Apple's terrible idea in 2015. Mr. Ive said that VR cut users off from the outer world, made them seem outdated, and lacked practical uses. Ives' design team doubted users would wear headsets for lengthy periods.
VR has cost tens of billions of dollars over a decade to prove nobody wants it. The next great SaaS startup will likely come from Florence, not Redmond or San Jose.
Apple Watch and Airpods have made the Cupertino company the world's largest jewelry maker. 10.5% of Apple's income, or $38 billion, comes from wearables in 2021. (seven times the revenue of Tiffany & Co.). Jewelry makes you more appealing and useful. Airpods and Apple Watch do both.
Headsets make you less beautiful and useful and promote isolation, loneliness, and unhappiness among American teenagers. My sons pretend they can't hear or see me when on their phones. VR headsets lack charisma.
Coinbase disclosed a plan to generate division and tension within its workplace weeks after Apple was pitched $2,000 smokes. The crypto-trading platform is piloting a program that rates staff after every interaction. If a coworker says anything you don't like, you should tell them how to improve. Everyone gets a 110-point scorecard. Coworkers should evaluate a person's rating while deciding whether to listen to them. It's ridiculous.
Organizations leverage our superpower of cooperation. This encourages non-cooperation, period. Bridgewater's founder Ray Dalio designed the approach to promote extreme transparency. Dalio has 223 billion reasons his managerial style works. There's reason to suppose only a small group of people, largely traders, will endure a granular scorecard. Bridgewater has 20% first-year turnover. Employees cry in bathrooms, and sex scandals are settled by ignoring individuals with poor believability levels. Coinbase might take solace that the stock is 80% below its initial offering price.
Fools' ledgers are valuable. More valuable are lists of foolish rich individuals.
Robinhood built a $8 billion corporation on financial ignorance. The firm's median account value is $240, and its stock has dropped 75% since last summer. Investors, customers, and society lose. Stupid. Luna published a comparable list on the blockchain, grew to $41 billion in market cap, then plummeted.
A podcast presenter is recruiting dentists and small-business owners to invest in Elon Musk's Twitter takeover. Investors pay a 7% fee and 10% of the upside for the chance to buy Twitter at a 35% premium to the current price. The proposal legitimizes CNBC's Trade Like Chuck advertising (Chuck made $4,600 into $460,000 in two years). This is stupid because it adds to the Twitter deal's desperation. Mr. Musk made an impression when he urged his lawyers to develop a legal rip-cord (There are bots on the platform!) to abandon the share purchase arrangement (for less than they are being marketed by the podcaster). Rolls-Royce may pay for this list of the dumb affluent because it includes potential Cullinan buyers.
Worst company? Flowcarbon, founded by WeWork founder Adam Neumann, operates at the convergence of carbon and crypto to democratize access to offsets and safeguard the earth's natural carbon sinks. Can I get an ayahuasca Big Gulp?
Neumann raised $70 million with their yogababble drink. More than half of the consideration came from selling GNT. Goddess Nature Token. I hope the company gets an S-1. Or I'll start a decentralized AI Meta Renewable NFTs company. My Community Based Ebitda coin will fund the company. Possible.
Stupidity inside oneself
This weekend, I was in NYC with my boys. My 14-year-old disappeared. He's realized I'm not cool and is mad I let the charade continue. When out with his dad, he likes to stroll home alone and depart before me. Friends told me hell would return, but I was surprised by how fast the eye roll came.
Not so with my 11-year-old. We went to The Edge, a Hudson Yards observation platform where you can see the city from 100 storeys up for $38. This is hell's seventh ring. Leaning into your boys' interests is key to engaging them (dad tip). Neither loves Crossfit, WW2 history, or antitrust law.
We take selfies on the Thrilling Glass Floor he spots. Dad, there's a bar! Coke? I nod, he rushes to the bar, stops, runs back for money, and sprints back. Sitting on stone seats, drinking Atlanta Champagne, he turns at me and asks, Isn't this amazing? I'll never reach paradise.
Later that night, the lads are asleep and I've had two Zacapas and Cokes. I SMS some friends about my day and how I feel about sons/fatherhood/etc. How I did. They responded and approached. The next morning, I'm sober, have distance from my son, and feel ashamed by my texts. Less likely to impulsively share my emotions with others. Stupid again.
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8 months ago
How to Produce Enough for People to Not Neglect You
Internet's fantastic, right?
We've never had a better way to share our creativity.
I can now draw on my iPad and tweet or Instagram it to thousands. I may get some likes.
With such a great, free tool, you're not alone.
Millions more bright-eyed artists are sharing their work online.
The issue is getting innovative work noticed, not sharing it.
In a world where creators want attention, attention is valuable.
We build for attention.
Attention helps us establish a following, make money, get notoriety, and make a difference.
Most of us require attention to stay sane while creating wonderful things.
I know how hard it is to work hard and receive little views.
How do we receive more attention, more often, in a sea of talent?
Advertising and celebrity endorsements are options. These may work temporarily.
To attract true, organic, and long-term attention, you must create in high quality, high volume, and consistency.
Adapting Steve Martin's Be so amazing, they can't ignore you (with a mention to Dan Norris in his great book Create or Hate for the reminder)
Create a lot.
Eventually, your effort will gain traction.
Traction shows your work's influence.
Traction is when your product sells more. Traction is exponential user growth. Your work is shared more.
No matter how good your work is, it will always have minimal impact on the world.
Your work can eventually dent or puncture. Daily, people work to dent.
To achieve this tipping point, you must consistently produce exceptional work.
Expect traction after hundreds of outputs.
Dilbert creator Scott Adams says repetition persuades. If you don't stop, you can persuade practically anyone with anything.
Volume lends believability. So make more.
I worked as an illustrator for at least a year and a half without any recognition. After 150 illustrations on iStockphoto, my work started selling.
With 350 illustrations on iStock, I started getting decent client commissions.
Producing often will improve your craft and draw attention.
It's the only way to succeed. More creation means better results and greater attention.
Austin Kleon says you can improve your skill in relative anonymity before you become famous. Before obtaining traction, generate a lot and become excellent.
Most artists, even excellent ones, don't create consistently enough to get traction.
It may hurt. For makers who don't love and flow with their work, it's extremely difficult.
Your work must bring you to life.
To generate so much that others can't ignore you, decide what you'll accomplish every day (or most days).
Commit and be patient.
Prepare for zero-traction.
Anticipating this will help you persevere and create.
My online guru Grant Cardone says: Anything worth doing is worth doing every day.
1 year ago
Mystery of the $1 billion'meme stock' that went to $400 billion in days
Who is AMTD Digital?
An unknown Hong Kong corporation joined the global megacaps worth over $500 billion on Tuesday.
The American Depository Share (ADS) with the ticker code HKD gapped at the open, soaring 25% over the previous closing price as trading began, before hitting an intraday high of $2,555.
At its peak, its market cap was almost $450 billion, more than Facebook parent Meta or Alibaba.
Yahoo Finance reported a daily volume of 350,500 shares, the lowest since the ADS began trading and much below the average of 1.2 million.
Despite losing a fifth of its value on Wednesday, it's still worth more than Toyota, Nike, McDonald's, or Walt Disney.
The company sold 16 million shares at $7.80 each in mid-July, giving it a $1 billion market valuation.
Why the boom?
That market cap seems unjustified.
According to SEC reports, its income-generating assets barely topped $400 million in March. Fortune's emails and calls went unanswered.
Website discloses little about company model. Its one-minute business presentation film uses a Star Wars–like design to sell the company as a "one-stop digital solutions platform in Asia"
The SEC prospectus explains.
AMTD Digital sells a "SpiderNet Ecosystems Solutions" kind of club membership that connects enterprises. This is the bulk of its $25 million annual revenue in April 2021.
Pretax profits have been higher than top line over the past three years due to fair value accounting gains on Appier, DayDayCook, WeDoctor, and five Asian fintechs.
AMTD Group, the company's parent, specializes in investment banking, hotel services, luxury education, and media and entertainment. AMTD IDEA, a $14 billion subsidiary, is also traded on the NYSE.
Why AMTD Digital listed in the U.S. is unknown, as it informed investors in its share offering prospectus that could delist under SEC guidelines.
Beijing's red tape prevents the Sarbanes-Oxley Board from inspecting its Chinese auditor.
This frustrates Chinese stock investors. If the U.S. and China can't achieve a deal, 261 Chinese companies worth $1.3 trillion might be delisted.
Calvin Choi left UBS to become AMTD Group's CEO.
His capitalist background and status as a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum don't stop him from praising China's Communist party or celebrating the "glory and dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" a century after its creation.
Despite having an executive vice chairman with a record of battling corruption and ties to Carrie Lam, Beijing's previous proconsul in Hong Kong, Choi is apparently being targeted for a two-year industry ban by the city's securities regulator after an investor accused Choi of malfeasance.
Some CMIG-funded initiatives produced money, but he didn't give us the proceeds, a corporate official told China's Caixin in October 2020. We don't know if he misappropriated or lost some money.
A seismic anomaly
In fundamental analysis, where companies are valued based on future cash flows, AMTD Digital's mind-boggling market cap is a statistical aberration that should occur once every hundred years.
AMTD Digital doesn't know why it's so valuable. In a thank-you letter to new shareholders, it said it was confused by the stock's performance.
Since its IPO, the company has seen significant ADS price volatility and active trading volume, it said Tuesday. "To our knowledge, there have been no important circumstances, events, or other matters since the IPO date."
Permabears awoke after the jump. Jim Chanos asked if "we're all going to ignore the $400 billion meme stock in the room," while Nate Anderson called AMTD Group "sketchy."
It happened the same day SEC Chair Gary Gensler praised the 20th anniversary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, aimed to restore trust in America's financial markets after the Enron and WorldCom accounting fraud scandals.
The run-up revived unpleasant memories of Robinhood's decision to limit retail investors' ability to buy GameStop, regarded as a measure to protect hedge funds invested in the meme company.
Why wasn't HKD's buy button removed? Because retail wasn't behind it?" tweeted Gensler on Tuesday. "Real stock fraud. "You're worthless."
Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi
1 year ago
The Only Paid Resources I Turn to as a Solopreneur
4 Pricey Tools That Are Valuable
I pay based on ROI (return on investment).
If a $20/month tool or $500 online course doubles my return, I'm in.
Investing helps me build wealth.
I initially refused to pay.
My course content needed updating a few months ago. My Google Docs text looked cleaner and more professional in Canva.
I've used it to:
product cover pages
Product page infographics
See my Google Sheets vs. Canva product page graph.
Google Sheets vs Canva
Yesterday, I used it to make a LinkedIn video thumbnail. It took less than 5 minutes and improved my video.
In 30 hours, the video had 39,000 views.
It builds my brand as I sleep. What else?
Because I'm traveling this weekend, I planned tweets for 10 days. It took me 80 minutes.
So while I travel or am absent, my content mill keeps producing.
Also I like:
I can reach hundreds of people thanks to auto-DMs. I utilize it to advertise freebies; for instance, leave an emoji remark to receive my checklist. And they automatically receive a message in their DM.
Scheduled Retweets: By appearing in a different time zone, they give my tweet a second chance.
It helps me save time and expand my following, so that's my favorite part.
It’s also super neat:
My course involves weekly and monthly calls for alumni.
Google Meet isn't great for group calls. The interface isn't great.
Zoom Pro is expensive, and the monthly payments suck, but it's necessary.
It gives my students a smooth experience.
Previously, we'd do 40-minute meetings and then reconvene.
Zoom's free edition limits group calls to 40 minutes.
This wouldn't be a good online course if I paid hundreds of dollars.
So I felt obligated to help.
My laptop has an ad blocker.
I bought an iPad recently.
When you're self-employed and work from home, the line between the two blurs. My bed is only 5 steps away!
When I read or watched videos on my laptop, I'd slide into work mode. Only option was to view on phone, which is awkward.
YouTube premium handles it. No more advertisements and I can listen on the move.
3 Expensive Tools That Aren't Valuable
Marketing strategies are sometimes aimed to make you feel you need 38474 cool features when you don’t.
Certain tools are useless.
I found it useless.
Depending on your needs. As a writer and creator, I get no return.
They could for other jobs.
It tracks LinkedIn stats, like:
trend chart for impressions
Engagement, views, and comment stats for posts
and much more.
Middle-tier creator costs $12/month.
I got a 25% off coupon but canceled my free trial before writing this. It's not worth the discount.
LinkedIn provides free analytics. See:
Not thorough and won't show top posts.
I don't need to see my top posts because I love experimenting with writing.
Slack was my classroom. Slack provided me a premium trial during the prior cohort.
I skipped it.
Sure, voice notes are better than a big paragraph. I didn't require pro features.
Marketing methods sometimes make you think you need 38474 amazing features. Don’t fall for it.
This may be worth it if you get many calls.
I avoid calls. During my 9-5, I had too many pointless calls.
I don't need:
ability to schedule calls for 15, 30, or 60 minutes: I just distribute each link separately.
I have a Gumroad consultation page with a payment option.
follow-up emails: I hardly ever make calls, so
I just use one calendar, therefore I link to various calendars.
I'll admit, the integrations are cool. Not for me.
If you're a coach or consultant, the features may be helpful. Or book meetings.
Investing is spending to make money.
Use my technique — put money in tools that help you make money. This separates it from being an investment instead of an expense.
Try free versions of these tools before buying them since everyone else is.