## More on Entrepreneurship/Creators

SAHIL SAPRU

5 months ago

## How I grew my business to a $5 million annual recurring revenue

Scaling your startup requires answering customer demands, not growth tricks.

I cofounded Freedo Rentals in 2019. I reached 50 lakh+ ARR in 6 months before quitting owing to the epidemic.

Freedo aimed to solve 2 customer pain points:

Users lacked a reliable last-mile transportation option.

The amount that Auto walas charge for unmetered services

Solution?

Effectively simple.

Build ports at high-demand spots (colleges, residential societies, metros). Electric ride-sharing can meet demand.

We had many problems scaling. I'll explain using the AARRR model.

Brand unfamiliarity or a novel product offering were the problems with awareness. Nobody knew what Freedo was or what it did.

Problem with awareness: Content and advertisements did a poor job of communicating the task at hand. The advertisements clashed with the white-collar part because they were too cheesy.

Retention Issue: We encountered issues, indicating that the product was insufficient. Problems with keyless entry, creating bills, stealing helmets, etc.

Retention/Revenue Issue: Costly compared to established rivals. Shared cars were 1/3 of our cost.

Referral Issue: Missing the opportunity to seize the AHA moment. After the ride, nobody remembered us.

Once you know where you're struggling with AARRR, iterative solutions are usually best.

Once you have nailed the AARRR model, most startups use paid channels to scale. This dependence, on paid channels, increases with scale unless you crack your organic/inbound game.

Over-index growth loops. Growth loops increase inflow and customers as you scale.

When considering growth, ask yourself:

Who is the solution's ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)? (To whom are you selling)

What are the most important messages I should convey to customers? (This is an A/B test.)

Which marketing channels ought I prioritize? (Conduct analysis based on the startup's maturity/stage.)

Choose the important metrics to monitor for your AARRR funnel (not all metrics are equal)

Identify the Flywheel effect's growth loops (inertia matters)

My biggest mistakes:

not paying attention to consumer comments or satisfaction. It is the main cause of problems with referrals, retention, and acquisition for startups. Beyond your NPS, you should consider second-order consequences.

The tasks at hand should be quite clear.

Here's my scaling equation:

**Growth = A x B x C**

**A = **Funnel top (Traffic)

**B =** Product Valuation (Solving a real pain point)

**C =** Aha! (Emotional response)

Freedo's A, B, and C created a unique offering.

Freedo’s ABC:

A — Working or Studying population in NCR

B — Electric Vehicles provide last-mile mobility as a clean and affordable solution

C — One click booking with a no-noise scooter

**Final outcome:**

FWe scaled Freedo to Rs. 50 lakh MRR and were growing 60% month on month till the pandemic ceased our growth story.

*How we did it?*

We tried ambassadors and coupons. WhatsApp was our most successful A/B test.

We grew widespread adoption through college and society WhatsApp groups. We requested users for referrals in community groups.

What worked for us won't work for others. This scale underwent many revisions.

Every firm is different, thus you must know your customers. Needs to determine which channel to prioritize and when.

Users desired a safe, time-bound means to get there.

This (not mine) growth framework helped me a lot. You should follow suit.

Micah Daigle

6 months ago

## Facebook is going away. Here are two explanations for why it hasn't been replaced yet.

And tips for anyone trying.

We see the same story every few years.

BREAKING NEWS: [Platform X] launched a social network. With Facebook's reputation down, the new startup bets millions will switch.

Despite the excitement surrounding each new platform (Diaspora, Ello, Path, MeWe, Minds, Vero, etc.), no major exodus occurred.

Snapchat and TikTok attracted teens with fresh experiences (ephemeral messaging and rapid-fire videos). These features aren't Facebook, even if Facebook replicated them.

Facebook's core is simple: you publish items (typically text/images) and your friends (generally people you know IRL) can discuss them.

It's cool. Sometimes I don't want to, but sh*t. I like it.

Because, well, I like many folks I've met. I enjoy keeping in touch with them and their banter.

I dislike Facebook's corporation. I've been cautiously optimistic whenever a Facebook-killer surfaced.

None succeeded.

Why? Two causes, I think:

# People couldn't switch quickly enough, which is reason #1

Your buddies make a social network social.

Facebook started in self-contained communities (college campuses) then grew outward. But a new platform can't.

If we're expected to leave Facebook, we want to know that most of our friends will too.

Most Facebook-killers had bottlenecks. You have to waitlist or jump through hoops (e.g. setting up a server).

Same outcome. Upload. Chirp.

After a week or two of silence, individuals returned to Facebook.

# Reason #2: The fundamental experience was different.

Even when many of our friends joined in the first few weeks, it wasn't the same.

There were missing features or a different UX.

Want to reply with a meme? No photos in comments yet. (Trying!)

Want to tag a friend? Nope, sorry. 2019!

Want your friends to see your post? You must post to all your friends' servers. Good luck!

It's difficult to introduce a platform with 100% of the same features as one that's been there for 20 years, yet customers want a core experience.

If you can't, they'll depart.

# The causes that led to the causes

Having worked on software teams for 14+ years, I'm not surprised by these challenges. They are a natural development of a few tech sector meta-problems:

## Lean startup methodology

Silicon Valley worships lean startup. It's a way of developing software that involves testing a stripped-down version with a limited number of people before selecting what to build.

Billion people use Facebook's functions. They aren't tested. It must work right away*

**This may seem weird to software people, but it's how non-software works! You can't sell a car without wheels.*

## 2. Creativity

Startup entrepreneurs build new things, not copies. I understand. Reinventing the wheel is boring.

We know what works. Different experiences raise adoption friction. Once millions have transferred, more features (and a friendlier UX) can be implemented.

## 3. Cost scaling

True. Building a product that can sustain hundreds of millions of users in weeks is expensive and complex.

Your lifeboats must have the same capacity as the ship you're evacuating. It's required.

## 4. Pure ideologies

People who work on Facebook-alternatives are (understandably) critical of Facebook.

They build an open-source, fully-distributed, data-portable, interface-customizable, offline-capable, censorship-proof platform.

Prioritizing these aims can prevent replicating the straightforward experience users expect. Github, not Facebook, is for techies only.

# What about the business plan, though?

Facebook-killer attempts have followed three models.

Utilize VC funding to increase your user base, then monetize them later. (If you do this, you won't kill Facebook; instead, Facebook will become you.)

Users must pay to utilize it. (This causes a huge bottleneck and slows the required quick expansion, preventing it from seeming like a true social network.)

Make it a volunteer-run, open-source endeavor that is free. (This typically denotes that something is cumbersome, difficult to operate, and is only for techies.)

Wikipedia is a fourth way.

Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites and a charity. No ads. Donations support them.

A Facebook-killer managed by a good team may gather millions (from affluent contributors and the crowd) for their initial phase of development. Then it might sustain on regular donations, ethical transactions (e.g. fees on commerce, business sites, etc.), and government grants/subsidies (since it would essentially be a public utility).

When you're not aiming to make investors rich, it's remarkable how little money you need.

# If you want to build a Facebook competitor, follow these tips:

Drop the lean startup philosophy. Wait until you have a finished product before launching. Build it, thoroughly test it for bugs, and then release it.

Delay innovating. Wait till millions of people have switched before introducing your great new features. Make it nearly identical for now.

Spend money climbing. Make sure that guests can arrive as soon as they are invited. Never keep them waiting. Make things easy for them.

Make it accessible to all. Even if doing so renders it less philosophically pure, it shouldn't require technical expertise to utilize.

Constitute a nonprofit. Additionally, develop community ownership structures. Profit maximization is not the only strategy for preserving valued assets.

# Last thoughts

Nobody has killed Facebook, but Facebook is killing itself.

The startup is burying the newsfeed to become a TikTok clone. Meta itself seems to be ditching the platform for the metaverse.

I wish I was happy, but I'm not. I miss (understandably) removed friends' postings and remarks. It could be a ghost town in a few years. My dance moves aren't TikTok-worthy.

Who will lead? It's time to develop a social network for the people.

Greetings if you're working on it. I'm not a company founder, but I like to help hard-working folks.

Mangu Solutions

7 months ago

## Growing a New App to $15K/mo in 6 Months [SaaS Case Study]

## Discover How We Used Facebook Ads to Grow a New Mobile App from $0 to $15K MRR in Just 6 Months and Our Strategy to Hit $100K a Month.

Our client introduced a mobile app for Poshmark resellers in December and wanted as many to experience it and subscribe to the monthly plan.

# An Error We Committed

We initiated a Facebook ad campaign with a "awareness" goal, not "installs." This sent them to a landing page that linked to the iPhone App Store and Android Play Store. Smart, right?

We got some installs, but we couldn't tell how many came from the ad versus organic/other channels because the objective we chose only reported landing page clicks, not app installs.

We didn't know which interest groups/audiences had the best cost per install (CPI) to optimize and scale our budget.

After spending $700 without adequate data (installs and trials report), we stopped the campaign and worked with our client's app developer to set up app events tracking.

This allowed us to create an installs campaign and track installs, trials, and purchases (in some cases).

# Finding a Successful Audience

Once we knew what ad sets brought in what installs at what cost, we began optimizing and testing other interest groups and audiences, growing the profitable low CPI ones and eliminating the high CPI ones.

We did all our audience testing using an ABO campaign (Ad Set Budget Optimization), spending $10 to $30 on each ad set for three days and optimizing afterward. All ad sets under $30 were moved to a CBO campaign (Campaign Budget Optimization).

We let Facebook's AI decide how much to spend on each ad set, usually the one most likely to convert at the lowest cost.

If the CBO campaign maintains a nice CPI, we keep increasing the budget by $50 every few days or duplicating it sometimes in order to double the budget. This is how we've scaled to $400/day profitably.

# Finding Successful Creatives

Per campaign, we tested 2-6 images/videos. Same ad copy and CTA. There was no clear winner because some images did better with some interest groups.

The image above with mail packages, for example, got us a cheap CPI of $9.71 from our Goodwill Stores interest group but, a high $48 CPI from our lookalike audience. Once we had statistically significant data, we turned off the high-cost ad.

New marketers who are just discovering A/B testing may assume it's black and white — winner and loser. However, Facebook ads' machine learning and reporting has gotten so sophisticated that it's hard to call a creative a flat-out loser, but rather a 'bad fit' for some audiences, and perfect for others.

You can see how each creative performs across age groups and optimize.

# How Many Installs Did It Take Us to Earn $15K Per Month?

Six months after paying $25K, we got 1,940 app installs, 681 free trials, and 522 $30 monthly subscriptions. 522 * $30 gives us $15,660 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

# Next, what? $100K per month

The conversation above is with the app's owner. We got on a 30-minute call where I shared how I plan to get the app to be making $100K a month like I’ve done for other businesses.

# Reverse Engineering $100K

Formula:

For $100K/month, we need 3,334 people to pay $30/month. 522 people pay that. We need 2,812 more paid users.

522 paid users from 1,940 installs is a 27% conversion rate. To hit $100K/month, we need 10,415 more installs. Assuming...

With a $400 daily ad spend, we average 40 installs per day. This means that if everything stays the same, it would take us 260 days (around 9 months) to get to $100K a month (MRR).

# Conclusion

You must market your goods to reach your income objective (without waiting forever). Paid ads is the way to go if you hate knocking on doors or irritating friends and family (who aren’t scalable anyways).

You must also test and optimize different angles, audiences, interest groups, and creatives.

## You might also like

Nir Zicherman

6 months ago

## The Great Organizational Conundrum

## Only two of the following three options can be achieved: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance

Someone told me that growing from 30 to 60 is the biggest adjustment for a team or business.

I remember thinking, That's random. Each company is unique. I've seen teams of all types confront the same issues during development periods. With new enterprises starting every year, we should be better at navigating growing difficulties.

As a team grows, its processes and systems break down, requiring reorganization or declining results. Why always? Why isn't there a perfect scaling model? Why hasn't that been found?

## The Three Things Productive Organizations Must Have

Any company should be efficient and productive. Three items are needed:

First, it must verify that no two team members have conflicting information about the roadmap, strategy, or any input that could affect execution. Teamwork is required.

Second, it must ensure that everyone can receive the information they need from everyone else quickly, especially as teams become more specialized (an inevitability in a developing organization). It requires everyone's accessibility.

Third, it must ensure that the organization can operate efficiently even if a piece is unavailable. It's partition-tolerant.

From my experience with the many teams I've been on, invested in, or advised, achieving all three is nearly impossible. Why a perfect organization model cannot exist is clear after analysis.

## The CAP Theorem: What is it?

Eric Brewer of Berkeley discovered the CAP Theorem, which argues that a distributed data storage should have three benefits. One can only have two at once.

The three benefits are **consistency**, **availability**, and **partition tolerance**, which implies that even if part of the system is offline, the remainder continues to work.

This notion is usually applied to computer science, but I've realized it's also true for human organizations. In a post-COVID world, many organizations are hiring non-co-located staff as they grow. CAP Theorem is more important than ever. Growing teams sometimes think they can develop ways to bypass this law, dooming themselves to a less-than-optimal team dynamic. They should adopt CAP to maximize productivity.

## Path 1: Consistency and availability equal no tolerance for partitions

Let's imagine you want your team to always be in sync (i.e., for someone to be the source of truth for the latest information) and to be able to share information with each other. Only division into domains will do.

Numerous developing organizations do this, especially after the early stage (say, 30 people) when everyone may wear many hats and be aware of all the moving elements. After a certain point, it's tougher to keep generalists aligned than to divide them into specialized tasks.

In a specialized, segmented team, leaders optimize consistency and availability (i.e. every function is up-to-speed on the latest strategy, no one is out of sync, and everyone is able to unblock and inform everyone else).

Partition tolerance suffers. If any component of the organization breaks down (someone goes on vacation, quits, underperforms, or Gmail or Slack goes down), productivity stops. There's no way to give the team stability, availability, and smooth operation during a hiccup.

## Path 2: Partition Tolerance and Availability = No Consistency

Some businesses avoid relying too heavily on any one person or sub-team by maximizing availability and partition tolerance (the organization continues to function as a whole even if particular components fail). Only redundancy can do that. Instead of specializing each member, the team spreads expertise so people can work in parallel. I switched from Path 1 to Path 2 because I realized too much reliance on one person is risky.

What happens after redundancy? Unreliable. The more people may run independently and in parallel, the less anyone can be the truth. Lack of alignment or updated information can lead to people executing slightly different strategies. So, resources are squandered on the wrong work.

## Path 3: Partition and Consistency "Tolerance" equates to "absence"

The third, least-used path stresses partition tolerance and consistency (meaning answers are always correct and up-to-date). In this organizational style, it's most critical to maintain the system operating and keep everyone aligned. No one is allowed to read anything without an assurance that it's up-to-date (i.e. there’s no availability).

Always short-lived. In my experience, a business that prioritizes quality and scalability over speedy information transmission can get bogged down in heavy processes that hinder production. Large-scale, this is unsustainable.

## Accepting CAP

When two puzzle pieces fit, the third won't. I've watched developing teams try to tackle these difficulties, only to find, as their ancestors did, that they can never be entirely solved. Idealized solutions fail in reality, causing lost effort, confusion, and lower production.

As teams develop and change, they should embrace CAP, acknowledge there is a limit to productivity in a scaling business, and choose the best two-out-of-three path.

Vitalik

1 year ago

## An approximate introduction to how zk-SNARKs are possible (part 2)

If tasked with the problem of coming up with a zk-SNARK protocol, many people would make their way to this point and then get stuck and give up. How can a verifier possibly check every single piece of the computation, without looking at each piece of the computation individually? But it turns out that there is a clever solution.

## Polynomials

Polynomials are a special class of algebraic expressions of the form:

- x+5
- x^4
- x^3+3x^2+3x+1
- 628x^{271}+318x^{270}+530x^{269}+…+69x+381

i.e. they are a sum of any (finite!) number of terms of the form cx^k

There are many things that are fascinating about polynomials. But here we are going to zoom in on a particular one: **polynomials are a single mathematical object that can contain an unbounded amount of information** (think of them as a list of integers and this is obvious). The fourth example above contained 816 digits of tau, and one can easily imagine a polynomial that contains far more.

Furthermore, **a single equation between polynomials can represent an unbounded number of equations between numbers**. For example, consider the equation A(x)+ B(x) = C(x). If this equation is true, then it's also true that:

- A(0)+B(0)=C(0)
- A(1)+B(1)=C(1)
- A(2)+B(2)=C(2)
- A(3)+B(3)=C(3)

And so on for every possible coordinate. You can even construct polynomials to deliberately represent sets of numbers so you can check many equations all at once. For example, suppose that you wanted to check:

- 12+1=13
- 10+8=18
- 15+8=23
- 15+13=28

You can use a procedure called Lagrange interpolation to construct polynomials A(x) that give (12,10,15,15) as outputs at some specific set of coordinates (eg. (0,1,2,3)), B(x) the outputs (1,8,8,13) on thos same coordinates, and so forth. In fact, here are the polynomials:

- A(x)=-2x^3+\frac{19}{2}x^2-\frac{19}{2}x+12
- B(x)=2x^3-\frac{19}{2}x^2+\frac{29}{2}x+1
- C(x)=5x+13

Checking the equation A(x)+B(x)=C(x) with these polynomials checks all four above equations at the same time.

## Comparing a polynomial to itself

You can even check relationships between a large number of adjacent evaluations of the same polynomial using a simple polynomial equation. This is slightly more advanced. Suppose that you want to check that, for a given polynomial F, F(x+2)=F(x)+F(x+1) with the integer range {0,1…89} (so if you *also* check F(0)=F(1)=1, then F(100) would be the 100th Fibonacci number)

As polynomials, F(x+2)-F(x+1)-F(x) would not be exactly zero, as it could give arbitrary answers outside the range x={0,1…98}. But we can do something clever. In general, there is a rule that if a polynomial P is zero across some set S=\{x_1,x_2…x_n\} then it can be expressed as P(x)=Z(x)*H(x), where Z(x)=(x-x_1)*(x-x_2)*…*(x-x_n) and H(x) is also a polynomial. In other words, **any polynomial that equals zero across some set is a (polynomial) multiple of the simplest (lowest-degree) polynomial that equals zero across that same set.**

Why is this the case? It is a nice corollary of polynomial long division: the factor theorem. We know that, when dividing P(x) by Z(x), we will get a quotient Q(x) and a remainder R(x) is strictly less than that of Z(x). Since we know that P is zero on all of S, it means that R has to be zero on all of S as well. So we can simply compute R(x) via polynomial interpolation, since it's a polynomial of degree at most n-1 and we know n values (the zeros at S). Interpolating a polynomial with all zeroes gives the zero polynomial, thus R(x)=0 and H(x)=Q(x).

Going back to our example, if we have a polynomial F that encodes Fibonacci numbers (so F(x+2)=F(x)+F(x+1) across x=\{0,1…98\}), then I can convince you that F *actually satisfies this condition* by proving that the polynomial P(x)=F(x+2)-F(x+1)-F(x) is zero over that range, by giving you the quotient:

H(x)=\frac{F(x+2)-F(x+1)-F(x)}{Z(x)}

Where Z(x) = (x-0)*(x-1)*…*(x-98).

You can calculate Z(x) yourself (ideally you would have it precomputed), check the equation, and if the check passes then F(x) satisfies the condition!

Now, step back and notice what we did here. We converted a 100-step-long computation into a single equation with polynomials. Of course, proving the N'th Fibonacci number is not an especially useful task, especially since Fibonacci numbers have a closed form. But you can use exactly the same basic technique, just with some extra polynomials and some more complicated equations, to encode arbitrary computations with an arbitrarily large number of steps.

see part 3

Jeff John Roberts

8 months ago

## Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z Launch 'Bitcoin Academy' in Brooklyn rapper's home

The new Bitcoin Academy will teach Jay-Marcy Z's Houses neighbors "What is Cryptocurrency."

Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn's Marcy Houses. The rapper and Block CEO Jack Dorsey are giving back to his hometown by creating the Bitcoin Academy.

The Bitcoin Academy will offer online and in-person classes, including "What is Money?" and "What is Blockchain?"

The program will provide participants with a mobile hotspot and a small amount of Bitcoin for hands-on learning.

Students will receive dinner and two evenings of instruction until early September. The Shawn Carter Foundation will help with on-the-ground instruction.

Jay-Z and Dorsey announced the program Thursday morning. It will begin at Marcy Houses but may be expanded.

Crypto Blockchain Plug and Black Bitcoin Billionaire, which has received a grant from Block, will teach the classes.

## Jay-Z, Dorsey reunite

Jay-Z and Dorsey have previously worked together to promote a Bitcoin and crypto-based future.

In 2021, Dorsey's Block (then Square) acquired the rapper's streaming music service Tidal, which they propose using for NFT distribution.

Dorsey and Jay-Z launched an endowment in 2021 to fund Bitcoin development in Africa and India.

Dorsey is funding the new Bitcoin Academy out of his own pocket (as is Jay-Z), but he's also pushed crypto-related charitable endeavors at Block, including a $5 million fund backed by corporate Bitcoin interest.

*This post is a summary. Read full article here*