More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
1 year 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.
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.
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.
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.
1 year ago
Your Ideal Position As a Part-Time Creator
Inspired by someone I never met
Inspiration is good and bad.
Paul Jarvis inspires me. He's a web person and writer who created his own category by being himself.
Paul said no thank you when everyone else was developing, building, and assuming greater responsibilities. This isn't success. He rewrote the rules. Working for himself, expanding at his own speed, and doing what he loves were his definitions of success.
Play with a problem that you have
The biggest problem can be not recognizing a problem.
Acceptance without question is deception. When you don't push limits, you forget how. You start thinking everything must be as it is.
For example: working. Paul worked a 9-5 agency work with little autonomy. He questioned whether the 9-5 was a way to live, not the way.
Another option existed. So he chipped away at how to live in this new environment.
Don't simply jump
Internet writers tell people considering quitting 9-5 to just quit. To throw in the towel. To do what you like.
The advice is harmful, despite the good intentions. People think quitting is hard. Like courage is the issue. Like handing your boss a resignation letter.
Nope. The tough part comes after. It’s easy to jump. Landing is difficult.
Paul didn't quit. Intelligent individuals don't. Smart folks focus on landing. They imagine life after 9-5.
Paul had been a web developer for a long time, had solid clients, and was respected. Hence if he pushed the limits and discovered another route, he had the potential to execute.
Working on the side
Society loves polarization. It’s left or right. Either way. Or chaos. It's 9-5 or entrepreneurship.
But like Paul, you can stretch polarization's limits. In-between exists.
You can work a 9-5 and side jobs (as I do). A mix of your favorites. The 9-5's stability and creativity. Fire and routine.
Remember you can't have everything but anything. You can create and work part-time.
My hybrid lifestyle
Not selling books doesn't destroy my world. My globe keeps spinning if my new business fails or if people don't like my Tweets. Unhappy algorithm? Cool. I'm not bothered (okay maybe a little).
The mix gives me the best of both worlds. To create, hone my skill, and grasp big-business basics. I like routine, but I also appreciate spending 4 hours on Saturdays writing.
Some days I adore leaving work at 5 pm and disconnecting. Other days, I adore having a place to write if inspiration strikes during a run or a discussion.
I’m a part-time creator
I’m a part-time creator. No, I'm not trying to quit. I don't work 5 pm - 2 am on the side. No, I'm not at $10,000 MRR.
I work part-time but enjoy my 9-5. My 9-5 has goodies. My side job as well.
It combines both to meet my lifestyle. I'm satisfied.
Join the Part-time Creators Club for free here. I’ll send you tips to enhance your creative game.
11 months ago
Why Now Is Your Chance To Create A Millionaire Career
People don’t believe in influencers anymore; they need people like you.
Social media influencers have dominated for years. We've seen videos, images, and articles of *famous* individuals unwrapping, reviewing, and endorsing things.
This industry generates billions. This year, marketers spent $2.23 billion on Instagram, $1 million on Youtube, and $775 million on Tiktok. This marketing has helped start certain companies.
Influencers are dying, so ordinary people like us may take over this billion-dollar sector. Why?
Why influencers are perishing
Most influencers lie to their fans, especially on Instagram. Influencers' first purpose was to make their lives so flawless that others would want to buy their stuff.
In 2015, an Australian influencer with 600,000 followers went viral for revealing all her photos and everything she did to seem great before deleting her account.
“I dramatically edited the pictures, I manipulated the environements, and made my life look perfect in social media… I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation … This was the reason why I quit social media: for me, personally, it consumed me. I wasn’t living in a 3D world.”
Influencers then lost credibility.
Influencers seem to live in a bubble, separate from us. Thanks to self-popularity love's and constant awareness campaigns, people find these people ridiculous.
Influencers are praised more for showing themselves as natural and common than for showing luxuries and lies.
Little by little, they are dying, making room for a new group to take advantage of this multi-million dollar business, which gives us (ordinary people) a big opportunity to grow on any content creation platform we want.
Why this is your chance to develop on any platform for creating content
In 2021, I wrote “Not everyone who talks about money is a Financial Advisor, be careful of who you take advice from,”. In it, I warned that not everyone with a large following is a reputable source of financial advice.
Other writers hated this post and said I was wrong.
People don't want Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk's counsel, they said. They prefer to hear about their neighbor's restroom problems or his closest friend's terrible business.
Real advice from regular folks.
And I found this was true when I returned to my independent YouTube channel and had more than 1000 followers after having abandoned it with fewer than 30 videos in 2021 since there were already many personal finance and travel channels and I thought mine wasn't special.
People appreciated my videos because I was a 20-something girl trying to make money online, and they believed my advice more than that of influencers with thousands of followers.
I think today is the greatest time to grow on any platform as an ordinary person. Normal individuals give honest recommendations about what works for them and look easier to make because they have the same options as us.
Nobody cares how a millionaire acquired a Lamborghini unless it's entertaining. Education works now. Real counsel from average people is replicable.
Many individuals don't appreciate how false influencers seem (unreal bodies and excessive surgery and retouching) since it makes them feel uneasy.
That's why body-positive advertisements have been so effective, but they've lost ground in places like Tiktok, where the audience wants more content from everyday people than influencers living amazing lives. More people will relate to your content if you appear genuine.
Influencers are dwindling. People want more real people to give real advice and demonstrate an ordinary life.
People will enjoy anything you tell about your daily life as long as you provide value, and you can build a following rapidly if you're honest.
This is a millionaire industry that is getting more expensive and will go with what works, so stand out immediately.
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10 months ago
The country of El Salvador's Bitcoin-obsessed president lost $61.6 million.
It’s only a loss if you sell, right?
Nayib Bukele proclaimed himself “the world’s coolest dictator”.
His jokes aren't clear.
El Salvador's 43rd president self-proclaimed “CEO of El Salvador” couldn't be less presidential.
His thin jeans, aviator sunglasses, and baseball caps like a cartel lord.
He's popular, though.
Bukele won 53% of the vote by fighting violent crime and opposition party corruption.
El Salvador's 6.4 million inhabitants are riding the cryptocurrency volatility wave.
They were powerless.
Their autocratic leader, a former Yamaha Motors salesperson and Bitcoin believer, wants to help 70% unbanked locals.
He intended to give the citizens a way to save money and cut the country's $200 million remittance cost.
Transfer and deposit costs.
This makes logical sense when the president’s theatrics don’t blind you.
El Salvador's Bukele revealed plans to make bitcoin legal tender.
Remittances total $5.9 billion (23%) of the country's expenses.
Anything that reduces costs could boost the economy.
The country’s unbanked population is staggering. Here’s the data by % of people who either have a bank account (Blue) or a mobile money account (Black).
According to Bukele, 46% of the population has downloaded the Chivo Bitcoin Wallet.
In 2021, 36% of El Salvadorans had bank accounts.
Large rural countries like Kenya seem to have resolved their unbanked dilemma.
An economy surfaced where village locals would sell, trade and store network minutes and data as a store of value.
Kenyan phone networks realized unbanked people needed a safe way to accumulate wealth and have an emergency fund.
96% of Kenyans utilize M-PESA, which doesn't require a bank account.
The software involves human agents who hang out with cash and a phone.
These people are like ATMs.
You offer them cash to deposit money in your mobile money account or withdraw cash.
In a country with a faulty banking system, cash availability and a safe place to deposit it are important.
William Jack and Tavneet Suri found that M-PESA brought 194,000 Kenyan households out of poverty by making transactions cheaper and creating a safe store of value.
Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by most Kenyan households. We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty.
The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behaviour — in particular, increased financial resilience and saving. Mobile money has therefore increased the efficiency of the allocation of consumption over time while allowing a more efficient allocation of labour, resulting in a meaningful reduction of poverty in Kenya.
Currently, El Salvador has 2,301 Bitcoin.
At publication, it's worth $44 million. That remains 41% of Bukele's original $105.6 million.
Unknown if the country has sold Bitcoin, but Bukeles keeps purchasing the dip.
It's still falling.
This might be a fantastic move for the impoverished country over the next five years, if they can live economically till Bitcoin's price recovers.
The evidence demonstrates that a store of value pulls individuals out of poverty, but others say Bitcoin is premature.
You may regard it as an aggressive endeavor to front run the next wave of adoption, offering El Salvador a financial upside.
8 months ago
Why Do Websites Have the Same Design?
My kids redesigned the internet because it lacks inventiveness.
Internet today is bland. Everything is generic: fonts, layouts, pages, and visual language. Microtypography is messy.
Web design today seems dictated by technical and ideological constraints rather than creativity and ideas. Text and graphics are in containers on every page. All design is assumed.
Ironically, web technologies can design a lot. We can execute most designs. We make shocking, evocative websites. Experimental typography, generating graphics, and interactive experiences are possible.
Even designer websites use containers in containers. Dribbble and Behance, the two most popular creative websites, are boring. Lead image.
How did this happen?
Several reasons. WordPress and other blogging platforms use templates. These frameworks build web pages by combining graphics, headlines, body content, and videos. Not designs, templates. These rules combine related data types. These platforms don't let users customize pages beyond the template. You filled the template.
Templates are content-neutral. Thus, the issue.
Form should reflect and shape content, which is a design principle. Separating them produces content containers. Templates have no design value.
One of the fundamental principles of design is a deep and meaningful connection between form and content.
Designers may also be lazy. Mobile-first, generic, framework-driven development tends to ignore web page visual and contextual integrity.
How can we overcome this? How might expressive and avant-garde websites look today?
Rediscovering the past helps design the future.
'90s-era web design
At the University of the Arts Bremen's research and development group, I created my first website 23 years ago. Web design was trendy. Young web. Pages inspired me.
We struggled with HTML in the mid-1990s. Arial, Times, and Verdana were the only web-safe fonts. Anything exciting required table layouts, monospaced fonts, or GIFs. HTML was originally content-driven, thus we had to work against it to create a page.
Experimental typography was booming. Designers challenged the established quo from Jan Tschichold's Die Neue Typographie in the twenties to April Greiman's computer-driven layouts in the eighties. By the mid-1990s, an uncommon confluence of technological and cultural breakthroughs enabled radical graphic design. Irma Boom, David Carson, Paula Scher, Neville Brody, and others showed it.
Early web pages were dull compared to graphic design's aesthetic explosion. The Web Design Museum shows this.
Nobody knew how to conduct browser-based graphic design. Web page design was undefined. No standards. No CMS (nearly), CSS, JS, video, animation.
Now is as good a time as any to challenge the internet’s visual conformity.
Our imagination, not technology, restricts web design. We're too conformist to aesthetics, economics, and expectations.
Crisis generates opportunity. Challenge online visual conformity now. I'm too old and bourgeois to develop a radical, experimental, and cutting-edge website. I can ask my students.
I taught web design at the Potsdam Interface Design Programme in 2017. Each team has to redesign a website. Create expressive, inventive visual experiences on the browser. Create with contemporary web technologies. Avoid usability, readability, and flexibility concerns. Act. Ignore Erwartungskonformität.
The class outcome pleased me. This overview page shows all results. Four diverse projects address the challenge.
1. ZKM by Frederic Haase and Jonas Köpfer
Frederic and Jonas began their experiments on the ZKM website. The ZKM is Germany's leading media art exhibition location, but its website remains conventional. It's useful but not avant-garde like the shows' art.
Frederic and Jonas designed the ZKM site's concept, aesthetic language, and technical configuration to reflect the museum's progressive approach. A generative design engine generates new layouts for each page load.
2. Streem by Daria Thies, Bela Kurek, and Lucas Vogel
Street art magazine Streem. It promotes new artists and societal topics. Streem includes artwork, painting, photography, design, writing, and journalism. Daria, Bela, and Lucas used these influences to develop a conceptual metropolis. They designed four neighborhoods to reflect magazine sections for their prototype. For a legible city, they use powerful illustrative styles and spatial typography.
3. Medium by Amelie Kirchmeyer and Fabian Schultz
Amelie and Fabian structured. Instead of developing a form for a tale, they dissolved a web page into semantic, syntactical, and statistical aspects. HTML's flexibility was their goal. They broke Medium posts into experimental typographic space.
4. Hacker News by Fabian Dinklage and Florian Zia
Florian and Fabian made Hacker News interactive. The social networking site aggregates computer science and IT news. Its voting and debate features are extensive despite its simple style. Fabian and Florian transformed the structure into a typographic timeline and network area. News and comments sequence and connect the visuals. To read Hacker News, they connected their design to the API. Hacker News makeover.
Communication is not legibility, said Carson. Apply this to web design today. Modern websites must be legible, usable, responsive, and accessible. They shouldn't limit its visual palette. Visual and human-centered design are not stereotypes.
I want radical, generative, evocative, insightful, adequate, content-specific, and intelligent site design. I want to rediscover web design experimentation. More surprises please. I hope the web will appear different in 23 years.
Update: this essay has sparked a lively discussion! I wrote a brief response to the debate's most common points: Creativity vs. Usability
1 year ago
Instagram NFTs Are Here… How does this affect artists?
Instagram (IG) is officially joining NFT. With the debut of new in-app NFT functionalities, influential producers can interact with blockchain tech on the social media platform.
Meta unveiled intentions for an Instagram NFT marketplace in March, but these latest capabilities focus more on content sharing than commerce. And why shouldn’t they? IG's entry into the NFT market is overdue, given that Twitter and Discord are NFT hotspots.
The NFT marketplace/Web3 social media race has continued to expand, with the expected Coinbase NFT Beta now live and blazing a trail through the NFT ecosystem.
IG's focus is on visual art. It's unlike any NFT marketplace or platform. IG NFTs and artists: what's the deal? Let’s take a look.
What are Instagram’s NFT features anyways?
As said, not everyone has Instagram's new features. 16 artists, NFT makers, and collectors can now post NFTs on IG by integrating third-party digital wallets (like Rainbow or MetaMask) in-app. IG doesn't charge to publish or share digital collectibles.
NFTs displayed on the app have a "shimmer" aesthetic effect. NFT posts also have a "digital collectable" badge that lists metadata such as the creator and/or owner, the platform it was created on, a brief description, and a blockchain identification.
Meta's social media NFTs have launched on Instagram, but the company is also preparing to roll out digital collectibles on Facebook, with more on the way for IG. Currently, only Ethereum and Polygon are supported, but Flow and Solana will be added soon.
How will artists use these new features?
Artists are publishing NFTs they developed or own on IG by linking third-party digital wallets. These features have no NFT trading aspects built-in, but are aimed to let authors share NFTs with IG audiences.
Creators, like IG-native aerial/street photographer Natalie Amrossi (@misshattan), are discovering novel uses for IG NFTs.
Amrossi chose to not only upload his own NFTs but also encourage other artists in the field. "That's the beauty of connecting your wallet and sharing NFTs. It's not just what you make, but also what you accumulate."
Amrossi has been producing and posting Instagram art for years. With IG's NFT features, she can understand Instagram's importance in supporting artists.
Web2 offered Amrossi the tools to become an artist and make a life. "Before 'influencer' existed, I was just making art. Instagram helped me reach so many individuals and brands, giving me a living.
Even artists without millions of viewers are encouraged to share NFTs on IG. Wilson, a relatively new name in the NFT space, seems to have already gone above and beyond the scope of these new IG features. By releasing "Losing My Mind" via IG NFT posts, she has evaded the lack of IG NFT commerce by using her network to market her multi-piece collection.
"'Losing My Mind' is a long-running photo series. Wilson was preparing to release it as NFTs before IG approached him, so it was a perfect match.
Wilson says the series is about Black feminine figures and media depiction. Respectable effort, given POC artists have been underrepresented in NFT so far.
“Over the past year, I've had mental health concerns that made my emotions so severe it was impossible to function in daily life, therefore that prompted this photo series. Every Wednesday and Friday for three weeks, I'll release a new Meta photo for sale.
Wilson hopes these new IG capabilities will help develop a connection between the NFT community and other internet subcultures that thrive on Instagram.
“NFTs can look scary as an outsider, but seeing them on your daily IG feed makes it less foreign,” adds Wilson. I think Instagram might become a hub for NFT aficionados, making them more accessible to artists and collectors.
What does it all mean for the NFT space?
Meta's NFT and metaverse activities will continue to impact Instagram's NFT ecosystem. Many think it will be for the better, as IG NFT frauds are another problem hurting the NFT industry.
IG's new NFT features seem similar to Twitter's PFP NFT verifications, but Instagram's tools should help cut down on scams as users can now verify the creation and ownership of whole NFT collections included in IG posts.
Given the number of visual artists and NFT creators on IG, it might become another hub for NFT fans, as Wilson noted. If this happens, it raises questions about Instagram success. Will artists be incentivized to distribute NFTs? Or will those with a large fanbase dominate?
Elise Swopes (@swopes) believes these new features should benefit smaller artists. Swopes was one of the first profiles placed to Instagram's original suggested user list in 2012.
Swopes says she wants IG to be a magnet for discovery and understands the value of NFT artists and producers.
"I'd love to see IG become a focus of discovery for everyone, not just the Beeples and Apes and PFPs. That's terrific for them, but [IG NFT features] are more about using new technology to promote emerging artists, Swopes added.
“Especially music artists. It's everywhere. Dancers, writers, painters, sculptors, musicians. My element isn't just for digital artists; it can be anything. I'm delighted to witness people's creativity."
Swopes, Wilson, and Amrossi all believe IG's new features can help smaller artists. It remains to be seen how these new features will effect the NFT ecosystem once unlocked for the rest of the IG NFT community, but we will likely see more social media NFT integrations in the months and years ahead.
Read the full article here