More on Technology
2 months ago
The World Will Change With MIT's New Battery
It's cheaper, faster charging, longer lasting, safer, and better for the environment.
Batteries are the future. Next-gen and planet-saving technology, including solar power and EVs, require batteries. As these smart technologies become more popular, we find that our batteries can't keep up. Lithium-ion batteries are expensive, slow to charge, big, fast to decay, flammable, and not environmentally friendly. MIT just created a new battery that eliminates all of these problems. So, is this the battery of the future? Or is there a catch?
When I say entirely new, I mean it. This battery employs no currently available materials. Its electrodes are constructed of aluminium and pure sulfur instead of lithium-complicated ion's metals and graphite. Its electrolyte is formed of molten chloro-aluminate salts, not an organic solution with lithium salts like lithium-ion batteries.
How does this change in materials help?
Aluminum, sulfur, and chloro-aluminate salts are abundant, easy to acquire, and cheap. This battery might be six times cheaper than a lithium-ion battery and use less hazardous mining. The world and our wallets will benefit.
But don’t go thinking this means it lacks performance.
This battery charged in under a minute in tests. At 25 degrees Celsius, the battery will charge 25 times slower than at 110 degrees Celsius. This is because the salt, which has a very low melting point, is in an ideal state at 110 degrees and can carry a charge incredibly quickly. Unlike lithium-ion, this battery self-heats when charging and discharging, therefore no external heating is needed.
Anyone who's seen a lithium-ion battery burst might be surprised. Unlike lithium-ion batteries, none of the components in this new battery can catch fire. Thus, high-temperature charging and discharging speeds pose no concern.
These batteries are long-lasting. Lithium-ion batteries don't last long, as any iPhone owner can attest. During charging, metal forms a dendrite on the electrode. This metal spike will keep growing until it reaches the other end of the battery, short-circuiting it. This is why phone batteries only last a few years and why electric car range decreases over time. This new battery's molten salt slows deposition, extending its life. This helps the environment and our wallets.
These batteries are also energy dense. Some lithium-ion batteries have 270 Wh/kg energy density (volume and mass). Aluminum-sulfur batteries could have 1392 Wh/kg, according to calculations. They'd be 5x more energy dense. Tesla's Model 3 battery would weigh 96 kg instead of 480 kg if this battery were used. This would improve the car's efficiency and handling.
These calculations were for batteries without molten salt electrolyte. Because they don't reflect the exact battery chemistry, they aren't a surefire prediction.
This battery seems great. It will take years, maybe decades, before it reaches the market and makes a difference. Right?
Nope. The project's scientists founded Avanti to develop and market this technology.
So we'll soon be driving cheap, durable, eco-friendly, lightweight, and ultra-safe EVs? Nope.
This battery must be kept hot to keep the salt molten; otherwise, it won't work and will expand and contract, causing damage. This issue could be solved by packs that can rapidly pre-heat, but that project is far off.
Rapid and constant charge-discharge cycles make these batteries ideal for solar farms, homes, and EV charging stations. The battery is constantly being charged or discharged, allowing it to self-heat and maintain an ideal temperature.
These batteries aren't as sexy as those making EVs faster, more efficient, and cheaper. Grid batteries are crucial to our net-zero transition because they allow us to use more low-carbon energy. As we move away from fossil fuels, we'll need millions of these batteries, so the fact that they're cheap, safe, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly will be huge. Who knows, maybe EVs will use this technology one day. MIT has created another world-changing technology.
2 months ago
The Apple iPhone 14 Pill is Easier to Swallow
Is iPhone's Dynamic Island invention or a marketing ploy?
First of all, why the notch?
When Apple debuted the iPhone X with the notch, some were surprised, confused, and amused by the goof. Let the Brits keep the new meaning of top-notch.
Apple removed the bottom home button to enhance screen space. The tides couldn't overtake part of the top. This section contained sensors, a speaker, a microphone, and cameras for facial recognition. A town resisted Apple's new iPhone design.
From iPhone X to 13, the notch has gotten smaller. We expected this as technology and engineering progressed, but we hated the notch. Apple approved. They attached it to their other gadgets.
Apple accepted, owned, and ran with the iPhone notch, it has become iconic (or infamous); and that’s intentional.
The Island Where Apple Is
Apple needs to separate itself, but they know how to do it well. The iPhone 14 Pro finally has us oohing and aahing. Life-changing, not just higher pixel density or longer battery.
Dynamic Island turned a visual differentiation into great usefulness, which may not be life-changing. Apple always welcomes the controversy, whether it's $700 for iMac wheels, no charging block with a new phone, or removing the headphone jack.
Apple knows its customers will be loyal, even if they're irritated. Their odd design choices often cause controversy. It's calculated that people blog, review, and criticize Apple's products. We accept what works for them.
While the competition zigs, Apple zags. Sometimes they zag too hard and smash into a wall, but we talk about it anyways, and that’s great publicity for them.
Getting Dependent on the drug
The notch became a crop. Dynamic Island's design is helpful, intuitive, elegant, and useful. It increases iPhone usability, productivity (slightly), and joy. No longer unsightly.
The medication helps with multitasking. It's a compact version of the iPhone's Live Activities lock screen function. Dynamic Island enhances apps and activities with visual effects and animations whether you engage with it or not. As you use the pill, its usefulness lessens. It lowers user notifications and consolidates them with live and permanent feeds, delivering quick app statuses. It uses the black pixels on the iPhone 14's display, which looked like a poor haircut.
The pill may be a gimmick to entice customers to use more Apple products and services. Apps may promote to their users like a live billboard.
Be prepared to get a huge dose of Dynamic Island’s “pill” like you never had before with the notch. It might become so satisfying and addicting to use, that every interaction with it will become habit-forming, and you’re going to forget that it ever existed.
WARNING: A Few Potential Side Effects
Vision blurred Dynamic Island's proximity to the front-facing camera may leave behind grease that blurs photos. Before taking a selfie, wipe the camera clean.
Strained thumb To fully use Dynamic Island, extend your thumb's reach 6.7 inches beyond your typical, comfortable range.
Happiness, contentment The Dynamic Island may enhance Endorphins and Dopamine. Multitasking, interactions, animations, and haptic feedback make you want to use this function again and again.
Motion-sickness Dynamic Island's motions and effects may make some people dizzy. If you can disable animations, you can avoid motion sickness.
I'm not a doctor, therefore they aren't established adverse effects.
Does Dynamic Island Include Multiple Tasks?
Dynamic Islands is a placebo for multitasking. Apple might have compromised on iPhone multitasking. It won't make you super productive, but it's a step up.
iPhone is primarily for personal use, like watching videos, messaging friends, sending money to friends, calling friends about the money you were supposed to send them, taking 50 photos of the same leaf, investing in crypto, driving for Uber because you lost all your money investing in crypto, listening to music and hailing an Uber from a deserted crop field because while you were driving for Uber your passenger stole your car and left you stranded, so you used Apple’s new SOS satellite feature to message your friend, who still didn’t receive their money, to hail you an Uber; now you owe them more money… karma?
We won't be watching videos on iPhones while perusing 10,000-row spreadsheets anytime soon. True multitasking and productivity aren't priorities for Apple's iPhone. Apple doesn't to preserve the iPhone's experience. Like why there's no iPad calculator. Apple doesn't want iPad users to do math, but isn't essential for productivity?
Apple will block certain functions so you must buy and use their gadgets and services, immersing yourself in their ecosystem and dictating how to use their goods.
Dynamic Island is a poor man’s multi-task for iPhone, and that’s fine it works for most iPhone users. For substantial productivity Apple prefers you to get an iPad or a MacBook. That’s part of the reason for restrictive features on certain Apple devices, but sometimes it’s based on principles to preserve the integrity of the product, according to Apple’s definition.
Is Apple using deception?
Dynamic Island may be distracting you from a design decision. The answer is kind of. Elegant distraction
When you pull down a smartphone webpage to refresh it or minimize an app, you get seamless animations. It's not simply because it appears better; it's due to iPhone and smartphone processing speeds. Such limits reduce the system's response to your activity, slowing the experience. Designers and developers use animations and effects to distract us from the time lag (most of the time) and sometimes because it looks cooler and smoother.
Dynamic Island makes apps more useable and interactive. It shows system states visually. Turn signal audio and visual cues, voice assistance, physical and digital haptic feedbacks, heads-up displays, fuel and battery level gauges, and gear shift indicators helped us overcome vehicle design problems.
Dynamic Island is a wonderfully delightful (and temporary) solution to a design “problem” until Apple or other companies can figure out a way to sink the cameras under the smartphone screen.
Apple Has Returned to Being an Innovative & Exciting Company
Now Apple's products are exciting. Next, bring back real Apple events, not pre-recorded demos.
Dynamic Island integrates hardware and software. What will this new tech do? How would this affect device use? Or is it just hype?
Dynamic Island may be an insignificant improvement to the iPhone, but it sure is promising for the future of bridging the human and computer interaction gap.
Jussi Luukkonen, MBA
28 days ago
Is Apple Secretly Building A Disruptive Tsunami?
A TECHNICAL THOUGHT
The IT giant is seeding the digital Great Renaissance.
Recently, technology has been dull.
We're still fascinated by processing speeds. Wearables are no longer an engineer's dream.
Apple has been quiet and avoided huge announcements. Slowness speaks something. Everything in the spaceship HQ seems to be turning slowly, unlike competitors around buzzwords.
Is this a sign of the impending storm?
Metas stock has fallen while Google milks dumb people. Microsoft steals money from corporations and annexes platforms like Linkedin.
Just surface bubbles?
Is Apple, one of the technology continents, pushing against all others to create a paradigm shift?
The fundamental human right to privacy
Apple's unusual remarks emphasize privacy. They incorporate it into their business models and judgments.
Apple believes privacy is a human right. There are no compromises.
This makes it hard for other participants to gain Apple's ecosystem's efficiencies.
Other players without hardware platforms lose.
Apple delivers new kidneys without rejection, unlike other software vendors. Nothing compromises your privacy.
Corporate citizenship will become more popular.
Apples have full coffers. They've started using that flow to better communities, which is great.
Apple's $2.5B home investment is one example. Google and Facebook are building or proposing to build workforce housing.
Apple's funding helps marginalized populations in more than 25 California counties, not just Apple employees.
Is this a trend, and does Apple keep giving back? Hope so.
I'm not cynical enough to suspect these investments have malicious motives.
The last frontier is the environment.
Climate change is a battle-to-win.
Long-term winners will be companies that protect the environment, turning climate change dystopia into sustainable growth.
Apple has been quietly changing its supply chain to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
“Apple is dedicated to protecting the planet we all share with solutions that are supporting the communities where we work.” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment.
Apple's $4.7 billion Green Bond investment will produce 1.2 gigawatts of green energy for the corporation and US communities. Apple invests $2.2 billion in Europe's green energy. In the Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Israel, and South Africa, solar installations are helping communities obtain sustainable energy.
Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. -Apple.
Apple invests in green energy and forests to reduce its paper footprint in China and the US. Apple and the Conservation Fund are safeguarding 36,000 acres of US working forest, according to GreenBiz.
Apple's packaging paper is recycled or from sustainably managed forests.
What matters is the scale.
$1 billion is a rounding error for Apple.
These small investments originate from a tree with deep, spreading roots.
Apple's genes are anchored in building the finest products possible to improve consumers' lives.
I felt it when I switched to my iPhone while waiting for a train and had to pack my Macbook. iOS 16 dictation makes writing more enjoyable. Small change boosts productivity. Smooth transition from laptop to small screen and dictation.
Apples' tiny, well-planned steps have great growth potential for all consumers in everything they do.
There is clearly disruption, but it doesn't have to be violent
Digital channels, methods, and technologies have globalized human consciousness. One person's responsibility affects many.
Apple gives us tools to be privately connected. These technologies foster creativity, innovation, fulfillment, and safety.
Apple has invented a mountain of technologies, services, and channels to assist us adapt to the good future or combat evil forces who cynically aim to control us and ruin the environment and communities. Apple has quietly disrupted sectors for decades.
Google, Microsoft, and Meta, among others, should ride this wave. It's a tsunami, but it doesn't have to be devastating if we care, share, and cooperate with political decision-makers and community leaders worldwide.
A fresh Renaissance
Renaissance geniuses Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Different but seeing something no one else could yet see. Both were talented in many areas and could discover art in science and science in art.
These geniuses exemplified a period that changed humanity for the better. They created, used, and applied new, valuable things. It lives on.
Apple is a digital genius orchard. Wozniak and Jobs offered us fertile ground for the digital renaissance. We'll build on their legacy.
We may put our seeds there and see them bloom despite corporate greed and political ignorance.
I think the coming tsunami will illuminate our planet like the Renaissance.
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3 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
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).
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.
1 month ago
After working at seven startups, here are the early-stage characteristics that contributed to profitability, unicorn status or successful acquisition.
I've worked in a People role at seven early-stage firms for over 15 years (I enjoy chasing a dream!). Few of the seven achieved profitability, including unicorn status or acquisition.
Did early-stage startups share anything? Was there a difference between winners and losers? YES.
I support founders and entrepreneurs building financially sustainable enterprises with a compelling cause. This isn't something everyone would do. A company's success demands more than guts. Founders drive startup success.
Six Qualities of Successful Startups
Successful startup founders either innately grasped the correlation between strong team engagement and a well-executed business model, or they knew how to ask and listen to others (executive coaches, other company leaders, the team itself) to learn about it.
1. Co-founders agreed and got along personally.
Multi-founder startups are common. When co-founders agree on strategic decisions and are buddies, there's less friction and politics at work.
As a co-founder, ask your team if you're aligned. They'll explain.
I've seen C-level leaders harbor personal resentments over disagreements. A co-departure founder's caused volatile leadership and work disruptions that the team struggled to manage during and after.
2. Team stayed.
Successful startups have low turnover. Nobody is leaving. There may be a termination for performance, but other team members will have observed the issues and agreed with the decision.
You don't want organizational turnover of 30%+, with leaders citing performance issues but the team not believing them. This breeds suspicion.
Something is wrong if many employees leave voluntarily or involuntarily. You may hear about lack of empowerment, support, or toxic leadership in exit interviews and from the existing team. Intellectual capital loss and resource instability harm success.
3. Team momentum.
A successful startup's team is excited about its progress. Consistently achieving goals and having trackable performance metrics. Some describe this period of productivity as magical, with great talents joining the team and the right people in the right places. Increasing momentum.
I've also seen short-sighted decisions where only some departments, like sales and engineering, had goals. Lack of a unified goals system created silos and miscommunication. Some employees felt apathetic because they didn't know how they contributed to team goals.
4. Employees advanced in their careers.
Even if you haven't created career pathing or professional development programs, early-stage employees will grow and move into next-level roles. If you hire more experienced talent and leaders, expect them to mentor existing team members. Growing companies need good performers.
New talent shouldn't replace and discard existing talent. This creates animosity and makes existing employees feel unappreciated for their early contributions to the company.
5. The company lived its values.
Culture and identity are built on lived values. A company's values affect hiring, performance management, rewards, and other processes. Identify, practice, and believe in company values. Starting with team values instead of management or consultants helps achieve this. When a company's words and actions match, it builds trust.
When company values are beautifully displayed on a wall but few employees understand them, the opposite is true. If an employee can't name the company values, they're useless.
6. Communication was clear.
When necessary information is shared with the team, they feel included, trusted, and like owners. Transparency means employees have the needed information to do their jobs. Disclosure builds trust. The founders answer employees' questions honestly.
Information accessibility decreases office politics. Without transparency, even basic information is guarded and many decisions are made in secret. I've seen founders who don't share financial, board meeting, or compensation and equity information. The founders' lack of trust in the team wasn't surprising, so it was reciprocated.
Finally. All six of the above traits (leadership alignment, minimal turnover, momentum, professional advancement, values, and transparency) were high in the profitable startups I've worked at, including unicorn status or acquisition.
I've seen these as the most common and constant signals of startup success or failure.
These characteristics are the product of founders' choices. These decisions lead to increased team engagement and business execution.
Here's something to consider for startup employees and want-to-bes. 90% of startups fail, despite the allure of building something new and gaining ownership. With the emotional and time investment in startup formation, look for startups with these traits to reduce your risk.
Both you and the startup will thrive in these workplaces.
2 months ago
What is Vitalik Buterin's newest concept, the Soulbound NFT?
Decentralizing Web3's soul
Our tech must reflect our non-transactional connections. Web3 arose from a lack of social links. It must strengthen these linkages to get widespread adoption. Soulbound NFTs help.
This NFT creates digital proofs of our social ties. It embodies G. Simmel's idea of identity, in which individuality emerges from social groups, just as social groups evolve from people.
It's multipurpose. First, gather online our distinctive social features. Second, highlight and categorize social relationships between entities and people to create a spiderweb of networks.
1. 🌐 Reducing online manipulation: Only socially rich or respectable crypto wallets can participate in projects, ensuring that no one can create several wallets to influence decentralized project governance.
2. 🤝 Improving social links: Some sectors of society lack social context. Racism, sexism, and homophobia do that. Public wallets can help identify and connect distinct social groupings.
3. 👩❤️💋👨 Increasing pluralism: Soulbound tokens can ensure that socially connected wallets have less voting power online to increase pluralism. We can also overweight a minority of numerous voices.
4. 💰Making more informed decisions: Taking out an insurance policy requires a life review. Why not loans? Character isn't limited by income, and many people need a chance.
5. 🎶 Finding a community: Soulbound tokens are accessible to everyone. This means we can find people who are like us but also different. This is probably rare among your friends and family.
NFTs are dangerous, and I don't like them. Social credit score, privacy, lost wallet. We must stay informed and keep talking to innovators.
E. Glen Weyl, Puja Ohlhaver and Vitalik Buterin get all the credit for these ideas, having written the very accessible white paper “Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul”.