Integrity
Write
Loading...
Glorin Santhosh

Glorin Santhosh

1 year ago

Start organizing your ideas by using The Second Brain.

More on Personal Growth

Hudson Rennie

Hudson Rennie

1 year ago

My Work at a $1.2 Billion Startup That Failed

Sometimes doing everything correctly isn't enough.

Image via: glassdoor.com licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 2020, I could fix my life.

After failing to start a business, I owed $40,000 and had no work.

A $1.2 billion startup on the cusp of going public pulled me up.

Ironically, it was getting ready for an epic fall — with the world watching.

Life sometimes helps. Without a base, even the strongest fall. A corporation that did everything right failed 3 months after going public.

First-row view.

Apple is the creator of Adore.

Out of respect, I've altered the company and employees' names in this account, despite their failure.

Although being a publicly traded company, it may become obvious.

We’ll call it “Adore” — a revolutionary concept in retail shopping.

Two Apple execs established Adore in 2014 with a focus on people-first purchasing.

Jon and Tim:

  • The concept for the stylish Apple retail locations you see today was developed by retail expert Jon Swanson, who collaborated closely with Steve Jobs.

  • Tim Cruiter is a graphic designer who produced the recognizable bouncing lamp video that appears at the start of every Pixar film.

The dynamic duo realized their vision.

“What if you could combine the convenience of online shopping with the confidence of the conventional brick-and-mortar store experience.”

Adore's mobile store concept combined traditional retail with online shopping.

Adore brought joy to 70+ cities and 4 countries over 7 years, including the US, Canada, and the UK.

Being employed on the ground floor, with world dominance and IPO on the horizon, was exciting.

I started as an Adore Expert.

I delivered cell phones, helped consumers set them up, and sold add-ons.

As the company grew, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator and trained new employees across North America using Zoom.

In this capacity, I gained corporate insider knowledge. I worked with the creative team and Jon and Tim.

Image via Instagram: @goenjoy

It's where I saw company foundation fissures. Despite appearances, investors were concerned.

The business strategy was ground-breaking.

Even after seeing my employee stocks fall from a home down payment to $0 (when Adore filed for bankruptcy), it's hard to pinpoint what went wrong.

Solid business model, well-executed.

Jon and Tim's chase for public funding ended in glory.

Here’s the business model in a nutshell:

Buying cell phones is cumbersome. You have two choices:

  1. Online purchase: not knowing what plan you require or how to operate your device.

  2. Enter a store, which can be troublesome and stressful.

Apple, AT&T, and Rogers offered Adore as a free delivery add-on. Customers could:

  • Have their phone delivered by UPS or Canada Post in 1-2 weeks.

  • Alternately, arrange for a person to visit them the same day (or sometimes even the same hour) to assist them set up their phone and demonstrate how to use it (transferring contacts, switching the SIM card, etc.).

Each Adore Expert brought a van with extra devices and accessories to customers.

Happy customers.

Here’s how Adore and its partners made money:

Adores partners appreciated sending Experts to consumers' homes since they improved customer satisfaction, average sale, and gadget returns.

**Telecom enterprises have low customer satisfaction. The average NPS is 30/100. Adore's global NPS was 80.

Adore made money by:

  • a set cost for each delivery

  • commission on sold warranties and extras

Consumer product applications seemed infinite.

A proprietary scheduling system (“The Adore App”), allowed for same-day, even same-hour deliveries.

It differentiates Adore.

They treated staff generously by:

  • Options on stock

  • health advantages

  • sales enticements

  • high rates per hour

Four-day workweeks were set by experts.

Being hired early felt like joining Uber, Netflix, or Tesla. We hoped the company's stocks would rise.

Exciting times.

I smiled as I greeted more than 1,000 new staff.

I spent a decade in retail before joining Adore. I needed a change.

After a leap of faith, I needed a lifeline. So, I applied for retail sales jobs in the spring of 2019.

The universe typically offers you what you want after you accept what you need. I needed a job to settle my debt and reach $0 again.

And the universe listened.

After being hired as an Adore Expert, I became a Virtual Learning Facilitator. Enough said.

After weeks of economic damage from the pandemic.

This employment let me work from home during the pandemic. It taught me excellent business skills.

I was active in brainstorming, onboarding new personnel, and expanding communication as we grew.

This job gave me vital skills and a regular paycheck during the pandemic.

It wasn’t until January of 2022 that I left on my own accord to try to work for myself again — this time, it’s going much better.

Adore was perfect. We valued:

  • Connection

  • Discovery

  • Empathy

Everything we did centered on compassion, and we held frequent Justice Calls to discuss diversity and work culture.

The last day of onboarding typically ended in tears as employees felt like they'd found a home, as I had.

Like all nice things, the wonderful vibes ended.

First indication of distress

My first day at the workplace was great.

Fun, intuitive, and they wanted creative individuals, not salesman.

While sales were important, the company's vision was more important.

“To deliver joy through life-changing mobile retail experiences.”

Thorough, forward-thinking training. We had a module on intuition. It gave us role ownership.

We were flown cross-country for training, gave feedback, and felt like we made a difference. Multiple contacts responded immediately and enthusiastically.

The atmosphere was genuine.

Making money was secondary, though. Incredible service was a priority.

Jon and Tim answered new hires' questions during Zoom calls during onboarding. CEOs seldom meet new hires this way, but they seemed to enjoy it.

All appeared well.

But in late 2021, things started changing.

Adore's leadership changed after its IPO. From basic values to sales maximization. We lost communication and were forced to fend for ourselves.

Removed the training wheels.

It got tougher to gain instructions from those above me, and new employees told me their roles weren't as advertised.

External money-focused managers were hired.

Instead of creative types, we hired salespeople.

With a new focus on numbers, Adore's uniqueness began to crumble.

Via Zoom, hundreds of workers were let go.

So.

Early in 2022, mass Zoom firings were trending. A CEO firing 900 workers over Zoom went viral.

Adore was special to me, but it became a headline.

30 June 2022, Vice Motherboard published Watch as Adore's CEO Fires Hundreds.

It described a leaked video of Jon Swanson laying off all staff in Canada and the UK.

They called it a “notice of redundancy”.

The corporation couldn't pay its employees.

I loved Adore's underlying ideals, among other things. We called clients Adorers and sold solutions, not add-ons.

But, like anything, a company is only as strong as its weakest link. And obviously, the people-first focus wasn’t making enough money.

There were signs. The expansion was presumably a race against time and money.

Adore finally declared bankruptcy.

Adore declared bankruptcy 3 months after going public. It happened in waves, like any large-scale fall.

  • Initial key players to leave were

  • Then, communication deteriorated.

  • Lastly, the corporate culture disintegrated.

6 months after leaving Adore, I received a letter in the mail from a Law firm — it was about my stocks.

Adore filed Chapter 11. I had to sue to collect my worthless investments.

I hoped those stocks will be valuable someday. Nope. Nope.

Sad, I sighed.

$1.2 billion firm gone.

I left the workplace 3 months before starting a writing business. Despite being mediocre, I'm doing fine.

I got up as Adore fell.

Finally, can we scale kindness?

I trust my gut. Changes at Adore made me leave before it sank.

Adores' unceremonious slide from a top startup to bankruptcy is astonishing to me.

The company did everything perfectly, in my opinion.

  • first to market,

  • provided excellent service

  • paid their staff handsomely.

  • was responsible and attentive to criticism

The company wasn't led by an egotistical eccentric. The crew had centuries of cumulative space experience.

I'm optimistic about the future of work culture, but is compassion scalable?

Tom Connor

Tom Connor

1 year ago

12 mental models that I use frequently

https://tomconnor.me/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/10x-Engineer-Mental-Models.pdf

https://tomconnor.me/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/10x-Engineer-Mental-Models.pdf

I keep returning to the same mental models and tricks after writing and reading about a wide range of topics.

Top 12 mental models

12.

Survival bias - We perceive the surviving population as remarkable, yet they may have gotten there through sheer grit.

Survivorship bias affects us in many situations. Our retirement fund; the unicorn business; the winning team. We often study and imitate the last one standing. This can lead to genuine insights and performance improvements, but it can also lead us astray because the leader may just be lucky.

Bullet hole density of returning planes — A strike anywhere else was fatal…

11.

The Helsinki Bus Theory - How to persevere Buss up!

Always display new work, and always be compared to others. Why? Easy. Keep riding. Stay on the fucking bus.

10.

Until it sticks… Turning up every day… — Artists teach engineers plenty. Quality work over a career comes from showing up every day and starting.

Austin Kleon

9.

WRAP decision making process (Heath Brothers)

Decision-making WRAP Model:

W — Widen your Options

R — Reality test your assumptions

A — Attain Distance

P — Prepare to be wrong or Right

8.

Systems for knowledge worker excellence - Todd Henry and Cal Newport write about techniques knowledge workers can employ to build a creative rhythm and do better work.

Todd Henry's FRESH framework:

  1. Focus: Keep the start in mind as you wrap up.

  2. Relationships: close a loop that's open.

  3. Pruning is an energy.

  4. Set aside time to be inspired by stimuli.

  5. Hours: Spend time thinking.

7.

Black Box Thinking…..

BBT is learning from mistakes. Science has transformed the world because it constantly updates its theories in light of failures. Complexity guarantees failure. Do we learn or self-justify?

6.

The OODA Loop - Competitive advantage

OODA LOOP

O: Observe: collect the data. Figure out exactly where you are, what’s happening.

O: Orient: analyze/synthesize the data to form an accurate picture.

D: Decide: select an action from possible options

A: Action: execute the action, and return to step (1)

Boyd's approach indicates that speed and agility are about information processing, not physical reactions. They form feedback loops. More OODA loops improve speed.

5.

Know your Domain 

Leaders who try to impose order in a complex situation fail; those who set the stage, step back, and allow patterns to develop win.

https://vimeo.com/640941172?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=11999906

4.

The Three Critical Gaps

  • Information Gap - The discrepancy between what we know and what we would like to know

  • Gap in Alignment - What individuals actually do as opposed to what we wish them to do

  • Effects Gap - the discrepancy between our expectations and the results of our actions

Adapted from Stephen Bungay

3.

Theory of Constraints — The Goal  - To maximize system production, maximize bottleneck throughput.

  • Goldratt creates a five-step procedure:

  1. Determine the restriction

  2. Improve the restriction.

  3. Everything else should be based on the limitation.

  4. Increase the restriction

  5. Go back to step 1 Avoid letting inertia become a limitation.

Any non-constraint improvement is an illusion.

2.

Serendipity and the Adjacent Possible - Why do several amazing ideas emerge at once? How can you foster serendipity in your work?

You need specialized abilities to reach to the edge of possibilities, where you can pursue exciting tasks that will change the world. Few people do it since it takes a lot of hard work. You'll stand out if you do.

Most people simply lack the comfort with discomfort required to tackle really hard things. At some point, in other words, there’s no way getting around the necessity to clear your calendar, shut down your phone, and spend several hard days trying to make sense of the damn proof.

1.

Boundaries of failure - Rasmussen's accident model.

Rasmussen’s System Model

Rasmussen modeled this. It has economic, workload, and performance boundaries.

The economic boundary is a company's profit zone. If the lights are on, you're within the economic boundaries, but there's pressure to cut costs and do more.

Performance limit reflects system capacity. Taking shortcuts is a human desire to minimize work. This is often necessary to survive because there's always more labor.

Both push operating points toward acceptable performance. Personal or process safety, or equipment performance.

If you exceed acceptable performance, you'll push back, typically forcefully.

James White

James White

1 year ago

Ray Dalio suggests reading these three books in 2022.

An inspiring reading list

Wikimedia Commons

I'm no billionaire or hedge-fund manager. My bank account doesn't have millions. Ray Dalio's love of reading motivates me to think differently.

Here are some books recommended by Ray Dalio. Each influenced me. Hope they'll help you.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Page Count: 512
Rating on Goodreads: 4.39

My favorite nonfiction book.

Sapiens explores human evolution. It explains how Homo Sapiens developed from hunter-gatherers to a dominant species. Amazing!

Sapiens will teach you about human history. Yuval Noah Harari has a follow-up book on human evolution.

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • The tendency for luxuries to turn into necessities and give rise to new obligations is one of history's few unbreakable laws.

  • Happiness is not dependent on material wealth, physical health, or even community. Instead, it depends on how closely subjective expectations and objective circumstances align.

  • The romantic comparison between today's industry, which obliterates the environment, and our forefathers, who coexisted well with nature, is unfounded. Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for eradicating the most plant and animal species even before the Industrial Revolution. The unfortunate distinction of being the most lethal species in the history of life belongs to us.

The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Page Count: 375
Rating on Goodreads: 4.13

Great book: The Power Of Habit. It illustrates why habits are everything. The book explains how healthier habits can improve your life, career, and society.

The Power of Habit rocks. It's a great book on productivity. Its suggestions helped me build healthier behaviors (and drop bad ones).

Read ASAP!

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • Change may not occur quickly or without difficulty. However, almost any behavior may be changed with enough time and effort.

  • People who exercise begin to eat better and produce more at work. They are less smokers and are more patient with friends and family. They claim to feel less anxious and use their credit cards less frequently. A fundamental habit that sparks broad change is exercise.

  • Habits are strong but also delicate. They may develop independently of our awareness or may be purposefully created. They frequently happen without our consent, but they can be altered by changing their constituent pieces. They have a much greater influence on how we live than we realize; in fact, they are so powerful that they cause our brains to adhere to them above all else, including common sense.

Tribe Of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

Page Count: 561
Rating on Goodreads: 4.06

Unusual book structure. It's worth reading if you want to learn from successful people.

The book is Q&A-style. Tim questions everyone. Each chapter features a different person's life-changing advice. In the book, Pressfield, Willink, Grylls, and Ravikant are interviewed.

Amazing!

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • According to one's courage, life can either get smaller or bigger.

  • Don't engage in actions that you are aware are immoral. The reputation you have with yourself is all that constitutes self-esteem. Always be aware.

  • People mistakenly believe that focusing means accepting the task at hand. However, that is in no way what it represents. It entails rejecting the numerous other worthwhile suggestions that exist. You must choose wisely. Actually, I'm just as proud of the things we haven't accomplished as I am of what I have. Saying no to 1,000 things is what innovation is.

You might also like

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

2 years ago

YouTube

This is a YouTube video:

mbvissers.eth

mbvissers.eth

1 year ago

Why does every smart contract seem to implement ERC165?

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

ERC165 (or EIP-165) is a standard utilized by various open-source smart contracts like Open Zeppelin or Aavegotchi.

What's it? You must implement? Why do we need it? I'll describe the standard and answer any queries.

What is ERC165

ERC165 detects and publishes smart contract interfaces. Meaning? It standardizes how interfaces are recognized, how to detect if they implement ERC165, and how a contract publishes the interfaces it implements. How does it work?

Why use ERC165? Sometimes it's useful to know which interfaces a contract implements, and which version.

Identifying interfaces

An interface function's selector. This verifies an ABI function. XORing all function selectors defines an interface in this standard. The following code demonstrates.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: UNLICENCED
pragma solidity >=0.8.0 <0.9.0;

interface Solidity101 {
    function hello() external pure;
    function world(int) external pure;
}

contract Selector {
    function calculateSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.hello.selector ^ i.world.selector;
        // Returns 0xc6be8b58
    }

    function getHelloSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.hello.selector;
        // Returns 0x19ff1d21
    }

    function getWorldSelector() public pure returns (bytes4) {
        Solidity101 i;
        return i.world.selector;
        // Returns 0xdf419679
    }
}

This code isn't necessary to understand function selectors and how an interface's selector can be determined from the functions it implements.

Run that sample in Remix to see how interface function modifications affect contract function output.

Contracts publish their implemented interfaces.

We can identify interfaces. Now we must disclose the interfaces we're implementing. First, import IERC165 like so.

pragma solidity ^0.4.20;

interface ERC165 {
    /// @notice Query if a contract implements an interface
    /// @param interfaceID The interface identifier, as specified in ERC-165
    /// @dev Interface identification is specified in ERC-165. 
    /// @return `true` if the contract implements `interfaceID` and
    ///  `interfaceID` is not 0xffffffff, `false` otherwise
    function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceID) external view returns (bool);
}

We still need to build this interface in our smart contract. ERC721 from OpenZeppelin is a good example.

// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
// OpenZeppelin Contracts (last updated v4.5.0) (token/ERC721/ERC721.sol)

pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "./IERC721.sol";
import "./extensions/IERC721Metadata.sol";
import "../../utils/introspection/ERC165.sol";
// ...

contract ERC721 is Context, ERC165, IERC721, IERC721Metadata {
  // ...

  function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId) public view virtual override(ERC165, IERC165) returns (bool) {
    return
      interfaceId == type(IERC721).interfaceId ||
      interfaceId == type(IERC721Metadata).interfaceId ||
      super.supportsInterface(interfaceId);
  }
  
  // ...
}

I deleted unnecessary code. The smart contract imports ERC165, IERC721 and IERC721Metadata. The is keyword at smart contract declaration implements all three.

Kind (interface).

Note that type(interface).interfaceId returns the same as the interface selector.

We override supportsInterface in the smart contract to return a boolean that checks if interfaceId is the same as one of the implemented contracts.

Super.supportsInterface() calls ERC165 code. Checks if interfaceId is IERC165.

function supportsInterface(bytes4 interfaceId) public view virtual override returns (bool) {
    return interfaceId == type(IERC165).interfaceId;
}

So, if we run supportsInterface with an interfaceId, our contract function returns true if it's implemented and false otherwise. True for IERC721, IERC721Metadata, andIERC165.

Conclusion

I hope this post has helped you understand and use ERC165 and why it's employed.

Have a great day, thanks for reading!

Antonio Neto

Antonio Neto

2 years ago

What's up with tech?

Massive Layoffs, record low VC investment, debate over crash... why is it happening and what’s the endgame?

This article generalizes a diverse industry. For objectivity, specific tech company challenges like growing competition within named segments won't be considered. Please comment on the posts.

According to Layoffs.fyi, nearly 120.000 people have been fired from startups since March 2020. More than 700 startups have fired 1% to 100% of their workforce. "The tech market is crashing"

Venture capital investment dropped 19% QoQ in the first four months of 2022, a 2018 low. Since January 2022, Nasdaq has dropped 27%. Some believe the tech market is collapsing.

It's bad, but nothing has crashed yet. We're about to get super technical, so buckle up!

I've written a follow-up article about what's next. For a more optimistic view of the crisis' aftermath, see: Tech Diaspora and Silicon Valley crisis

What happened?

Insanity reigned. Last decade, everyone became a unicorn. Seed investments can be made without a product or team. While the "real world" economy suffered from the pandemic for three years, tech companies enjoyed the "new normal."

COVID sped up technology adoption on several fronts, but this "new normal" wasn't so new after many restrictions were lifted. Worse, it lived with disrupted logistics chains, high oil prices, and WW3. The consumer market has felt the industry's boom for almost 3 years. Inflation, unemployment, mental distress...what looked like a fast economic recovery now looks like unfulfilled promises.

People rethink everything they eat. Paying a Netflix subscription instead of buying beef is moronic if you can watch it for free on your cousin’s account. No matter how great your real estate app's UI is, buying a house can wait until mortgage rates drop. PLGProduct Led Growth (PLG) isn't the go-to strategy when consumers have more basic expense priorities.

Exponential growth and investment

Until recently, tech companies believed that non-exponential revenue growth was fatal. Exponential growth entails doing more with less. From Salim Ismail words:

An Exponential Organization (ExO) has 10x the impact of its peers.

Many tech companies' theories are far from reality.

Investors have funded (sometimes non-exponential) growth. Scale-driven companies throw people at problems until they're solved. Need an entire closing team because you’ve just bought a TV prime time add? Sure. Want gold-weight engineers to colorize buttons? Why not?

Tech companies don't need cash flow to do it; they can just show revenue growth and get funding. Even though it's hard to get funding, this was the market's momentum until recently.

The graph at the beginning of this section shows how industry heavyweights burned money until 2020, despite being far from their market-share seed stage. Being big and being sturdy are different things, and a lot of the tech startups out there are paper tigers. Without investor money, they have no foundation.

A little bit about interest rates

Inflation-driven high interest rates are said to be causing tough times. Investors would rather leave money in the bank than spend it (I myself said it some days ago). It’s not wrong, but it’s also not that simple.

The USA central bank (FED) is a good proxy of global economics. Dollar treasury bonds are the safest investment in the world. Buying U.S. debt, the only country that can print dollars, guarantees payment.

The graph above shows that FED interest rates are low and 10+ year bond yields are near 2018 levels. Nobody was firing at 2018. What’s with that then?

Full explanation is too technical for this article, so I'll just summarize: Bond yields rise due to lack of demand or market expectations of longer-lasting inflation. Safe assets aren't a "easy money" tactic for investors. If that were true, we'd have seen the current scenario before.

Long-term investors are protecting their capital from inflation.

Not a crash, a landing

I bombarded you with info... Let's review:

  • Consumption is down, hurting revenue.

  • Tech companies of all ages have been hiring to grow revenue at the expense of profit.

  • Investors expect inflation to last longer, reducing future investment gains.

Inflation puts pressure on a wheel that was rolling full speed not long ago. Investment spurs hiring, growth, and more investment. Worried investors and consumers reduce the cycle, and hiring follows.

Long-term investors back startups. When the invested company goes public or is sold, it's ok to burn money. What happens when the payoff gets further away? What if all that money sinks? Investors want immediate returns.

Why isn't the market crashing? Technology is not losing capital. It’s expecting change. The market realizes it threw moderation out the window and is reversing course. Profitability is back on the menu.

People solve problems and make money, but they also cost money. Huge cost for the tech industry. Engineers, Product Managers, and Designers earn up to 100% more than similar roles. Businesses must be careful about who they keep and in what positions to avoid wasting money.

What the future holds

From here on, it's all speculation. I found many great articles while researching this piece. Some are cited, others aren't (like this and this). We're in an adjustment period that may or may not last long.

Big companies aren't laying off many workers. Netflix firing 100 people makes headlines, but it's only 1% of their workforce. The biggest seem to prefer not hiring over firing.

Smaller startups beyond the seeding stage may be hardest hit. Without structure or product maturity, many will die.

I expect layoffs to continue for some time, even at Meta or Amazon. I don't see any industry names falling like they did during the .com crisis, but the market will shrink.

If you are currently employed, think twice before moving out and where to.
If you've been fired, hurry, there are still many opportunities.
If you're considering a tech career, wait.
If you're starting a business, I respect you. Good luck.