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Pen Magnet

Pen Magnet

2 months ago

Why Google Staff Doesn't Work

More on Productivity

Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi

Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi

2 months ago

The Only Paid Resources I Turn to as a Solopreneur

Image by the author

4 Pricey Tools That Are Valuable

I pay based on ROI (return on investment).

If a $20/month tool or $500 online course doubles my return, I'm in.

Investing helps me build wealth.

Canva Pro

I initially refused to pay.

My course content needed updating a few months ago. My Google Docs text looked cleaner and more professional in Canva.

I've used it to:

  • product cover pages

  • eBook covers

  • Product page infographics

See my Google Sheets vs. Canva product page graph.

Google Sheets vs Canva

Yesterday, I used it to make a LinkedIn video thumbnail. It took less than 5 minutes and improved my video.

Image by the author via canva

In 30 hours, the video had 39,000 views.

Here's more.

HypeFury

Hypefury rocks!

It builds my brand as I sleep. What else?

Because I'm traveling this weekend, I planned tweets for 10 days. It took me 80 minutes.

So while I travel or am absent, my content mill keeps producing.

Also I like:

  • I can reach hundreds of people thanks to auto-DMs. I utilize it to advertise freebies; for instance, leave an emoji remark to receive my checklist. And they automatically receive a message in their DM.

  • Scheduled Retweets: By appearing in a different time zone, they give my tweet a second chance.

It helps me save time and expand my following, so that's my favorite part.

It’s also super neat:

Image by the author

Zoom Pro

My course involves weekly and monthly calls for alumni.

Google Meet isn't great for group calls. The interface isn't great.

Zoom Pro is expensive, and the monthly payments suck, but it's necessary.

It gives my students a smooth experience.

Previously, we'd do 40-minute meetings and then reconvene.

Zoom's free edition limits group calls to 40 minutes.

This wouldn't be a good online course if I paid hundreds of dollars.

So I felt obligated to help.

YouTube Premium

My laptop has an ad blocker.

I bought an iPad recently.

When you're self-employed and work from home, the line between the two blurs. My bed is only 5 steps away!

When I read or watched videos on my laptop, I'd slide into work mode. Only option was to view on phone, which is awkward.

YouTube premium handles it. No more advertisements and I can listen on the move.

3 Expensive Tools That Aren't Valuable

Marketing strategies are sometimes aimed to make you feel you need 38474 cool features when you don’t.

Certain tools are useless.

I found it useless.

Depending on your needs. As a writer and creator, I get no return.

They could for other jobs.

Shield Analytics

It tracks LinkedIn stats, like:

  • follower growth

  • trend chart for impressions

  • Engagement, views, and comment stats for posts

  • and much more.

Middle-tier creator costs $12/month.

I got a 25% off coupon but canceled my free trial before writing this. It's not worth the discount.

Why?

LinkedIn provides free analytics. See:

Screenshot by the author

Not thorough and won't show top posts.

I don't need to see my top posts because I love experimenting with writing.

Slack Premium

Slack was my classroom. Slack provided me a premium trial during the prior cohort.

I skipped it.

Sure, voice notes are better than a big paragraph. I didn't require pro features.

Marketing methods sometimes make you think you need 38474 amazing features. Don’t fall for it.

Calendly Pro

This may be worth it if you get many calls.

I avoid calls. During my 9-5, I had too many pointless calls.

I don't need:

  • ability to schedule calls for 15, 30, or 60 minutes: I just distribute each link separately.

  • I have a Gumroad consultation page with a payment option.

  • follow-up emails: I hardly ever make calls, so

  • I just use one calendar, therefore I link to various calendars.

I'll admit, the integrations are cool. Not for me.

If you're a coach or consultant, the features may be helpful. Or book meetings.

Conclusion

Investing is spending to make money.

Use my technique — put money in tools that help you make money. This separates it from being an investment instead of an expense.

Try free versions of these tools before buying them since everyone else is.

The woman

The woman

3 months ago

I received a $2k bribe to replace another developer in an interview

I can't believe they’d even think it works!

Photo by Brett Jordan

Developers are usually interviewed before being hired, right? Every organization wants candidates who meet their needs. But they also want to avoid fraud.

There are cheaters in every field. Only two come to mind for the hiring process:

  • Lying on a resume.

  • Cheating on an online test.

Recently, I observed another one. One of my coworkers invited me to replace another developer during an online interview! I was astonished, but it’s not new.

The specifics

My ex-colleague recently texted me. No one from your former office will ever approach you after a year unless they need something.

Which was the case. My coworker said his wife needed help as a programmer. I was glad someone asked for my help, but I'm still a junior programmer.

Then he informed me his wife was selected for a fantastic job interview. He said he could help her with the online test, but he needed someone to help with the online interview.

Okay, I guess. Preparing for an online interview is beneficial. But then he said she didn't need to be ready. She needed someone to take her place.

I told him it wouldn't work. Every remote online interview I've ever seen required an open camera.

What followed surprised me. She'd ask to turn off the camera, he said.

I asked why.

He told me if an applicant is unwell, the interviewer may consider an off-camera interview. His wife will say she's sick and prefers no camera.

The plan left me speechless. I declined politely. He insisted and promised $2k if she got the job.

I felt insulted and told him if he persisted, I'd inform his office. I was furious. Later, I apologized and told him to stop.

I'm not sure what they did after that

I'm not sure if they found someone or listened to me. They probably didn't. How would she do the job if she even got it?

It's an internship, he said. With great pay, though. What should an intern do?

I suggested she do the interview alone. Even if she failed, she'd gain confidence and valuable experience.

Conclusion

Many interviewees cheat. My profession is vital to me, thus I'd rather improve my abilities and apply honestly. It's part of my identity.

Am I truthful? Most professionals are not. They fabricate their CVs. Often.

When you support interview cheating, you encourage more cheating! When someone cheats, another qualified candidate may not obtain the job.

One day, that could be you or me.

Alex Mathers

Alex Mathers

3 months ago

8 guidelines to help you achieve your objectives 5x fast

Follow Alex’s Instagram for more of his drawings and bonus ideas.

If you waste time every day, even though you're ambitious, you're not alone.

Many of us could use some new time-management strategies, like these:

Focus on the following three.

You're thinking about everything at once.

You're overpowered.

It's mental. We just have what's in front of us. So savor the moment's beauty.

Prioritize 1-3 things.

To be one of the most productive people you and I know, follow these steps.

Get along with boredom.

Many of us grow bored, sweat, and turn on Netflix.

We shout, "I'm rarely bored!" Look at me! I'm happy.

Shut it, Sally.

You're not making wonderful things for the world. Boredom matters.

If you can sit with it for a second, you'll get insight. Boredom? Breathe.

Go blank.

Then watch your creativity grow.

Check your MacroVision once more.

We don't know what to do with our time, which contributes to time-wasting.

Nobody does, either. Jeff Bezos won't hand-deliver that crap to you.

Daily vision checks are required.

Also:

What are 5 things you'd love to create in the next 5 years?

You're soul-searching. It's food.

Return here regularly, and you'll adore the high you get from doing valuable work.

Improve your thinking.

What's Alex's latest nonsense?

I'm talking about overcoming our own thoughts. Worrying wastes so much time.

Too many of us are assaulted by lies, myths, and insecurity.

Stop letting your worries massage you into a worried coma like a Thai woman.

Optimizing your thoughts requires accepting what you can't control.

It means letting go of unhelpful thoughts and returning to the moment.

Keep your blood sugar level.

I gave up gluten, donuts, and sweets.

This has really boosted my energy.

Blood-sugar-spiking carbs make us irritable and tired.

These day-to-day ups and downs aren't productive. It's crucial.

Know how your diet affects insulin levels. Now I have more energy and can do more without clenching my teeth.

Reduce harmful carbs to boost energy.

Create a focused setting for yourself.

When we optimize the mind, we have more energy and use our time better because we're not tense.

Changing our environment can also help us focus. Disabling alerts is one example.

Too hot makes me procrastinate and irritable.

List five items that hinder your productivity.

You may be amazed at how much you may improve by removing distractions.

Be responsible.

Accountability is a time-saver.

Creating an emotional pull to finish things.

Writing down our goals makes us accountable.

We can engage a coach or work with an accountability partner to feel horrible if we don't show up and finish on time.

Hey Jake, I’m going to write 1000 words every day for 30 days — you need to make sure I do.’ ‘Sure thing, Nathan, I’ll be making sure you check in daily with me.’

Tick.

You might also blog about your ambitions to show your dedication.

Now you can't hide when you promised to appear.

Acquire a liking for bravery.

Boldness changes everything.

I sometimes feel lazy and wonder why. If my food and sleep are in order, I should assess my footing.

Most of us live backward. Doubtful. Uncertain. Feelings govern us.

Backfooting isn't living. It's lame, and you'll soon melt. Live boldly now.

Be assertive.

Get disgustingly into everything. Expand.

Even if it's hard, stop being a b*tch.

Those that make Mr. Bold Bear their spirit animal benefit. Save time to maximize your effect.

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Matthew O'Riordan

Matthew O'Riordan

3 months ago

Trends in SaaS Funding from 2016 to 2022

Christopher Janz of Point Nine Capital created the SaaS napkin in 2016. This post shows how founders have raised cash in the last 6 years. View raw data.

Round size

Unsurprisingly, round sizes have expanded and will taper down in 2022. In 2016, pre-seed rounds were $200k to $500k; currently, they're $1-$2m. Despite the macroeconomic scenario, Series A have expanded from $3m to $12m in 2016 to $6m and $18m in 2022.

Generated from raw data for Seed to Series B from 2016–2022

Valuation

There are hints that valuations are rebounding this year. Pre-seed valuations in 2022 are $12m from $3m in 2016, and Series B prices are $270m from $100m in 2016.

Generated from raw data for Seed to Series B from 2016–2022

Compared to public SaaS multiples, Series B valuations more closely reflect the market, but Seed and Series A prices seem to be inflated regardless of the market.

Source: CapitalIQ as of 13-May-2022

I'd like to know how each annual cohort performed for investors, based on the year they invested and the valuations. I can't access this information.

ARR

Seed firms' ARR forecasts have risen from $0 to $0.6m to $0 to $1m. 2016 expected $1.2m to $3m, 2021 $0.5m to $4m, and this year $0.5m to $2.5m, suggesting that Series A firms may raise with less ARR today. Series B minutes fell from $4.2m to $3m.

Generated from raw data for Seed to Series B from 2016–2022

Capitalization Rate

2022 is the year that VCs start discussing capital efficiency in portfolio meetings. Given the economic shift in the markets and the stealthy VC meltdown, it's not surprising. Christopher Janz added capital efficiency to the SaaS Napkin as a new statistic for Series A (3.5x) and Series B. (2.5x). Your investors must live under a rock if they haven't asked about capital efficiency. If you're unsure:

The Capital Efficiency Ratio is the ratio of how much a company has spent growing revenue and how much they’re receiving in return. It is the broadest measure of company effectiveness in generating ARR

What next?

No one knows what's next, including me. All startup and growing enterprises around me are tightening their belts and extending their runways in anticipation of a difficult fundraising ride. If you're wanting to raise money but can wait, wait till the market is more stable and access to money is easier.

Jennifer Tieu

Jennifer Tieu

8 months ago

Why I Love Azuki


Azuki Banner (www.azuki.com)

Disclaimer: This is my personal viewpoint. I'm not on the Azuki team. Please keep in mind that I am merely a fan, community member, and holder. Please do your own research and pardon my grammar. Thanks!

Azuki has changed my view of NFTs.

When I first entered the NFT world, I had no idea what to expect. I liked the idea. So I invested in some projects, fought for whitelists, and discovered some cool NFTs projects (shout-out to CATC). I lost more money than I earned at one point, but I hadn't invested excessively (only put in what you can afford to lose). Despite my losses, I kept looking. I almost waited for the “ah-ha” moment. A NFT project that changed my perspective on NFTs. What makes an NFT project more than a work of art?

Answer: Azuki.

The Art

The Azuki art drew me in as an anime fan. It looked like something out of an anime, and I'd never seen it before in NFT.
The project was still new. The first two animated teasers were released with little fanfare, but I was impressed with their quality. You can find them on Instagram or in their earlier Tweets.

The teasers hinted that this project could be big and that the team could deliver. It was amazing to see Shao cut the Azuki posters with her katana. Especially at the end when she sheaths her sword and the music cues. Then the live action video of the young boy arranging the Azuki posters seemed movie-like. I felt like I was entering the Azuki story, brand, and dope theme.

The team did not disappoint with the Azuki NFTs. The level of detail in the art is stunning. There were Azukis of all genders, skin and hair types, and more. These 10,000 Azukis have so much representation that almost anyone can find something that resonates. Rather than me rambling on, I suggest you visit the Azuki gallery

The Team

If the art is meant to draw you in and be the project's face, the team makes it more. The NFT would be a JPEG without a good team leader. Not that community isn't important, but no community would rally around a bad team.

Because I've been rugged before, I'm very focused on the team when considering a project. While many project teams are anonymous, I try to find ones that are doxxed (public) or at least appear to be established. Unlike Azuki, where most of the Azuki team is anonymous, Steamboy is public. He is (or was) Overwatch's character art director and co-creator of Azuki. I felt reassured and could trust the project after seeing someone from a major game series on the team.

Then I tried to learn as much as I could about the team. Following everyone on Twitter, reading their tweets, and listening to recorded AMAs. I was impressed by the team's professionalism and dedication to their vision for Azuki, led by ZZZAGABOND.
I believe the phrase “actions speak louder than words” applies to Azuki. I can think of a few examples of what the Azuki team has done, but my favorite is ERC721A.

With ERC721A, Azuki has created a new algorithm that allows minting multiple NFTs for essentially the same cost as minting one NFT.

I was ecstatic when the dev team announced it. This fascinates me as a self-taught developer. Azuki released a product that saves people money, improves the NFT space, and is open source. It showed their love for Azuki and the NFT community.

The Community

Community, community, community. It's almost a chant in the NFT space now. A community, like a team, can make or break a project. We are the project's consumers, shareholders, core, and lifeblood. The team builds the house, and we fill it. We stay for the community.
When I first entered the Azuki Discord, I was surprised by the calm atmosphere. There was no news about the project. No release date, no whitelisting requirements. No grinding or spamming either. People just wanted to hangout, get to know each other, and talk. It was nice. So the team could pick genuine people for their mintlist (aka whitelist).
But nothing fundamental has changed since the release. It has remained an authentic, fun, and helpful community. I'm constantly logging into Discord to chat with others or follow conversations. I see the community's openness to newcomers. Everyone respects each other (barring a few bad apples) and the variety of people passing through is fascinating. This human connection and interaction is what I enjoy about this place. Being a part of a group that supports a cause.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing Azuki mod team and the kissaten channel for their contributions.

The Brand

So, what sets Azuki apart from other projects? They are shaping a brand or identity. The Azuki website, I believe, best captures their vision. (This is me gushing over the site.)

If you go to the website, turn on the dope playlist in the bottom left. The playlist features a mix of Asian and non-Asian hip-hop and rap artists, with some lo-fi thrown in. The songs on the playlist change, but I think you get the vibe Azuki embodies just by turning on the music.
The Garden is our next stop where we are introduced to Azuki.

A brand.

We're creating a new brand together.
A metaverse brand. By the people.
A collection of 10,000 avatars that grant Garden membership. It starts with exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events, and more. Azuki allows for a new media genre that the world has yet to discover. Let's build together an Azuki, your metaverse identity.
The Garden is a magical internet corner where art, community, and culture collide. The boundaries between the physical and digital worlds are blurring.
Try a Red Bean.

The text begins with Azuki's intention in the space. It's a community-made metaverse brand. Then it goes into more detail about Azuki's plans. Initiation of a story or journey. "Would you like to take the red bean and jump down the rabbit hole with us?" I love the Matrix red pill or blue pill play they used. (Azuki in Japanese means red bean.)

Morpheus, the rebel leader, offers Neo the choice of a red or blue pill in The Matrix. “You take the blue pill... After the story, you go back to bed and believe whatever you want. Your red pill... Let me show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Aware that the red pill will free him from the enslaving control of the machine-generated dream world and allow him to escape into the real world, he takes it. However, living the “truth of reality” is harsher and more difficult.

It's intriguing and draws you in. Taking the red bean causes what? Where am I going? I think they did well in piqueing a newcomer's interest.
Not convinced by the Garden? Read the Manifesto. It reinforces Azuki's role.

Here comes a new wave…
And surfing here is different.
Breaking down barriers.
Building open communities.
Creating magic internet money with our friends.
To those who don’t get it, we tell them: gm.
They’ll come around eventually.
Here’s to the ones with the courage to jump down a peculiar rabbit hole.
One that pulls you away from a world that’s created by many and owned by few…
To a world that’s created by more and owned by all.
From The Garden come the human beans that sprout into your family.
We rise together.
We build together.
We grow together.
Ready to take the red bean?

Not to mention the Mindmap, it sets Azuki apart from other projects and overused Roadmaps. I like how the team recognizes that the NFT space is not linear. So many of us are still trying to figure it out. It is Azuki's vision to adapt to changing environments while maintaining their values. I admire their commitment to long-term growth.

Conclusion

To be honest, I have no idea what the future holds. Azuki is still new and could fail. But I'm a long-term Azuki fan. I don't care about quick gains. The future looks bright for Azuki. I believe in the team's output. I love being an Azuki.
Thank you! IKUZO!

Full post here

Tim Denning

Tim Denning

1 day ago

Read These Books on Personal Finance to Boost Your Net Worth

And retire sooner.

Photo by Karlie Mitchell on Unsplash

Books can make you filthy rich.

If you apply what you learn. In 2011, I was broke and had broken dreams.

Someone suggested I read finance books. One Up On Wall Street was his first recommendation.

Finance books were my crack.

I've read every money book since then. Some are good, but most stink.

These books will make you rich.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

This isn't a cliche book.

This book was inspired by a How to Get Rich tweet thread.

It’s one of the best tweets I’ve ever read.

Naval thinks differently. He nukes ordinary ideas. I've never heard better money advice.

Eric Jorgenson wrote a book about this tweet thread with Navals permission. A must-read, easy-to-digest book.

Best quote

Seek wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep. Money is how we transfer time and wealth. Status is your place in the social hierarchy — Naval

Morgan Housel's The Psychology of Money

Many finance books advise investing like a dunce.

They almost all peddle the buy an index fund BS. Different book.

It's about money-making psychology. Because any fool can get rich and drunk on their ego. Few can consistently make money.

Each chapter is short. A single-page chapter breaks all book publishing rules.

Best quote

Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money — Morgan Housel

J.L. Collins' The Simple Path to Wealth

Most of the best money books were written by bloggers.

JL Collins blogs. This easy-to-read book was written for his daughter.

This book popularized the phrase F You Money. With enough money in your bank account and investment portfolio, you can say F You more.

A bad boss is an example. You can leave instead of enduring his wrath.

You can then sit at home and look for another job while financially secure. JL says its mind-freedom is powerful.

Best phrasing

You own the things you own and they in turn own you — J.L. Collins

Tony Robbins' Unshakeable

I like Tony. This book makes me sweaty.

Tony interviews the world's top financiers. He interviews people who rarely do so.

This book taught me all-weather portfolio. It's a way to invest in different asset classes in good, bad, recession, or depression times.

Look at it:

Image Credit-RayDalio/OptimizedPortfolio

Investing isn’t about buying one big winner — that’s gambling. It’s about investing in a diversified portfolio of assets.

Best phrasing

The best opportunities come in times of maximum pessimism — Tony Robbins

Ben Graham's The Intelligent Investor

This book helped me distinguish between a spectator and an investor.

Spectators are those who shout that crypto, NFTs, or XYZ platform will die.

Tourists. They want attention and to say "I told you so." They make short-term and long-term predictions like fortunetellers. LOL. Idiots.

Benjamin Graham teaches smart investing. You'll buy a long-term asset. To be confident in recessions, use dollar-cost averaging.

Best phrasing

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — Benjamin Graham

The Napoleon Hill book Think and Grow Rich

This classic book introduced positive thinking to modern self-help.

Lazy pessimists can't become rich. No way.

Napoleon said, "Thoughts create reality."

No surprise that he discusses obsession and focus in this book. They are the fastest ways to make more money to invest in time and wealth-protecting assets.

Best phrasing

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat — Napoleon Hill

Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You To Be Rich

This book is mostly good.  The part about credit cards is trash.

Avoid credit card temptations. I don't care about their airline points.

This book teaches you to master money basics (that many people mess up) then automate it so your monkey brain doesn't ruin your financial future.

The book includes great negotiation tactics to help you make more money in less time.

Best quote

The 85 Percent Solution: Getting started is more important than becoming an expert — Ramit Sethi

David Bach's The Automatic Millionaire

You've probably met a six- or seven-figure earner who's broke. All their money goes to useless things like cars.

Money isn't as essential as what you do with it. David teaches how to automate your earnings for more money.

Compounding works once investing is automated. So you get rich.

His strategy eliminates luck and (almost) guarantees millionaire status.

Best phrasing

Every time you earn one dollar, make sure to pay yourself first — David Bach

Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Next Door

Thomas defies the definition of rich.

He spends much of the book highlighting millionaire traits he's studied.

Rich people are quiet, so you wouldn't know they're wealthy. They don't earn much money or drive a BMW.

Thomas will give you the math to get started.

Best phrasing

I am not impressed with what people own. But I’m impressed with what they achieve. I’m proud to be a physician. Always strive to be the best in your field…. Don’t chase money. If you are the best in your field, money will find you. — Thomas J. Stanley

by Bill Perkins "Die With Zero"

Let’s end with one last book.

Bill's book angered many people. He says we spend too much time saving for retirement and die rich. That bank money is lost time.

Your grandkids could use the money. When children inherit money, they become lazy, entitled a-holes.

Bill wants us to spend our money on life-enhancing experiences. Stop saving money like monopoly monkeys.

Best phrasing

You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal — Bill Perkins