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Pen Magnet

Pen Magnet

1 year ago

Why Google Staff Doesn't Work

More on Productivity

Ethan Siegel

Ethan Siegel

1 year ago

How you view the year will change after using this one-page calendar.

The conventional way we display annual calendars, at left, requires us to examine each month separately, either relegating the full year to a tiny font on a single page or onto 12 separate pages. Instead, the one-page calendar, at right, enables you to find whatever you want all throughout the year. (Credit: E. Siegel, with a public domain conventional calendar at left)

No other calendar is simpler, smaller, and reusable year after year. It works and is used here.

Most of us discard and replace our calendars annually. Each month, we move our calendar ahead another page, thus if we need to know which day of the week corresponds to a given day/month combination, we have to calculate it or flip forward/backward to the corresponding month. Questions like:

  • What day does this year's American Thanksgiving fall on?

  • Which months contain a Friday the thirteenth?

  • When is July 4th? What day of the week?

  • Alternatively, what day of the week is Christmas?

They're hard to figure out until you switch to the right month or look up all the months.

However, mathematically, the answers to these questions or any question that requires matching the day of the week with the day/month combination in a year are predictable, basic, and easy to work out. If you use this one-page calendar instead of a 12-month calendar, it lasts the whole year and is easy to alter for future years. Let me explain.

Rather than a calendar displaying separate images for each month out of the year, this one-page calendar can be used to match up the day of the week with the dates/months of the year with perfect accuracy all in a single view. (Credit: E. Siegel)

The 2023 one-page calendar is above. The days of the month are on the lower left, which works for all months if you know that:

  • There are 31 days in January, March, May, July, August, October, and December.

  • All of the months of April, June, September, and November have 30 days.

  • And depending on the year, February has either 28 days (in non-leap years) or 29 days (in leap years).

If you know this, this calendar makes it easy to match the day/month of the year to the weekday.

Here are some instances. American Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. You'll always know the month and day of the week, but the date—the day in November—changes each year.

On any other calendar, you'd have to flip to November to see when the fourth Thursday is. This one-page calendar only requires:

  • pick the month of November in the top-right corner to begin.

  • drag your finger down until Thursday appears,

  • then turn left and follow the monthly calendar until you reach the fourth Thursday.

To find American Thanksgiving, you need to find the 4th Thursday in November. Using the one-page calendar, start at November, move down to find Thursday, then move to the left to count off to the fourth Thursday in November. In 2023, that date will be November 23rd. (Credit: E. Siegel)

It's obvious: 2023 is the 23rd American Thanksgiving. For every month and day-of-the-week combination, start at the month, drag your finger down to the desired day, and then move to the left to see which dates match.

What if you knew the day of the week and the date of the month, but not the month(s)?

A different method using the same one-page calendar gives the answer. Which months have Friday the 13th this year? Just:

  • begin on the 13th of the month, the day you know you desire,

  • then swipe right with your finger till Friday appears.

  • and then work your way up until you can determine which months the specific Friday the 13th falls under.

If you know which date/day-of-the-week combination you’re seeking but don’t know which months will meet that criteria, start with the date (1–31), move to the right until you find the day of the week you want, then move up and find which months match that criteria. Every year will always have at least one such combination. (Credit: E. Siegel)

One Friday the 13th occurred in January 2023, and another will occur in October.

The most typical reason to consult a calendar is when you know the month/day combination but not the day of the week.

Compared to single-month calendars, the one-page calendar excels here. Take July 4th, for instance. Find the weekday here:

  • beginning on the left on the fourth of the month, as you are aware,

  • also begin with July, the month of the year you are most familiar with, at the upper right,

  • you should move your two fingers in the opposite directions till they meet: on a Tuesday in 2023.

That's how you find your selected day/month combination's weekday.

If you were curious as to which day of the week July 4th, 2023 fell on, rather than flipping a conventional calendar to July and seeing, you could trace “4” to the right and “July” down, finding where they meet (on a Tuesday) revealing the day-of-the-week. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Another example: Christmas. Christmas Day is always December 25th, however unless your conventional calendar is open to December of your particular year, a question like "what day of the week is Christmas?" difficult to answer.

Unlike the one-page calendar!

Remember the left-hand day of the month. Top-right, you see the month. Put two fingers, one from each hand, on the date (25th) and the month (December). Slide the day hand to the right and the month hand downwards until they touch.

They meet on Monday—December 25, 2023.

Using the one-page calendar for 2023, you can figure out the day-of-the-week of any calendar day by placing one finger on the “date” at left and another on the “month” at top. By moving your fingers respectively to the right and down, where they meet will reveal the day of the week to you. (Credit: E. Siegel)

For 2023, that's fine, but what happens in 2024? Even worse, what if we want to know the day-of-the-week/day/month combo many years from now?

I think the one-page calendar shines here.

Except for the blue months in the upper-right corner of the one-page calendar, everything is the same year after year. The months also change in a consistent fashion.

Each non-leap year has 365 days—one more than a full 52 weeks (which is 364). Since January 1, 2023 began on a Sunday and 2023 has 365 days, we immediately know that December 31, 2023 will conclude on a Sunday (which you can confirm using the one-page calendar) and that January 1, 2024 will begin on a Monday. Then, reorder the months for 2024, taking in mind that February will have 29 days in a leap year.

This image shows the one-page calendar view for the next leap year we’re going to experience: 2024. Note that the monthly patterns have changed from how they were in a non-leap year, displaying a new pattern unique to leap years, corresponding to the fact that February has 29 days instead of 28. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Please note the differences between 2023 and 2024 month placement. In 2023:

  • October and January began on the same day of the week.

  • On the following Monday of the week, May began.

  • August started on the next day,

  • then the next weekday marked the start of February, March, and November, respectively.

  • Unlike June, which starts the following weekday,

  • While September and December start on the following day of the week,

  • Lastly, April and July start one extra day later.

Since 2024 is a leap year, February has 29 days, disrupting the rhythm. Month placements change to:

  • The first day of the week in January, April, and July is the same.

  • October will begin the following day.

  • Possibly starting the next weekday,

  • February and August start on the next weekday,

  • beginning on the following day of the week between March and November,

  • beginning the following weekday in June,

  • and commencing one more day of the week after that, September and December.

Due to the 366-day leap year, 2025 will start two days later than 2024 on January 1st.

The non-leap year 2025 has the same calendar as 2023, expect with the days-of-the-week that each month begins on shifted forward by three days for each month. This is because 2023 was not a leap year and 2024 was, meaning that an extra 3 days are needed over and above the 104 full weeks contained in 2023 and 2024 combined. (Credit: E. Siegel)

Now, looking at the 2025 calendar, you can see that the 2023 pattern of which months start on which days is repeated! The sole variation is a shift of three days-of-the-week ahead because 2023 had one more day (365) than 52 full weeks (364), and 2024 had two more days (366). Again,

  • On Wednesday this time, January and October begin on the same day of the week.

  • Although May begins on Thursday,

  • August begins this Friday.

  • March, November, and February all begin on a Saturday.

  • Beginning on a Sunday in June

  • Beginning on Monday are September and December,

  • and on Tuesday, April and July begin.

In 2026 and 2027, the year will commence on a Thursday and a Friday, respectively.

The one-page calendars for 2026 and 2027, as shown next to one another. Note that the calendars are identical, save that the day-of-the-week that each month begins on is shifted by one day from the prior year to the next. This occurs every time a non-leap year is followed by another non-leap year. (Credit: E. Siegel)

We must return to our leap year monthly arrangement in 2028. Yes, January 1, 2028 begins on a Saturday, but February, which begins on a Tuesday three days before January, will have 29 days. Thus:

  • Start dates for January, April, and July are all Saturdays.

  • Given that October began on Sunday,

  • Although May starts on a Monday,

  • beginning on a Tuesday in February and August,

  • Beginning on a Wednesday in March and November,

  • Beginning on Thursday, June

  • and Friday marks the start of September and December.

This is great because there are only 14 calendar configurations: one for each of the seven non-leap years where January 1st begins on each of the seven days of the week, and one for each of the seven leap years where it begins on each day of the week.

This example of a one-page calendar, which represents the year 2028, will be valid for all leap years that begin with January 1st on a Saturday. The leap year version of the one-page calendar repeats every 28 years, unless you pass a non-leap year ending in “00,” in which case the repeat will either be 12 or 40 years instead. (Credit: E. Siegel)

The 2023 calendar will function in 2034, 2045, 2051, 2062, 2073, 2079, 2090, 2102, 2113, and 2119. Except when passing over a non-leap year that ends in 00, like 2100, the repeat time always extends to 12 years or shortens to an extra 6 years.

  • The pattern is repeated in 2025's calendar in 2031, 2042, 2053, 2059, 2070, 2081, 2087, 2098, 2110, and 2121.

  • The extra 6-year repeat at the end of the century on the calendar for 2026 will occur in the years 2037, 2043, 2054, 2065, 2071, 2082, 2093, 2099, 2105, and 2122.

  • The 2027s calendar repeats in 2038, 2049, 2055, 2066, 2077, 2083, 2094, 2100, 2106, and 2117, almost exactly matching the 2026s pattern.

For leap years, the recurrence pattern is every 28 years when not passing a non-leap year ending in 00, or 12 or 40 years when we do. 2024's calendar repeats in 2052, 2080, 2120, 2148, 2176, and 2216; 2028's in 2056, 2084, 2124, 2152, 2180, and 2220.

Knowing January 1st and whether it's a leap year lets you construct a one-page calendar for any year. Try it—you might find it easier than any other alternative!

The woman

The woman

1 year 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.

wordsmithwriter

wordsmithwriter

1 year ago

2023 Will Be the Year of Evernote and Craft Notetaking Apps.

Note-taking is a vital skill. But it's mostly learned.

Photo by PNW Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-wooden-pencil-beside-a-mechanical-pencil-8250935/

Recently, innovative note-taking apps have flooded the market.

In the next few years, Evernote and Craft will be important digital note-taking companies.

Evernote is a 2008 note-taking program. It can capture ideas, track tasks, and organize information on numerous platforms.

It's one of the only note-taking app that lets users input text, audio, photos, and videos. It's great for collecting research notes, brainstorming, and remaining organized.

Craft is a popular note-taking app.

Craft is a more concentrated note-taking application than Evernote. It organizes notes into subjects, tags, and relationships, making it ideal for technical or research notes.

Craft's search engine makes it easy to find what you need.

Both Evernote and Craft are likely to be the major players in digital note-taking in the years to come.

Their concentration on gathering and organizing information lets users generate notes quickly and simply. Multimedia elements and a strong search engine make them the note-taking apps of the future.

Evernote and Craft are great note-taking tools for staying organized and tracking ideas and projects.

With their focus on acquiring and organizing information, they'll dominate digital note-taking in 2023.

Pros

  • Concentrate on gathering and compiling information

  • special features including a strong search engine and multimedia components

  • Possibility of subject, tag, and relationship structuring

  • enables users to incorporate multimedia elements

  • Excellent tool for maintaining organization, arranging research notes, and brainstorming

Cons

  • Software may be difficult for folks who are not tech-savvy to utilize.

  • Limited assistance for hardware running an outdated operating system

  • Subscriptions could be pricey.

  • Data loss risk because of security issues

Evernote and Craft both have downsides.

  1. The risk of data loss as a result of security flaws and software defects comes first.

  2. Additionally, their subscription fees could be high, and they might restrict support for hardware that isn't running the newest operating systems.

  3. Finally, folks who need to be tech-savvy may find the software difficult.

Evernote versus. Productivity Titans Evernote will make Notion more useful. medium.com

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Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

1 year ago

You can learn more about marketing from these 8 copywriting frameworks than from a college education.

Email, landing pages, and digital content

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Today's most significant skill:

Copywriting.

Unfortunately, most people don't know how to write successful copy because they weren't taught in school.

I've been obsessed with copywriting for two years. I've read 15 books, completed 3 courses, and studied internet's best digital entrepreneurs.

Here are 8 copywriting frameworks that educate more than a four-year degree.

1. Feature — Advantage — Benefit (F.A.B)

This is the most basic copywriting foundation. Email marketing, landing page copy, and digital video ads can use it.

F.A.B says:

  • How it works (feature)

  • which is helpful (advantage)

  • What's at stake (benefit)

The Hustle uses this framework on their landing page to convince people to sign up:

Courtesy | Thehustle.co

2. P. A. S. T. O. R.

This framework is for longer-form copywriting. PASTOR uses stories to engage with prospects. It explains why people should buy this offer.

PASTOR means:

  • Problem

  • Amplify

  • Story

  • Testimonial

  • Offer

  • Response

Dan Koe's landing page is a great example. It shows PASTOR frame-by-frame.

Courtesy | Dan Koe

3. Before — After — Bridge

Before-after-bridge is a copywriting framework that draws attention and shows value quickly.

This framework highlights:

  • where you are

  • where you want to be

  • how to get there

Works great for: Email threads/landing pages

Zain Kahn utilizes this framework to write viral threads.

Courtesy | Zain Kahn

4. Q.U.E.S.T

QUEST is about empathetic writing. You know their issues, obstacles, and headaches. This allows coverups.

QUEST:

  • Qualifies

  • Understands

  • Educates

  • Stimulates

  • Transitions

Tom Hirst's landing page uses the QUEST framework.

Courtesy | Tom Hirst

5. The 4P’s model

The 4P’s approach pushes your prospect to action. It educates and persuades quickly.

4Ps:

  • The problem the visitor is dealing with

  • The promise that will help them

  • The proof the promise works

  • push towards action

Mark Manson is a bestselling author, digital creator, and pop-philosopher. He's also a great copywriter, and his membership offer uses the 4P’s framework.

Courtesy | Mark Manson

6. Problem — Agitate — Solution (P.A.S)

Up-and-coming marketers should understand problem-agitate-solution copywriting. Once you understand one structure, others are easier. It drives passion and presents a clear solution.

PAS outlines:

  • The issue the visitor is having

  • It then intensifies this issue through emotion.

  • finally offers an answer to that issue (the offer)

The customer's story loops. Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush use PAS to promote Ship 30 for 30.

Courtesy | ship30for30.com

7. Star — Story — Solution (S.S.S)

PASTOR + PAS = star-solution-story. Like PAS, it employs stories to persuade.

S.S.S. is effective storytelling:

  • Star: (Person had a problem)

  • Story: (until they had a breakthrough)

  • Solution: (That created a transformation)

Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber with a great S.S.S copy.

Courtesy | Ali Abdaal

8. Attention — Interest — Desire — Action

AIDA is another classic. This copywriting framework is great for fast-paced environments (think all digital content on Linkedin, Twitter, Medium, etc.).

It works with:

  • Page landings

  • writing on thread

  • Email

It's a good structure since it's concise, attention-grabbing, and action-oriented.

Shane Martin, Twitter's creator, uses this approach to create viral content.

Courtesy | Shane Martin

TL;DR

8 copywriting frameworks that teach marketing better than a four-year degree

  • Feature-advantage-benefit

  • Before-after-bridge

  • Star-story-solution

  • P.A.S.T.O.R

  • Q.U.E.S.T

  • A.I.D.A

  • P.A.S

  • 4P’s

Matthew O'Riordan

Matthew O'Riordan

1 year 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.

Vitalik

Vitalik

2 years ago

Fairness alternatives to selling below market clearing prices (or community sentiment, or fun)

When a seller has a limited supply of an item in high (or uncertain and possibly high) demand, they frequently set a price far below what "the market will bear." As a result, the item sells out quickly, with lucky buyers being those who tried to buy first. This has happened in the Ethereum ecosystem, particularly with NFT sales and token sales/ICOs. But this phenomenon is much older; concerts and restaurants frequently make similar choices, resulting in fast sell-outs or long lines.

Why do sellers do this? Economists have long wondered. A seller should sell at the market-clearing price if the amount buyers are willing to buy exactly equals the amount the seller has to sell. If the seller is unsure of the market-clearing price, they should sell at auction and let the market decide. So, if you want to sell something below market value, don't do it. It will hurt your sales and it will hurt your customers. The competitions created by non-price-based allocation mechanisms can sometimes have negative externalities that harm third parties, as we will see.

However, the prevalence of below-market-clearing pricing suggests that sellers do it for good reason. And indeed, as decades of research into this topic has shown, there often are. So, is it possible to achieve the same goals with less unfairness, inefficiency, and harm?

Selling at below market-clearing prices has large inefficiencies and negative externalities

An item that is sold at market value or at an auction allows someone who really wants it to pay the high price or bid high in the auction. So, if a seller sells an item below market value, some people will get it and others won't. But the mechanism deciding who gets the item isn't random, and it's not always well correlated with participant desire. It's not always about being the fastest at clicking buttons. Sometimes it means waking up at 2 a.m. (but 11 p.m. or even 2 p.m. elsewhere). Sometimes it's just a "auction by other means" that's more chaotic, less efficient, and has far more negative externalities.

There are many examples of this in the Ethereum ecosystem. Let's start with the 2017 ICO craze. For example, an ICO project would set the price of the token and a hard maximum for how many tokens they are willing to sell, and the sale would start automatically at some point in time. The sale ends when the cap is reached.

So what? In practice, these sales often ended in 30 seconds or less. Everyone would start sending transactions in as soon as (or just before) the sale started, offering higher and higher fees to encourage miners to include their transaction first. Instead of the token seller receiving revenue, miners receive it, and the sale prices out all other applications on-chain.

The most expensive transaction in the BAT sale set a fee of 580,000 gwei, paying a fee of $6,600 to get included in the sale.

Many ICOs after that tried various strategies to avoid these gas price auctions; one ICO notably had a smart contract that checked the transaction's gasprice and rejected it if it exceeded 50 gwei. But that didn't solve the issue. Buyers hoping to game the system sent many transactions hoping one would get through. An auction by another name, clogging the chain even more.

ICOs have recently lost popularity, but NFTs and NFT sales have risen in popularity. But the NFT space didn't learn from 2017; they do fixed-quantity sales just like ICOs (eg. see the mint function on lines 97-108 of this contract here). So what?

That's not the worst; some NFT sales have caused gas price spikes of up to 2000 gwei.

High gas prices from users fighting to get in first by sending higher and higher transaction fees. An auction renamed, pricing out all other applications on-chain for 15 minutes.

So why do sellers sometimes sell below market price?

Selling below market value is nothing new, and many articles, papers, and podcasts have written (and sometimes bitterly complained) about the unwillingness to use auctions or set prices to market-clearing levels.

Many of the arguments are the same for both blockchain (NFTs and ICOs) and non-blockchain examples (popular restaurants and concerts). Fairness and the desire not to exclude the poor, lose fans or create tension by being perceived as greedy are major concerns. The 1986 paper by Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler explains how fairness and greed can influence these decisions. I recall that the desire to avoid perceptions of greed was also a major factor in discouraging the use of auction-like mechanisms in 2017.

Aside from fairness concerns, there is the argument that selling out and long lines create a sense of popularity and prestige, making the product more appealing to others. Long lines should have the same effect as high prices in a rational actor model, but this is not the case in reality. This applies to ICOs and NFTs as well as restaurants. Aside from increasing marketing value, some people find the game of grabbing a limited set of opportunities first before everyone else is quite entertaining.

But there are some blockchain-specific factors. One argument for selling ICO tokens below market value (and one that persuaded the OmiseGo team to adopt their capped sale strategy) is community dynamics. The first rule of community sentiment management is to encourage price increases. People are happy if they are "in the green." If the price drops below what the community members paid, they are unhappy and start calling you a scammer, possibly causing a social media cascade where everyone calls you a scammer.

This effect can only be avoided by pricing low enough that post-launch market prices will almost certainly be higher. But how do you do this without creating a rush for the gates that leads to an auction?

Interesting solutions

It's 2021. We have a blockchain. The blockchain is home to a powerful decentralized finance ecosystem, as well as a rapidly expanding set of non-financial tools. The blockchain also allows us to reset social norms. Where decades of economists yelling about "efficiency" failed, blockchains may be able to legitimize new uses of mechanism design. If we could use our more advanced tools to create an approach that more directly solves the problems, with fewer side effects, wouldn't that be better than fiddling with a coarse-grained one-dimensional strategy space of selling at market price versus below market price?

Begin with the goals. We'll try to cover ICOs, NFTs, and conference tickets (really a type of NFT) all at the same time.

1. Fairness: don't completely exclude low-income people from participation; give them a chance. The goal of token sales is to avoid high initial wealth concentration and have a larger and more diverse initial token holder community.

2. Don’t create races: Avoid situations where many people rush to do the same thing and only a few get in (this is the type of situation that leads to the horrible auctions-by-another-name that we saw above).

3. Don't require precise market knowledge: the mechanism should work even if the seller has no idea how much demand exists.

4. Fun: The process of participating in the sale should be fun and game-like, but not frustrating.

5. Give buyers positive expected returns: in the case of a token (or an NFT), buyers should expect price increases rather than decreases. This requires selling below market value.
Let's start with (1). From Ethereum's perspective, there is a simple solution. Use a tool designed for the job: proof of personhood protocols! Here's one quick idea:

Mechanism 1 Each participant (verified by ID) can buy up to ‘’X’’ tokens at price P, with the option to buy more at an auction.

With the per-person mechanism, buyers can get positive expected returns for the portion sold through the per-person mechanism, and the auction part does not require sellers to understand demand levels. Is it race-free? The number of participants buying through the per-person pool appears to be high. But what if the per-person pool isn't big enough to accommodate everyone?

Make the per-person allocation amount dynamic.

Mechanism 2 Each participant can deposit up to X tokens into a smart contract to declare interest. Last but not least, each buyer receives min(X, N / buyers) tokens, where N is the total sold through the per-person pool (some other amount can also be sold by auction). The buyer gets their deposit back if it exceeds the amount needed to buy their allocation.
No longer is there a race condition based on the number of buyers per person. No matter how high the demand, it's always better to join sooner rather than later.

Here's another idea if you like clever game mechanics with fancy quadratic formulas.

Mechanism 3 Each participant can buy X units at a price P X 2 up to a maximum of C tokens per buyer. C starts low and gradually increases until enough units are sold.

The quantity allocated to each buyer is theoretically optimal, though post-sale transfers will degrade this optimality over time. Mechanisms 2 and 3 appear to meet all of the above objectives. They're not perfect, but they're good starting points.

One more issue. For fixed and limited supply NFTs, the equilibrium purchased quantity per participant may be fractional (in mechanism 2, number of buyers > N, and in mechanism 3, setting C = 1 may already lead to over-subscription). With fractional sales, you can offer lottery tickets: if there are N items available, you have a chance of N/number of buyers of getting the item, otherwise you get a refund. For a conference, groups could bundle their lottery tickets to guarantee a win or a loss. The certainty of getting the item can be auctioned.

The bottom tier of "sponsorships" can be used to sell conference tickets at market rate. You may end up with a sponsor board full of people's faces, but is that okay? After all, John Lilic was on EthCC's sponsor board!

Simply put, if you want to be reliably fair to people, you need an input that explicitly measures people. Authentication protocols do this (and if desired can be combined with zero knowledge proofs to ensure privacy). So we should combine the efficiency of market and auction-based pricing with the equality of proof of personhood mechanics.

Answers to possible questions

Q: Won't people who don't care about your project buy the item and immediately resell it?

A: Not at first. Meta-games take time to appear in practice. If they do, making them untradeable for a while may help mitigate the damage. Using your face to claim that your previous account was hacked and that your identity, including everything in it, should be moved to another account works because proof-of-personhood identities are untradeable.

Q: What if I want to make my item available to a specific community?

A: Instead of ID, use proof of participation tokens linked to community events. Another option, also serving egalitarian and gamification purposes, is to encrypt items within publicly available puzzle solutions.

Q: How do we know they'll accept? Strange new mechanisms have previously been resisted.

A: Having economists write screeds about how they "should" accept a new mechanism that they find strange is difficult (or even "equity"). However, abrupt changes in context effectively reset people's expectations. So the blockchain space is the best place to try this. You could wait for the "metaverse", but it's possible that the best version will run on Ethereum anyway, so start now.