More on NFTs & Art
1 year 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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
10 months ago
VeeFriends Series 2: The Biggest NFT Opportunity Ever
VeeFriends is one NFT project I'm sure will last.
I believe in blockchain technology and JPEGs, aka NFTs. NFTs aren't JPEGs. It's not as it seems.
Gary Vaynerchuk is leading the pack with his new NFT project VeeFriends, I wrote a year ago. I was spot-on. It's the most innovative project I've seen.
Since its minting in May 2021, it has given its holders enormous value, most notably the first edition of VeeCon, a multi-day superconference featuring iconic and emerging leaders in NFTs and Popular Culture. First-of-its-kind NFT-ticketed Web3 conference to build friendships, share ideas, and learn together.
VeeFriends holders got free VeeCon NFT tickets. Attendees heard iconic keynote speeches, innovative talks, panels, and Q&A sessions.
It was a unique conference that most of us, including me, are looking forward to in 2023. The lineup was epic, and it allowed many to network in new ways. Really memorable learning. Here are a couple of gratitude posts from the attendees.
VeeFriends Series 2
This article explains VeeFriends if you're still confused.
GaryVee's hand-drawn doodles have evolved into wonderful characters. The characters' poses and backgrounds bring the VeeFriends IP to life.
Yes, this is the second edition of VeeFriends, and at current prices, it's one of the best NFT opportunities in years. If you have the funds and risk appetite to invest in NFTs, VeeFriends Series 2 is worth every penny. Even if you can't invest, learn from their journey.
1. Art Is the Start
Many critics say VeeFriends artwork is below average and not by GaryVee. Art is often the key to future success.
Let's look at one of the first Mickey Mouse drawings. No one would have guessed that this would become one of the most beloved animated short film characters. In Walt Before Mickey, Walt Disney's original mouse Mortimer was less refined.
First came a mouse...
These sketches evolved into Steamboat Willie, Disney's first animated short film.
Fred Moore redesigned the character artwork into what we saw in cartoons as kids. Mickey Mouse's history is here.
Looking at how different cartoon characters have evolved and gained popularity over decades, I believe Series 2 characters like Self-Aware Hare, Kind Kudu, and Patient Pig can do the same.
GaryVee captures this journey on the blockchain and lets early supporters become part of history. Time will tell if it rivals Disney, Pokemon, or Star Wars. Gary has been vocal about this vision.
2. VeeFriends is Intellectual Property for the Coming Generations
Most of us grew up watching cartoons, playing with toys, cards, and video games. Our interactions with fictional characters and the stories we hear shape us.
GaryVee is slowly curating an experience for the next generation with animated videos, card games, merchandise, toys, and more.
VeeFriends UNO, a collaboration with Mattel Creations, features 17 VeeFriends characters.
VeeFriends and Zerocool recently released Trading Cards featuring all 268 Series 1 characters and 15 new ones. Another way to build VeeFriends' collectibles brand.
At Veecon, all the characters were collectible toys. Something will soon emerge.
Kids and adults alike enjoy the YouTube channel's animated shorts and VeeFriends Tunes. Here's a song by the holder's Optimistic Otter-loving daughter.
This VeeFriends story is only the beginning. I'm looking forward to animated short film series, coloring books, streetwear, candy, toys, physical collectibles, and other forms of VeeFriends IP.
3. Veefriends will always provide utilities
Smart contracts can be updated at any time and authenticated on a ledger.
VeeFriends Series 2 gives no promise of any utility whatsoever. GaryVee released no project roadmap. In the first few months after launch, many owners of specific characters or scenes received utilities.
Every benefit or perk you receive helps promote the VeeFriends brand.
Recent partnerships are listed below.
MaryRuth's Multivitamin Gummies
Productive Puffin holders from VeeFriends x Primitive
Pickleball Scene & Clown Holders Only
Pickleball & Competitive Clown Exclusive experience, anteater multivitamin gummies, and Puffin x Primitive merch
Considering the price of NFTs, it may not seem like much. It's just the beginning; you never know what the future holds. No other NFT project offers such diverse, ongoing benefits.
4. Garyvee's team is ready
Gary Vaynerchuk's team and record are undisputed. He's a serial entrepreneur and the Chairman & CEO of VaynerX, which includes VaynerMedia, VaynerCommerce, One37pm, and The Sasha Group.
Gary founded VaynerSports, Resy, and Empathy Wines. He's a Candy Digital Board Member, VCR Group Co-Founder, ArtOfficial Co-Founder, and VeeFriends Creator & CEO. Gary was recently named one of Fortune's Top 50 NFT Influencers.
Gary Vayenerchuk aka GaryVee
Gary documents his daily life as a CEO on social media, which has 34 million followers and 272 million monthly views. GaryVee Audio Experience is a top podcast. He's a five-time New York Times best-seller and sought-after speaker.
Gary can observe consumer behavior to predict trends. He understood these trends early and pioneered them.
1997 — Realized e-potential commerce's and started winelibrary.com. In five years, he grew his father's wine business from $3M to $60M.
2006 — Realized content marketing's potential and started Wine Library on YouTube. TV
2009 — Estimated social media's potential (Web2) and invested in Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
2014: Ethereum and Bitcoin investments
2021 — Believed in NFTs and Web3 enough to launch VeeFriends
GaryVee isn't all of VeeFriends. Andy Krainak, Dave DeRosa, Adam Ripps, Tyler Dowdle, and others work tirelessly to make VeeFriends a success.
GaryVee has said he'll let other businesses fail but not VeeFriends. We're just beginning his 40-year vision.
I have more confidence than ever in a company with a strong foundation and team.
5. Humans die, but characters live forever
What if GaryVee dies or can't work?
A writer's books can immortalize them. As long as their books exist, their words are immortal. Socrates, Hemingway, Aristotle, Twain, Fitzgerald, and others have become immortal.
Everyone knows Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night.
We all love reading and watching Peter Parker, Thor, or Jessica Jones. Their behavior inspires us. Stan Lee's message and stories live on despite his death.
GaryVee represents VeeFriends. Creating characters to communicate ensures that the message reaches even those who don't listen.
Gary wants his values and messages to be omnipresent in 268 characters. Messengers die, but their messages live on.
Gary envisions VeeFriends creating timeless stories and experiences. Ten years from now, maybe every kid will sing Patient Pig.
6. I love the intent.
Gary planned to create Workplace Warriors three years ago when he began designing Patient Panda, Accountable Ant, and Empathy elephant. The project stalled. When NFTs came along, he knew.
Gary wanted to create characters with traits he values, such as accountability, empathy, patience, kindness, and self-awareness. He wants future generations to find these traits cool. He hopes one or more of his characters will become pop culture icons.
These emotional skills aren't taught in schools or colleges, but they're crucial for business and life success. I love that someone is teaching this at scale.
In the end, intent matters.
Humans Are Collectors
Buy and collect things to communicate. Since the 1700s. Medieval people formed communities around hidden metals and stones. Many people still collect stamps and coins, and luxury and fashion are multi-trillion dollar industries. We're collectors.
The early 2020s NFTs will be remembered in the future. VeeFriends will define a cultural and technological shift in this era. VeeFriends Series 1 is the original hand-drawn art, but it's expensive. VeeFriends Series 2 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at $1,000.
If you are new to NFTs, check out How to Buy a Non Fungible Token (NFT) For Beginners
This is a non-commercial article. Not financial or legal advice. Information isn't always accurate. Before making important financial decisions, consult a pro or do your own research.
This post is a summary. Read the full article here
1 year ago
ERC721R: A new ERC721 contract for random minting so people don’t snipe all the rares!
That is, how to snipe all the rares without using ERC721R!
Introduction: Blessed and Lucky
Mphers was the first mfers derivative, and as a Phunks derivative, I wanted one.
I wanted an alien. And there are only 8 in the 6,969 collection. I got one!
In case it wasn't clear from the tweet, I meant that I was lucky to have figured out how to 100% guarantee I'd get an alien without any extra luck.
Read on to find out how I did it, how you can too, and how developers can avoid it!
How to make rare NFTs without luck.
# How to mint rare NFTs without needing luck
The key to minting a rare NFT is knowing the token's id ahead of time.
For example, once I knew my alien was #4002, I simply refreshed the mint page until #3992 was minted, and then mint 10 mphers.
How did I know #4002 was extraterrestrial? Let's go back.
First, go to the mpher contract's Etherscan page and look up the tokenURI of a previously issued token, token #1:
As you can see, mphers creates metadata URIs by combining the token id and an IPFS hash.
This method gives you the collection's provenance in every URI, and while that URI can be changed, it affects everyone and is public.
Consider a token URI without a provenance hash, like https://mphers.art/api?tokenId=1.
As a collector, you couldn't be sure the devs weren't changing #1's metadata at will.
The API allows you to specify “if #4002 has not been minted, do not show any information about it”, whereas IPFS does not allow this.
It's possible to look up the metadata of any token, whether or not it's been minted.
Simply replace the trailing “1” with your desired id.
These files contain all the information about the mpher with the specified id. For my alien, we simply search all metadata files for the string “alien mpher.”
Take a look at the 6,969 meta-data files I'm using OpenSea's IPFS gateway, but you could use ipfs.io or something else.
Use curl to download ten files at once. Downloading thousands of files quickly can lead to duplicates or errors. But with a little tweaking, you should be able to get everything (and dupes are fine for our purposes).
Now that you have everything in one place, grep for aliens:
The numbers are the file names that contain “alien mpher” and thus the aliens' ids.
The entire process takes under ten minutes. This technique works on many NFTs currently minting.
In practice, manually minting at the right time to get the alien is difficult, especially when tokens mint quickly. Then write a bot to poll totalSupply() every second and submit the mint transaction at the exact right time.
You could even look for the token you need in the mempool before it is minted, and get your mint into the same block!
However, in my experience, the “big” approach wins 95% of the time—but not 100%.
“Am I being set up all along?”
Is a question you might ask yourself if you're new to this.
It's disheartening to think you had no chance of minting anything that someone else wanted.
But, did you have no opportunity? You had an equal chance as everyone else!
Take me, for instance: I figured this out using open-source tools and free public information. Anyone can do this, and not understanding how a contract works before minting will lead to much worse issues.
The mpher mint was fair.
While a fair game, “snipe the alien” may not have been everyone's cup of tea.
People may have had more fun playing the “mint lottery” where tokens were distributed at random and no one could gain an advantage over someone simply clicking the “mint” button.
How might we proceed?
Minting For Fashion Hats Punks, I wanted to create a random minting experience without sacrificing fairness. In my opinion, a predictable mint beats an unfair one. Above all, participants must be equal.
Sadly, the most common method of creating a random experience—the post-mint “reveal”—is deeply unfair. It works as follows:
- During the mint, token metadata is unavailable. Instead, tokenURI() returns a blank JSON file for each id.
- An IPFS hash is updated once all tokens are minted.
- You can't tell how the contract owner chose which token ids got which metadata, so it appears random.
Because they alone decide who gets what, the person setting the metadata clearly has a huge unfair advantage over the people minting. Unlike the mpher mint, you have no chance of winning here.
But what if it's a well-known, trusted, doxxed dev team? Are reveals okay here?
No! No one should be trusted with such power. Even if someone isn't consciously trying to cheat, they have unconscious biases. They might also make a mistake and not realize it until it's too late, for example.
You should also not trust yourself. Imagine doing a reveal, thinking you did it correctly (nothing is 100%! ), and getting the rarest NFT. Isn't that a tad odd Do you think you deserve it? An NFT developer like myself would hate to be in this situation.
Reveals are bad*
UNLESS they are done without trust, meaning everyone can verify their fairness without relying on the developers (which you should never do).
An on-chain reveal powered by randomness that is verifiably outside of anyone's control is the most common way to achieve a trustless reveal (e.g., through Chainlink).
Tubby Cats did an excellent job on this reveal, and I highly recommend their contract and launch reflections. Their reveal was also cool because it was progressive—you didn't have to wait until the end of the mint to find out.
In his post-launch reflections, @DefiLlama stated that he made the contract as trustless as possible, removing as much trust as possible from the team.
In my opinion, everyone should know the rules of the game and trust that they will not be changed mid-stream, while trust minimization is critical because smart contracts were designed to reduce trust (and it makes it impossible to hack even if the team is compromised). This was a huge mistake because it limited our flexibility and our ability to correct mistakes.
And @DefiLlama is a superstar developer. Imagine how much stress maximizing trustlessness will cause you!
That leaves me with a bad solution that works in 99 percent of cases and is much easier to implement: random token assignments.
Introducing ERC721R: A fully compliant IERC721 implementation that picks token ids at random.
ERC721R implements the opposite of a reveal: we mint token ids randomly and assign metadata deterministically.
This allows us to reveal all metadata prior to minting while reducing snipe chances.
Then import the contract and use this code:
What is ERC721R and how does it work
First, a disclaimer: ERC721R isn't truly random. In this sense, it creates the same “game” as the mpher situation, where minters compete to exploit the mint. However, ERC721R is a much more difficult game.
To game ERC721R, you need to be able to predict a hash value using these inputs:
This is impossible for a normal person because it requires knowledge of the block timestamp of your mint, which you do not have.
To do this, a miner must set the timestamp to a value in the future, and whatever they do is dependent on the previous block's hash, which expires in about ten seconds when the next block is mined.
This pseudo-randomness is “good enough,” but if big money is involved, it will be gamed. Of course, the system it replaces—predictable minting—can be manipulated.
The token id is chosen in a clever implementation of the Fisher–Yates shuffle algorithm that I copied from CryptoPhunksV2.
Consider first the naive solution: (a 10,000 item collection is assumed):
- Make an array with 0–9999.
- To create a token, pick a random item from the array and use that as the token's id.
- Remove that value from the array and shorten it by one so that every index corresponds to an available token id.
This works, but it uses too much gas because changing an array's length and storing a large array of non-zero values is expensive.
How do we avoid them both? What if we started with a cheap 10,000-zero array? Let's assign an id to each index in that array.
Assume we pick index #6500 at random—#6500 is our token id, and we replace the 0 with a 1.
But what if we chose #6500 again? A 1 would indicate #6500 was taken, but then what? We can't just "roll again" because gas will be unpredictable and high, especially later mints.
This allows us to pick a token id 100% of the time without having to keep a separate list. Here's how it works:
- Make a 10,000 0 array.
- Create a 10,000 uint numAvailableTokens.
- Pick a number between 0 and numAvailableTokens. -1
- Think of #6500—look at index #6500. If it's 0, the next token id is #6500. If not, the value at index #6500 is your next token id (weird!)
- Examine the array's last value, numAvailableTokens — 1. If it's 0, move the value at #6500 to the end of the array (#9999 if it's the first token). If the array's last value is not zero, update index #6500 to store it.
- numAvailableTokens is decreased by 1.
- Repeat 3–6 for the next token id.
So there you go! The array stays the same size, but we can choose an available id reliably. The Solidity code is as follows:
Unfortunately, this algorithm uses more gas than the leading sequential mint solution, ERC721A.
This is most noticeable when minting multiple tokens in one transaction—a 10 token mint on ERC721R costs 5x more than on ERC721A. That said, ERC721A has been optimized much further than ERC721R so there is probably room for improvement.
Listed below are your options:
- ERC721A: Minters pay lower gas but must spend time and energy devising and executing a competitive minting strategy or be comfortable with worse minting results.
- ERC721R: Higher gas, but the easy minting strategy of just clicking the button is optimal in all but the most extreme cases. If miners game ERC721R it’s the worst of both worlds: higher gas and a ton of work to compete.
- ERC721A + standard reveal: Low gas, but not verifiably fair. Please do not do this!
- ERC721A + trustless reveal: The best solution if done correctly, highly-challenging for dev, potential for difficult-to-correct errors.
Did I miss something? Comment or tweet me @dumbnamenumbers.
Check out the code on GitHub to learn more! Pull requests are welcome—I'm sure I've missed many gas-saving opportunities.
Read the original post here
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5 months ago
I met a man who in just 18 months scaled his startup to $100 million.
A fascinating business conversation.
This week at Web Summit, I had mentor hour.
Mentor hour connects startups with experienced entrepreneurs.
The YC-selected founder who mentored me had grown his company to $100 million in 18 months.
I had 45 minutes to question him.
I've compiled this.
Founder's name is Zack.
After working in private equity, Zack opted to acquire an MBA.
Surrounded by entrepreneurs at a prominent school, he decided to become one himself.
Unsure how to proceed, he bet on two horses.
On one side, he received an offer from folks who needed help running their startup owing to lack of time. On the other hand, he had an idea for a SaaS to start himself.
He just needed to validate it.
Since Zack's proposal helped companies, he contacted university entrepreneurs for comments.
He contacted university founders.
Once he knew he'd correctly identified the problem and that people were willing to pay to address it, he started developing.
He earned $100k in a university entrepreneurship competition.
His plan was evident by then.
The other startup's founders saw his potential and granted him $400k to launch his own SaaS.
He started looking for a tech co-founder because he lacked IT skills.
He interviewed dozens and picked the finest.
As he didn't want to wait for his program to be ready, he contacted hundreds of potential clients and got 15 letters of intent promising they'd join up when it was available.
YC accepted him by then.
He had enough positive signals to raise.
He didn't say how many VCs he called, but he indicated 50 were interested.
He jammed meetings into two weeks to generate pressure and encourage them to invest.
Seed raise: $11 million.
His objective was to contact as many entrepreneurs as possible to promote his product.
He first contacted startups by scraping CrunchBase data.
Once he had more money, he started targeting companies with ZoomInfo.
His VC urged him not to hire salespeople until he closed 50 clients himself.
He closed 100 and hired a CRO through a headhunter.
Three persons started the business.
He primarily works in sales.
Coding the product was done by his co-founder.
Another person performing operational duties.
He regretted recruiting the third co-founder, who was ineffective (could have hired an employee instead).
He wanted his company to be big, so he hired two young marketing people from a competing company.
After validating several marketing channels, he chose PR.
$100 Million and under
He developed a sales team and now employs 30 individuals.
He raised a $100 million Series A.
Additionally, he stated
He’s been rejected a lot. Like, a lot.
Two great books to read: Steve Jobs by Isaacson, and Why Startups Fail by Tom Eisenmann.
The best skill to learn for non-tech founders is “telling stories”, which means sales. A founder’s main job is to convince: co-founders, employees, investors, and customers. Learn code, or learn sales.
I often read about these stories but hardly take them seriously.
Zack was amazing.
Three things about him stand out:
His vision. He possessed a certain amount of fire.
His vitality. The man had a lot of enthusiasm and spoke quickly and decisively. He takes no chances and pushes the envelope in all he does.
He didn't do all this in 18 months.
He couldn't launch his company without private equity experience.
These accounts disregard entrepreneurs' original knowledge.
Hormozi will tell you how he founded Gym Launch, but he won't tell you how he had a gym first, how he worked at uni to pay for his gym, or how he went to the gym and learnt about fitness, which gave him the idea to open his own.
Nobody knows nothing. If you scale quickly, it's probable because you gained information early.
Lincoln said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend four sharpening the axe."
Sharper axes cut trees faster.
6 months ago
GTO Poker 101
"GTO" (Game Theory Optimal) has been used a lot in poker recently. To clarify its meaning and application, the aim of this article is to define what it is, when to use it when playing, what strategies to apply for how to play GTO poker, for beginner and more advanced players!
In poker, you can choose between two main winning strategies:
Exploitative play maximizes expected value (EV) by countering opponents' sub-optimal plays and weaker tendencies. Yes, playing this way opens you up to being exploited, but the weaker opponents you're targeting won't change their game to counteract this, allowing you to reap maximum profits over the long run.
GTO (Game-Theory Optimal): You try to play perfect poker, which forces your opponents to make mistakes (which is where almost all of your profit will be derived from). It mixes bluffs or semi-bluffs with value bets, clarifies bet sizes, and more.
GTO vs. Exploitative: Which is Better in Poker?
Before diving into GTO poker strategy, it's important to know which of these two play styles is more profitable for beginners and advanced players. The simple answer is probably both, but usually more exploitable.
Most players don't play GTO poker and can be exploited in their gameplay and strategy, allowing for more profits to be made using an exploitative approach. In fact, it’s only in some of the largest games at the highest stakes that GTO concepts are fully utilized and seen in practice, and even then, exploitative plays are still sometimes used.
Knowing, understanding, and applying GTO poker basics will create a solid foundation for your poker game. It's also important to understand GTO so you can deviate from it to maximize profits.
GTO Poker Strategy
According to Ed Miller's book "Poker's 1%," the most fundamental concept that only elite poker players understand is frequency, which could be in relation to cbets, bluffs, folds, calls, raises, etc.
GTO poker solvers (downloadable online software) give solutions for how to play optimally in any given spot and often recommend using mixed strategies based on select frequencies.
In a river situation, a solver may tell you to call 70% of the time and fold 30%. It may also suggest calling 50% of the time, folding 35% of the time, and raising 15% of the time (with a certain range of hands).
Frequencies are a fundamental and often unrecognized part of poker, but they run through these 5 GTO concepts.
1. Preflop ranges
To compensate for positional disadvantage, out-of-position players must open tighter hand ranges.
Premium starting hands aren't enough, though. Considering GTO poker ranges and principles, you want a good, balanced starting hand range from each position with at least some hands that can make a strong poker hand regardless of the flop texture (low, mid, high, disconnected, etc).
Below is a GTO preflop beginner poker chart for online 6-max play, showing which hand ranges one should open-raise with. Table positions are color-coded (see key below).
NOTE: For GTO play, it's advisable to use a mixed strategy for opening in the small blind, combining open-limps and open-raises for various hands. This cannot be illustrated with the color system used for the chart.
Choosing which hands to play is often a math problem, as discussed below.
Other preflop GTO poker charts include which hands to play after a raise, which to 3bet, etc. Solvers can help you decide which preflop hands to play (call, raise, re-raise, etc.).
2. Pot Odds
Always make +EV decisions that profit you as a poker player. Understanding pot odds (and equity) can help.
Postflop Pot Odds
Let’s say that we have JhTh on a board of 9h8h2s4c (open-ended straight-flush draw). We have $40 left and $50 in the pot. He has you covered and goes all-in. As calling or folding are our only options, playing GTO involves calculating whether a call is +EV or –EV. (The hand was empty.)
Any remaining heart, Queen, or 7 wins the hand. This means we can improve 15 of 46 unknown cards, or 32.6% of the time.
What if our opponent has a set? The 4h or 2h could give us a flush, but it could also give the villain a boat. If we reduce outs from 15 to 14.5, our equity would be 31.5%.
We must now calculate pot odds.
(bet/(our bet+pot)) = pot odds
= $50 / ($40 + $90)
= $40 / $130
To make a profitable call, we need at least 30.7% equity. This is a profitable call as we have 31.5% equity (even if villain has a set). Yes, we will lose most of the time, but we will make a small profit in the long run, making a call correct.
Pot odds aren't just for draws, either. If an opponent bets 50% pot, you get 3 to 1 odds on a call, so you must win 25% of the time to be profitable. If your current hand has more than 25% equity against your opponent's perceived range, call.
Preflop Pot Odds
Preflop, you raise to 3bb and the button 3bets to 9bb. You must decide how to act. In situations like these, we can actually use pot odds to assist our decision-making.
This pot is:
(our open+3bet size+small blind+big blind)
This means we must call 6bb to win a pot of 13.5bb, which requires 30.7% equity against the 3bettor's range.
Three additional factors must be considered:
Being out of position on our opponent makes it harder to realize our hand's equity, as he can use his position to put us in tough spots. To profitably continue against villain's hand range, we should add 7% to our equity.
Implied Odds / Reverse Implied Odds: The ability to win or lose significantly more post-flop (than pre-flop) based on our remaining stack.
While statistics on 3bet stats can be gained with a large enough sample size (i.e. 8% 3bet stat from button), the numbers don't tell us which 8% of hands villain could be 3betting with. Both polarized and depolarized charts below show 8% of possible hands.
7.4% of hands are depolarized.
Polarized Hand range (7.54%):
Each hand range has different contents. We don't know if he 3bets some hands and calls or folds others.
Using an exploitable strategy can help you play a hand range correctly. The next GTO concept will make things easier.
3. Minimum Defense Frequency:
This concept refers to the % of our range we must continue with (by calling or raising) to avoid being exploited by our opponents. This concept is most often used off-table and is difficult to apply in-game.
These beginner GTO concepts will help your decision-making during a hand, especially against aggressive opponents.
MDF = POT SIZE/(POT SIZE+BET SIZE)
Here's a poker GTO chart of common bet sizes and minimum defense frequency.
Take the number of hand combos in your starting hand range and use the MDF to determine which hands to continue with. Choose hands with the most playability and equity against your opponent's betting range.
Say you open-raise HJ and BB calls. Qh9h6c flop. Your opponent leads you for a half-pot bet. MDF suggests keeping 67% of our range.
Using the above starting hand chart, we can determine that the HJ opens 254 combos:
We must defend 67% of these hands, or 170 combos, according to MDF. Hands we should keep include:
Open-Ended Straight Draws
Gut-Shot Straight Draws
Any Pair or better
So, our flop continuing range could be:
Fours and fives have little chance of improving on the turn or river.
We only continue with AX hearts (with a flush draw) without a pair or better.
We'll also include 4 AJo combos, all of which have the Ace of hearts, and AcJh, which can block a backdoor nut flush combo.
Let's assume all these hands are called and the turn is blank (2 of spades). Opponent bets full-pot. MDF says we must defend 50% of our flop continuing range, or 85 of 170 combos, to be unexploitable. This strategy includes our best flush draws, straight draws, and made hands.
Here, we keep combining:
Nut flush draws
Pair + flush draws
GS + flush draws
Second Pair, Top Kicker+
One combo of JJ that doesn’t block the flush draw or backdoor flush draw.
On the river, we can fold our missed draws and keep our best made hands. When calling with weaker hands, consider blocker effects and card removal to avoid overcalling and decide which combos to continue.
4. Poker GTO Bet Sizing
To avoid being exploited, balance your bluffs and value bets. Your betting range depends on how much you bet (in relation to the pot). This concept only applies on the river, as draws (bluffs) on the flop and turn still have equity (and are therefore total bluffs).
On the flop, you want a 2:1 bluff-to-value-bet ratio. On the flop, there won't be as many made hands as on the river, and your bluffs will usually contain equity. The turn should have a "bluffing" ratio of 1:1. Use the chart below to determine GTO river bluff frequencies (relative to your bet size):
This chart relates to your opponent's pot odds. If you bet 50% pot, your opponent gets 3:1 odds and must win 25% of the time to call. Poker GTO theory suggests including 25% bluff combinations in your betting range so you're indifferent to your opponent calling or folding.
Best river bluffs don't block hands you want your opponent to have (or not have). For example, betting with missed Ace-high flush draws is often a mistake because you block a missed flush draw you want your opponent to have when bluffing on the river (meaning that it would subsequently be less likely he would have it, if you held two of the flush draw cards). Ace-high usually has some river showdown value.
If you had a 3-flush on the river and wanted to raise, you could bluff raise with AX combos holding the bluff suit Ace. Blocking the nut flush prevents your opponent from using that combo.
5. Bet Sizes and Frequency
GTO beginner strategies aren't just bluffs and value bets. They show how often and how much to bet in certain spots. Top players have benefited greatly from poker solvers, which we'll discuss next.
GTO Poker Software
In recent years, various poker GTO solvers have been released to help beginner, intermediate, and advanced players play balanced/GTO poker in various situations.
PokerSnowie and PioSolver are popular GTO and poker study programs.
While you can't compute players' hand ranges and what hands to bet or check with in real time, studying GTO play strategies with these programs will pay off. It will improve your poker thinking and understanding.
Solvers can help you balance ranges, choose optimal bet sizes, and master cbet frequencies.
GTO Poker Tournament
Late-stage tournaments have shorter stacks than cash games. In order to follow GTO poker guidelines, Nash charts have been created, tweaked, and used for many years (and also when to call, depending on what number of big blinds you have when you find yourself shortstacked).
The charts are for heads-up push/fold. In a multi-player game, the "pusher" chart can only be used if play is folded to you in the small blind. The "caller" chart can only be used if you're in the big blind and assumes a small blind "pusher" (with a much wider range than if a player in another position was open-shoving).
Divide the pusher chart's numbers by 2 to see which hand to use from the Button. Divide the original chart numbers by 4 to find the CO's pushing range. Some of the figures will be impossible to calculate accurately for the CO or positions to the right of the blinds because the chart's highest figure is "20+" big blinds, which is also used for a wide range of hands in the push chart.
Both of the GTO charts below are ideal for heads-up play, but exploitable HU shortstack strategies can lead to more +EV decisions against certain opponents. Following the charts will make your play GTO and unexploitable.
Poker pro Max Silver created the GTO push/fold software SnapShove. (It's accessible online at www.snapshove.com or as iOS or Android apps.)
Players can access GTO shove range examples in the full version. (You can customize the number of big blinds you have, your position, the size of the ante, and many other options.)
Due to the constantly changing poker landscape, players are always improving their skills. Exploitable strategies often yield higher profit margins than GTO-based approaches, but knowing GTO beginner and advanced concepts can give you an edge for a few reasons.
It creates a solid gameplay base.
Having a baseline makes it easier to exploit certain villains.
You can avoid leveling wars with your opponents by making sound poker decisions based on GTO strategy.
It doesn't require assuming opponents' play styles.
This is just the beginning of GTO and poker theory. Consider investing in the GTO poker solver software listed above to improve your game.
7 months ago
Apples Top 100 Meeting: Steve Jobs's Secret Agenda's Lessons
Jobs' secret emails became public due to a litigation with Samsung.
Steve Jobs sent Phil Schiller an email at the end of 2010. Top 100 A was the codename for Apple's annual Top 100 executive meetings. The 2011 one was scheduled.
Everything about this gathering is secret, even attendance. The location is hidden, and attendees can't even drive themselves. Instead, buses transport them to a 2-3 day retreat.
Due to a litigation with Samsung, this Top 100 meeting's agenda was made public in 2014. This was a critical milestone in Apple's history, not a Top 100 meeting. Apple had many obstacles in the 2010s to remain a technological leader. Apple made more money with non-PC goods than with its best-selling Macintosh series. This was the last Top 100 gathering Steve Jobs would attend before passing, and he wanted to make sure his messages carried on before handing over his firm to Tim Cook.
In this post, we'll discuss lessons from Jobs' meeting agenda. Two sorts of entrepreneurs can use these tips:
Those who manage a team in a business and must ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals, upholding the same principles, and being inspired by the same future.
Those who are sole proprietors or independent contractors and who must maintain strict self-discipline in order to stay innovative in their industry and adhere to their own growth strategy.
Here's Steve Jobs's email outlining the annual meeting agenda. It's an 11-part summary of the company's shape and strategy.
Steve Jobs outlines Apple's 2011 strategy, 10/24/10
1. Correct your data
Business leaders must comprehend their company's metrics. Jobs either mentions critical information he already knows or demands slides showing the numbers he wants. These numbers fall under 2 categories:
Metrics for growth and strategy
As we will see, this was a crucial statistic for Apple since it signaled the beginning of the Post PC era and required them to make significant strategic changes in order to stay ahead of the curve. Post PC products now account for 66% of our revenues.
Within six months, iPad outsold Mac, another sign of the Post-PC age. As we will see, Jobs thought the iPad would be the next big thing, and item number four on the agenda is one of the most thorough references to the iPad.
Geographical analysis: Here, Jobs emphasizes China, where the corporation has a slower start than anticipated. China was dominating Apple's sales growth with 16% of revenue one year after this meeting.
Metrics for people & culture
The individuals that make up a firm are more significant to its success than its headcount or average age. That holds true regardless of size, from a 5-person startup to a Fortune 500 firm. Jobs was aware of this, which is why his suggested agenda begins by emphasizing demographic data.
Along with the senior advancements in the previous year's requested statistic, it's crucial to demonstrate that if the business is growing, the employees who make it successful must also grow.
2. Recognize the vulnerabilities and strengths of your rivals
Steve Jobs was known for attacking his competition in interviews and in his strategies and roadmaps. This agenda mentions 18 competitors, including:
Google 7 times
Android 3 times
Samsung 2 times
Jobs' agenda email was issued 6 days after Apple's Q4 results call (2010). On the call, Jobs trashed Google and Android. His 5-minute intervention included:
Google has acknowledged that the present iteration of Android is not tablet-optimized.
Future Android tablets will not work (Dead On Arrival)
While Google Play only has 90,000 apps, the Apple App Store has 300,000.
Android is extremely fragmented and is continuing to do so.
The App Store for iPad contains over 35,000 applications. The market share of the latest generation of tablets (which debuted in 2011) will be close to nil.
Jobs' aim in blasting the competition on that call was to reassure investors about the upcoming flood of new tablets. Jobs often criticized Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, but he also acknowledged when they did a better job. He was great at detecting his competitors' advantages and devising ways to catch up.
Jobs doesn't hold back when he says in bullet 1 of his agenda: "We further lock customers into our ecosystem while Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology, but haven't quite figured it out yet tie all of our goods together."
The plan outlined in bullet point 5 is immediately clear: catch up to Android where we are falling behind (notifications, tethering, and speech), and surpass them (Siri,). It's important to note that Siri frequently let users down and never quite lived up to expectations.
Regarding MobileMe, see Bullet 6 Jobs admits that when it comes to cloud services like contacts, calendars, and mail, Google is far ahead of Apple.
3. Adapt or perish
Steve Jobs was a visionary businessman. He knew personal computers were the future when he worked on the first Macintosh in the 1980s.
Jobs acknowledged the Post-PC age in his 2010 D8 interview.
Will the tablet replace the laptop, Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs? Jobs' response:
“You know, when we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. As vehicles started to be used in the urban centers and America started to move into those urban and suburban centers, cars got more popular and innovations like automatic transmission and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. And now, maybe 1 out of every 25 vehicles is a truck, where it used to be 100%. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people.”
Imagine how forward-thinking that was in 2010, especially for the Macintosh creator. You have to be willing to recognize that things were changing and that it was time to start over and focus on the next big thing.
Post-PC is priority number 8 in his 2010 agenda's 2011 Strategy section. Jobs says Apple is the first firm to get here and that Post PC items account about 66% of our income. The iPad outsold the Mac in 6 months, and the Post-PC age means increased mobility (smaller, thinner, lighter). Samsung had just introduced its first tablet, while Apple was working on the iPad 3. (as mentioned in bullet 4).
4. Plan ahead (and different)
Jobs' agenda warns that Apple risks clinging to outmoded paradigms. Clayton Christensen explains in The Innovators Dilemma that huge firms neglect disruptive technologies until they become profitable. Samsung's Galaxy tab, released too late, never caught up to Apple.
Apple faces a similar dilemma with the iPhone, its cash cow for over a decade. It doesn't sell as much because consumers aren't as excited about new iPhone launches and because technology is developing and cell phones may need to be upgraded.
Large companies' established consumer base typically hinders innovation. Clayton Christensen emphasizes that loyal customers from established brands anticipate better versions of current products rather than something altogether fresh and new technologies.
Apple's marketing is smart. Apple's ecosystem is trusted by customers, and its products integrate smoothly. So much so that Apple can afford to be a disruptor by doing something no one has ever done before, something the world's largest corporation shouldn't be the first to try. Apple can test the waters and produce a tremendous innovation tsunami, something few corporations can do.
In March 2011, Jobs appeared at an Apple event. During his address, Steve reminded us about Apple's brand:
“It’s in Apple’s DNA, that technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the results that make our hearts sink. And nowhere is that more true that in these Post-PC devices.“
More than a decade later, Apple remains one of the most innovative and trailblazing companies in the Post-PC world (industry-disrupting products like Airpods or the Apple Watch came out after that 2011 strategy meeting), and it has reinvented how we use laptops with its M1-powered line of laptops offering unprecedented performance.
A decade after Jobs' death, Apple remains the world's largest firm, and its former CEO had a crucial part in its expansion. If you can do 1% of what Jobs did, you may be 1% as successful.