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Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

6 months ago

5 Tips for Concise Writing

More on Marketing

Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath

5 months ago

Flywheels and Funnels

Traditional sales organizations used the concept of a sales “funnel” to describe the process through which potential customers move, ending up with sales at the end. Winners today have abandoned that way of thinking in favor of building flywheels — business models in which every element reinforces every other.

Ah, the marketing funnel…

Prospective clients go through a predictable set of experiences, students learn in business school marketing classes. It looks like this:

Martech Zone.

Understanding the funnel helps evaluate sales success indicators. Gail Goodwin, former CEO of small business direct mail provider Constant Contact, said managing the pipeline was key to escaping the sluggish SaaS ramp of death.

Like the funnel concept. To predict how well your business will do, measure how many potential clients are aware of it (awareness) and how many take the next step. If 1,000 people heard about your offering and 10% showed interest, you'd have 100 at that point. If 50% of these people made buyer-like noises, you'd know how many were, etc. It helped model buying trends.

TV, magazine, and radio advertising are pricey for B2C enterprises. Traditional B2B marketing involved armies of sales reps, which was expensive and a barrier to entry.

Cracks in the funnel model

Digital has exposed the funnel's limitations. Hubspot was born at a time when buyers and sellers had huge knowledge asymmetries, according to co-founder Brian Halligan. Those selling a product could use the buyer's lack of information to become a trusted partner.

As the world went digital, getting information and comparing offerings became faster, easier, and cheaper. Buyers didn't need a seller to move through a funnel. Interactions replaced transactions, and the relationship didn't end with a sale.

Instead, buyers and sellers interacted in a constant flow. In many modern models, the sale is midway through the process (particularly true with subscription and software-as-a-service models). Example:

Customer journey with touchpoints

You're creating a winding journey with many touch points, not a funnel (and lots of opportunities for customers to get lost).

From winding journey to flywheel

Beyond this revised view of an interactive customer journey, a company can create what Jim Collins famously called a flywheel. Imagine rolling a heavy disc on its axis. The first few times you roll it, you put in a lot of effort for a small response. The same effort yields faster turns as it gains speed. Over time, the flywheel gains momentum and turns without your help.

Modern digital organizations have created flywheel business models, in which any additional force multiplies throughout the business. The flywheel becomes a force multiplier, according to Collins.

Amazon is a famous flywheel example. Collins explained the concept to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a corporate retreat in 2001. In The Everything Store, Brad Stone describes in his book The Everything Store how he immediately understood Amazon's levers.

The result (drawn on a napkin):

Low prices and a large selection of products attracted customers, while a focus on customer service kept them coming back, increasing traffic. Third-party sellers then increased selection. Low-cost structure supports low-price commitment. It's brilliant! Every wheel turn creates acceleration.

Where from here?

Flywheel over sales funnel! Consider these business terms.

Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

6 months ago

Here's What I Learned After 30 Days Analyzing Apple's Microcopy

Move people with tiny words.

Apple fanboy here.

  • Macs are awesome.

  • Their iPhones rock.

  • $19 cloths are great.

  • $999 stands are amazing.

I love Apple's microcopy even more.

It's like the marketing goddess bit into the Apple logo and blessed the world with microcopy.

I took on a 30-day micro-stalking mission.

Every time I caught myself wasting time on YouTube, I had to visit Apple’s website to learn the secrets of the marketing goddess herself.

We've learned. Golden apples are calling.

Cut the friction

Benefit-first, not commitment-first.

Brands lose customers through friction.

Most brands don't think like customers.

  • Brands want sales.

  • Brands want newsletter signups.

Here's their microcopy:

  • “Buy it now.”

  • “Sign up for our newsletter.”

Both are difficult. They ask for big commitments.

People are simple creatures. Want pleasure without commitment.

Apple nails this.

So, instead of highlighting the commitment, they highlight the benefit of the commitment.

Saving on the latest iPhone sounds easier than buying it. Everyone saves, but not everyone buys.

A subtle change in framing reduces friction.

Apple eliminates customer objections to reduce friction.

Less customer friction means simpler processes.

Apple's copy expertly reassures customers about shipping fees and not being home. Apple assures customers that returning faulty products is easy.

Apple knows that talking to a real person is the best way to reduce friction and improve their copy.

Always rhyme

Learn about fine rhyme.

Poets make things beautiful with rhyme.

Copywriters use rhyme to stand out.

Apple’s copywriters have mastered the art of corporate rhyme.

Two techniques are used.

1. Perfect rhyme

Here, rhymes are identical.

2. Imperfect rhyme

Here, rhyming sounds vary.

Apple prioritizes meaning over rhyme.

Apple never forces rhymes that don't fit.

It fits so well that the copy seems accidental.

Add alliteration

Alliteration always entertains.

Alliteration repeats initial sounds in nearby words.

Apple's copy uses alliteration like no other brand I've seen to create a rhyming effect or make the text more fun to read.

For example, in the sentence "Sam saw seven swans swimming," the initial "s" sound is repeated five times. This creates a pleasing rhythm.

Microcopy overuse is like pouring ketchup on a Michelin-star meal.

Alliteration creates a memorable phrase in copywriting. It's subtler than rhyme, and most people wouldn't notice; it simply resonates.

I love how Apple uses alliteration and contrast between "wonders" and "ease".

Assonance, or repeating vowels, isn't Apple's thing.

You ≠ Hero, Customer = Hero

Your brand shouldn't be the hero.

Because they'll be using your product or service, your customer should be the hero of your copywriting. With your help, they should feel like they can achieve their goals.

I love how Apple emphasizes what you can do with the machine in this microcopy.

It's divine how they position their tools as sidekicks to help below.

This one takes the cake:

Dialogue-style writing

Conversational copy engages.

Excellent copy Like sharing gum with a friend.

This helps build audience trust.

Apple does this by using natural connecting words like "so" and phrases like "But that's not all."

Snowclone-proof

The mother of all microcopy techniques.

A snowclone uses an existing phrase or sentence to create a new one. The new phrase or sentence uses the same structure but different words.

It’s usually a well know saying like:

To be or not to be.

This becomes a formula:

To _ or not to _.

Copywriters fill in the blanks with cause-related words. Example:

To click or not to click.

Apple turns "survival of the fittest" into "arrival of the fittest."

It's unexpected and surprises the reader.


So this was fun.

But my fun has just begun.

Microcopy is 21st-century poetry.

I came as an Apple fanboy.

I leave as an Apple fanatic.

Now I’m off to find an apple tree.

Cause you know how it goes.

(Apples, trees, etc.)


This post is a summary. Original post available here.

M.G. Siegler

M.G. Siegler

2 months ago

Apple: Showing Ads on Your iPhone

This report from Mark Gurman has stuck with me:

In the News and Stocks apps, the display ads are no different than what you might get on an ad-supported website. In the App Store, the ads are for actual apps, which are probably more useful for Apple users than mortgage rates. Some people may resent Apple putting ads in the News and Stocks apps. After all, the iPhone is supposed to be a premium device. Let’s say you shelled out $1,000 or more to buy one, do you want to feel like Apple is squeezing more money out of you just to use its standard features? Now, a portion of ad revenue from the News app’s Today tab goes to publishers, but it’s not clear how much. Apple also lets publishers advertise within their stories and keep the vast majority of that money. Surprisingly, Today ads also appear if you subscribe to News+ for $10 per month (though it’s a smaller number).

I use Apple News often. It's a good general news catch-up tool, like Twitter without the BS. Customized notifications are helpful. Fast and lovely. Except for advertisements. I have Apple One, which includes News+, and while I understand why the magazines still have brand ads, it's ridiculous to me that Apple enables web publishers to introduce awful ads into this experience. Apple's junky commercials are ridiculous.

We know publishers want and probably requested this. Let's keep Apple News ad-free for the much smaller percentage of paid users, and here's your portion. (Same with Stocks, which is more sillier.)

Paid app placement in the App Store is a wonderful approach for developers to find new users (though far too many of those ads are trying to trick users, in my opinion).

Apple is also planning to increase ads in its Maps app. This sounds like Google Maps, and I don't like it. I never find these relevant, and they clutter up the user experience. Apple Maps now has a UI advantage (though not a data/search one, which matters more).

Apple is nickel-and-diming its customers. We spend thousands for their products and premium services like Apple One. We all know why: income must rise, and new firms are needed to scale. This will eventually backfire.

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William Brucee

William Brucee

2 months ago

This person is probably Satoshi Nakamoto.

illustration by Cryptotactic.io

Who founded bitcoin is the biggest mystery in technology today, not how it works.

On October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto posted a whitepaper to a cryptography email list. Still confused by the mastermind who changed monetary history.

Journalists and bloggers have tried in vain to uncover bitcoin's creator. Some candidates self-nominated. We're still looking for the mystery's perpetrator because none of them have provided proof.

One person. I'm confident he invented bitcoin. Let's assess Satoshi Nakamoto before I reveal my pick. Or what he wants us to know.

Satoshi's P2P Foundation biography says he was born in 1975. He doesn't sound or look Japanese. First, he wrote the whitepaper and subsequent articles in flawless English. His sleeping habits are unusual for a Japanese person.

Stefan Thomas, a Bitcoin Forum member, displayed Satoshi's posting timestamps. Satoshi Nakamoto didn't publish between 2 and 8 p.m., Japanese time. Satoshi's identity may not be real.

Why would he disguise himself?

There is a legitimate explanation for this

Phil Zimmermann created PGP to give dissidents an open channel of communication, like Pretty Good Privacy. US government seized this technology after realizing its potential. Police investigate PGP and Zimmermann.

This technology let only two people speak privately. Bitcoin technology makes it possible to send money for free without a bank or other intermediary, removing it from government control.

How much do we know about the person who invented bitcoin?

Here's what we know about Satoshi Nakamoto now that I've covered my doubts about his personality.

Satoshi Nakamoto first appeared with a whitepaper on metzdowd.com. On Halloween 2008, he presented a nine-page paper on a new peer-to-peer electronic monetary system.

Using the nickname satoshi, he created the bitcointalk forum. He kept developing bitcoin and created bitcoin.org. Satoshi mined the genesis block on January 3, 2009.

Satoshi Nakamoto worked with programmers in 2010 to change bitcoin's protocol. He engaged with the bitcoin community. Then he gave Gavin Andresen the keys and codes and transferred community domains. By 2010, he'd abandoned the project.

The bitcoin creator posted his goodbye on April 23, 2011. Mike Hearn asked Satoshi if he planned to rejoin the group.

“I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.”

Nakamoto Satoshi

The man who broke the banking system vanished. Why?

illustration by Cryptotactic.io

Satoshi's wallets held 1,000,000 BTC. In December 2017, when the price peaked, he had over US$19 billion. Nakamoto had the 44th-highest net worth then. He's never cashed a bitcoin.

This data suggests something happened to bitcoin's creator. I think Hal Finney is Satoshi Nakamoto .

Hal Finney had ALS and died in 2014. I suppose he created the future of money, then he died, leaving us with only rumors about his identity.

Hal Finney, who was he?

Hal Finney graduated from Caltech in 1979. Student peers voted him the smartest. He took a doctoral-level gravitational field theory course as a freshman. Finney's intelligence meets the first requirement for becoming Satoshi Nakamoto.

Students remember Finney holding an Ayn Rand book. If he'd read this, he may have developed libertarian views.

His beliefs led him to a small group of freethinking programmers. In the 1990s, he joined Cypherpunks. This action promoted the use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies for social and political change. Finney helped them achieve a crypto-anarchist perspective as self-proclaimed privacy defenders.

Zimmermann knew Finney well.

Hal replied to a Cypherpunk message about Phil Zimmermann and PGP. He contacted Phil and became PGP Corporation's first member, retiring in 2011. Satoshi Nakamoto quit bitcoin in 2011.

Finney improved the new PGP protocol, but he had to do so secretly. He knew about Phil's PGP issues. I understand why he wanted to hide his identity while creating bitcoin.

Why did he pretend to be from Japan?

His envisioned persona was spot-on. He resided near scientist Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto. Finney could've assumed Nakamoto's identity to hide his. Temple City has 36,000 people, so what are the chances they both lived there? A cryptographic genius with the same name as Bitcoin's creator: coincidence?

Things went differently, I think.

I think Hal Finney sent himself Satoshis messages. I know it's odd. If you want to conceal your involvement, do as follows. He faked messages and transferred the first bitcoins to himself to test the transaction mechanism, so he never returned their money.

Hal Finney created the first reusable proof-of-work system. The bitcoin protocol. In the 1990s, Finney was intrigued by digital money. He invented CRypto cASH in 1993.

Legacy

Hal Finney's contributions should not be forgotten. Even if I'm wrong and he's not Satoshi Nakamoto, we shouldn't forget his bitcoin contribution. He helped us achieve a better future.

Max Chafkin

Max Chafkin

9 months ago

Elon Musk Bets $44 Billion on Free Speech's Future

Musk’s purchase of Twitter has sealed his bond with the American right—whether the platform’s left-leaning employees and users like it or not.

Elon Musk's pursuit of Twitter Inc. began earlier this month as a joke. It started slowly, then spiraled out of control, culminating on April 25 with the world's richest man agreeing to spend $44 billion on one of the most politically significant technology companies ever. There have been bigger financial acquisitions, but Twitter's significance has always outpaced its balance sheet. This is a unique Silicon Valley deal.

To recap: Musk announced in early April that he had bought a stake in Twitter, citing the company's alleged suppression of free speech. His complaints were vague, relying heavily on the dog whistles of the ultra-right. A week later, he announced he'd buy the company for $54.20 per share, four days after initially pledging to join Twitter's board. Twitter's directors noticed the 420 reference as well, and responded with a “shareholder rights” plan (i.e., a poison pill) that included a 420 joke.


Musk - Patrick Pleul/Getty Images

No one knew if the bid was genuine. Musk's Twitter plans seemed implausible or insincere. In a tweet, he referred to automated accounts that use his name to promote cryptocurrency. He enraged his prospective employees by suggesting that Twitter's San Francisco headquarters be turned into a homeless shelter, renaming the company Titter, and expressing solidarity with his growing conservative fan base. “The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” he tweeted on April 19.

But Musk got funding, and after a frantic weekend of negotiations, Twitter said yes. Unlike most buyouts, Musk will personally fund the deal, putting up up to $21 billion in cash and borrowing another $12.5 billion against his Tesla stock.

Free Speech and Partisanship

Percentage of respondents who agree with the following

The deal is expected to replatform accounts that were banned by Twitter for harassing others, spreading misinformation, or inciting violence, such as former President Donald Trump's account. As a result, Musk is at odds with his own left-leaning employees, users, and advertisers, who would prefer more content moderation rather than less.


Dorsey - Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Previously, the company's leadership had similar issues. Founder Jack Dorsey stepped down last year amid concerns about slowing growth and product development, as well as his dual role as CEO of payments processor Block Inc. Compared to Musk, a father of seven who already runs four companies (besides Tesla and SpaceX), Dorsey is laser-focused.

Musk's motivation to buy Twitter may be political. Affirming the American far right with $44 billion spent on “free speech” Right-wing activists have promoted a series of competing upstart Twitter competitors—Parler, Gettr, and Trump's own effort, Truth Social—since Trump was banned from major social media platforms for encouraging rioters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But Musk can give them a social network with lax content moderation and a real user base. Trump said he wouldn't return to Twitter after the deal was announced, but he wouldn't be the first to do so.


Trump - Eli Hiller/Bloomberg

Conservative activists and lawmakers are already ecstatic. “A great day for free speech in America,” said Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. The day the deal was announced, Tucker Carlson opened his nightly Fox show with a 10-minute laudatory monologue. “The single biggest political development since Donald Trump's election in 2016,” he gushed over Musk.

But Musk's supporters and detractors misunderstand how much his business interests influence his political ideology. He marketed Tesla's cars as carbon-saving machines that were faster and cooler than gas-powered luxury cars during George W. Bush's presidency. Musk gained a huge following among wealthy environmentalists who reserved hundreds of thousands of Tesla sedans years before they were made during Barack Obama's presidency. Musk in the Trump era advocated for a carbon tax, but he also fought local officials (and his own workers) over Covid rules that slowed the reopening of his Bay Area factory.


Teslas at the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop Central Station in April 2021. The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop was Musk's first commercial project. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Musk's rightward shift matched the rise of the nationalist-populist right and the desire to serve a growing EV market. In 2019, he unveiled the Cybertruck, a Tesla pickup, and in 2018, he announced plans to manufacture it at a new plant outside Austin. In 2021, he decided to move Tesla's headquarters there, citing California's "land of over-regulation." After Ford and General Motors beat him to the electric truck market, Musk reframed Tesla as a company for pickup-driving dudes.

Similarly, his purchase of Twitter will be entwined with his other business interests. Tesla has a factory in China and is friendly with Beijing. This could be seen as a conflict of interest when Musk's Twitter decides how to treat Chinese-backed disinformation, as Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos noted.

Musk has focused on Twitter's product and social impact, but the company's biggest challenges are financial: Either increase cash flow or cut costs to comfortably service his new debt. Even if Musk can't do that, he can still benefit from the deal. He has recently used the increased attention to promote other business interests: Boring has hyperloops and Neuralink brain implants on the way, Musk tweeted. Remember Tesla's long-promised robotaxis!

Musk may be comfortable saying he has no expectation of profit because it benefits his other businesses. At the TED conference on April 14, Musk insisted that his interest in Twitter was solely charitable. “I don't care about money.”

The rockets and weed jokes make it easy to see Musk as unique—and his crazy buyout will undoubtedly add to that narrative. However, he is a megabillionaire who is risking a small amount of money (approximately 13% of his net worth) to gain potentially enormous influence. Musk makes everything seem new, but this is a rehash of an old media story.

Gareth Willey

Gareth Willey

1 month ago

I've had these five apps on my phone for a long time.

TOP APPS

Who survives spring cleaning?

Illustration by author. Mock-up by RawPixel.

Relax. Notion is off-limits. This topic is popular.

(I wrote about it 2 years ago, before everyone else did.) So).

These apps are probably new to you. I hope you find a new phone app after reading this.

Outdooractive

ViewRanger is Google Maps for outdoor enthusiasts.

This app has been so important to me as a freedom-loving long-distance walker and hiker.

Screenshots from Outdooractive.

This app shows nearby trails and right-of-ways on top of an Open Street Map.

Helpful detail and data. Any route's distance,

You can download and follow tons of routes planned by app users.

This has helped me find new routes and places a fellow explorer has tried.

Free with non-intrusive ads. Years passed before I subscribed. Pro costs £2.23/month.

This app is for outdoor lovers.

Google Files

New phones come with bloatware. These rushed apps are frustrating.

We must replace these apps. 2017 was Google's year.

Screenshots from Files.

Files is a file manager. It's quick, innovative, and clean. They've given people what they want.

It's easy to organize files, clear space, and clear cache.

I recommend Gallery by Google as a gallery app alternative. It's quick and easy.

Trainline

Screenshots by Trainline.

App for trains, buses, and coaches.

I've used this app for years. It did the basics well when I first used it.

Since then, it's improved. It's constantly adding features to make traveling easier and less stressful.

Split-ticketing helps me save hundreds a year on train fares. This app is only available in the UK and Europe.

This service doesn't link to a third-party site. Their app handles everything.

Not all train and coach companies use this app. All the big names are there, though.

Here's more on the app.

Battlefield: Mobile

Screenshot from home screen.

Play Store has 478,000 games. Few can turn my phone into a console.

Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 8/9 are examples.

Asphalt's loot boxes and ads make it unplayable. Call of Duty opens with a few ads. Close them to play without hassle.

This game uses all your phone's features to provide a high-quality, seamless experience. If my internet connection is good, I never experience lag or glitches.

The gameplay is energizing and intense, just like on consoles. Sometimes I'm too involved. I've thrown my phone in anger. I'm totally absorbed.

Customizability is my favorite. Since phones have limited screen space, we should only have the buttons we need, placed conveniently.

Size, opacity, and position are modifiable. Adjust audio, graphics, and textures. It's customizable.

This game has been on my phone for three years. It began well and has gotten better. When I think the creators can't do more, they do.

If you play, read my tips for winning a Battle Royale.

Lightroom

Screenshots from Lightroom app.

As a photographer, I believe your best camera is on you. The phone.

2017 was a big year for this app. I've tried many photo-editing apps since then. This always wins.

The app is dull. I've never seen better photo editing on a phone.

Adjusting settings and sliders doesn't damage or compress photos. It's detailed.

This is important for phone photos, which are lower quality than professional ones.

Some tools are behind a £4.49/month paywall. Adobe must charge a subscription fee instead of selling licenses. (I'm still bitter about Creative Cloud's price)

Snapseed is my pick. Lightroom is where I do basic editing before moving to Snapseed. Snapseed review:

Screen recording of the powerful Snapseed app.

These apps are great. They cover basic and complex editing needs while traveling.

Final Reflections

I hope you downloaded one of these. Share your favorite apps. These apps are scarce.