More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
4 months ago
Should you skip the minimum viable product?
Are MVPs outdated and have no place in modern product culture?
Frank Robinson coined "MVP" in 2001. In the same year as the Agile Manifesto, the first Scrum experiment began. MVPs are old.
The concept was created to solve the waterfall problem at the time.
The market was still sour from the .com bubble. The tech industry needed a new approach. Product and Agile gained popularity because they weren't waterfall.
More than 20 years later, waterfall is dead as dead can be, but we are still talking about MVPs. Does that make sense?
What is an MVP?
Minimum viable product. You probably know that, so I'll be brief:
[…] The MVP fits your company and customer. It's big enough to cause adoption, satisfaction, and sales, but not bloated and risky. It's the product with the highest ROI/risk. […] — Frank Robinson, SyncDev
MVP is a complete product. It's not a prototype. It's your product's first iteration, which you'll improve. It must drive sales and be user-friendly.
At the MVP stage, you should know your product's core value, audience, and price. We are way deep into early adoption territory.
What about all the things that come before?
Modern product discovery
Eric Ries popularized the term with The Lean Startup in 2011. (Ries would work with the concept since 2008, but wide adoption came after the book was released).
Ries' definition of MVP was similar to Robinson's: "Test the market" before releasing anything. Ries never mentioned money, unlike Jobs. His MVP's goal was learning.
“Remove any feature, process, or effort that doesn't directly contribute to learning” — Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
Product has since become more about "what" to build than building it. What started as a learning tool is now a discovery discipline: fake doors, prototyping, lean inception, value proposition canvas, continuous interview, opportunity tree... These are cheap, effective learning tools.
Over time, companies realized that "maximum ROI divided by risk" started with discovery, not the MVP. MVPs are still considered discovery tools. What is the problem with that?
Time to Market vs Product Market Fit
Waterfall's Time to Market is its biggest flaw. Since projects are sliced horizontally rather than vertically, when there is nothing else to be done, it’s not because the product is ready, it’s because no one cares to buy it anymore.
MVPs were originally conceived as a way to cut corners and speed Time to Market by delivering more customer requests after they paid.
Original product development was waterfall-like.
Time to Market defines an optimal, specific window in which value should be delivered. It's impossible to predict how long or how often this window will be open.
Product Market Fit makes this window a "state." You don’t achieve Product Market Fit, you have it… and you may lose it.
Take, for example, Snapchat. They had a great time to market, but lost product-market fit later. They regained product-market fit in 2018 and have grown since.
An MVP couldn't handle this. What should Snapchat do? Launch Snapchat 2 and see what the market was expecting differently from the last time? MVPs are a snapshot in time that may be wrong in two weeks.
MVPs are mini-projects. Instead of spending a lot of time and money on waterfall, you spend less but are still unsure of the results.
MVPs aren't always wrong. When releasing your first product version, consider an MVP.
Minimum viable product became less of a thing on its own and more interchangeable with Alpha Release or V.1 release over time.
Modern discovery technics are more assertive and predictable than the MVP, but clarity comes only when you reach the market.
MVPs aren't the starting point, but they're the best way to validate your product concept.
3 months ago
In November, I made an effort to pitch 10 brands per day. Here's what I discovered.
I pitched 10 brands per workday for a total of 200.
How did I do?
It was difficult.
I've never pitched so much.
What did this challenge teach me?
the superiority of quality over quantity
When you need help, outsource
Don't disregard burnout in order to complete a challenge because it exists.
First, pitching brands for brand deals requires quality. Find firms that align with your brand to expose to your audience.
If you associate with any company, you'll lose audience loyalty. I didn't lose sight of that, but I couldn't resist finishing the task.
Delegating work to teammates is effective.
I wish I'd done it.
Three people can pitch 200 companies a month significantly faster than one.
One person does research, one to two do outreach, and one to two do follow-up and negotiating.
In 2022, I'll outsource everything.
I felt this, so I slowed down at the end of the month.
Thanksgiving week in November was slow.
I was buying and decorating for Christmas. First time putting up outdoor holiday lights was fun.
Much was happening.
I'm not perfect.
I'm being honest.
Less than 50 brands pitched.
Result: A deal with 3 brands.
I hoped for 4 brands with reaching out to 200 companies, so three with under 50 is wonderful.
That’s a 6% conversion rate!
I needed 2%.
Here's a screenshot from one of the deals I booked.
These companies fit my company well. Each campaign is different, but I've booked $2,450 in brand work with a couple of pending transactions for December and January.
$2,450 in brand work booked!
How did I do? You tell me.
Is this something you’d try yourself?
3 months ago
Your entrepreneurial experience can either be a beautiful adventure or a living hell with just one decision.
DNA makes us distinct.
We act alike. Most people follow the same road, ignoring differences. We remain quiet about our uniqueness for fear of exclusion (family, social background, religion). We live a more or less imposed life.
Off the beaten path, we stand out from the others. We obey without realizing we're sewing a shroud. We're told to do as everyone else and spend 40 years dreaming of a golden retirement and regretting not living.
“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” - Shannon L. Alder
Others dare. Again, few are creative; most follow the example of those who establish a business for the sake of entrepreneurship. To live.
They pick a potential market and model their MVP on an existing solution. Most mimic others, alter a few things, appear to be original, and end up with bland products, adding to an already crowded market.
SaaS, PaaS, etc. followed suit. It's reduced pricing, profitability, and product lifespan.
As competitors become more aggressive, their profitability diminishes, making life horrible for them and their employees. They fail to innovate, cut costs, and close their company.
Few of them look happy and fulfilled.
How did they do it?
The answer is unsettlingly simple.
They are themselves.
They start their company, propelled at first by a passion or maybe a calling.
Then, at their own pace, they create it with the intention of resolving a dilemma.
They assess what others are doing and consider how they might improve it.
In contrast to them, they respond to it in their own way by adding a unique personal touch. Therefore, it is obvious.
Originals, like their DNA, can't be copied. Or if they are, they're poorly printed. Originals are unmatched. Artist-like. True collectors only buy Picasso paintings by the master, not forgeries, no matter how good.
Imaginative people are constantly ahead. Copycats fall behind unless they innovate. They watch their competition continuously. Their solution or product isn't sexy. They hope to cash in on their copied product by flooding the market.
They're mostly pirates. They're short-sighted, unlike creators.
Creators see further ahead and have no rivals. They use copiers to confirm a necessity. To maintain their individuality, creators avoid copying others. They find copying boring. It's boring. They oppose plagiarism.
It's thrilling and inspiring.
It will also make them more able to withstand their opponents' tension. Not to mention roadblocks. For creators, impediments are games.
Others fear it. They race against the clock and fear threats that could interrupt their momentum since they lack inventiveness and their product has a short life cycle.
Creators have time on their side. They're dedicated. Clearly. Passionate booksellers will have their own bookstore. Their passion shows in their book choices. Only the ones they love.
The copier wants to display as many as possible, including mediocre authors, and will cut costs. All this to dominate the market. They're digging their own grave.
The bookseller is just one example. I could give you tons of them.
Entrepreneurs might follow others or be themselves. They risk exhaustion trying to predict what their followers will do.
Life offers choices.
Being oneself or doing as others do, with the possibility of regretting not expressing our uniqueness and not having lived.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. Oscar Wilde
The choice is yours.
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10 months ago
How a $300K Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT was accidentally sold for $3K
The Bored Ape Yacht Club is one of the most prestigious NFT collections in the world. A collection of 10,000 NFTs, each depicting an ape with different traits and visual attributes, Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry and Post Malone are among their star-studded owners. Right now the price of entry is 52 ether, or $210,000.
Which is why it's so painful to see that someone accidentally sold their Bored Ape NFT for $3,066.
Unusual trades are often a sign of funny business, as in the case of the person who spent $530 million to buy an NFT from themselves. In Saturday's case, the cause was a simple, devastating "fat-finger error." That's when people make a trade online for the wrong thing, or for the wrong amount. Here the owner, real name Max or username maxnaut, meant to list his Bored Ape for 75 ether, or around $300,000. Instead he accidentally listed it for 0.75. One hundredth the intended price.
It was bought instantaneously. The buyer paid an extra $34,000 to speed up the transaction, ensuring no one could snap it up before them. The Bored Ape was then promptly listed for $248,000. The transaction appears to have been done by a bot, which can be coded to immediately buy NFTs listed below a certain price on behalf of their owners in order to take advantage of these exact situations.
"How'd it happen? A lapse of concentration I guess," Max told me. "I list a lot of items every day and just wasn't paying attention properly. I instantly saw the error as my finger clicked the mouse but a bot sent a transaction with over 8 eth [$34,000] of gas fees so it was instantly sniped before I could click cancel, and just like that, $250k was gone."
"And here within the beauty of the Blockchain you can see that it is both honest and unforgiving," he added.
Fat finger trades happen sporadically in traditional finance -- like the Japanese trader who almost bought 57% of Toyota's stock in 2014 -- but most financial institutions will stop those transactions if alerted quickly enough. Since cryptocurrency and NFTs are designed to be decentralized, you essentially have to rely on the goodwill of the buyer to reverse the transaction.
Fat finger errors in cryptocurrency trades have made many a headline over the past few years. Back in 2019, the company behind Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged to the US dollar, nearly doubled its own coin supply when it accidentally created $5 billion-worth of new coins. In March, BlockFi meant to send 700 Gemini Dollars to a set of customers, worth roughly $1 each, but mistakenly sent out millions of dollars worth of bitcoin instead. Last month a company erroneously paid a $24 million fee on a $100,000 transaction.
Similar incidents are increasingly being seen in NFTs, now that many collections have accumulated in market value over the past year. Last month someone tried selling a CryptoPunk NFT for $19 million, but accidentally listed it for $19,000 instead. Back in August, someone fat finger listed their Bored Ape for $26,000, an error that someone else immediately capitalized on. The original owner offered $50,000 to the buyer to return the Bored Ape -- but instead the opportunistic buyer sold it for the then-market price of $150,000.
"The industry is so new, bad things are going to happen whether it's your fault or the tech," Max said. "Once you no longer have control of the outcome, forget and move on."
The Bored Ape Yacht Club launched back in April 2021, with 10,000 NFTs being sold for 0.08 ether each -- about $190 at the time. While NFTs are often associated with individual digital art pieces, collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which allow owners to flaunt their NFTs by using them as profile pictures on social media, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The Bored Ape Yacht Club has since become the second biggest NFT collection in the world, second only to CryptoPunks, which launched in 2017 and is considered the "original" NFT collection.
3 months ago
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Jussi Luukkonen, MBA
1 month ago
Is Apple Secretly Building A Disruptive Tsunami?
A TECHNICAL THOUGHT
The IT giant is seeding the digital Great Renaissance.
Recently, technology has been dull.
We're still fascinated by processing speeds. Wearables are no longer an engineer's dream.
Apple has been quiet and avoided huge announcements. Slowness speaks something. Everything in the spaceship HQ seems to be turning slowly, unlike competitors around buzzwords.
Is this a sign of the impending storm?
Metas stock has fallen while Google milks dumb people. Microsoft steals money from corporations and annexes platforms like Linkedin.
Just surface bubbles?
Is Apple, one of the technology continents, pushing against all others to create a paradigm shift?
The fundamental human right to privacy
Apple's unusual remarks emphasize privacy. They incorporate it into their business models and judgments.
Apple believes privacy is a human right. There are no compromises.
This makes it hard for other participants to gain Apple's ecosystem's efficiencies.
Other players without hardware platforms lose.
Apple delivers new kidneys without rejection, unlike other software vendors. Nothing compromises your privacy.
Corporate citizenship will become more popular.
Apples have full coffers. They've started using that flow to better communities, which is great.
Apple's $2.5B home investment is one example. Google and Facebook are building or proposing to build workforce housing.
Apple's funding helps marginalized populations in more than 25 California counties, not just Apple employees.
Is this a trend, and does Apple keep giving back? Hope so.
I'm not cynical enough to suspect these investments have malicious motives.
The last frontier is the environment.
Climate change is a battle-to-win.
Long-term winners will be companies that protect the environment, turning climate change dystopia into sustainable growth.
Apple has been quietly changing its supply chain to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
“Apple is dedicated to protecting the planet we all share with solutions that are supporting the communities where we work.” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment.
Apple's $4.7 billion Green Bond investment will produce 1.2 gigawatts of green energy for the corporation and US communities. Apple invests $2.2 billion in Europe's green energy. In the Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Israel, and South Africa, solar installations are helping communities obtain sustainable energy.
Apple is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. -Apple.
Apple invests in green energy and forests to reduce its paper footprint in China and the US. Apple and the Conservation Fund are safeguarding 36,000 acres of US working forest, according to GreenBiz.
Apple's packaging paper is recycled or from sustainably managed forests.
What matters is the scale.
$1 billion is a rounding error for Apple.
These small investments originate from a tree with deep, spreading roots.
Apple's genes are anchored in building the finest products possible to improve consumers' lives.
I felt it when I switched to my iPhone while waiting for a train and had to pack my Macbook. iOS 16 dictation makes writing more enjoyable. Small change boosts productivity. Smooth transition from laptop to small screen and dictation.
Apples' tiny, well-planned steps have great growth potential for all consumers in everything they do.
There is clearly disruption, but it doesn't have to be violent
Digital channels, methods, and technologies have globalized human consciousness. One person's responsibility affects many.
Apple gives us tools to be privately connected. These technologies foster creativity, innovation, fulfillment, and safety.
Apple has invented a mountain of technologies, services, and channels to assist us adapt to the good future or combat evil forces who cynically aim to control us and ruin the environment and communities. Apple has quietly disrupted sectors for decades.
Google, Microsoft, and Meta, among others, should ride this wave. It's a tsunami, but it doesn't have to be devastating if we care, share, and cooperate with political decision-makers and community leaders worldwide.
A fresh Renaissance
Renaissance geniuses Michelangelo and Da Vinci. Different but seeing something no one else could yet see. Both were talented in many areas and could discover art in science and science in art.
These geniuses exemplified a period that changed humanity for the better. They created, used, and applied new, valuable things. It lives on.
Apple is a digital genius orchard. Wozniak and Jobs offered us fertile ground for the digital renaissance. We'll build on their legacy.
We may put our seeds there and see them bloom despite corporate greed and political ignorance.
I think the coming tsunami will illuminate our planet like the Renaissance.