Day: November 7, 2021

Ruminations on the Test Drive: If you want to see how it ENDS, look at how it BEGINS


One of my favorites axioms is that if you want to see how it ENDS, look at how it BEGINS.

The saying is an acknowledgment that human “actors” do the actual work in life, so whether they hit the ground running (or not); are easy to work with (or not); or do what they say (or not) is indicative and predictive of how things will go in the relationship.

Think about it. On a personal and professional level, people are generally on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship. 

It is also a time when they are expected to be prepared and have a plan.

This is why I say that if you want to see how it ends, look at how it begins. 

People who are easy to work with and on top of things when you first start working with them, are generally going to be good to work with over the long haul.

People who rub you the wrong way, or don’t have their act together when you first encounter them, are telling you something about who they are. 

Ignore this fact at your own peril.

Which brings me to the goodness offering a "test drive" of your product (or service) before committing long term.

Why do I advocate this?

Going back to the notion of seeing how things end by looking at how things begin, having a test drive in your selling funnel accomplishes the following. It:

- Delivers tangible, quantifiable value
- Establishes (Read more...)


About 20 years ago, Deutsche Telekom bought a UK mobile network called One2One and rebranded it T-Mobile. One2One had been known for low prices and a weak network, so what was this new 'T-Mobile' thing? Well, it had low prices... and a weak network. They changed the name but didn't fix the product. 

If your brand has become toxic, and you create a new brand to leave that behind, pretty soon the same old problems will leach into your shiny new identity as well. A marketing person would probably suggest you do this the other way around - you should fix the problems first, and then decide how to communicate that. So why would Facebook move to ‘Meta’ today?

One answer might be that Facebook will not be fixed, whatever that means, any time soon. Two billion people use it every day, posting over 100bn messages - SMS at its peak handled only a quarter of that volume. When you connect two billion people, that includes all the bad people, and more importantly all of our own worst instincts, expressed and channeled in new ways. All social media companies are struggling with that realisation; Facebook now has forty thousand people working on this, which is why all of that research was there to be leaked, but it still isn’t ahead. Complexity, trade-offs, technology limitations, politics, misaligned incentives and structural dysfunction all collide. 

But meanwhile, though Facebook wrestles with toxicity (or even if you think it doesn’t care), it worries that teenagers (Read more...)

The State Of The Markets…Sunday Rant and Some Reads

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

Like I said yesterday…it feels like I know nothing about investing as this boom continues.

The good news is knowing nothing has been fantastic for me AND my portfolio.

I joke that ‘investing is easy’ because I know that ‘investing is hard’. As this boom continues though ‘investing is hard’ is the joke.

Today, everyone can index which does make investing ‘easy’.

If you want to build your own portfolio’s investing becomes harder for sure.

Even in this long boom, stocks are blowing up.

Just this week, two of my 8 to 80 companies (Peloton and Zillow) missed their numbers badly and Zillow seems to be without a strategy to grow their market cap in a non financial engineering (flipping houses) way.

In a world of zero interest rates, endless government spending, higher international tensions and the ‘Metaverse’ the idea of an 8 to 80 company may not even make sense anymore or the portfolio might just have to be turned over more rapidly.

It is not just me that is struggling with all the new concepts and opportunities…two recent Fred Wilson posts are worth a read…

The Metaverse and

Web3 versus Web2

I also like this Ben Thompson essay – The Death and Birth of Technological Revolutions.

More this week…have a great Sunday.

Kinds of projects

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

At first, we sold our labor. That was 10,000 years of history. You traded sweat for food.

Eventually, people figured out that they could build an organization. And an organization made things, which someone could buy. Add some technology and machines and productivity would go up, the things would get better, and profits would result. Industrial capitalism. This is the sort of project that most people think about when someone says “I’m going to start a business.”

But there are other options.

Linux and Wikipedia and the local farmer’s market are all projects. They may or may not lead to a profit for every person who engages with them, but they’re distinct entities that organize various talents and inputs and create value for the people they serve.

Stemming climate change, stopping the spread of disease and fighting homelessness are also projects. They may not have coordinating bodies or a single entity, but they represent a combination of ideas, people and initiatives that are coordinated through culture.

Bitcoin is a multi-trillion dollar project with no one in charge.

As our world gets more connected, the projects that change us are more and more likely to have a form that would be hard to recognize just a generation ago. But inventing and choosing and supporting these projects is now on us, and it begins by recognizing that they even exist.