Month: April 2022

Catalytic Mechanism to Drive a Desired Outcome

One of my favorite learnings is the power of the catalytic mechanism to drive a desired outcome. Jim Collins popularized it decades ago writing:

Catalytic mechanisms are the crucial link between objectives and performance; they are a galvanizing, nonbureaucratic means to turn one into the other. Put another way, catalytic mechanisms are to visions what the central elements of the U.S. Constitution are to the Declaration of Independence—devices that translate lofty aspirations into concrete reality.

Turning Goals into Results by Jim Collins

In everyday life, the most common ones we see are things like “The meal is free if you’re not given a receipt” and “Money back guarantee if you’re not 100% satisfied.” In the first example, the desired outcome is that every order is entered into the cash register and rung up so that the payment isn’t stolen. In the second example, it’s an effort to ensure customers are happy such that they are both treated well and more inclined to speak up if something wasn’t right. By doing one thing, you’re increasing the chances that a different, more important thing happens.

Here are a few questions startups should ask:

  • What is the desired outcome?
  • What’s necessary to achieve that outcome?
  • How can I catalyze or incentivize the opposing action or actor to help achieve the desired outcome?
  • What are other ways to align adjacent pieces to help with the desired outcome?

Simply put: what is it that you want to happen and what other behavior can you influence (Read more...)

In The Bahamas With COVID

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

I tested positive for COVID Thursday afternoon in the Bahamas.

So far, everyone around me tested negative and has fled…of course that is great news.

It is Saturday morning now and I have been in my room for a few days.

I have a bit of a cough today and am very tired but no other symptoms.

I can’t leave the hotel and the Bahamas until I test negative which I hear can take a while. Luckily, there are worse places to be trapped. I have plenty of light and a comfortable room and patio.

I have a list of things to catch up on and now I have all the time in the world to do them, but I don’t feel like catching up on them!

I was hoping to be back in Phoenix so that Ellen and I could go to surprise Max in Las Vegas for his 23rd birthday today. Not to be.

Happy Birthday Max.

Making our decisions

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

For trivial matters, it’s efficient and perhaps useful to simply follow a crowd or whatever leader we’ve chosen.

But when it matters, we need to make (and own) our own decisions.

To do that effectively, consider:

  • Do the reading
  • Show your work
  • Avoid voices with a long track record of being wrong
  • Ask, “and then what happens?”
  • Ask, “how would that work?”
  • Ignore people who make a living saying stupid things to attract attention
  • Follow a path you’re eager and happy to take responsibility for
  • Be prepared to change your mind when new data arrives
  • Think hard about who profits and why they want you to believe something
  • Consider the long-term impact of short-term thinking

None of these steps are easy. This could be why we so often outsource them to someone else.

Mapped: Beer Consumption in the U.S.

This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist

Mapped: Beer Consumption in the U.S.

Beer consumption spans almost the entire world, and is a staple in much of the United States.

When stacked up next to other alcoholic beverages, beer is America’s preferred drink of choice, closely followed by wine and spirits. In fact, it is the fifth most-consumed drink overall in the country, behind coffee, water, soft drinks and tea.

At the end of 2021, beer in the U.S. was a $94.1 billion industry. Alongside massive multinational conglomerations, it is also driven by over 9,000 breweries of different types.

This visualization, created by Victor Dépré of Hypntic Data, maps the consumption of beer by gallons per capita across the U.S. using data from Top Agency and The Beer Institute.

What is Beer?

Beer is produced from the fermentation of combined water, malt, and yeast. It was first produced 12,000 years ago with the emergence of grain agriculture.

Today, beer is made from several different malted grains: wheat, corn, rice, oats, and most commonly, barley. Hops, a type of flower, are added for flavor, balancing out the malt’s sweetness with a bitter taste while also preserving the beer’s freshness and giving a good amount of foam.

American Beer Consumption By State

So which states drank the most beer, and what was their preferred brand?

The annual consumption stats come from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac report, while the preferred beer of choice was compiled by Data Agency’s 2021 Beer Rankings report, which is based on (Read more...)

Why Dubai is Becoming a Global Startup Hot Spot

Dubai is about to turn into a global startup hot spot. That’s the key message emerging from the recently launched UAE Venture Outlook 2022 report produced by Dubai Chamber, Mind the Bridge and Crunchbase.

Men and women sitting around a meeting table in Dubai

After spending a week in Dubai in meetings with local stakeholders, here are my four main takeaways:


1. There is (scaleup) life beyond Israel

There is innovation outside of Israel, “the startup nation,” with 587 scaleups originating across 19 countries in the Middle East and North Africa ranging from Morocco to the Gulf Cooperation Councils. There is still not a large concentration (except for UAE), but the area is growing rapidly. In the past two to three years, numbers doubled year over year, as shown in the table below.

The growth is driven by strong support from governments. One-third of the total funding made available to MENA scaleups comes from rounds that saw the participation of corporate—involved in 63 percent of the rounds—and government institutions or public-supported funds. On the latter, it is worth mentioning that in the past few years, Saudi Arabia has also started investing heavily into innovation and could provide an extra boost (assuming it will improve its international presence).

top 15 MENA countries for tech scaleups

2. You can smell a “scaling feeling” in the air

All the people visiting Expo 2020 could sense it. As Tomaso Rodriguez, CEO at Talabat (the company that would have been the first Arab Unicorn if it was not acquired by Delivery Hero) told me (Read more...)

Why Investors Tuned Out Netflix

This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist

Netflix shares crash

Why Investors Tuned Out Netflix

Netflix shares have enjoyed an incredible run over the past decade. Subscriber growth seemed limitless, profitability was improving, and the pandemic gave us a compelling case for watching TV at home.

Things took a drastic turn on April 19, 2022, when Netflix announced its Q1 results. Rather than gaining subscribers as forecasted, the company lost 200,000. This was the first decline in over a decade, and investors rushed to pull their money out.

So, is there a buying opportunity now that Netflix shares are trading at multi-year lows? To help you decide, we’ve provided further context around this historic crash.

Netflix Shares Fall Flat

Over the span of a few months, Netflix shares have erased roughly four years worth of gains. Not all of these losses are due to the drop in subscribers, however.

Prior to the Q1 earnings announcement, Netflix had lost most of its pandemic-related gains. This was primarily due to rising interest rates and people spending less time at home. Still, analysts expected Netflix to add 2.7 million subscribers.

After announcing it had lost 200,000 subscribers instead, the stock quickly fell below $200 (the first time since late 2017). YTD performance (as of April 29, 2022) is an abysmal -67%.

What’s to Blame?

Netflix pointed to three culprits for its loss in subscribers:

  • The suspension of its services in Russia
  • Increasing competition
  • Account sharing

Let’s focus on the latter two, starting with competition. The following table compares the number of (Read more...)

20% of Children Have Learning Differences, This Startup Is Here to Help | Diana Heldfond of…

This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium

20% of Children Have Learning Differences, This Startup Is Here to Help | Diana Heldfond of Parallel

On this week’s episode I chat with Diana Heldfond, Founder & CEO of Parallel. Parallel is an edtech platform empowering students with learning differences by providing them with a lower cost, faster solution for getting the support they need. Parallel is tackling a big problem. According to Diana 1 in 5 students has a learning and thinking difference that her platform can help address.

Their service is cheaper and faster because it’s tech-enabled. They create efficiencies by automating the admin work that specialists used to have to do and by mixing and matching specialists to make sure fewer specialists bottleneck the process.

This has brought the price of care down by a whopping 50%. And it allows parents to get their child’s assessment done in days, whereas it used to take weeks. They work directly with families and with school districts. It’s pretty smart.

It’s always so cool to see founders start a company that hits close to home. Diana was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. That didn’t hold her back — she went to Georgetown and worked on Wall Street before starting Parallel.

It’s a great conversation. I learned a lot and hope you do too. Enjoy.

Listen via your preferred platform here.

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