Insights from Monday lunch

From Kevyn Klein on Ambassador programs (VIP Kids)

  • Motivation : Swag, Power, Access and Status
  • Best practices documentation
  • Figure out what motivates them to complete course
  • The first pilot hand picked based on people that were most into product: 15 people
  • Requirement goes up overtime as you get at what you want
  • Test the product
  • Figure out who are the influencers who are passionate
  • Use the program as a reward
  • People are intrinsically motivated
  • Have a kick off webinar to set the expectation
  • Help define what this opportunity
  • Usually first cohort helps u define your program
  • 4 bullet points of what it really means
    • If you over define it then you stifle their creativity
    • Open up the group to let them decide when n where to do the program. Saturday morning instead of Thursday evening in a bar
    • Make them feel like u are organized n framework
  • Business needs: Want to see who is influencer?

Ray Wu (MagicBus)

  • Intercom.IO to handle email tracking
  • Growth hacking, Sean Ellis – read retention section
    • focus on activation and retention
  • understand what users are doing with data
    • Check out AirTable?
  • 1 year runway is sufficient buffer

Ayush (OurHealthMate)

  • Poor activation rate could just be users playing around checking out different chrome extensions simultaneously

Book summary: George Orwell’s 1984

George Orwell

Key take aways

  • To control a population first control the language and supported concepts. This helps frame and thus restrict the thoughts of its users.
  • The further up the hierarchy the increase the need to process contradictory ideas
  • In a totalitarian state, even harboring a thought with no corresponding action is considered a crime
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Control over the past allows control of the future. Control of the present allows control of the past
  • Tiers of control and effects
    • Control body without the control mind will lead to martyr – Romans and the Christians
    • Control of body and superficial control of the mind leads to a brittle regime – Soviet Union
    • Control of body and absolute control of mind through history leads a long lasting regime – Missionaries and the catholic church.

Related Readings

Book summary: Your First 100

Your first 100

New Customer versus existing ones

  • New customer is 6 – 7 times harder to acquire than to keep one
  • probability of selling to new prospect 5-20% versus 60-70% existing customer
  • loyal customer worth 10X their first purchase

Customer and feelings

  • Loyal customer are buying into an experience they know they will get from your brand.
  • Profiles
    • readers
    • subscribers
    • buyers

Brand

  • What people say when you are not in the room, Jeff Bezos
  • It is tied to their sensory cues
  • Brand strategy is where you tell people how you want your brand to be perceived by your presentation of the different components
  • Your brand should be very targeted and not sell to everybody, only to those who will benefit the most from your offering. That is the basis of differentiation

Experience – components in a brand

  • product
  • website
  • delivery
  • customer service
  • payment

Touch points

  • Pre-touch point: someone mentioned you to them
  • premier first touch point: landing page
  • pivotal touch point: reading up more about your product on your website
    • category 1: no idea about the problem you are solving
    • category 2: aware of the problem
    • category 3: aware of problem, trust and love your content
    • category 4: ready to buy but have questions
    • category 5: made a purchase
  • prime touch point: onboarding & magic moment
  • post touch point: getting referrals

Content tilt

  • To focus on going deep and narrow in the content you create

Prospect behavior

  • 95% not ready but
  • 70% will eventually buy from you or your competitor
  • Only 3% are actively buying at anytime.

Related readings

  • What customers crave, Nicholas J Webb
  • Top of mind, John Hall
  • Lead generation for complex sale, Brain Carroll
  • Content Inc, Joe Pulizzi
  • Sticky Branding, Jeremy Miller

Coaching for founders

  • As a CEO, being in the trenches feels a lot like being punched in the face over and over again
  • A lot of dysfunctions in teams boils down to not being clear about roles and responsibilities
  • always talk about the task and not about the person
  • The (blame of the screw up) Buck stops with the CEO whose role and responsibility includes being the ultimate decision maker
  • It is the CEO’s job to bring up difficult conversations that are necessary
  • performance issues boil down to two types motivational, perceived or ability
    • motivation because feeling burned out
    • perceived because role n responsibility not clear
    • ability then not supposed to clear  skillset mismatch

Book summary: Thinking in Bets

Thinking in Bets
Decision Theory Model

Overview

  • Good quality decisions do not always yield good outcomes
  • All decision makings in real life are made under uncertainty. All decisions are essentially bets about the future
  • Decisions made in Chess are not made under uncertainty because every single permutation can be pre-computed unlike Poker.
  • Most real life decisions are not zero-sum games

On outcomes

  • Real life outcomes are probabilistic
  • Outcomes are influenced primarily by the quality of our decision (skill) and luck
  • While the outcomes might not always be positive, having a process in place to constantly improve the quality of decision making will tilt the odds in our favor

Implications

  • Do not change strategy drastically just because a few hands did not turn out well in the short run
  • For each premise understand what the base rate is
  • Learn to be at peace with not knowing
  • Recognize the limits of our own knowledge
  • A great decision is a result of a good process. A good process attempts to accurately represent our own state of knowledge
  • Watching: It is free to learn from other people’s experience

Cognitive biases that impede good decision

  • Decisions are the outcomes of our beliefs
  • Hindsight bias impedes against quality decision making
  • Guard against black or white decision making
  • Availability bias means lagging any prior conflicting data, our default setting is to believe what we hear is true
  • Selective bias and consistency bias, means we are unwilling to change our mind despite contrary signals from the environment
  • Avoid attribution bias

Related Readings

  • Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Jon Von Neumann
  • Ignorance: How it drives Science, Stuart Firestein
  • Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert

Hypothesis on timing entry position into loss aversion

This documentation is an extension on the strategy of loss aversion and reversion to mean. Its aim is to quantitatively identify the point in time when the effects of mass hysteria resultant from bad news has subsided.

For clearer reading of signals, entry should be done at end of day instead of beginning of day.

Heuristics

  • Only enter into position that has been on an uptrend in both the 3month and the 6month period
  • Enter at historical support level
  • Exit at 5% capital gain
  • Stop loss at 2% capital loss

Successful attempts

Listed below are 3 successful entry attempts during early 2019 where a 5% capital gain were captured.

SVMK trade entry on 15th Feb 2019
MDB trade entry on 17th Jan 2019
TSLA trade entry 5th March 2019

The key characteristics of these entry were:

  • Dip classification
    • >10% drop in share price
    • Trading volume accompanying large dip should be at least 2.5X of 10 day moving average
    • RSI of previous day was in the oversold range of <30
  • Entry
    • In the 30 day chart, sales volume is less than 10 day moving average

Proper timing of entry could result in a lower denominator to work on for the targeted 5% gain. This would result in overall lower holding period in positions.

Failed attempt type 1: Entering too early

Depicted is an example of entering the position too early

  • Dip classification
    • >10% drop in share price
    • RSI of previous day was in the oversold range of <30
  • Entry
    • In the 30 day chart, negative sales volume was still more than the 10 day moving average

Failed attempt type 2: Trading companies with too recent IPO

  • Dip classification
    • >10% drop in share price
    • No RSI available
    • In the 30 day chart, there was not enough data to plot the 10 day moving average

To check if price recovery is due to covering of prior shorts

Related references

Book Summary: Lost and Founder

Radical Candor/Transparency

It is hard but it works – needs to be tampered with empathy

On being product focused

  • Consulting is limited by time and people – not scalable
  • Effective Product-focused business
    • reach
    • scalability
  • Start with a product informed by your consulting – real life problems others face

Impediment to shifting focus

  • Too comfortable
  • not enough time
  • difficulty finding the right customers for the product

On being a founder

  • Great founders enable a vision
  • forget about being hands on most of the time
  • job scope changes every six months – for any road block encountered focus on sufficing the requirements instead of perfecting it
  • you rarely get to do what you love to do
  • be cognizant on when to lead and when not to – have the specialist do the job
  • Cultivate self awareness in strength and weakness – structure company to work around them
  • Attribute of founder is instilled with near-permanence in the organization while those of supporting team fluctuates
  • the hardest parts of the business is less a reflection about the business than about the person experiencing them
  • Build expertise before building network, build network before building company
  • Focus on and reward the behavior, let the outcome take care of itself

On Values

  • Authentic values force hard decisions – held to be more important than money
  • have real costs: Impede certain behavior and strategy
  • Values are discovered instead of set
  • Used as a yard stick for recruiting new members to the cause. Helps get pass the competence versus cultural fit dilemma

On recruiting

  • CTO should be those that should be oriented towards education instead of shielding you from the nitty gritty details (black box)
  • Use your value system as a yard stick
  • Hiring for diversity will make the mental model of the organization more holistic
  • Great managers / coaches might not be great individual contributors

On markets and pivots

  • Pivots Are expensive don’t make it a habit – only resort to this tactic when the original hypothesis is not longer valid
  • focus on the market and then find a field ignored by others because it appears unsexy. From there craft a solution
  • Err on the side of execution

On investors

  • Need to take money for the right reason
  • Investors interest will tend to get out of alignment overtime (return multiples and investment horizons)
  • 80 percent of returns are by 20 percent of investments
  • They need at least a 10X to break even in a position for all the other losing positions they took
  • They don’t bring much value to the table
  • follow up with CEOs they invested in to understand how they react in a shit storm
  • Can help provide information on salary ranges

Choosing a market

  • If you can keep your ego in check you can chase after smaller markets and don’t need VC money
  • Great ideas are born of mediocre ideas that become better by
    • time spent iterating
    • humility learning
    • surviving
  • look for searches that indicate problems
    • Google Adwords
    • Moz’s keyword Explorer

Knowing your customers

Defining your user base

  • Call 3 different types of users
  • Find out why they subscribed and stayed
  • Craft messaging toward this group of people

Discounts are a doubled edged sword – while they might attract signups, these folks tend to have a higher churn rate

Schedule regular interactions with your user so that you can understand their habits. It helps you get to an empathetic position with them.

On Products

  • Feature set needs to be coherent enough to be able to deliver value
  • Early adopters
    • have very different expectation as compared to early majority –
    • hence more forgiving
    • ok accepting MVP
  • Retention triumphs acquisition any day

Marketing

  • Optimize for acquisition loops that reinforces the UVP instead of linear acquisition channels

Focused Execution

  • Practice the discipline of focus.
  • Important to Focus and not waver around unnecessarily. Its a waste of resources
  • A very focused and simplified product offering will help users to more easily understand and adopt it
  • Helps keep teams lean as a by-product
    • ROA improves dramatically
    • helps avoid future layoffs
  • Focus on what will not change in the next 10 years

Related references

  • Lean Startup, Eric Ries
  • Sprint, Jake Knapp
  • Venture Deals, Brad Feld

Reflections on communicating with your users via email

While sending a personal email to each individual user who directly uses our API just now, it occurred to me the main difference between talking with someone you have relationship with (like your mum/girlfriend/wife…?) versus simply doing a mass email blast to a group of “strangers”, is the potential lack of warmth and empathy in the latter on the sender’s side.
 
No one really likes being treated like a number on a Excel sheet. It sucks.
The key challenge becomes how do you scale your communication as the amount of people you need to communicate with increases without alienating them. Or does it even matter?

Related Reference

  • Permission Marketing, Seth Godin

Book Summary: Contagious

Contagious

On Word of mouth

  • versus advertising
    • it is more persuasive since the messenger has no monetary incentive and is a trusted person.
    • It is directed at the immediate context of the recipient
  • Only 7% of word of mouth happens online. Most still happens offline
  • Types of word of mouth
    • immediate word of mouth
    • ongoing word of mouth
  • Big forest fires aren’t caused by big sparks. Lots of individual trees have to catch fire and carry the flame

Word of mouth principles

  • Social currency
    • people want to feel special about themselves. When they get to share something extraordinary, they get the chance to Wow others.
    • Categories of currency
      • scarcity
      • exclusivity
  • Triggers
    • Ideas strongly associated with items frequently found the environment gets triggered more often. Pick common objects in a user’s environment that is not already laced with other meanings.
    • The more specific a trigger the higher the likelihood of triggered action.
    • Choose trigger right close to the proximity of the intended action
  • Emotions
    • Emotions that excites will be more likely to drive the recipient towards an action than those that.
      • Useful emotions: Awe, excitement, anger, fear
      • Not useful emotions: sadness, hopelessness
    • Associate the idea with emotions
  • Public
    • Monkey see, monkey do. Figure out how to make users activities more visible to those around them so that they could copy his action. A private action is unlikely to get copied
    • Choose stimulus that others can’t help but notice.
  • Practical Value
    • Useful things tends to get shared more frequently. While there might be less initial word of mouth, there will always be on going word of mouth.
  • Stories
    • help transfer huge amounts of contextual information to recipient
    • helps suspending judgement – using proof by analogy
    • story must be designed such that storyline falls apart when intended idea is removed from it
    • For dramatic purposes, interesting and novel points often get exaggerated as story pasts from one person. As such the story gets more and more remarkable as it is past along.

Related theories

  • Prospect theory: the WoW factor of an idea is often taken in association with the denominator its associated with
  • Rule of 100
    • for items below $100 present discount in percentage
    • for items above $100 present discount in absolute dollar figures

Key take aways from Trust me I am lying

Trust me I am lying

The publication eco-system

  • Every content creator within the publication ecosystem is under immense pressure to produce content under the tightest deadline.
    • renumeration is based on number of articles per period time
    • eye balls are converted to advertising revenue
    • lots of copying happens
  • Media was once about protecting a new, on the web it is about building one
    • well defined scope matters
    • content that dives deep into its vertical matters
  • Headlines are the most important
  • Tools of the trade
    • lavish pictures
    • impostors, frauds and fake interviews
    • support for the underdog causes
    • anonymous sources
    • prominent coverage of high society and events
    • different age but same old tricks
  • On monetization
    • Advertising is the main driver of revenue
    • Subscription model focus on trusted source as opposed to advertising source
    • RSS got killed because it went against the interest of Advertisers
  • On the online medium
    • The demands of the medium forces the bloggers to act they way they are
    • Tim Berners Lee stacked new content on the top and the rest of the internet thus follows
    • Thus the need to constantly create new content

On Virality

  • The most powerful predictor of virality is how much anger an article evokes.
  • The most powerful predictor of what spreads online is anger
    • sensationalism
    • extremism
    • sex
    • scandal
    • hatred
  • Things must be negative but not too negative so as to incite action
  • Media needs to get you feeling negative so that you are more likely to share
  • Empty vessels are incline to snark so as to feel unjustifiably good about themselves

On reality

  • Chris Hedges
    • is complicated and boring
    • the masses are incapable and unwilling to handle its confusion
    • In an age of images, entertainment and instant emotional gratification, no one seeks honesty and gratification
  • Cognitive biases
    • we are bad at being sketical
      • availability biases
      • narrative fallacy
    • we are worst at correcting our wrong beliefs
      • social proofing
      • consistency biases
  • First decide what you are intending to do with the information you collected

Related readings