Synth: Week of 10.5.20
From Jerry Neumann (below in Articles):
From 1,000 True Fans (illustrating the long tail of obscure preferences):
Demand-side sales from Trends.co:
From NfX on Viral Channels:
From OpenView on Product-Led Growth companies:
Product Market Fit Risk (Leo Polovets):
-  You think people will want to use your product.
-  You talked to potential customers, and they said they wanted to try the product once it was built.
-  You have LOIs (letters of intent).
-  You have unpaid pilots.
-  You have paid pilots.
-  You have paid contracts. Ideally prepaid.
On Moats (article below):
- “in most cases a sustainable competitive advantage must be built up over time”
- “A more enduring advantage is tacitly held knowledge. Tacit knowledge is knowledge that can’t be easily communicated; it can’t be easily transferred”
- “Returns to scale are advantages that appear or increase as a company gets bigger. They take several forms but generally either the cost per unit product decreases or the quality of the product increases as more units are produced, sold, and used.”
on Deep Work (Cal Newport via Dror Poleg):
- Deep work is “professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push[es] your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”
- Shallow Work is “Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.”
- “Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family, business, etc. with expiration dates and I update them every month,” — Tools of Titans
- “Tweet twice a day at about 8:50am and 8pm in the predominant time zone of the majority of your followers.”
- The most effective way to attract followers is to post tweetstorms — expanded threads of ~10 tweets that critically assess some topic in your field.
The Competitive Exclusion Principle:
- “an idea from biology, which claims that two different species who compete for the same resource in the same habitat cannot coexist in stable equilibrium. One is going to dominate, and the other will be forced to find a new ecological niche, or face extinction.”
- If the time it takes for the environment to change is longer than the time it takes for an advantaged species to reproduce, then we should expect to see one species dominate. They’ll have the stability required to fully exploit their competitive edge. But, if the environment changes at about the same rate as it takes for species to reproduce, then we should expect to see constant fluctuation, because advantages come and go too quickly to allow for compounding returns.
- From Ashley Gottuso — The reasons I will open your email newsletter:
- ✅ You always provide information that helps me become better at my job.
- ✅ I really like the stories you tell and the way you tell them. I feel like I know you / your brand.
- ✅ You’ve earned my trust. You have a track record of not pushing me to buy anything in your newsletter. If you have something to sell, it feels secondary to the content I’m consuming.
on Viral Effects vs Network Effects (article below):
- Viral effects are when you get your existing customers to get you more new customers, ideally for free.
- A network effect is when every customer of your product adds incremental value to all the other customers of your product so that it becomes difficult for customers to find any alternative product which gives them as much value.
- To develop great virality you must be focused on language. Language is the rails on which products are shared, so you must play with language, experiment with it, and build the product around the language.
- Video + Workshops + Slack
On Social Media:
- I suspect that social media is closely analogous to sugar. Highly addictive, rarely nutritious, and totally fine in small doses as a treat.
On Startup Risks (Leo Polovets):
- Product Market Fit, Product Quality Risk, Team Risk, Recruiting Risk, Sales Risk, Market Risk, Funding Risk, Short Term Competition Risk, Long-Term Competition Risk
On Contrarian Thinking:
- What if being contrarian is about knowing when our thinking should diverge from popular opinion AND when it should re-converge? The first part seems sexy. The second is much harder. We all like to think we are different but I suspect the humble among us know when to get back in line with the crowd.
- How to Onboard a New Employee Remotely, Know Your Team
- Mind the Moat, Florent Crivello
- How to Craft your Product Team, First Round Capital
- Give Away Your Legos, First Round Capital
- A Taxonomy of Moats, Jerry Neumann
- 1,000 True Fans, The Technium
- Viral Effects are NOT Network Effects, NfX
- ABZ Planning, Reid Hoffman
- Anything at Scale, Unintended Consequences
- SaaS Product Benchmarks, OpenView
- HealthOS, Divinations
- How to De-Risk a Startup, Leo Polovets
- Finding Power, Nathan Baschez
Things I’m trying:
- “There are lots of miserable “successful” people out there. Be careful about modeling those, as you will get all the bathwater with the baby.” — Tim Ferriss
- “Ego is about who’s right. Truth is about what’s right.” — Tribe of Mentors
- “Just because I have a parent doesn’t mean I know anything about being one.” — Andy Stanley
- “Jesus never dumbed down the TRUTH but he also never turned down the GRACE.” — Andy Stanley
- “Innovators must deter competition to get some of the value they created.” — Jerry Neumann (Moats, above)
- “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Essentialism
- “like entrepreneurs, companies and individuals need to develop the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.” Reid Hoffman
- “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” — Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
- 1) Surround yourself with people who strive to become a better version of themselves 2) Read uncomfortable books that make you question your perspective 3) Have a hobby reminding you of the beginner’s mindset 4) In doubt, choose the more difficult path” — Orange Book (via Twitter)
- “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.” — John Doerr
- “Truth — or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality — is the essential foundation for any good outcome.” — Ray Dalio
- “When the most important problem in a value chain moves away from you, so does your power.” — Nathan Baschez
- At the end of the day most of success comes down to storytelling. The stories you tell yourself as well as those you tell the world.- David Cancel (@dcancel)
- “content exists to help people make sense of the current state of their world, to remind us of important truths, or to make us feel something.” — Adam Keesling
- “Rational insight is a powerful tool, and one of our worst excesses. When it becomes the only tool it brings about a mixture of certainty and naivety that makes minds brittle.” — Simon Sarris
- “To lack reason is to be inhuman. To rely on it solely is to be disembodied.” — Simon Sarris