The Inevitability of Mathematics in Start-ups

The funny thing about mathematics is that it has no vested interests. It has no friends. It is here to do its job, over and over again in an infinite loop. With or without you. If you can figure out what that is, you will learn, as I did, that the math will outlive you, outlive your time at your business, and outlive competitors who don’t understand math.

This is an idea worth sharing.

All start-ups and all businesses can be reduced to a mathematical core, which is an algebraic expression running in an infinite loop that outputs money. The expression is dead simple and looks something like this:

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How to deal with the Living Dead

Venture Capitalists typically classify their investments into these 4 categories:

1. Freakin’ Home RUN: Companies that generate 10x – 1000x returns

2. Modest Success: 2x – 10x returns

3. Outright Failure: Loss of most or all of the principal invested

4. The Living Dead: Companies that are not bad enough to shut down, but not good enough to grow or get to the next level

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SOLOMO (wtf)

So. Lo. Mo. 

Heard of this term? Zaki discovered this recently when an entrepreneur came pitching to him.

“I’m doing a SOLOMO startup for mobile.”

“WTF is that?”

“Oh, Social + Local + Mobile.”

“What does that mean?”

“It’s like a photo app for mobile that is social and local”

“huh?”

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Kindle: a new Advertising frontier?

Do you guys read on a Kindle?

I bought one a couple of months ago and love it. I use it almost daily, and have 4x-ed my reading rate. Now here’s something people don’t talk about much when they talk about the Kindle – the Ads. As you can see above, the Kindle has this great ad format called a homepage screen saver. It shows on the screen when you’re not using the device, which is most of the time. Every time you glance at it, you see the ad. Each time you pick up the device, you see the ad. When you turn it off, you see the ad. And since there is no competition for your attention as a reader, I’ve found myself paying really close attention to each ad.

And here’s the kicker – you can 1-click buy whatever is in the ad via Amazon.com b/c they have your credit card on file. I’ve bought 2 things via the ads already, in addition to the ebooks I buy for the Kindle.

I have to think given the 1-click buy + super engaging ad format, there is an opportunity here to sell whatever you’re selling via Amazon with extremely high conversions.

I pinged Amazon and here are the numbers:

$15 CPM, $30,000 minimum buy, no CPC
Targeting: Gender, Household, State, Income
They can help with creatives
Yes, you can promote things you are selling on Amazon with 1-click buy enabled by default
1% – 2% CTR

The ad rep seemed pretty unsophisticated, and they didn’t have ready materials to convey this basic information. I had to ask for each piece of this info separately. Which makes me even more excited to test it out. All brand-new advertising and affiliates are like this early on.

Does anyone want to try this and share results?

Mixergy: your daily entrepreneurial staple

I can’t say enough good things about Andrew Warner and Mixergy

This little blog, started a couple of years ago, has now become required reading for anyone who wants to be a better entrepreneur. Way more useful than Techcrunch or anything else when it comes to helping you build your business. It has real-life stories from other people building businesses – stories about failures, tactics, and what works. You won’t find stuff this good anywhere else, even if you pay for it. 

I’m a reader for life. 

(I’m not getting paid to say this)

How anyone can get a job in 60 days

Murti had dinner today with an interesting guy. His story is thought-provoking. This guy was 1-year out of college with a finance degree, couldn’t find a job in this economy. The market, especially for finance, is tough. Investment banks are laying off people by the thousands. He decided to take some initiative and try something different. He took a 2-month bootcamp on learning how to code and become a web developer from scratch. Keep in mind he knew nothing about computers before except email and facebook-ing. What happened next?

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