If an employer is willing to be abusive to you prior to hiring you, when you have maximum leverage and they are maximally incentivized to play nice, I think that gives you *extremely actionable* signal as to how they'll treat you when you're working there and dependent on them.
For startups employing e.g. engineers: given that your candidates should evaluate you accordingly, be *extra special* careful to operate like professionals with regards to e.g. interviewing, offers, and negotiation.
Not without violating a confidence, but as someone who has been on hiring side of table and is a capitalist, there are *clearly* things you could do which would be "sharp operating, but we're all sharp operators" in some contexts.
More from Patrick McKenzie
“Why do people care about stablecoins then?”
A mix of “they encourage dollar-denominated liquidity in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and discourage withdrawal of the same” and “they’re good for money laundering.”
“But they make value transfer between exchanges much faster!”
This was a solved problem in traditional finance, too, mostly through the extension of credit. (It doesn’t matter how long settlement takes if there is sufficient trust to enable credit.)
The Bitcoin ecosystem is *positively allergic* to credit, so you have to call it a coin for them to accept it. And after you call it a coin they ignore everything the world has learned about credit, like risk management.
“Stablecoins aren’t credit!”
They’re pretty much exactly credit? A tether is a zero-coupon Bitfinex bond with a non-functioning call option. I
For technical founders it is irrationally, obscenely hard to reverse years of programming (ba dum bum) that sales is a value-destroying activity. Sales is CLEARLY a value-creating activity, contingent on you have a value-creating product.
The world will not drop what they are doing to adopt your work. This is particularly true in B2B, where simply building a better mousetrap won't overcome the activation energy required to get people with additional non-mice problems to prioritize changing mousetraps today.
This is very non-obvious for founders because founders are not often people who *want* to be sold to. We often come from a background where trying out tools is a bit of a fun hobby. We like looking at all the options, making charts, and ripping out partially complete tests.
"This week I unsuccessfully trialed four software options for automating that thing that has been killing us. Our actual production process remains the same as last week. Don't worry; this was a great use of time." is not a thing you want to write in a progress report to manager.
I have some thoughts:
As somebody who bootstrapped ~4 companies, I feel like I had to make some clearly suboptimal decisions early in them for lack of what is, in hindsight, not all that much money. But there's a huge gap in the product space for investment options.
It's weird: you can get $25k from Amex trivially, and angels are very willing to write a check for that much, but you have to make representations about your goals/ambitions/market/etc which don't really apply to everyone.
And so you see the traditional angel/VC ecosystem fund companies where honestly the returns are probably not there, and this is knowable pretty early, but the chase of them will wreck what could have been a perfectly happy business.
(To make the math work for traditional VCs the company has to at least have a market-appropriate shot of $100 million a year. There are a lot more $10 million a year companies than $100 million a year companies. That is *not* a bad terminal outcome for founders/employees.)
“Coffee? What does that have to do with payments?” I’m glad you asked.
Convenience stores are low net margin businesses, which sell some high gross margin goods/services but a lot of low ones, and have high fixed costs and a low ticket size. The typical transaction is under 500 yen ($5) and many are about $1.
They need repeat custom.
A few years ago, all of the chains had a good idea for increasing frequency of use: make a minor capital investment in automatic coffee machines. Sell access to them for the price of a cup / ice; customers self-serve with the machine.
The price point is $1 to about $2.
Coffee quickly became one of the most frequently repurchased items at convenience stores, in no small part because it’s the one thing they can sell which is phameceutically habit forming but totally unregulated. (Just telling it like it is.)
But the coffee is not very defensible
The problem, such that it is, is that competing chains are everywhere and *all* of them serve Thoroughly Adequate Coffee at similar prices, so you’re back into the brutal economics of “Who is 3 meters closer to 40 customers at 1 office?”
Enter payment apps.
On a serious note, it's interesting to observe that you can build a decent business charging $20 - $50 per month for something that any good developer can set up. This is one of those micro-saas sweet spots between "easy for me to build" and "tedious for others to build"— Jon Yongfook (@yongfook) September 5, 2019
Every year at MicroConf I get surprised-not-surprised by the number of people I meet who are running "Does one thing reasonably well, ranks well for it, pulls down a full-time dev salary" out of a fun side project which obviates a frequent 1~5 engineer-day sprint horizontally.
"Who is the prototypical client here?"
A consulting shop delivering a $X00k engagement for an internal system, a SaaS company doing something custom for a large client or internally facing or deeply non-core to their business, etc.
(I feel like many of these businesses are good answers to the "how would you monetize OSS to make it sustainable?" fashion, since they often wrap a core OSS offering in the assorted infrastructure which makes it easily consumable.)
"But don't the customers get subscription fatigue?"
I think subscription fatigue is far more reported by people who are embarrassed to charge money for software than it is experienced by for-profit businesses, who don't seem to have gotten pay-biweekly-for-services fatigue.
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2. Trump and the GOP just appointed Brian Benczkowski, a lawyer who worked for Alfa Bank, to lead the DOJ's criminal division, and he refuses to recuse himself.
What the hell is going on here?
Bin Salman heads only one faction.
Mohammad Bin Salman [MbS] not only has to deal with states in the region that want to thwart his plans for Saudi Arabia [SA} & the Middle East [ME] such as Iran, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Quatar...he also has people inside SA itself that don't like his reforms or agenda.
So when the narrative gets presented that "The only way Khashoggi could end up dead is on the direct orders of MbS" you might want to keep this in mind.
There are SEVERAL ways Khashoggi could end up meeting his demise at the hands of Saudis not working on the orders of MbS.
Powerful factions within SA, several of whom do not like the Crown Prince's reforms or the fact he was promoted to his current position ahead of others in the royal family, could have done this in the hopes of pinning it on MbS.
Too many false/fake news stories came out of Turkey in the past week to say anything further. This latest news comes just after it was reported Pompeo heard an audio of the killing that was quickly walked back in less than a day.
But they are also the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Here’s what my experience has been like with two young ones.
2/ Before kids, I was all about my startup life. I built an awesome edtech company with my wife, and we sacrificed many years (filled with joy and pain) to get our nut. We traveled a lot. We ate out. We hung out with friends every weekend.
Then we decided to have kids...
3/ When our first kid arrived, we attempted to be very active parents--that didn’t work out so well. It turns out that being a stay-at-home mom or dad is way harder than we could bear, psychologically and physically.
4/ We had to accept that we were better off throwing money at the problem and got a wonderful nanny + other support, so we could go back to work. That decision currently costs us $80K/year (now for 2 kids in f-ed up bay area rates), but was right for us.
5/ For me, I try not to work between 5pm and 9pm during the week, so I can dedicate time with family. Weekends are all family time. But I have to make up those lost hours of productivity by starting work at 5am. On average I get 5 hours of sleep per night, which is not enough.
Black people and people of color are told to give up their connection, all in the name of "unity" and the "gospel", and see symbols of their culture deeply steeped in whiteness while white Christians rarely give up anything. This is white supremacy. This is white Christianity.
Because of access to whiteness and connection to it, as social capital and meaning, Blacks and people of color become more distant, we learn to devalue our people, and decenter their stories, histories, and knowledge. It erases us. Literally. Erasure. Is that really good news?
Now, these churches appropriate non-white cultural practices and aesthetics while never centering the forms of knowledge, history, or concerns of non-whites. For example, Black culture is in the church but the church is doing nothing to change the world that Black people live.
Cherthala Karthyayani Temple Prathishta was done by Vilwamangalam Swamy. Chertala Pooram is very famous. Devi is Mangalya Dayini here removes obstacles relating to marriages. Sthala Puranam says that, once 👇
Vilwamangalam Swamiyar was passing this area after Prathista of Padmananbhaswamy Temple, he felt Devi chaitanyam and recognized as Karthyayani Devi. But Devi seeing Vilwamangalam went inside the pond. Swamy searched for Devi continously for 6 days and on 7th day Vilwamangalam
got hold of Devi's hair. Thus only Devi's head is Prathishta here. Devotees do Kozhi parathal ( offering cock) here as an offering to Karthyayani Devi.
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(Thread👇) Tell us if you can relate to any of these? Do you have your own values that guide your decisions? Share them with us! ⛳
0. Coder != engineer
Coders focus just on writing code to make something work. Engineers take a much wider view, focusing on both the problem and every aspect of the solution. 🤓
1. “Import lib”
It's not wise to waste time building tools or libraries if there’s already something that does the same job! Wherever possible, extend existing libraries and contribute back to the community. 💁♀️
2. With great power comes greater responsibility
Every choice we make on our platform and every feature we build stands up to a responsibility — helping people make more data-driven decisions and bring about real change for millions of people. 💪
3. Fail fast and keep learning
Failing fast is about doing lots of fast iterations and learning from each, rather than getting stuck on one solution or decision. 👊
2) At this point, if you are a young and ambitious Tory MP it is now so overwhelmingly in your interest to vote against the withdrawal agreement. V v hard to see how Julian Smith can cap rebellion at under 100:
3) Really just to reiterate 1) Gyimah is the kind of "No, never gonna rebel" vaguely pro-EU Tory you'd need to get on side to outweigh Labour Leavers and Real Concerners.
This is my experience of what happened to me when I arrived in the country during COVID.
I think it will help people understand how criminally bad our government's response has been. (a thread).
On arrival, passengers were escorted from the plane by armed police.
We were allocated a government-mandated hotel, and told to wait in a holding area.
Once processed we were led to a coach. Members of the Australian army lined the route to make sure no one tried to escape.
Once at the hotel we were taken off the coach one by one
An Australian police officer escorted me to my room, telling me in no uncertain terms that if I left it in any unauthorised circumstances for the next two weeks, I would be spending up to two years in an Australian prison.
During the next two weeks I was fed three times a day in polystyrene and with plastic cutlery. Below are some examples of the food. It was fine, but there was no control or choice.
After about eight days I was tested for COVID.
This was mandatory, and the first time I’d seen another human since the quarantine started.
Even though I was negative, I was told I could leave only once my 14 days of isolation were over.
Why is this the most powerful question you can ask when attempting to reach an agreement with another human being or organization?
A thread, co-written by @deanmbrody:
Next level tactic when closing a sale, candidate, or investment:— Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) February 27, 2018
Ask: \u201cWhat needs to be true for you to be all in?\u201d
You'll usually get an explicit answer that you might not get otherwise. It also holds them accountable once the thing they need becomes true.
2/ First, “X” could be lots of things. Examples: What would need to be true for you to
- “Feel it's in our best interest for me to be CMO"
- “Feel that we’re in a good place as a company”
- “Feel that we’re on the same page”
- “Feel that we both got what we wanted from this deal
3/ Normally, we aren’t that direct. Example from startup/VC land:
Founders leave VC meetings thinking that every VC will invest, but they rarely do.
Worse over, the founders don’t know what they need to do in order to be fundable.
4/ So why should you ask the magic Q?
To get clarity.
You want to know where you stand, and what it takes to get what you want in a way that also gets them what they want.
It also holds them (mentally) accountable once the thing they need becomes true.
5/ Staying in the context of soliciting investors, the question is “what would need to be true for you to want to invest (or partner with us on this journey, etc)?”
Multiple responses to this question are likely to deliver a positive result.
The paper is a good example of lots of elements of good experimental design. They validate their metric by showing lots of variants give consistent results. They tune hyperparamters separately for each condition, check that optimum isn't at the endpoints, and measure sensitivity.
They have separate experiments where the hold fixed # iterations and # epochs, which (as they explain) measure very different things. They avoid confounds, such as batch norm's artificial dependence between batch size and regularization strength.
When the experiments are done carefully enough, the results are remarkably consistent between different datasets and architectures. Qualitatively, MNIST behaves just like ImageNet.
Importantly, they don't find any evidence for a "sharp/flat optima" effect whereby better optimization leads to worse final results. They have a good discussion of experimental artifacts/confounds in past papers where such effects were reported.