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[VIC - 145] Start your engines! 🏁

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December 9 · Issue #145 · View online
Jeremy Hurst
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Business & Money
Many startups seem to spend a lot of time thinking about customer acquisition, which is surely a good thing to think about. But sometimes thinking about customer acquisition seems to trump thinking about customer success and/or customer satisfaction.
In other words, they are trying to acquire lots of new customers while existing customers are unhappy with the product or service.
I am clearly no expert on the subject, but in my mind, that seems backward, at least in the earliest days of starting a company.
So for the project I’m working on now (you can learn more about it here and here if you’re curious), we’re really trying to dive deep with the early adopters to ensure that we are solving a real problem and delivering an incredible experience. And we’re doing that before we give any thought to scaling customer acquisition, raising money, or anything of the sort.
Human Progress
Crypto prices are in the dumps. So many have lost interest. I am not one of those people. And Nick Grossman, an investor at Union Square Ventures, recently showed the following slide in a presentation that captures one reason why.
In the 50s and 60s, IBM was the 800-pound gorilla in computing due to their mainframe dominance.
But then when the open PC hardware standard came along, Microsoft built an operating systems that could run on any computer. So they replaced IBM in the number one spot and became the monopoly de jour.
But then along came the open web and an open-source operating system in Linux. So free distribution and internet protocols allowed companies like Google and Amazon to side-step the Microsoft monopoly and become dominant in their own rights.
So what now? What will unseat this new set of dominant players? The only answer in sight is decentralized technologies. At the center of FANG dominance is the idea of a centralized database of consumer data, on top of which, algorithmic learning can be optimized at scale to offer up the best content and product recommendations. That falls apart when networks and data are decentralized.
So I have no idea when the next wave becomes apparent, what company or companies will claim the crown, or how exactly the scales will tip, but I try to look to history to look for cues about where and how cracks might appear with regards to the dominant technology firms.
Philosophy
Most of you know that I listen to a wide array of podcasts. Well, “wide array” may be a misnomer since most of them center around entrepreneurship, technology, investing, and self-improvement. But you get the point.
One of the podcasts I follow pretty regularly is the Tim Ferris Show wherein Tim’s goal is to interview top performers across many disciplines in an effort to dissect the habits and routines that pave the way to their success.
So when, a couple weeks ago, I saw that Tim was interviewing Lebron James, I became flush with excitement. Lebron is an athletic specimen and seems to defy time and space. He’s in his 16th season in the NBA and seems to get stronger, faster, bigger, and more intelligent with each passing game while most players at the same point in their careers are simply doing their best to stave off decline.
Then the interview happened and I was blown away… Blown away by how utterly pedestrian it was [womp womp]. I’m not sure I can remember a time in recent memory where I felt the same level of under-whelm (perhaps when Anchor Man 2 came out, but I digress).
Lebron spends a ton of money and a ton of energy focusing on recovery. He puts a lot of emphasis on sleep. He tries to avoid processed foods and refined sugars. And everything else that you would expect from a man making hundreds of millions of dollars from a career as a professional athlete.
I took 2 simple yet profound things away from this interview.
First, there is no secret to success. Rest, hard work, discipline, and all of the other boring platitudes about success are all there is to it. The ideas are simple, but executing those ideas day in and day out proves beyond the reach of most people.
Second, we create these fantastical and sensationalized images in our minds of people like Lebron James. And in part that is justified. He will experience many things in his life that most can only dream about. However, he is merely a human being. So the anticipation we feel leading up to an interview and the dramatic imagery in our minds will always exceed the reality of the human being.
My Latest Discovery
RPM Raceway in Jersey City is a damn good time!
It's A Wrap!
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