The past is the best indicator of the future unless you work hard to change the same old patterns.
The past is the best indicator of the future unless you work hard to change the same old patterns.
NPR’s How I Built This is a fantastic podcast that brings the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. How I Built This interviews innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists about the movements they built.
In this episode, they interview John Foley, one of the co-founders of Peloton; the fitness and media company that you’ve probably seen commercials for.
In the interview, they greatly undervalued John Foley’s network and experience but nonetheless, this episode touched on several relevant topics my clients often face. I picked this episode because it was a little more in-depth and enlightening than other episodes in that Foley he talks about:
There are also great questions asked by interviewer that touches on market trends such as arcades no longer thriving due to user experience-to-price dynamics (i.e. video game consoles vs arcades due to quality of experience), penetration/awareness strategy which led to their distribution model given that malls are making an industry correction, and lastly the trademark question: “How much of this was because of your intelligence and hard work, and how much of this was just luck?”
The entire podcast can be heard here
According to data from the Census Bureau and IRS the average age of successful business founders is 42; so the 20 year old entrepreneur is a true rarity.
The team looked at data around the 2.7 million people who founded businesses between 2007-14 and went on to hire at least one employee. Along with average entrepreneur age, they also learned those new ventures with the highest growth had an average founder age of 45.
The researchers broke out the data into high-tech employment, VC-backed firms, and patenting firms. Across the entire United States, the average founder ages were 43, 42, and 45, respectively for those divisions.
Part of this reason is because experience, social capital, skill sets, etc. play a large factor in the success of a business. So even if you’re over 40, roughly 50% of successful entrepreneurs are above that age.
Read the complete article here.
Sans Bar is a one-of-a-kind sober bar in Austin, TX. Their mission is to provide a safe, sober environment for adults to celebrate life while promoting personal and social wellness.
I had the pleasure of creating financial projections for founder, Chris Marshall. With the help of this important document, entrepreneurs can see how much they need to make and save in order to meet their financial needs; in addition to many many other uses. You can read more about the importance of a financial plan.
Cryptocurrencies took quite a hit in 2018 has not been a good year for the market so far. Having reached a valuation of $834 billion as of January 7, 2018, CoinMarketCap reported that the market witnessed a drastic plunge of about 66%, losing over $553 billion. Bitcoin recorded a huge loss of over 50% in February, with valuation dropping below $7,000. Ethereum and Ripple also suffered similar drops, both recording losses of over 40% during the same month. Even as of late March, the leading currencies have not bounced back as of March 21, 2018.
Most signs point to a bubble. Market speculation that drove prices to an untenable price for the time being. This bubble was exacerbated by the unregulated nature of cryptocurrency. For example, banks are required to physically hold a certain amount of cash in reserve, also known as Regulation D, which allows for an amount of liquidity in the market in case of lean times. Given the unregulated nature of cryptocurrencies it is possible that market manipulation was also behind the plunge. In 2013, Bitcoin rose from $150 to $1,000 within a period of 2 months. A rise that researchers have found was caused by one person. Last month, one anonymous investor bought $400 million in Bitcoin. For securities transactions such as stocks and bonds, the identities of the buyers and sellers are known and recorded. In cryptocurrency transactions, the transaction is known but not the entities.
However, to understand a little about what is happening, it helps to understand what cryptocurrency is.
According to Wikipedia:
A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.Cryptocurrencies are classified as a subset of digital currencies and are also classified as a subset of alternative currencies and virtual currencies. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralized control of each cryptocurrency works through a blockchain, which is a public transaction database, functioning as a distributed ledger.
Bitcoin, created in 2009, was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, numerous other cryptocurrencies have been created. These are frequently called altcoins, as a blend of alternative coin.
That is a lot to digest so to summarize and generalize: cryptocurrency is an electronic asset that is created through among other methods, “mining” (the details of digital asset creation go beyond this post). Once this digital asset is created, a record of its created is added to a decentralized ledger. This ledger is known as a blockchain. Blockchain is like a title chain in real estate; everyone knows who owned it in the past and who owns it now. Furthermore, transactions using cryptocurrency is also recorded in the blockchain.
The blockchain is starting to look more useful than the actual cryptocurrencies, but more on that in a future post.
Crypto isn’t going away but probably won’t replace sovereign currency because it doesn’t have that backing of an entire nation. There’s more power when you have a nation that promises the worth of something vs many individuals that aren’t a cohesive entity
A nation has natural resources, a military, existing contracts, labor forces, etc. that can be used to back the value of their currency. Crypto does not. They are kinda like fidget spinners. Some people highly value it and trade it but not likely to replace dollars.
More than a “currency” cryptocurrency seems to have properties similar to commodities such as silver in that people can “mine” it too. That said no government uses, say rubies, as their official currency.
Cryptocurrencies are also relatively unregulated like commodities. Beyond futures contracts and derivative markets the industry did not see much action beyond the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936. Other than a few laws, regulatory bodies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission did not see much action until Dodd–Frank was enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis.
For the reasons mentioned, it seems like a judge also agrees that cryptocurrencies are commodities. Maybe it is time to call them cryptocommodities.
Probably not going away but many hurdles block mainstream adoption. Of course, if a government officially recognizes it then it’s all systems go. For now, China says no and S. Korea is hesitant. Furthermore, Warren Buffett considers cryptocurrencies speculative.
Cryptocurrency will probably end up like precious gems and metals; worth something but will not upend sovereign currency. Buying a car in wheat is possible but not as convenient as with traditional currencies. Although some dealerships accept some cryptocurrencies.
It’s summer and festival season is here. Events are big business with over 87 million people attending trade shows, conventions, & conferences; while 32 million people attend music festival. Some annual industry and market stats:
Events are targeted. So attendees are in your market, many in your target market. Renting a booth, depending on the event, can be fairly inexpensive. This is an economical means of raising awareness for your product/service for the following reasons:
Some of what you may need depending on the event:
Read more about festivals and marketing.
Contact me and let’s see what strategy works best for your business.
Question: How should new products/services be created?
A) Make a novel untested product/service then find customers for the product/service?
B) Find a group of customers, find one of that group’s unmet need, then create a product/service to address than unmet need?
Reason: The development process of the product/service will take time irregardless of choice A or B. However, with choice B, the likelihood or having to rework the product/service to make it more closely meet the needs of the target market is lower. Also, with choice B, you have a better idea of the size of the target market. Having a market large enough to grow your business is very important. More on that below.
A great example of choice B is Girls Auto Clinic. Girls Auto Clinic is a brilliant combination of female-focused auto repair shop and salon.
Founder Patrice Banks felt what many of us feel when car issues come up:
“I felt like an auto-airhead. I hated all my experiences going in for an oil change, being upsold all the time for an air filter,’ she said. “Any time a dashboard light came on, I panicked.” – Patrice Banks, Girls Auto Clinic Founder
Of course many people come up with business ideas like how Patrice did: through personal experience. However, where most people fail is that their own experience might be too niche. In other words, the market might be too small. How do you know if your market is too niche? Market research. Market research is a process of analyzing factors such as demographics, purchasing habits, direct and indirect competitors, macro and microeconomics, and other elements. As much art as science, thorough market research is a critical step before moving forward with any concept.
According to a new Credit Suisse report, up to 25% of U.S. shopping malls may close in the next five years.
What are the reasons? Of course Amazon and online shopping is a major reason. However, another factor is mall overexpansion. Currently there around 1,200 malls in the US. Between 1970 and 2015, the number malls grew more than twice as fast as the population. As such, it is predicted that within the next 10 years, that number will decline to 900.
Of course brick-and-mortar retail stores will never completely disappear because of the needs listed above and because of the fact that humans are social by nature. Just the type and make-up of retail stores will change. Possibly pop-up stores (a strategy utilized with great effect by Halloween stores) will become more common?
What to do with vacant buildings? That’s a lot of land that could be used for other use. Maybe mall owners will lower their rental rates. In some areas of Manhattan, retail rents have declined 10-15%.
More housing? Closures from major chains like Macy’s and J.C. Penney are pouring up to 37 million square feet of space back into the market. That could reduce some housing costs. Although, generally more expensive housing markets have greater discretionary spending which is often used for shopping. Also, the time and cost to demolish existing structures, rezone, and rebuild into residential properties along with its infrastructural linkages is not insignificant.
Some mall owners have indicated that vacant properties will be renovated and updated in efforts to attract new tenants and raise rental rates.
What to do?
Who knows that the future will bring but keep in mind that juggernauts like Walmart, Macy’s, and Sears are affected. So starting a service or online store that doesn’t compete with what Amazon sells is a safer option. Brand your own product (e.g. Bonobo, Dollar Shave Club) and controlling your own distribution is another option (of course be aware of knock-offs). B2B businesses (e.g. no one buys industrial components at malls) is insulated from mall closures.
Services such as dentistry, restaurants, car mechanics, large difficult-to-ship products such as mattresses, etc. will remain (so far) an insulated industry.
Analyses such as what I have done above is a small and cursory part of the industry/market analysis and strategy consulting services I provide to clients.