Don't forget about the impact of your innovative startup (issue no. 28)

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Founder Education 

This section is meant to help you grow as a leader, manager, or entrepreneur.

What stops entrepreneurs from succeeding (podcast)

I haven’t posted a link to a podcast yet, but I try to listen to them whenever I’m cleaning or working out. Because unlike some people I can’t listen to content and retain it if I’m doing something other than something I hate (working out and cleaning). 

My favorite podcast is The One Thing. It just has so many gems that it’s rare when I do not have a single takeaway from one of the episodes. The one a linked to is based on the idea of how entrepreneurs fail to scale themselves and that’s the main reason why they don’t succeed. The best way to do that is to find empire builders for your team and create a large playground for them, put in place some accountability measures, and support them as they wreak havoc. 

When I think of how I want KnowCap to operate it has the “empire builder” model at its core. As a matter of fact whenever I managed anyone, I had that at its core (which is how I know I’m terrible manager to people who are boss-dependent). In my vision, for this organization, I want the people who work for me to move mountains and I want to push them to do it every single day. 

If you are focused on building a large company…check out this episode. 

Business Strategy 

This section is designed to help you improve your skills as a strategist and tactician.

Baremetrics Growth Manifesto

I am a huge fan of Baremetrics, their “open”’business movement, and Josh Pigford (their CEO).

In this piece, they write about how they use their core principles to dictate how they go about implementing growth tactics for getting new customers. Instead of looking at filling the "top of the funnel” they focused on the bottom of the funnel…otherwise known as optimizing the leaky bucket. 

When I meet with founders, all they care about is user acquisition (and social ads) and growing their prospect list. They could care less about their most important metric, retention. They normally don’t realize that the real growth tactic of your organization’s revenue has nothing to do with new customer growth. 

Did you know that if you increase mention rates by 5% that you can increase profits by 25-95%? How about that success rates plummet by 40-70% when you go from selling a customer you already have to selling a new customer? 

The team at Baremetrics have it right. Focus on fixing the leaky bucket first, then turn your focus to filling the bucket up. 

Mental Snacks

This section was created to introduce ideas that may not related to starting a company, yet is important to your success as a founder.

Inside the Rise and Fall of an AirBNB scheme

I don’t like how this title is so sensationalist in saying “scheme.” Did these people break the law? Yes. Is it different than what hundreds of people are doing all over the world? Not a chance. The place my wife stayed at in Santorini was one of five properties owned by the same businessman. 

The reason I choose this article for the newsletter is because of what it signals. It’s already happening with AirBnB, it happened early with Uber, it’s happened with Stripe as well…want an idea on how to make lots of money as a side hustle? Build a service/product on top of a popular platform.

When Instagram announced it’s “close friend” feature for users, within approximately 24 hours I saw people charging their followers for  ultra-exclusive access to their lives. This kind of change doesn’t happen slowly, but there is always an opportunity to exploit if you are creative enough and provide value. 

About six months ago, I read a piece by a VC that exclaimed that if a startup could make a better product targeting just 5% of Salesforce’s revenues…it could be a unicorn. 

Sometimes you don’t have to think up a brand new idea to become extremely successful. You can just make a product that can challenge 5% of another company, or build a company on top of another company’s service/product.

Around The Startup Ecosystem

This section was built to update you on important events, opinions, or pieces happening in the world of startups.

Critics vow to block Sidewalk Labs first project in Toronto

I’m placing this article in issue no. 28 because it has to do with how cities partner with organizations to develop a better world for its residents. And that’s pretty much what KnowCap IO is all about. 

If you didn’t know Sidewalk Labs is a city-focused department of Google/Alphabet. They were planning an incredible project for a waterfront space in Toronto that would (as they say) “be built from the internet up”. There were a few demands. 

  1. They needed to take extensive data on everything happening inside this new tech super city. So that they could determine how to build more, faster. 

  2. They were going to take a cut of the city revenues AND the project development fees. Which some estimated would be in the billions over the next decade

These two demands already had the critics up and arms, but when you add that their leaked proposal was only a small fraction of what they had publicly announced…it is a catastrophe. 

It is always fascinating to me where people draw the line and also where corporations try to overstep it. When you look at the Amazon deal that fell through in NYC, another deal in Berlin that is mentioned in the article above, you can’t help but applaud the locals who take a stand in the midst of all of the innovation and money being lobbed around during discussions. 

One thing we focus on is partnering with the city in a meaningful way to make sure they even need us there. Our goal is to build ecosystems that support entrepreneurs, but also feature a high-quality workforce development program. To do that, we have to know how to custom design each one of our locations for the city it sits in. The Atlanta location, won’t be like the Tempe location. The Cleveland location will look nothing like the Charlotte location. 

It’s incredibly important that as we as founders try to build up our cities and improve quality of life for the community, that we make sure to listen to the community. To try our best to make our dealings fair and equitable.